Dealing With Domestic Violence

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The statistics are alarming. Even as 2018 prepares to start, women are being abused and killed by the very people they thought had promised to love and care for them. A person doesn’t have to stay in an abusive environment. There are alternatives. Those alternatives do require some planning.

Melanie used to be an artist in New York City where she grew up. “My grandmother taught me the importance of art when I was a kid. She was my artistic mentor who helped me,” said Melanie recently.

Running from an abusive relationship, Melanie went to Silicon Valley where she landed a job in security for Facebook, barely making above minimum wage in San Francisco. Discovering her boyfriend was abusive as well, Melanie moved out. The only problem was, she didn’t have anywhere to go.

Young and scared, she was also resourceful. She would hang out on the Facebook campus until almost all the other employees left for the day. Then she would go inside, take a shower, grab some dinner and sleep in a third-floor conference room.

If Melanie had been across state lines, her escape out of abuse might not have been so rough.

Nevada Helps Victims Of Domestic Violence

Recently, the Nevada Department of Health in victim assistance funding. The award is supported mainly by fines paid by federal criminal offenders. The money doesn’t come from taxpayers. Connected by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the fund is distributed each year by the Department of Justice.

“This is the largest amount of funding provided to Nevada to directly help victims and programs which support them,” said Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for Nevada. “The office is pleased to support both collection and allocation efforts on behalf of Nevada’s crime victims.”

Keep in mind that while victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly female, men can also be victims. Since it is not as common laws, articles and guides are often written as if victims were all female.

There are several steps to take to deal successfully with domestic violence.

Be Familiar With The Law

In the USA, federal laws shield victims, and most state-level jurisdictions have rules and ordinances dictating how domestic violence is prosecuted. BreakTheCycle has a user-friendly map providing an summary of state laws linked to violence in relationships.

Know The Resources

Learn what area resources exist. Depending on city and state, different resources may help a person flee a violent companion or spouse. Visit Justice.Gov review of what helps is accessible.

Talk

Tell a friend, family member or a professional what you are experiencing. It is vital to have someone be aware of your abuse which can help in an emergency. Set up a ‘safe’ word to use if you need them.

Document

Document each act of abuse even if you don’t report each event to law enforcement. Keep detailed records in case they’re needed to establish a pattern of abuse. This can be helpful should you decide to get a restraining order.

Safety Plan

Visit TheHotline for help in making a safety plan. A counselor can help you consider your entire personal situation as you make your plan.

Domestic Violence In Nevada

When people think of domestic violence and abuse, they often view the victim as a young and naive woman. The reality is different.

The abused woman often is a wealthy neighbor who keeps quiet about the beatings because of embarrassment, fear, and anxiety hiding behind the question of where she could go.

Domestic abuse which includes verbal and emotional abuse is everywhere. Las Vegas Metro Police handled almost 60,000 calls in 2016 from people saying they were being assaulted by someone in their home.

The actual number if probably higher as many are too scared to admit the abuse. Nine of the past ten years has seen Nevada rank among the Top 10 States for the rate of women killed by intimate life partners. The Clark County District Attorney’s Office receives almost twenty new cases — each day. According to Tamara Utzig, director of advocacy at Safe Net, the situations are difficult to prosecute when victims are uncooperative.

Coping Strategies For Victims

Women develop coping strategies to keep themselves and children as safe as possible until they feel ready to leave. Most women recognize they are having difficulties in a relationship, but a majority do not realize they are experiencing domestic violence or abuse. Women use a variety of strategies to justify or deal with their partner’s behavior and include ‘normalizing,’ ‘acceptance,’ ‘denial,’ ‘keeping the peace,’ or just blaming themselves.

Since standing up for themselves usually leads to further abuse, many women, to play safe, tend to assume a more submissive role. Even when the violence becomes worse and the abusers becomes harder to cope with, women continue the strategies while developing an exit plan. Some women use alcohol or drugs to find relief, and in latter stages, women may begin to record abusive behavior in a journal as they work towards financial independence.

Women who grew up with abuse in their home-of-origin tend to their partner’s behavior is ‘normal.’ One woman, ‘Ella,’ met her first abusive boyfriend when she was 15. Today, she feels if she had understood abuse then, she would have suffered through two more abusive relationships. “Muoltime abusive partners distorted my view of what a normal relationship is,” she said.

Women often blame themselves as a coping strategy. Their partners often manipulate them into believing the abuse was all their fault. Jessica thought she had to ‘work harder’ at her marriage to make it happy; a feeling shared by many other women. Jackie said, “I tried to become the person he wanted me to be because I saw my behavior as the blame for his abuse.”

Only relatively recently has domestic violence been considered in violation of the law by the courts. Despite men battering and abusing their wives for a long time, wife (or partner) abuse has been seen as a ‘normal’ part of marriage. It wasn’t until the end of the twentieth century that domestic violence came to be defined as a crime.

Until the end of the 19th-century husbands had the right to chastise their wife and what today is considered domestic violence was acceptable — and sometimes recommended behavior. When it came to criminal justice, the thought that physical abuse in spousal relationships didn’t constitute a crome continued to guide law enforcement in their responses until the 1970s. As long as the ‘chastising’ of women didn’t result in significant injury, the criminal justice system did not interference.

Some jurisdictions including New York, California, and Nevada, saw women’s groups beginning to file suits against police departments on behalf of abused women. These groups managed to receive big settlements against cops who were found negligent in protecting abused women.

Research shows when battered women first started to approach the justice system the women tended to underplay the seriousness of their injuries and were hesitant to use the system for their protection. Instead of calling the cops, battered women tried every means possible including the use of social services, counseling and treatment and police were the agency of last resort.

Battered Woman Syndrome

The ‘battered woman syndrome‘ has been a reform introduced into justice proceedings to correct past practices of ignoring the issue of the battered woman representing herself in court. The syndrome has been used as a legal defense in cases where a battered woman assaulted or even killed the abuser. Often considered as being in imminent danger and finding the defense beneficial, the courts have taken the issue to a higher level.

Even if a battered person is not ready to leave the abusive environment, recognizing and validating the situation are important. Victims should speak with family, friends or co-workers about their abusive partner. If is also helpful to call a hotline for information, referrals, and support.

What About Melanie

Melanie has gone back home, completed college and is now working in a shelter for abused women. “It’s my turn to give back,” is all she’ll say.

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