10 Jul The Challenges Domestic Violence Victims Face and How to Navigate Them
With America’s rough past of sweeping domestic violence to the side, domestic violence victims can often experience unfair treatment in and out of the court system. Understanding the challenges you may face can help you prepare for them as efficiently as possible.
Definition of Domestic Violence
Under Florida Statute § 741.28(2), Domestic Violence refers to:
any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery,
sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking,
kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense
resulting in physical injury or death
of one family or household member by another family or household member.
Most statistics about domestic violence are not accurate, nor can they be. By design, victims of domestic violence may become fearful of their own actions, often blaming themselves for the acts of violence they endure. If you are a victim, you might be scared of the consequences of your actions if you seek help. You might be afraid that any actions you take might cause another episode of abuse against you. It is almost as if you are walking on eggshells, carefully considering your actions to avoid any more abuse.
There are two challenges this situation faces by design. One would be your failure to report. Please call the Police! You cannot expect reasonable protection if you do not ask for it. One woman, a victim of domestic violence, got creative. She called 911 when she feared for her life and pretended to order pizza. It took the operator a minute to realize that it was not a prank call, but a cover-up, so her boyfriend did not know whom she was calling. When the story made its rounds across the news networks, many thought it was a brilliant move that saved her life.
Furthermore, there is a common misconception when it comes to police reports. People are more willing to file police reports if it means something will get done about it. Otherwise, they will think they are wasting their time. This is never the case with police reports. Even if the police are unable to make an arrest or make you feel safer right then and there, police reports are powerful tools in court. Police officers will want to know dates, times, examine for physical evidence (if any) and speak with witnesses (if any).
The other challenge that you will face is your fear. You might fear for your safety or other repercussions of testifying against someone in court. Moreover, you might rationalize the situation. If your intimate partner is abusing you, it might be difficult for you to give an honest testimony against him or her because you still care about this person. However, if you are reluctant to testify, then the prosecutor will have a much more difficult time making their case.
Find Moral Support
An excellent way to get a restraining order is for you to go down to your local courthouse. They will take your statement and may issue you an emergency restraining order. Restraining orders can be useful in preventing other instances of violence. There are even cases where the police have been asked to patrol periodically a house or neighborhood as a safety measure.
There are additional routes you can take as a victim of domestic violence. Almost every locality has a hotline you can call. Reach out to support groups. The advent of online social media and the internet makes it easy to find like-minded people with whom to connect. If you need help with finding or connecting with any of these resources give us a call. Please know that there are always remedies available to you and that we can help.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, don’t wait until it is too late to seek protection. Call 911 if you ever find yourself fearful for your safety. If you can get a restraining order, then do so. The worst thing you can do is be silent about it. Don’t let there be a “next time”.