Reasons to suspect that your friend may be a perpetrator:
The perpetrator frequently maintains that:
In a situation like this the most difficult part is to believe and admit that your friend can be a perpetrator. That is why it is tempting to ignore or deny any signs of violence.
“I have known them forever, they would never hurt anyone”.
“They are a wonderful person and would never do anything like this”.
Often, we try to deny the possibility that a person we love, respect, like or admire can be different from what we have imagined. Anyway, regardless of their public image, each of them can be a perpetrator.
One of the reasons why it is so difficult to talk about violence is that situations like these entail a lot of intertwined emotions. Many of us either know or have heard stories of violence from people around us or have individual experiences. Therefore, naming your feelings is very important. Try to resist the wish to see your emotions as positive or negative, just be with them instead. In this process you may experience various emotional stages: denial, anger, negotiating, depression and reconciliation. It is normal to feel sad about losing the illusion of a “perfect friend”.
A conversation with another person can help organise your thoughts and give you the necessary emotional support.
Think of what could be done. Do not do anything that could endanger you or another person. Consult a specialist.
Your friend is still your friend, even if it turns out that they are a perpetrator. This does not mean that you should automatically turn against your friend or end the friendship. Only you can decide what to do, but first consider it carefully. Be completely honest with yourself. Sincere concern about the person can encourage them to change.
“I have seen how the other day you pushed, hit, grabbed them, etc. That was not the first time that I noticed it.”
“I am worried about the way you talk to them. I do not believe it is appropriate”.
Several easy ways of starting a conversation with the potential perpetrator:
Often people simply do not understand their own behaviour, do not understand that what they are doing is bad (they grew up in a family where violence occurred daily, etc.). Here are several possible ways of starting a conversation:
“Don’t you see that your insulting words hurt them?”
“When you do this, you make them feel uncomfortable.”
“Did you really mean to be so rude?”
“Children learn from their parents. Would you like your son to do this to other women?”
“How would you feel if another man did this to your daughter?”
Explain that these actions damage and endanger their relationship with the partner and other people who, including you, will not tolerate such behaviour. For example:
“I am really worried about their safety.”
“I am surprised you behave like this. Really, you are better than that.”
“I care about you, but I will not tolerate this kind of behaviour towards them”.
“I am very upset to see all this. This is really bad.”
“I am losing my respect to you.”
Make a comparison between a love-based and a violent relationship:
“To love does not mean to hurt”. Or “When you love someone you are not violent with them”.
“Good husbands/wives and partners do not do such things”.
“Would you like this to be done to your son/daughter”?”
“Call me if you feel you are losing temper.”
“You should seek psychological help.”
“There are programmes that can help.”
Make sure they are aware of the consequences of their behaviour:
“Domestic violence is a crime.”
“You can be arrested for this.”
“I am worried next time you will seriously injure or kill them.”
“If you do not deal with this problem you will end your days in prison. What will happen with you and your family then?”