...to not do anything for this woman?(34 Posts)
Fiance and I have a large group of extended friends from university who we see about twice a year. Within this group there are a number of people who are good friends who we see more regularly.
On the outside of this group is one man, I'll call him Jim. Jim is not really a close friend to us, but some of our close friends see Jim much more often than we do, and so we are always vaguely aware of how Jim is doing.
Jim has had a rough life lately. His marriage broke down when he found out about his wife's affair, he lost his job, turned to booze and became homeless. In the last 18 months Jim seemed to have been doing better, sorted himself out, got sober and had got himself a girlfriend. I've met the girlfriend twice in the past year and a half and from my perspective things seemed to be looking up for him. See seemed immature, but nice enough and I was happy for them.
One of our good friends is now reporting that Jim has become horribly abusive to his girlfriend. I'm talking violence, sexual assault and calling the police on her when she defends herself. Throughout all of this, girlfriend has remained in a relationship with Jim. Whether it is a choice or that she feels she cannot leave, I do not know.
The large group has now cut Jim off completely. They tackled Jim about his actions, got called every name under the sun, and so have jointly decided that since their concerns have fallen on Jim's deaf ears that they can no longer continue with the friendship. I support this.
However, nobody has approached the girlfriend. It is really not sitting right with me that the group has effectively abandoned her with her abuser. WIBU to take a proactive step to reach out to her, despite not knowing her well at all? What would you do?
Sorry if this is vague, purposely trying to be.
If you're turning your back on him, she can at least have that confidence in you. Even if she never feels she can entirely trust you, as his former friend(s), and even if she tells him because she fears your approach is a trap, the validation may come to mean something to her, especially if he's angered by it (meaning you are putting your money where your mouth is by cutting him off).
Have you got a secure means of contacting her?
Only Facebook - but I imagine Jim has access to that.
Are you brave enough to break with him publicly, in such a way that both he and SHE will see?
Do you know where she works?
I don't know exactly how the Jim break up will happen - his closer friends are having the conversation this week and leading it.
I actually do know where she works - what were you thinking?
I imagine the thinking was that you could send a message to her at work where he couldn't intercept it.
I think if you can find a safe way to reach out to her where Jim would definitely not be able to intercept the message or find out about it, I would do it.
The woman's immaturity is likely what is stopping her from finding the strength to make the break from this arsehole and anything you can do to show her some support would be good.
Have you actually seen evidence of this happening?
Could you either bump into her at her work or arrange to meet her one lunchtime just to give her your mobile number in case she ever needs you and you can tell her why you've all cut contact as you can guarantee his spin on it won't be that he's an abusive twat.
What kind of support do you want to give? The best thing you can do is to give her the details for Womens Aid.
Be claear about how involved you want to be. This may backfire on you. He may turn on you. Plus, women dont always leave, if they do they dont always manage it the firt time, and when they return to their abuser they always confide in them about who helped. Its part of the ritual of handing over control to them, and of displacing their anger.
All you can really do is get a message to her if possible letting her know you will offer her support. You don't really know her though so only reach out to her if you're prepared to be there for her, support her, answer her distressed calls at 3 in the morning and pick up the pieces if she does break up with him.
It's a kind thought, but I'm not sure you are the person who can help her. I wonder what your motivation is for wanting to contact her, to relieve your conscience or because you genuinely want to help her?
Thanks all, sorry for the delay in replying, I went out.
Yes, the evidence is there. He sent round a video on him forcing her into a hideously degrading sex act because he thought it was funny, and then was surprised by the negative response it received. The recipient of the video called the police straight away. There is no doubt that the relationship is abusive.
I agree that I'm not the right person. I have been in an abusive relationship myself and I think it is the right thing to do. It isn't a consciousness thing - as soon as we found out we have acted to cut Jim off.
I'm going to get my mobile phone number to her in case she needs it and leave it there for now.
I'm sorry you have been in an abusive relationship yourself. That explains why you are so invested in trying to help her in some way, you must have huge empathy for her situation.
Passing on your number is a kind gesture which won't be misinterpreted by her. And I agree, passing that horrific video to the police was the right thing to do.
It may "work" straight away, or take a while to sink in with her, but it sounds as though it might be the right thing to do, for both of you.
It also sounds as though it would be impossible for you to be friends with Jim again anyway, so you won't be "losing" there, either.
Finally, it must be really good for you, given your past, to feel that you're now among friends who will stand up for what's right.
I'm not comfortable with this thread. But if you are worried about someone, give her your contact details, and (if you can) a PAYG phone for her to ring you on.
And suggest she contacts police if she feels in danger.
For the love of all, help her. Help. Her.
You KNOW she's being abused. You have proof--the video! The fact she hasn't left doesn't mean she doesn't need help. Many abused people feel like they deserve it, or are powerless to end it, or that it's "just how it is." Reach out to her privately (meaning where Jim won't know), tell her it doesn't have to be like that, and there are resources if she needs it.
If you think he's in immediate danger, organize a group to go find her while Jim is at work or out of town, and offer to move her and all her things out right there, on the spot, to a location he would know nothing about.
At worst, she rejects you and that's that. At best, you save a life, literally and/or figuratively.
Hello, thank you for all of your kind words of advice so far. I thought I'd give you an update - I decided to get in touch via her work email. Just a quick 'Hi, I hope you don't mind me sending this email, but I've heard about Jim and wanted you to know that if you ever need help or a friendly ear, Fiancé and I here for you.'
She ignored it for a few days, or just didn't see it, but today I got the following response:
I've just spoken to Jim. I'd heard about the boys not speaking to Jim, and I don't really know how this all has happened or why you think this about us and our relationship.
There are two sides to every story and I'm actually really upset by your email. Our relationship is fiery and crazy and dramatic but that's us and it works. It's really sad that this is happening and that we are no longer your friends, especially when it is a completely unfair view.
Jim has never been violent towards me and never would.
So that's it then? I don't think I can do anything else. I wasn't going to reply - what do you think?
(The email is paraphrased for privacy sake, but the gist is there)
You have reached out, she's not interested. I'd leave it at that and not bother replying.
You never know when she may change her mind in the future.
Yeah those were my thoughts too. Sad though.
I'd just say,
ok, you know where I am if you need me.
Then leave it, you can't save everyone and you have extended a hand incase she ever wants to take it, that's enough.
Not much you can do then. Either she's deluded and thinks this is how relationships are, or she's so scared/brainwashed by him that she's keeping up the front even via her work email which presumably he can't access.
She's not ready to leave.
I would respond and say 'sorry to have offended you, perhaps my understanding of the situation is off. If you change your mind, or anything else happens, just know that my door is always open.'
Leave it there, and be ready to help should she ever reach out to you in the future.
Out of interest, what's happened with the police since the video was reported?
Good to hear you are OK and the Jim business is a misunderstanding.
Thanks for getting back to me I was worried that you were isolated, sorry my email caused upset it was only intended as a hand to hold should you need it.
Hope things carry on looking up......
She can still come back to you negatively but you haven't closed any doors.
Hmm. I think all you can do it not get into a fight about Jim's abusiveness -- or whether circulating videos of coerced sex acts is abusive or 'fiery and dramatic' -- and leave things open for potential further contact if she changes her mind.
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