Dear Miss Emily:

My friend married this guy 5 year ago, and things got out of order.  They keep arguing and her husband says horrible things to her.  Sometimes they split-up and, every time they have a massive fight, she keeps saying to me that she's not getting back with him anymore --but, then, suddenly she's back with him!  Her husband's close friend said that my friend told him that her husband beat her and, also, she told him not to tell me and keep it himself.  It really worries me and  now she's saying that she wishes things get sorted out, again, and hopes to get back together with him. I kinda wish they were not getting back together, because I'm really worried about her getting beat up. What should I do? Should I leave it, or do something about it?

----------------Miss Emily's advice-------------

This is always a sticky wicket (seeing that you live in the U K, you understand the meaning of that!).  She hasn't told you the whole truth about the relationship because of the embarrassment associated with the fact that she's subjected herself to physical abuse, and she doesn't want to hear what she knows is really the right thing to do -- leave him for good.  No matter whether you tell her what you know or not, there's a strong possibility that she will continue with this relationship until she decides it's best for her to end it.  Yes, it should be obvious that when someone beats you it's a reason to run for the hills, but this sort of thing is complicated and requires a great deal of analysis as to why she allows this in her life.  In many respects, women are still second-class citizens and, couple that with a culture that dictates women are chattel (if this applies), there's a greater conflict between self-preservation and an entrenched history of oppression.  That said, if it were me, I'd let her know you have information that she has been physically abused by her husband, and let others who care about her know, as well.  It may end the friendship, but to do nothing with this knowledge makes no sense.  And it could save her life.