We are having a problem with one of our roommates. We believe she is in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend who lives out of state. They are constantly texting (she has to text back within 5 minutes or he gets mad) and they skype when ever she is home. Last quarter she missed a month of school and has already missed school this quarter and is struggling to keep above it all. She doesn't go out very often, she is shy and suffers from depression as well. They are up late hours into the night yelling at each other. Recently two of our roommates confronted her about the yelling and to tell her we were all worried. She is only somewhat close with one of our roommates because when she is home they are on skype to each other and she never comes out of her room. They tried to tell her they were there to help but she didn't seem interested, or even aware that he is "abusing" her. We want to talk to her about the noise level because she keeps the other four of us awake at night yelling and it's awkward to hear their conversations. But we also really want to help her. We think she doesn't realize that he is abusing her and we are all convinced that she would never go see a councilor or get any other help.
We need help talking to her about the abuse and the noise level. We want to let her know that we are on her side and that she doesn't need to change or be kept on a leash by any one. We have a fear though because of her depression we don't want her to feel worse. One of her friends tried to talk with her before about the fact that she thought her boyfriend was abusing her and she got very aggressive and angry--it somewhat strained their relationship--and now that friend refuses to talk to her about the situation.
You have made a really good effort already to try to help her see, from your perspective, how she is being abused in this relationship and it is so important that you not give up in your efforts.
It sounds as if you are living together off campus. If that is not the case, then enlist your RA/RD in this process as they are trained to be part of an intervention in just this kind of situation.
Off campus, you would have to rely on the power of numbers. If all her roommates sit down with her and tell her how worried you are, how her behavior is affecting you and keeping you awake, and that you are asking, as her friends, to go with her to see a professional, that intervention usually works.
We recommend Katie Plewa in CASAS 650-3700 as the best resource for this kind of abusive relationship counseling. She is able to give practical suggestions to your roommate about how to handle this boyfriend, and also look at the seriousness of the depression she is experiencing.
You are also welcome to call CASAS during normal working hours to talk with Katie yourself for more ideas.