"My boyfriend, Mike, is abusive," says Lorain, 45. "When Mike's in a rage, he gets a look in his eyes, and the next thing I know, he's just coming at me. He's so close that I can feel spit on my face. Mike has a gun. He would keep it out in plain sight on his dresser to make me afraid of him and to keep me in my place. Mike's threatened to kill me on at least three different occasions. Sometimes, I lock myself in the bedroom. I stay locked in there for hours, and he'll just keep yelling and yelling. Mike has busted down the door before. My daughter and I hid under the bed so that he couldn't get to us. When Mike is acting crazy, he unplugs the Internet, takes away my cell phone, makes sure that I don't have any way to contact anybody. After that, the police came. I couldn't take it anymore, so I had to get the restraining order. I am afraid for my life, and I am afraid for my daughter's as well."
Dr. Phil speaks to his viewers: "This is exactly why I am launching a campaign this year called End the Silence on Domestic Violence," he says. "I'm doing this because every 15 seconds a woman will be abused â€¦ One out of four women will fall victim to domestic violence at some point in their life, and this is a season-long call for action. It's probably one of the most under-reported things going on in America today. I'm going to attack this on multiple fronts, so I am organizing a task force with congressmen and women in the legislature."
[AD]Join Dr. Phil's campaign and become a Silence Breaker! "There will be times when you will receive e-mails from me that say, â€˜Silence Breakers, it's time to make some noise,'" Dr. Phil says. Sign up here to take Dr. Phil's pledge to end domestic violence and receive action alerts of how you can help.
Mike tells his side of the story:
"I'm not an abuser. I've never, ever, ever laid a hand on her," says Mike, 50. "She has daddy issues. She's hyper-sensitive. She acts like I'm the total bad buy. She has emotionally abused me on more than one occasion. Lorain says some pretty mean things too. She said I was a coward; I should be castrated. I called her a really bad word that starts with a C and ends with a T. We were in an argument, and I said, â€˜Lorain, I want to talk to you.' â€˜It's a free country. I don't have to talk to you!' â€˜I can't just go in there and beat your face in, OK? It's not a free country.' And then she puts her Walkman in. I pull it out, go â€˜You're a bitch!' I yelled bitch in her ear. 911. Police are at my house for calling someone a bitch. The next day, she went and got a restraining order on me.
"I'm really hoping Dr. Phil can look at both sides of the story and see that there are times when Lorain treats me terribly. Don't be like all the courts in this country and think that the man is always wrong. I know I can make some changes. I know it's not all her, but I know, for a fact, it's not all me," Mike says.
Lorain and Mike were together for a year and a half, but haven't seen each other for six weeks, since Lorain moved out and filed a restraining order. Lorain made the decision on her own to lift the restraining order, so they could meet with Dr. Phil. When Lorain feels safe, Dr. Phil asks Mike to join them.
"You're nervous about being here, I would guess, because you know that she is making serious allegations and complaints about you," Dr. Phil tells Mike. "I think you're making mistakes that you don't know that you're making. And my hope is that if you know that, if you become enlightened about that, that you would make different choices."
[AD]Lorain says, "Dr. Phil, I think that he's aware of what he does; he just can't stop himself from doing it. He apologizes every time, and I know it's a sincere apology."
"But if you don't think it's wrong, what are you apologizing for?" Dr. Phil asks Mike.
"I do think it's wrong," Mike says. "I think if you could magically fix me and make me not do the things that cause these problems, I still don't think our relationship would be successful, because I think there are some things that Lorain needs to do also."
"I'm going to tell you what she says, and why I say that although you do not physically abuse her as yet, that I do think it is abusive," Dr. Phil tells Mike.
"As yet?" Mike asks.
"As yet," Dr. Phil repeats. "You haven't done it yet, correct?"
"Well, I'm 50 years old, and I've never laid a hand on a woman in my life," he says.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please reach out for help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233). Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information and local resources, go to the National Network to End Domestic Violence: NNEDV.org.