In order to stop domestic violence, each one of us must become aware of how domestic violence hurts the lives of so many men, women, and children who have become victims of a violent spouse, partner, parent, or guardian.
Many of theses victims have suffered and are still suffering at the hands of their perpetrator without knowing how to protect themselves or escape the violence.
It is up to us to not leave them behind. We must all do what we can help.
To increase your individual level of understanding, equip yourself with the right knowledge about domestic violence and how it should be dealt with it.
First, learn what domestic violence is all about, how it affects a victim’s life and what services are available to help in such cases.
Second, if you get a chance, talk to the victim privately and initiate a dialogue. Let the person know that he or she is not alone.
Third, try to empathize with the circumstances the victim is currently experiencing. It is not always easy for a victim to draw enough courage to face their situation and seek help.
Fourth, listen to what the victim has to say and believe them.
Lastly, offer help. But be prepared to respect and support whatever decision he or she has to make.
Understanding the victim and the circumstance that he or she is dealing with may not be easy, but this is what will ultimately help.
2.Q: I want to get out of an abusive relationship. How do I start?
Think of your safety first. Reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or get in contact with a domestic violence outreach program in your area to find out how you can protect yourself, or to learn how to approach someone you care about who may be in an abusive relationship. You (or both you and your spouse or partner), might also think about joining a domestic violence support group.
3.Q: I don’t feel safe at home. What can I do?
There are many people in our country who are victims of domestic violence. This is a very serious problem and those people who are being subjected to domestic violence need to get up and seek help.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, here is what you need to do:
- Call the police
- Go to a battered women’s shelter,
- Go to a superior court, or a municipal court if it’s after hours.
Superior courts typically have domestic violence units where there are caseworkers who can meet with you, whether you are a man or a woman.
If, in fact, you are a victim, there are many ways in which any one of these particular places, people, or institutions can help you.
Get your voice heard out there and place yourself in front of a judge who has the ability to put in place an immediate temporary restraining against your abuser.
After you get the temporary restraining order, you will have immediate protection for a period of time, after which the court will determine if that temporary restraining order needs to be converted into a final permanent restraining order.
If you feel unsafe in your own home, go get the help and security you and your children need. It’s out there for you and there are many people there to support you.
4.Q: I’ve left my abusive spouse. What can I do to keep them from coming after me?
It’s scary to be the victim of domestic violence and it is natural to be concerned about your abusive spouse or partner coming after you once you have left them or reached out for help.
If you have already gotten the police involved and are already out of the home, the next thing to do is to file a petition for protection from abuse.
This petition can do several things, including:
- Removing your abusive spouse or partner from your home;
- Restricting their ability to come and go from your home; and
- Making sure that you have access to a vehicle.
If you are not in your home and have sought refuge in a shelter or elsewhere, you still need to get the police involved and seek an order of protection.
However, if the perpetrator is still living in the home, you may not be able to return until a judge orders him or her out and you back in.
Once you have a protection order in place, you need to make sure that you do not have any contact with the perpetrator:
- Do not call them
- Do not text them
- Do not communicate with them via social media
If you do, you will be in violation of your own protection order, and the court may take this into consideration when deciding whether to make that protection order permanent.
Finally, you should also keep a copy of your protection order with you at all times. This way, if your abusive spouse or partner shows up, you can call the police and have them arrested on the spot for violating that order of protection.