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Urgent advice - domestic violence towards sister living abroad

(111 Posts)
jollyboysmum Thu 21-Apr-11 17:35:10

Can anyone offer practical advice, please? My sister lives in Egypt (Sharm el Sheikh, not Cairo) and has been married to a local man for approx 27 years. She has 5 children, her husband has always been violent towards her, punching and kicking her in front of the children and locking her in. Now he has thrown her out, she has no money, nowhere to go, and he has the passports. She will not leave without her youngest daughter (8 yrs old.) Does anyone know of a women's refuge in Sharm el Sheikh, or Embassy/consulate as these are in Cairo (8 hours away). She has left him in the past and needs his permission to travel with the children without her husband. She was detained at the airport until the security guards spoke to him on the phone to confirm she was not leaving without his permission. Urgent advice required.

GypsyMoth Thu 21-Apr-11 17:36:50

phone womens aid here...they might know?

strandednomore Thu 21-Apr-11 17:38:03

Presuming she is British the best thing she can do is call the consul at the British Embassy in Cairo - they should be able to offer advice. Were the children born in Egypt? In which case she will have problems getting them out of Egypt unfortunately, she will probably need to go through the courts.

hockeyforjockeys Thu 21-Apr-11 17:56:49

If she is British then she can contact the Honorary Consulate in Sharm El Sheik -

They aren't actually foreign office staff, they usually have other full time jobs, but they do act as a contact point for British Nationals in the area, and will hopefully be able to giive contacts for people who can help her. Judging by the name the one in Sharm El Sheik is British woman which may make things easier for your sister.

jollyboysmum Thu 21-Apr-11 18:32:57

Thanks everyone, I just hope she is safe tonight and we can help her leave with her youngest x

BestNameEver Thu 21-Apr-11 19:30:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HerHissyness Fri 22-Apr-11 01:09:31

I've flown to and from Cairo more times than I can remember (and more times than I ought to have done) with DS I was never, ever asked if I had permission.

she needs to play the English card, no speaka de arabic

Sadly, there IS no safe country that would side with a woman around that area BestNameEver. Cyprus perhaps... long shot. Expensive too.

Let me do some digging, see what I can find.

mamaz0n Fri 22-Apr-11 01:12:39

womens aid have a section helping women get their children back after foreign husbands have abducted them and fled to other countries.
They will be able to offer advice re local laws and safe practices.

please do get in touch with them.

I hope she remains safe for the time being.

HerHissyness Fri 22-Apr-11 01:24:46

You have the honorary consuls in Egypt, it's worth a try.

Otherwise there are good expat fora that might help.

I Used to use this one, I know one of the Mods, JeanBean, she lives in Cairo though:

Sharm Women

HerHissyness Fri 22-Apr-11 01:30:22

Egypt has not signed up to stuff that helps us in such situations. To get an abducted child back there has to be court orders both there and here. If the child is egyptian, it's going to be hard.

Other thing is that there is no police system at the moment really, country is a mess.

The security people at the airport could just be looking for a bribe. It might be worth a very gentle prod to see if they could be bought off. My X was held up 6 weeks with a paper chase. When he simply asked them how much, I think the issues were all resolved in about 48 hours, and a few £00s.

I wish her all the luck in the world. Sad to say, but I think she might need it. Hope she is, and stays safe. 27 years of that... I dread to think. I was withered after 3. sad

suburbophobe Fri 22-Apr-11 04:57:13

I read a book ("Fatwa") where the woman escaped through Israel with her two daughters.

welshbyrd Fri 22-Apr-11 08:33:39

No advice, except poor you, poor your sister, and poor children, I really hope things work out for you all

strandednomore Fri 22-Apr-11 09:37:39

But if the child was born in Egypt, and she tried to take them back to the UK, then the OP's sister would be the child abductor, not her husband. It sounds like a desperately sad situation and I really hope she gets some help.

Bucharest Fri 22-Apr-11 09:45:37

She needs good legal advice and fast.
She mustn't try and take the children.
Wasn't Marnie Pearce in Egypt?
She is going to have one fuck of a fight on her hands even to get custody of the children realistically.
Wishing her much luck.

HerHissyness Fri 22-Apr-11 11:00:20

Best advice is to think like an egyptian.

the worst examples can plot and scheme for YEARS to get what they want.

PLEASE NOTE I SAY _THE WORST EXAMPLES_... Don't want to offend anyone, nor be called a racist. I lived in that country, I lived at the hands of someone cruel, manipulative and abusive.

Your sister is married to one of the worst examples. I was involved with a pretty poor specimen it has to be said, but more mental violence than physical, mostly. Though he did feel entitled to lash out and hit me on more than a few occasions.

Firstly, I assume all the others are out already? so the focus is to get the 8yo back, to retrieve the passports ideally, and to get the hell out. This can not now be done on a whim, it has to be planned, schemed and cooly executed. OP's sister needs to get her head into the coolest of cool places and be ruthlessly focussed on her objective.

With any luck she has an emergency place to go to if things get dangerous. If she can't get the DD to come to her via a taxi and then to the nearest consulate, then she will have to go back in, and resume what appears to be normal life. Could the sister go and get DD from school?

Ideally she needs to get the passports, but they can be re-issued by the embassy. I'm hoping they don't have egyptian passports too? Nationality?

get a flight bag together, and stored with someone safe for her and her DC, some cash if poss, otherwise tell her to send you details of a bank and get some money transferred over to her. If you have her details and her location, there could be a possibility that you could contact the consul and ask them for their help to go and get her to somewhere safe. I know the Consul in Pakistan goes and gets women that have been forced into marriage, why not to help women that are being violently assaulted? Every avenue is worth trying.

Backhanders might be the best way to get her out, sure it's illegal, but if she is being battered, she needs to get out for her own safety, and her DC too.

The consul will be the best first call, they will I hope be able to refer her to someone to help her legally and illegally with any luck.

Again, all the very best of luck to her and to you.

jollyboysmum Fri 22-Apr-11 14:22:39

Thanks everyone, it really is absolute hell for her. Yes, HerHissyNess, 27 years has totally destroyed her sanity and self-worth. I'd love to suggest she has counselling when she is safely back. It is very sad and I really cannot wait for her to be with us and have a normal, safe, happy life.

HerHissyness Fri 22-Apr-11 18:52:31

'You don't have to be mad to live in Egypt, but it it really does help' My mantra hissed at the psycho neighbours telling XH that I was hanging the washing wrong... when actually they were...

I had agoraphobia for a while, still fighting it. She might need some help, Freedom Programme, Woman's Aid would be a good place to start, but let's get her home first. See if you can call the consul tomorrow?

HerHissyness Fri 22-Apr-11 18:53:32

At a stretch, could you and your H go and get her?

jollyboysmum Sat 23-Apr-11 19:45:23

My sister and 8yr old have now reached Cairo and are staying with a British friend. 8yr old doesn't have passport, so will need to apply and wait for it, then we'll book tickets. Just hope her husband cannot trace her or try to stop passport application, she was born in Egypt but has dual nationality. My sister has her own passport. Not sure how long it will take, papers etc usually a nightmare to arrange.....

HerHissyness Sun 24-Apr-11 15:58:29

Where are the other kids?

This time of year at least she can say it's a holiday visit, easter etc etc....

Ask around, but it may be better for her to have Return tickets, price is about the same, but a realistic time apart, say it's for a family event to the airport passport control people if they ask, and to be as totally natural and cool about it.

I never got asked, and I didn't even have proper visa, just Married to an Egyptian written in my passport by the old guy that stamped me in first, who would keeled over if he suspected for a second that a man and woman would have a child and NOT be married. DS (born UK) has Egyptian Rooted written in his. I never get stopped.

If she normally covers, perhaps suggest she ought NOT to, and do the whole Expat experience thing, just to get out? If she is religious, God will know her intentions.

I hope she gets out.

Keep us posted jollyboysmum? She's on my mind and I can't bear the thought of her suffering there.

jollyboysmum Sun 24-Apr-11 16:15:30

Ah thanks so much for that. The other kids are 3 boys aged from 24 to 12, apart from the middle son, during the last physical attack they stand by and watch or go off to their rooms and do not step in to stop it. I find that hard to accept. Her eldest daughter, an absolute rock, is with her in Cairo as she has college friends there. She needs to return to Sharm for work (she has supported the whole family for many years, and is only 25) but is naturally frightened, and may go to Dubai eventually. It's a very sad story but I just hope my sister and her youngest can come here and settle. Very good idea to get the return tickets, I'll be buying them and make sure we have them. Sis has photocopies of birth certificate so hope this can be accepted, consul is open on Tuesday. Thanks again for all your thoughts and suggestions, will keep you posted x

FabbyChic Sun 24-Apr-11 16:42:37

I doubt a photocopy of a birth certificate will be enough, generally you need the original. I wish her luck though.

HerHissyness Sun 24-Apr-11 18:48:28

Is she not taking the youngest boys? Or are they so indoctrinated that they think she has to go through that? Are they lost causes already?

THIS is the reason I got MY DS out of there, I would kill myself a thousand times over than allow him to grow into a man who thought himself entitled to treat women like that. Not saying your DN's are like that, but I've seen so often the plight of the woman to be so dismal.

Get them all home, get them all to the UK and away from this monster. He doesn't deserve a family.

You may have to get original copies of the Birth Certs, but I think if you explain to someone off the record about the situation, they may advise you.

i remember when I got divorced. I asked the guy on the 24Hour Passport Advice Line how to change the name on my passport and the guy told me to ignore everything it said and just fill in a new application from new and not tell anyone about the name. I said are you sure, don't I have to do X Y or Z and he just gave a little <ahem> and repeated his instruction to me. I know it was kind of sneaky, but it was a huge saver of time, effort and expense.

They are very sympathetic. If YOU call up and explain the situation, you don't have to give the details in the first instance, but you may be lucky enough to find someone to give you the most efficient advice. It could be that you get the birth cert copies, YOU hand them over to the Passport office and they can notify Cairo that they have been received and seen and to issue the passport on their say so. You never know.

jollyboysmum Sun 24-Apr-11 19:40:17

Sadly, I think 2 of the 3 sons are lost causes, and whatever else happens, the system in Egypt works for boys/men. My sister had to leave very early before sunrise and wasn't able to say goodbye to her sons. I just really hope the other son will be able to see she loves them but cannot stay. Of course it will give her husband even more fuel to his argument that my sister is a worthless piece of rubbish, but there was no other option and her youngest daughter is her priority - and both of their safety. Would we be able to fill in a passport form here for her daughter? She was born there so there is no birth certificate in this country....

HerHissyness Sun 24-Apr-11 20:22:44

Dunno love, all you can do is ask the British Consul. It may be very difficult. Could she get hold of the original? Could the one decent son help? Solicitors in Egypt can be paid off to do literally ANYTHING.

Bearing in mind that there is no postal service, no delivery way, perhaps he could give it to the consul in Sharm and they could get it to cairo... LONG SHOT. Perhaps he could go on the expat boards and ask if anyone is going to Cairo? LONG SHOT #2.

OK this is Alex and the recent revolution almost completely destroyed the Police System, and with it all local crime/registration documents held, a photocopy may be a way of locating a copy in the Police Station in Sharm nearest to the home/hospital.

I'm assuming your DSis speaks egyptian, I don't, wasn't allowed to learn it, accused of spying on sorry-ass X, but after 27 years, I'm hoping she was able to pick up the language?

It really doesn't matter what her H thinks of her. He is insane. He has brainwashed his sons, and there is nothing she can do. I wish she wasn't in that situation, but she is, and there is literally nothing she can do about other than to flee.

If she were to keep her there, eventually the DS would start bullying the youngest DD, so there would be 2 victims of DV, and not a soul to help either of them.

So terribly sad to hear about the boys. So sad that that godforesaken hole place does that to a family.

I am glad she is safe, I wish you all the very best in the coming days and weeks.

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