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 | By Elizabeth Hansen

I want to help my friend who's being bullied

Although bullying takes various forms, whether online, physical or verbal/emotional, its goal is always the same: to assert the bully’s dominance by demeaning his or her victim. It’s a terrible place to see your friend – what can you do to help?

1. Be his ally. Peer intervention can make a quick, drastic difference in bullying. Make it clear that your friend isn’t alone: offer to walk with him at school, or defend him on social media if the bullying is happening online. Be a steady, physical presence of support.

2. Four simple words: “It’s not your fault.” Be an antidote to bullying and lavish your friend with the respect and dignity she deserves. Remind her that she’s done nothing to justify the bully’s actions.

3. Listen. Your friend likely feels horribly alone – help cure that by listening with empathy. Let her unload without offering a quick solution or suggestion of how she should feel. On a practical note, this can help her document instances of bullying.

4. Connect him with help. At the same time, remind your friend that it’s not his burden to bear this alone. Be willing to help report the bullying to proper officials, whether school or police.

5. Pray. Don’t forget to back up your actions with prayer, both for your friend and the bully. Seek the intercession of St. Dominic Savio, the teen saint known as a peacemaker and bold witness for Christ among his peers.