Black Eyes and Sticky Wickets

My wife told me about her trip to a local park yesterday with the boys. She noticed a mother and her son who arrived after she had and that they were keeping to themselves, away from a gaggle of other mothers.

Nothing too unusual about that since not all parents want to be pals with every other parent they see.

But after the other group had left and it was just my wife and the boys she drifted closer. And it was hard to miss her big black eye.

Without prying it seemed pretty obvious what was happening and that she was a victim of domestic violence. Having lived through her own sister going through the same thing, my wife was still unsure of what to do. Wife beaters do not, all of a sudden, see the light and stop being abusive assholes. Generally what happens is there's an incident or episode that results in a violent reaction, there's an apology period, a honeymoon period and then a slow build up to another, sometimes escalated, violent episode.

They are rarely one time events, just like infidelity and pedophilia.

We talked about it and what she might have been able to do. We know that confronting her would not work, that offering help would likely result in more trouble for her and so, in the end, my wife didn't do anything.

I'd like to come up with some course of action should something like this repeat itself in our future. What would you have done?

And yes, a part of me wanted to find out where she lived and go take a baseball bat to the asshole but violence begets more violence and it wouldn't have solved anything anyway. I would have liked to have been able to give her the number of a women's shelter but I wasn't there and it could have caused more trouble too if her husband/boyfriend found it.

What would you have done if you'd been my wife? And why? And how?