Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

It is never right to accept abuse because its part of your 'culture'. How can I help friend see that.

(17 Posts)
Prosperos Sun 11-Sep-16 09:09:10

Have NC for this. This is to help a friend whose first language is not English but has lived in UK for many years.

What a mess. Friend has two young children (both less than 3 years) and her DP (their father) is abusive of the worst kind. Earns little money, spends most of it going out with his mates and very probably takes drugs. The worst, rapes her 2-3 times a month when the DC are sleeping. They still live together but friend has wanted DP to move out for a few months. He refuses, laughs it off.

Friend works hard during the week to support her DCs and to send money home for family. Due to her culture the abuse is partly tolerated, because "it happens" in a significant minority of families. Wider family members stay a few months at a time to help with childcare and this may not help as "family comes first".

Friend has met a new man through her work and there is the start of a relationship. He sounds amazing, very mature, giving, supportive and in so many ways they are suited. They want a future together and friend is overwhelmed in her mind of splitting DP from her children. It may be a culture thing, or it may be simply that the eldest will genuinely miss his father.

I want some advice please on how I can help her understand what DP is doing to her and that she must do something drastic immediately. Going to the police is not an option she wants to consider. Particularly given the culture background - need to find her a way to break through this 'acceptance'. Had the talk that she should get DP out first and get herself straight before embarking on a new relationship, but for various reasons I can see this is not what she wants. I do not want to go over that issue again.

Help me advise her what to do please!

I am going to a family gathering shortly so will not be able to log on until this evening. TIA.

Prosperos Sun 11-Sep-16 12:48:25


My friend is from South America and the culture there, although Catholic, is negative to women.

Corialanusburt Sun 11-Sep-16 12:53:13

It's not good for a child to have a father who rapes the mother. I would go right ahead with support for your friend to leave him.
She maybe needs to plan in secret first e.g. Start getting important documents together. If , once her dp has found out, he decided to return to his native country, how would she resolve that issue? I imagine he'd want o take the children.

Prosperos Sun 11-Sep-16 13:00:23

Thank you Corial.

I am struggling how to help her practically given no contact with the police and the family (his at least) blind eye to the abuse. There are no assets, nothing financial, she has her job and they live in rented accommodation in London. He earns £25k a year and changes job every 6 months, cannot keep a single job down. I think she felt sorry for him, but no I think that has transferred to the DCs if they do not see him.

He could go back to South America, but I doubt he would want to take the children or be allowed to.

Caipora Sun 11-Sep-16 13:08:18

My friend is from South America and the culture there, although Catholic, is negative to women.
So all other religions are what? Negative to women?

This behaviour would not be tolerated in South America, marital rape is illegal. If your friend's told you otherwise then she's not wanting to face reality. She needs to get out of that relationship.

SandyY2K Sun 11-Sep-16 13:35:34

There are some women's support groups specific to the cultural background, although the main ones I've heard of (in the London area) are Somali Women, Asian and Black. I'm quite sure any of these groups would help her though, as they likely have similar cultural issues to navigate.

NightWanderer Sun 11-Sep-16 13:42:59

It's hard but you can't make people see sense. Her culture may not be the full reason, there are plenty of British women who won't leave abusive marriages. You can do your best to be supportive, but you just have to accept that if she chooses to stay in her marriage there is nothing you can do.

AdoraBell Sun 11-Sep-16 13:52:20

Ciapora have you lived in Latin America?

The fact that this kind of abuse is ilegal doesn't stop it happening, unfortunately.

OP I would go with the suggestion that this is not good for the DC. It may be a long slog to get through to her though.

Prosperos Sun 11-Sep-16 14:22:37

Thank you for your replies, which are so helpful.

Just wanted to add something. Where I said Had the talk that she should get DP out first and get herself straight before embarking on a new relationship, but for various reasons I can see this is not what she wants I just want to be clear that she does want DP out. She wants to start the new relationship also.

Adora you are right. Abuse happens in every country and culture. It is a real eye opener to me. Friend's DP's mother was in the UK for the Summer and took him to task, but sadly nowhere near enough. It is kind of accepted.

Caipora Sun 11-Sep-16 14:22:47

Yes I do live in Latin America, clues n the name hmm. It's as culturally unacceptable as it is in Spain, Italy and Portugal. It happens here, just as it happens everywhere, I work with children with PTSD, I know it happens but it's no more a part of the culture as it is Europe. It happening is the very reason there are support groups and shelters. It's well known and heavily tackled.
I find it absolutely shocking that blatent xenophobia and undertones religious bigotry go unchallenged just because the OP mentioned a culture that less people on mumsnet know about.
If the OP said her friend was Spanish and finds it difficult to leave because of the culture of machismo would that explain away her situation? Of course not. She's in that situation for the same reason thousands of other women are, because she's being abused and it's difficult to leave, not because she's fucking South American!

Prosperos Sun 11-Sep-16 14:42:31

This thread is intended to get info to help my friend who has been raped by her 'DP' whose family, due to cultural issues, are not treating the issue as seriously or as practicably as most posters on her would do in real life. But then we have more information in the UK, more awareness and more motivation to deal with these issues.

I mentioned South America because I knew it would get more traction.

So you are right Caipora, in some ways. But this was not a post about cultural issues per se.

Caipora Sun 11-Sep-16 15:16:45

But this was not a post about cultural issues per se

Except you stated that domestic abuse is part of her culture.
But then we have more information in the UK, more awareness and more motivation to deal with these issues.

No, daily infomercials on tv here like in UK, helpline numbers, leaflets from the police, hospitals, doctors and schools with training. OK things are probably better in some countries than others but really....culturally accepted hmmhmmhmm

Prosperos Sun 11-Sep-16 15:23:22

Thank you Caipora

Now as you understand the issue, what is your advice?
What would you do practically? smile

uglyswan Sun 11-Sep-16 15:26:57

I would contact Latin American Womens Aid for support. They're in London.

redexpat Sun 11-Sep-16 15:28:52

Are they married?

Since they rent, whose name is the property in?

Caipora Sun 11-Sep-16 15:38:59

I would approach it exactly as anyone else in an abusive relationship. Give her contact numbers and help her. The children are young. The sooner she gets out the better.

Caipora Sun 11-Sep-16 19:03:11

Also what she would or her family could/would do in their home country is not what they can do in the UK. If you were in South America in her position would you know who to call? Would your family? Consider this might be part of why her family don't get involved. I'd know who to call if this happened to me here because I watch tv, work in education and with the police but I know many English people that wouldn't know where to turn for help, especially if they lacked the language. It would be unfair to label them as accepting of DV because of that.
I really hope you can help!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now