Domestic Violence Is A Crime

Domestic Violence Is A Crime

What is Domestic Violence ?

The Georgia code defines domestic violence as any felony, battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint and criminal trespass between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children and persons living or formerly living in the same household. (O.C.G.A. §19-13-1)

Domestic violence is a pattern of battering behavior used to establish power and control over an intimate partner or family member. It not only involves punching or hitting but also can include sexual, psychological, or emotional abuse. One can be a victim without exhibiting any obvious physical injuries.

Domestic Violence in Georgia in 1996: Georgia Family Violence Shelters provided services to a total of 22,682 adults and 14,120 children. Over 52,000 calls were made to crisis lines. 64% of victims are married to the men that abuse them.

Facts About Domestic Violence:

  • Acts of violence occur every 18 seconds in this country. A woman is abused every 9 seconds.
  • 26% of murdered women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends
  • 30% of women in emergency rooms are there because of injuries caused by abuse
  • 25% of men will use violence against a partner at sometime during the relationship every 5 years.
  • 30% of all murders in this country are committed within the family and 13% are committed by spouses.
  • Children are present during 80% of the assaults against their mothers and 3 million children witness domestic violence each year.
  • Many cases of domestic violence are not reported because of feelings of helplessness, fear and shame.
  • Domestic Violence transcends racial, age and socioeconomic boundaries. Its victims are educated, uneducated, poor, middle class, and wealthy. They are Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American and are of every ethnic origin.
  • Children who witness violence in the home learn that violence is the answer and these children are 1000 times more likely to abuse as adults.
  • The death toll of persons killed by relatives and acquaintances equals that of the entire Vietnam War.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical Abuse can include slapping, pushing, punching, hitting, kicking, grabbing, choking, biting, hair pulling or the use or threat to use weapons to hurt you. Physical abuse can occur and leave no visible injuries.
  • Psychological Abuse can include threatening you, controlling the money, controlling how you spend your time with your friends, attempts to make you feel inferior and threats to harm or take away your children.
  • Sexual Abuse is any forced sexual contact, whether by physical force or threats or coercion.

Why Do Women Stay?

Frequently the issue of domestic violence is addressed with the victim-blaming question of “Why doesn’t she leave?” No one enjoys being abused. The reasons for staying include:

  • Fear that the batterer will become even more violent if she leaves
  • Fear for the safety of the children
  • Fear of losing financial support and even becoming homeless
  • Shame and humiliation of admitting the abuse is occurring
  • Lack of access to resources
  • Lack of support of family and friends
  • Loyalty and affection for the abusing spouse

What Is The Cycle Of Violence?

Domestic violence tends to follow a cycle of three phases. In the first, tension, arguing, and anger escalates between the couple. In the second, the arguing crosses the line into abuse, which can be physical, sexual or emotional. The aim of the behavior is an attempt by the abuser to gain power and control over the victim. Following the violent episode, the “honeymoon phase” occurs in which the batterer may make excuses for the behavior, promise to change, or apologize. Often the honeymoon phase becomes shorter, and frequently the abuse escalates if the victim attempts to leave the relationship.

Many victims believe the promises made during the honeymoon phase. Often they believe the violence will not occur again, the abuser is capable of changing, or they can somehow alter the abuser’s behavior. Many victims are reluctant to seek help for a variety of reasons.

Are You A Victim?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.

  • Does your partner ever push or hit you?
  • Does your partner ever make you feel afraid?
  • Does your partner ever tell you that you deserve to be abused?
  • Does your partner act extremely jealous or possessive towards you?
  • Does your partner demand sex even when you refuse?
  • Does your partner attempt to control how you look, act, think, or spend money?
  • Does your partner attempt to isolate you from family or friends?

What Can You Do?

Call the police. Just because you were or are married or living with someone does not give them the right to threaten or abuse you.

Seek medical attention. Go to the emergency room, your doctor or the hospital for treatment, particularly if you have been choked. You could have injuries that you are not aware of.

Leave, if you can. There are Battered Women’s shelters available.

What to take with you when you leave:

  • Identification Social Security Cards
  • Driver’s License and Car Registration
  • Medical Records and Information
  • Children’s Birth Certificate
  • Welfare Papers and Information
  • Your Birth and Marriage Certificate
  • School Records
  • Any Money you have
  • Green Card or Immigration Papers
  • Protective Order
  • Divorce Papers
  • Lease, Rental Agreement, or House Deed
  • Jewelry
  • Bank Books and Checkbooks
  • Small Toys for the Children
  • Insurance Papers
  • Small Objects of Value
  • Clothing
  • House and Car Keys
  • Address Book
  • Medication for you and your Children
  • Pictures

How Will We Help You?

We can provide to you information regarding the following:

  • Arrest and prosecution procedures
  • Counseling options
  • Temporary Protection Orders (TPO)
  • Battered Women’s Shelters
  • Women’s Resource Center
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
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