Domestic Abuse: A Pervasive Problem
Domestic abuse should not happen to anyone. Ever. Period. Sadly, however, thousands of people across the country suffer as victims of domestic abuse each day. If you have been abused, or know of someone who is being abused, seek help immediately. Domestic abuse can be both physical and emotional. Victims can be of any race, gender, age, and be in a variety of different relationships. The acts do not have to be criminal in order to be abuse. Name calling and put downs can have negative emotional effects that are just as serious as physical abuse. There are lawyers all around the country who specialize in dealing with the ramifications of abuse and legal remedies available to protect those suffering from abuse. In order to receive this help, however, you must be proactive in seeking protection. If you are being abused it is important to remember that you are not alone, it is not your fault, and help is available.
There are several common myths about domestic violence. You may here the excuse that some people deserve to get hit or “ask” to be abused. This is ludicrous. The only person responsible for abuse is the abuser. Physical abuse, even amongst family members, is wrong and against the law. Many people believe that domestic violence is caused by drug or alcohol abuse. This is untrue. Domestic abuse is often learned. It may be exacerbated by drug or alcohol use but they are generally used as excuses to explain away abusive behavior. Domestic violence is not a merely a personal problem between a husband wife. Domestic violence affects everyone. About one in three women have been physically or sexually abused by a boyfriend or spouse during their lives. Thirty percent of female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Forty to Sixty percent of people who abuse their spouse also abuse children. Many people believe that if the abuse must not be bad if the victim does not leave. There are many reasons a victim may not leave. Their reluctance to leave does not excuse the abuse. Leaving is the most dangerous time for an abuse victim.
The quickest and easiest way for a victim of domestic abuse to gain a legal remedy is to seek an order of protection against the abuser. An order of protection offers a variety of protections to the victim. A victim may ask that the court for protection of him or herself, any other people he or she feel may be in danger from the abuser, any property or pets, and the victim may ask that the abuser be excluded from their place of residence. People who are eligible for an order of protection may differ slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally, orders of protection are available to people who have been physically, sexually, verbally, or emotionally abused or threatened by someone who they have been married to, someone they have a child with, a family member, a current or former roommate or someone they have dated. Applying for an order of protection will generally include taking a trip to whichever courthouse handles domestic relations in your jurisdiction. An easy way to figure out where to go is to do a simple Google search about domestic violence and the state you live in. Once you get to the courthouse there will be some paperwork to fill out before you will be taken up to the courtroom to explain the abuse to a judge. That judge will then grant the order of protection. It is important to remember that the order of protection is nothing but a piece of paper. In order for it to serve its purpose, you must be proactive. If your abuser attempts to contact you in any way, call 911.
No one should ever have to suffer from domestic violence. It is a pervasive problem affecting thousands of people a year. It is important for victims of domestic violence to remember that they are not alone and that help is available. There are legal remedies offered in every state to help protect victims of domestic violence. However, those remedies are only available when the victim is proactive in seeking help. If you know someone suffering from domestic abuse it is important to encourage them to seek help. Domestic abuse is never normal or acceptable behavior. It is imperative to inform victims of abuse that they do not have to suffer in silence. Many former abuse victims escape the cycle of violence and go on to live healthy, successful, happy lives. If you are, or know someone who is, suffering from domestic violence seek help now. Do not wait for the violence to escalate. If, as a society, we take this problem seriously we may be able to end domestic violence once and for all.
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