In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this blog entry is an invitation to anyone and everyone who has ever been touched by intimate partner abuse - whether as a victim and/or abuser, as a child or an adult, as a sibling or a friend - to share your stories, your questions, and your desire to find ways of understanding what happened.
Here's my story to get us started (read more in Violent Partners):
Twenty years ago, I began seriously dating a man who was abusive with me on several occasions. Between the incidences of abuse, he was deeply apologetic, very honest, and really seemed committed to trying to change his behavior. At a certain point, we both agreed that we wanted counseling - not because we were mutually to blame for his violence, but because I wanted to be part of the recovery.
To our surprise and disappointment, all three of the therapists with whom we met refused to treat us. They told my boyfriend he needed to work on his violence in his own therapy before we could do couples counseling together. Although I understood that this was designed to protect me, it actually had the opposite effect: I felt isolated with nowhere to turn for help.
When the violence escalated to a point I could no longer explain it away, I found myself emotionally bound up with my boyfriend and unwilling to leave him. I renewed my efforts to find a therapist willing to treat us both, and was finally successful.
Several months later, I left this man, largely thanks to the therapist's guidance and support. Perhaps this is what motivates my commitment to seek effective therapy for women and men who are in violent relationships today.
Tell us YOUR Story!