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Supporting a friend whose brother has been accused of Domestic Violence

(19 Posts)
SolidGoldBrass Thu 07-Feb-13 16:58:57

Yes, one way (perhaps) to help your friend is as Cestlavie says: suggest ways her brother can see his child again and encourage her to encourage him to behave himself (ie make NO attempt to contact his wife, agree to supervised contact, always turn up on time and sober, do not do anything which suggests he is feeling angry towards the wife.)

cestlavielife Thu 07-Feb-13 16:50:01

welll... whatever the reason, it has happened.
i agree with ohers that you ahve no idea what happened behind closed doors and that people dont flee for no reason...

she could tell him to continue to be "kind and gentle" and realise he cant get access to his wife - only - via the courts - to his child; and this is likely to be strictly supervised.
but if he plays by the rules turns up to the contact centre is a model dad and puts child's interests first then chances are that over [a very long] time he can rebuild relationship with his child.

but with her? probably not...

Jux Thu 07-Feb-13 16:01:20

My brother is kind and gentle. He has no partner, btw, and has never been accused of abuse. So I'm trying to put myself in your friend's shoes.

If my bro had ever been accused of this, then yes, I would find it impossible to believe, I would feel sick, I would want to cry on my friend's shoulder and shout and scream about the injustice of it.

But a still small voice in the back of my mind would be saying "no one does that to their child without cause - taking himmout of school, going to a refuge". So for a while at least, probably a fairly long while, I would rail against the world a bit louder to drown that voice out. Until one day, I couldn't do it any longer.

I would need my friend there, saying "dear dear, there there, mmmmm, tea?" to me a lot, until I became capable of coherent thought again. And then I would need her to be kind to me even more, because if my brother were an abusive bastard I would want to die.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 07-Feb-13 07:49:10

Sounds like a pretty human and classic, if not entirely admirable, reaction from your friend: she doesn't want to believe something that would shake her established world view, so she's finding someone else to direct her anger at (SIL).

My SIL was similarly vociferous and outraged when I accused her brother of DV, and was very aggressive towards me in her rage to make it not be so. She is cut of the same cloth as her brother.

Dryjuice25 Thu 07-Feb-13 01:13:09


Dryjuice25 Thu 07-Feb-13 01:12:36

Your friend is blinded by loyalty and you're in an akward position too. My feeling is there is no way she would flee without a good reason as most people find it difficult to flee when there is a strong reason to. Some women take years to make that decision and she probably has suffered for years like most women do, shame the family will always support their own and now she is the bitch that too the child away,poor woman

shadesofwhite Thu 07-Feb-13 00:47:50

Sounds like my STBXH and SIL grin . Fleeing to a refuge on Monday, can't take anymore abuse. SIL and MIL believe that he is an absolute angel who is super gentle and knows how to treat a woman, well, sadly that's the truth cause that's who he is in public BUT closed doors, I get my head banged on the wall infront of my DD. Who believes me? No one apArt from Doctors who have had to treat me, my SW, police, and my poor DD.
Hope the poor lady is safe and sound.

just support her, you'll sooner or later know the truth.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 06-Feb-13 18:40:06

It's a rotten position for you to be in (though obviously not as bad as the poor woman who has had to flee). As others have said, keep to 'Oh dear, how awful, there there.' Your friend may not actually know that her brother is an abuser; some abusive men are clever at hiding it. Or she might suddenly crack in front of you and confide that the brother used to abuse her as well and everyone had to pretend that everything was OK.

Hissy Wed 06-Feb-13 18:35:21

Perhaps if she were more supportive of her SIL there wouldn't have been a need for her to flee.

Her db will have appeared fine to the outside, and actually, given that she came from the same tree, she might think his behaviour IS normal.

Nobody flees like that for fun, stay well out of it, let's be pleased that the woman must feel safer now.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 17:34:58

If your friend believes her brother to be kind and gentle then, naturally, as his sister she's going to take his side. I know 'we believe you' is the mantra on MN but I think 'innocent until proven guilty' also applies. So that is the tack I would take with the friend.... i.e. to keep an open mind about what has gone on, hope for the best but prepare to find out the worst.

11Plustrauma Wed 06-Feb-13 17:34:03

I can understand that but actually if you're a good friend you should gently suggest that he might be. Because no woman would take a child out of school and flee to a refuge if all was rosy at home, would she?

ptangyangkipperbang Wed 06-Feb-13 17:32:30

Thanks everyone. I think I've become an expert this week at saying "mmm" and "it must be difficult".

I absolutely agree that nobody knows what happens behind closed doors but there is no way my friend would consider that her brother could be at fault - and obviously I'm not going to suggest that could be the case. All her anger is directed at her SIL.

In someways I want to avoid her but I'd be a pretty rubbish friend if I did that and she does need sympathy and support.

bakingaddict Wed 06-Feb-13 17:17:47

Support your friend, let her talk but don't be drawn into any conservation about her brother or SIL's supposed characters, just give non-committal answers or remain passive when she talks about her brother.

BIWI Wed 06-Feb-13 17:15:19

If she's gone to the extent of taking her child out of school and fleeing to a refuge, it does indicate that there is something serious going on.

I would be a shoulder for your friend to cry on, and someone she can talk to, but make sure you remain as neutral as possible about her brother. Don't encourage her to side with him or badmouth her SIL.

A difficult position for you to be in sad (but probably not half as difficult as the woman herself and her child)

HeyHoHereWeGo Wed 06-Feb-13 17:14:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumblechum1 Wed 06-Feb-13 17:12:36

Nothing. The woman is entitled to be left in peace at least until such a time as she has obtained some security, either by way of a non-molestation injunction/occupation order, or bail conditions attached to her husband's arrest warrant.

If and when the woman wishes to re-establish contact with the husband's family, no doubt she'll do so.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 06-Feb-13 17:11:50

Listen, don't comment. There isn't much else you can do.sad

11Plustrauma Wed 06-Feb-13 17:11:23

I would stay out of it as much as you can. You have no idea what her brother is like behind closed doors, and no matter what she thinks, she has no idea of the dynamics of his relationship with his partner.

Sorry, I know that's not what you want to hear.

ptangyangkipperbang Wed 06-Feb-13 17:08:56

A friend is devastated that her SIL disappeared with her DN. Nobody would say where she had gone and her DN has been taken out of his school.

They have now found out from the police that her SIL is in a refuge and has accused her husband of domestic violence. She isn't allowing him to see their child and he now has a solicitor involved to gain access.

My friend says her brother is kind and gentle and there is no way he would be violent.

My gut feeling is telling me that a woman wouldn't flee a comfortable lifestyle and uproot her child unless she was desperate. However, my friend isn't going to want to hear that but she still needs support because she can't see her DN who she loves very much.

What would you do?

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