Divorce and Domestic Violence
If you are considering a divorce and are a victim of domestic violence, you should take steps to ensure not only your safety but that your rights are protected. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) made the issue of domestic violence a national priority. Domestic violence can include physical, verbal, emotional or sexual violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence, seek help immediately to ensure your safety.
Understanding How Domestic Violence is Defined
Domestic violence does not discriminate, and all races, ethnicities, religions, and economic or social groups are affected. Many people believe that domestic violence only relates to physical abuse. However, domestic violence is considered to be any systemic pattern of controlling behavior used by one person over another to establish authority or domination over another’s life. While physical violence is clearly a form of domestic abuse, the following are also some examples of domestic violence:
- Harassment (stalking, constant checking up on the victim as a form of control)
- Threats (towards the victim, pets, children, friends of the victim, family members of the victim, shouting, or threats of physical force)
- Financial control (refusal to pay bills or provide money, arriving at the victim’s job, refusal to seek work)
- Deception (lying, abuse of trust, withholding substantial information, cheating, jealous outbursts)
- Property Destruction (throwing or destroying property in any way)
- Self-Destructive Behavior (drug or alcohol abuse, suicide threats, attempted suicide, reckless driving)
- Physical Abuse (kicking, hair pulling, squeezing, shaking, burning, slapping, strangling, hitting, twisting, or attempt to intentionally injure a victim)
All of these examples are where one person is attempting to coerce or control another person in an attempt to establish control and authority over the other.
Domestic Violence in the United States
The statistics are shocking. Over 3 million domestic violence incidents are reported each year in America. These are only the incidents that are reported. Countless thousands are unreported for fear of retaliation or an escalation of abuse. These reports show that every nine seconds, someone is involved in a domestic abuse situation with their partner. Even more harrowing are the statistics that show that 4,000 victims are killed each year due to domestic violence. One-fourth of all relationships in the United States involve some form of domestic violence.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse or violence, please seek help as soon as possible for your own safety. Contact the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or TDD (800) 621-4202. The decision to divorce can be made at a later time, but your safety is a priority.
Contact Us Today for Help
Again, it can not be emphasized enough that if you are involved in a domestic violence situation, please leave and find safety and seek help. If you are in a safe place, and are considering starting the divorce process, contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorneys at the offices of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. at 954-467-6656 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.