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!


24. StorkNet Member: My children from my first marriage, which ended in 92 (very abusive man) have, by a lie from my ex, ended up living at his house. We are currently in a court battle but my children are being both physically and emotionally abused and I don't know if there is anything I can do. I tried taking them to counseling, but now he has told them they are not "allowed" to go and they feel they are in the middle. My question is this, do you feel it is OK for me to find a therapist and tell my kids not to tell their dad, so they CAN go to therapy? My daughter especially is abused by him, including documented physical abuse and being told she is the "worst one" and my son is the "good one." She is suicidal now also. I just want to make sure I'm not making a situation worse by taking them and having them not tell their dad. They feel they are lying. Thank you.

Jennifer: I can only imagine the pain you must feel as you have to stand by and witness what this man is doing to your children. You don't say how old they are but I am assuming they are pre to early teens. Have you talked to your children about whether they want to go to counseling even if they have to lie to their father? Where was the abuse documented and who documented it? If it was by protective services they can often get court ordered counseling for the children. Would their father be willing to take them to counseling himself? He doesn't sound like someone who would want his family's issued examined too closely. Your daughter needs to be assessed immediately for suicidal ideation. Does she have a plan and means to implement it? Is she willing to talk to her school counselor? Try to reassure her that she will not always be in her father's care and under his control.

I know I'm throwing more questions at you than answers, but the situation you describe is one of urgency. I'm very concerned about your daughter's immediate welfare as her father is targeting her as the scapegoat. If she is removed from his care he will likely move the target to your son. I am very glad to hear this is currently in the court system. I hope you have a very seasoned lawyer, one who is willing to fight for these kids. Talk to him or her about having counseling court ordered. Perhaps their father's problem is a financial issue. Can you afford to pay for it yourself? More likely it sounds like he just doesn't want anyone to know what is really going on and could testify against him. Talk to as many local people as you can including your attorney, protective services, the local women's shelter/child advocates, and law enforcement. If you run up against a wall, move on and keep asking questions.

Talk with the children about an escape plan. If there is someone "neutral" in your ex-husband's family who could help them in an emergency have them memorize their phone number in addition to yours. Consider getting a pager so that they have access to you if they can get to a phone. Don't hesitate to involve the police if you have any question your daughter is in immediate danger of taking her life.

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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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