Domestic Violence is seen less as a crime and more as a taboo. In reality, it should be the other way around. Don’t you think so?!
Anyone and everyone can become the victims of DV. Johnny Depp-Amber Heard, Rihanna-Chris Brown…ring any bells? Sadly, not everyone reports it or do something to get out of it.
You might have been a victim or someone you know may be going through an abusive relationship.
There is Help! Identifying and reporting is the way to go. To help you with that, we’ve compiled this handbook.
And this particular guide will take you through the nuts and bolts of DV. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Domestic Violence – A brief Introduction
The problem is, many victims don’t even realize when they’re being abused. Excuses like a rough day and bad mood don’t help either.
So, what is domestic violence?
DV is a pattern of cruel behavior where a person uses different types of abusive ways to control someone.
That could be: a husband gunning down his wife, a son hitting his mom over a silly argument, or a teenage girl abusing her nephew among others.
Things such as age and gender don’t matter. Anyone can become a victim and likewise, anyone can be an abuser.
Here are some of the prominent DV categories:
- Physical Abuse: Pushing or kicking a person. Slapping, biting, or strangling someone. Locking a person out of their home.
- Emotional Abuse: Name-calling, acting out of jealousy, manipulating, humiliating and degrading a person, and threatening.
- Sexual Abuse: Forcing someone to have sex. Compelling a person to dress more sexually than they wish to.
- Economic Abuse: Denying access to their bank accounts or credit cards. Preventing someone from going to a job. Limiting access to health insurance.
*Note that these are only a few examples for you to understand. There are many more forms of DV.
How Prevalent is DV?
Very prevalent, one must say!
It’s an epidemic that has taken the life out of many families and individuals. Every country faces this problem, which makes it all more important to fight this evil.
Here are some stats that show how widespread DV is:
- 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 4 men in the US have been the victims of physical abuse by their partners.
- In 2009 alone, Michigan PD has received over 100,000 DV reports.
- About 50% of domestic homicides involve guns.
- As much as 18.2% of women in Michigan experience stalking in their life.
- On average, DV hotlines receive more than 20,000 calls a day.
- Out of all violent crimes, intimate partner violence makes up 15%.
- When there’s a gun at home, the risk of violence increases by a whopping 500%.
- About 33% of Michigan families have fallen victim to domestic violence.
- 85%-95% of victims of the reported domestic violence are women.
- In the US, over 1 million people report a vicious attack by their partner every year.
- Yearly, as much as $4.1 billion is being spent on health-care expenses for DV.
These are only a few facts related to this problem. But, you must have realized how prevailing this issue is.
The Wheels of Good and Bad
In the 80s, a good lady named Ellen Pence founded a program called the Duluth Model. Named after the city in Minnesota, where the program was developed, it helps you recognize the difference between a healthy and abusive relationship.
The Power and Control Wheel:
This is a tool that can help you recognize the signs and signals of an abusive relationship. Most of the domestic violence incidents involve one or more of the below things.
- Isolation: This is when your partner controls what you do or whom you meet. The perpetrators use jealousy to justify their heinous actions.
- Peer Pressure: When your partner threatens to expose your weakness. They may also spread rumors about you.
- Emotional Blackmail: This is one of the most common abusive actions. It’s when your companion makes you feel bad about yourself for no reason. It includes name-calling and blaming you for their wrongdoings.
- Using Social Status: It happens when they treat you like a servant or slave. Basically, entitled brats demeaning you and taking away your self-esteem.
- Intimidation: Making you fear them through gestures, actions, or looks. It may also include destroying your things, abusing your pets and damaging your lifestyle.
- Threats: Did your partner ever threaten to leave or commit suicide. Oh yeah, it’s also a form of domestic violence.
- Sexual Coercion: Getting you drunk or drugged to have sex. Threatening to take your children away just because you said ‘No’ to sex.
- Denial of Abuse: It is where your companion denies their abusive behavior and in turn blaming you for it.
The Equality Wheel:
Now, the good stuff. This tool will help you identify if you’re in a healthy relationship. Isn’t it reassuring to know that your partner is a good person?!
- Non-threatening Behavior: Talking and acting in such a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe. It helps you express yourself and talk about any issues you may have.
- Negotiation: Your partner acts rationally and looks for a common ground to resolve your conflicts without any fuss.
- Shared Responsibility: When your partner accepts to share the work among you. Also, they like to take common decisions together.
- Economic Partnership: You and your partner take all the financial decisions together. While doing so, you also make sure that it benefits both of you.
- Respect: Honors your personal space and listens to you without any type of judgmental remarks.
- Accountability and Honesty: Never lie to you or manipulates you. Accepts their mistakes and discusses them with you.
So, use this information and see what kind of relationship you are involved in. If it’s the former, please get help. In the case of the latter, congratulations! And by the way, also make sure that you reciprocate the same.
It’s not very easy to maintain a healthy relationship nowadays. Remember, it takes two hands to clap.
Domestic Violence Laws
Michigan has done a good job by updating the DV laws when needed. According to the Michigan Penal Code’s Act 328,
An assault is when a person intentionally commits an illegal act to make another person fear battery.
Assault and Battery is the act of a person where they touch another person in a violent, forceful, or offensive manner. It could be a minor or major action.
Under Michigan law, domestic violence is categorized as either an assault or an assault and battery.
It could be committed by:
- Your spouse
- Your former partner
- A person residing with you in the same household
- The person that you’re dating
Punishment for First-time Offenders
Both domestic assault and domestic battery are punishable crimes. The abusers are punished up to 93 days. The sentence also includes a fine of $500.
When the abuser neither intended to kill you or used a weapon, but still caused you a great deal of physical damage, they will be sentenced to jail for a period of 1 year.
And, they have to pay $1000 fine.
Punishment for Repeat Offenders
One-time offense, well, can be excused. But, what if they repeat the same?!
These people are to punished severely. And Michigan does it well.
When the abuser has two or more convictions, the new act of crime gets them up to two years in jail. And they might also be having to pay $2,500 fine.
In some cases, they will be both jailed and fined, deservingly.
Personal Protection Orders
If you’re afraid that you’re in danger from the offender, you can file a petition with the court’s family division.
Here, you seek the court to grant you a personal protection order against your abuser.
Ex Parte Personal Protection Order
If the threat is too much for you to handle, you can file a petition to issue a personal protection order before a court hearing.
You have to make sure that your affidavit clearly indicates that any delay will cause you serious damage.
A personal protection order against your abuser may restrict them from:
- Entering your premises
- Beating or attacking you
- Threatening to injure or kill you
- Removing your minor child from your legal custody
- Possessing or purchasing a firearm
- Interfering with your personal or professional life
- Stalking you.
Domestic Abusers – Warrantless Arrest
Michigan law allows law enforcement officers to arrest an abuser without a warrant. They can do this even when the crime takes place in their absence.
If an officer believes that a suspect engaged in domestic violence, they can make the warrantless arrest.
Domestic Violence – It’s Everybody’s Business – Help or Get Help
Are you in a bad relationship? Does your partner abuse you regularly? Get help!
Take action before it becomes too late. You don’t want to end up dead or physically damaged. Do you?!
If someone you know is being abused, help them and save their life. Good karma will definitely reward you!
To get help for yourself or to help someone else, please contact any of the agencies listed below.
Common Ground Sanctuary