Abuse and Stalking 101 for Older Woman?
February 19, 2021 5:55 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine just ended an abusive relationship. I want to send her straightforward resources on domestic abuse and stalking.

My friend has been in an abusive relationship for several years, has kicked him out several times...but always gotten back together. Recently, they had an argument and he threatened to kill her. She called the police, and he was arrested. She has changed the locks, started clearing out his stuff, hired people to do the projects around the house he always said he'd do.

After he got out of jail, though, he started some stalking behaviors. For example, she told him to make an appointment with her to get his stuff, so she could have someone with her when he's there. Instead he turned up unannounced, while she was alone. He bullied her verbally and made a lot of threats.

When I told her she should report the incident to the police, she said she hadn't even considered that.

I want to send her good Internet resources on abuse and stalking: what they are, how to respond, how not to, safety measures, etc.... Info on restraining orders and any legal action she can take in Wisconsin would be handy.

She's an older woman, but she's comfortable with the Internet.

Also, she lives in a very rural area, with no neighbors, and I think she needs some kind of security system, such as a surveillance camera on the door, with a notice that it is recording. Any resources, thoughts or suggestions on that front would also be welcome.
posted by Archipelago to Human Relations (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get her a copy of Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. It's available on kindle.

Generally, I would suggest trying hard not to invalidate or criticize her, even implicitly. It could be that she thought that calling the police would make him more dangerous, and she knows more about him and the situation than you do. The fact that she's called the police once before means she's willing to do it. It's also the case that abuse breaks down your self-esteem, so a big part of supporting someone who has dealt with abuse is supporting and validating them as strong, capable, and able to make good decisions.

Good luck with this -- it's so hard to watch, I know.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:49 PM on February 19, 2021 [6 favorites]

Send her a copy of The Gift of Fear.
posted by caek at 8:14 PM on February 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

This might be useful--it's specifically targeted at older victims.
posted by praemunire at 8:22 PM on February 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tell her to purchase cameras, get a pen cam or a pocket cam. Please do it. Stalking turns into harassment or otherwise in 0 to 5.

Nest is a decent system. If she's thrifty, she can diy with used cell phones and the Alfred application. Purchase mirrors to amplify.

Created a log of activity.

If she's dog friendly, there are a variety of guardian breeds that will patrol naturally (eg, she motions to go to bed or the sun sets, and the dog begins to patrol the perimeter- dogue de bordeaux and others do this)
posted by firstdaffodils at 8:47 PM on February 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Most likely there are some state / regional resources available to her. The national domestic hotline number is 1-800-799- 7233 (SAFE).

They are a great resource. They can help her connect with local resources as well if
wishes. Local resources are better in that they will know some on the ground differences in stuff like how to get an order of protection in her county would be useful, and trends that may vary by judge or jurisdiction. Sometimes there are even advocates that will come to the court house to help in these processes!

They can also talk to her about safety planning in case of an emergency. There is lots of stuff out there, please encourage her to reach out.

This is a resource for programs in that state, it might be helpful.

In terms of online resources,
is a good one.
I really like loveisrespect.org even though it's aimed for teens and a bit harder to navigate. I think the information it presents is well done and solid. I like their handouts. It might not be a resource she would identify with, but I included it because I like it. Actually on further read both the links are by the same organization.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:12 PM on February 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I work for a domestic violence agency. My go-to resource for articles about domestic violence for our social media is DomesticShelters.org.
But she should contact her local domestic violence agency, they’re going to have much better local information to help her. This is exactly what they exist to do. She can go to the site I linked above and enter her zip code to find one near her.
She is being stalked, and he has threatened to kill her. At my agency, we would be pulling out all the stops to help her, including providing her with a lawyer, housing if she wanted, or money for a security system if she couldn’t afford one. Also, most agencies have counselors available to help her with things like learning how to NOT take him back.
Please urge her to contact a local agency. If she resists, you can call for her and get specifics as to how they can help her, since you know the situation, and then pass that info on to her.
And if there’s any other way I can help or you have any other questions, please let me know. The fastest way to contact me is to send me a DM on twitter (listed in my profile here), but I will see a message here within a couple of days.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:18 PM on February 20, 2021 [7 favorites]

Fyi, not to thread-sit, she needs to speak to an attorney to send a possible letter of warning. Seconding the above.

An RO, provided you're not living in a small town or a city with odd governance leanings, should be accessible, even with just the information you've shared. If she'd potentially like to avoid raised tension an RO may create, a letter from an experienced attorney may be enough, and some will do it pro bono.

So sorry and good luck.
posted by firstdaffodils at 11:26 PM on February 20, 2021

If you provide your friend with a copy of The Gift of Fear, please advise her to skip the chapter on intimate-partner violence.

For reasons that have to do with his own childhood experiences, the author, Gavin De Becker, does a lot of victim blaming in the section on domestic abuse, and this detracts from what is otherwise a solid book.

I hope everything turns out OK. You're a good friend.
posted by virago at 4:09 AM on February 21, 2021

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