Need Advice on Handling Neighbor's Situation

A young couple with three young boys moved across the street from us a few years ago.  While we do interact with them, I can tell you the reason I always avoided them was because the husband came around through our yard and knocked on our back door one night asking to hang out with me.  He was wasted and it was 3am.  I haven't trusted him since then.  

Last night at about 3am, someone smarted banging on the front door, screaming and crying.  It was the wife and the husband.  The wife was scared out of her mind, and her lip was bloodied.  She asked us to let her in, and of course we did and shut the door behind her.  She was screaming with intense fear and shaking because she said her husband had threatened to hurt the children and they were still in the house.  We called the police and they came quickly.  They brought the boys over to our house and they took her to the hospital.  Their grandparents took a few hours to drive in from out of town to pick them up.

I know she felt embaressed to come over here when we barely know her (she said so, through sobs), but we want to do everything in our power to help her and the boys.  The last thing I want her to feel is embaressed.  I had never spent any time with her boys before this, but they are an absolute joy to be around.  I want to reach out to her in some way but I have zero experience dealing with domestic violence, and I want to make sure I don't do anything to embaress her further.  I thought about leaving a note on her doorstep letting her know that if there's anything we could do for her in the future, to please not hesitate to come to us.  Another idea I had was to leave some small trinkets for the boys (like toy hero medals as they were describing to me that they are the good guys just like the police and that heroes wear medals).  They did tell me that when they heard the commotion in their house they grabbed each other and ran into the backyard; they told me they thought of coming to our house and I told them everything they did was the right thing to do, and that coming to our house was a brilliant idea if they ever needed to in the future.  But if I leave something on their doorstep for them, the husband might find it first and I don't want to antagonize him.  It's also possible that the wife wants to move on and forget about the incident; a note or gift for the boys might upset her.  Can anyone give me advice on the best way to move forward?

Thank you!!

Original Post

Hello SAM,

Thank you for sharing your experience here at Yesican. I think that it is amazing that you helped your neighbor that very moment that you let her in after what happened. I think your ideas for reaching out to her and her kids is great but with caution just as you mentioned. It is important that you are also safe. Since the situation seems personal, it is hard to know if they want to move on. I think that for now it is best to be cautious about it just as you have been, it is a very tough situation. Also, it would be nice to know that she is safe, so if you choose to get involve then make sure that her husband is not there so everyone is safe to speak. Now if you do get a chance to give them information that they can use, there are some like Intimate Partner Abuse referrals and the National Domestic Violence Hotline are some resources.

Has anyone in the forums ever been in a situation similar to Sam’s? If so, any other suggestions that can help SAM out?

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