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!
Member: My problem is that I don't think anyone will believe
that my husband is rough with me. He never leaves marks or bruises.
He pushes, gets angry, and does things like tells me to stay home
or in the bedroom. Other people only see his nice side. His family
thinks he is some kind of God. I feel so alone. Thank you for
any direction or thoughts on this because I can't live like this
I sense from your question how very alone you must be feeling. This
is one way perpetrators of domestic violence continue their behavior
and continue their relationships. They work at isolating their
partners and children so that they don't feel they have anyone
to turn to. It is not unusual for others in your social circle
to either miss the "red flags" of violence or perhaps your husband
only shows this side of himself with you. The very fact that he
is not causing bruises may make him think he isn't being abusive.
can happen slowly. It may start with verbal abuse and communication
that works at tearing down the woman's self-esteem. It makes her
question her self worth and often she questions what it is she
is doing to "provoke" the violence. This is such crazy making
behavior. It is the woman's attempt to gain some sense of control
over the situation. She thinks to herself, "If I just wouldn't
nag him," or "If I could just do what he asks." This behavior
is also seen in the children who are witnessing the abuse. They
think if only they could behave they wouldn't cause their parent
to become angry and abusive.
I want you
to know first that you are not alone. This is an issue in so many
relationships. So often we downplay the violence because he is
nice to us sometimes, or he is a good father, or he is under stress.
We downplay verbal abuse which causes scarring on the insides
and gradually makes us feel unworthy of happiness or a caring
It must be
very hard to have his family view him in such a positive light
when you have experienced him in a painful way. It is likely you
will not get support from his family which will also be painful.
If they know of his violent tendencies they likely have a history
of protecting him, looking the other way or just plain denying
that he could do harm to you.
You will need
to find the strength through your own support system. Do you have
family or friends you can call on for support? If not there are
support groups now in most communities. I strongly recommend support
groups as this fights the isolation factor. You will need support
to build your strength. You deserve to be happy and to feel safety
in your home. You do not deserve to be hurt by your spouse. You
are not alone.
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Questions and Answers (Click on the linked numbers below):
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?
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
12. Husband abusive and terminal.
I'm pregnant. Can I make it on my own?
13. Therapists and false memories
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
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.
my boyfriend showing signs of being abusive?
26. How can I prevent visitation
27. Question about one of Jennifer's
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
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
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
44. Surviving molestation
45. Our arguing has turned physical
46. I left my verbally abusive
realizes she is the abuser
48. Husband's health is making
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,
54. Are my boyfriend's actions
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
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
69. I left and now I'm confused
70. Thank you, Jennifer
71. My husband mentally abuses
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
75. My husband is frightening
me with his anger
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
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 fiancé 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!
My husband is in prison and we're divorcing. Visitation rights?
If you are in immediate danger