“When Stories Hurt,” East Bay Express front page feature

During her early years as a therapist, Demitra McDonald worked at a counseling center in Sacramento, helping survivors of domestic violence and their families cope with the trauma they had endured. A few years ago, during one particularly difficult week, she was flooded with new domestic abuse clients. “It was just day after day, story after story of young … women who were practically beaten to death by those [who] they loved the most,” she said. McDonald had become accustomed to hearing similar stories from clients, but the relentlessness of that week pushed her farther than she was used to.

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