I'm due to go to my friends house tonight for a catch up as she's been away working for 2 weeks.
A mutual friend(who is also due to go tonight) has just told me that first friends partner beat her in front of the kids before she went away. One of the kids told mutual friend, and friend also told her last night that this is true. There have been various other incidents while she's been away as well,such as phone arguments, accusations, drunkeness etc
Now, although I really do want to see my friend tonight, I do not want to go and sit in the company of a man like this.
I feel sick to my stomach thinking about making small talk etc with him - but feel I ought to pretend like nothing's happened and be "nice" to him for her sake? Will I make things worse for her if I don't?
She absolutely will not leave him, I know this, so there isn't even any point trying to speak to her about it
If I don't go tonight, she will bring him here - and even if she didn't I'd have to socialise with them as a couple at some point.
talk to her and let her know you are there for her and you know what has happened, she may get defensive but try not to judge her for this and give her the details of womens aid they will give her the advice she needs to get out safely or a dv group in her area (of course without him knowing) and offer her the support she needs, she may not be ready to face the situation herself but she will in time, she already is reaching out for help by telling your other friend what happened (or not denying it)
i know it must be very hard to be normal around him but you have to for her sake
There is always a point in talking to her, she may not act on it straight away, but chip away slowly.
Tell her you are there for her wherever, whenever and no matter the hour, that you'll never judge her, but that you are worried for her, and wish she could find a way to get to a safe place.
Don't let on to the P that you are onto him, you'll be put on the banned list of approved friends. TBH, he may isolate her from you all in time anyway, but if you see that starting to happen, tell her that you will be there and for her to memorise your number, or address and get a cab any time she needs to.
Thanks all for your input. Without wanting to sound cold, talking to her about leaving him etc is another issue - Not saying it isn't an important one (THE most important one), but without knowing my friend I wouldn't expect MNetters to be able to advise me on that. She is totally in love with him, justifies his behaviour time & time again, and is also a very week and needy person, it's a difficult one.
I really don't know what to do about the immediate issue which is how do I put a front on and face this disgusting creature tonight, which I'm guessing I'll have to for firends sake.
What happens if you're talking to her and you see an angry expression on his face? What happens if he dislikes what she says or feels she's not reflecting well on him?
I just couldn't go there and not say something to him. I know that would make things worse.
I think if he's beating her in front of the children, social services should be involved. Those poor children, having to witness that. Thank god her child told your other friend; I'd hate to think they felt they couldn't talk about it.
try the womens aid website for advice ways you can support your friend. there may also be a freedom programme near your friend which is always on during term time only and provides free childcare for any pre-schoolers. they have plently of attendees who are still in abusive relationships and go without their partner's knowledge. a fair few women attend for the first time without knowing essentially they're going to a group for support of victims suffering dv, e.g. you could go yourself and take her to 'this group of women who are all about boosting your self-esteem' and make out you need the company/moral support from her to attend yourself. this is most useful for women like your friend who are still in denial (maybe not so much of the dv itself but deffo in denial of the impact of the abuse on the dc).
whatever you do please don't abandon her. she isn't needy but he has brainwashed her into believing she isn't worthy of any friends. now more than ever she needs unconditional support from you and your mutual friends.
This is definitely a child protection issue and the person who the child made the disclosure to should be reporting this either to their local social services or to the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. These children are being emotionally abused by witnessing violence. I have called the NSPCC helpline myself in the past and they are really nice and helpful. Please ask your friend to report what she's been told.