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SIL and DV dont know what to do

(9 Posts)
Allinatwist Tue 05-Feb-13 14:59:05

My DPs brother and girlfriend had a child 6 months ago and are living together. They have always had a very up and down relationship with explosive arguments. They are in their early twenties And I believe this to be the first very serious relationship for both of them.

Yesterday when visiting SIL she had bruises all down her arms and legs, he has previously said that she has gone for him and he just tries to restrain her. BUT from what I can ascertain from her he has been violent with her on many occasions. She has health issues which mean that being overly stressed is ery dangerous for her.

My dilemma I guess is do I stay out of it do I say something to him do I tell my MIL who would tear shreds off him or do I just let her know I am here. I have said to her if she needs anything I am here and we are not the best of friends but no one deserves that sort of treatment. She has said he is on his last chance and if anything further happens it is over between them and he is going to seek help for his temper. However something is telling me that this is going to be going on for a while and it is killing my conscience when I think of their child and everything she is going through.

I have spoken to my DP and he has had serious words with his brother but I just don't feel it is enough. I really just don't know what to do or if I should just keep out of it. I know she will not thank me for interfering but I would rather that than something ends up happening to her.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 15:09:20

I don't think you can stay out of it. It's clear he's a violent man, there's a child involved and she may never survive his 'last chance'.... too many don't. It's good that your DP has had a word with him and it might be enough for abuser to know that others have got their eye on him. But keep telling her that she has someone to talk to and somewhere to go should she decide she's had enough and don't hesitate to alert the police or social services if you're really worried.

izzyizin Tue 05-Feb-13 15:19:01

As there is an infant involved here, I wouldn't be able to stay out of it and I'd be making it clear to him that if I had any reason to suspect that his violence to the mother of his child was ongoing, I'd broadcast it to the world - and I'd keep on broadcasting it until he was the one that gets 'restrained'.

How do you get on with your mil? Do you think she is unaware of his true nature? Have you got any reason to suppose that he'd amend his ways if she told him what a lowlife he is? Could your dp and his dm together put him on notice?

Allinatwist Tue 05-Feb-13 16:08:26

My gut is telling me that I need to say something.

My MIL and I have a decent enough relationship where I could go to her with this. I think she is aware that he has a temper and she has seen how angry he can get. But this to me is more than a bad temper to cause bruises like the ones I have seen do not look like simple restraint of her and even if she does say things which are provocative I don't believe that excuses him for a second. Although they system they are in love to me it seems like a toxic relationship and although he has said he is going to seek counselling I don't know if this is a case of too little too late. At the moment he is in the situation where if they were to split although it would be hard on them they could at least do so with limited damage to their child.

I want to think that knowing that people know will mean he will amend his ways but unfortunately I am sceptical of this. I just don't believe that people can completely change. My DP only became aware because she told him when she locked him out of the house and he wouldn't leave and my DP had to tell him to go. I just shudder to think
how much worse it could get.

My MIL as a survivor of DV would probably go for him herself if she found out and has always made it clear to us that if either of her sons ever hit us she would be there for us and would not stand for it. She has always said that he is like his father who he despises so much, she has said this from he has been young which probably has not helped the situation. He does need help I just don't think it is fair for her to stick around while he is doing this and am scared that he may not change and she will end up very seriously hurt. I think I am going to try and speak to her and tell her that although she asked me not to say anything I have told my DP what I know, and in the case that I get even a suspicion he has done anything to her I will not be keeping my mouth shut and his family will know, I know I will be seriously hated for it but I can't bear to think of her in that situation and she hasn't told her own family or any of her friends.

izzyizin Tue 05-Feb-13 16:52:59

IMO your sil doesn't need any more pressure than that she's already under by continue to live with a violent twunt and I suspect this isn't the first time she's given him a 'last chance' and nor, unfortunately, is it likely to the be final occasion she does so.

My fear is that if you approach your sil, she will effectively go underground - hiding/camoflauging her bruises and making like everything's fine, he's getting help with anger management, he's a reformed character, etc.

Notwithstanding the dv she's enduring, you bil is the one with the problem and he's the one who should have the screws applied to his tiny balls by being told in no uncertain terms that what he's doing is known to you/your dp and that if you have any reason whatsoever to suspect that he has not seen fit to restrain himself from using violence on his dp, you won't hesitate to approach the police, social services, health visitors, his/her GP, Uncle Tom Cobley, and all including his neighbours, in order to ensure that his dc does not grow up in a toxic environment.

Tell him that if he moves his family elsewhere you will alert all the relevant authorities and that you will do the same should he attempt to prevent you visiting your sil.

In other words, give him no quarter in your efforts to make him realise that his violence has to stop, otherwise the only contact he'll be having with his dc will be subject to ss supervision.

As it very much sounds as if your mil is part of the problem she may not be the best person to raise the subject of his violence with him but, neverthless, she needs to know that her dgc is at risk of history repeating itself if for no other reason than the more people who know what he's doing, the more chance there is of him being caught in the act or shortly thereafter.

Tell him that as he enjoys beating his dp up, he should take up boxing and get the shit knocked out of him focus his anger on an actual punchbag or on men his own size rather than a woman.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 05-Feb-13 16:54:12

You're right, it is not just a question of "temper", and if anyone it to that, they are harming your SIL further (by minimizing the situation, as she is undoubtedly already doing herself).

The best thing you can do is show SIL you are there for her -- as you have already done, bravo -- and also to ask her open questions. Questions that start with "who what when where why how". Rather than yes/no questions. These will enable her to articulate her own feelings, her wants and needs (she is probably woefully unaware of these), and articulate possible courses of action.

It is always better for someone to arrive at their own conclusions and own decisions in a situation where great change is required, rather than to have an external person "tell" them what is wrong with their situation, and tell them what they should do. Prompt your SIL in conversation to arrive at these statements herself.

And be ready to offer practical assistance, such as a roof, a listening ear, and numbers to Refuge, Women's Aid, and the local police DV team.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 05-Feb-13 16:54:56

* if anyone reduces it to that

I would not be able to stand idly by.

To be honest, he should know not to be violent to his partner, and as such does not need any "warning".

BookFairy Tue 05-Feb-13 18:48:38

I agree Pure. A decent human being does not need reminding that beating and abusing their partner is wrong.

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