Life Interrupted…The Toll of Intimate Partner Violence

Shattered Lives, Intimate partner violence,LadyJustice

Mary Ellen Bruneau has suffered an all too common circumstance that wreaks havoc on the mind, body and soul…. and reportedly she has come out the other side of disaster.  The epidemic of intimate partner violence does not discriminate…does not occur only in the poorest of the poor, those of lesser academic standing, minority populations or in the big cities…

Some people have such tragedy in their lives…It’s bound to lend itself to skepticism at times and wondering how people can live through such atrocities…. However, at Shattered Lives, it is not our job to judge. It’s our job to tell their story as presented and let the audience digest the details for themselves.   In any case…all personal stories teach us valuable lessons.

In a study of Domestic Violence Outcomes (2004)

Effectiveness of Hotline, Advocacy, Counseling, and Shelter Services for Victims of Domestic Violence: A Statewide Evaluation: University of Illinois at Chicago:

They follow important variables were ranked according to services provided. *** Note the lack of safety plans and explanation of intimate partner violence in a larger context below….


Outcome Measures, Number of Items, Item Anchors, Sample Items, and Number

  • Support 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking = 2 “I have someone I can turn to for helpful advice about a problem”
  • Self-efficacy 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking = 3 I trust my ability to solve difficult problems.”
  • Coping skill 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking =3 “I have ways to help myself when I feel troubled.”
  • Goal setting 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking = 3 “I was an active participant in setting goals with my counselor(s).”
  • Information 1 = never, 5 = always Ranking = 3 “Counseling has given me new ways of looking at abuse”
  • Non-judgment 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking = 3 “My counselor(s) listened respectfully and took me seriously.”
  • Safety Plan 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking = 1 “My counselor(s) helped me develop a Safety plan”.
  • Personal is Political 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking =1 “My counselor(s) explained that domestic violence is not only a personal problem but also a social problem”
  • Respect 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking = 4 “Staff respected my racial/ethnic identity.”

We can only speculate and hope against hope that the data would be better as of 2013


To follow Mary Ellen’s story, beginning in rural Vermont,

listen to the podcast.

  • Introduction to our guest;
  • Delilah relating information on Susan Murphy Milano’s legacy:
  • :;
  •  Apple App for Evidentiary abuse Affidavit;
  • Ladyjustice on the importance of sharing stories and “If I can save but one life…”
  • Mary Ellen: “Abusers are very, very good at manipulating….”
  • A single parent’s priority ;
  • The fourth wife… a ten year gap…
  • Delilah: This is a warning to check into the backgrounds of people with whom you are dating;
  • The red flags….an accusation… starting with a newspaper article;
  • Bi-polar disorder and intimate partner violence explained;
  • A 24-pack of beer “provocateur requests “ and a machete;
  • A speeding truck, thrown out by the perp and being run-over by another car…
  • A coma and Rehabilitation therapy;
  • Domestic violence incarceration “overnight” and DUI….
  • Dealing with alcohol alone and not the abuse…
  • Vermont and the gun culture…
  • Delilah asks if this was “the last straw” and what resources were provided?
  • Lack of counselors specializing in domestic violence;
  • Mary Ellen goes back to school to figure out “what made her husband tick”….
  • A trial and error safety plan…
  • Ladyjustice asks Delilah what other considerations do victims need to be considering including SMM’s book:  “Moving Out, Moving On”
  • Mary Ellen escape and luring her back to the marriage home….” The honeymoon period”
  • Restraining orders, texting and harassing…after the accident;
  • Getting an apartment and looking for a job…
  • “Making my own way”…and getting myself-esteem back”
  • A battered women’s shelter…”Helping to a point…”
  • Delilah questions accuracy of single women being turned down without children in Vermont;
  • A fixture at the State House trying to change DV laws…
  • Running for Governor and the aftermath…
  • The importance of voting and being invested in the DV issue;
  • Divorce papers in the mail from annulment and alimony attorney in Utah
  • Forgiving for what he did versus his actions…
  • My life is so much better now…even before marriage…
  • A book about domestic violence…and Henry Lee Institute
  • Mary Ellen’s main message- Be Safe….. One Step at a time…
  • Contact Information:  maryellenbruneau@hotmail.comor 802- 279-6944.


Questions you may have….

  • What was Mary Ellen’s background before her life with domestic violence?
  • Was Mary Ellen looking for marriage fulfillment?  (The courtship)
  • When did things get bad and what was the progression?
  • What are the consequences of alcohol and bipolar disorder?
  • What was the pinnacle of escalation regarding the truck episode?
  • What happened to her husband after the truck episode?
  • What is the level of training of the police in Vermont regarding IPV?
  • What is the story regarding entrance to a women’s shelter?
  • What did Mary Ellen’s safety plan” consist of?
  • Why did Mary Ellen go to her parent’s house to seek refuge?
  • In addition to personal possessions- money and cell phone, what are the other things a victim needs to do?
  • During the probation period, what did Mary Ellen do?
  • What resources were available after she began working again?
  • What happened legislatively after her horrific episode?
  • What was the final chapter with her husband from November 2012 to January 2013?
  • What was involved in Mary Ellen’s forgiveness?


“The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessary reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.”


Life Interrupted…The Toll of Intimate Partner Violence

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