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Are there any women's shelters you can call to help her? What about child protective services for the kids? Their schools?

Next time Tertia, call the police or social services and report it again and again. You can do it anonymously, so they won't know it's you or your parents, but please please don't leave them like that.

She may be saying that she doesn't want anyone to interfere or help, but it's only because she is afraid that it will get worse. And if the cops don't intervene soon, it will get worse and worse until someone ends up dead. And then where will the children be?

Drives me crazy when the cops do nothing, but one day, somehow, they will and she might be saved. It's worth the effort really.

No, not "How dare THEY!" Make that "How dare HE!"

In a great many cases, a woman makes the difficult choice to stay with a abuser because leaving him would be more dangerous. Here in the U.S., women who leave abusive husbands have a frighteningly high murder rate. Sometimes all that keeps him from killing her is feeling like he still has some control because she and the kids are still living with him. If she leaves, he may hunt her down like an animal and kill her.

We must never, ever criticize an abuse victim for not leaving (or for dropping charges after the police get involved), even if this mystifies us. The blame belongs solely on the abuser, not his victims.

How very heartbreaking!

Here in the States, they would have taken the guy to jail, period. What his partner says she wants them to do has not a bit of influence on what happens to him. It's taken the US justice system a long time to get to where it is, but legally, things are improving for battered partners here.

What nobody can do much about, however, is the statistic that women will leave an abuser an average of eight times before she leaves him for good, if he doesn't kill her first. Here they might be booked for assault, do a few days' time, be released, and go right home, and it starts all over again. It's awful, and tragic, and it's human nature.

When I was 9 months pregnant, I was walking to my car one day and saw a woman walking with a little boy, maybe four or five years old--still little. A car drove up, a guy got out, walked up to this woman, punched her square in the face, got back into his car and drove off. The worst thing was watching this little boy help his mother (I assume it was his mother) up off the ground and back into their apartment, like he'd seen it happen a million times before. I went running over to see if I could do anything to help, but she was so obviously humiliated and ashamed of what had happened that she shooed me off right away. I felt awful, but I had no idea who she was or who the guy was or anything else, and didn't know what to do. I did let the apartment complex know what I'd seen, but there wasn't anything they could do either. It was awful, really sad.

I agree, though, continue to call the police. The cycle of violence only stops when something stops it.

F--k that, that ars--ole must be taught a lesson. Big time. No kid ever deserves anything like that. The ARS--OLE!

Oh, how awful! I agree with others about looking into the laws and resources in the area. Orange is right, it is a VERY dangerous situation, but one that will likely only get worse (possibly deadly worse) without help.

Ugh. in the states you can call child protective services if the abuse is being witnessed by the children--especially if the children are in emotional distress.

My heart goes out to that mother and her children.

Those poor kids :(

Tertia,
What are the laws in South Africa? Are there very specific ones about domestic abuse? It has only been in the last few years that laws in the United States have gotten so that in this situation the abuser would be arrested regardless of whether or not the victim presses charges. Unfortunately, being witness to the abuse will land the children in state custody which can create its own set of problems. We would be very interested to know how SA's systems work.

It makes me want to go over there with a baseball bat. Send me the address, I'm sure I can get somebody to go and bash him up. Arsehole. I have been there - lived with that situation (not with dh but with family in the past). It scarred me for life - it never goes away. x

Oh Tertia, that breaks my heart. Those poor kids.

There is a family that lives directly across the street from us in a similar situation. We've done all we can but the wife has chosen to stay with her husband. In their case the house is always silent, with the shades drawn, the kids never outside. The only reason I know she's battered is because she told me. We tried all we could, the husband even left for a while but they're back to the way they were. It really does hurt.

I have a friend who used to live in a smart neighborhood not far from where you are and she used to be abused. The police told her often that they got more calls from her neighborhood than the poorer areas!

I just can't get the little girl's tears out of my head :(
Is there really nothing you can do Tertia??

does SA have a tough stance on domestic abuse? could you report anonymously?

how very disturbing. how tragic for those children and that poor woman.

Wow! Just reading that brought back so many bad memories. I live here in America and I am also so lucky for what I have today. There once was a time I lived in an area where there usually was at least one family that had these types of issues on a regular basis. Their kids were my friends. There have also been a few times that I've been woken in the middle of the night of my parents fighting. Sometimes they both got physical. I knew when I was 16 that my father tried to kill himself in the garage because I was awake when his best friend (who is a cop) kicked down the garage door to get him out. I don't think they realize how much they put me through. But I'm OK. And I think I needed a reminder of how much different my life is today.

Tertia, I would also love to hear about SA's laws and general position on domestic violence.

The US has made a lot of progress in the last 20 years. But there are many countries which haven't. I lived in Lithuania 15+ years ago for some time. Witnessed abuse heading for rape in the hallway of a building -- called the cops. Cops came, told the *WOMAN* to knock off her screaming and left. Victim was to blame for not getting with the program already, causing a stir and disturbing people enough to get the police called. Abuser -- barely even a slap on the wrist. It was awful. So in some places, calling the cops is a useless exercise and could even hurt the victm.

Very heartbreaking indeed. I can't help but wonder what happened to that man when he was a child? Once he might have been the kid on the bike. I hope it is not too late for all of them, but especially for the children before the damage steals all of their childhood innocence. sigh, a long profoundly sad sigh.

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