The History

For years women and children have been considered to be property of men. There were laws enabling men to punish their wives physically. By the 1920’s all states had made “wife beating” illegal, however it has only been since the 1970’s the courts have treated it as a serious crime rather than a family matter. In the 1990’s District Attorney’s began to adopt the “no drop” law where the DA’s office is in charge of the case and the victim is not able to ask for the case to be dropped. In 1994 Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act as part of the federal Crimes Victims Act. When people assume they have the right to abuse, and suddenly you make it illegal all sorts of problems arise. I remember being asked to see a family in the late 80’s. We were pretty sure when the husband drank he would become physical with his wife. She had called for an appointment, but with so many of these cases we were not sure if she would keep the appointment. We also did not know if she would let us know what was really happening in the family. Fortunately for me, she kept the appointment and brought her youngest daughter with her. Many victims of abuse won’t report for just themselves, but when there are children involved they are more open. About half way into the session her daughter told me her favorite thing to do was to be with her mother. Her mother turned to her and asked her if she knew why she stayed by her mother’s side. She didn’t, but her mother explained to me that her husband wouldn’t hit her if her daughter was present. This little girl was growing up with a huge burden, protecting her mother, without knowing this was her assignment.

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Author's Bio: 

Dr. Anne Brown PhD, RN of Sausalito, California, is a psychotherapist, speaker, coach, and the author of Backbone Power: The Science of Saying No. Anne’s approach is especially applicable to people affected by divorce. Backbone Power is a no nonsense self help guide to making decisions while having backbone and integrity in all your choices, short term and long term. In addition to helping the divorce community, Anne has over twenty years experience as the trusted advocate and advisor to influential corporate leaders, trial attorneys, athletes, leaders, physicians and others seeking actionable guidance. Brown is a graduate of the University of Virginia, BS in Nursing; Boston University, MS in Psychiatric-Mental Health in Nursing; and International University, PhD in Addiction Studies. In 1997 Brown also reached a personal goal of obtaining her Black Belt in Soo Bahk Do. You can contact Dr. Anne Brown through her website: