Taking New Approaches to End Abuse

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 24, 2011 | Go to article overview

Taking New Approaches to End Abuse


Byline: Eric Peterson epeterson@dailyherald.com

As a certified domestic violence professional, Ruby Nava today can recognize her own abusive relationship as a nearly textbook case.

But as with so many others, even family and friends couldn't help the now-Streamwood resident recognize her situation for what it was while she was in the thick of it.

Not until her former husband's jealousy became so intense that he struck her on the back and head when she turned away to cradle their crying infant son did realization dawn.

"That jealousy toward my son is what turned on the light for me," Nava says. "It occurred to me that he didn't love his son. I thought if he doesn't love his son, he'll never learn to love me."

Nava who has since remarried and uses her married name will share her story and the lessons others can learn from it Thursday,

when Roosevelt University and the Northwest Suburban Alliance on Domestic Violence host "Break the Silence on Relationship Violence," organized to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The event is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Roosevelt's Schaumburg campus.

Nava is both a member of the alliance and a full-time student at Roosevelt, where she's completing her psychology degree.

She wants to become a counselor focused on domestic violence issues.

Warning signs

The relationship, which began in 2000 at a West suburban high school, seemed almost too good.

"Abusers tend to be Prince Charming in front of you and your friends," Nava said.

But little by little he became more controlling, until the friends who initially warned her about the changes were virtually excluded from her life.

Her mother's advice that exposing him to their non-abusive family would change him reinforced her own bad instincts, she says.

Nava's mother even supported their decision to marry in December 2001 when Nava was 16 and he was an 18-year-old high school senior.

Nava graduated a semester early the following year two months before her son was born. Once during her pregnancy, her husband kicked her in the stomach.

Nava never pressed charges.

She filed for divorce in 2005 and was granted an order of protection that was later revised and extended.

She initially got help from an agency that moved her into a shelter.

But her then-husband learned the location of the shelter on her first night there, from a relative.

During her divorce, Nava worked in a currency exchange behind protective glass.

Even so, he would stand in the lobby and shout at her.

Her husband was in another relationship by the time their divorce became final in 2006, and he now lives downstate. …

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