Breaking the cycle of abuse

Framework

By David Kelly, Special to The Times

Reporting from Cleveland— Inside a stuffy Cleveland classroom, Tim Boehnlein explained the mechanics of domestic violence and then posed a question.

“So why do women stay?” he asked his class of would-be counselors.

Ignorance, low self-esteem, lack of education, they speculated. No one really knew.

Except maybe the silent woman in back — the one fidgeting and looking at the floor.

“I thought if I said something, it might frighten other people,” she explained later. “You don’t just blurt out, ‘was held hostage in a garage’ on the first day of class.”

It’s taken more than a decade for Laura Cowan to come up with an answer to the seemingly simple question of why women stay: “They are just trying to survive.”

Cowan, now 53, survived one of the most notorious abuse cases in recent California history. Her encounter with the twisted logic…

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