Recently, I came across to this blog, “ Compulsory Pressing of Domestic Violence Charges? ” as a result of my Tug Surfer. At first, it seemed innocent post just explaining author’s opinion about the poll in the local news paper: If a person calls for a cop for Domestic Violence dispute and doesn’t press charges, should they get fined? And 60 some percent voted for yes.
Something in this whole situation disturbed me. I couldn’t point out what for a while. And I couldn’t stop thinking about this post and I now know the reason why. And I feel obliged to post my opinion about it before someone else decides yes or no without thinking.
I must emphasise that I am not having a go at the author. (If someone challenges me against my opinion, I cannot respond to the challenge. I’m sorry, but I am just too ill to argue and make my point across.) Everybody is entitled to express their opinion and I respect them when they are based on reasonable explanation. The author’s concern was that public funds and police efforts are being wasted by attending the calls for Domestic Violence disputes repeatedly which the victims are not willing to press charges. And I can clearly see the frustration.
However, please think about the depth and severity of Domestic Violence. If we take consideration of statistics of Domestic Violence, these victims could easily be your daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, granddaughter, friend, or yourself. And please remember, the victim could also be a male.
This maybe just an innocent poll, but it may influence public opinion. Please think, imagine and picture what is actually happening behind the closed doors.
These victims probably tried to get help before. But chances are:
· They were told and encouraged by their family, religious mentors and friends to stay in the relationship and try harder to make it work.
· They were ridiculed to be over reacting to “relationship gone wrong”.
· They were told not to be a quitter for her children’s sake.
These calls for police for help are not an attention seeking game. No matter how annoying it may be, the significance of the incidence is equivalent to witnessing someone drowning in the water or someone trapped in a burning house. We cannot just disregard the significance of the incident and solve the problem by penalising the victim’s cry for help.
These victims are ashamed of being in the situation. They are very scared. They are isolated and have nobody to turn to. This is the most important time to give them support, rather than punish them.
If some action needs to be taken for the police calls due to Domestic Violence, I’d rather propose this than fining the victim.
Take the victim (and her children and pets) to safe house for her safety. And then educate her with Domestic Violence. Once the victim is safe and educated, the victim would feel more comfortable pressing charges. (These shelters also provide great support of the process.) If the victim still refuse to press charges at this stage, it is reasonable to fine the victim. Even then, there is more chance that the victim will leave the Domestic Violence before it is too late. The victim may pass on the knowledge to friends and family with confidence. This would increase public awareness of the truth about Domestic Violence and hopefully it would help reduce number of future victims, therefore, calls to police.
It will cost government to educate the victim, but (in my opinion) the cost is less expensive than sending one soldier to the war. It is about saving lives, reducing number of hospital visits due to Domestic Violence and about stop vicious cycle of children becoming another Domestic Violence victims and/or predators.
From my personal experience, I feel there are similarity in ME/CFS and Domestic Violence. They both ignored by public that they are real and serious problem. And they both blames sufferers for being in that situation.
28 June 2007
I add this link to the following post as I thought it was quite relevant to what I am trying to say.