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I am now a sanctuary

(18 Posts)
BelindaB Wed 16-Sep-20 14:44:00

I have four surviving children (of 7), 3 sons and a daughter. All in thier 40's and 50's now.

A few days ago my oldest granddaughter rang and asked if she could come over. She is just shy of 20 and a sweet and lovely girl. Needless to say, I said yes.

When she got here she burst into tears and when my daughter and I had calmed her down, she told us that she had walked out of the family home because her father (my 2nd son) had beaten her, She was shocked and scared. He had punched her in the head and as she fell, swung again and caught her in the throat.

She had walked out and gone to the nearest local refuge - her (just) ex-stepmother, who lives locally (I should add that they live in south London and I live in the north of the city). She had been staying there for a few days but was scared her father would turn up and so came to me.

I was absolutely and utterly disgusted. All my sons were brought up to understand that there is never, ever, a justification for violence and especially by a very strong man against a woman.

Long story short - after further discussion she admitted that it has been going on for some time and he has physically hurt her severely in the past. My daughter and I gave her comfort and advice but until yesterday, she was determined to go home, not least because her younger brother is still there.

After a series of increasingly fraught emails to my son, which boiled down to him insisting she is making it all up and she should get home immediately, so that he could talk to her, she has decided not to go home - to my intense relief.

My son has always been bombastic and bossy and we have all, at one time or the next, stated how upset we are at the way he orders his children around (not a please or thank you in sight, just do this, do that) but we excused it because he is a single dad and as a single mother myself, I know how hard it can be but this is something else entirely.

I have told her she has a home with me for as long as she needs one. My next move seems to be to contact my son and tell him that I do not want to see him again - i.e his children are always welcome but he is not.

Any thoughts on this? I imagine you can all see just how upset this has made me - it is breaking my heart and at 74 and in poor health, the last thing I need but if she needs me, I'll manage.

Esspee Wed 16-Sep-20 14:58:38

I see no point in contacting him and stirring things up further. What about the other child? Can you take him in too?
Your granddaughter needs to report the assaults to the police so that it is on record and the other child moved to safety.

Riverwalk Wed 16-Sep-20 15:04:54

Good grief!

(I don't normally respond to family dramas but a quick search shows that you're a regular poster)

That's a lot of violence meted out to your granddaughter now and in the past - this is a police matter.

TwiceAsNice Wed 16-Sep-20 15:27:15

Please report the assaults (because that is what they are) to the police as if there is a younger unprotected sibling at home social services needs to be involved . If you cannot take him too he needs to live in a safer place. Do not antagonise your son or you could all be in danger. Women’s aid would give your granddaughter support . Take some legal advice from a family law solicitor as well.

Septimia Wed 16-Sep-20 15:27:46

I feel that your health would suffer much more if you did not help your granddaughter, and her brother if possible.

Callistemon Wed 16-Sep-20 15:29:53

I wouldn't contact him unless to say that would be the last time. Your DGD is an adult and can please herself where she chooses to live; she could be of help to you too if she stays with you.

How old is the younger child? If he is 18 he has no need to stay with his father. If younger then I do think the police and Social Services should be involved and he can be moved to a place of safety.

I think, whatever happens, the police should be informed.

Do your DGC still have a mother?

BlueBelle Wed 16-Sep-20 16:20:30

Did your granddaughter have any signs of being beaten bruises red marks etc if so it’s paramount you take photos?

I would not contact your son to cut off contact

I do think it needs reporting to the police but as she’s an adult that will have to be her decision and if there are no marks on her it may be difficult to prove
Has she said if her sibling has ever been harmed and does he know it’s happened to her?
I would gently get more information if possible
Does she have a mother ?

sodapop Wed 16-Sep-20 16:31:42

I agree with BlueBelle also if your grandson is a minor then he needs help from Children's Services.
This must be so distressing for you Belinda no one wants to think their child can behave like this. Whatever is happening your family need help to deal with it. I hope you get some support.

Alexa Wed 16-Sep-20 16:59:15

It would be good if you alerted your son to the fact that common assault is illegal, as perhaps he does not see his behaviour as culpable assault.

How much or how little you can do depends on how much influence you have.

Toadinthehole Wed 16-Sep-20 18:14:05

Yes, she needs to go to the police. How old is her brother? Is he a minor? Have you never noticed any injuries? If not....are you sure? Obviously, only you can know or find this out, but if it is assault, it should be reported. I wish you all the best 💐

Kamiso Wed 16-Sep-20 20:36:37

Unfortunately it does need to be reported so that those with the right expertise can sort out the truth and the facts.

Speaking to your son at this point will just be adding fuel to the fire so best not to say anything until it’s clear what is happening to your grandson. Your son may take it out on him if he is angered.

This is putting you in a terrible position but the grandchildren’s safety must come first.

Urmstongran Wed 16-Sep-20 21:18:54

Reading this has upset me. I hope your grandson is not at risk and that both your grandchildren can stay safe. I feel so sorry for you - as a mother you must be shocked to the core.
I’m glad your daughter lives with you for some extra support.

My best wishes to you all tonight.
💐

M0nica Wed 16-Sep-20 21:47:22

I am with others, do not communicate with your son, it will stir up a hornet's nest.

You do not say how old your grandson is, but if your DGD is 20 and they are full siblings I would imagine he is between 16 and 18. Has your DGD told you whether her father is violent with him or is her brother old enough and big enough for his father to back off.

Either way, I think your GS needs to move out. Male children growing up in a household with an abusive father are more likely to be abusive themselves.

BelindaB Fri 18-Sep-20 16:49:55

My son has numerous children by numerous women. The mother of the three (4) who currently live with him and include my granddaughter had the children removed from her care many years ago.

She is an alcoholic and left a 4th child - not my son's - in his pram in a cafe and didn't start looking for him until the next day. The police then got involved and eventually, my son took the child and fostered him. The other two are a son of 21 (already left home) and another son of 16. It is the 16 yr old that worries me most.

I have asked the oldest one to get in touch with me and want him to make it quite clear to his younger brother that even though I might have nothing more to do with his father, he is always welcome, regardless of time or problem.

I am hoping that I can encourage the oldest two to set up home together. It would give us all peace of mind and would be an alternative to the youngest should he need a sanctuary.

I am having to tiptoe through this situation so that I do not make things worse. Going to the authorities would most certainly do that and I would not dare to even suggest it to my granddaughter although, should she mention it, I would totally support her.

Thank you so much for your responses. It is a huge comfort to know there are others who think of me.

Callistemon Fri 18-Sep-20 17:18:16

Presumably the siblings are in touch with each other - thank goodness for mobiles!

welbeck Fri 18-Sep-20 17:39:49

your GC may not have the life experience or overview/objectivity to understand that they need to involve the authorities.
the perpetrator continues to have power over them by fear if it is all kept secret.
could you ring NSPCC for advice re 16 year old.

trisher Fri 18-Sep-20 17:55:58

BelindaB what a dreadful situation for you. Your DGD needs advice and counselling. There are a number of organisations in London which can help you- Womensaid is one www.womensaid.org.uk and Solace another-https://www.solacewomensaid.org You can Google "help with domestic abuse" and find help.
They will also help and give advice about her brother. I hope she can manage to see them. She as already taken a big step by telling you, I hope she can now confide in others. If she will not perhaps you can approach them for help yourself. I hope things improve for all of you.

welbeck Fri 18-Sep-20 18:17:39

i have heard that solace can be a little disappointing.