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Monday June 26 , 2017
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Domestic Violence, Part 2: The Victim

Thank you for reading the second part of a four part series on Domestic Violence.  This portion is about the victim.  I have read books, I have listened to well known advisors regarding Domestic Violence.  A large majority of what I have heard has been so helpful.  It is more of an “I wish I knew then, what I know now” effect on me. My life would have been so different.  Not just my life, but my children’s life as well.  I had heard an expert on Domestic Violence on The Oprah Winfrey show, and he discussed everything in detail.  I had heard him say the phrase “the first time you are a victim, the second time you are a volunteer” pierced my heart like a knife.  My immediate thought was I never volunteered to be beaten!  This man has no idea what it’s like to have to play dead so the beating would stop!  He has never gone through what I have had to endure!  He has never walked in my shoes and how dare he say that!  Well, I was so angry. The flood of emotions I felt with that statement seemed like they would never stop.  I thought about how disrespectful that statement was to all the women who are lying in their graves, how much they had endured, how brutal their deaths must have been.

After a few hours I settled down and I started to dissect what this man had said.  After all, he did hit everything else that he said on target, all his other facts were correct.  After contemplating so much about this that this is the realization that I came up with.  To everyone that has experienced Domestic Violence, your story is unique.  It is unique to you, it is personally owned by you.  The sad part is that everyone’s story has an end result. You either leave or you stay or you die.  You have choices.  Let’s talk about your choices.  When you are dissecting your choices and you compare plan A to plan B, you have to remember; come up with plan C if plan A or B doesn’t work for you.  Sometimes you feel like to have to choose between one of two evils. Let me tell you, pick a different way.  You have more options than you probably ever realized.  I don’t want you living in hell without realizing that there is a Plan C out there for you.  If you stay and think, “He’ll kill me if I leave” well, he is killing you every single day that you are in that relationship.  The other important thing is you need help ensuring your safety!!!  I cannot stress this enough.  It has to be a well devised plan. Leave the planning to the experts.  No one will judge you. You are a strong person that was made weak. Get your strength back and seek help immediately, not only for you but for your children if you have them.  This has such a profound effect on them as well.  Get counseling for all involved immediately.  Get your mind healthy again.

I wrote this next part in the first person.  The reason I did this was because just for a moment, I want you to walk in his/her shoes.  If you’ve never experienced Domestic Violence this will help you understand how distorted his/her perception of things really are.  Again, this is not for you to ever judge the victim of Domestic Violence, but to get a better understanding of it.  And you have to think; if someone threatened to kill you, how serious would you take it?  Here are some of the barriers that a victim of domestic violence faces when he/she contemplates leaving her hellacious situation.  This is how the victim of abuse thinks.

Economic Dependence:  How will my children and I be able to make it and who will support us?

Parenting:  I cannot raise these children on my own.  I need another parent for my family.

Religious Belief:  Added pressure to keep the family together.

Extended Family:  Added pressure to keep the family together.

Fear of being alone and on one’s own:  I am very afraid I will not be able to cope with everything by myself.

Loyalty:  If my partner was seriously ill, I’d stick by his/her side.

Pity:  My partner is so much worse off than I am, I feel sorry for him/her.

Rescue Complex:  I can help him/her get better.  I just need more time and he/she will change.

Fear of his/her suicide:  My partner tells me that he/she will kill him/her self if I leave.

Denial:  I really don’t think it’s that bad.

Love:  I love him/her.  He loves me so much when he’s/she’s not abusive.

Duty:  I take my wedding vows seriously and they say “till death do us part.”

Guilt:  I think it is my fault that we are having these problems.  I caused his/her problems.

Responsibility:  I have to save the marriage/relationship. I have to work things out with him/her.

Shame, embarrassment, and humiliation:  I don’t want anyone to find out or know anything.

Security:  I want to be like everyone else and live the American Dream of growing up and living happily ever after.

Identity:  I cannot make it without him/her.  He/her completes me.

Optimism:  I know things will get better, just a little bit longer.

Low self-esteem:  I know this is my fault, I must deserve it.  I will never find anyone better.  At least he/she loves me.

Sex role conditioning:  This is just the way other people are.

Survival:  I fear my own physical safety!  If I leave he/she has already threatened to find me and kill me and the kids and my family. 

She/he does not need judgment, but just to be mended as well as the children.

 

The Process

Here is how the process works once the police are called regarding a Domestic Abuse call.  The police arrive and take down all of the pertinent information needed to assist the victim and for filling out the police report.  If there are signs of abuse, the police officer will arrest the abuser.  The victim will be asked if she/he needs medical attention.  If the victim doesn’t require medical attention they will be asked if they would like to go to a shelter.  Once the police have arrested the abuser, even if the victim does not want to press charges, the States Attorney’s office has the option to pursue the case.  When this happens the victim can not drop the charges, the charges are then filed by the State’s Attorney’s office. The victim will also be given follow up information for someone at the States Attorney’s office to call regarding getting an Order of Protection.  An Order of Protection is a court order that prohibits the abuser from committing certain behaviors or orders him to perform certain acts.  Violation of an Order of Protection can result in the abuser being found in contempt of court, resulting in fine or incarceration, or criminal charges, carrying penalties up to three years under certain circumstances.  Currently, the staff members of the courts are specially trained to assist victims of domestic violence.  There are court advocates who explain the legal process and what the victim is to expect.  It is the judge that has the authority and issues the Order of Protection.  There are three types of Order of Protections:

  1. Emergency Order, this order is valid for 14-21 days.
  2. Interim Order, this order is valid for up to 30 days.
  3. Plenary Order, this order is valid for a varying length of time.

There are other factors involved with an Order of Protection as well as the type of proceeding that will be filed. There is an Independent Proceeding, Civil Proceeding, Criminal Proceeding and a Juvenile Proceeding. If you or someone you know are considering getting an Order of Protection, please consult with a court advocate, or call your local crisis center, they can assist with all of the paperwork and explain the process to you. The Order of Protection clearly outlines to the Abuser (Respondent) what is considered to be Domestic Violence and the ramifications of violating the Order of Protection.  Also, anyone living in the same residence as the victim will be considered protected as well.

We have come a long way, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 has accomplished a number of things, such as recognizing domestic violence as a serious crime and disrupts family harmony, recognized that we were in need of clearer and stronger legislation, supported the victim of domestic abuse in hopes of avoiding abuse in the future, supported law enforcement and clarifying their roles in a domestic violence dispute, recognized domestic violence against adults with disabilities, and extended services to victims of domestic violence.

Below you will find the statistics along with some resources for you to use.  Please use them, don’t try and do it alone.  Get the qualified help that you need.  You are in my prayers.

Comments  

 
0 #4 2011-09-28 18:49
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and posting your comment Sherrie. I am so glad you survived that relationship and are happy now. Blessings and always the best to you!
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0 #3 2011-09-07 07:45
After spending almost 16 years in an abusive relationship I am greatful to say that I love myself and my life now. My kids also took the abuse...thankfully not physical but definitely mental and verbal. Those are the bruses that really never heal and often come back to light in other relationships. I hope that people who are being abused read this article and recognize themselves. God bless... Sherrie
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0 #2 Tami Principe 2010-04-20 22:40
Thank you Dolly!! I am doing this series on Domestic Violence in hopes of helping other women out. Maybe it can save a life or get some years back that might have been wasted. Thank you for sharing, I appreciate it. So glad you made it out!!
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0 #1 Dolly Hunley 2010-04-20 20:43
Wow what an eye opener this is. I was a victim and all that was said is so true you wish you can do something about it anything but you can't and you are scared I was so scared I stayed 18 years. I think that a lot of it comes from the way we are taught from our mothers, religion, and everyone else. But now I can look back an be thankful I took that first step away I only wish it had been a lot sooner for my kids sake. Thanks for the site Tami Love ya girl.
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Resources

Statistics:

Every 9 seconds a woman is beaten.
In Illinois, more than 300,000 women are abused each year.
More women are injured by domestic violence than are injured in auto accidents, muggings, or rape combined.
40% of female homicides occur as a result of domestic violence.
57% of all homeless women and children are victims of domestic violence.
97% of those reporting domestic violence are women.
60% of battered women report that their first abusive relationship began in high school.
36% of high school relationships involve some type of violence.
One in five teenage girls report to have suffered physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a dating partner.

 

Resources:

Crisis Center of  South Suburbia or call 708-429-SAFE (7233)

Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the SSFS, South Suburban Family Shelter, Inc. at 708-335-3028 (these are hotline numbers).

Safety Tips: Keep tabs on your abuser, make sure they’re not watching or following you.  Be safe, notice your surroundings, the people, and the cars, and try to not be alone.  Carry your cell phone at all times and pre-program emergency phone numbers.

You can donate to the Crisis Center of South Suburbia by clicking on this link:

https://www.crisisctr.org/how_to_help/crisis_center_donate_online.asp