Archive | October 2012

Domestic Violence Comes to Work

On Thursday, October 25th I went to an event at the Kroc Center in Greenville, South Carolina called “When Domestic Violence Goes to Work”.  The speaker for the event was Mr. Steve Romano who is an expert trainer in crisis management.  He has 39 years in law enforcement and security.  He retired from the FBI in July 2004 and joined Control Risks as Vice President for Crisis and Security Management.  He explained to the group that in the mind of an abuser whose partner has left him is this, “I don’t know where you live but I know where you work”.

I also learned that South Carolina is #2 in the United States for husband’s (men) who killed their wives (partners), Nevada is #1.

  • 1 in 4 women are affected by domestic violence in the workplace.
  • Every 18 months we lose the same number of people to domestic violence as we did in the attacks of 9/11.
  • South Carolina Attorney General identified domestic violence as SC #1 problem.

We must look for indicators of domestic violence in the workplace like, reduction in productivity, increase absence, unexplained bruises and injuries, increase startled response and changes in personality.  Companies have to look to develop threat assessment management – Awareness + Action = Prevention.

Companies need to document all threats and assess the situation.  Remember if you see something, say something.  Workplace violence is everyone’s job.  When the abuser comes to the workplace, not just the victim is in danger for their lives.  Awareness, recognition and response will go a long way to decrease the impact of domestic violence on the workplace and the community.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, but we have to work to prevent this violence all year long.


Ladies, It is Issues Time not “Party” Time

One of the bills still up for re-authorization is the “Violence Against Women Act”, the landmark 1994 law that strengthened the nation’s efforts against domestic violence, sexual assaults and stalking.  In April 2012 Republican Senators joined with Democratic Senators to approve a strong re-authorization bill.  Instead of supporting the hard work of the Senators, the House Republicans pushed to pass a watered down version, ignoring President Obama’s veto threat.  Unless change happens, the Republicans will be responsible for blocking the renewal of this popular lifesaving bill.

As of today the House Republicans have not approved this bill because they are against funding for programs and initiatives designed to help victims.  These services are needed to ensure communities have support to help women and children protect themselves.  This bill expired in 2011.  If Romney is elected there is also a realistic chance Roe v. Wade will be overturned.  With the possibility of one maybe two justices retiring during the next administration, this could allow for the president to nominate more conservative-minded judges to the Supreme Court.  This could allow for enough votes to overturn the 1973 ruling.

Even if legality of abortion is not directly addressed, it could center on whether a pregnant woman should be required to view an ultrasound image of the fetus before an abortion.  This could be used as an opportunity to rule on Roe v. Wade as a whole.  If Roe v. Wade were overturned, laws regarding abortion would be decided by each state.  So with the elections just around the corner let’s examine which of candidates value our vote.  Do they want our vote or does it seem like we are a low priority on their list of agendas?  Let them know how you feel by voting the issues at the polls not the parties.  Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, let your voice be heard through your vote.

Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic violence laws in the United States are administered by local governments.  Because of this, local domestic violence laws can differ between states but due to the violent and damaging nature of the act the majority of domestic violence laws are somewhat consistent throughout the country.  Domestic violence laws in the United States covers a wide range of offenses including emotional belittlement, rape, stalking, battery, and assault.  Also included are those regulations regarding family abuse and child abuse.  Domestic violence laws regarding assault, rape and protective orders are as follows:

  • Assault – assault and battery against a member of the same household according to majority of domestic violence laws in the U.S. is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  This charge will likely result in probation, in addition to probation the aggressive party is required to pay fines and attend community and education treatment programs.  If the convicted has a prior criminal record or previous convictions of similar charges or third eviction of assault and battery on a family member, it will result in a felony.
  • Rape – Rape is considered a felony throughout the United States; an offender convicted of rape could face life in prison.  If the victim is under the age of maturity or rendered physically helpless, the state will typically classify this as a heinous act and this will undoubtedly carry a life sentence.
  • Protective Orders – these orders are administered under domestic violence laws to protect victims of domestic violence.  These orders prevent the convicted individual from living with or contacting the aggrieved party.  To protect the victim seeking a protective order, a court system may issue a preliminary one.  All protective orders have various conditions imposed against the abuser, such as limited or no contact with the victim or his or her family.  Violation on the order could result in a felony conviction.

These laws are general interpretation of laws concerning these offenses and orders of protection.  To fully know your rights, contact legal counsel in the state where you live.  This will give you a clear understanding of how the laws work in your state.  Also, pay attention to any changes being made to existing domestic violence laws as well as new laws waiting to be passed in government.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined as abusive behaviors that some individuals use to control their intimate partners.  This includes any type of violence, abuse or threat of violence that one partner commits against another.  Domestic violence is not only physical abuse but includes sexual, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse.  This is a serious problem that has been going on for centuries and affects millions of people, mostly women.  Domestic violence involves continuous behaviors, examples of this are punches, kicks, slaps, hits, shoves and forcing a partner to perform degrading tasks, using degrading remarks, sexual assault, rape and other tactics used to establish power or control over a partner.

Domestic violence can occur in any relationship, married or unmarried, homosexual or heterosexual.  When it comes to domestic violence, physical abuse is more obvious and easier to determine.  The emotional part of domestic violence can sometimes go undetected and not seen as abuse at all.  Here are some signs of emotional abuse:

  • Need permission to socialize with your friends
  • Being accused of cheating on him when you leave the house to do errands
  • Partners has control over the money and monitors your spending
  • Does it feel more like you have a dad than a partner?
  • Feeling an obligation to be sexual with your partner
  • Your activities and interests are looked upon as unimportant or trivial
  • You become nervous about being on the phone when he is around
  • He tries to turn the children against you

These are some of the signs to look for when determining if you are a victim of emotional abuse.  It is not always easy for a victim to leave an abuser; they may feel helpless due to financial dependency, denial, belief that it will get better and fear of being alone.  But no one should feel it is okay to be abused.  We have to raise the awareness of family violence and encourage individual businesses and faith communities to join in the effort to “break the cycle” of violence.  We must insure peace and safety within relationships and homes throughout the United St

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Because this is a month to bring awareness and attention to domestic violence, I felt this was a great opportunity to educate everyone on what domestic violence is and what we can do to stop it.  I will be doing a six part series during the month of October.  The series will start off with defining domestic violence showing how to identify if you are in an abusive relationship and also how to detect when family members and friends are experiencing domestic violence in their homes.  This will be followed by domestic violence laws.  This will include domestic violence laws concerning assault, rape and protective orders.  The next post will talk about community steps towards prevention of domestic violence.

This will be followed by organizations that help domestic violence victims and how you can contact them.  The next post will be about recognizing domestic violence in the workplace and the last post for the month is about how you can help organizations that help domestic violence victims in your community.  Please make a point to do something to help any woman being abused that you know, especially this month.  You can give them information about shelters and organizations that will help.  You can also make donations to organizations in your community that help domestic violence victims, whether monetary or material things needed to run their facilities.  Remember, you are not just helping the lives of women but the lives of children as well.