Counselling the victims of domestic violence together with their perpetrators

Resolve Your California Divorce Out Of Court With Divorce Mediation -  Torrance Family Law Attorney Bruce A. Mandel

Most Individuals that have somehow not seen the beauty and glamour of December 2022 together as married couples will somehow find themselves in the reconciliation tables before the year bows.

Maybe the family wants them reconciled…

Maybe one party wants reconciliation…

Maybe they both want to reconcile in their own ways…

Maybe some church leaders see it fit to reconcile them…

Maybe, just Maybe there’s a hope for reconciliation…and it’s OK.

Yeah, settling scores is good…

But now let’s talk mediating/counselling/reconciling the victims of domestic violence and the abuser/perpetrator…

It has taken me some months to heal and write on this subject; I still dread it. I feel sad for every family that had had to separate/ divorce after having children. Then to spice it up, the couple is all bitter and resentful or one of them is sober yet another is still working hard to punish another! The sittings to talk about things are inevitable.

When I left the last meeting in August this year, my emotions pushed me so far that I started regretting having children because were they not in the picture what would the meetings be for anyway! I’d have left, leave again and forever leave, like leeeeeeeeaaave in the best sense of it.

I’m not angry as I write this.

Even as I write this, I honour and respect, mediators, counsellors, therapists and any good intending individual who desires that the family cloak is not torn.

Asking the victim to tell their story in the presence of the abuser!

I struggle to express myself in mediation tables, lots of times the meeting had been adjourned since there was “nothing serious” to solve and conclusion had been “Emily rudi kwako utengeneze boma, wewe ndio boma” ( Emily go back home and make it work, you’re the home) Then the mediators get surprised when my status didn’t change yet.

When a victim is asked to tell their story before the abuser it’s a war of who’ll win. And the abused can never win because the abuser will counter attack everything.

It’s such a trauma for the woman or a man to speak of how they were abused before their perpetrator. It’s shaming them…..

It’s stripping them naked and asking them to even explain why they’re naked…

It’s re-wounding them; it’s like passing the wound on mortar and grinding it just a little…

It’s like telling the victim of rape to explain right before their rapist how they were raped and why they feel they were raped! 🥺🥺🥺🥺…

Ask any victim you can’t explain to an abuser how they abused you. They don’t know! They’re after cleaning up themselves and not taking responsibility of their actions.

You know you can’t find words before those people, you can’t find words even if you type 500 words in a jiffy just like me.

I remember this August when I was asked to explain how I was abused and why I felt abused so that the bearing for the meeting can be pinned, my heart broke, I went back to the office but I had to be excused to go home.

It felt like I was in a battle of asking to be heard and to be seen. I felt insane, at some point I thought I was hallucinating, I started doubting myself and even wondered why I was there in the first place. I felt hot and cold same time, I can’t describe it, are they called chills? 

When I heard the perpetrator say “I didn’t strangle her, I held her softly and laid her on bed” I opened my mouth and I couldn’t talk. My heart raced and I was in the verge of screaming…Then he says “I didn’t want trouble, so I left the house for her, I left her with everything I don’t like fights, Emily thrives in fighting, her family is dysfunctional so that has affected her a lot, you know she didn’t have a father growing up!”

Then came issues of children!

This breaks my heart each time, at some point I couldn’t prove I was the mother to my children.

Then the statement “You wanted freedom, are you happy with your freedom so far?” 🤔 this hurt me deeply considering the pains I’ve had to go through.

Melancholics have a way of sipping in and brooding on words longer. Having brooded on it, I love the freedom of leaving an abusive marriage; am able to type about abuse without watching my back. There are some things that I wouldn’t want to share, but I don’t envy therapists and counsellors, I don’t know what I’d have done.

I didn’t say anything the last 20 mins.

Instead I said YES to every word.

Having gone through lots of counselling during and after marriage; abusers go for counselling to appease the Counsellor and sell their CV or is it their niceness.

That evening because I kept feeling stupid, insane and every word along that line, I called a friend, I cried for close to 2 hours as I tried retelling her my story and asking her to confirm if am OK mentally or if am lying or if there are some truth. She was gracious to listen.

To the victim of domestic violence;

  • Protect your heart from the pain of telling your story to everyone and everywhere. If you don’t feel safe, say nothing; let the meeting end. No, don’t even shower to attend it, watch Netflix.
  • Until they’re whole enough to have a face to face meeting don’t meet them up, let someone handle them, concentrate on your healing. There’s a children court, that’s not very friendly but it’s the only option for manipulators.
  • It’s noble to honour the invitation of elders, church leaders and even friends. You know how the shoe hurts, if you feel unsafe and a possibility of zero soberness please say NO politely. Your heart is fragile and if you’re mothering you need that heart whole sweetheart.
  • Even this Christmas if you have the grace to travel to see the folks, go eat, smile and keep walking away from any meeting that drains you and devalues you. Any individual who can’t approach matters of abuse with soberness, just walk away to save everyone.
  • An abuser is an abuser until they know that they are. Only then, will they become recovering abusers, don’t believe otherwise.

To the Mediators/leaders/Parents/ Counsellors:

  • I have no rights to say this because I have no knowledge but my experience says; What you see during those sessions are not what we experience at home or what we experienced with the abusers before we left and even after leaving. Do not put us together with them until we’re all whole enough to face each other. Mine was bold enough to tell the Counsellor that he started hating me in 2013 and I only managed to leave in 2020 and still that didn’t communicate anything in the meeting.

Please sometimes even if we insist we want a meeting together, test us separately first. One can leave those meetings and kill another or better kill themselves.

And do know that us leaving our marriages doesn’t mean that we discredit family unit, we kept staying before we involved you because we were hopeful for a better family. Yes we do love family 👪

Even after my experience in August I will still say I honour therapists, I honour church leaders, I honour elders. In many ways I am because all these people held my hand and still do hold my hand today.

~Emily Omondi

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