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Question

25 Jan 2013

Do I tell someone?
My friend has been in an abusive relationship for years - it''s so bad that I cannot understand how she stays with him. I''ve tried to get her to leave him but she won''t / can''t.

She recently sent me an email describing an incident and included photo''s of the bruises he gave her, this is the first time I have had physical proof. I want to send the email on to her parents (even though she is a full grown adult) because I''m sure that they will pull her out of the relationship. If I do, she will probably never speak to me again, and she has been my best friend for decades. It will change her world and she will never forgive me. If I don''t though there''s no telling how bad this is going to get.

Do I send the email to her parents? What should I do? I''ve done eveything a counsellor at POWA has suggested - I''ve sat by and not judged and been there whenever she''s needed me but it''s not changing anything. I am at a loss - I dont want to lose my Best Friend but it seems as though no matter what I do - I''m going to lose her
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Its hard, of course, to understand why someone remains with an abuser and chooses to believe his lies and false promises. But she is doing something significant, though probably confiused, in sending you pictures of some of the damage and bruises. She must know that you COULD send this on to her parents, or even the police. And especially if she did not specifically say in her e-mail that she doesn't want you to do so, she should have known she was creating this possibility.
Proper help to escape from an abuser might change her world for the better. An abuser is no loss. Ever. "Not judging" is weaselly advice, and usually amounts to collusion and assisting the abuser. Why are you assuming that any action in sharing the evidence will automatically and orrevocably end your friendship ?
Why would she be taking and keeping photos of the abuse if she merely intends to remain a victim forever ?
Make it clear to her that you care badly about her and what happens to her, b ut its too painful to know that the abuse continues, while she chooses to use her stubbornness to enable her abuser to continue doing so, rather than to escape from him. Can she meet with you, and discuss her real options ?
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