open for questions, comments and resource links:

When struggling through a difficult divorce, it is important to enlist support of friends, family, perhaps even the local domestic violence support services. It is good to know what resources are available and when stressed, sounding boards can come in handy. … because really it is difficult to think things through and come up with viable options when your are scared and freaked out. Remember you are taking these steps to walk away from being a victim…you are the victor now.
The primary issue is always safety. Many times when a marriage breaks up due to abuse, financial, emotional, physical and/or sexual there is often a risk factor of increased violence. ..Sometimes even murder. So make sure that you and your children are safe. There are safe homes and shelters. In very extreme cases people can even go underground legally, I have met some who have. You can take out court orders, which are really just a piece of paper depending on how desperate your abuser is. The restraining order step may be empowering for you and buy some time. Every situation is different though. Be sure to get help with this, even if you are a good self advocate, it is wise to work with some one who knows the ins and outs of the process in your region. I have helped many women get court orders and sat in on many a hearing, I have not personally known anyone who has been killed after doing so, but I have heard of it happening.
Another issue is the emotional wellbeing of yourself and your children. You will probably be called every name in the book by your abuser and sometimes his supporters. Don’t fall prey to these attempts at wearing you down. You need to be strong for your kids so you can make good choices. In addition to seeking support, you might try meditation to center yourself. What ever type of centering technique works for you is good. You might seek a support group or counseling for this transitional period.
In a custody wrangle you may want to insist on court ordered workshops on parenting through a divorce for both of you or batterers treatment for your spouse. This can be done through a restraining order ( protection from abuse), divorce proceedings or pre-divorce proceedings via the legal system. You don’t want your children to believe it is okay to be abusive or to be abused- so you need to take a stand against it.
It is tricky because you may also want them to have a relationship with their other parent and usually unless the other parent is an axe murderer or an active junkie the courts insist on that. One way to so that is to stand against violence with out getting swooped into it. Say your ex-husband throws himself under the wheels of your car as you try to leave with the kids after a visitation. Call for back up. A friend and or even the police because this is an act of violence and not good for the kids to see. When you call for back up it shows that you are the responsible level headed one. Depending on the situation you might try to reason with your ex before you call, but chances are diving under the wheels of a car is a sign that reasoning is out of the question. You know your own situation best. My experience with this has been in the USA,a multi-cultural place where services and supports do vary with culture and even location. Some local police are not as supportive as others, some more fundamentalist religious groups of every flavor, are just getting on board with supporting women in domestic violence cases. Legally in all 50 states, women and children are no longer chattel but some isolated attitudes and customs may bely that right. These are good things to keep in mind, know your community. If you think there is little support, call your national hotline they may have some leads.
Have hope. Time can be a great healer. Usually the craziness of a divorce ends before the kids are all grown up and you will find that you can even have an amicable relationship with the other parent. A drinker may get sober. A gambler may stop gambling. I am not saying to stay and wait for that to happen, this divorce may actually be the seed to begin that process. Sometimes it takes a few desperate years but the difficulties taper to an end in most cases.

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Thanks Nicolette naturally you want to go to people who are supportive... if your friends and family are not supportive and they are telling you to stay in an abusive situation. They are not going to be very helpful. This is when you want to turn to people who know about domestic violence and work with it on a regular basis. Call the local or national domestic violence hot line for help. Psychologists, some are helpful some are not. Domestic violence support and relief has long been a grassroots movement and seems to work best that way.
Nicolette you are very right, many women in these situations are isolated. It is part of the the pattern of abuse. Many women also have been so downtrodden that they lack the confidence to find help. But if they have made a decision to divorce they might be ready to find help too.By the way, we can also be on the lookout for women who are abused or seem downtrodden and send some kindness their way it might be just the type of boost they need.
Please remember if you are being abused, you want people who can back you up, not put you down. There has been enough of that. Support is out there don't let anyone tell you it isn't. You don't need to be isolated any more.
I just got this email today:
Dear Friends and Supporters of La'Onf,



We thank you again for working with Peaceful Tomorrows to support and spread the word about La'Onf - the growing network of nonviolence and peace activists in Iraq.

Today we have very exciting news. La'Onf is organizing a national campaign to end violence against women and to amend their Constitution so that Iraqi women have equal rights with men.

The "Stop Violence Against Women" Campaign will kick off on International Women's Day, Sunday, March 8th, with a day of activities and events to promote discussion and action on these vital issues. The call for action on March 8th specifically names war and occupation, lack of legislation guaranteeing women's equality, incorrect religious interpretations concerning women's roles and rights, the harsh repression of previous authoritarian regimes, and traditional cultures as reasons for violence against women.

To read more about La'Onf's plans for March 8th go to:

http://www.laonf.net/default.aspx?page=articles&c=activities&am...

Peaceful Tomorrows is honored to be bringing news of LaOnf's work to peace and nonviolence activists in the U.S. and to all concerned American citizens and policymakers. Additional information about La'Onf and this campaign is available on Peaceful Tomorrows' website at:
http://www.peacefultomorrows.org/article.php?id=874



Please consider making a donation to Peaceful Tomorrows so that we can continue to spread the word about the nonviolence movement in Iraq.



In peace and solidarity with the courageous women and men of La'Onf,



September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Thank you so much for your contribution, it is important to have positive support. Here in Wales, we still have outmoded attitudes to women and children, to domestic abuse and the status of women. Myths and stereotypes still play an enormous role, people believe that if a woman is experiencing or has experienced domestic abuse, that it is somehow her fault, or that she gets something out of it. For many women, the years of abuse, from the subtle put downs, the slow losing of self esteem, the isolation from family and friends, lack of economic control or access to funds, mean that she has a limited circle to confide in. Added to this is the shame, that others will believe that they are to blame.

In my and I know others experiences, (a friend once told me that I nagged him, so I had to take my share of the blame, when he drank all the money and we had no heating, that I should remember my place), that the man is the life and sole of the party, or the nicest guy, bit of a drinker but fun and happy, couldn't hit his way out of wet paper bag, wouldn't hurt a fly! This compounds a woman's belief that it is her fault, that if she could just do stuff right, he would stop!

For many, women's aid is the way out. We now have a 24 hour helpline, in Wales, domestic abuse in Wales is on the devolved Welsh governments agenda, but there is more to be done.We are fortunate that we have strong support as many of our women Ministers and Assembly Members have their roots in the women's movement in Wales, starting out in Women's Aid and other voluntary sector organisations. This is still not enough, we have a non gendered domestic abuse strategy, yet, while we acknowledge that men are also victims of domestic abuse, the majority of abused people are women and we need a violence against women strategy.Amnesty International is running a stop violence against women strategy, it is imperative that we all work together to end violence against women on every level.

Thank you so much for your input.

Love & Hugs
Colette
It is good to know what kind of strategy works in your area, Collette. Some times this gender free domestic violence policy can be tricky especially if both you and your abuser try to get help from the same organization... which is often the only option. I do not doubt that men get abused sometimes. They really do, but when the system is open to men and women and men use it, I have found from my experience it is often a batterer who is using it. I hate to sound unfair, but that is what I have seen. Dual restraining orders are really ugly and cops are all to quick to throw a woman in jail. It is unfortunate for those men who do get abused.
Hi Susan, oh how I agree with you. At the helpline, men ring saying they are abused, when in fact they are an abuser, looking to continue to abuse their partner. There is a dedicated helpline for abused men and they too find that a percentage of callers are abusers. Its all to easy to blame the woman, rather than look at the abusers behaviour and place the responsibility where it lies, at the door of the abuser. We are still pushing for a violence against women strategy, it is the only way forward. Despite the support and the strategy, the development of standards, training, all too often the focus is shifted from women to 'victims', which is a non gendered way of developing services, again open to abuse for the abuser to continue! Why can't they see it?

Love & hugs xx
Robby this is very exciting news. I am so happy for you.

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