October is Domestic Violence awareness month.
So Its Almost Tuesday wants to bring attention to the issue of Domestic Violence… something that affects our children – bringing them into foster care – teaching them violence – and killing them….
Domestic violence is considered child abuse by law in many states, even if the child only witnesses DV between his parents even if he is not the target.
What does that mean? Domestic Violence Awareness month….
Does that mean we’re all too aware in October of the tragedy DV brings our families? Or not aware enough the rest of the year?
One in Four
In her lifetime.
Up to 40 percent of battered women delay going to a shelter because they fear what will happen to their left-behind pet.
Women are more at risk for harm & abuse within their intimate relationships than anywhere else…and
They are at the most risk for being murdered after they leave their abuser.
What this month means to me is a memory of another October, when I was in Florida, and had received a phone call that my abuser was on his way to my house, and was planning to lock me in and burn me alive inside.
I felt like I was in the cycle of violence – literally – going around and around…
I called the local DV shelter. The woman on the phone asked if I was harmed, and I said, no, he isn’t here yet, he’s supposedly on the way – and she told me to call back if he arrived and injured me and I was forced to run… meanwhile, she gave me the number to the DV Outreach Center. I called the DV Outreach Center. They do not handle the enforcement, they handle needs and necessities, counseling, and clothing, and donations – I would need to call the state attorney’s office office to get my protective order enforcement underway.. and go down to the clerk’s office, file a violation of protective order affidavit, then take that in, and they would turn it in, review it, and it’d go up the chain and if picked up by the state he’d be arrested.
But in nearly 8 years I’d ran from him, he never once got arrested… the state never picked up the charges because he resided in Texas, and Florida didn’t feel it would be worthwhile to extradite him…. so they let them lie….
I decided, that October day… to go in person to the state attorney’s office; but when I got there … they sent me across the hall to the victim/witness department… The lady at the front desk told me to sit down while I wait in the lobby for somebody from the state attorney’s office across the hall
(that I just came from)
would come help me… an advocate from there…
I was dizzy by then…. I think.
I remember looking up at the posters on the wall in “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” – October – Halloween – Costumes with my little boy who i no longer had, tears welling up in my eyes, and a knot in my throat instead of laughter and candy…
Then the advocate came sauntering across the hall from the state attorneys’ office. She asked me if I had already been interviewed by the Victims Witness Coordinator, I said no….
I showed her my Florida Protective Order, and the police reports from Texas that showed numerous violations of the protective order – and began to explain that i needed him arrested for the violations because I was afraid he was on his way to hurt me. If he were in jail I’d be safe..i thought….
The advocate asked me “do you have Florida police reports?”
I said, “No, I have police reports from Texas ..
She asks “Why from Texas?”
I said, “Thats where the violations occurred – in Plano – Texas… when I called the police… when it happened…. here are the reports…”
she said“Well, you need to go to the Texas Courts to enforce the protective order then, where it happened…
I had been through this one many times in Texas –“Ma’am, Plano, Texas Courts won’t enforce the protective order, the police say its not valid because it is issued in Florida…and its more than two years old … but Florida law is different and it is valid… I don’t care who does it, so long as its done….”
She began to look confused…
“So, did you file a report with the police in Florida?” she asks.
I try to explain…again…
“The police in Florida won’t do a report on the violations because the violations occurred in Texas….but Texas won’t enforce the protective order because the protective order is issued in Florida…”
She asks, “Why don’t you get a protective order in Texas then…?”
I’m beginning to sweat with frustration and tears are welling in my eyes…
“I cannot get a brand new protective order in Texas because he has not assaulted me or caused injury to me within some recent time period, so I don’t qualify!”
“Why are you here then….?” she asks….
“Ma’am!!!!!!!He’s threatened to come lock me up in my trailer from the outside, and burn it down… with me inside… please, help? The shelter won’t take me, the outreach center sent me across the hall who sent me here and called you over, and all I want to do is show someone these violations, dozens and dozens of police reports where he stalked me and abducted my son – and have them brought up on violation charges against my abuser… please…?
I point to her poster – –
“Its October, your posters say that this is Domestic Violence Awareness month….I need help! I need some awareness!”
The worker then looked at me and said with a calm collected tone of voice,
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t have such a big lock on the outside of your trailer ma’am…”
I was in shock.
Then she quickly tells me she must help the next person waiting, and just as calmly as that she says my case was a tad bit more complicated than her training was sufficient for handling, and her suggestion was that I seek legal counsel with a private attorney… in Texas… or maybe Florida… or both…. to be on the safe side… Then she walked me out the door and told me to have a good day.
No, he didn’t burn my trailer down with me inside.
He was, however, arrested a few months later – 3 miles from my home, for child rape, compelling prostitution of a child, and sexual performance by a child…(multiple counts) He plead guilty and is a convicted sex offender now serving time…
STILL – I never did get to see my son again after my abuser had abducted him, but when all of the police officers, advocates, state workers, judges, etc., refused to enforce my Florida protective order against my abuser… that he violated more than a dozen times in a blatant undeniable way…. because he did so in Plano, Texas and not in Florida where the PO was issued –
He was – at that time – in his spare time – molesting and raping his stepdaughter and other children – for many years – but two of those years they wasted shuffling me back and forth across hallways.. across state lines..
… for Two years a little girl did not have to suffer….if they had only listened to me.
(our sister blog for domestic violence)
Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
RAPE RELATED PTSD
Many rape victims experience what is referred to as Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (also called Rape Trauma Syndrome). And yes, a woman can be raped by her own husband. Oftentimes that is the abusers way to gain control.
The four major symptoms of PTSD are:
1. Re-Experiencing the Trauma: Rape victims may experience recurrent nightmares about the rape, flashbacks or may have an inability to stop remembering the rape.
2. Social Withdrawal: This symptom has been called ‘psychic numbing’ and involves not experiencing feelings of any kind.
3. Avoidance Behaviors and Actions: Victims may desire to avoid any feelings or thoughts that might recall to mind events about the rape.
4. Increased Physiological Arousal Characteristics: This symptom can be marked by an exaggerated startle response, hyper-vigilance, sleep disorders or difficulty concentrating.
If you’re afraid for your immediate safety, call 911. For help and advice on escaping an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224.