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In her page-turning memoir A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL: A TRUE STORY OF MARRIAGE TO A PSYCHOPATH, Barbara Bentley weaves a story of how fairy tale dreams, trust and hope collide with the crazy-making world of psychopaths and domestic violence.

Psychopath — the word evokes fear and reminds us that serial killers stalk our society. Alarmingly, most psychopaths are not killers like Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy, or even killers. Recent studies reveal psychopaths (a.k.a. sociopaths) permeate our everyday lives as ordinary people who move through life wreaking havoc on unsuspecting victims.

As frightening as this revelation is, it is Barbara Bentley’s hope that her compelling story will help others recognize the psychopath’s deviant behavior before it’s too late for them.

Lessons learned are lessons to be shared. Through personal experience, Bentley shows in her book that inspiration is culled from mayhem, hope shines light through darkness, and strength emerges with belief in one’s journey.

MORE information including where to buy this book can be found here:

Patrick Stewart as a baby with his mother, GladysMy father was, in many ways, a man of discipline, organisation and charisma – a regimental sergeant major no less. One of the very last men to be evacuated from Dunkirk, his third stripe was chalked on to his uniform by an officer when no more senior NCOs were left alive. Parachuted into Crete and Italy, both times under fire, he fought at Monte Casino and was twice mentioned in dispatches. A fellow soldier once told me, “When your father marches on to the parade ground, the birds in the trees stop singing.

“In civilian life it was a different story. He was an angry, unhappy and frustrated man who was not able to control his emotions or his hands. As a child I witnessed his repeated violence against my mother, and the terror and misery he caused was such that, if I felt I could have succeeded, I would have killed him. If my mother had attempted it, I would have held him down. For those who struggle to comprehend these feelings in a child, imagine living in an environment of emotional unpredictability, danger and humiliation week after week, year after year, from the age of seven. My childish instinct was to protect my mother, but the man hurting her was my father, whom I respected, admired and feared.

I witnessed terrible things, which I knew were wrong, but there was nowhere to go for help. Worse, there were those who condoned the abuse. I heard police or ambulancemen, standing in our house, say, “She must have provoked him,” or, “Mrs Stewart, it takes two to make a fight.” They had no idea. The truth is my mother did nothing to deserve the violence she endured. She did not provoke my father, and even if she had, violence is an unacceptable way of dealing with conflict. Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it. No one came to help. No adult stepped in and took charge. I needed someone else to take over and tell me everything was going to be all right and that it wasn’t my fault. I wanted the anger to go away and, while it stayed, I felt responsible. The sense of guilt and loneliness provoked by domestic violence is tainting – and lasting. No one came, but everyone knew. Our small houses were close together. Every Monday morning I walked to school with my head down, praying that I would not encounter a neighbour or school friend who had heard the weekend’s rows. I felt ashamed.

The truth is that domestic violence touches many of us. It is very possible that someone you know – a friend, sister, daughter or colleague – is experiencing abuse. One in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in her lifetime. And every week two women are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales, and 10 women take their own lives as the only way they know how to escape a violent partner. You are almost certainly paying for it. Domestic violence costs around £26bn a year in medical, legal and housing costs.

This violence is not a private matter. Behind closed doors it is shielded and hidden and it only intensifies. It is protected by silence – everyone’s silence. Which is why, in 2007, I became patron of •Refuge, the national domestic violence charity. Every day the organisation supports more than 1,000 women and children through its national network of refuges and services. At Refuge, women and children are given psychological support to help them overcome the trauma of abuse. A team of independent legal advocates are on hand to protect women at high risk of violence through the legal process.

Most people find the idea of violence against women – and sometimes, though rarely, against men – abhorrent, but do nothing to challenge it. More women and children, just like my mother and me, will continue to experience domestic violence unless we all speak out against it. You can do this by supporting Refuge’s latest campaign, Four Ways To Speak Out.

• The current image at the top of the page on this site is from Paul Klee’s “Refuge”

MORE . . .

They’re changing custody rights and domestic violence laws. (and NOT for the better)

“The biggest concern, though, is not the wasted effort on a false issue,” writes Straton, but the encouragement given to batterers to consider themselves the victimized party. “Arming these men with warped statistics to fuel their already warped worldview is unethical, irresponsible, and quite simply lethal.”

In this, critics like Australian sociologist Michael Flood say that men’s rights movements reflect the tactics of domestic abusers themselves, minimizing existing violence, calling it mutual, and discrediting victims. MRA groups downplay national abuse rates, just as abusers downplay their personal battery; they wage campaigns dismissing most allegations as false, as abusers claim partners are lying about being hit; and they depict the violence as mutual—part of an epidemic of wife-on-husband abuse—as individual batterers rationalize their behavior by saying that the violence was reciprocal. Additionally, MRA groups’ predictions of future violence by fed-up men wronged by the family-law system seem an obvious additional correlation, with the threat of violence seemingly intended to intimidate a community, like a fearful spouse, into compliance.



At the end of last year, New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate was caught slashing his girlfriend’s face with a piece of glass, then dragging her by her hair. The attack required 40 stitches to close the wound. This past week, Sen. Monserrate was convicted of assault. Yet he remains a member of the New York State Senate.

There is no place for domestic violence in public office. Senators, members of Congress, and State Representatives have all called on Sen. Monserrate to resign, yet he adamantly refuses to do so. In response, the Senate leader has created a special committee to decide Monserrate’s political fate. State Senator Eric Schneiderman is heading the committee.

Perpetrators of domestic abuse have no place in state government. The New York State Senate has the power to expel him, now we have to make sure that they do just that.

It is imperative that the citizens of New York keep pressure on the State Senate to expedite this process. Any stall tactics would be an affront to those who care deeply for women’s rights and oppose violence against women. We cannot allow this issue to be tucked away in the back of a drawer, never to be dealt with.

Join us and tell Sen. Schneiderman there is no place for domestic violence in the State Senate. Remove Sen. Monserrate from office quickly. SIGN the petition by clicking on the link below: 


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RELATED LINK to story and VIDEO of Monserrate dragging his victim out of the building (WARNING – this MAY be upsetting to watch!): 


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