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New poster: how to intervene with a friend being abused

My friend, we'll call them R, has been dating someone for over a year, off and on, and they currently live together. Myself and our mutual friends hate this guy and the way he treats our friend.

My friends and i got together this weekend for dinner without our SOs and R has a black eye. We all ask R about it, and R says "I talked back." this is not the first time that R has admitted to being hit by the boyfriend. R says they have broken up, and R just needs some time to find a new place to live. I believe this, i think my friends do too. We've all offered to let R stay on our couches (none of us have extra rooms in our homes) and help move everything, and R just says thanks and "I'll let you know..."

Do we have an intervention, or let R work it out and continue to offer help with place to stay and packing?

Re: New poster: how to intervene with a friend being abused

  • Wow. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I would honestly have a heart-to-heart with her about the situation. Maybe she thinks the offers for couch hopping aren't sincere? I would make sure she knows she can come to you. If she decides to stay, I don't know what else you could do short of having an intervention.

  • MrsBPOMrsBPO member

    Give her the number to the National Abuse Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (or 800/799-7233).  You've offered help, places to stay, etc.  She's probably afraid of him, afraid he'll track her down, afraid to bring you into the cycle of abuse ("he'll come after you, too." mindset), thinking that she at least has someone and she's not alone/it doesn't happen all the time/he's so nice when he's not an abuser, etc.

    Don't harass or harangue.  Let her know you're worried, give her information to work with (abuse hotline, women's shelter if she doesn't want to stay with friends, stow money to get a start, protective orders, etc.)  Hopefully her neighbors know to listen and call the police (are there neighbors close enough to do so?  I'd love to hear they live in an apartment.)  She needs to be the one who makes the break, or she'll just boomerang back.

    I hope she gets out before she's even more seriously hurt than a black eye and bruises.


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  • Abused women learn the thought pattern that the abuse was their fault, the abuser feels sorry and wont ever do it again, until he does and it's the same circle over and over. This is why battered women OFTEN return to or stay with their abusers.They also often do not have resources to leave and help themselves.

    First get a restraining order if possible. She needs to see that it is seriously wrong what he did. I know this probably isn't possible when they live together but the first thing she needs to do when she's out of the place. 

    There are many state oriented programs in most states that help get abused women on their feet with temporary housing and food/health assistance.

    She's probably feeling very helpless and will need direct help getting a place of her own, get the friends together and some weekend night or week night whatever works and go over help her pack and get as much done as possible with out making her feel like she's done anything wrong. If you don't she's probably going to end up seriously injured.


  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    I agree that you should put her in contact with a dv hotline or shelter.  Even if she doesn't want to STAY there, they can offer a LOT of free or low cost advice - including counseling and legal advice, career coaching, etc.  They have TONS of resources.  If she's in denial, just say "look, your boyfriend punched you in the eye, so even if you don't feel you've been abused, you qualify for a lot of assistance getting your life on track, moving out, etc. - take the help!"  If they have combined finances, she can get legal help to untangle them.

    I would ask yourself - when you say she can stay, how long do you mean?  Because she might be overwhelmed and think she's going to need several weeks to find her own place (which can happen - even if you find a place, they do background and credit checks, etc), and might think that you will be sick of her after a week.  Let her know that between you and your other friends, she has at least six weeks (2-3 weeks per friend) of guest space. 

    After that, there is not much you can do.  I would also tell her to have all of her vital info (passport, birth certificate, bank records, etc) ready to go in case her bf goes ape-sh*t on her and she leaves in a hurry.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • Thanks everyone for the good advice. I'm planning to call a few domestic violence places and the SAFE hotline myself to get a little advice on how to broach the subject gently, and without pushing R away.

    R does live in an apartment, but I don't think they know their neighbors, and I have never heard of the cops being called. I really think if we can just get her out of the apartment, the relationship, and we hope, the abuse, will come to an end. Her name is not on the lease; she moved in with him and most of the stuff there is his. She's pretty mobile.

    I think you guys were right about R maybe doubting how long she could stay with us. She's the type to go out of her way not to inconvenience people and do for others before herself. She's probably worried she'll be a burden. I think it will help to have a 6-week plan and reassure her that we are doing this for her and want to do it, no matter how long it takes.

  • image KelliRR:

    R does live in an apartment, but I don't think they know their neighbors, and I have never heard of the cops being called. I really think if we can just get her out of the apartment, the relationship, and we hope, the abuse, will come to an end. Her name is not on the lease; she moved in with him and most of the stuff there is his. She's pretty mobile.

    Sounds like the choice is hers.

    You have offered your help. Maybe set up a lunch or something so you two can talk about it and assure her that you are there for her for whatever she needs, and you really would like her to stay on your couch rather than with her bf.

    I would also call the hotlines for their advice.

    I had a friend in an abusive relationship too and she finally decided to do something about it. (She always insisted she brought it on herself.) Instead of actually going to the police, she got a fake restraining order printed out (I think some kind of school counselor did this for her) to show him and scare him. Told him if he came within so many yards of her all she had to do was call the cops and he would be arrested. He never bothered her again ... and they even lived in the same apartment complex.

  • Please be careful about how you approach this situation. The most dangerous time for a woman is when her abuser knows that she is planning on leaving him. Do not intervene unless you are certain that she will leave him---otherwise, you will just be putting her in further danger.
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