A Closer Look at the 'Battered Women's Justice Project'

Often substance abusers credit physical and sexual abuse to their habits.

At the Meth and Substance Abuse Conference's second day this subject was illuminated.

News 13's Tyler Waggenspack spoke with some experts about what they say is an upward trend.

Abuse against women occurs more often than we'd like to accept.
The traumatic experience for those affected at lead to substance abuse to cope with the issue.

According to Addiction.com one fourth of women are either sexually or physically abused in their life.

And abused women are nine times more likely to abuse drugs versus women who aren't.

During the second day of the conference the subject of women and substance abuse was discussed.

James Henderson shared his insights.

He's part of a program called, "Battered Women's Justice Project,” helping women in prison, on probation or parole seek help for their substance abuse.

Henderson shared, "Anywhere from 55% to 95% of the women who were in our substance abuse agencies or drug courts have a history of domestic and sexual violence."

Henderson added the direct problem, isn't fully dealt with.

"Yet often times, that's not being addressed. We're only going and addressing their substance abuse, not the cause of elevating the substance abuse, but they may be using substance abuse to numb the pain."

And often it's hard for them to freely talk about the issue.

"People are guarded and don't want to discuss it."

"People who are experiencing domestic violence or sexual abuse often have so much shame, they feel they're at fault or they're the only ones who experience this."

Many support system advocates also hear the same thing when talking to clients.

Frederick Bergh from the Self Help Center commented, “They tell you a little bit of that information to see how you react to it and then they share a little bit more. Sometimes this is over one session or over a length."

Experts also say it's something that requires a, "team effort".

"How do we work with one another, how do we make appropriate referrals and really engage that client from a more holistic approach."

This gives hope to many women, experiencing trauma.

According to Addiction.com in eight to thirteen percent of relationships or marriages women are physically assaulted.

Assaults can also reoccur in two-thirds of those relationships.