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how do I help my friend - possible domestic violence

(3 Posts)
NC81114 Thu 04-Dec-14 20:32:49

I am worried about my friend/neighbor. She lives in the apartment downstairs from me with her husband. I will try and keep a long story very short here, but at the beginning of the year, her husband moved out and went back to his country. There were a few hints that they weren't very happy. I heard shouting once or twice but nothing much. She didn't seem to know if he was coming back at all. I didn't pry too much to be honest, as I was friends with both of them, but closer to her as we work in the same place too and have work friends in common. We started hanging out more and a few months ago, she started 'seeing' (sleeping with) one of our friends, James.

Cut forward to recently and her husband moves back in out of the blue. She calls it off with James saying she has to try and make her marriage work. We talk about it and she says she is going to tell her husband about James. The night she does this, all hell breaks lose. I hear screaming and yelling downstairs, including him calling her a "fucking whore" and saying "I ought to beat you" (words to that effect). There was a bit of banging then it all went quiet. She then doesn't come into work the next day. I go downstairs and she looks fine, not visibly hurt, assures me she is fine. They had a "big fight", he didn't hurt her, it was just shouting. She seems upset and embarrassed. She says they have a lot to work out. I tell her she can talk to me and I will help her if she needs me but she is just a bit upset at this point and she wants me to go away.

I don't hear anything for a week or so, but see them around doing normal couple stuff. They look happier, she seems OK when I bump into her at work. We haven't really hung out because she's busy with her husband and to make matters worse, I mentioned my fears to James and he went and said something to her so now she is really pissed off with us both.

Then last night, I hear him shouting a bit, then some strange noises (almost like slaps, but wasn't sure, no other noise and went on for a few minutes) and afterwards her crying. I thought about calling the police but the noise stopped and I heard talking. I figured there would be nothing for the police to do and it might alienate her further. I didn't see her at work today but saw an email to all from her so she was in.

I am worried about her now but don't know what to do. Even if he hasn't hit her he has threatened her. I know she has done something wrong but her husband is seriously out of order even threatening violence. I would really like to say something to her dickhead husband to be honest, but I won't because it might make things worse. The problem is she's pissed off with me too now and she strongly denied anything when I asked questions before. How can I approach this sensitively without pushing her away more?

mamato3luvleys Thu 04-Dec-14 22:29:41

Tell her your not deaf and couldn't help hearing her husband shouting at her, tell her your not gonna judge and your her friend not foe and that she can trust you.
Maybes she just needs to know for sure you have heard what was happening but be prepared for her to go into complete denial also.
Good luck and if you hear anything else I would call the police just incase.
Stuff like this always makes me think of that Tracey Chapman song and I wouldn't think twice about trying to intervene...

CogitOIOIO Thu 04-Dec-14 22:36:05

Are there any children involved? Don't think you'd be out of line calling the police if you suspect violence. Other neighbours must be able to hear as well

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