A Family Matter

A lady, call her Jane (not her real name) came to me with this story.

A number of years ago Jane met Mike (not his real name either).  Mike was a big, strong, good-looking guy with good income and better potential.  Jane was very taken by Mike and married him.

As the years went by, the relationship didn't work out as Jane had hoped.  Mike became distant, was focused on his work outside the home, and disapproved of any activities of Jane's outside the home.  Mike wished Jane to only stay home, prepare the meals, keep the home in good order and tend the vegetable garden.

Jane became more and more dissatisfied with the marriage, especially with the restrictions Mike placed on what Jane was allowed to do.  Finally, after some discontent, Jane got up the nerve to propose to Mike that they dissolve the marriage.

In response, Mike grabbed a stick and beat Jane severely.  Each time Jane would resist, Mike would beat her more.  By the end of this savage beating, Jane was nearly unconscious.

It took Jane a long time to recover from the beating.  Maybe she never recovered in spirit, at least not fully.

Meanwhile, the marriage has gotten worse.  Mike has run up some huge debts, which also become Jane's debts.  Jane had some assets of her own when she came into the marriage, but Mike won't allow Jane to use but a dribble of those assets for Jane's needs, or even to reduce the debts Mike has run up.  Mike has gradually become more restrictive of what he will allow Jane to do, to the point that Jane really has little autonomy.

Jane has put out some feelers to various authorities to see if any help might be available from those sources, but they are either disinterested or powerless.  Mike is very well entrenched in the local power structure.  The authorities (probably including the local court) will almost certainly believe whatever Mike says and take Mike's side if there is any public airing of this situation.

Although a few neighbors might be willing to help Jane, to stick up for her somehow, local authorities are unlikely to be of any help at all.

I suggested to Jane that she should consider leaving Mike.  She is terrified of this option.  She vividly remembers the savage beating Mike delivered the last time she asked to end the marriage.  Nevertheless, this situation is not what Jane thought she was getting into when she married.  She now lives nearly as a slave to Mike, clearly the domineering partner in this relationship.  Mike has grown quite arrogant.

One thing I can think to offer Jane is to enroll her in one of my self defense classes - teach her when and how to shoot in self defense.  Of course, I would instruct Jane that lethal force may only be used as an absolute last resort, only in self defense, and that she should try every other remedy first.  Whatever happens, I don't think Jane should be required to suffer through another beating if she should get up the gumption to ask Mike for a divorce again.  She might not survive the next beating.

So, what am I to advise Jane to do?


(Clue:  Substitute "federal government" for Mike in this story, and substitute "state" for Jane.)