I read an article published in the U.K. about domestic violence. Unfortunately, the headline news on this topic is rare while the frequency of these types of actions is far too high.
It was just one story out of many about a woman named Rehia. She got married at the age of eighteen and had four children in the four years of her marriage. She wasn’t happy, he wasn’t a very good husband nor father. Things weren’t going as planned she ended up leaving her husband and met a man who was quite charming and sweet. They fell in love. She moved at a very fast pace and ended up moving in with him. It wasn’t immediate when the physical abuse started. In fact it didn’t start as physical. It started off as verbal abuse, then over time the verbal abuse escalated. He would shove her and push her but apologize afterwards. It wasn’t until he pulled out a gun on her one afternoon accusing her of flirting with a man when she realized how terrifying he was. She was scared for her life, she had thoughts running through her head, what were her boys gonna do without their mother? She ended up running away with her boys and left this relationship.
Domestic violence is a huge crime. Some domestic violence gets noticed and reminds all of us how shockingly present it is in our society. In Rehia’s case she managed to get away but some women/ men don’t make it out alive. Many are still suffering from it. Sometimes victims have trouble deciding whether certain behavior actually amounts to domestic violence. Physical violence is the easiest to name, but there are many other actions that sometimes rise to the level of domestic violence. Common examples include threatening violence, damaging property, stalking, watching someone inappropriately, communicating with someone excessively or inappropriately, or preventing someone from leaving the home.
It is extremely important for victims to understand that they do not have to suffer physical injury before they seek protection. Anyone who is not certain whether specific behavior rises to the level of domestic violence can call a domestic violence hotline for assistance. Anyone in imminent danger should not waste time worrying about legal definitions and should seek immediate help. An person may call the police or go directly to the police station, the courthouse or a domestic violence shelter.
Those who may anticipate danger can take steps to avoid danger. They can make a plan: Pack some clothing and other essential items such as money, and keep lists of phone numbers and addresses, and Social Security cards or birth certificates. If they have the opportunity, they should document exactly what has happened, detailing every instance of abuse. They should save any messages containing threats or offensive language, photograph visible injuries, write down contact information for any witnesses, and keep copies of all medical records and reports.