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: I was wondering if you could help me with a situation
involving our friends. We have some friends at our church that
we have known for four years now. They are a married couple with
three kids, all around our kids' ages. The wife has always been
very, very sweet on the surface. We are friends, but it has been
hard to get to know her. It always seems like she'll really want
to get to know me, and then she'll pull away and I won't see her
for awhile. The husband is your all-American sort of guy. He's
very nice. They are well-known, fairly prominent people in our
church. They are our age, too (meaning, a younger couple with
We knew something
was wrong for about the last six to nine months. But we couldn't
figure out what it was. A few days ago we found out the wife is
out of control. She is a very bitter person underneath her "niceness."
She frequently attacks her husband. Our other friends from church
witnessed it personally. They had this family over for lunch one
day, and then the couple went to play basketball out on their
driveway. They saw the wife attack her husband. She literally
holds him down. He's a pretty small guy, and she's thin but very
tall and strong. Our friends went out and told the wife not to
do that sort of stuff, especially in front of the kids. They have
distanced themselves from them ever since. The husband now has
openly admitted (to only a couple of people) that his wife does
this constantly. If he even says one wrong thing, she attacks
A couple of
years ago their oldest daughter (6 years old at the time) came
to church with what I swear looked like choke marks on her neck.
At the time I just brushed it off, thinking maybe she was wrestling
with her little brother, or whatever. But now I truly believe
it was from her mom.
What do we
do? I cannot stop thinking about this. I just can't believe someone
would do these types of things. It just makes me sick! Our pastor
is aware of the problems, but is relying on prayer. I do believe
in the power of prayer, but in this situation I think it warrants
more action. The only people who know are the pastor, the friends
who had the couple over for lunch, and now we know. What would
you do if you were in our shoes? PS: And no, the attack wasn't
just fun and games because they were playing basketball. I made
sure of that. It was a true, physical attack, because of something
the husband said to her, apparently.
I am so glad that this has given us all an opportunity to see
that abuse isn't just male to female, but in fact can be the other
way around and can go between same sex couples also. It has the
same demoralizing effect on the spouse and the same trauma occurs
with the children. The pastor is a mandated reporter, and if he
is aware of the marks on this child's neck he should and has a
legal (and moral) duty to contact protective services. It can
be done anonymously so please if he hasn't done this or won't
do it, please do it yourself. It is possible that they will only
take a report (since it is now likely the marks are gone), but
to start a paper trail is a good thing in this situation. The
pastor, being the spiritual leader has the most clout in your
church community and can perhaps call on elders in the church
to assist. This woman needs immediate assistance with anger management
and the spouse and children need assistance with counseling for
the effects of the abuse, including going to a shelter or making
the wife leave. The spouse will need support if this happens as
his self worth has suffered significantly.
all need support. I too believe in prayer, but (from a standpoint
of religion): we are called upon to help our brothers and sisters
by God. We are the ones who are able to step in and help this
couple and especially their children. If she is doing this in
front of others one can only imagine what is happening behind
closed doors. I agree with you that it needs to be taken seriously
and action needs to happen. If the pastor is still reluctant please
get the information about local support groups to this husband
so that he knows he has some options. He has the added stigma
of it being seen as "unusual" that he is being battered as a man,
which just adds to his sense of shame. Let him know that he has
support. You are doing the right thing for him and the children.
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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