I fancy myself a writer.

Domestic Violence

I have a stalker

I don’t particularly enjoy airing my dirty laundry in public. But as I am often fond of saying, you can’t fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it. Sometimes you have to expose a problem to deal with it. So, that’s why I’m here today, writing to you about my stalker.

You can't fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it.

You can’t fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it.

A few years ago, I made the mistake of dating someone who lived in the same apartment complex that I lived in. It was a relationship of convenience. I had no money to pay my heat bill, and his house was always warm. The guy was a good cook, and I like to eat. I had no cable, but he did. So, the long weekends spent getting used to not having my kids with me every other weekend while they were at their dad’s went a little bit faster. Besides, the whole thing really pissed my ex off, which was a huge plus. In fact, I probably would have broken it off with this dumbass a lot sooner than I did if my ex-husband had just minded his own business. (more…)


In the Victims’ Best Interest: Is a Joint-Custody Arrangement Appropriate when Intimate Partner Violence is a Factor?

Good morning, everyone! I just published my final paper for my Family Violence course on Scribd. I’m not sure what’s going on with the spacing. For some reason, there is no space between paragraphs at all. I looked all over my document and can’t figure out what I did different this time. At any rate, here it is:

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Cross Cultural Perspectives on Family Violence: A Reflection

My summer course has not yielded quite as much writing material as I had hoped it might. I have entered the final week of class and have submitted all coursework as of this morning. All I have left to do now is take the final exam, and I can put one more course behind me! Today I would like to share my weekly reflection paper to give you an idea of some of the more important issues discussed in this course.

Why doesn’t she “just leave?”

My understanding from all of the readings and other materials from this course is that it is very rare for batterers to ever change their behaviors, let alone as a response to court-ordered interventions. A batterer has to honestly admit to his wrongdoing, be held accountable for the damage he has caused, and make a personal commitment to change in order to stop his abusive behaviors.

Most court-ordered treatment programs are frequented by batterers who are only doing what they have to do to meet the court’s minimum requirements. It is highly unlikely that the batterer will stop abusing his victim under such circumstances. In most cases, the best possible outcome for the victim is to successfully leave the relationship for good. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as “just leaving.” (more…)


Lit Review: Who should be held accountable for failure to protect children from domestic violence?

"North Hampton is a Domestic violence fre...

“North Hampton is a Domestic violence free-zone” (Massachussetts) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello! I am continuing my literature review today for my summer course, “Family Violence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives.” Today’s article examines cases in which victims of domestic violence have lost custody of their children for failing to protect them from being exposed to violence in the home. You may read the full article here.

Harris, L. J. (2010). Failure to Protect from Exposure to Domestic Violence in Private Custody Contests. Family Law Quarterly44(2), 169-195.

Child custody arrangements in the United States have evolved a great deal over the past fifty years. Prior to the 1970s, a joint custody arrangement was not an option for most families. In most cases, the custody of the children would have been awarded to the primary caregiver, who was often the mother. In the late 1970s, with the advent of the father’s rights movement, many states began to enact laws allowing divorcing parents to share legal custody of their children. With these changes in place, it wasn’t long before family courts were faced with the necessity of determining whether a joint custody arrangement was in the best interests of children in cases that involved domestic violence. (more…)


Is co-parenting possible when one parent is a batterer?

In today’s literature review, I take a look at an article by Dana Harrington Conner, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Delaware Civil Law Clinic at the Widener University School of Law. In this article, the author outlines several factors that make co-parenting between a batterer and his victim unmanageable at best. You may review the full article here.

Conner, D. H. (2011). Back to the Drawing Board: Barriers to Joint Decision-Making in Custody Cases Involving Intimate Partner ViolenceDuke Journal of Gender Law & Policy18(2), 223-260.

In this article, Conner argues that a joint-custody arrangement when intimate partner violence is a factor inherently goes against the children’s best interests. A joint-custody arrangement may only be successful when both parents are able to freely communicate their opinions and cooperate to make decisions about their children. This type of arrangement may only exist in a situation where the balance of power is relatively equal between the two parties. (more…)


When your summer paper-writing requires a trigger warning

This summer, I am taking an online course titled “Family Violence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives” as part of my coursework for a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies. So far, my homework has consisted of a great deal of reading and responding to questions about the readings. Thus, I haven’t really written anything that could easily be shared here. I have to start working on my final paper though, so that is about to change!

This course is a criminal justice course rather than my usual writing and/or literature courses, so I am trying to wrap my head around APA style again. I haven’t used APA since I finished business school in 2008! Luckily my professor has provided us with a couple of sample papers to help get us started. After reviewing these papers, I think I have a clear picture of where I want to go with my paper. (more…)


Annotated Bib: ““He Won’t Hurt Us Anymore”: A Feminist Performance of Healing For Children Who Witness Domestic Violence.”

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry analyzes a very powerful article (one I hope you will read) by Danielle M. Stern, who witnessed the abuse of her mother at the hands of a violent step-father as a child. You may view the full text here (Sorry, I couldn’t find this one free for you. However, if you check with your local library, they might be able to provide a copy).

Annotated Bib Entry

Stern, Danielle M. ““He Won’t Hurt Us Anymore”: A Feminist Performance of Healing For Children Who Witness Domestic Violence.” Women’s Studies in Communication 37.3 (2014): 360-378. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.

Danielle M. Stern writes an autoethnographic essay that explores the childhood trauma of being a witness and victim of domestic violence at the hands of her step-father. She discusses the importance of feminist storytelling in transforming a victim story into a survivor story. This essay mixes Stern’s personal stories of family violence with academic analysis to inform the reader of the impact on children who are forced to witness violence perpetrated against their mothers. (more…)


My take on 50 Shades

When I was a teenager – many many moons ago – I thought I was a strong young woman. I couldn’t understand why anyone would stay in a relationship with someone who would beat them up. I would never be that stupid. If any man ever hit me, I would just leave.

Then it happened to me. In the beginning, his jealousy flattered me. It was so romantic how he wanted me all to himself. He got into fights with other men who dared to look at me in public. That was fun until he started getting into fights with me when we got home because I let other men look at me. Somehow, it was my fault that other men looked at me. Somehow, I deserved to be punished for their wayward glances. (more…)


#APathAppears: Saving the world #OneStoryAtATime

Here’s a trailer for another one of my favorite documentary series. The title is based on the following quote:

“Hope is like a path in the countryside. Originally, there is nothing – but as people walk this way again and again, a path appears.” —Lu Xun, Chinese essayist, 1921

It’s amazing what one or two people can do to change the world for so many:

“It’s important to keep bearing witness… keep telling the story.”

Think about it. You could help change the world just by opening up and telling your own story. How powerful is that?

Join the cause. Share your story. Help save the world #OneStoryAtATime.

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What inspired you in 2014?

The "Becky Thatcher House" in Hannib...

On my 2015 to-do list: The “Becky Thatcher House” in Hannibal, Missouri. This building is across the street from Mark Twain’s boyhood home. It was the home of the girl Mark Twain used as the model for Becky Thatcher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m late. I know. But I’ve been sick with the flu this past week (despite having had a flu shot earlier this flu season) and have accomplished almost nothing over my holiday break. Anyway, here’s my list of things that inspired me in 2014:

  • Malala: Who hasn’t been inspired by Malala? (I mean, other than the Taliban.) The world needs more young women like Malala to stand up for girls and show the world that men like those in the Taliban only want to keep women down because deep down THEY FEAR WOMEN!!
  • Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence: Survivors sharing their stories and helping victims who are in the process of making the transition from victim to survivor.
  • My therapist: 2014 was a rough year for me. It seemed like I would never find a job that would pay enough for me to support my family (my ex hasn’t paid his child support in almost two years now.) I needed steady income and benefits, which was never going to happen while I was freelancing and teaching part-time. I have kids needing braces, etc., and blah, blah, blah, one complaint after another. I was feeling really down on myself and was too stressed out about money and living to be able to focus on writing, so I decided to see a therapist for a while. I ended up connecting with an art therapist who studied at my alma mater (Mount Mary University,) and while we didn’t do any “art” together in my sessions, she totally “got” what I was going through with my lack of inspiration in my own art of writing. She pushed me to write through it, and it was a huge help.
  • The Bloggess and James Garfield’s Christmas Miracles: Check out the blog post for details.
  • Laos organic farming (among other things I’ve watched on PBS recently):

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