Co-Parenting Counseling – A No-Win Sitch For Domestic Violence Victims

Divorcing an abuser is no easy feat. And when children are part of the equation? It’s a tightrope walk with no net.

I never felt that sense of fear and powerlessness quite so acutely during my own journey, as when I was faced with the family court system’s answer to “warring” parents: Co-parenting counseling.

Domestic violence victims stuck between a rock and a hard place

What I didn’t realize early in our custody and placement litigation was that professionals involved in family court proceedings—from judges and attorneys to Guardians ad Litem and therapists—were largely unfamiliar with the nuances of the domestic violence dynamic.

The power and control dynamics present in an abusive relationship, continue post-separation.

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What Aaron Schaffhausen Teaches Us About Domestic Violence

Early last evening, I watched on as a jury delivered its verdict in the Aaron Schaffhausen murder trial. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, jurors rejected Schaffhausen’s insanity plea; they believed he understood that what he was doing was wrong, and that he was in control of his actions when he killed his three little girls.

Aaron Schaffhausen appears in the St. Croix County courtroom, accused of murdering his three children

While there’s really no “win” following a tragedy like this, I know there’s a tremendous sense of relief from many in the community that Amara, Sophie and Cecelia received a measure of justice yesterday.
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Help Turningpoint Serve Domestic & Sexualized Violence Victims in Wisconsin

While violence against women in India and Syria may be receiving a lot of media attention at the moment, we must always remember that domestic and sexualized violence aren’t only problems of faraway nations—they present prevalent problems right here in our own Wisconsin backyards. In fact, statistics suggest that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be victims at some point in their lifetimes.

How will we turn the tide against domestic and sexualized violence?

In a recent community television interview, Turningpoint’s Executive Director, Kim Wojcik, talks about how the agency supports victims as they move toward independence; its services and expansion plans; and ways local families and businesses can help further their mission.

Turningpoint Executive Director, Kim Wojcik, talks about the agency’s work and her hopes for the future. Watch the interview.

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Lundy Bancroft Workshop ~ Shaping an Informed Domestic Violence Response

On May 16th, Lundy Bancroft will present a daylong workshop at UW-River Falls.

Now, I can hazard a pretty good guess that those in the domestic violence community are over-the-moon about this opportunity. For those of you who are unfamiliar though—especially if your work touches upon the lives of domestic violence victims—allow me to clamber atop my soapbox.

Throughout western Wisconsin, families are living in fear. If we are to improve our response to those victims, we must gain a clearer understanding of what domestic violence really is, how it impacts families, and how we can support real and lasting change.

And the upcoming Lundy Bancroft workshop offers us an important opportunity to advance that cause.

Lundy Bancroft Workshop title and date
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In 2013, Let Your Freedom From Fear & Abuse Ring

I used to hate New Year’s Eve. We’re talking a deep burning hatred, like the kind I feel for puppy-kickers. (And yes, Darkness, I mean you.)

See, New Year’s is a milestone; it presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the year that’s passed and look forward to the promise of the one ahead.

And let’s just say you don’t exactly get all warm and fuzzy when fear pervades your every waking moment—and you believe it always will.

No, there was no toasting for me, no clinking of champagne glasses. There was just the expectation of another restless night’s sleep on a tear-stained pillow.


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The Brookfield Shooting — Why the Media Needs a Lesson in Domestic Violence

The Brookfield shooting was a heartbreakingly tragic event to be sure. And as details surfaced and neighbors shook their heads in disbelief, the domestic violence community was saddened — but not surprised.

I traveled to West Bend, WI — a 30-minute drive north of Brookfield — just three days after the violent rampage left domestic abuse victim, Zina Haughton, and two other women dead.
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Domestic Violence is Never a Private Family Matter

For Immediate Release: October 21, 2012
Contact: Tony Gibart, WCADV, 608.255.0539 x 310; cell: 414.840.2860

Madison—Patti Seger, executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV), issued the following statement regarding the shooting that occurred in Brookfield today:

“The thoughts of domestic violence victim advocates across the state go out to the victims of today’s shooting and their families.

Brookfield WI domestic violence shooting
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Walk to Empower 2012

What if you could do something to stop domestic and sexual violence and have a free lunch? :)

Tomorrow (October 13th) is Turningpoint’s 24th annual Walk to Empower in Prescott, WI.

turningpoint walk to empower 2011

Turningpoint Walk to Empower 2011

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Trauma Bonding, Children & The Lesson in a Mechanical Duck

I love my kids. They’re thoughtful, spirited and oftentimes downright wacky. And, unlike some of their friends, they still don’t mind hanging around the “old lady” in public. So, when things turned toward the awkward after my divorce, I discovered the answer in the duck test story — it was trauma bonding.
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Anger Management Programs for Abusers = One Epic Fail

I’m divorced. Hallelujah, I’m divorced! We’re talking noisemaker, silly hat, balloon drop happy, here. Getting there wasn’t exactly a party, though. And I’m sure anyone who’s been dragged through the legal system, and who’s watched professionals order totally ineffective solutions — like anger management treatment — would understand.

Unfortunately, all across the country, the fates of victims and their children often rest in the hands of people who don’t understand the tricky dynamics of domestic abuse. They may be well intentioned, but they don’t “get it.” And that means the measures meant to protect victims fail.
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