Anonymous asked this question on 4/7/2000:
Hi all, I have a problem and I would love some input from the experts here, before I totally lose my mind. Here's my situation; To be as brief as possible, I have a sister who is 10 years younger than me. Our mother was killed in a horrific car accident when I was 13 and my sister was only 3 years old. My sister is a very beautiful girl, just finishing her last year in college, very loving and giving, active in her church and community. Don't get me wrong, she is not a perfect angel, but she is a very good person, a person who always sees the good in everyone and would never harm anything or anyone. For the past year she has been dating a guy that seemed to be alright. Our father and our 4 brothers (all older than her), and I, thought he seemed like the average guy and didn't have a problem with him. One day she was mad at him and opened up to me and told me that he had been abusing her. The things she told me that he has done to her are some pretty serious things. Some made my stomach turn. Aside from the horrible physical abuse, he has her convinced that she is ugly and a total tramp and no one else will ever have her. He knows that I know what he has been up to, so he tries to keep her from spending any time with me. I was honestly sick after hearing about these terrible things that he has done to her. Believe me when I say the things he has done to her are sick and disgusting,(ranging from head-butting her trying to knock her unconcious to stomping on her face and stomach), and that's not even the worst of it. I was so angry at him and begged her to leave him alone. At the time she was mad at him and agreed to. She asked me to promise not to tell anyone. I knew that would be a promise I could never keep. Things like this HAVE to be talked about or someone could wind up getting killed. A couple of days later she was back with him and everything was lovey dovey again between them. She no longer wanted to talk about the abuse and even said that she wished she had never told me. She said that he is a great guy and she is going to marry him and he will get some help for his "little problem", and everything will be wonderful. I told my father and brothers. Their initial reaction was to go and phisically harm the guy. Then they decided that saying or doing anything would only push her closer to him. When I try to bring up the subject to her about leaving him, she clams up and gets mad and won't talk to me for days. I am convinced I need to keep the lines of communication open with her, so I have had to try and not say anything to her, but it is killing me to be quiet about this! I am angry that my father and brothers have not at least let the guy know that they know what he has been doing and voice their opinion on the matter. As time goes by, her boyfriend, when he is being good, helps her in many ways, does nice things for her and shows his better side around my family. I think my father and brothers think that I have exaggerated about how bad this guy is. I think they have the "he could be better, but he could be worse" attitude. This is really upsetting to me. I don't know how much longer I can just stand by and watch these things happen to her. When I try to say or do something about it, it just puts distance between us, and I don't want that because I love her with all my heart, she is my best friend. Something has got to be done about this situation before he kills her. I feel like climbing to the top of a mountain and screaming for help until someone hears me! My family is convinced that saying anything to her or her boyfriend will only push her that much closer to him. I don't know what to do. Can anyone help me?
yourfriend gave this response on 4/8/2000:
FIRST LET ME SAY TO YOU THAT YOU ARE A WONDERFUL PERSON FOR TRYING TO HELP. SECOND THING IS IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP THE WOMAN WILL HAVE SUCH LOW SELF ESTEEM AS SHE DOES THAT THEY START TO BELIEVE THE ABUSERS THAT SHE IS NO GOOD UGLY, ETC. THEN THE VICTIMS WILL TRY HARDER TO MAKE THEMSELVES WHAT THE ABUSER WANTS. SO THAT MAYBE THE ABUSER WILL LOVE MORE, AND EVEN CHANGE. AS YOU SEEM TO KNOW, ABUSERS DO NOT GENERALLY CHANGE, AND CERTAINLY NOT IN A DAY WEEK OR EVEN A YEAR. YOUR SISTER IS BEING BLINDED BY THIS VISCOUS CYCLE HE HAS HER IN, AND IT WILL CONTINUE OVER AND OVER AGAIN. THIS IS KNOWN AS THE HONEYMOON CYCLE, AND IF YOU WERE TO CALL THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE THEY TO WILL EXPLAIN THIS "HONEYMOON CYCLE" TO YOU AS I AM ABOUT TO. FIRST PICTURE A CIRCLE AND CUT IT INTO FOURTHS, NOW IN THE FIRST SECTION , HE IS SWEET,COMPLIMENTARY, AND LOVEABLE. IN THE SECOND SECTION, HE IS STARTING TO BECOME VERBALLY ABUSIVE, AND HE IS BELITTING HER AGAIN! IN YOUR THIRD SECTION NOW, HE IS AGAIN PHYSICALLY PUNISHING HER FOR HIS OWN OFF THE WALL THOUGHTS, AND ANGER, NOT FOR ANYTHING SHE HAS DONE. REMEMBER IT IS A CIRCLE. NOW FOR THE FOURTH SECTION, HE IS SORRY, BUYS GIFTS, WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN, AND HE DOESN'T KNOW WHY HE DID IT, SHE IS BEAUTIFUL, AND ALL HE EVER WANTED, HE MAY EVEN USE THE EXCUSE THAT HE IS SO SCARED OF LOSING HER, HE LOSES CONTROL. BUT IN HIS FITS OF ABUSE, THAT STATEMENT GOES TO THREATS, SUCH AS IF YOU LEAVE ME I WILL KILL YOU, OR FIND YOU, NO ONE ELSE WILL HAVE YOU, ETC. YOUR SISTER LOVES HIM SO SHE WANTS TO BELIEVE THE TOP HALF OF THE CIRCLE, SHE WANTS TO BELIEVE HIS BROKEN PROMISES, AND TO BELIEVE THAT HE WILL CHANGE. IF HE TRULY WANTED TO CHANGE THEN HE WOULD OF SEEKED COUNSELING AHEAD OF TIME, RIGHT BEFORE OR AFTER THE 1ST INCIDENT OF ABUSE. IF HE IS HELPING HER WITH MONEY THEN SHE MAY FEEL THAT SHE CANNOT MAKE IT WITHOUT HIM. SHE DOES FEEL ALONE, BECAUSE SHE TOLD YOU, AND REGRETS IT AFRAID YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND HER THOUGHTS. BUT DON'T GIVE UP ON HER, DON'T TURN YOUR BACK, SO THAT WHEN SHE IS READY TO LEAVE HIM, SHE KNOWS SOMEONES STILL CARES, AND LOVES HER EVEN THOUGH SHE STAYED. MY SUGGESTION TO YOU ALSO IS IF YOU NOTICE ANY VIOLENCE, IMMEDIATELY CALL THE POLICE, YOU CAN DO SO ANNOYMOUSLY, TELL THEM THERE IS A TERRIBLE FIGHT, AND THAT SHE HAS MARKS ETC. ON HER FROM HIM. IN MOST STATES EVEN IF THE VICTIM DOES NOT PRESS CHARGES THE STATE OFTEN WILL. CONTINUE TO DO THIS, BECAUSE THE FIRST TIME HE IS ARRESTED, MOST LIKELY HE WILL BE OUT IN 24 HOURS, SO THE MORE HE GETS ARRESTED, THE MORE TIME HE WILL EVENTUALLY GET. ALSO FOR YOUR SANITY DURING ALL OF THIS CALL THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE IN YOUR AREA, LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU NEED HELP TO UNDERSTAND AND IN ORDER TO HELP YOUR SISTER. THEY WILL OFFER YOU FREE COUNCELING DURING THIS TERRIBLE TIME. AND THE SUPPORT THAT YOU ARE NOT GETTING FROM YOUR FAMILY ON THIS ISSUE. AS FOR THE FAMILY, THEY PROBABLY DON'T FEEL ITS AS BAD AS YOU SAY, BECAUSE ALL ABUSERS ARE DIFFERENT TO THE PUBLIC, THEY ARE BEYOND SWEET, THEY ARE ALSO VERY GOOD AT HIDING AND LYING TO OTHERS ABOUT THE ABUSE. IN THE PUBLIC EYE TO MEET HIM YOU WOULD NEVER GUESS HE IS AND DOES PHYSICALLY ABUSE SOMEONE. THAT IS THE TROUBLE WITH THE POLICE AND COURTS, BECAUSE ALL OF A SUDDEN THIS PERFECT MAN IS UP FOR VIOLENCE, AND HE IS A HARD WORKING, GOOD CITIZEN. WELL , PEOPLE DON'T GIVE THEIR COMMON SENSE ALWAYS WHEN IT COMES TO LOOKING BEHIND THAT CLOSED DOOR.
ANOTHER THING IS WHEN YOU VISIT YOUR SISTER, AND IF SHE HAS BRUISES CUTS ETC. TAKE A PICTURE, IF SHE WON'T LET YOU THEN LIE AND TELL HER YOU JUST BOUGHT THE FILM, CAMERA WHATEVER AND WANT A PICTURE OF HER. THIS WAY WHEN HE GOES TO COURT YOU CAN SHOW THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY THE PICTURES, AND AGAIN THEY CAN KEEP YOU ANNOYMOUS THROUGH THIS SO SHE DOESN'T BLAME OR HIDE FROM YOU, THIS WAY YOU ARE STILL KEEPING CONTACT WITH HER.
YOU CAN ONLY LET HER KNOW THAT YOU ARE THERE FOR HER, SHE WILL NOT LEAVE UNTIL SHE IS READY,AND AS MUCH AS I HATE SAYING THIS, WHEN WE COUNSEL OUR VICTIMS, WE CANNOT TELL THEM TO LEAVE, OR THAT THEY SHOULD DO THIS OR THAT, REASON BEING, THEY ARE ALREADY A VICTIM AND IT MAKES THEM FEEL LIKE YOU BETRAY THEM, WE ONLY LISTEN, OFFER OUR ASSISTANCE, AND LET THEM KNOW WE ARE HERE, A VICTIM IS VERY BROKEN UP INSIDE, VERY CONFUSED, SCARED, AND THERE ARE ALOT OF SECRETS THEY MUST HIDE, THEY FEEL THAT IT IS THEIR FAULT, AND THATS WHY WE CAN ONLY SUGGEST NOT TELL THEM WHAT TO DO, THIS IS HOW WE BUILD THEIR TRUST.
WHEN SHE LEAVES, AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE SOON, SHE WILL NEED ALOT OF SUPPORT, AS SHE COULD HAVE "BATTERED WOMANS SYNDROME" AND YES THERE IS SUCH A THING,SHE MAY HAVE NIGHTMARES, BECOME PHYSICALLY SICK, INSOMNIA, AND SEVERE MENTAL CONFUSION, SHE WON'T TRUST, AND SHE WILL FEAR OTHERS. BUT AGAIN THIS COULD BE FROM THE DAY SHE LEAVES (FOR GOOD) TO 10 YRS LATER.
SHE WILL PROBABLY BRESK UP WITH HIM A FEW TIMES GO BACK, BECAUSE HE CLAIMS HOW SORRY HE IS AND BEGS FOR HER RETURN, THIS IS NOT UNCOMMON IN A VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP. PLEASE FOR YOUR SISTERS SAKE, BE PATIENT WITH HER, NOT HIM, AND DON'T LET HER KNOW YOUR LOSING FAITH IN HER, AS THAT WILL ONLY BELITTLE HER MORE. IF YOU START TO LOSE FAITH, THEN ATLEAST WHEN SHE IS AROUND TRY TO MASK THOSE FEELINGS. AS HARD AS IT MAY BE.
IF I CAN HELP YOU ANY FURTHER LET ME KNOW..
CALL THIS NUMBER TO FIND ASSISTANCE IN YOUR CITY, NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLING
The average rating for this answer is 4.8.
Anonymous rated this answer a 5.
Thanks for taking the time to leave me such a detailed answer. I really appreciate it. I will use the number you have given me, sounds like a good idea. Thanks agsin.