Am I in danger? 

It is easy to fool yourself and tell yourself that he is probably “all hot air” and not really dangerous. Maintaining a focus on your safety can be uncomfortable and difficult when you are confused, exhausted, have many decisions to make and many daily responsibilities.

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Should I go to counseling with my abusive partner?

Going to couples' counseling with your abuser can escalate the danger and is very unlikely to stop the abuse, since those who abuse do not usually take responsibility for their actions. They are likely to use the sessions to try to convince the counselor that you are the problem.

Also, it is very important to know that substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment and psychiatric medications will not stop your partner’s domestic violence...

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Can my abuser change?

No one can answer this question. Maybe he can change a little. Maybe he can change a lot (although this is fairly rare.) Maybe he will not change at all. Maybe he will even get worse. There is no way to predict this.

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I have a friend or loved one who is being abused. I want to get her out of her situation but she will not leave her abuser. What can I do?

First, I am so sorry because I know the grief that this must cause you. You must feel very powerless and afraid for your loved one. However, since she is presumably a competent adult (albeit one who is being controlled and possibly terrorized by an abuser), there is nothing that you can do legally. I have known many people in this horrible situation and essentially it is a powerless and very frustrating position.

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I want to do the kind of work you do. How did you get started and do you have any tips for me?

I’m so glad that you are interested in doing speaking and training. The first thing I did after my assault was get counseling and then join a victim support group, which I soon began co-facilitating. I facilitated support groups for many years as I worked on my own recovery and educated myself about the complexities of domestic violence, violence against women in all its forms, trauma and many related concerns. I also did quite a bit of volunteer work with victims, joined local leadership councils and met people who worked at local and state victim service agencies, the state domestic violence coalition, etc.

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