Domestic Abuse

Here in South Carolina, a lot of divorcing spouses represent themselves in court. And for the most part, if there are no children and no assets, this can be okay. But a lot of self-represented parties find themselves in hot water when it comes to things like orders of protection. Here are five simple steps you can take to help you if you are ever served with a protective order.

Domestic abuse is unfortunately common and widely under-reported in the United States. The risk of domestic violence is an insidious threat to millions of families in America, but the warning signs can be difficult to recognize. Because spousal abuse often begins small and gradually intensifies, the behavior becomes so normalized that an individual may not even realize they have become a victim. If your spouse or domestic partner exhibits any of the behavioral warning signs of spousal abuse discussed in this post, it is time to get help immediately.

Domestic violence is a serious reality for many families around the country. It was conservatively estimated between 2006 and 2015, on average, 760 people were killed annually as a result of gun violence perpetrated by spouses, ex-spouses, and romantic partners. The current domestic violence legislation does little in the way of connecting domestic violence deaths with access to firearms, and does not contemplate domestic violence between romantic partners who are not (nor were) married. States nationwide are starting to contemplate taking more stringent and serious measures relating to domestic violence and access to firearms.

Domestic violence is a serious issue plaguing all 50 states; according to studies, in 2013, more than 1,600 American women were killed as a result of intimate partner violence where guns were the weapon of choice, 94 percent of those women were familiar with their offenders, and of those 94 percent, 62 percent had been a spouse or other intimate acquaintance of the murderer. Intimate partner violence in the United States is rather prevalent for multiple reasons. An average American woman’s risk of experiencing intimate partner violence is a little more than one in three; that number soars when a gun is present in the home, whereby the risk of domestic homicide increases by 500 percent. What has many up in arms is the disconnect between federal and state laws, which have led to what is known as a “boyfriend loophole”, whereby women are only receiving protection in circumstances where the perpetrator was a spouse, former spouse, or is the father of any existing children.

When considering the term child abuse, several horrible situations come to mind. Mostly our understanding of child abuse stems from concepts of physical harm and violence toward the child, as well as emotional and psychological abuse situations. What you may not know is how some adult behaviors, which seem rather innocuous, are being considered by the courts as a type of child abuse. With the significant push toward mainstreaming anti-cigarette sentiment, smoking in a front of a child is never the first initial thought when considering child abuse allegations. However, smoking and secondhand smoke exposure have had such deleterious effects against children and in particular newborns that it has risen in the ranks as a danger and harm of a child, as well as a factor considered in child custody cases.

The legislation that surrounds the institution of marriage for years has evolved to qualify and define the rights and obligations of married people. Based on the historical definition of marriage, and the roles and rules that define each spouse involved in the marriage, women were considered to be chattel, or property, that was passed from father to husband at the time of marriage. As a “property” owner, the husband had the duties and obligations to maintain his wife by providing her proper food, clothing, and other necessities. The wife, in exchange for receiving these goods, had her own obligations and duties to her husband, largely maintaining the home, producing the children, and being available for sexual encounters with her husband.

Domestic violence takes form in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most think of domestic violence in terms of physical and emotional abuse: a victim covered in bruises or being isolated from family and friends. Domestic violence, however, can expand into other aspects of a victim’s life; specifically, financial abuse may occur, wherein the abuser can take total control over the victim’s money, making it almost impossible for the victim to untangle him or herself without significant financial ruin. In essence, the victim, without any type of financial resources, is just as tied down to the abuser as if he or she were to be physically confined to the home that they share.