Domestic Violence Discussion with
Jennifer Bowles, MSW, LCSW

Jennifer Bowles is a licensed clinical social worker currently working in California as a medical social worker at a county hospital. She obtained her Master's degree in social work from U.C.L.A. Since graduating in 1993 she has worked in a variety of settings, including private practice, with children and families, frail elderly, and chronically and terminally ill clients. Prior to becoming a social worker she was a deputy sheriff. She believes this law enforcement background provided her with an increased sensitivity to abuse issues, including domestic violence.

She has seen first hand the damage domestic violence does to the individual and family. It crosses all demographic barriers: financial, racial, ethnic, age and sexual orientation.

Our thanks to Jennifer Bowles!

 

8. StorkNet Member: I have been married for almost 3 years. In my mind things have not been so good. My husband doesn't hit me. (Well, he has a few times but it's a long story.) Before I was pregnant with our first child I was going to leave him and he misunderstood a conversation between a girl friend of mine (who I was going to stay with) and he called the police and made up this big lie about me threatening him with a knife and I was arrested for domestic violence. The charges were dropped and I went back to him.

During my pregnancy we fought all the time. I am really bad about running my mouth too long and he in turn starts breaking things. 10,000 worth of computers, multiple telephones, televisions etc. I was going to leave him while I was pregnant (2 weeks to go) and I chickened out. He gets so nice after the fights are over.

Things have been very touch and go since our daughter was born in August. I left him in November, found out I was pregnant in December and went back. Three weeks after I came back he called the police once again (after he attacked me in the hallway and threw me down) and we both went to jail because I had obvious bruises and he had a red mark above his eye from me trying to get him off of me. Children Services had to take my daughter because we were both going to jail. I got her back after the judge amended the condition of bond stating that neither one of us could contact a member of the household, because she wasn't involved. Then what do I do... I go back.

Well things were fine for a few months, but again, he broke a computer after we were arguing. And the television. I told him I had enough and made arrangements to leave again. We (my daughter and I ) are safe at my grandpa's house, but now my husband is being so nice and back to his "normal" self - he said we could come back. Part of me wants to come back. Part of me knows it will probably happen again. I'm so terrified that now I'm out on my own with no job, no money, and I have a 9 month old and I'm 6 months pregnant. He says all I have to do is keep my mouth shut and he wouldn't do the things he does.

Why do I feel so guilty and sad for leaving? In your experience is there any way things will ever be mended?

Jennifer: I am glad you are in a safe place now.áIt is very hard to leave when you are worried about how you'll manage caring for yourself and your children. When you said, "In my mind things have not been so good", I got the impression you have doubted yourself or others have doubted whether the problem has been so bad. Trust you guts.áKnow that what you have experienced is abusive and will only continue to get worse without him seeking a great deal of help for his rage.

Be very careful with this man.áHe has already lied to the police and caused you to risk losing your daughter.

There is what's called the "cycle of violence."áIt has within this cycle the phase after the violence occurs when the perpetrator attempts to make amends. This is when it feels like you have the person back that you love. Unfortunately these periods of time get shorter and shorter between the violence.

Try not to kick yourself for having gone back in the past. These men can be very persuasive and may even feel genuinely remorseful.áKnow that "normal" for him includes his rage and violent behavior in addition to the loving side he shows you when trying to woo you back.

Sometimes it helps to look at your daughter and think "would I want her to be in a relationship like this?" Likely your answer would be "NO." Likely you would be very afraid for her.áChildren will model their lives and behavior after their parents. You want to teach her now what to do to take care of herself.áYou want to teach her that it is unacceptable for a husband to treat his wife this way. You want her to learn nonviolent ways to communicate and to accept no less from those in her family.

I am glad you have family (your grandfather) who is willing and able to help you.áAccept this help.áIt is likely you will be in a position to help others in the future.áTalk with an attorney and a counselor who is experienced in domestic violence.áFind out what your rights are and what you can expect from the courts should you file for divorce. áThis will provide you with a sense of control as you'll be coming from a position of knowledge and will have begun to expand your support system.

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Questions and Answers (Click on the linked numbers below):

 1.  Husband's temper
 2.  Divorced, did not keep documentation for protection. What should I do?
 3.  I'm getting divorced. Do I tell the judge about my husband's anger? Should my daughter be with him?
 4.  How do I find an Abuse Center in My area?
 5.  How can I help my friend see that she's in a cycle of abuse?
 6.  Thank you, Jennifer
 7.  Is verbal abuse considered domestic violence?
 8.  I've left my husband - why do I feel so sad and guilty?
 9.  I'm being abused but no one can tell.
10. How does domestic abuse affect the children of the marriage?
11. When do you get past the damage?
12. Husband abusive and terminal. I'm pregnant. Can I make it on my own?
13. Therapists and false memories
14. Who do we tell if a child in my son's class is being molested?
15. My children are afraid of their father but he has part custody, what do I do?
16. This relationship is tearing down her self-confidence piece by piece.
17. I got away from the abuse but now my daughter is suffering.
18. Why do so many women end up in abusive relationships?
19. Is yelling verbal abuse?
20. Steps toward recovery?
21. Parents drinking affects the holidays
22. My dad was verbally abusive to me and I now suffer from low self esteem.
23. I can hear the neighbors fighting. What should I do?
24. My ex says no to counseling, but I want my kids to go.
25. Is my boyfriend showing signs of being abusive?
26. How can I prevent visitation rights?
27. Question about one of Jennifer's comments
28. Finding strength and independence
29. I worry so much about my children when they are with him and his new wife.
30. My friend got out of one abusive relationship and into another.
31. Helping my brother with his temper
32. My husband is an alcoholic.
33. My sister is abusing me.
34. My mom was abusive. Will I be too?
35. Abusive husband and a new baby
36. How is past abuse from my deceased husband affecting my 4 1/2 year old?
37. My best friend chose a controlling boyfriend, just like her father. Help me explain to her.
38. My husband intimidates me into sex. Is this abuse?
39. Husband has anxiety and is becoming violent
40. Separated, pregnant and thinking of working things out with abusive husband
41. Question about verbal abuse?
42. Is my boyfriend abusive?
43. Ex-husband and unpaid child support
44. Surviving molestation
45. Our arguing has turned physical now
46. I left my verbally abusive husband
47. Woman realizes she is the abuser
48. Husband's health is making him angry
49. Abuse and chronically ill
50. Abusive relationship and going through divorce proceedings
51. Granddaughter may lose custody
52. Relationship with abusive boyfriend is like obsession
53. Very afraid of abusive, threatening husband
54. Are my boyfriend's actions abusive?
55. I worry that my children will be molested because I was
56. Why do women stay or have a hard time leaving?
57. I need help to get away. What can I do?
58. Elderly parents are abusing each other, alcohol involved.
59. Is my daughter being abused by her stepmom?
60. Do you discuss female domestic violence towards men and children?
61. Friend keeps going back to abusive boyfriend
62. Alcohol problems as teens related to growing up in a violent home?
63. I left my abuser... a message of hope
64. How to help a pregnant friend
65. Resources for domestic violence in the military?
66. Nephew in abusive relationship
67. My husband is too controlling
68. Advice from someone who stayed
69. I left and now I'm confused
70. Thank you, Jennifer
71. My husband mentally abuses me
72. I've taken steps to leave my abusive husband, but am worried about my daughter
73. Abuse in friendships?
74. Why do women oppose mandatory reporting?
75. My husband is frightening me with his anger
76. Am I becoming my father?
77. Love and abuse
78. Boyfriend threatens me
79. Husband wants me to get an abortion, is verbally abusive.
80. My mother-in-law is harrassing us
81. Children verbally abusive like their father
82. Son and daughter-in-law's arguing affecting grandson
83. Should I call my husband on each verbal abuse?
84. My fiancÚ babysits and I am worried about his temper
85. My friend's child is affected by abuse by father
86. Every time he hits me, he blames me for it, then repents, apologizes and feels bad.
87. Acquaintances from church--the woman is attacking her husband. How can I help?
88. Shelters - how do you find your funds to live on and where to go?
89. My friend appears to have no way out!
90. My husband is in prison and we're divorcing. Visitation rights?
91. If you are in immediate danger

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