Domestic Violence: When It’s Time to Take Action

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s those forwarded chain-letter type text messages.  Whenever I receive one, I just go right ahead and delete it.  But yesterday, for some reason, I took the time to read one of those messages from an old friend.  And then, I had this gnawing feeling that I just had to call her.  So, I did.  And what I learned after that simply shocked the living daylights out of me.

She was a physically and verbally abused wife.

She and her husband have been married for 11 years now, and I assumed all along that the reason she never showed up for any of our get-togethers was that she was basking in married bliss.  Little did I know that she was suffering and trapped in a living hell.

For the first time in ages, she has poured her heart out to someone about her dilemma.  I just listened…dumbfounded… in disbelief…  And then, I mustered enough courage to finally say something.

I offered help.  I told her that we can’t just take it as it is.  We must take legal action.  Naturally, the idea scared her witless.   After much prodding, I think I was able to convince her to talk to my lawyer and try to come up with a plan of action.

From what I’ve read, domestic violence (physical and or verbal abuse within a relationship) is usually deemed a misdemeanor.   Once convicted, the individual will have that on his permanent record.  It’s called a “non-expungable” offense.    As for the victim, it is highly important for her- or him- to seek legal help.  The law aims to prevent any further violence- and sometimes, even death.

I know it won’t be an easy road to take, but she says she’s going to take it anyway.  I will virtually hold her hand throughout this ordeal.

About Pepper

I am a single working mom, trying to raise my kid the best way I know how. Join me as I navigate my way through the jungle that is Single Mom-hood, armed with rose-colored glasses and strength of spirit. As pepper adds spice to food, so does my daughter add spice to my life. She makes life no less than…PEPPERRIFIC!

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Comments

  1. This is when I feel so blessed to not have experienced anything like this. It must be so much tougher to deal with than we can imagine. Especially if kids are involved, and if you are going to get beaten up for your actions, literally. I wish you the best in this!

  2. How incredibly sad! DH and I volunteered at a Women’s Shelter recently (we re-painted their rooms)…and it’s just so heart breaking what these ladies and their kids go thru. Alot of them wind up going back to their abuser. I sincerely hope and pray your friend does go forward with seeking help and is able to stay away from him. Praying for her!

  3. Im so glad you read her email and are going to help her. Abused women need a LOT of support to break the cycle of abuse!

    • You’re right, it is a cycle. I just hope she doesn’t go back, once we finally manage to break that cycle.

  4. i hope and pray that your friend can get legal help in the soonest time

  5. I think it’s so hard to break free from such a situation because if you’re not an abuser, you don’t have that mentality…and because you’d never hurt someone, you believe them when they say they’re sorry/won’t do it again.

    I have seen though, with my own eyes, that it never gets better (oh there are better ‘spots,’ but the abuse always makes its return). And it trickles down to the children. Of course people think their abuser would NEVER NEVER NEVER hit the kids (or use some other form of physical abuse, I realize it can come in many forms). But if he abuses his wife, why is it too far of a stretch to think he won’t eventually abuse the little ones? Because they are so precious and don’t deserve that, ever? That’s how the non-abuser might think…it’s not how the abuser thinks. Abusers tend to act on emotions (and justify their actions by emotions, blame, etc.), and in the heat of the moment, what’s to stop them? Why would they behave differently?

    Breaking free is hard, very very very hard. But once you’re free, and you’ve lived a life where abuse never comes into play, you realize how awful it was, and how not normal. And you look back many years at your healthy and happy life, and rejoice that you left. When you see the abuser is still the same, and still treats everyone the same as you were treated, you also realize the abuse was not in any way your fault.

    A final word…the person being abused may feel there is a loyalty to the abuser…to let them see their children. After all, they are their kids too, right? Truth is, if the situation is hurtful/harmful it is MORE of an obligation/duty of the non-abuser to get the kids out of that situation, and away from the abuser. When our children are born we have signed an unwritten contract with them, to love and protect them, no matter what… Their interests have to come first, and having them in a home with someone who is abusive to their mom is not fulfilling that contract.

    I know I’ve rambled. The topic is near and dear to my heart. It’s wonderful that you have reached out to your friend. I’m sincerely sorry to hear about her news. I hope she finds the strength to break the pattern by breaking free.

    • Thanks for sharing :)
      Yes, we should do everything in our power as parents to keep our kids away from any kind of harm, even if that means keeping the kids away from their father.

  6. In times like this, women really need comfort from her family and friends. It is really a difficult situation. I have suffered from verbal abuse with my ex-bf and I really had low self-esteem that time and got a lot of insecurities. I was so thankful that I was able to get rid of him.

    • Oh, that must’ve been really difficult for you. It’s good that you were able to pull yourself out of that abusive relationship. Good for you! Take care :)

  7. This is so sad! I’m glad your friend is doing something about it.

  8. So glad you reached out to your friend!!

  9. So glad you went with you gut instinct! It’s so unsettling, isn’t it, when this happens to some one whom you never thought would have this kind of issue. I hope she will be strong enough to pull though and realize that she deserves so much better!

  10. This is a hard one. I feel so badly for your friend. And I understand where she is coming from too, as a survivor of domestic violence. It’s not easy, even when others are offering help. Statistically speaking, it takes an average of 7 times for a victim to leave for good. It’s hard when you’re not the perpetrator because you want to believe things will get better. But, more often than not, they don’t.

    Here’s one of the first posts that I wrote about my experience. It’s important that we continue to talk about these experiences and share them so that we can empower victims — http://www.mommydelicious.com/2011/03/post-im-not-supposed-to-write.html

    • Thanks for sharing this, Alicia. I’m going to check out your post right now. I’ll forward it to my friend as well. thanks :)

  11. Domestic violence is something that I’m passionately against. I’ve never experienced myself, but I know through my experiences with women in my life who have that it’s a horrible thing to have to endure. It’s horrible to be hurt by the person you think you love the most. It’s hard to break away. It’s hard to see your value when it’s been denied to you for so long. It’s for these reasons that I am against Domestic Violence and do everything I can to support it’s sufferers. Good for you for standing up for your friend when she needed you most.

    • I can only imagine how horrible it must be to be a victim of domestic violence. You’re right, it’s hard to see your value when somebody takes that away from you. We should all work together at fighting it.

  12. I do hope your friend listened to you and sought help. Domestic violence is a serious crime and is never acceptable.

    Before Hubby and I got married, we actually sorted through a number of topics we thought we needed to understand from each other. Aside from finances (his and my debts, our salaries and company benefits — we never knew each other’s salaries when we were still dating/simply a couple because we wanted to respect each other’s privacy but marriage is a different matter na — etc.) and the deal breakers for our impending marriage.

    We agreed that trust, respect and devotion to each other are very important. Personally, I told him I will walk our with the Little One if he ever lays a hand on me or cheats on me. I can forgive small trespasses, but not these 2 actions.

  13. I hope your friend takes action! I had a friend in a similar situation once. She stayed at my place, hiding, but eventually went back to her relationship. It all ended a few years later – a few years that she could have spent differently, but int he end, we are ready when we are ready, it’s not easy either way.

  14. I used to work in public relations for a domestic violence shelter and learned so much! For the most part, it’s all about control. The man seeks to control every aspect of the woman’s life. It usually starts out as verbal abuse, with name calling, incessant criticism, etc until the woman starts to believe it. Then there’s the isolation. He refuses to let her see or speak to friends and family – out of jealousy – he’ll accuse her of loving them more than she loves him. Again, this type of control becomes so obsessive and controlling that the woman submits to the man out of fear, frustration, and a lack of self esteem. By the time the physical violence starts, the verbal abuse and control has been going on for quite some time. The man will accuse the woman by saying “If only you would change ____ I wouldn’t get so mad.” So she tries everything in her power to change but it doesn’t matter, he will continue to get angry and abuse her. AND, to make matters worse, there is usually the “honeymoon”period – after a violent episode, he will show remorse, promise it will never happen again – and she believes he will truly change, but he never does. Leaving a relationship like this is very hard because in many cases, he controls the finances and she’ll worry she’ll have nothing if she leaves him. He threatens to take away her parental rights and she doesn’t want to lose her kids. He has isolated her from family and friends – she’s been too scared to tell them what’s going on so they think she wants no part of them – so now she has nowhere to go – and also, he has threatened her with physical harm and in some cases, even murder if she tries to leave. It is so good that your friend had the courage to reach out to you. Continue to be there for her. There are a number of legal and psychosocial resources available for her to get back on her feet again. I wish her luck and success – Lisa

    • Thanks for the insight, Lisa. I never thought I could learn so much in a blog comments section :). Oh, I will do everything I can to help her. Thank you, thank you! :)

  15. Domestic violence has always been a point of controversy and often criminal prosecutions. It is always best to obtain legal asdvise and know your options before things get to much out of control.

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