Challenge/Care-front a friend who’s behaving badly

Many men also know men who have behave badly towards their partners or about women.

In addition to supporting the women or men in our lives who have been harmed, men also have a responsibility to challenge or “care-front” the men we know and love about how they may be treating the women or men they’re dating.  Most men have likely heard a friend make a comment about their partner, or seen someone they know treat their partner in ways that made us uncomfortable.  But generally, we don’t do anything in those situations.  Most men who talk about or to their partners disrespectfully or degradingly are not going to escalate to further violence…but some clearly do.  As bystanders, we can’t know which men are going to escalate their disrespect and which aren’t.

Further, even these expressions of disrespect and degradation warrant being challenged.  If we are made uncomfortable about how someone else is talking or what they’re doing, we have both the right and the responsibility (to ourselves) to say something.

When considering how to challenge our friends, and depending on the severity of the behavior we’re challenging, it’s critical that we do so nonviolently.

when you hear someone talking disrespectfully about his partner, or women in general

  • Talk to them in a private, calm moment about their behavior and how this is not who you know them to be.  Tell him you think his behavior is not okay and he needs some help. Assure him you’re not judging him and will support him to get the help he needs/deserves.

When you see someone you know treat his partner in a way that you find troubling

  • Remind him of his standards of being a caring and respectful partner, and suggest to him how his behavior doesn’t match his standards.
    • “I know you.  And the you that I know doesn’t treat his girlfriend/boyfriend like this.  What’s going on with you.”
    • “You and I both know the way you’re treating your partner is not okay.”
    • “I’m really angry at you for treating your girlfriend/boyfriend like this.”
  • Talk to his friends and decide collectively on a course of action.

When you suspect that a friend is being abusive

  • Talk to the person he’s abused and seek out what they want to have happen.
  • Don’t allow him to let anger be his excuse — remind him he made choices about what to say or do, meaning he can consciously decide to do things differently.
  • Depending on the level of abusiveness, suggest to him that what he did is NOT okay!

Call the Center for Women and Families to see other ways you can challenge him

KY (502) 581-7222   IN (812)944-6743  Toll-free (844) 237-2331