FCR's Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program (IPAEP) is certified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and offers offender services in Brockton, Hyannis, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Specialized multi-lingual group services are offered in Brockton to adolescents and adult offenders. Groups are self-pay and a sliding fee scale is available.
My name is Mark. I was placed on Probation for assaulting my former wife, Suzy. I was given a suspended sentence. One day when I went to drop my children off after visitation at her home, I was arrested again for domestic assault and battery. She did get a restraining order against me and I was no longer allowed to have any contact with her or the children.
As part of my probation conditions, I was ordered to attend the Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program at Family & Community Resources, Inc. When I called to schedule my intake, I was beyond angry. I was even more angry that I had to speak with another woman especially after a woman got me ordered to the program. I was not nice on the phone and the staff person directed me to her supervisor who, low and behold, was another woman! I was thinking this is a woman’s world and they all believe men are abusers.
I scheduled the intake but didn’t bother to go. I was not sitting down with a woman to have her tell me what to do. I scheduled two more appointments and each time I called, I was asked not to use profanities on the phone and that if I was not going to enroll in the program, they suggested I speak with my probation officer. This was over a span of about 4 weeks which also included me not seeing my children.
Long story short, I blew off the program, I was violated by my probation officer and had to serve 18 months at the Plymouth County House of Correction for the previous assault against my wife. I was released after serving 11 months and placed back on probation and referred to the Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program. This time I scheduled my intake appointment and began group.
I will say during the first 4 to 6 weeks of the program, I remained angry, but complied with the program rules. I had two teachers, Sara and Jose. At one point, another group member asked during group why I was so disrespectful to the teachers when they were just doing their job and not the ones who sent me to this program. He said my abusive behaviors got me sent to this program. He also said, what if someone assaulted your daughter? I was silent.
Over the next many weeks, I did learn that my son had already started to show abusive behaviors by talking to his mother the way I did. I learned a great deal from my group leaders. They helped me with referrals, they worked with me by lowering my fee when I could no longer afford the program. One lesson that I will always be thankful for was on the effect of violence on children. They listed the effects for each age group. This lesson was followed by the effects of abuse on victims. The list was never-ending. Each lesson helped me first and foremost take responsibility for my behaviors and how they impacted my wife, my children, my family and even my friends.
I completed the program after 40 weeks. My probation ended seven weeks later, but I still had the restraining order against me. After about half a year, my wife and I started divorce proceedings. I was allowed to have supervised visits. I was mad, so mad, but realized the judge ordered this because of what I had done. I was referred to the same agency as for the abuse program.
I was nervous, but after my first visit, I knew things were going to be OK. I had a lot of rules I had to follow. I found that no matter where I was seeing my children, they did not care and they were happy to see me. With the help of my visitation supervisor, I did begin to slowly correct mean things my son would say about his mother. I could tell both children that what I did was abusive to their mom and was not ok. I explained to my son that copying what daddy did was not ok and that what I did was nothing to look up to or be proud of.
After about a year of having supervised visits, I was granted visits in my home with my mother present. She was on me as much as the Center and I knew I was lucky to have visits, period. I am still visiting with the children with my mother present. My former wife and I now have healthy communication regarding the children.
Family and Community Resources, Inc. helped me in so many aspects of my life and I want to say Thank you!