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Video: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s Former Policy Director Speaks Out –...

The following video, from last night's "Take Back the Night" event in Arlington/Rosslyn, is very, very powerful stuff. I checked with the speaker, Adele...

Did a Loss of Sexual Powers Make Trump More Evil?

I'm surprised to find myself thinking about Trump's sex life-- and not a propos of his violating campaign laws with illegal pay-offs, and not...

Video: Scott Taylor Says AR-15 Is a “Scapegoat” Not a “Monster”;...

A few videos from earlier this evening, at Virginia Wesleyan University in Norfolk, show what Rep. Scott Taylor (Tea Party, VA-02) is really all...

Video: On Same Day as Ford/Kavanaugh Hearings, Fairfax County School Board...

How appropriate - albeit coincidental - that on the same day of the riveting, powerful testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about sexual violence,...

Trump Is Doing to Our Constitutional Order What He Did to...

There’s a certain intellectual thrill of discovery that comes when an underlying pattern emerges from the murk of our reality. For example, a person has...

About Trump’s Sexual Nature

This piece will be appearing this week in newspapers in my conservative congressional district (VA-06). Indeed, it was the piece I had in mind...

Sexual Assault vs. “The Sacred Space of Lovers”

I would like to talk about the Trump sex-bully tape, along with the other recent tawdry disclosures, in a perspective that is non-political and...

Thursday News: “Flood” of Women Allege Trump Sexually Assaulted Them; Trump...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, October 13. Washington Post: Hillary Clinton for president ("There is...

Stanford Sexual Assault Sentencing and the Minimization of Sexual Assault

Sponsored Content By John Yannone, a Partner at Price Benowitz LLP The Brock Turner sexual assault case has engendered quite a bit of outrage.  As it...

Staying Gone Is the Hardest

 photo ShelterPoster_4_Small_zpsd53ac9ac.jpgThe cloak of silence surrounding intimate partner fatalities is nearly impenetrable. Details are buried with the victims. Family members deny evidence of abuse before their very eyes. But partners who have survived and healed provide a window on the methods and complexity of power wielded by their abusers.

What follows are stories told by women who could be your sister, mother, neighbor, or boss. These women came together in October at Charlottesville's Shelter for Help in Emergency to share their lives; to try to explain and describe how they were bound to their abusers, how they left, and how they continue to suffer though the healing process. Looking at them you would never know what is inside or be able to distinguish them from the staff at the Shelter. These are striking women who you know but who live secret parallel existences; hidden even from themselves.

The stories that follow are at once different and the same. One striking aspect of these is that the methods the abusers employ are from the same kit familiar to anyone who has studied child or elder abuse or, for that matter, financial exploitation of the wealthy in Ponzi schemes. They are just applied in different variations depending upon the situation and prey. If we recognize the tools in the toolkit, then maybe observing them being applied is the red flag to defend ourselves and others. This, as suggested in A Journey Into Intimate Power and Abuse, provides a perspective that hints a "healthy cynicism" is the necessary defense against any form of nefarious advantage.

All of these women were and are like any of us, reaching to achieve their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. What makes us vulnerable is how and when we assign trust. That vulnerability is an aspect of human commerce as is trust. Sociopaths leverage an intuition crafted from their own experiences to recognize prey and know how to "close the sale."

Note: The posters featured here line the walls of the conference room at the Charlottesville Shelter office. Like the stories that follow, there are no names displayed out of respect for the privacy and security of these survivors. (click to embiggen)