16 May 2012
Hi Jude, I have a neighbour who is Middle Eastern and she is going through domestic violence. She is too afraid to talk to anyone but did confess to me as I prompted her after spotting the signs. I just want to know what I can do to help. I am worried about her as she has indicated having suicidal thoughts. I have already emailed her the link to this website and I have talked to her about other options. I have in the past experienced similar so I know what it's like. I just feel helpless now though. Her husband is very controlling and I don't want to push too hard and make things worse for her. Thanks.
Thank you for writing in and thank you for caring so much about your friend. May I suggest that you contact the local women's refuge in your area (this number can be obtained by ringing 0800 456 450 and asking for the contact details) and share what is happening with your friend and they will be able to advise you of what can be done.
There may be a refuge called Shakti in your area also, which caters for women of different ethnicities, you could ask about this when you ring our 0800 number. Either way there is help available to your friend to help keep her safe. I know how frightening this is so please let her know that she is not alone and there is help available to her if she is able to reach out to it.
May I suggest that you talk to her about creating a safety plan which is a plan that she has in place should she need to leave in a hurry. The plan includes things like having a pre-arranged place to go to should things get out of hand (or even if she sees the warning signs) having this person's phone number on speed dial (if she has a phone of course), having a pre arranged phrase or word so that if she rings and says this particular phrase it is immediately known that she needs help or is on her way. It includes having some money put aside in a secret place, maybe a set of car keys, important personal documents, anything she may need.
If she does leave then there will be other things that your friend can access like counselling, programmes especially for women who have experienced family violence, financial support, and housing. But I think at this stage it's about letting her know what is available right now and reminding her that she is not alone.
Please write back in should you need any more information. I will be thinking of your friend and hoping that she is ok and getting help. Family violence is not ok and not accepted in New Zealand and we will look after anyone who has been subjected to it.
I wish you all the best.
Other Ask Jude Questions14 May 2013
My best friend is in an abusive relationship and has been for over a year. She has been led into depression, is very self-conscious and keeps going back.
I hate seeing her all bruised up but she will not leave.
How do I help her overcome her fear of leaving? ... Read the answer
07 May 2013
I have been with my husband for 30 years and have left once and initiated leaving twice but have not gone as his temper has improved but it has now got to a point where I can't stand the yelling anymore. He loses his temper over the silliest things and although he has not hit me he has threatened my 15 year old for not smiling or just for the fact that he will do a good job of it if he was to call the police. I am planning on moving out but I am feeling torn as when he is calm it is great but when he is yelling at inanimate objects and threatening to kill himself and asking some unknown person 'why' everything goes wrong for him we feel intimidated and scared to react to him in case we get in the way. It is like living in a tornado, calm one minute and then all hell lets loose. I have secured all the important documents and have arranged to stay with family if it gets too bad, but trying to plan to move slowly without him knowing. My family have suggested I tell the police what is happening in case he goes over the top one day but I feel like I am betraying him just talking to family, let alone the police, do you think I should? ... Read the answer
29 Apr 2013
Hi Jude, I am very worried about my sister in-law, she has admitted that her partner has emotionally abused her for 7 years and I have witnessed his very controlling and degrading behaviour towards her. She left him last October but he has not given her one day to breathe and has now made his way back into her life. She told me it is because of the kids and he has changed. I do not believe this and her family are beginning to give up on her. I don't know what to do or how I can help. I know it is not up to me to tell her that she is making a mistake and she will make her own decisions, I'm just worried he will take her away and we will never be able to help. Help! Thank You.... Read the answer