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scotsbloke's avatar

I need advice about… A friend in need.

Asked by scotsbloke (3756points) December 25th, 2009

Sorry if this is a bit heavy for Xmas but I could use some help…
I know this girl, sort of, I use the term friend kind of loosely as I only know her through a local webgroup of which I am the Admin, but she has confided in me by email (today of all days! ) that she is is a victim of domestic abuse. Her boyfriend apparently is pretty violent when he drinks which seems to be pretty much all the time, and she has asked me for advice, “what should I do? I really love him but can’t take this, Worried he’ll hit the kids, He apologises all the time for it when he is sober….etc” .... Yikes.

I’ve put together a list for her with the local D.A.Unit, The YWCA, The Shelters for victims of Domestic abuse, the police; But here’s the thing.
I’m not really sure what to say to her. I KNOW I need to tell her to get the hell out of there, take her kiddies too, but it’s a heck of a responsibility and I could use some help on what to say to her. I think it took a lot for her to confide in me and I don’t want to give her the wrong advice if you know what I mean.
What would you say to her? Your advice for me doesn’t have to be specific, and all will be appreciated.
thanks, BB

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16 Answers

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

Tell her to get the hell out of there, take her kiddies too!!!”

Seriously. Your instincts were right.
Don’t worry…statistically, she will go back to him.
3 or 4 times before she leaves him for good.

lungsday's avatar

Be weary. Sometimes you can only help so much.

I’ve known COUNTLESS families that had a parent that was abusive, but the partner never left. And not for the fact people didn’t reach out to them.

Lend an ear – but don’t be suprised if you get asked for money :) lol

john65pennington's avatar

Alcoholics have a gene that makes them a slave to alcohol. this ladies situation will never improve. her situation is getting to the point of dangerous and these steps are needed for the safety of herself and her children: first, does she have any family that can help her? family that is close by? if so, she needs to make a move to go with them. second, if this is not available, call the police. the responding officer will locate a place for them. the object here is the safety of the children, they come first. tell her your advice comes from a retired police officer and she is welcome to contact me for further advice. i think you should be commended for attempting to intervene in her behalf. john

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Agree completely with @Kelly_Obrien . This is a classic abuse cycle. My late wife dealt with dozens of these cases. Step one is always “get out of there and take the kids with you”. This cycle of violence, apology, more violence will only continue, often until someone is killed. Economic conditions must take a lower priority to her safety and that of her children.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

She needs to leave that relationship ASAP. That is not a healthy or safe environment for her kids and herself. She needs to be a good Mom and put her kids first!!! Her first responsibility is for her kids’ well being.

trumi's avatar

I wish you the best in helping her through this, but I’ve just gotta chime in with a word of warning: people lie on the internet. I’ll bet this is a legitimate case and she needs help… But I’ve been burned before. Just keep in mind that the internet serves as a great venue for lying and fabricating, and there are people out there that will post anything if it gets them attention. I don’t mean you shouldn’t try to help, just don’t get too invested. Good luck!

stouthearted's avatar

The network of family, friends and community support groups that she can turn to is critical to her making a lasting, constructive adjustment to her situation.

I would strongly advise giving referring her to hotlines that are responsible for her cachement area and conditions.

She’ll have to begin to build her plan right away, with a serious intention to not accept any further risks to herself or her kids. Even if this relationship can be redeemed with some counselling and time apart, the danger to both her health (mental, physical, emotional, etc.) as well as his can’t be properly mitigated until balance has been restored to their relationship. A social network and a place to go to (since she may not be able to get him to leave) are probably strong factors in achieving the right balance.

What to say?: ‘I’m sorry that you’re going through this. Since I recognize the seriousness and urgency of your situation I’ve put together this list of contacts for you to begin to use right away. Get your advice about how to handle this from those who can best guide you into changing these circumstances for the better. If you have a local church or women’s centre that can give you an outlet for expressing your frustrations and concerns, reach out to these resources now, too.’

Being vigilant while showing care for another is possible. All that is necessary is to be aware of boundaries and to communicate them the right way.
You have done a good turn to have already pulled together the list of contacts that you have.

hearkat's avatar

For me the decision to end bad relationships – as scared as I was to be a single parent – was realizing the damage that being in that environment was doing to my son.

Empathize that you know that she is frightened; then appeal to the mother instinct of protecting her kids; then ask… “when they’re teenagers, do you think it will be better for them to have stayed in that situation, or to have had a role-model of a mother who chose to value herself and her kids enough to not accept abuse, and to face the struggle with strength and dignity?”

Chances are that she was abused as a child, as was I… the victim mindset is sickeningly comfortable due to familiarity. I am sure she wants to end the legacy of abuse and dysfunction. It has to end with her.

And feel free to direct her to Fluther. She’ll find that plenty of women have been where she is… we made it, and so can she. This community is very diverse and supportive, and we will gladly give her advice and encouragement.

Thank you for caring enough to want to do the right thing. I wish happiness for you, and this woman and her family. <3

scotsbloke's avatar

I’ve read through each reply and wanted to say a big thanks, you’ve all confirmed what I intended to say and helped me with pointers on things I hadn’t. I dont know her whole history, I’m not going to pry, I intend to keep my advice level-headed.
I’ve penned a reply to her (below) Do you guys think this is good enough (I’ve blanked out the actual numbers of the places in question – dunno why, was kinda doing it while I was thinking about this whole thing). Feedback welcomed but I’m pretty much gonna go with what I have here. I want to reply to her tonight.

My Reply:

Hi *****
Ok, My first advice to you is to phone the Police, thier Domestic Abuse hotline is in complete confidence and the number (you may already know it) is ****** – They will be able to advise you much better than I can and possibly offer practical and material assistance. Seriously, ******, Call the police first, and do it ASAP.
My first gut instinct to be honest with you is get out, even if it’s a temporary measure, take you and the kids to a friends, or if you have any family nearby just get away so you can think. I know you are scared, I know what’s happening to you is horrible, so get away from it, and as soon as you can. You and the kids need to be safe now. The hardest thing is the first step and you’ve done that by reaching out. Now you have to prioritise, YOU and the KIDS first – always.

I’ve got a list of places you should look into .
Woman’s Aid – w/ – Tel: 0131 *******
Womens Aid, Falkirk:. . . . . . . . . . . . Tel No. 01324 ********
Womens Aid, Stirling:. . . . . . . . . . . . Tel No.01786 ********
Domestic Abuse Unit – 01324 *******
Social work Services – w/ – Tel: 0131********
Central Scotland Police Domestic Abuse unit – Tel 01786 ******
THE SAMARITANS: 24 hour confidential emotional support for anyone in crisis. This number links up to all their branches.
Tel No. 08457–90-90–90
Police Headquartes, Stirling,........ 01786 ******
Falkirk . . . . . . . . . . . . .01324 ******
Grangemouth . . . . . . 01324 ******
Denny . . . . . . . . . . . .. 01324 ******
Maddiston . . . . . . . .. 01324 7******
Stirling . . . . . . . . .. . . 01786 ******
Balfron . . . . . . . . . .. . 01360 ******
Camelon . . . . . . . . . 01324 ******
Alloa . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 01259 ******
Tullibody . . . . . . . . . . 01259 ******
Tillicoultry . . . . . . . . . 01259 ******
Stenhousemuir . . . . . 01324 ******
Boness . . . . . . . . . . . 01506 ******
Please keep in touch, and please do something now.


marinelife's avatar

Remind her of the consequences of watching the abuse on her children. Tell her that she needs to be strong enough ot leave for their sakes.

Have her call a service that takes people in (shelter) and they will come and get her when he is out of the house.

Remember whatever happens is not your fault. you can only advise.

janbb's avatar

@scotsbloke That sounds great!

Darwin's avatar

@scotsbloke – That is an excellent response. Now all you can do is hope she follows up. That is the hardest part as many abuse victims feel at least partly responsible for their own mistreatment.

However, I don’t know how it is in Scotland, but here in Texas the police won’t do much unless the abuse is happening right now. If it is, though, as long as she is willing to prefer charges, they can arrest him and hold him a few days, giving her time to pack up her things and the kids and get to family or a shelter.

scotsbloke's avatar

I have an update:
I got an email yesterday, she is still at home, she says things have been fine for the last week, but she is still worried / scared. Apparently he has been spending a lot of time away from home, she thinks he has another girl. she actually sounded a bit pissed off about it too.
I am unsure whether to reply with “get out while you can” or just general “good to hear things are ok”.
She didnt mention about contacting anyone so I think I’ll ask if she did or not. I’m guessing not.
Strange ole life innit?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@scotsbloke These things run in cycles. He’ll “behave” for a while and then the violence will restart, usually worse each time. She must “get out while she can”. It will almost certainly happen again. Abusers don’t “just stop”.

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