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!


51. StorkNet Member: My granddaughter was anorexic for 2 years. Her husband is very controlling and I'm sure that was a big part of it. She put herself into an eating disorder clinic for 2 months. Her husband's family took care of the 3 children. They are now going through a divorce and her husband is using the eating disorder clinic against her. He calls it an institution and says she is too unstable to care for the children. She is not 100 % cured but she is much, much better. The closer they get to the divorce the better she is. He wants sole custody of the kids. He has his mother, father, brother, two sisters, and aunt, uncle and babysitter testifying against her because of her past behavior. He has a nanny set up for when he gets custody of the kids. He is always putting her down, says she contributes nothing to the marriage and can't do anything right. Last week she took care of the three kids, cut the grass, did the laundry, took the boys for hair cuts and soccer practice, took her daughter for gymnastics, cooked dinner every night (he doesn't eat there, he goes to his mother's house) and went on a field trip with her daughter. She is doing such a good job with the kids, but he only cuts her down and never recognizes all she does. He says she should be out working. What can she do to show the court that she has changed and is now a wonderful mother to her children? Also, he swears at her and then denies it. He has no problems telling a lie and she is sure he is going to make up a lot of things in order to get custody of the kids. What hope does she have?

Jennifer: I would say "she has the hope of a loving grandmother" It must be very painful to watch this young woman you love, and who is a part of you, in so much turmoil and feel as if you are helpless to assist her. You aren't. Even if you cannot assist her financially (and she very much needs a lawyer. She will unfortunately need the services of a lawyer for some time as this is probably just "round one"). She sounds like she is finally getting her SELF back. I encourage you to continue telling her how very proud you are of her and that you will be there for her no matter what the outcome of her legal battle is. It is difficult when we choose the father of our children when we are hurting and they sometimes turn out to be someone who hurt us further. It is not something she can change at this point, but she must tell herself she will make different choices in the future for her life as she is getting healthier everyday. Her children will see a mother who is holding her head up and a mother who has sought help for a debilitating problem.

She will survive this battle. She will live a life that will be full of healthier choices and with the love of a grandmother who cheers her on. Just know that your love is a healing force in her life. Have her reach out to the people in her eating disorder support group. Tell her she will be stronger by asking others for their help. I wish her well and I'm so very glad she has you in her corner.

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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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