Supports Aimee Berger-Girvalo

Letter to the editor graphic/Hearst Connecticut Media

Letter to the editor graphic/Hearst Connecticut Media

Contributed photo

Dear Editor,

As we recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, there is no better person to champion this cause than our State Representative Aimee Berger-Girvalo. As a divorce coach, journalist and advocate for abuse victims I am intimately aware of challenges faced by women in our family court system. It is truly a broken system where money frequently prevails, and national research shows victims of abuse are often not believed - and sometimes penalized for speaking up.

This past week Ms. Magazine published my article on the one-year anniversary of Jennifers’ Law which expands domestic abuse to include coercive control - and how women in our state are using this groundbreaking legislation in court. Aimee strongly supported the passage of Jennifers’ Law, making Connecticut a leader other states are following. Coercive control includes financial abuse, litigation abuse and psychological abuse such as manipulation, intimidation, gaslighting and isolation. Aimee has also proposed a bill preventing domestic abusers from pursuing alimony from their victims. Yes, that can happen. It’s just one of the many things people who have been lucky enough to avoid family court in their lives are shocked to find out.

If you think domestic abuse is “someone else’s problem” and doesn’t affect you, think again. As taxpayers, we all pay for the way abusers (men or women) weaponize our court system, dragging out cases and running up costly legal bills. Coercive control is an “invisible abuse” that does not show up as a black eye or bruise plus crosses all socioeconomic lines - and Aimee is out there fighting for its victims. Trust me, my divorce coaching clients are your neighbors, friends and maybe even your family. Let’s help Aimee protect them.

Amy Polacko

Ridgefield