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!


86. StorkNet Member: I have been married for the last month, and have had a relationship with my husband for the last 5 months. At the beginning he was fine, for a couple weeks, then we started arguing. He used to comment on my weight and say very mean things. I have also said mean things, but have apologized. He also makes jokes that bother me, and when I ask him to stop, he tells me to let it go--that I can't take a joke. When we get into an argument, which is almost everyday, he curses at me like anything. Calls me names, says such mean things that I can't bear it sometimes. I in turn try to hurt him by mentioning my ex. He has also been physically abusive--he hit me several times--and then blames me. He says, "if you didn't do this, then I would not have done 'it'." "If you didn't throw my stuff on the floor, I would not have hit you." He tells me things like, "Bitches like you need to be tamed," which scars me mentally. Every time he hits me, he blames me for it, then repents, apologizes and feels bad. Every time he says he will never hit me again. I don't want to divorce him, I want to make this work. I just want to know how. He says if I have patience, things will work out. But I feel no matter what I do, he will not change. Can you please help me? I am soo confused. I want to know how to take action to change my marriage.

Jennifer: It sounds like your head and your heart are fighting within you for control. But it also sounds like you know the answer to your own very painful question: "no matter what I do, he will not change." The very much more painful thing is that he will likely change, but not in ways you are hoping for. He, in all likelihood will get worse. The verbal abuse and physical violence will escalate and the remorseful "honeymoon periods" will get shorter and shorter in what is the cycle of violence. If it continues and you don't get out he will likely cause severe injury to you or worse. I wish that there was something you could do to change him, but that is not possible. I have a sense that you know that already. You need to find a way to take care of yourself, be safe, get out safely, get a support system that is emotionally supportive (and financially if that is needed and available), and you need to begin then to heal. You do not mention that you have children yet. Please get out before you do. If it will help, consider what you would tell your best friend, your sister, your mother or any future daughter you might have if she were in the same situation. Seek out resources in your community for support: a therapist, a support group, a shelter (if you need to stay somewhere until you can get on your feet), an attorney, friends and family who will support you in your decision to get help. Your own life is worth saving.

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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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