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My family and I have recently moved in with my parents after the sale of our house. My parents have a large house and my brother and his wife live downstairs. They have 2 children.

We can hear my brother yelling at his wife almost everynight and sometimes that is accompanied by loud thuds against the wall, which I assume is my sister-in-law being shoved or thrown against it. My sister, who has been closer to my brother and his wife, says that he hits her all the time and a friend says she has bruises under her arms and down her sides. I'd like to help her, but all of us turn a blind eye to the situation.

My parents pretend they don't hear or see. So do we. As far as I know only my sister and I have discussed it. This is horrible. No one should have to live like that and my niece and nephew shouldn't have to see and hear their Mommy being beaten. My sister-in-law won't address the issue. Everybody pretends it isn't happening.

It is killing me. What can I do? What am I legally obligated to do? Are there any support organizations for this type of situation, because I would imagine that the majority of domestic violence situations are like ours - just not acknowledged?

Please help, I don't know what to do. My sister-in-law and I work together and I've thought about hanging up domestic violence posters with hot-line numbers on them, just in case she might "get the message".

What do you think?



Oddly, because she is your sister-in-law, rather than your sister, I actually think that your responsibility to do something is greater than it otherwise would be -- in part because I think that she might automatically think that she can't address the issue with anyone in your household because you are all "his family." I think that you should directly ask her about it -- rather than indirectly through posters, etc...

Have you thought of just asking her "are you okay?" Again, because it's your brother, I think that you need to let her know it's okay to address with her -- that you are listening and "on her side." Also, I would just she get help, in case she doesn't realize there is a problem. There is a national hotline, which can put you in touch with a local group -- (800) 799 SAFE. Good luck -- mostly to her.

Take care,

— Amy

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