The cause.

“Abused women aren’t codependent.  It is abusers, not their partners, who create abusive relationships.”  – Lundy Bancroft, author of books “Why Does He Do That?’, “When Dad Hurts Mom” and “The Batterer as Parent”

This is one example of the plain spoken, powerful statements Lundy Bancroft uses in his work on addressing the realities of domestic violence and its effects on women, their children and our society at large.  I follow his work because I find it on-target with the experiences of abused women and the nightmarish life they live trying to hold a family together and protect their children.  His writing and presentations are profound because he has worked with batterers for decades and possesses a sensitivity to women and their experiences that is vital to the cause.  And, lastly – I hate to admit it, but the mere fact that he is a man enables him to be heard in a way that most women stating the same conclusions would not be.

Regardless, I am incredibly grateful for the work of Lundy Bancroft and other experts in the field of domestic violence.  I facilitate a support for single mothers who are also survivors of domestic violence.  There are women in my group from all walks of life and they each bring their own particular story.  Some women experienced greater physical harm.  Others were taunted and tortured through the abuse of their children.  Still others lived with verbal threats and details of their imminent death and the deaths of their children if they ever left.  Now that these women are divorced and successfully “out” of the relationship, they are far from “out” of the abuse.

The reality is that though mothers tremendously love their children, they are often the very tool through which they experience the greatest forms of their abusers cruelty.  Ex-husbands who are abusers continue to wreak havoc and chaos in the lives of many of the women in my group and their symptoms of ptsd continue to manifest.  It is the experiences of these women that come to mind when other well meaning, though somewhat ignorant people say, “Well, why don’t women just leave these abusive guys?”  Because they want to love and protect their children is one of the many, complicated answers.

I recognize the massive progress we’ve made for women over the past century.  However, we have so much farther to go.  I am on a mission to empower women and help them experience growth and gain in their lives.  I am still pondering how I may contribute to the cause of reducing the effects and trauma of domestic violence in my circle of the world.  I’m considering phd work.  We shall see.

In the meantime, I am incredibly encouraged by the work of others like Lundy Bancroft.  I had the pleasure of meeting him this week and having brief conversations.  In fact, there are many who are committed to this cause and it is my hope that one day, women and children will truly be free from the tyranny of their abuser.