October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The Department of Justice observes the month of October for domestic violence awareness. Millions of adults experience domestic abuse from their partner or loved one every year. The stories and statistics over the matter are heartbreaking, but it is something that is important to discuss.
No one should have to feel like they’re walking on eggshells with the person that claims to love them. However, this is easier said than done. There are dangerous situations no one willingly enters into. It is cardboard and shattered glass disguised as paradise.
What Is Domestic Violence?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), “Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse.”
In Georgia, domestic violence is also called “family violence,” which entails:
- Current partner or spouse
- Former partner or spouse
- Foster parents and foster child/children
- Step parents and step child/children
- Parents and child/children
Domestic Abuse Almost Always Turns into Violence
What domestic violence survivors often say is that the cycle begins with verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse, which most often escalates to physical abuse and then to violence. If there is any takeaway from this, if they are willing to physically abuse you – or show patterns of verbal and emotional abuse – they are capable of killing you. This may sound extreme, but it is the reality. This is why it is important to recognize the situation you are in so that you can get out of it with your life.
The Continuation of Domestic Violence: Stalking
The stalking of an individual is not a joke or something that is a jokeable matter. A stalking victim, especially if they are a victim of domestic violence, may be afraid to leave their own home or even go to their home, work, favorite restaurant, etc. Many domestic violence survivors have said that leaving an abusive household is only the first step – looking over your shoulder, paranoid they are nearby, is the next.
If you have an intuitive feeling that you are being stalked – or know you are being stalked – we recommend filing a protective order as soon as you can with as much evidence as possible so you can. If a judge signs off on your request, you and your loved ones are granted a temporary restraining order from the offender until your trial. The temporary restraining order means the offender cannot contact you and must remain 500 feet away from you and your loved ones.
For reference, contacting, sending gifts, or hiring a private investigator is not a stalking offense. Stalking is determined by the intent of the person’s actions – Is it to harass them? Are they and the threat level the other person feels being in their presence.
Resources for Domestic Violence Victims
You do not have to suffer in silence. There is hope. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you do not have to suffer in silence. You and your family deserve peace and healing. We have provided hotlines below to help you take the first step to getting out of your situation. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911 right away.
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 (SAFE)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-7233 (SAFE)
Victim Connect: 855-484-2846 (4VICTIM)