CCSF Newsletter March 2023

COURAGE… isn’t always a lion’s roar. It is sometimes the heart at the end of a day saying… “I will try again tomorrow.”

Jan Markell’s Olive Tree Ministries, Facebook post 1/7/23

Dear Friends,

With spring just around the corner, we are reminded that the cold and seeming barrenness of winter never lasts forever. We are called to remind those we work with, and those we support, that resolution and healing are in their future and there is always hope. May you all experience hope in this upcoming season of renewal!

This month’s e-newsletter includes:

Book Review: In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder by Jane Monckton Smith

Validating Statements

Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community

Co-parenting with an abusive person

Stop the Abuse, Heal the Family, Change the Future



Twitter: @CCSFDV

Book Review: In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder by Jane Monckton Smith

Author Jane Monckton Smith takes readers through eight easy-to-understand stages of how domestic violence progresses to homicide. She offers examples from her own career that are relatable and straightforward. Using the eight stages as a template, you can set that template on nearly any deadly domestic situation and see how closely it fits.

All of us, with rare exception, are very familiar with deadly relationships thanks to the media, so this can be used as a tool to understand what has actually happened. As she explains, long before the murder there is a devaluing of the victim and decisions are made by the killer that culminate in the taking of a human life.

Overall, please consider sharing In Control with your local schools, shelters, advocates, police forces, libraries, and especially churches. Churches sometimes have a particular naivete about this progression to death, blaming and shaming victims instead.

It’s time that we all know this, we all use this, and we stop letting these eight stages run their course until they culminate in murder.

The full review is on the CCSF website.

©2022 H. Hiatt

Validating Statements

When someone you love is going through abuse, sometimes all you can do is validate them. This is more powerful, actually, than you think. The more someone believes in themselves, the more they are built up instead of squashed down, the better they can figure out how to move ahead with their life.

Here are some validating statements courtesy of Northwest Family Life:

“You aren’t alone. I believe in you.”

“That sounds really scary. I’m so sorry you are going through this.”

“You don’t deserve to be abused. You deserve to be safe.”

“Your emotions are valid. It makes sense you feel this way after what you have been through.”

“You aren’t too much. How can I and others support you right now?”

“This isn’t your fault. No one should choose to abuse you.”

“Nobody has the right to hurt you, even if they are angry.”

“You aren’t being dramatic. What’s happening is real and your fears are valid.”

Do you or someone you know need help? Contact Northwest Family Life,, 206-363-9601, or 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community

A recent article by Shawn Richard-Davis, Northwest Family Life’s Community Engagement Coordinator, introduced IDVAAC, an organization focused on the unique circumstances of African Americans as they face issues related to domestic violence, including intimate partner violence, child abuse, elder maltreatment, and community violence.

IDVAAC’s mission is to enhance society’s understanding of and ability to end violence in the African-American community. IDVAAC closed in September 2016, but the information on their website stated it will be available for review for 10 years.

Also, although IDVAAC is not formally together, consulting is still available. For counseling details, contact Dr. Oliver Williams at 651-331-6555. His email is

Two other websites recommended by Shawn Richard-Davis are African American Domestic Peace Project, which focuses on peace in the home and the community, and her own website,, which focuses on domestic violence.

Co-parenting with an abusive person

By C.L.

One of the most difficult jobs we can have as parents is protecting our children. Water, fire, high places, danger from strangers and many other challenges are a parent’s nightmare. But I believe the most difficult danger can be the manipulation and misuse of another parent’s ‘rights’ to coparent during a cantankerous/dangerous divorce. The abuse that was perpetrated on the other party is now of necessity long distance or second hand, and the most likely way to hurt the other partner is through the children. When this is the case, the defending partner can feel like he or she is pulled apart, confused and afraid.

At times like this, there are some parameters to consider, some guidelines and rules to follow that will help immensely. Also be mindful that it is good to remember there are multitudes of parents in the same boat, although it is often felt that the boat is rapidly sinking.

What is needed for the children and in fact all parties, is a safe and healing environment in the home. Easier said than done, because a divorce or a legal separation is not a time of stability in any form. Finances are precarious, schedules are chaotic, emotions are running high, and a parent is stretched way beyond the ability to cope.

It is very helpful to have a supportive community around the nuclear family. This is not always possible. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind and set your sights on:

1. Continue trying to create (or even create a sense of) safety and stability in all your efforts.

2. Creating a support system is a critical goal, and if there are people in your life who will be supportive, educate them and keep them informed. (If “supportive people” are not agreeing that you are in a true fight for the lives of your family members, move on from communication with them except at a bare minimum level.)

3. Validate, validate, validate the feelings of the children and also, give yourself grace along the way.

4. It has been said that one safe, loving adult in the life of a child can make all the difference in a life. This is beyond necessary for the mental health of your children.

5. Without a thoughtful and calm approach to every unbelievable shenanigan the abusive partner tries, we can be that family that isn’t healed for many years after a contentious divorce.

6. But– with a sense of connection and safe relationships within the family system, we can be that healed family.

©2023 Christian Coalition for Safe Families

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