October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month; Dispelling “The Victim” Stereotype
First, let’s work to dispel a myth about the victims of domestic violence. I have seen firsthand that domestic violence affects all walks of life – regardless of age, ethnicity, social or economic status. One common stereotype is that victims of domestic violence have certain personality traits, such as shyness and low self-esteem. In truth, victims of abuse may be charming, successful people who are secretly suffering behind closed doors. The same logic can be applied to the aggressor – abusers may not show the stereotypical characteristics attributed to a bully when they are outside the home. But it’s important not to downplay domestic violence just because someone does not fit a stereotype.
It’s likely that you know someone who is suffering. Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. It’s important to support loved ones whom you suspect are victims of abuse, and empower them to seek help before irreversible damage is done. On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.
Here are three important steps that should be taken by victims of domestic violence:
1) Contact the police
2) File for a Temporary Protective Order
3) Contact an attorney
It’s always important for victims to know their rights, and to know what types of protection are available to them. I have represented several clients, including clients in Temporary Protective Orders, and there is a better life after escaping abuse.
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