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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default What Can I Do For An Abused Friend

    I am at the end of my wits on what to do. Basically I have been talking to my friend for 3+ years now. She is 16 now and I am 19. She lives in SC, I live in GA, we are about 4 hour drive away. In that 3+ years I have also been talking to her family and basically had a good relationship with them. Recently we were to go to a convention in another state, which they agreed to let me take her. After the convention she would come to my house and spend some time with my family (this was because she had really wanted to, and the finances in the house were not doing so good, so they barely had any food in the house).

    Now before I go any further I feel I should explain her family a little. Throughout my friend's life she has been abused physically by her father. When her mother finally divorced him, her mother started to be physically and emotionally abusive to her. Her mother sees her as pet in all honesty. She uses her daughter as an emotional pillow, and then when my friend doesn't act the right way to be that emotional pillow her mother lashes out at her with insults, threats, and slapping and punching (I spent 3 weeks at their home and saw all this myself). Her mother is convinced that she is within her rights to treat her daughter that way. So her life is mostly consumed with keeping her mother happy and trying to do her every wish. The most extreme was when my friend was 12, her mother made her date an 18 year old guy. She did this because her mother had a crush on the guy, but couldn't be with him but felt her daughter could and he could have some happiness. If my friend went against dating the guy (which she did since she was afraid of him) her mother would hit her and tell her she had to. Now I am sure you can see this woman is a very sick individual. In the course of the time I have known her I have tried to be there for her, and try to get her mother some help. About a year ago, my efforts worked, and her mother had herself commited to a mental institution (in order to get her to go I told her she would have a good chance of getting SSI if she did). She spent a little over a week there, and they diagnosed her with having a personality disorder. They basically gave her some new medicine and let her go. Now along with this, my friend's mother also has an obsession with animals. The obsession goes so far that she has put buying ferrets above sending my friend to school. Or paying for her online highschool (she had to do an online highschool because her mother gets angry when she is away too long).

    Now my friend isn't alone in all of this, she also has a brother who is 19 and a step-father. Now they have seen all this themselves, but basically, they just turn a blind eye to it all. They have convinced themselves that her mother is never wrong. Or better yet they are afraid of her. They don't stand up for her, and when the mother's mental illness gets pointed at them, they leave the house. Her stepfather is very immature, so a little fight makes him leave for weeks sometime. He is also the only person bringing in a check, so it causes issues alot of times as well. Their money issues are caused by the fact that they live a middle class lifestyle on a lower-class salary. They waste money on everything, the mother wants expensive things and food in order to be satisfied, and when it comes to things like rent or utilities they lie and cheat their way to getting around it (like changing names on the utility bills when something is turned off). They have also wrote so many bad checks the father has gone to jail a few times for them, and they cannot get a bank account at all.
    (I am sorry this was so long, but I felt it needed to be explained to understand later).

    So the agreement was made that I would be taking my friend to the convention and she would be spending 2 weeks at my house as a break. Everything went fine at the convention, but when we came back we found out that the power in my friend's house had been turned off because it wasn't paid (they didn't pay the power bill because one of the mother's ferret's had died, so they took the money that was suppose to go to the power company and bought a new one). They were forced to move into a motel, and asked if we could keep her a little longer until they found another place. The time period changed everyday, anywhere from my friend going back to them the current week, to her going back in 3-4 weeks (keep in mind this motel has 5 cats, 2 ferrets, a hamster, a snake, and they had recently got a dog). My friend called her mother everyday to appease her, and every call with her was her mother seeking more emotional support from her. She also had the idea that my friend had no plan on coming home, so her mother would threaten her every day on what she was gonna do if my friend didn't come home. Even though my friend knew she legally had to go home regardless. She never fought her mother, nor ever said she wasn't going home.

    One day though, she did fight her mother out of frustration. She calmy told her mother that she would prefer to come home when they had found their new place. And her mother went off into an angry insulting fit demanding she is coming home soon and they are sending her a ticket. My friend was frustrated and just emotionally hurt that she turned off her phone in order to not have to hear her mother's words anymore. She kept the phone off for around 36 hours, and when she turned it back on she had many messages from her mother stating that she was sending the police to get her. That she was gonna tell them it was kidnapping and have me sent to jail, and it would be all her fault. They continued threatning, and when my mother got involved to see what was going on they threatned her as well. We tried calling CPS to see what could be done, but they said anything to help her would have to be done in my friend's county's CPS. So if we were to drop her off to the cps office in our area they would return her to her family and then investigate from there. And from what I know, CPS doesn't act very fast unless there is obvious signs of abuse.

    In the end we had to do what they said and send her back, which took alot for us to do, knowing what she had to go back to. I made sure she had the cps number in her county, the local police number, and the medical institution number where her mother had went. We let her go under the understanding that nothing would be done to her, and that she was just going back with new rules and changes. They had convinced us of this and that we would still be able to contact her.

    What really ended up happening was as soon as she got off the train, they wanted to take her cell phone away. When she refused while in the car her mother slapped and punched her, and her brother came up behind her and choked her until she gave up the phone (this was all told to me when her mother allowed her to call me for the last time). They took away the phone because she was to have no contact with me or my family. From what I could put together they aren't letting her out of the hotel room at all.

    I'm sorry again this was so long but I feel every detail must be given to truly understand the situation. I'm not sure what I can do at this point. I'm not a family member or a teacher so I'm not sure I could call CPS in her county. Plus I have no proof that all of this is going on. I know where they are but things will be worse if a social worker shows up at their place, and leaves without taking my friend with her because they would just switch hotels and then nothing could be done. I also considered calling the police, but once again I have no proof, and as long as she doesn't have any bruises that are obvious, they probably won't do anything either. I wanted to help her seek emancipation, but that seems pretty impossible considering most courts want a minor to already be living away from home and having a job (they won't let her get a job, or leave the house without someone with her). I'm afraid of what they might do to her now, since they have gone so far as choking her. But legally I can't see anything I could do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: What can I do for my friend

    You can call CPS, as can she. She can also call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

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