By Madelyn Jones
Change is coming with the uprising of sexual assault allegations in Hollywood but, as many people have been recently expressing, change isn’t easy. It is heartbreaking to learn that a person you look up to or are inspired by is actually an abuser. There has been a discussion about how to go about appreciating these creators’ art, but what about when the abuser is even closer to home?
Discovering or realizing that a friend is an abuser is an incredibly difficult experience, but one that needs to be taken seriously and dealt with. Even if that person is not abusive to you, staying in that relationship is damaging. This goes for if a friend is sexually abusive or in other ways. It lets the person know that they can get away with despicable acts while still having friends and lets the receiver of the abuse feel unsupported and unheard, like their experiences don’t matter.
For someone experiencing their first abusive friend, I have noticed it can be harder for them to understand the seriousness of the topic or their actions. This makes sense because people, in general, do not want to believe that others are bad, especially someone they allowed so close, but it is important to not let your relationship cloud your judgement.
To this group of people, I urge you to listen to your trusted friends that have dealt with abuse before and seriously consider their words. Abusive people often have similar traits, so someone who has seen abuse before is probably more likely to recognize it.
Abusers are often incredibly skilled in manipulation and lying so it can be difficult to notice what they are doing, especially in the moment. It is important to listen to other’s observations and not disregard them because you think you know the person. Many abusers seem like lovely, interesting and exciting people because they have learned manipulation tactics to keep you distracted from the bad they are doing. I, also urge people to learn more about signs of abuse and manipulation.
Losing a friendship is hard and emotionally taxing, so reach out for support, but don’t let this stop you from cutting ties. If you find out your friend is an abuser, remember that they are not who you think they are. Often they lie in all of their relationships, even the ones that are not abusive, to make their actions not seem suspicious.
I truly hope no one reading this article has or will go through this situation since it is difficult and heartbreaking, but stay aware and ready to listen intently if someone has reason to think one of your friends is abusive.