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Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?

Alice 02 Aug 01 - 11:54 PM
katlaughing 02 Aug 01 - 05:08 PM
SharonA 02 Aug 01 - 05:02 PM
SharonA 31 Jul 01 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,A Concerned Friend 31 Jul 01 - 11:38 AM
SharonA 31 Jul 01 - 11:23 AM
GeorgeH 31 Jul 01 - 05:17 AM
Alice 30 Jul 01 - 09:48 PM
SharonA 30 Jul 01 - 01:02 PM
SharonA 30 Jul 01 - 12:38 PM
JudeL 30 Jul 01 - 11:38 AM
GeorgeH 30 Jul 01 - 10:50 AM
SharonA 30 Jul 01 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,A Concerned Friend 28 Jul 01 - 05:37 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jul 01 - 12:02 PM
Peg 28 Jul 01 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,A Concerned Friend 28 Jul 01 - 02:23 AM
Peg 28 Jul 01 - 12:22 AM
catspaw49 27 Jul 01 - 07:56 PM
kendall 27 Jul 01 - 07:52 PM
kendall 27 Jul 01 - 07:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jul 01 - 07:35 PM
katlaughing 27 Jul 01 - 06:15 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 27 Jul 01 - 05:55 PM
SharonA 27 Jul 01 - 05:20 PM
Clinton Hammond 27 Jul 01 - 04:05 PM
SharonA 27 Jul 01 - 03:34 PM
SharonA 27 Jul 01 - 02:16 PM
SharonA 27 Jul 01 - 02:11 PM
GeorgeH 27 Jul 01 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,A Concerned Friend 27 Jul 01 - 01:59 PM
rea 27 Jul 01 - 01:31 PM
catspaw49 27 Jul 01 - 01:21 PM
kendall 27 Jul 01 - 01:08 PM
Mrrzy 27 Jul 01 - 01:07 PM
GeorgeH 27 Jul 01 - 12:47 PM
mousethief 27 Jul 01 - 12:41 PM
mg 27 Jul 01 - 12:37 PM
Paul Mitchell 27 Jul 01 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,A Concerned Friend 27 Jul 01 - 11:57 AM
GUEST 27 Jul 01 - 11:02 AM
GeorgeH 27 Jul 01 - 10:59 AM
LR Mole 27 Jul 01 - 10:50 AM
SharonA 27 Jul 01 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Dr. G 27 Jul 01 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Anon. 27 Jul 01 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,A Concerned Friend 27 Jul 01 - 09:30 AM
GUEST 27 Jul 01 - 09:07 AM
GeorgeH 27 Jul 01 - 06:55 AM
Celtic Soul 27 Jul 01 - 06:12 AM
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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Alice
Date: 02 Aug 01 - 11:54 PM

The right words made a difference for me. They woke me up to know I had the help I needed to end it and get the protection I needed to safely get away.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Aug 01 - 05:08 PM

If they don't, they have some reasons of their own for staying--if physical violence doesn't drive someone away--it is unlikely that a few words are going to make a difference.

Sorry, but I must point out that by the time it gets to physical abuse, quite often there has been tremendous emotional and mental abuse, so that the person stays because 1)they think they deserve it 2) they do not see any alternatives and 3) they are afraid to. The most dangerous time for a person who leaves this kind of abuse is immediately after they leave.

If a few words can put a chink in the low self-esteem or offer even a glimmer of hope, then it can help.

Sincerely,

kat


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 02 Aug 01 - 05:02 PM

*refresh*

Any news, Concerned Friend? Good news, I hope? (Remember, we panic because we care)


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 12:17 PM

Sorry. I'm being an alarmist only because I'm alarmed. Fools rush in, and all that.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,A Concerned Friend
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 11:38 AM

SharonA--I appreciate your concern, but don't try to read too much into what I have said, since I am being careful not to say anything that will expose the people involved here. I am trying to just convey a sense of what is going on. To reassure you, I am not introducing here to any newprofessionals, not risking exposing her to ridicule, or anything like that, she will strictly be among friends--

Alice said, "You and the domestic abuse counselor/shelter in your area have to get through to her somehow." Well, I have been around for quite a few years, and I know all too well that you can't always get through to people, no matter how important it is. You can talk to some people until your voice goes out, and they will go ahead, full speed at a brick wall. Part of the reason that I put the question here, and have kept my identity concealed is that I have shared things like this with others who were close to the problem, only to have them step in "because I couldn't sit idly by and watch so and so let their life go down the drain"--and guess what? Well, you know what...it just made things worse.

Years ago, a woman who sat across from me in an office pool (remember, before word processors and computers, when people had to type everything, I used to come home with carbon paper on my hands and white out on every outfit!) and she came in one morning with bruises on her face, and a black eye. After a several years of marriage, he lost it. But she only let it happen once. Her brother and her uncle picked her up at lunch, and we never saw her again. Bluto showed up several days later, demanding to know where she was,(and demanding her paycheck) and knocked a couple chairs over. The police were called. So I know that people can and do walk away, if they want to. If they don't, they have some reasons of their own for staying--if physical violence doesn't drive someone away--it is unlikely that a few words are going to make a difference.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 11:23 AM

George: S'okay! I don't think I had been very clear the first time 'round. Part of the problem is that we don't know exactly what this woman's profession is, because of the concern for protecting her identity. Another part of the problem is that I was too busy emoting to compose my statements clearly! Sorry if I confused anyone else.

Alice: Right on! It won't help this woman's standing if she's lying down, dead.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 05:17 AM

SharonA . . Thanks for the clarification; sorry I misunderstood you . .

Regards,

George


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Alice
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 09:48 PM

I agree with Joe and the others who say contact a shelter for help with this situation. About 20 years ago I was in a realtionship with a man who turned his violent rage against me after we had been together for five years. He had not been violent before that, but once it started, each incident escalated in danger. Everyone else saw him as a soft spoken gentleman, including me, until he started breaking furniture and punching walls, and eventually attacking me... only when there were no other people around to witness it. I thought no one would believe me, and I couldn't believe it myself at first. I was embarassed to tell anyone, because I thought I was too intelligent to be with someone like that! Thank God I didn't marry him, and I could get out of it with a restraining order. What got through to me was to hear from the psychologist (the one my boyfriend went to for counseling) that I could be killed. He described the experience of counseling a domestic abuse couple where the wife and a friend of hers ended up being shot dead by the husband. He regretted not telling the woman to get to a safe place. He regretted not stepping in and taking action to prevent another attack. He saw that I was in danger of being killed (I had been threatened that he would kill me).

It is important that you take some action to advise your friend that she cannot ignore how potentially fatal her situation is. A few years ago, one of my best friends confided in me that his girlfriend had kicked him in the head while he was asleep. I had found a hole punched through the wall in his house, where she had put her fist. She had attacked him in many ways, but he was too embarassed to let anyone know what was going on. She would fly into rages and attack. It is even more difficult for men being attacked in domestic abuse situations to speak up. Realize that it's better to be embarassed than to be dead. It's better to be rejected by your friend after you give her information on abuse, than to go to her funeral. Unfortunately, many people who pursue career and social status are so focussed on that, they would choose risking their life rather than their career or status. She is choosing to be a punching bag and risk her life rather than admit she has to get out of a sick relationship. You and the domestic abuse counselor/shelter in your area have to get through to her somehow. Call the shelter for their assistance.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 01:02 PM

Hi, Jude –

Here in the US, the term "survivor" in preference to "victim" is also encouraged. However, I think that at least some people (myself included – and I am a US citizen) tend to think of a "survivor" as one who's survived a disaster from beginning to end. For example, there were many, many people who were still alive after the Titanic sank, but most of those who were in the icy water died before they were rescued and, therefore, were not considered "survivors" but "victims" just as much as those who sank with the ship.

Likewise, I think of an abuse "survivor" as one whose ongoing ordeal of abuse has found some sort of resolution, if not final ending (i.e. the abused has left the abuser, has a protection order against the abuser, has successfully charged the abuser who is now in jail, etc.). If the abused is alive after a beating and returns for more, I'd consider him or her to be a victim.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 12:38 PM

Hi, George –

The various posts above have advocated various types of professionals whom Concerned Friend might consult, both statutory and non-statutory; that's why I collectively referred to them as "professionals" (please, let's not use the term "lumping", given the subject matter here!). My understanding from Concerned Friend's posts is that both the woman in question and her new husband work INDIRECTLY in the area of family abuse, since Friend says "Neither works directly with abuse issues, but, ironically, either one might be the one of first professionals that someone trying to deal with this problem would approach" and "She works closely with most of the agencies mentioned above... --To suggest that she might have this kind of problem is not something that a lot of people would want to deal with--even people who usually deal with this sort of thing--" I take from that statement that this woman usually deals with "this sort of thing" professionally.

Therefore, this woman presumably knows a lot of what "professionals in the area of family abuse" know about "abuse within professional families, and all the problems of the victim getting herself...believed." [quoting from George's post, now]. The problem, as I see it, is not informing this "pro" of her options, but is getting her to open up to family-abuse "pro's" as a victim. Simply introducing her as a consultant or other professional colleague isn't going to make her take off her professional "mask", at least not soon (especially if she finds out later that they were "tipped off", before they'd met her, that she'd been abused! What will THAT do to her self-esteem, I wonder? If 'twere me, I'd feel betrayed... but then, I prefer that my friends come to me with their concerns about my personal life and my welfare, whereas this woman obviously does not).

Also - No, I don't think anyone SUGGESTED doing nothing. It's just that Concerned Friend said (s)he first noticed this woman's bruises and cuts FOUR MONTHS ago, has noticed more since then, and is afraid of what more may happen. Friend seems frustrated by the woman's withdrawal and denial, yet rebuffs some of the suggestions given above. All I meant to say, in answer to those rebuffs, was that Friend should pick SOME course of action and ACT, since it's been four months already since the abuse became obvious! Fortunately, Friend has done so; the effectiveness of the indirect method (s)he chose remains to be seen, but at least (s)he is no longer dropping the subject and hanging back when this tearful, bruised, cut-up woman claims she's "fine"!

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: JudeL
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 11:38 AM

If as you say this woman is a professional who in a work situation she is used to being effective, it may be that she has fallen into the self deluding trap of believing that somehow she should be able to make a difference to his behaviour.
For those who "can't understand why the woman doesn't just walk out", from personal experience:
First comes shock and disbelief (which is actually greater if you came from a loving and supportive family)
Then the believing them when they promise not to do it again ( because you so much want it to be true).
Then the feeling that you should be able to "manage" them better so that they change.
Then because (surprise surprise) you can't change their behaviour, you feel helpless, and by now it's gone on so long that to admit it's happening not only feels like failure , but also people who have never experienced it make you feel like it's your fault for having stayed in the relationship
By now your self esteem (fuelled by the manipulative abuser) has plummetted to the point where you don't feel you can ask for help as it all seems so hopeless (especially as it means admitting that "you let it happen") and if there are kids involved you worry about breaking up the family and about them being "removed from your care as you allowed them to be in a house with a violent person and therefore at risk of direct violence themselves". Finally - yes the situation can only be stopped when the woman choses - usually when they admit that the abuser isn't going to change and they are wasting their life waiting for miracles, that this isn't going to stop unless they stop it by getting out. - - But there is a lot that can be done to help empower the woman to make that choice, even down to simple things by making her aware that she has friends who will be there for her whatever time of day or night she needs them. I was lucky my friends wouldn't allow my ex to isolate me (although he tried very hard and was frequently extreemly rude and nasty to them)
One final thing - physical scars heal a lot faster than the emotional ones, and the emotional effect of being hit means that even when they are not actually using physical violence against you at that moment the awareness of the possibility will be at the back of your mind all the time, colouring your behaviour.
I don't know what set up they have over there but in the UK , shelters and support networks encourage women to describe themselves as "survivors" of abuse rather than use the term "victim" with it's connotations of helplessness.
There are some appauling stats on abuse - I don't know about the states but in the UK on average every three days one woman will be killed by her abusive partner. Unfortunatly abuse is a lot more common than we like to think.
Jude


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 10:50 AM

SharonA:

I think you risk make the mistake of lumping all "professionals" in together. By my reading, those who've said "talk to the professionals" have been referring to professionals in the area of family abuse. Who will know full well about abuse within professional families, and all the problems of the victim getting herself (or, less often, himself) believed.

And I would still advise approaching the non-statutory professionals in the first place. If the local statutory authorities will take a sympathetic and sensitive approach they will inform you accordingly; equally, if the statutory bodies are likely to be heavy-handed then they will tell you.

Also - I don't think anyone here has suggested doing nothing . . were the issue not so serious I might resent one or two of the comments made here!

George


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 09:30 AM

Concerned Friend, I'm glad to hear (read) that you are taking steps to connect this woman with an organization that can offer help to her. Definitely more dignified (and hopefully more effective!) than saying "Hey, who gave ya the shiner?"

The thing that's been bothering me about the "speak with professionals" route is that, as the type of professional to whom the abused might first turn (as you describe this woman), wouldn't she already know of and have contacts with several organizations that directly aid the abused? I'm not sure that initiating one more professional relationship will help her to open up to this one on a personal level; seems like it would be one more set of people she would keep at a professional distance.

If you haven't already, you may want to consider something along the lines of kat's idea of contacting organizations in a different town or even county (hopefully in a different professional "circle") to help this woman keep her present professional connections intact and make her feel safer from professional ridicule.

Meanwhile, don't give up on her socially. I've read that the techniques you describe by which she isolates herself are typical behavior of the abused and of the depressed (why else would a woman of "great personal dignity" do such an undignified thing as being a consistent no-show?). Let's hope she can break the cycle of abuse before she reaches the point of canceling out on the sorts of professional banquets and galas that she MUST attend for the sake of her career.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,A Concerned Friend
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 05:37 PM

Kevin,

I think it is ironic that some people deal with abuse situation by acting out their own feelings of frustration and anger without thinking about the damage that it can do, when the real problem in abuse situations is that someone is acting out their own feelings of frustration and anger without any sensitivity to the damage that it does.

My first concern is not to make things any worse, and, as I pointed out, there are a lot of people who could suffer from a mistake in judgement here.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 12:02 PM

A general point about "intervening" when the person who is geting hurt doesn't want it. (This isn't directed particularly at thec situation we've ben taklking about.)

The only things that matter about intervening is that it should helps. There are some situations where there just isn't any way of intervening that isn't more likely to make things worse - increase isolation, precipitate a tragedy etc etc.

In which case, you just have to stand back, and be ready to help when help is possible. And awful things can happen in the meantime.

Maybe it might make people feel better to have intervened. "I did everything I could." But making yourself feel better about it isn't the point.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Peg
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 11:10 AM

good luck, Concerned; a little gentle intervention sounds sorely needed.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,A Concerned Friend
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 02:23 AM

No, there are no children. Newlyweds, as I said. Also, the families are all far away, and neither has many roots in the area--a very isolated situation. As I said, we have tried to bring her into our social circle, but cancels often at the last minute, or just doesn't show.

I have taken some steps--there is an organization that works with victims and potential victims of abuse, and I am making arrangements for a sideways "professional" connection, sort of the way Kevin suggested above, she'll get to see what they offer, ostensibly as a resource for her professional use--so she can learn about all of her options without having to admit anything. They'll know in advance that she has a problem, of course--we'll see what happens.

SharonA, your story is a painful and disturbing one--we are all torn between a fear of doing the wrong thing, and a fear of doing nothing--

As to the other couple, she never made it to the shelter. He got her back with a cheap trick--he got drunk (or maybe just drunker) and rammed his car into a wall as she was leaving the apartment, and she sat by him in the hospital for weeks while he recovered--we just heard that they are still together, but she never sees any of her old friends--


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Peg
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 12:22 AM

I believe in a direct aproach, dammit.

Ask her, flat out, in the ladies' room or in front of others at lunch, "Hey, I've noticed you've had a lot of black eyes lately. What's going on?"

Yeah, you might embarrass her, yeah, she might turn from you and try to avoid you.

But you just might make her realize that her life is fucked up and she needs to change it before someone ends up badly injured or dead.

He hits you once, shame on him.

He hits you twice, shame on you.

And shame on ANYONE who thinks they should ignore it and let the woman take care of it herself. Christ, do any of you know the statistics on domestic abuse in your states? Anyone know the number of women MURDERED by their spouses each year? And you're talking about not stirring things up at the water cooler???

I grew up in a abusive household, and believe me I think it is wrong to blame the victim, but adults oughta know better than to let other adults smack 'em around. Still, it can be difficult for a woman to extract herself from such situations. That is why helpful agencies exist.

Unless of course it's their idea of sex play, in which case, the less said, the better...but I have the feeling it's much, much worse than that, based on what's been said.

She's getting beat up regularly. This is no time for wait and see, people.

Gimme the guy's number if all else fails...


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:56 PM

Or bullshitting about it here until he does.......

Anything happen yet "Concerned Friend?" called any of the shelter/agencies/police and reported this and asked for advice? Keep us posted huh?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:52 PM

Sorry for the rant, I'm feeling rasty today. The thought of some coward calling himself a man brings out the side of me that seeks justice, and the side that brings out the protector. Nature gave us superior strength to provide for and protect the women and children, and when some creep turns it against them, it is more than just a case of mis use of power.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:48 PM

The other option is to just stand by minding your own business until the bastard kills her.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:35 PM

A couple of people have asked whether there are children, and that's the crucial question. Please note, I'm not suggesting that Concerned Friend ought to tell us, I can see why she (I take it CF is a woman) mightn't want to give any details that might risk identifying the people involved on an open forum like this.

If there are children it changes things, because as Mrrzy said, a child in this sort of situation is being abused, even if there's no question of them being physically assaulted. The wishes of the mother become secondary to the needs of the child, in my view.

But if there are no children, and the woman has not cracks up to a state where she isn't capable of making decisions for herself, I think the advice that has been given to stand back has to apply. (If it was my daughter I'd probably want to go round and break his legs, but that's just a feeling, it wouldn't solve things, and could make them worse.)

Just one suggestion, and it might not be a good one. But, if she's a professional in the business, there'd be nothing inappropriate for colleagues to ask her for advice on dealing with a case like this.

I mean, if I was still a social worker, I can easily imagine that I might talk about this very case, which I have been reading about on the Mudcat, with colleagues. "How do you think the woman's colleagues ought to respond in this case I've been reading about?" I might ask, explaining that I was thinking of posting any interesting suggestions in the thread.

The hope would be that she might be able to look more objectively at what was happening in her own life. Or even that she might open up about it. (And of course, it's not impossible that it might actually be something different from what you are thinking, unlikely though that might be from what you have said.)


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 06:15 PM

It's true the profession can be a deterrent to reporting. My best friend was married to a respected attorney who mentally and emotionally abused her and their children. He was such a likeable person in public that no one would have believed her. As it was, she should have gone out of town for a divorce attorney and did finally wind up having her brother co-counsel with her in-town attorney because no one wanted to be on her side in the divorce. Even then, he wound up with everything except half of the time with the kids.

In my research I found it is sometimes much harder for a woman from a professional background or a woman from the middle to upper class to seek help as there is a public perception that abuse only happens in lower classes. She may have a very hard time believing it herself, let alone those she and her abuser mingle with on a social level. However, abuse knows no boundaries.

Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 05:55 PM

It will not hurt to mention your suspicions to her family. There may be more to this than meets the eye.. Hurting her spouse may curtail the violence, but it could also escalate it; and allow him time to hurt her in non visible ways. Please call a shelter for advice, but I agree with Kendall, if you know other adults in her family tell them your suspicions. The more people that suspect and know that there is a problem, the more likely it is to stop the violence. Good Luck. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 05:20 PM

But this woman IS one of the professionals! Her husband is another!! Insidious, ain't it? Scary, too, to think that a professional in the field might also be an abuser (though,as you stated, Concerned Friend, neither works DIRECTLY with abuse cases). So I'm guessing that the professionals with whom you might speak are the ones who DO work directly with those cases.

I offer my personal story only to give my reason for holding the opinion that I hold. Thank you for asking for our opinions about this problem.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 04:05 PM

The only good advice that anyone has given here is to speak to professionals... personal stories are all well and good, but every situation is different...

Seek help from people who KNOW, and are not just opinionated...

Good luck eh!


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 03:34 PM

Concerned Friend also sez: "A few years back, worked with, and became friends with another woman who had trouble with her husband--one night he nearly killed her, and my spouse and I arranged to get her into a shelter and get a restraining order--they got back together, and neither of them has ever spoken to us again--"

Perhaps they wouldn't have gotten back together if they hadn't had that period of separation. We have no idea under what conditions they reunited; perhaps new limits of behavior were set and are being followed so that the cycle of abuse was broken. We also have no idea whether they're not contacting you because they're angry or because they're busy enjoying each other now and you simply remind them of a painful time in their relationship. But I infer from the words "neither of them" that both of them are still alive. Perhaps one or the other or both would not be, but for your action.

I can see where you would not want to sacrifice your project and all the hard work that this woman and you and your colleagues have done, for the sake of a "perhaps"... But you also said that she's put herself on the line for you on many occasions. Who puts him- or herself on the line for this woman?

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 02:16 PM

Oooooh, that was tough to post. I'm still shaking...


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 02:11 PM

Concerned Friend sez: "This is a person of great personal dignity, very professional, very knowledgeable--since she is the "expert" even the people who employ her must defer to her. She speaks softly, but what she says goes ...even others in her profession talk to each other with deference ...the degrees, her position, really isolate her-- "

Or she's isolated herself. Sounds like she doesn't let ANYONE get close to her... except the guy who you think is hitting her. If he is abusing her, he's certainly taken advantage of being inside the wall she's built around herself. "In the arena", so to speak.

If this lady is on the verge of tears and has NO ONE to cry to because EVERYONE walks a wide circle around her, deferring to her, I wish SOMEONE would talk to her!!!!!!!!! My God, how sad this is to read! Doesn't she have ANY friends she can confide in?? C'mon, now, you're calling yourself her friend; do you at least know a CLOSE friend of hers who knows how to get inside her armor, some non-deferential person with whom she can discuss this?

SharonA

P.S. – The reason I'm advocating doing SOMETHING is because I once had a neighbor in an adjoining apartment who had a terrible problem with drugs, left her baby daughter alone till all hours to go get high... and I chose the "hands-off, none of my business" non-approach. One day, she baby-sat her cousin's infant; she set him on a mattress on the floor next to an electric baseboard heater, with no pillows to keep him from rolling. Then she turned the thermostat ALL the way up, and passed out. You guessed it; the baby rolled off the mattress and against the heater, burned and died. I still hear that young woman's screams and cries, and I still wonder: What if I'd at least TRIED to get help for her when I saw the warning signs?????????????????


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 02:07 PM

Concerned friend . .

I don't think you need our help or advice; you seem to have this well worked out for yourself. My (totally sincere) complements to you, and good luck to you and your unfortunate friend. The fact that she has friends/colleages like you does, at least, mean that the situation could be even worse.

Of course, if you overstep not only do you lose the friendship etc. but not a lot is achieved!

Beyond that, I think everything that can usefully be said has been said.

I'm sure the good wishes and kind thoughts of all of us here, whatever our opinions, are with you and your friend.

G.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,A Concerned Friend
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:59 PM

Mary Garvey,

Molly-coddle? What do you mean by that? To me it assumes that I, or someone else, has some sort of parental, supervisory power over this person, and that we are tolerating unacceptable behavior and that we should put our foot down--no one is in a position to do that with any adult, and especially not with someone that they have a professional relationship.

We have worked together, on the same effort, for a couple of years. Her work has been the most important factor in our team accomplishing what it has-- and working with us is one of her responsibilities, but not the only one. Other people who have had her same role in the past have done a lot less, so part of the reason that I care so much about this is that she has put herself on the line for us on many occasions.

If I overstep, not could she close the door on our friendship, but she could cut back her work with us, she could even remove herself entirely from our project, and our efforts fall apart, there will be considerable suffering and hardship, and it will affect many people.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: rea
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:31 PM

it's been said, but i think that the important thing is to help with self esteem, even if you can't figure out anythign to do. give compliments (real ones), smile, positive feedback, etc. And provide info. one of my good friends in high school's stepdad was nuts and abusive (and i mean crazy, but thats a detail), and we let the daugter stay at our house and gev her numbers to give to her mom for shelters. those are the authorities you want to call - police can do nothing unless she presses charges or they catch him in the act. reiterating: do what you must, but support her above all.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:21 PM

Before this one gets out of hand..........

CONCERNED FRIEND:

Please go talk to all of the "pros" in your area as has been suggested and take their advice. Report what you know and what you suspect. Different agencies and police departments in different areas are going to have differing ways then what may be suggested here. Based on past experience, this county is very aggressive.....others are not. Go get their advice and see what they can do and what they suggest for you. At best we're all just jawboning and offering support to you. GO SEE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR AREA.......please?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:08 PM

Ever hear of fighting fire with fire? I'd be inclined to inform her family and let them handle it. Guest sounds like the Don Quixote type.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:07 PM

I disagree with gentle. I had lots of people gently trying to get me out of my abusive relationship, and it didn't work. I'd have appreciated (perhaps not at the time) had those efforts been more strenuous. I also disagree that anything social can be one person's problem - I think it IS my problem if my friend has a problem. It DOES concern me, it IS my business, and I would do everything I could to remedy the problem which is shared with my friend. Also, the above point about abuse not being only for the adults if there are children around didn't make the point strongly enough - if there are kids, then they ARE being abused by virtue of witnessing the abuse between their parents, and being raised to consider it normal. If Mom is whacking Dad in front of the kids, that IS child abuse. Morally, ethically, psychologically, if not exactly legally.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:47 PM

Mary g

Remember - it's her life, not yours. You're supposed to be a friend, and even if not, playing at God is never a good idea.

How do you respond to people telling you what to do "because I know better than you do!".

G.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:41 PM

Mary Garvey, how many domestic abuse victims do you know? Your advice is very harmful (not to mention condescending). Please do some reading on the topic.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: mg
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:37 PM

So far I am with Sharon. It is more complex because it is a job situation, but to molly-coddle someone in this situation only infantilizes them. As a grown woman, obviously able to support herself, she has some moral choices to make. Especially since she is in a position of leadership. She doesn't have to wait until her self esteem blossoms. She could be pregnant by then. Let her know you have strong suspicions of what is going on and if it is going on, she needs to get out of the situation. "Oh but I love him (her)". "Oh but he is not like this except when he has been drinking." So? mg


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Paul Mitchell
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:23 PM

Hi there. I'm a youth worker who works with people aged 14 - 25 years of age in England. I work mostly with people outside of society, or in danger of finding themselves there. I come across domestic violence from a couple of angles, both the person/s being abused directly and those who witness it.

I go with Joe and the rest. Contact the experts. There is something else going on within this process though, and that is you, how you feel and how you deal with those feelings. Well played on being willing to discuss it. I would encourage you to recognise that you are hurt by this situation too. You have a right to some healing and some help.

Good luck with it. Often there are no winners. Often nothing we do works, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you plant a little acorn that doesn't look like it's done anything, but later on (perhaps months, perhaps years) it turns out to be a big sod off tree that no one knew was there and that proves bloody useful!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,A Concerned Friend
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 11:57 AM

SharonA,

This is a person of great personal dignity, very professional, very knowledgeable--since she is the "expert" even the people who employ her must defer to her. She speaks softly, but what she says goes. Maybe it is possible to sit an office chum down and give her a stern lecture, and you might be able to talk that way to a fellow waitress, but believe me, even others in her profession talk to each other with deference--LRMole, you are so right. In this case, the degrees, her position, really isolate her--

Dr.G, thank you for you thoughts, but please, don't flame anyone, even if it is to make a point, and GUEST and others--I appreciate your interest and enthusiasm, but talking about beating someone up just makes it worse--


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 11:02 AM

NO! she did not learn it from me. If you really are a doctor, you should know that a sociopath can fool almost everyone. He fooled her, and everyone else around except me. I pegged him for a liar the first time I saw him. I did not know he was also an abuser. My daughter was never abused at home, but, she did have a need to prove me wrong when I warned her about his lies. She now admits I was right. Actually, she was not so much afraid of what I'd do to him, as where I would end up if I did go after him.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 10:59 AM

SharonA . . Sorry, but no, no, no - don't suggest her credibility is at stake .. Part of her problem is (very likely, I guess nothing's certain in these matters) low self esteem. ANYTHING which can push that down further is harmful to her, however well-intentioned. If there's anything you can do to boost her self-esteem then go for that . . it might even help her, slowly, to the point where she can decide to re-order her life.

Similarly, I'd suggest stern is out as well. If you're going to achieve anything then the approach has to be gently, gently. AND you have to accept that the chances are that your efforts won't make any difference that you can perceive.

People often have to fool themselves in order to preserve some vestige of self-respect . . taking that away from them isn't helpful.

Forget all notions of justice. That's not within your grasp . . If you've a generous spirit you simply have to stamp on your natural feelings of anger, etc. and do what little you can to support the friend, until she makes the decision to change her circumstances.

The only time we were involved in this sort of situation with a mature adult (if you know what I mean) the lady in question finally got as far as finding and paying a deposit on a flat, to move out from the guy. Then she totally changed her mind and decided to stay put! And, pretty well, stopped having anything to do with us.

George


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: LR Mole
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 10:50 AM

Yeah...advanced degrees, professional position, personal charm, even genius--they get you no cards in games like this. Sadness and shrugging sometimes look the same. But all any of us can do is our best, as we understand it. No one is alone.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 10:20 AM

"To suggest that she might have this kind of problem is not something that a lot of people would want to deal with--even people who usually deal with this sort of thing-- "

Kudos to you, then, Concerned Friend, for wanting to help!

Kinda sounds like "a stern talking to" (in private) may be in order, if she's feeling too proud to seek help because of her position (the "I'm SUPPOSED to be helping THEM, I'm not supposed to BE them" syndrome). Let's face it; she'll see any subtle, gentle approaches coming a mile off, because of her training in doing the very same thing for others, and will be ready to rebuff them. If she tries to brush you off with an "I'm fine", and she's obviously NOT, tell her so! Tell her she's not fooling anybody!

I don't suggest "browbeating", as in nagging repeatedly or coming across as yet another abuser, but it sounds as if she needs to be looked in the black-eye by someone who can say "You know (in your head, if not in your heart) what you must do about this in order to stop it. I will help you do it. Now, let's do it." Be the voice of reason... and action!

If necessary, point out to her that her credibility as a professional is at stake (i.e. how can she help others if she won't let herself be helped?), and that the experience of being helped will only make her better able to help others in the future (all the degrees and certifications in the world can't substitute for THAT).

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,Dr. G
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 09:50 AM

GUEST,

Did your daughter "know what you would do" because you had done it to her? Adult victims of abuse usually come from abusive families. A most of the time, they don't even think about what is happening to them as abuse, and most of the time, they don't even know how they feel about it, because their focus is dealing with a rage-o-holic who is so consumed with their own anger that they are not even aware of the impact that it is having on the people they love--

Concerned Friend, there is no way that you can resolve this situation. You can be a friend, and especially in this case, to show your friendship by being there, and not making an issue of what she is suffering--until she is ready to deal with the situation herself, she'll always defend her husband, and you will become the bad guy--the best hope that you have is, by staying close, you'll eventually gain her confidence.

As I said, you cannot resolve this situation, this woman has not confided in you, you know about the abuse because you have seen the results. Others have seen them, too, and, especially since of the position that this person is in, are feeling the same concerns and the same powerlessness that you feel.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,Anon.
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 09:47 AM

GeorgeH and mousethief are totally right. You must not forget that it is her life, and all the choices must be hers. Outside interference (no matter how well intentioned) will probibly do more harm than good.

I speak from my experience of being the second husband of a woman who was abused by her first. (Reason for Anon. sign in).

It is extremely unlikely that the only abuse is physical. If a victim didn't tolerate physical abuse, then they wouldn't be a victim more than once. As mousethief said, there tends to be a lot of mental abuse too. It is that more than anything that not only makes a person fear reporting, but ashamed and embarressed to even admit what going on. You have to tread very lightly, or your actions could alienate her.

My wife carries very few scars from her past experiences (none physical), and she now can not believe she allowed herself to be treated that way. That is the point. She allowed it to continue, until such time as she made the decision to get herself out of it. Nobody else could make that decision for her. She never feels physically threatened now, but can get very upset if she feels I am being critical. It's the mental scars last much longer.

Anon.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST,A Concerned Friend
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 09:30 AM

Some of you are suggesting what really is a rather violent and forceful intervention--as well meaning as this is, verbal browbeating and police visits only would force her into a deeper and more focussed kind of denial--Even if that would work in some situations, as I said, they are both professionals with advanced degrees and board certification--she works closely with most of the agencies mentioned above, hardly the sort of person that anyone can sit down and give a stern talking to--To suggest that she might have this kind of problem is not something that a lot of people would want to deal with--even people who usually deal with this sort of thing--


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 09:07 AM

Does she have family members with any balls? Would she or they be willing to hire a couple of guys to give him a taste of his own medicine? One of my daughters married a sociopath who was also a mysoginist and pathological liar. I didn't know until long after she divorced him how he had treated her, because she knew what I would do. These bastards are always cowards and with the right suggestion from someone who could take him apart, he would think twice before repeating that act. Apes like that give the title "Man" a bad name. He's not a man, he's only a male.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 06:55 AM

Joe's advice was sound . . talk to anyone with expertise and understanding who isn't going to intervene without the woman's agreement.

Beyond which . . Don't call in "the authorities", in any shape or form . . all you'll do, most likely, is alienate the victim from you, leaving her still open to the abuse but without the support of your friendship.

Try to see a bit more of her than you have in the past, and to make sure her other reliable friends do the same - so if she reaches a point of wanting/needing to talk there's an improved chance of her having the opportunity to do so.

Never lose sight of the fact that, ultimately, it's her life and so her choice; however difficult it is for you, denying her that choice is no help to her. She's going to detect folks' concern for her, but try to tread gently so as not to pressure her.

If you judge you can get away with it and if a suitable opportunity presents itself then you might gently offer practical "help opportunities" - "If you feel it would help you can ring me any time" (clearly only if that's realistic!), or even contact details for local "help" organisations, if you feel she might not know them. But go very gently . . .

Prair, if you have such beliefs. And, above all, patience and sensitivity.

Good luck!

G.

G.


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Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 06:12 AM

A good point was made anecdotaly. There were kids involved, and the Mother ran 8 blocks mostly to get the enraged man away from them.

Are there kids in *this* situation? If so, step in. It is rare that this sort of abuse is reserved for the woman alone.

Hell, even if there are not kids, call the authorities and find out what you can do. You may lose a friend, as she might be angry at you for having done so, but would you rather lose a friend to the grave?


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