Our Widget:: Why Don't They Just Leave?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Linda Mills on Chris Brown

Linda Mills has been one of the more controversial figures in the domestic violence community. Her books have attracted a lot of attention, including an appearance for Mills on "Oprah." Mills, a professor and vice provost at NYU, has just been quoted in People with comments about the Chris Brown incident. Here's what Mills had to say:

But it's love, in all its complexities, that can often be the most powerful force for reconciliation for a battered woman. "They have insight into somebody in a way that none of us do," says Mills, who runs a program in Arizona that brings together couples with family members and a volunteer from the community to talk over what actually happened in a domestic-violence event. The process usually goes on for months. "The ideal might be that we can separate people who are in a violent relationship, but the problem is that that's not the reality," Mills says. "I address the reality, which is that people go back, and they're looking for avenues for the possibility of working through this issue like any other rupture in a relationship, working through this issue to the point where the violence could stop."

This is bound to provoke controversy in the domestic violence community. When Mills is given an opportunity in a mass-circulation publication to urge women in relationships with abusers to flee for safety, Mills instead speaks about working things out.

We interviewed Mills for "Power and Control" and have an excerpt from the interview on the film's main site. Some people in the DV community have objected to our including Mills in the film. It's tough for me, as the director, to face this criticism, because I have so much respect for the battered women's movement and people who work in domestic violence. But in the final analysis, I'm committed to presenting current significant ideas in domestic violence, and there's no question that Mills has had a high profile and considerable influence.

Looking forward to hearing from our readers on this one!

-- Peter Cohn


  1. It is wonderful that Ms. Mills helps families after domestic violence. However, as a survivor, I do not believe it is ever okay to go back to an abuser. I am speaking out of experience and I can say it will never stop. Rarely is it ever controlled, and it is only a waiting game for a woman if she decides to stay, which many do. This type of advice is tragic and usually ends in more violence, sometimes death and the situation and the choice to stay is completely selfish for everyone involved. This is my opinion and although most people rather hear otherwise, they rather hear something more positive, staying with an abuser is absolutely negative and always the wrong choice.

  2. With so many variations on how intense a violent situation may be, Mills offers a solution to some, not all involved in abusive raptures. Families part due to abuse, but what if it can be contained, the children involved craving the parent who has to be "cut off" deserves some sort of manicured contact if only to feel not neglected its worth the "fight." All things are possible men and women that have been near murderers have been broken down and rehabilitated, its a process. Safety before satisfaction always should remain on the minds of those working towards healing the ill one in the relationship. Its a group effort. Mills isn't talking about cripling the batterer, but finding the root cause of the problem. Staying in the mess is not an option. Men and women are not just natural born killers, despite Oliver Stones psychopathic thriller. For every problem there is a solution. In many cases as we've seen, destruction may be the only solution. But, what about those who defy all odds?