Abusive relationships are unfortunately far more common than the average person realizes. Abuse can take many forms, sometimes it is in the physical arena, and sometimes it is mental, or a combination of both.

The one commonality is that it is generally systematic and grows in intensity over time. In the early 90’s I witnessed a case for myself. I was working on a large computer project that revolved around a very specialized computer, we did not have time to train people and literally scoured the globe for talent. A number of people were relocated from the United Kingdom, and among them a young unmarried couple. Lets call them Mick and Carol.

Over a period of two years I watched as their relationship deteriorated and the abuse escalated. Time and time again Carol would turn up at our house in the middle of the night, battered and bruised. On one occasion she was so badly hurt that we rushed her to the local hospital, the diagnosis? Two broken ribs!

Time and time again we entreated Carol, ‘leave Mick, go home to England where you have friends and family’, and time and time again she would say yes, and the very next day would return to Mick.

The cycle was finally broken, along with her Jaw! Is she safe now? Probably not, Mick was the third abusive relationship she had been involved in. She attracted abusers like a magnet. Something in her personality made her a target. Maybe the hardest thing to comprehend was that she would tell us that it was her fault that the beating took place. “I antagonized him, I did this or that.”

There is no excuse for domestic violence. It is a crime like any other.

Susan Murphy-Milano is a specialist in family violence and is recognized as an expert. She works nationally with domestic violence programs, law enforcement and prosecutors providing technical and consulting services in “high risk” domestic violence and stalking related cases. In her new book Time’s Up she offers a practical guide to dealing with the subject.

In some ways it is like dealing with an addiction, the first step is to recognize the problem.

I am sure that many people who read this article will say “If I was in an abusive relationship I would pack my bags and leave.” That is a great sentiment, but often not a practical one, nor one that plays out in reality in the vast majority of cases. Susan Murphy-Milano takes a more practical approach and offers a set of tools that the abused can use to escape the domination.

Susan is well qualified to perform this roll, not only has she helped many people in her career, she herself was a victim, so understands all too well the dynamics involved.

If you are in an abusive relationship this is a book that you should read. The strategies that are provided can offer an exit strategy and minimize the risk of danger now and later. Few people, in the height of panic think about computer use, phone use, even the good old Snail mail system. Yet all of these media can be your downfall when fleeing an abusive relationship.

Also included in the book are a number of ‘templates’ that can be used to help document the situation, and also protect you from future threats. In someways it is almost a guide on how to make yourself disappear from someone who is looking for you. In today’s wired world that is actually more difficult to achieve than one might think. But there ways to close down some of the more obvious and actually more subtle approaches that an abuser might use to locate you.

I am lucky, about the only form of spousal abuse I have to endure is being nagged to take the garbage out! Many people though are locked into relationships of a very sinister nature, if you, or someone you know is in such a situation, I recommend that you read Time’s Up by Susan Murphy-Milano. The book will be released on April/12 and you can pre-order your copy from Amazon (just use the link above).

Susan also has a web site http://www.susanmurphymilano.com/

Simon Barrett

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