Abused friend returns to husband

A textbook case of domestic abuse

The friend I wrote about several days ago that has been psychologically, sexually, and physically abused by her husband has returned to him after fleeing from their home. I don’t know the details, but I do know that she has spoken to him by phone; and he’s agreed to go to couples counseling with her.

In theory, this sounds good, but color me skeptical.

Apparently, this was the second time that she’d left him since getting married, and their wedding was only several months ago. In that time, from the little I know, he commandeered her computer and tablet, and he deleted contacts from her phone without her permission. I’m certain these examples of abuse are only the tip of the iceberg.

She’s pregnant

Based upon what we know, our friend is almost certainly pregnant, which makes her situation so much more challenging.

Her unborn child will render her forever tied to her abuser, for he is the father; abortion is not something she would consider. Also, she, ever the kind, gentle optimist, holds out unfounded hope that he will change his behavior and be a good father to their child (he already has children from a previous marriage, and she claims that he is a good father to them).

The pregnancy increases her desire to ‘make the marriage work’, which, from the perspective of her friends (including us) seems very ill-advised. However, her being pregnant means that time is working against her, in terms of the ease with which she potentially could establish her freedom from him.

She has very few resources

Our friend is an immigrant to Israel with no family in this country; her immediate family is spread around the world, and none of her relatives have been to Israel. Immigrants like her have very little structural support locally, so they have to rely upon the kindness of whatever friends they’ve made since moving here.

Relatedly, she has very few financial resources and no higher education, which limits her employment options. Her husband is not well off either, but two incomes are obviously still better than one when it comes to supporting a child, which goes back to her pregnancy.

Beyond all of the above, divorce proceedings are costly in and of themselves, which discourages low income couples from divorcing. This happens to be a contributing factor behind increases in incidents of domestic violence during economic downturns… Impoverished couples that ought to get divorced but cannot afford to do so end up remaining together – despite their crumbled marriages.

Nothing we can do

Our friend came to stay at our home when she fled from her husband last week, just before we left for our vacation in Haifa. She was here for a week; and she could have stayed for longer as far as we were concerned. In fact, we were expecting her to still be here when we returned this afternoon.

Now, she’s back with him again, and it’s not clear whether and when it’s safe for us, as her friends, to contact her. Has her husband commandeered the new phone she bought last week? At what hours is it safe to call her? Is he still tracking her movements on Google Maps?

These are horrible questions to be asking ourselves; we feel utterly helpless.

Of course, whenever she needs to, she can always come stay with us again… And, yes… I do believe it will be a matter of when – not if.

99 thoughts on “Abused friend returns to husband”

  1. Oh I can’t understand why she hasn’t contacted any of her friends, since she has no family there. That is the worse thing an immigrant can do is to isolate herself completely and nobody can find her. It is disastrous for everyone who loves and care for her.
    Her life is so complicated already and now she is in a more precarious situation.
    I feel for you guys and pray that God forms a ring of fire around your lives so you can be responsive when the need arrives.

  2. It often takes women four or five times of leaving and returning, until they finally have the strengths (and financial help) to be on their own. One more reason to be “pro choice” because if we aren’t, we force many women to stay in unwanted, abused marriages. It’s heartbreaking but sadly, normal.

  3. given the degree of violence you indicate, I would think you must not contact her now but keep yourselves safe out of it. Yes, it is very difficult to accept powerlessness. A kind of worldwide universal prayer being the only answer I have/can suggest. Shalom –

  4. I couldn’t “like” this. I’m so sorry for your friend. I’m am skeptical, too. Violence against women occurs all over the world, and pregnancy just adds additional strains. According to some studies I’ve read, in the US, homicide is the top cause of death for pregnant women.

  5. Such a tragic reality for her. I’ve friends who lived this situation. Peehaps a return to where her family is would be her best option.

  6. Jesus, poor girl! 😟🙁 I remember you posting about this lady friend of yours before David and found it saddening but not surprising the extent of his control over her! Nobody should have that much power or control over someone not least their partner; wife/husband; boyfriend/girlfriend! It’s scary! I hope the guy changes too but like you have little hope that he will! Keep us posted on this! 🙏

  7. she sounds like she’s a victim of an unholy cancer and she can not escape it mentally or physically. I know there would have to be something done to this cancer. It needs to be cut out or destroyed. If this cancer ever struck my daughters I would be the first one to cut it out. So sorry about your friend.

  8. Omg! My heart goes out to her, being the victim of a domestic violence victim. Her husband is behaving exactly like mine. He tries to control and manipulate me, monitors my every move. I too gave the sick man a second chance but no use. Anyway, I pray for her safety and welfare.

      1. Yes. Unfortunately. But planning to walk out next year considering my daughter’s current academic year.

          1. Thank you so much, dear David. This means so much to me. 😊😊😊♥️♥️♥️

  9. Oh how heartbreaking. the chances of this man changing are very small indeed. are there any hostels, refuges where she can go? is there no social security system or charity that can help her set up a life independently. I can see whyyou are reluctant to contact her, but I think you should in case she needs help in getting away. I am so sorry she is in such a situation. the man obviously has issues which he needs to deal with, but in the meantime she needs support, and toknow it is available. But you know all that.

    1. There are resources available, for sure. Both governmental and NGO’s. We gave her numbers to call for legal aid, shelter, etc., which we got from work contacts of ours. She made some calls, as far as we know. But ultimately, she chose to return to him.

    1. I don’t actually know whether or not he’s taken her new phone… but if she’s returning to him, it’s hard to imagine that she’ll keep it a secret from him…

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