Leaving Safely

As a threat advisor by profession, Spencer Coursen’s job is to assess the level of danger individuals are in when it appears someone is out to get them. He’s helped protect myriad celebrities—their stalkers often strangers who think they’ve formed some connection with this famous person. Coursen says one stalker was under the impression he was receiving secret messages from a celebrity through the star’s TV appearances. Another was an limo driver who felt he shared more than just a ride home with his famous passenger. These otherwise ordinary-people-turned-would-be-assailants might sound like loose cannons, but in Coursen’s opinion, another group is a far greater threat—abusers.
“In intimate partner violence, the victim and abuser know each other. With that level of intimacy, the abuser knows the pressure points, the ways to manipulate [the victim] emotionally, and the triggers that set them off.” And, adds Coursen, in most cases, the abuser has already expressed and displayed violence, and is ready to escalate it. And the most common time to do so is when the survivor decides to leave.

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Why Are Abusers Getting Their Kids in a Split?

We hear from a lot of survivors of domestic abuse who are also parents. Angry, scared and confused parents who say courts are awarding full or partial custody of their children to the abusive other parent.

In fact, there’s a yearly conference that deals just with mothers who are trying desperately to regain custody of their children from their abusers.

It’s a devastating reality for too many survivors out there, one that the Justice Department wants to resolve just as much as survivors do—they just need to know what’s going on.

That’s why, in 2013, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, funded a two-year initiative called the Family Court Enhancement Project (FCEP), selecting four court systems across the country to review how custody related issues are dealt with when domestic violence is present, and how things can be done better.

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The Facts About Abuse in Military Families

Servicemen and women have some of the toughest jobs out there. Between rigorous training, deployments to the most dangerous parts of the world—which take them away from their families for long stretches of time—to frequent moves every few years to new bases, the stressors of military life are many.

But, these are still not excuses to abuse one’s spouse. Plenty of service members under some of the most stressful circumstances are not abusers. However, servicemen and women do face additional challenges when it comes to escaping from or reporting abuse. 

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When Abusers Threaten Revenge Porn

Nothing ever really disappears from the Internet, and that’s exactly the threat some abusers are using against their victims.
Imagine sending a sexually explicit photo of yourself to your partner or spouse during a time when you trusted that person. Later on, things head south. You realize this person is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing and before you know it, you’re living in an abusive nightmare. Now, your abuser threatens to share that X-rated photo with his or her friends, your family members, your boss, or maybe the entire world unless you concede to whatever his or her controlling demands are.
This is referred to as “revenge porn”—the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent, even if there was consent at the time the image was taken. It can also apply to images or video taken without a victim’s consent, such as those a survivor is coerced or forced into submitting to, or images or video taken without the victim’s knowledge.

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