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Discussion Starter #1
Just got home from women's breakfast. It's a bit social, religious and current event type of group. There's a lady that I've gotten to know & like over the past year so we generally stay a bit longer & discuss what was said & generally catch up with each other's lives.

She told me this morning that she is totally lost. Ok? Then she asks me to accompany her to 'powder' our noses...really strange but I go anyway.
When we're in the ladies, she rolls up her sleeves then her skirt. She had black & blue bruises as well as red welts. I just stood there with my mouth dropped open. She then tells me her husband has done this after he became drunk on Sunday night.

Once I recovered from the shock, I asked her if she had reported this to the police & was she seeking help ... I.e. Battered women group, medical assistance, etc.

Basically her husband appears to be a 'great' guy. Friends with small town police. Never arrested or ever publicly intoxicated. Always goes to church & willing to help anyone in need.

He has a decent paying job but if she were to report the abuse, likely he'll be placed on leave without pay, possibly go to jail either way no income.

She is in her mid 50's, housewife & mother were her career choices. No family close by. And she has attempted to contact battered women group in the past but again small town so gossip spreads fast.

How can I help her?
 

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Tell her to get out and get away. If she has tried contacting resources in the past, that means this has happened before.
If she stays or goes back to him, and gets beat again, that is her fault as well as his.
If she is more worried about gossip than her own well being, then she will likely end up broken or dead, but hey, as long as people don't talk....right? Wrong.

Ask her this, would you rather people whisper and gossip when they see you in town, or when they see you in a casket?

I know it sounds heartless to say, but I stand by my statement, if someone is being hurt by their SO, and they have resources to het away, but choose not to, then it is their fault for any future beatings they het from their SO.
 

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You can contact the Womans Abuse Center and get info. You do not have to give her name. Centers like that are supposed to keep quiet, they have to , Women need a safe place. The place I knew of, was kept hidden because the husband could show up and make trouble,tramatizeing the women and children that have fled their own situations.
 

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I agree with Dixie Bee, that she has to leave - but, after having been the Social Worker for a battered woman's shelter - it's a lot easier said that done. Many women are in denial, some fear for their animals, yes, animals being killed by the SO if they leave, many times it takes a crisis - like being shot at - before they will leave.

What she did - telling you, acknowledging that she needs help, is the first step in leaving.

IF you want to help, be there for her - be her safe harbor, at this time just mentally, but there will the day with gentle reinforcement from you - that you take her to a shelter. maybe in the meantime, you could find a shelter( sometimes even finding one is too much for the person that is being battered), call, talk to the SW there, see if you can get her to talk to the SW.

There is always a new beginning - the excuses about her husband - nice provider etc, are just that - excuses. There is a lot of support for battered women - she can make it on her own. May not be easy - but does she want to stay until maybe she's killed?

Good advise telling her she has to leave, but many women are just too battered down emotionally to even pick up the phone. Sometimes someone has to do the legwork for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to all. I've been racking my brains trying to figure out best avenues, info that I might be able to provide.

Never have been in this type of situation before so I'm a bit loss at what to offer her that would help her.
 

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You might want to get more information - is this the FIRST time this has happened or the latest episode?

If it's happened before, you need to talk her into going to a woman's shelter. If it's the first time, she needs to tell the guy - if you EVER touch me again - we are done.

If it's happened before (as I suspect it has), you should at least get pictures. She needs to file a police report and get to a hospital or doctor that will document it.
 

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If she says she's lost it means she's in emotional shock and fear and doesn't know what to do. She is literally lost and in despair and may be incapable of making practical decisions for herself right now. Chances are this kind of thing has happened several times before and she's getting worn down by it now and knows she needs help. Since she's approached you in trust and shown you the proof of her beatings it's a cry out to you for help. You can help her by helping her to find herself. First of all, document the evidence while the evidence still remains. Take photographs of all the bruising that she has right now, and do it immediately because those bruises and welts will fade fast. You need to take the photographs because it will be too difficult for her to do it herself and the photos are necessary as legal evidence when she has resolved to leave the husband.

Read the following link yourself so you fully understand it and give the link to your friend. Tell her to read it over a few times so that it all sinks in. Go over it with her so that you can discuss it together. I know this is a touchy subject but you should ask her if he also rapes her when he beats her because if that's happening it takes the violence to another fearful level of abuse and women are most often too ashamed to admit it or discuss it when their husbands are also raping them.
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

You can't force her to leave her husband but you can encourage her to look out for her best interests and to find the right alternatives for her, and that includes helping her by finding the resources that are available to battered women in your location. You are not in a state of shock so you will be able to think more clearly and think of resources that she won't think of. Try to find out what kind of counselling services will be available to her, and counselling services for her and her husband together.

It's especially important if you can offer to be there for her as a friend, and to provide a place for her to escape to in an emergency in the middle of the night. She might be afraid to ask you if she can do that because it will be an imposition on you so if you want to be a friend to her it's up to you to offer yourself and your home as an emergency midnight refuge. It's extremely important that she have a friendly refuge to run to to avoid getting another beating (or worse) and it has to be one that her husband doesn't know about and won't follow her to. These kinds of drunken beatings usually happen late in the evening and into the early morning hours after midnight when there is nowhere open for the victim to escape to except for the police and the hospital.

Now a word of advice on the above. It's okay to offer your place as an emergency escape a couple of times but if it happens a third time and the woman has not previously taken steps to make alternative arrangements then you have to put your foot down. You don't want to let a pattern or habit develop so that she thinks she doesn't have to take responsibility for herself if she can always run to a friend's house. And you don't want the added risk of her husband finding out where she runs to and coming after her and posing a risk to you and your family and home.
 

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If you plan to shelter her or help her escape, maybe she should quietly start getting an escape kit together. Underwear, sox, sleepwear, and an outfit or two. Toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. And if possible , some money, maybe a prepaid credit card. Maybe you could keep it for her. This would broaden the possibilities if she had to leave quickly or in the night.
 

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I agree you should help and encourage her as much possible BUT be very careful of the spouse b/c he could harm you if help her. I would not hesitate to help her myself but I wouldn't hesitate to shoot the guy either, but something to think about.
Putting together an escape kit is a very good idea.
If she is afraid of small town gossip she can always go to another city or county.
Have her write a letter and keep in a safe spot in case things escalate and he kills her, you won't have a lot of clout if she dies, tell her that too; maybe that will help her realize the seriousness of the situation.
Remember that if she is physically battered she has a very low self esteem and might not feel that she is good enough, worth saving or not responsible for his actions.
Any children or animals involved?
If you know her close enough that you know her pastor you could go talk with him.
If she doesn't leave right way don't give up on her it might take a few more beating before she is ready to leave.
Be careful on how you approach things even though she confided in you she could regret saying anything plus there is a "honeymoon" period after an event.
As far as finances, if he is put on leave that is his problem not hers, chances are that he wouldn't help her financially if she leaves anyways.
 

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My wife could give better advice on this subject than I could, she left her first husband after 13 years of beatings.
It ain't easy to leave, but staying is insanity.

Read the wheel of violence.
http://www.acadv.org/cofv_wheel.html
http://www.domesticviolence.org/violence-wheel/

My only advice is the same as I've always given for over thirty years.
"Does she have any male relatives or friends?"

If so, tell them.
Then let the "boys" have a prayer meeting with the husband.
Prayer meetings, Come-to-Jesus meetings, etc. all a euphemism.
They'll know what it means..........
 

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Tough one. Report it, he gets fired, he's home all day, blames her for what happened. She may not survive that one.

My best advice would be to let her use your home as a safe harbor for her most precious items and an escape kit. If/when she decides to leave offer to take her to another town where nobody has connections to him.

My mom knew a woman who tried to leave her abuse husband. There was a 911 call recorded of what he was doing to her while she was on the phone trying to get the police to come to her aid. The recording was nearly an hour long. The battery in her phone died before she did.

As long as she is alive she can start over somewhere else. By reaching out to you she has made a huge step. But be careful about your safety too. Often if an abused woman returns to her abuser she spills the beans about those who helped her. And she may decide that you are her worst enemy because you tried to get her to leave. So don't push, above all don't push. Be there, be supportive but she HAS to be the one to decide WHEN she will start over.
 

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He has a decent paying job but if she were to report the abuse, likely he'll be placed on leave without pay, possibly go to jail either way no income.
Red flag for me. This sounds like something he has told her to keep her from reporting it to authorities. What kind of job does he have that they would know about this? He may have to take time off from work to go to court, but would they fire him because of it?

She needs to get a bag together. Cash, keys, important documents like birth certificates, clothes, food.

I live outside a small town and no one knew I was abused when I had to go to the women's shelter. It might surprise you just how protective the folks at the shelter are over their women & children. If they spread gossip, it would cost them their job.

She needs to get her ducks in a row. When/if it happens again, she needs to get out & file an order of protection (allowing her to live in the home).

Are there children involved? They need a safe place to call home ... not one where dad beats mom. They need to know that this isn't 'normal' and that they can/should seek help if they find themselves in this situation.
 

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Never know.. Next stupor he has and beats her, she may not be around afterwards to tell anyone.. You need to give her that kind of seriousness to think about..... Abuse never lessens, it only gets worse..
I'm thinking if it were ME that she revealed this to...& she turned up in ICU or dead, I'd blame MYSELF!
 

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Have her get copies of all important papers: marriage license, insurance forms, take passport, house details if you have a deed etc.
Good advice to have her store her "treasures" at your house, jewelry, etc. ...nothing he would notice until the final move out day. If the car is in her name, all registration papers and car!
Have her notify police the next day that she moved, with a written notice that she has left and why.....include COPIES of pictures of her black and blues and history of other times.
Have someone (you) have a copy also in case she gets "hurt".
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you all for your advice. My friend 'disappeared' a few days ago & all I 'know' is that she's safe.

I have never experienced anything like this & it was a true eye opener what can occur in what is considered respectable families. I've been so changed by this that now I'm contemplating volunteer work for local women's shelter. I just don't comprehend why physical/verbal abuse nor what a person hopes to accomplish from it.
 
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