Showing posts from August, 2016

Caught in the Middle

Divorce is fairly common in our society. For every two couples that get married this year, a third couple will get divorced.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 800,000 couples divorced in 2014.  While the divorce rate among couples who have children together tends to be lower than childless couples, 40% of divorcing couples do have children. This fact results in nearly half of all children experiencing the divorce of their parents (Larson, The Huffington Post, 2011.) 25% of those children will experience a high conflict custody battle (Maccoby and Mnookin, 1992.) This percentage does not include those children facing high-conflict custody whose parents were never married.
Divorce is always stressful for every child, even when, in the long run, it is the healthiest choice that could be made.  For those children handling a high-conflict custody situation, the stress is even greater. There is a loser (or losers) in every custody battle. Regardless of whic…

Domestic Violence Abusers and Their Gun Rights

We live in a rural area where many homes have guns in them.  In a lot of my interactions with clients, we discuss guns.  When I am assisting someone in obtaining a Protection from Abuse order, we talk about whether s/he wants to request the court order the Defendant’s guns be relinquished to the sheriff.  When I am discussing the Lethality Assessment Program with police departments, we talk about the greater likelihood of homicide  when guns are present in the home.   
The “right to bear arms” is a hot topic in this area.  It seems to be common sense that if a person has been identified by the court system as a domestic violence abuser, s/he should not be allowed to own a gun.  However, this was recentlychallenged at the Supreme Court of the United States.
The central issue in this case was whether abusers who commit crimes of domestic violence recklessly should lose their rights to own guns in the same manner as those abusers who commit crimes knowingly or intentionally should.  The Sup…

The Link Between Intimate Partner Violence and Housing

An intimate partner can jeopardize a person’s housing.  Not having a roof over your head can increase the risk you face.  The National Sexual  Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), operated by the PA Coalition Against Rape, has research indicating that nearly 10% of women and 8% of men who experienced housing insecurity or homelessness in the past year (2015), had a higher prevalence of intimate partner violence.  For women, it is the leading cause of homelessness in America according to the National Center Against Domestic Violence.
The NSVRC has found that 61% of girls and 16% of boys say sexual abuse at home is why they left.   Many LGBT youth leave their homes because they were rejected as a result of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.  46% of these youth run away, and 43% indicate they were forced to leave.
Youth who leave their homes are preyed upon by human traffickers.  70% of youth aged victims living on the streets are victims of sexual exploitation.
Transitions h…

When Secondary Trauma Hits

Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), is “stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person.”   It is common among individuals that work directly with trauma victims such as, therapists, nurses, psychologists, police officers, first responders, animal welfare workers,  and anyone who helps others.  This includes family members and other informal caregivers. How does one explain the effects of secondary trauma?  For me, it is an overwhelming feeling that words cannot describe.  It’s volumes of information that hold an emotional charge on my body, mind, and spirit on a daily basis. 
Finding my way through secondary trauma has been a lifelong journey with many roadblocks followed by a light at the end of the tunnel.  At times, realizing that I am carrying the burden of someone else is nonexistent.  I continue to provide crisis counseling without a thought of the effects trauma causes. 

When I am aware of the trauma the evide…