"My bestfriend just told me that her father hits her....for no reason!"

Question

OMG!! my bestfriend just told me that her father hits her....for no reason! I mean I guess I should have seen it coming...coz shes been wearing long shirts and sweaters and make up...but I though she was just wearing that coz she wanted to...I mean I wear alot of make up and sweaters EVERYDAY! but I dont get abused =S .. she showed me all these bruses on her rips and she has a purple one under her eye.. and rite there I started to cry, and I couldnt stop hugging her...I feel SOOO bad for her ='[ .. why would her father do that!? shes his own FLESH AND BLOOD!!! wtf is wrong with hiim! shes an awsome girl, nice, wonderful... hes a JERK!! hes AWFUL!! omg!! Im gonna start crying....but come on!! why would he do taht to his own DAUGHTER!! for no (edited) reason!!!!!!!!!!!!! shes never done anything!! Im soo scared for her!! =[ .. shes scared to coz she said he told her if she ever told anyone that he would kill her an dburn down all her friends houses! Im not scared of that but Im soo scared && worried about her... I couldnt loose myy BESTFRIEND! & I cant live knowing shes being hurt for no reason and no one but me and her and her father and her mother know!! and I cant even help!?!??! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how do I help without making things worse?!?!?? PLEASE HELP ME!! I NEED TO SAVE HER!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!

Answer from counsellor

Your best friend made a really brave decision to confide in you about the abuse. It must have been a relief for her to have someone she could turn to. I think you did the nicest thing for her when you gave her the hug and kept hugging her. That's one of the best thing you can do as a friend. I know it is a real scary thing for kids who are being abused to tell someone about it. Like your friend, they are often threatened that bad things will happen to the people they care about. She must really trust in you to tell you about it. I think she made a wise choice to reach out to someone who cares enough for her to do something about it. I'm so glad you decided to ask for help for her. Obviously your friend is in a very dangerous situation. She needs someone to stand up for her and protect her from her father. Do you know if her mother is trying to do anything to make things better? If not, your friend must feel so alone and frightened in her own home. What about brothers and sisters? Does your friend have siblings? If so, do you know if they are being abused too? Because your friend trusts you to talk to you about this, she might be willing to listen to you. Please find out from her if she has an adult relative she feels comfortable talking to about this. It is really important for her to have an adult she can trust to tell and who will do everything that they can to make sure your friend is safe. Something else you can do is talk to your friend about calling us. If she is worried about making the call, you can do a three way call for her. She can say she's calling you and when she calls you, you can call us with her on the line. If she is willing to talk to us, together we can explore some of the things she could do to keep herself safe. If she is afraid or just doesn't feel ready to make the call to us, you can encourage your friend to go to a neighnbour's house, one that she knows and trust, if she fears that her dad would hit her. It's a good idea for her to have a safety plan of where she can go if the situation is bad. If she goes to her neighbour's house, she can call the police and the police would come to her house immediately to make sure her dad doesn't hit her. If the police see the bruises on your friend, they may also charge your friend's dad with assault. The police will also call child protective services to come in and investigate. If they find that it is not safe for your friend to stay at home they will find somewhere for her to stay. She can ask to stay at a friend or neighbour's home if she wants. She will not be forced to go home if she doesn't want to. A social worker will also investigate to make sure other kids in the home are not being abused. You can also call child protective services to let them know what is happening to your friend. Now, I know this is a big decision, so I suggest you talk to your parents about this and find out if they will make the call. Do you think your parents would want to make the call if you explained to them what your friend is going through? Child protective services are the only agency in Canada, besides the police, that has the right to go into your friend's home and investigate the abuse. They have the right to decide what should be done to protect your friend from the abuse. I understand there isn't a simple solution to what your friend is dealing with. I realize the information and suggestions I have provided are a lot for you to think about. I hope it will help you understand what you can do to help your friend. Please call us if you have any more questions and/or if you want to talk about this some more. I think it would be really important for you to have people you can turn to to help you deal with your feelings about this. It is difficult to watch someone you care about go through something like this and not know what to do to get it to stop. Take care and stay in touch.