Relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive or forcible behaviors used to maintain power or control over a formal or current intimate partner (“Controlling and Abusive Relationship,” 2006). It does not matter if the person is married or not married; living together, separated or dating someone, domestic violence can happen. Isolation, intimidation, financial, sexual, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse are forms of abuse experienced in a domestic violence relationship.
There are ways of getting out of a domestic violence relationship. Even though getting out of a domestic violence relationship is the hardest part of the relationship, a person can get out of a domestic violence relationship by seeking legal help, by obtaining outside help, and by getting psychological counseling. Getting out of a domestic violence relationship seems helpless, but it is not. The victim is scared to leave the abuser because of what they might do to them.
Involving the police and filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRA) is the first step in getting away from your abuser. A Domestic Violence Retraining Order is a court order that will help protect you from the abuser (“Domestic Violence Restraining,” 2005-2010). It tells your abuser to stop threatening and harming you. A DVRA is designed to protect you or your children under the age 18 from violence such as; striking, attacking, battering, molesting, stalking, harassing, physical injuries, sexual assault, and destroying of personal property.
You can file a DVRA if you or your minor children have been victims of domestic violence from a family member, spouse, father or mother or your child. An order of protection must be filed at the court house where the abuse happened and the county where you and the abuser live. Ask for a “Request for Domestic violence Restraining Order” form. An advocate or court staff can file a Petition (tells the court what a person wants) and an Affidavit (explains to the court what happened). If immediate protection is needed ask for an Emergency (EX Parte) order.
This is an order that is signed the same day you apply, before the abuser is aware of it. An Emergency (EX Parte) Order will give immediate protection once it is served to the abuser until your court day. No fee is required to file a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. A lawyer is needed only if the abuser has a lawyer. A hearing date is usually set for 14 days after a Domestic Violence Restraining Order has been filed; seven days if you file an Emergency (EX Parte) Domestic Violence Retraining Order (“Domestic Violence Restraining,” 2005-2010).
By law a Domestic Violence Retraining Order can be obtained without a hearing. When going to a hearing take any pictures, police reports or medical reports of the abuse, the abuser work and home address, a picture of the abuser, and a written note describing the abuse and when it happened (“Domestic Violence Restraining,” 2005-2010). Staying in an abusive relationship, hoping things will change is not health for the victim. The victim might be afraid of what the abuser will do it they discover that they are trying to leave.
Leaving an abusive relationship can be frightening, but the risk of staying is too great. Good news for the victim is there is help. All victims deserve to live a life free of fear. This can happen by reaching out for help and protecting yourself. Seeking help from a domestic violence shelter is the second step the victim should take. A domestic violence shelter or battered women’s shelter is a building or set of apartments where abused and battered women can go to seek refuge from their abusers (“Domestic Violence Shelter,” 2001-2009).
Before going to a shelter the victim should do some research on shelters to find the one that is suitable to fit their needs. They should talk to other battered women who stayed at the shelter they want to stay in, talk to the organizer of the shelter, and visit the shelter both day and night time to see how it is operates. Questions such as; is there security personnel around if needed, how is the shelter’s reputation, how well does the shelter cooperate with police and the courts, and can the abuser contact or visit the shelter should be asked by the victim.
Other concerns the victim might have are; how does the shelter accommodate young children, infants, and adolescents, what services and amenities are provided, what is the shelter’s fee, how accessible is public transportation, schooling, and does the shelter have an intervention program. Once the victim has researched the shelter they want to go to it is safe for them to leave their abuser. All shelters are kept confidential to prevent the abuser from finding the victim. Shelters have room for mother and their children and they provide their daily living needs such as food and childcare.
The victims stay at the shelters are limited, most shelters will help the victims find a job, a home of their own, and others things to start a new life. Most domestic violence shelters provide services such as; legal help, counseling, support groups, financial assistance, and employment programs for their victims. By using a post office box, getting an unlisted phone number, opening a checking account at a different bank and changing your daily routine are some ways to protect yourself from the abuser.
Scars from domestic violence can run deep. The abuse the victim has endured can stay with them long after they have gotten out of the abusive relationship. For domestic abuse survivors there are support groups, therapy, and counseling to help process the trauma they have been through. After the ordeal a victim has been through, some of the struggle with bad memories, disconcerting emotions, and a constant sense of danger. It is hard for a victim of domestic violence to trust someone after the abuse they have gone through.
Whether the abuse happened today or years ago, there is help so the victim can heal. Counseling is the last step the victim should take to start their healing process. The victim can seek individual counseling or group counseling. Individual counseling gives the victim the chance to share details of their suffering and to release their anger and fears. Group counseling allows the victim to share and relate their experiences, to talk about their family concerns, and to support each other in planning for the future.
Although getting out of a domestic violent relationship is the hardest part of the relationship, a person can get out by three steps. First, seeking outside help such as a shelter to get away from the abuser should be done. Getting involved in group counseling or individual counseling is a step to healing yourself. But the most important thing in leaving the abuser is asking for legal help. By doing this the victim will be protected by the law from the abuser.
- Controlling and Abusive Relationship. (2006). Retrieved March 31, 2010 from http://www. stanford. edu/group/svab/relationships. shtml
- Help for Abused and Battered Women: Domestic Violence Shelters. (2001-2009). Retrieved March 31, 2010 from http://helpguide. org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention. htm
- How to get a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. (2005-2010). Retrieved March 31, 2010 from http://www. stoprelationshipabuse. org/restrain. html