We have so much to do regarding changing our mindset about living a good life on THIS side of heaven. The more I see, the more I realize that there is nothing new under the sun regarding the vicious cycle between victims and abusers. I was in a Domestic Violence CLE this morning and broke down because the thorn in my side of losing 2 of my baby sisters as a result of domestic violence will always be a pain point. I didn't know then what I know now which is that the victim must not only want help, but must also be willing to fight for their rights, possibly lose friendships of those who side with the abuser and be willing to walk away from everything they know. Unfortunately, most don’t want to walk away because we only do what we know and are comfortable with things we are most familiar.
By the way, I once prosecuted and defended against Protection from Abuse Orders in Philadelphia for more than 6 years and commend any person who boldly name, claim and do what they need to do to live the life they love. In the CLE I attended, a representative from AEquitas (based in Washington, D.C), mentioned that an expert, Evan Start, pretty much opined that most victims of domestic violence are entrapped in their personal lives because of the vast majority of domestic violence incidences don’t rise to the level of domestic violence crimes or if they do, they are treated as second class misdemeanors.
Or worse yet, most jurors assume the victim did something to provoke the aggressor to beat her, hurt her, push her, shove her and/or rape her. In effect, without real protection, 17:17 victims recant their testimony or refuse to testify at the hearings. And who can blame victims when they know, their abuser will not get real jail time but more than likely stalk them, hunt them down or hold them hostage in their personal lives?
But God has not given us the spirit of fear, but a strong mind that empowers us to do what we need to do to live a meaningful life instead of living as trapped queens. In memory of my sisters and in light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please consider helping a sister out by doing one of the following:
1. Take a friend out who you haven’t seen in a while because she withdrew from family and friends. Get her out the house that she feels trapped in and treat her to a Girl’s Night Out; with or without kids.
2. Speak to your legislators and representatives to make sentencing stronger, including witness coercion.
3. Show children that they deserve to be treated with respect and how to deal with conflict.
4. Help women attain much needed educational and economic resources to become financially independent.
5. Reach out to a resource center that helps abused women and finding a name and number of someone she can speak to; I learned that most victims are more likely to speak to a person more so than calling an information line. Who knew; but now that we know better, let’s do better!
Do you have any other suggestion to empower domestic violence victims get out of their current situation to live a better life? Please leave a comment below and let me know. Additionally, please don’t forget to share this post with your friends because every woman deserves to live freely in their life instead of feeling like a hostage in it.
P.S. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
*Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Program: http://www.battererintervention.org/
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/
Women Against Abuse: http://www.womenagainstabuse.org/index.php/our-services/philadelphia-domestic-violence-hotline
National Resource Center on DV: http://www.nrcdv.org/
Toni Moore, Esq.
Toni is an attorney and business coach who is committed to helping women uplevel their success.
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