kimmiesue asked this question on 4/29/2000:
My baby brother is 29 and married to a great girl for 5 years. They have 2 little boys. I am the only girl in my family and am just a few years older than my brother. I was thrilled when he married my sister-in-law because she was also my best friend.
In February, he got laid off from work and things were okay until he didn't find another job right away. He took 2 months off and begin to start changing since in his own words, "he was a free bird". Next he started hitting the bars with a group of losers that probably had never worked. My sister-in-law meanwhile had to work 2 jobs just to pay bills and the sitter. Yep, he wouldn't even watch his own kids.
Two nights ago, Becca (sister-in-law) called me during the night crying. She was so upset that I told her I would be right over. When I got there I was shocked. Becca's eye was turning blue/black and she had a nasty gash on her lip. My brother had just assaulted his wife and was gone. As a woman against violence, I reacted as such. I picked up the phone and I called police! Becca freaked when she saw the officer(s) and refused to press charges saying she had fallen down the basement stairs when she went to get clothes out of the dryer. The officer knew she was lying but he said their hands were tied. This is the first sign of violence that I know of between them, but maybe there were other times?
My whole family is mad at me for calling police. Becca is not allowed to call me when my brother is home. Did I do the wrong thing and is there anything more I can do to help Becca or my brother. I am a survivor and do not want Becca to ever endure what I did. What are her options? Any help appreciated.
Dariana gave this response on 4/29/2000:
First of all, I sympathize with your position. Being torn between family and doing what is right. I think you made a sensible choice by calling police to report the incident. Even though your sis-in-law would not press charges, there will be a record in the police log showing when they came out and why. That may still prove useful later on. As a survivor yourself, place yourself back in Becca's position and remember the fear of going for help. Standing up to any abuser is not an easy thing nor an easy decision. Fear of further injury prevents many from reporting their abuse. I would also guess from her quick explanation of "falling down the stairs" that this indeed is not an isolated incident. Still yet, she has to want the help in order to benefit from it. Try talking to her and let her know you will continue to support her.
If she is determined to remain with her husband (your brother) then suggest the following. She can go to the courthouse without an attorney and ask for a Protective Order to prevent him from further violence. Note that there are 2 kinds in most states. First there is the Non-Social/No Contact Order. This orders him to stay completely away from her. There is also a Social/Contact Order which is for couples who will continue to reside together such as your sis-in-law and brother. This order is to prevent further violence and also covers the threat of further violence. In other words, if he says, "I think I'll slap you," he is in violation and could be arrested. I would suggest this type for your brother and his wife. Gently try to persuade her to go to a battered woman's support group. You may have to offer to go along. On the Protective Orders, check with the Court Clerk to see what is available in your state and know in advance that NO attorney is necessary to fill out the paperwork. In fact, the Court Clerk may be able to direct you toward a Court Advocate who will fill it out and even go to court with Becca when the time comes. Many of these Advocates can be found through the local Y.W.C.A. Victim Advocacy Programs and they also have free counseling. Good luck. Your family is lucky to have you in their corner.
The average rating for this answer is 5.
kimmiesue rated this answer a 5.
Thank you very much, this should help a lot. :) I will call our court clerk Monday, Thanks again.