Last year, I began working with a fantastic organization that works with survivors of domestic abuse and I have learned so much about domestic violence, domestic abuse and its impact on people especially those going through a divorce. I’d like to share with you a few of the things that I have learned along the way.
I have learned that at least one in every three relationships has elements of abuse. I have learned that there is usually a long period of grooming where the abuser grooms his victim before it escalates to any kind of physical abuse. I have learned that abusers separate their victims from all of their close ties; often alienating close friends and family so that they are not aware of what is going on. The abuser often uses financial control to make the victim feel helpless. The abuser often monitors and controls cell phone use, computer use, social media access to further isolate the victim.
It takes an incredible amount of strength and perseverance to break free of this type of control and leave. When the victims do decide to file for divorce, they need an extra level of support that most attorneys aren’t even aware of. Having to meet their abuser in Court is the cause of an enormous amount of stress and attorneys need to be aware of this when they are representing a victim. Court can make them feel exposed and unprotected. Being in the courtroom with the abuser staring at them, going to the bathroom alone. These kinds of things are really stressful. I often bring my partner with me in these types of cases so that one of us remains with the victim while the other one can deal with the court proceeding. The feedback I have received by doing this has been incredible and extremely rewarding both personally and professionally.