When I was at court last week, I overheard the Director of Domestic Violence say that we care so much about these women and their lives that we will go out and get them if they do not show up for court. That made me think. Here I am on my second attempt to get an Order of Protection in place and I couldn’t imagine not showing up to court that day. However, it took me 7 years to get to the place that I was in to finally stick up for myself. Looking back to when I was 24 would I have shown up? Would I have even asked for help? Probably not, I was terrified of my ex. My lawyer had tried to get charges against my ex for abuse and I fired him. One one abusive occurrence, witnesses reported it to the cops. The cops then called me and asked if had taken place. I lied and said no. Even though, he did hurt me. He had grabbed my fists and hit his face over and over. I just wasn’t strong enough at that time to fight him. They say it takes a victim leaving over seven to eight times before they actually stay gone for good. In my case it was definitely over seven to eight times.
Most women know they need to leave, but don’t feel there are any options. The men likely control everything. The money, their children, and much more. The women have likely lost contact with their friends and family. In my case I only saw his friends and family. My abuser didn’t like my Mom or friends. He knew my Mom could see right through him and that my friends would give me strength. That’s the last thing Abusers want…their victim to have any type of strength. Economic reasons are huge with us. The first time I left, he took my house, car, baby, and clothes. I was lucky enough to have my Mom to help me rebuild that time. This second time, after I requested an Order of Protection, he took my car from me. I then lost my job and home. I literally have nothing and that’s what he wanted. Most women are not aware of resources out there for victims. There are some like the YWCA and Mary Parrish, but I’ll be honest they have waiting lists and some are up to 2 years. That can make a woman feel like she can’t leave or she will lose everything.
When a woman finally does decide to ask for help from the law or someone else reported it, they may at first be all about prosecuting, but then reality kicks in that they may not have anything and could possibly lose their children. So they decide to drop the charge. Since the US, is taking domestic violence more seriously these days, the District Attorney may still go forward with prosecuting. Leaving the victim lost as to what to do. In some states, the victims are now being prosecuted for not showing up. While, I do agree that victims tend to be wishy washy when it comes to these charges and need some accountability for their sake and the children. I also know all too well the feeling of being stuck and not wanting to further be a target for their abuser.
Once, the victim does leave they’re often still the target for abuse. However, not it could be the abuser using the courts to abuse the victim or friends and family being turned by the abuser. It’s a very scary position to be in. I knew I had to go because I was either going to end up dead by his hands or slowly die inside from the abuse. So, I took my chances and left. Even though, it has been extremely hard I’m so glad I did because I’m still ALIVE. If you or a loved one are the victim of any type of abuse, please contact the Domestic Violence hotline. They’re a free hotline and are open twenty four hours a day. They can offer you resources and crisis support. They have helped me with phone numbers for legal aid and so much more. 1-800-799-7233 If you want more local information, please call your local Domestic Violence unit and they can help you with resources available to you in your area. They also offer free counseling. Which will definitely be needed!
Sound off below and tell me whether or not the Victims should be prosecuted for not showing up to court