DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR: Woman in dark room, word survivor written across her image

Domestic Violence: a Societal Ill, An Injustice, a Cultural Failing

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR: Woman in dark room, word survivor written across her image


When I look at myself in the mirror on a good day, I can console myself with the knowledge that I have earned every single wrinkle and bag because I am a survivor. On a bad day, I see my metaphorical scarlet letter, “S” for shame, prominently displayed on my forehead.

Most days, even the word “survivor” doesn’t sit well with me. A survivor implies strength. A survivor implies courage. Can I accept those accolades? How can I feel courageous when I feel as if I am the one to blame?

Like so many survivors of divorce and domestic violence, the fatal allure of self-blame is hard to escape. Despite guidance from my support group and knowing deep down in my heart that it isn’t true, I still hear the nagging whispers of blame and shame. And understandably so.

Domestic Violence: a Societal Ill, An Injustice, a Cultural Failing

This voice developed from the familiar chorus of well-meaning acquaintances, law enforcement, and the legal system. Anthems of “he was such a nice guy,” “why didn’t you see the red flags,” “well, there are 3 sides to every story,” and “both parents have issues” drown out voices of peace and comfort.

And my ex-husband was masterful at finding me guilty for the most absurd infractions, leaving me to wallow alone in my misery.

Blame and shame quickly became my new best friends.

But blame and shame have no room in a life that is repairing, restoring, and reclaiming itself. I reached out to friends and family desperately seeking answers to my questioning of where I went wrong. One response appealed to my rational side.

This came from my uncle who is the closest person, genetically and emotionally, to my own deceased father. It was in one of his text messages that I felt the comforting words that my own father could have said.

He reaffirmed that I had done absolutely nothing to deserve this and that neither misjudgment nor poor self-image brought the abuse upon me. He said the blame rests on the ignorance of male chauvinism that pervades many cultures.

The gravity of this statement did not go unnoticed. This issue was larger than any single relationship. It affected each and every woman. With my uncle’s words, the “S” on my forehead was starting to fade.

My personal shame faded away as incensement rose to the foreground. I realized that all women potentially faced a fate similar to mine, even my young daughter. This was a societal ill, an injustice, a cultural failing that allowed the undercurrent of misogyny to survive.

These beliefs infiltrated our communities, popular culture, and our homes.

I started to finally give myself permission to focus on impacting the future instead of second-guessing the past.

Slowly, the tired phrases of self-blame were replaced with the acknowledgment that I did not make a mistake when I married my ex, that he wasn’t a nice guy, and that in abuse, truth is the only side to the story. I could finally tell myself that this mess was not my fault.

The difference was this time I believed it. The “S” was almost unnoticeable now. As in The Scarlet Letter, “She did not know the weight until she felt her freedom.” I never realized how much shame was holding me back.

We are not drawn to our abusers.

They exist because our current culture makes it very easy for them. And it’s time we make it harder. It’s time we shift our culture from that of a hierarchy to that of equal members of the same team.

It’s time that from an early age, males and females learn to respect each other at home, school, and work. My heart is full of hope for the future, but I understand that it will not come easily. We have a power within us that our abusers underestimated.

But first, we must free ourselves of the burden of shame and realize that we are survivors.

And so, when I look in the mirror today, I see a woman who has triumphed. And my face is not the only reflection I see. I see the millions of women who have suffered and prevailed.

Their story is my story.

Their struggle is your struggle.

And best of all, their victory is for all of us.

The post Domestic Violence: a Societal Ill, An Injustice, a Cultural Failing appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Domestic Abuse To Rise During Lockdown

Domestic Abuse To Rise During Lockdown

I want to start by saying that when i use the term “domestic abuse” I am not just referring to male to female abuse.  I am talking female to male, sibling to sibling, child to parent and every other abuse that takes place under the family roof.  


On Monday 23rd March 2020 the UK Prime Minister announced that we are on lockdown, although Boris was very careful not to use that word.  Essentially meaning that we are to stay home unless in exceptional circumstances.


Obviously that in itself is scary enough but for many adults and children there is another layer to this.


Domestic abuse at the hands of their family.


9 Reasons Why Domestic Abuse Will Rise During Lockdown




Abusive people love to isolate their victims.  They do it covertly and usually over time to avoid suspicion.  But they don’t need to be covert or slow anymore. They have effectively been given permission to isolate their victims (not a criticism of lockdown as I do believe it is necessary) and no-one will see it for what it really is.  It will be swept under the carpet with “social isolation”. Added to that, is the reality that getting out will now be almost impossible. There’s nowhere to go.  


Financial and service restrictions


With jobs being lost and income restricted, there isn’t the money to escape.  The services which may have supported you in finding shelter and/or accommodation will be limited as well.  You can’t go and stay with relatives due to the risk involved either.  


The financial restrictions will increase stress levels in the house as well. Money is already one of the leading reasons for arguments in relationships and losing a job is seen as a crisis.  It is creating a pressure pot for families who now have no way of getting out and letting off steam.  


No escape routes


With most service industries being closed now (shows, pubs and restaurants) there is no outlet for time away or fun.  Bundling the kids in the car to take them to the park or seaside is off limits as well. Every aspect of life is happening in four walls.  It’s like Big Brother but on steroids! 


Lack of purpose


We are all better, happier and more balanced people when we have a purpose in our life and for a lot of people that is a job or being a parent.  With few people being able to go to work now this can lead to depression as well as anxiety over what happens next. Negative emotions can spiral and it’s easy to take things out on those closest to you.  


As a parent when your kids were at school, you got on with stuff.  Did the housework, saw friends, worked on your business. But now they are around 24/7 and you have way less time to do “your” stuff and that can be really frustrating.  Add to that having to keep them entertained and meltdowns are inevitable.


Children are stressful


Even the best children can test the patience of a saint at times and so sending them off to school or nursery gives parents the break they need.  Not any more. You get to see them in all their glory and it’s not easy. Giving children attention for long periods of time is also exhausting.  


You will also see the difference in parenting styles between you and your partner which can cause arguments.  We all have our own way of doing things and even when we work as a team, we don’t always agree on everything. That’s normal and natural and actually one of the strengths of most couples.  But those differences, in a microsystem like lockdown can become enormous chasms of difference and the arguments can easily get out of hand if they are happening regularly.


Controlling contact


Abusive people will use this situation to control who gets access to their victims and who doesn’t.  They will interrupt calls, refuse to allow visits to drop off supplies for family members (under the guise of safety of course) and use this as an excuse not to return children after contact (against the advice of the government who state handovers are still permitted).  Again this can cause arguments but also creates a new kind of “normal” which can become the precedent for how your household functions.


Awakening versus compliance


During this period of lockdown, people will fall into two categories: those who realise what is going on and see the abuse for what it is (awaken) and those who comply.


Those who awaken will find it really uncomfortable and perhaps attempt to fight back, refusing to comply.  Those who comply are effectively accepting the behaviours and making it their “norm”. Sadly both are dangerous.  


Child neglect


Many parents will refuse to adhere to the lockdown and will continue to go about their daily business which can, with the closure of schools, lead to many children being left to fend for themselves and care for their siblings.  With services at a stretch, children may be left alone and in dangerous situations for the duration with no-one to check on them. I have known of young children who have attempted to cook chips in a deep fat fryer for their younger siblings whilst their parents were out at work.  Doing that every day for 3 weeks is an accident waiting to happen.


It is important to note that even people who are not abusive will struggle through this period because it is so abnormal and scary.  It has the potential to bring out the worst in us. If you find your family is struggling, do try to reach out to the online services listed below.


I sadly don’t have the answers as this has never happened before but my advice to everyone is try to stay positive.  Make little “Peace zones” in your house where possible where people can go for 5 minute peace and quiet if needed. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be a teacher either.  Be their parents and enjoy the time with them. That’s what they really need right now.


If you are in danger, support services will still be able to offer support so do use the numbers below.


And most of all, take care and be safe everyone.


Useful contact numbers:

Facebook Group Family Lockdown Tips and Ideas

Samaritans 116 123

Support for women and children

Support for men

Our own 14 Day Social Distancing Survival Kit

The post Domestic Abuse To Rise During Lockdown appeared first on The Nurturing Coach.


Texas Court Denies New Qualified Domestic Relations Order More Than 20 Years After Divorce

Texas Court Denies New Qualified Domestic Relations Order More Than 20 Years After Divorce

Originally published by Francesca Blackard.


A court generally may not amend or change the property division made in a Texas divorce decree.  The court may issue an order to enforce the property division, but such an order may only clarify the prior order or assist in its implementation.  If a court improperly amends or modifies the substantive property division in the final divorce decree, it is acting beyond its power and that order is unenforceable. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 9.007.  Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) are separate orders that set forth the distribution of retirement plan assets.  They are considered a type of enforcement or clarification order and cannot change the property division made in the divorce decree.

In a recent case, an ex-wife sought an additional QDRO years after the divorce was finalized.  The couple divorced in 1995, and the parties have been in litigation for the past several years regarding the husband’s retirement accounts.

The divorce decree awarded the ex-wife 50% “of any and all sums … related to any … retirement plan, pension plan, … or other benefit program existing by reason of [ex-husband’s] past, present, or future employment, including without limitation, [ex-husband’s] Retirement Fund, Provident Fund, and SPIF Fund with Shell Oil Company per Qualified Domestic Relations Orders …”  The trial court signed a QDRO awarding the ex-wife half the funds in the ex-husband’s Shell Provident Fund on the date of the divorce.  The court found the total community property interest in the Shell Provident Fund was the total amount of contributions, interest, and earnings made or accrued by or on behalf of the ex-husband into any of the Shell Provident Fund accounts.  The QDRO stated the ex-wife was “divested of all right, title, and interest in and to any balance remaining in any account of the Shell Provident Fund…” and that the fund would be discharged from all obligations to her when full payment was made pursuant to the QDRO.  It also said it would become an integral part of the divorce decree.


The ex-wife received the funds from the QDRO.  In 2015, the ex-wife petitioned for another QDRO and the court signed it, with a valuation date of July 15, 2015.  The husband said he was not given notice of the hearing and that neither the petition nor the QDRO were on file with the court before the hearing.

The ex-wife did not receive the funds from the 2015 QDRO.  She filed an amended QDRO in April 2016 with a 2015 valuation date, but the trial court did not sign it.  She filed a petition to enter an amended QDRO the following month, with the 2015 valuation date and amount.

In April 2017, the husband filed a petition for bill of review of the divorce decree.  He asked the court to clarify that the retirement benefits were to be divided as they existed on the date of the divorce.  He argued the court did not have jurisdiction to sign the 2015 QDRO because it conflicted with the divorce decree and the 1995 QDRO. The ex-wife then filed another amended petition to enter a QDRO.  After a hearing, the trial court granted the bill of review, modified the decree, and set aside the 2015 QDRO.

The ex-wife filed a response, arguing the bill of review had been untimely.  The court then signed a “Court’s Rendition,” in which it denied the bill of review, set aside the reformed decree and QDRO, and reinstated the original decree.

The ex-wife then filed another proposed QDRO, but the trial court did not enter it due to a missing signature.  She filed a “Motion to Sign QDRO.” The docket entry indicated that the motion was not properly served, and the hearing was rescheduled.  The husband’s attorney argued the 1995 QDRO divested the ex-wife of all interest in the fund.  The trial court denied the motion, finding the 1995 QDRO awarded the wife half the funds as of the date of divorce and that she was not entitled to anything else from the fund.

The trial court denied the wife’s motion for a new trial. She appealed, arguing the divorce decree had awarded her half of the fund through the ex-husband’s last date of employment.  The ex-husband argued that the proposed QDRO was an impermissible collateral attack on the 1995 QDRO.

The appeals court noted that a QDRO is a final, appealable order.  A party who does not appeal a QDRO may not collaterally attack it through a separate proceeding.  The appeals court found that the ex-wife’s motion to enter a new proposed QDRO filed so many years after the divorce was such a collateral attack.

The court also noted that the 1995 QDRO awarded the ex-wife half of the fund as it was valued on the date of the divorce and divested her of any further interest.  The QDRO she sought to have entered would have awarded her a share of all amounts contributed on behalf of the ex-husband “in the past, present, and future.” The ex-wife received the funds she was awarded in the 1995 QDRO in 1995.  Her proposed QDRO sought to avoid the effect of the decree and the 1995 QDRO, making it a collateral attack.

The appeals court also rejected the ex-wife’s argument that she was entitled to QDROs awarding her half of the ex-husband’s other benefits and employer-based savings plans through his past, present and future employment.  The court found she was also barred from collaterally attacking the division as to these benefits as well.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion to sign the QDRO.

Although this case is procedurally complex, it illustrates the importance of addressing issues promptly through the appropriate procedures.  If you think your marriage may be ending, a skilled Texas divorce attorney can help you through the difficult process.  Schedule an appointment with McClure Law Group by calling 214.692.8200.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.


domestic abuse prosecutions

Caroline Flack’s Suicide And What It Has Taught Us About Public Attitudes Towards Domestic Abuse

All suicide is tragic.  And this post is not to pass commentary on the who, why, what’s and wherefore’s of what happened leading up to Caroline Flacks actions on Saturday 15th February 2020.  But rather to highlight the realities of what this can teach us about public opinion of domestic abuse and how that can impact decisions for both parties within an abusive relationship.


Caroline was going to face court for assault which was domestic abuse as it was an incident between two people in a relationship.  We don’t and can’t know what happened between them. What we do know is that the CPS felt they had enough evidence to take the case to court and it was in the public interest to do so.  For reasons only Caroline herself knows, she took the decision to end her life before getting a fair trial.


What I want to do is to look at the public’s reaction to this event and compare it to what I work with on a daily basis.  I am not writing this post to be controversial or jump on the bandwagon. I simply want to highlight that Caroline’s story is one which I work with on a daily basis and so it would be neglectful of my clients to not be a voice for them here..


“Just an argument with her boyfriend” 


If a person in the street suddenly punched you in the face how would you feel?  Most of us would take issue. So when a person you love does that, what changes?  This is the reality of domestic violence.


Domestic abuse is never to be belittled. More than that we can’t possibly understand the dynamics of their relationship because we are not in it. So many people stay in abusive relationships because they fear not being believed.  This type of statement confirms that fear for them.


I also fear that this is indicative of gender differences in terms of how domestic abuse is viewed.  There is still a view that only women can be victims of domestic abuse despite the growing evidence that the number of male victims is increasing year on year. This view does nothing to help either gender and completely ignores the many complex reasons domestic abuse occurs.  Having worked in child protection and with domestic abuse charities as well as having personal experience of domestic abuse and coercive control, I understand that chaotic relationships are never as simple as one bad guy, one good guy. When we make those sorts of assumptions, we are missing out on opportunities to take the time to understand. The view of a drunk husband coming home and battering his wife is outdated and society’s view needs to change too.


“ITV didn’t sack Ant McPartlin and Geoffrey Boycott got an OBE”


In the interest of a balanced discussion, I do want to address the perceived difference in the treatment Caroline received compared to these male counterparts.  I do think that ITV had a duty to act following her arrest but my understanding is that Caroline herself stepped down. What would have happened had she been found guilty (as McPartlin and Boycott were) we will never know.  However, I would like to make the point that people are more than one act. Ant and Geoffrey are well respected in their fields, they are friends and sons and husbands, and I personally do not feel that one incident detracts from that.  I understand their crimes are serious but if we wrote people off and effectively erased their achievements when they fuck up, are we not sending a clear message that suicide IS the only answer? Perhaps this is how Caroline felt. That this would haunt her forever.  I personally would like to believe that she would have been shown the same amount of forgiveness and acceptance as these men. But we will never know now.


What is the right solution in these situations? There is a petition calling for it to be a criminal offence for the British Press to “knowingly and relentlessly bully a person, whether they be in the public eye or not, up to the point that they take their own life” in the wake of this. I do understand why people feel the press played a part but I also think it is important to remember that there are so many different factors involved in why someone takes their own life and it would be almost impossible for it to be proven that the actions of the press “caused” the actions of an individual.  That takes away personal responsibility and choice. The press does have a duty to report and people do read these stories in papers and magazines. It’s hard to argue which came first – the story or the desire of the public to read about it.  


Also domestic abuse is a behaviour which has many different causes.  Just as any behaviour does. Is the woman who killed her children because she was mentally ill more or less guilty than the man who killed a child in a hit and run because he was over the legal limit for alcohol but was drinking because he was mentally ill?  Usually when there is socially unacceptable behaviour (murder, rape, domestic abuse, assault) there is some form of mental health issue. Understanding that can help with treatment and more importantly prevention. The same with suicide. If we simplify the reasons for someone taking their lives, we are likely to miss the answer to how to prevent this moving forward.


Finally public perception of crime is not always based on fact but on emotion and Caroline’s story is very emotive.  Because you felt like you knew her. But punishment is objective. Based on facts. And we simply do not know all of the facts so therefore it is impossible to propose a punishment.  In many ways, the public change in perception of individuals involved in these cases is a significant punishment in itself. Having people, strangers, making judgements about you, is incredibly painful. On top of that, it changes how they view themselves.  Many abusers exhibit very low self esteem and high self loathing which can cause or exacerbate mental health problems. The same is true for victims.  


“Ex has blood on his hands”


Again we don’t know what went on but if Lewis Burton was hit on the head during a row he is a victim and blaming the victim for the actions of the perpetrator is unacceptable. So many victims get told that they must have done something to deserve it.  Both by society, friends, professionals and their ex. They are constantly made to feel that they are in some way to blame. If they just hadn’t done or said X, Y or Z. Even if Lewis did do or say something wrong, no-one deserves to be abused. Guilt is often what keeps people in relationships.  Victims can feel like they haven’t done enough to help. That they must be the problem because they aren’t like it with anyone else. “Everyone else thinks they are wonderful so it must be me.” Part of their journey to recovery is accepting that we are all responsible for our own actions. The abuser is responsible for theirs.  Letting go of the need to rescue them and accept all responsibility can be hard. It’s a conditioned behaviour, often from childhood, and many victims believe that in order for them to receive love, they must please others. If someone isn’t pleased, it must be their fault. It’s a vicious cycle but one that can be broken. 


The reasons people make these decisions are complex and usually multifaceted. It is impossible to say it was the exes fault, the media’s fault, ITV’s fault or anyone else for that matter.  Only Caroline knows why she felt this was the best option.But she isn’t alone in this. Around one-in-eight of all suicides and suicide attempts by women in the UK are due to domestic abuse according to statistics (The Guardian May 2019).  A Cambridge research programme in A&E found that women who self-harmed were 75 times more likely to have suffered partner abuse  and men who self-harmed were over twice as likely to have suffered partner abuse. The psychological toll of domestic abuse is extremely high. 


90% of people who die by suicide have a mental health condition at the time of their death


In the work I do, many abusers, particularly those with abandonment issues, use the threat of suicide to keep their victims from leaving.  Suicide can be, and I am not saying it is in this situation, but it can be the ultimate act of control and manipulation. Leaving the victim with the guilt. 


The point I am making in all of this is that to blame one person (or entity) ignores the many different factors which influence someone’s decision to take their own life.  We don’t know what risk factors Caroline experienced, or understand her view of herself or her resilience or her support networks. There are just too many unknowns to simply say it is down to one thing and one thing alone.  If we hope to prevent suicide, it’s important we understand this.


“He didn’t want to pursue the charges” 


This is so common because victims are fearful and so they return to the abuser, begging police not to press charges for fear of the repercussions.  It takes a lot of courage to go through with pursuing charges. The victim may not be ready to end the relationship or may feel pressure from family, friends and the abuser to drop the charges.  The reality here is that IF Caroline did abuse Lewis, she was facing losing her career and reputation. The guilt of that could have been too much for Lewis or perhaps Caroline put pressure on him to drop the charges.  We simply do not know. But his behaviour is not uncommon.


domestic abuse prosecutions

More than 160,000 victims of domestic violence in England withdrew their support for charges against their abusers in 2016 (The Independent, 2017)


(source: The Daily Mail)


Lord Ken McDonald, former director of public prosecutions stated:

‘Most of the pressure groups around domestic violence are very voluble in saying the CPS should be building cases that don’t rely just on victim testimony.’ 


We could therefore assume that there must have been sufficient evidence from other sources for the CPS to be going ahead with a trial.  If we, as a society, want to tackle domestic abuse, we have to be consistent with our approach.  


“Innocent until proven guilty” 


I absolutely agree that this should be our stance on issues where we have no first hand experience of what went on.  But the reality is that we live in a society where people need an answer when something they are struggling to comprehend happens.  And the media feeds into that. The truth is we’re not very good at figuring out the causes of other people’s behavior and, as humans, it’s our default to always look for a cause.  Blaming someone else is an easy solution to both of these.  


Unless you have witnessed the abuse first hand, it is impossible to know the truth of a situation no matter how much you think you know the person/people involved.  Many abusive people use others to spread the false allegations and, in the work I do, engage police, domestic abuse charities, social services and court to further punish their ex. In my own situation, I only ever talked publicly about the abuse I experienced and reported, not what I was told from others.  As observers, it is easy to get caught up in the experience. Someone tells you their side of the story, encourages you to sympathise with them and before long you are sharing the story with your friends and family.  


False allegations are seemingly on the rise and can be incredibly damaging to someone’s life.  Once an allegation is made, it seems to obtain a life of its own, shared amongst family and friends, employers, police, teachers.  With court cases taking months to reach trial, it can put an enormous burden on the individual accused when the allegations are false.  People judging them without knowing the whole story and coming to conclusions about the type of person they must be. When their are children involved, it can lead to them having contact stopped.  So imagine that you had a row with your partner or ex, you find yourself called into the police station being accused of assault or domestic abuse, you try to tell your side of the story but are instead handed a non-molestation order and ordered to stay away from your ex and the children.  Your employer finds out, they suspend you and now you have no income. You could lose your job, your home and your children. Your friends try to be supportive but you can see they are looking at you differently. Your family are getting stick from their neighbours and the community. The children get referred to professionals so they can talk about it.  How would that feel? Seeing your whole life flipped upside down. Cut off from your children and ostracised by your employer, friends and sometimes family. This is parental alienation and it’s easy to see why suicide becomes a valid option.  


If one good thing comes out of this tragedy, wouldn’t it be nice if we all were able to respect the “innocent until proven guilty” rhetoric?


Final thoughts


Everyone views this from a different perspective. Caroline came across as being a “girl next door” kind of character. Everyone appeared to like her and she was very relatable.  Perhaps you could imagine yourself being friends with her or even felt that she was a lot like you. It can be really hard to then accept that she is capable of hurting another person because it would make you question your own view of yourself.  If she can do something like this, could you? It may therefore be easier to minimize the behaviour or even justify it. It’s perfectly natural and is a sign of empathy. However, true empathy is when we can see the situation from all sides and still be compassionate.


From another perspective, if you have experienced domestic abuse, you may feel angry with all the sympathy Caroline is receiving.  If you have had allegations made against you which were false, you may feel incredibly sympathetic towards her as you recognise in yourself how close you have come to suicide.  If your family member has chosen to end their life, you may feel guilty and even angry that she didn’t turn to someone for help. 


What we can learn


Caroline’s story (or what we know) is complex.  Domestic abuse is complex. Mental Health is complex. Suicide is complex. The response to her story is very indicative of many views held by society which is what I was seeking to address.  


The key points which I think we can learn are:


  1. Domestic abuse is rarely “just an argument” and belittling violence into those terms is dangerous.
  2. Men and women can be victims of domestic abuse – one in four women, one in 6 men are reported to be victims
  3. People are more than their mistakes and if we fail to see that are we advocating for suicide?
  4. The press has a duty to report and the public consumes the information. If you disagree with this type of reporting, think about how you consume information yourself and how you can make changes
  5. Mental health is misunderstood and there is still a stigma around it.  The more we understand it, the better we are equipped to deal with ourselves, others and the inevitable difficulties which crop up in life
  6. Rather than looking to blame anyone, focus on understand the reasons behind it
  7. Victim shaming and blaming is never OK
  8. Mental health, domestic abuse and suicide are inextricably linked.  We need to understand each individually as well as how they impact one another to prevent more tragedies
  9. We need a consistent approach to dealing with domestic abuse
  10. We should all assume innocent until proven guilty, regardless of our feelings on the matter
  11. Empathy and compassion is so important


My personal hope is that Caroline’s tragic death has opened the door to having real conversations about domestic abuse in households across the UK and abroad as well as within parliament buildings. This is where change will come and hopefully change lives and opinions. 


What’s your thoughts on this situation and domestic abuse? Have you experienced anything similar?


The post Caroline Flack’s Suicide And What It Has Taught Us About Public Attitudes Towards Domestic Abuse appeared first on The Nurturing Coach.


truths about domestic violence

5 Truths About Domestic Violence And Abusive Relationships

truths about domestic violence


Domestic violence and abuse are becoming an epidemic in today’s culture. It is estimated that 38,028,000 women will experience physical intimate partner violence at some point during their lives.

Men can fall victim to abusive relationships as well. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 10 American men have experienced physical violence, stalking, or rape inflicted by a partner. Another 1 in 7 men will be the victims of severe physical abuse at the hand of a romantic partner.

Whether the perpetrator is male or female, studies show that abusers often share the same traits of aggression, mood swings, no self-control, severe jealousy, and high rates of suspicion.

Are you or someone you know experiencing domestic violence and abuse? Here are 5 sobering facts about abusive relationships and what you can do to help.

5 Truths About Domestic Violence

TRUTH #1. It’s More Common Than We Think

Many people have a caricatured version of who they believe to be in an abusive relationship and that the abusive is obvious. That one spouse will be constantly yelling at their partner, or that bruises or other signs of physical abuse are apparent.

Perhaps they believe people in abusive relationships are from a lower socioeconomic background. But this simply isn’t true.

One sad truth about domestic violence and abuse is that they are much more common than one might think. It happens to children, teenagers, and adults, with nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experiencing physical abuse from a romantic partner each and every year.

It is estimated that 11,766 American women are killed every year by their husbands or boyfriends, which is more than the war in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

Abusive relationships are common and it’s time to shed some light on the truth.

TRUTH #2. Your Spouse Becomes Extremely Possessive and Controlling

As mentioned at the onset, jealousy is a common trait of abusive relationships. Partners seek to control their spouse to prevent them from cheating. Abusers may use the following tactics to control their spouse:

  • Isolating spouse from friends and family in fear that close associates will help the victim leave the toxic relationship.
  • Threatening self-harm if a partner says they are ending the relationship
  • Resorting to physical violence to prevent a partner from socializing
  • Forcing a partner to quit their job so that they are financially reliant on the abuser

Such behavior can be traumatizing to the victim. It is estimated that 81% of women experiencing stalking, physical violence, or rape by an intimate partner will end up being injured physically or will develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

TRUTH #3. Abuse is More than Physical Violence

Physical abuse is clear to define. It occurs when one partner acts violently toward the other. Slapping, kicking, grabbing, pushing, beating, or using a weapon against a partner is clear-cut, unacceptable behavior.

But one truth about abusive relationships is that abuse hardly ends with physical violence.

Emotional abuse is a common method of control done by an abuser. Emotional abuse can take the form of insults, demeaning speech, making a partner feel crazy or stupid, bipolar mood swings, blaming a partner for poor behavior, and using religion or guilt to force a partner to stay.

Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime. This is a facet of an abusive relationship.

Sexual abuse is marked by any unwanted sexual advances or forced intercourse. Sexual control is another form of abuse, perhaps making a partner watch adult films or participate in sexual acts they are uncomfortable with. Refusing to allow a partner to practice safe sex or sexually humiliating or degrading a partner also fall under sexual abuse.

Domestic violence and abuse can also involve withholding food, shelter, and finances from a spouse.

TRUTH #4. Not all Abusive Relationships are Obvious

While it’s true that some abusers may be negative, controlling, uncaring people, many have positive qualities that draw victims in.

Abusers are commonly charming, loving individuals who will apologize for their bad behavior only to repeat it time and again. In some cases, the abuse may not start for some time. It may even be years. An abusive relationship may start off as loving and wonderful as the start of any normal relationship. This is what makes abusers so hard to spot.

TRUTH #5. Leaving Is Hard

Often, when one hears the intimate details of an abusive relationship they will ask “Why didn’t he/she just leave?”

The truth is, abusers, do not make it easy for their partners to leave the relationship. They have physically or mentally beaten down the victim until their self-esteem is nonexistent.

A spouse may feel they are not capable of leaving. Their abuser has told them that this is the best they will ever be able to do in life or may withhold finances, their children, or other provisions to prevent a separation from occurring.

It is also common for an abuser to enter a honeymoon phase after abuse has occurred. They may be on their best behavior for a time, apologizing to the wounded spouse and promising to change their ways.

A victim’s forgiving nature or love for their spouse may compel them to stay and help their partner.

Research indicates that a victim will attempt to leave an abusive relationship 7 times before leaving for good.

Leaving an abusive situation can be very dangerous, especially for women, with most violence and deaths occurring during an attempt to leave.

Visit the Domestic Violence Intervention Program for an extensive checklist for leaving an abusive relationship in the safest way possible.

Has your relationship turned toxic? It may be in your best interest to consider separation in marriage. Put the safety of you or your children first by getting out of an aggressive and unhealthy home. If you need help getting out of an abusive situation, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text 1-800-787-3224

The post 5 Truths About Domestic Violence And Abusive Relationships appeared first on Divorced Moms.


male victims of domestic violence

The Surprising Truth About Male Victims Of Domestic Violence

male victims of domestic violence

Domestic violence — and allegations of violence — can be one of the most toxic issues in contested divorces. Too often, rightly or wrongly, they are likely to result in fathers getting shut out of their children’s lives and men having to make larger child support and alimony payments.

standard scenario — from courtrooms to movies — is that the husband has been
physically and verbally abusive, scaring and hurting his wife, often in front
of their children. He’s the goon, and his wife deserves to be rid of him.

many women do tragically end up victims of domestic violence, but there are two
other scenarios that can be just as true, yet receive little attention.

The first is that allegations of domestic violence are what some family law attorneys call “the nuclear option.” Lawyers tell their clients to file papers to get an order of protection if they say they feel fear, and as a way to strengthen their case.

if their husband raises his voice — no matter who started the fight — divorcing
might call the police. Within minutes, a squad car will show up and, without
listening to both parties, an officer will tell the husband to get his shaving
kit and clothes and then escort him off the property.

It has been estimated that 85 percent of protective orders are entered against men, with most being used tactically to get the upper hand in a divorce. Aside from the effect that these orders can have on child custody, property division, and payments to an ex-wife, men who are innocent are stigmatized and records of these orders can be found by employers or when looking for a job.

it’s the second scenario that is the least discussed. This is when the wife is
the abusive or violent spouse, hitting their husbands, throwing things at them,
destroying their belongings, spewing so many four-letter words that a hardened
criminal would blush, and even pulling weapons on them. 

One in four men (compared to one in seven women) experience “severe physical intimate partner violence,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And this doesn’t include verbal or other forms of abusive behavior. The Mayo Clinic has also written about domestic violence against men.

While interviewing men for my book, “Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life,” I heard many disturbing stories. A mother told me that her son had almost been killed by his ex-wife and fled to her house. One man recalled how his wife threw glasses and plates at him and was verbally abusive to his son from his first marriage; then, if it weren’t so troubling it would be funny, she smashed the cat’s water bowl by using it as a weapon.

don’t we hear more about men who are victims — either in court or in the media?

There are a number of reasons: 1) Men are more likely to commit the most heinous acts. 2) Most advocates against domestic violence have been women’s groups. 3) Centuries of storytelling, from Othello to Hannibal Lecter, have reinforced the narrative that men are the attackers and women are the victims. 4) Law enforcement almost automatically makes this assumption. 5) Many a man feels like a “sissy” to report that the bruise on his face came from a punch by his wife, which also suggests that the CDC data may underestimate the real toll.

what should men do? First, don’t be afraid to report to the police any
incidents or patterns of violence and abuse by your wife toward you or your

evidence: Take photos of a bruise or scratch, a punched-in wall, or broken
glass. If possible, record the audio on your smart phone.

there are witnesses, ask them if they can describe what they have seen or heard
to the police or your lawyer. Write down in detail what happened (or has been

your own protective order. If your children have been abused, gather any
evidence you can and protect your kids.

is especially important since police and courts often disbelieve men who say
that they have been victimized by their wives. Tell your attorney, who can use
this information to help your case. 

no man or woman should be a victim of violence or other abusive behavior, if it
happens to you, documenting and reporting it can be critically important to
your divorce case and can make a big difference when it comes to custody and
financial matters.

Andrew L. Yarrow, a former New York Times reporter and history professor, discusses these and related issues in his recent book, Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life.

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