Posted by: BFF | 2013-01-25

Do I tell someone?

My friend has been in an abusive relationship for years - it''s so bad that I cannot understand how she stays with him. I''ve tried to get her to leave him but she won''t / can''t.

She recently sent me an email describing an incident and included photo''s of the bruises he gave her, this is the first time I have had physical proof. I want to send the email on to her parents (even though she is a full grown adult) because I''m sure that they will pull her out of the relationship. If I do, she will probably never speak to me again, and she has been my best friend for decades. It will change her world and she will never forgive me. If I don''t though there''s no telling how bad this is going to get.

Do I send the email to her parents? What should I do? I''ve done eveything a counsellor at POWA has suggested - I''ve sat by and not judged and been there whenever she''s needed me but it''s not changing anything. I am at a loss - I dont want to lose my Best Friend but it seems as though no matter what I do - I''m going to lose her

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Our expert says:
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Its hard, of course, to understand why someone remains with an abuser and chooses to believe his lies and false promises. But she is doing something significant, though probably confiused, in sending you pictures of some of the damage and bruises. She must know that you COULD send this on to her parents, or even the police. And especially if she did not specifically say in her e-mail that she doesn't want you to do so, she should have known she was creating this possibility.
Proper help to escape from an abuser might change her world for the better. An abuser is no loss. Ever. "Not judging" is weaselly advice, and usually amounts to collusion and assisting the abuser. Why are you assuming that any action in sharing the evidence will automatically and orrevocably end your friendship ?
Why would she be taking and keeping photos of the abuse if she merely intends to remain a victim forever ?
Make it clear to her that you care badly about her and what happens to her, b ut its too painful to know that the abuse continues, while she chooses to use her stubbornness to enable her abuser to continue doing so, rather than to escape from him. Can she meet with you, and discuss her real options ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Realist | 2013-01-27

My experience is really to just butt out. Your friend falls into that category of person that is destined to be a punch-bag and in some weird way accepts it as her lot. She is quite capable of leaving the relationship, she knows it is not right, but she chooses to remain and will most probably defend her abuser to the end. Your concern and interference will just annoy her and break up your friendship. She will see you as a threat to her " happiness"  Its crazy, but that is how it is.

Reply to Realist
Posted by: Leila | 2013-01-25

Being the stubborn person that she is Id advise you to convince her to do something about it. If she is hell-bent in not taking stock of her own life then Im afraid you''l just be wasting your time and energy. Ask her whats her main reason behind wanting to hide this abuse. She has to co-operate with you to be able to make a change and difference to her life.

Reply to Leila
Posted by: BFF | 2013-01-25

I agree that it would be better to tell her parents than send them an email but they live in a different province and the only contact info I have for them is their email address.

IF I told her what I was going to do, before doing it - she''d find a way to fool her parents into thinking there was nothing wrong. I know that she has taken photo''s of alot of the abuse and I''m worried that if I tell her first, she''ll destroy the photo''s in fear of her parents seeing what''s really going on. (I''m sure she hasn''t even told me everything)

The other concern with telling her parents is that she is incredibly stubborn and she may not even listen to them. If that is the case then she will have lost her whole support structure - she''ll never trust me again and she''ll be too ashamed to face her parents too. Then I will have just made the situation far worse, instead of making it better.

Reply to BFF
Posted by: Leila | 2013-01-25

Talking to her parents is better than sending the email. Talk to her first and tell her what are you going to do about it, i.e. you are going to inform her parents, and see what she says.

Reply to Leila
Posted by: Christina | 2013-01-25

You should remind her about, incidents where other women were killed by hands their husband/s. Hopefully this will make her change her mind. If not. Go visit her parents. And tell them what''s happening. And maybe you all can work on a plan to get her to safety. Like. One must take her away from her husband. But he mut not know her friends and families location. At where she will be staying. If he threatens anyone. They should immediately apply for an interdict against him. And her. She can either decide to divorce him. But if she put up with it for so many years. doubt she''ll decide to leave him. She''s probably hoping he will change. But abusers never change.

Reply to Christina
Posted by: XXX | 2013-01-25

If my friend was being abused I would certainly take the matter further.Why not tell her that if this continues, you will chat to her parents about it.
How will you live with yourself if this animal harms her really badly.
What is it with some men that they can physically harm/hurt their partners.

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