This week's short news lead story is about a woman struggling to get people to listen to her concerns about a domestic violence victim falling through the cracks of an uninterested judicial system while her abuser allegedly gets what amounts to a free pass.---
Every time I do a story on domestic violence I swear it will be the last. I did a cover story last summer on DV called Dangerous Liaisons. It looked at couple counseling, a controversial approach to domestic violence, that involves getting both the victim and her abuser to sit down with a therpiast. Part of the controversy appeared to be sourced not so much from ideological disputes over how to approach domestic violence as a curious dynamic in the community involving those who work in domestic violence insisting on hammering each other's reputation with rumor and innuendo.
I got beaten up even before last summer's story came out when an assistant to someone I was interviewing for the story alleged in a meeting that I was putting a victim's safety in danger. I wasn't there and only heard of his concerns through the rumor mill after the meeting. The allegation was unfounded.
What struck me doing the last story, was how painfully personal and corrosive the politics was in a community supposedly dedicated to ending violence within couples. One senior figure described a crime victim's advocate as "a snake in the grass," a tone that was unfortunately replicated albeit with less venom - forgive the pun - in various conversations with several senior figures in the domestic violence community.
I doubt this week's story has generated the same tensions and irritation that the couple counseling saga did. But then this is the unpredictable world of the DV community with its own unique DV dynamics, so I guess I'll have to wait and see.