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!
StorkNet Member: Hi Jennifer, I wrote a couple of months
ago about my children living at my ex's because of a lie by him.
We are still involved in court, and it doesn't seem to ever go
any way but his way.
have been abused by him and his wife in the form of a metal BBQ
spatula that left bruises on my 10 year old daughter. I got a
restraining order, but things continue. Her step mother made her
eat on the floor of the garage with the dog because she burped
at the table. My daughter also accidentally hit her step sister
in the face with a ball, and her stepmom made her stand still
and threw the ball at her, hitting her in her face so she could
"feel what it felt like." My ex has now enrolled my kids into
another school, which I knew nothing about, and when I called
to talk to my daughter her step mother kept hanging up the phone
while we were talking. I went over there, I wanted to make sure
my little girl was ok, and my ex's wife among other things stood
there yelling at my daughter, "Your mother is making these things
up to make your dad go to jail" and "Tell your mother right here
in front of me that I beat you, DO I BEAT YOU?" It was horrible.
girl has nightmares every night over there. She was also talking
of suicide. I'm sorry this is so long, but my main question is
this: If my children were told they CANNOT go to counseling do
you feel it is ok for me to take her anyway on my visitation time
and tell her its ok not to tell her dad? I feel she will tell
him anyway, and I don't want her any more abused than she already
is. My son is not as abused, not that I'm not worried, but she
gets the brunt of everything. I love them so much, it's breaking
my heart that this man that abused me, and my children can go
into a court, lie, and then say, "Out of the goodness of his heart
he "LET" me have custody for 2 years but it didn't work out. He
is clearly delusional, if not psychotic (his mother was a schizophrenic
institutionalized for a very long time) and I worry so much about
them. Thank you.
My heart goes out to you and your children. You must spend
all of your time worrying about them. It sounds like such an upside
down world or nightmare that you've woken up in.
I can tell
you have thought out the possible ramifications of taking your
daughter to counseling. I'm sure your instincts are correct that
there would be a big risk of him using that as an excuse to cause
her more harm and humiliation. So how to help her? DOCUMENT EVERYTHING:
dates things happen, exact quotes from your children, photos of
bruises, etc. You need support now. NOW. Go to counseling with
a therapist who you can connect with and with whom you feel safe.
This person can advise you on how to help your children during
their visits and will be mandated to report any abuse you discuss
with him or her. What is your attorney doing to provide you with
a plan? If it seems stalled seek a referral from a local domestic
violence group/program. They should be aware of who is experienced
in these cases. Keep talking with your children. Give them outlets
when they are with you to express themselves (drawing, journals,
talking) that you can keep at your house so they do not get further
harmed by bringing these to their father's house. If your daughter
is talking about suicide conferring with a counselor that you
are seeing (another reason this would be helpful), or a crisis
team could be the first line of intervening. This would begin
a process of "outside" people/professionals assisting the children
and being witnesses to their descriptions of abuse.
You need support
right now also. You need to have caring family or friends who
can allow you a safe place to vent. Please seek counseling.
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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 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!
My husband is in prison and we're divorcing. Visitation rights?
If you are in immediate danger