Understanding Your Rights as a Battered Woman

This is a topic that hits very close to home with me and thousand of other woman who live in the United States. Most of us have at one time or another, either been a victim themselves of domestic violence, or know of someone who has been abused or raped by someone they know. Every day at least four women die as a result of domestic violence in this country alone. FBI statistics say that about 1400 woman a year die by the hand of someone who is supposed to love them. This number is actually greater than the number of soldiers who were killed during the Vietnam War.

It’s a conservative estimation that two to four million women a year are beaten and battered by someone who is supposed to love them. 170,000 of these women are beaten so bad that hospitalization is required. This estimation is from the one’s who report their assault; this number is believed to be much higher. This does not include the 1.2 million women who are raped every year. More than half of these women were raped by someone they know or who claimed they loved them, often these women are raped repeatedly. Love should never hurt, (unless of course, you’re giving birth).

When it comes to assaults, women are the weaker sex and this makes us easy targets. We are 10 times more likely than men to be assaulted each year and if you’re a women who is divorced, separated, or African American, you have a better chance of being a victim. Poverty level and low-income women are five times more likely to become victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence affects all of us whether we are close to it or not. Women who are beaten need twice as much healthcare than those who are not. An estimated 17% of women who are beaten are pregnant which leads to miscarriages, stillbirths or low-weight babies being born. Oh, and get this, this will make you laugh. Victims of domestic violence are denied health insurance because they are considered to have a pre-existing condition. Isn’t that a hoot? These insurance companies come up with all kinds of excuses to refuse helping those who need it.

You don’t have to live with a person who takes his frustrations out by beating you. There are places to go and people who will help you start over. Yes, it is scary, especially if you have children, but God did not give you life to have it beaten out of you, whether you believe or not. It is not your fault and you are not to blame, no matter what the abuser tells you. If you have children, what are you teaching them by allowing someone to hit you? Actions speak louder than words, and if someone is hitting you, they don’t love you, their thinking is very warped, and it’s not a good kind of love. If you believe you deserve this abuse, you do not, but your thinking has become warped too and you need help.

If you have children, would you want your son to beat his future girl friends or wife? If you have a daughter, you’re raising her to think this is the way of all men, and its okay to let someone else beat and humiliate you. Is this really the kind of future you want for your children? Get out, if not for you, then for your children. Below are ways to get help and get out of the horrible life you living now. There is a world out there without pain and humiliation. There are those out there who will love you without beating and hurting you and you deserve to have that kind of life. If you continue to live with someone who is beating you, they will continue to beat you until you die. The words “You make me so mad and that’s why I hit you” or “I love you so much that I get angry when you do, say, or act a certain way.” Or the most famous of them all, “I’m so sorry, I will never hit you again”âÂ?¦until next time and there will be a next time and this “next time” may be your last on this earth.

Below is some helpful information, both legal and emotional that you may use to help you get out of your painful life. Don’t walk, run toward a future where no one will ever physically hurt you anymore.

Know that you are entitled to be safe and that there are state and public agencies, courts and shelters that are ready to assist you in your pursuit of safety.

1. No one has the right to abuse you, physically or emotionally. EVER!!

2. You are not responsible for the abuse and you can find a way out. More than anything else, you need to believe this. If you need to, repeat it to yourself over and over again until you do believe.

3. Find out where the closest domestic violence shelter is and get yourself there. If you are in immediate danger, call 911 immediately. Police have become more aware of domestic violence and will offer assistance when you ask for help.

4. Have your abuser arrested and stick to your arrest, don’t back out. Press charges and make them stick. Remember that it will be the prosecuting attorney who proves the case against him, not you.

5. If you can afford to, get restraining order in criminal court, beg or borrow the money if you have to. A court can issue an immediate restraining order to protect you, even before the case is tried. Or you can go to family court and file a petition for a restraining order based on the abuse.

6. If you have to, leave for the time being. Even if you leave your home and your belongings, you have not given them up. You are entitled to half of everything if you are married. If you’re not married, what’s yours is yours and you can file a case in small claims court to get your things back if necessary. However, you may find you don’t need anything you left behind.

7. You can have someone evicted from your home if the two of you are living together in your own home. Even if you are renting the property, if you are the original tenant you can still have him evicted. Check with your local town or landlord/tenant court to get information about procedures for eviction. If married, you will need to begin a divorce proceeding and have the court decide who will occupy the residence.

8. Do not leave your children behind, no matter what. Even if you are the only one who is physically harmed, your children suffer emotional abuse from witnessing the abuse. Take them with you if you leave and file a petition for custody in family court. If you have left without your children in the course of a violent situation, pick them up from school or have a relative go to the house and get them to safety. If you are unable to do this, file a petition in family court asking for their immediate return to you. At the very least, the court will ensure that you see them regularly while the case is proceeding.

9. Contact your local child protection agency or the police if your children are still with the perpetrator and are in danger.

10. Apply for emergency aid with your social services department. The personnel at the shelter will be able to help you with this. You can also call the department yourself and ask what help they can provide.

Tips:

Whenever possible, try to have a plan before leaving. Know where you are going, when the best time to go is, what you will be taking. Put cash away whenever possible, no matter how much or how little. Have a backup plan too. These suggestions do not pertain to emergency situations.

Domestic violence is more public than it used to be. Do not be ashamed or afraid to seek help, remember THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Repeat this until you feel it, you will be surprised how well this works. Police are trained to be sensitive to this issue and they will believe and help you.

Most of all, remember that your rights are more important and more protected than the perpetrator’s rights in our legal system.

Warnings:
Keep your safety and that of your children foremost in your mind.

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