She isn’t in denial. No one who has been in a hospital bed because of abuse can deny it.
She is in tremendous pain. She is living in fear. She is feeling weak. But when she is alone and thinking about her life and what she thought she had and knowing the fear of when he comes in the door if his footsteps sound “that way” it’s going to be another one of those nights… she’s not in denial. She just doesn’t want to admit to YOU it’s that bad.
Sadly, some states allow the person to withdraw charges. Others will prosecute anyway.
She may have withdrawn them under threat. He may have told her no one would believe her and when he got out he’d come back and kill her if she sent him to jail. Or he may have cried and bought her flowers and told her he’d cut off his arm rather than ever do it again, and she believes him because her self image completely depends on not being a fool once again.
You might just ask her this question: Dear sister, what if we were reversed, and I was in the hospital bed. What advice would you give me? What would you tell me to help me with my pain?
She may tell you nothing. She may tell you “I’d say leave yesterday.” Or she may give you a glimpse into how her mind works as she justifies everything she is going through.
But just call her every few days to say you love her and are thinking of her and you are there. That’s all.
So she will know deep down he hasn’t driven everyone away. That if she needs you, you will take her call. That you care.
She is not ready to run out of the burning building. Not yet. Like a horse, you have to put a blanket over its eyes or it will dart back into the burning barn.
No, it doesn’t make sense. But he’s alone with her all the time telling her things, playing with her head and her self esteem and telling her how only he loves her. She is young and doesn’t understand that this is not how love treats someone.
Is there any way you as family members could file a civil suit against him on her behalf?
The fact he’s already been through the system about this once… he has little room for error. There is a record. He said/she said no longer applies. It’s been documented in a hospital emergency room. Your sister may feel she has the upper hand now and can threaten him back if he steps out of line.
But this will not improve. Call SafePlace or a domestic violence hotline. They’ll give you advice.
Pray for her. Pray that she sees the truth about him and has the grace to act on it.
And pray that God will remove his ability to harm her and you all from her life. Because if they break up, I’ll bet mom and sisters will also be a target for his rage. He will blame everyone who “meddled.” And he may have made those kind of threats to her already. She may be with him to protect you. You don’t know what’s really going on. Been there, done that.
Just please keep the lines of communication open and let her know when he’s not around that you love her and you’re always there. All she has to do is call.
Do you know any of her friends? Can you talk to them?
The good thing about them so young is often that kind of jerk gets bored quickly and he may dump her when he finds someone shiny and new whose family doesn’t think he’s lower than worm doodoo.
Just know right now she probably spends a lot of time feeling very depressed, living for the few moments when his sunshine comes out and makes her feel like he used to. Which will get further and further apart and more rare. He’s not horrible to her 100 percent of the time, or she’d leave or try to leave.
He’ll hurt her again. She has to decide when she won’t take any more. Nothing you say can make her do that. You can’t tell her he’s a jerk. She has to realize that and admit it to herself. And she has to admit that love doesn’t conquer all. And he’s seriously messed up. And I’m sure he hates his mother and your mother and every other female he knows.
At least he’s on the police/hospital radar. That’s more than most abusers.