Is This a Taboo?
Is This a Taboo? Or Should I’M STANDING UP AND DON’T REMAIN SILENT
Is This a Taboo?
By Rita Dacasia / filmsforaction.org

Is This a Taboo?  Or Should

I’M STANDING UP AND DON’T REMAIN SILENT

 

We live in a society in which words are often used to put women down, where calling a girl or woman a “bitch,” “freak,” “whore,” or “baby,” is common, especially around the social media and, in many cases, by the abuser him/herself in a case of Domestic Violence. Said language may send the message that females are less than a person, sometimes that they are nothing more than objects. So, when you see women as inferior, it becomes easier to insult and disrespect them and worst of all, disregard their rights.

Domestic Violence and the fear of violence against them, affects their daily lives. Did you know that 1 out 6 women are abused every hour of every day? The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a landmark piece of legislation that sought to improve criminal justice and community-based responses to the epidemic that domestic violence has become; and I am not talking about Domestic Violence becoming a problem for a small town but for but the whole country. Also it is not limited to domestic situations but it is also a major problem in other areas, such as Dating, Stalking, etc. (many of these situations end up in a Sexual Assault, Battery and/or Death). However, since this law was passed in 1994, and its reauthorization in 2000, 2005 and 2013 it changed the landscape for victims who once suffered in silence. These are crimes that our society should NOT tolerate.  Vice-President Joe Biden said in 2014: “No matter what the prosecutor said or did not do, if a conviction is given, or not,  I want to be able to go into court and take away the car, the job, the money, whatever it is … because their civil rights had been violated”.  

However, even though the law is written in black and white, many women are still scared to file charges and ask for help.  Why? Because of the many implications that come with it.

 I am survivor of Domestic Violence at the hands of my boyfriend. Like many other women, I was not only scared but terrified of what happened because I could not understand that it was happening to me and it was being done by someone I loved and trusted. This happened more than once but I was lucky and I survived and sought help.  I went to the police and follow the law. I filed charges and got a Protective Order. Unfortunately, the DA/prosecutor did nothing.  Instead told me that “my injuries were not bad enough for her to have a winning case” so she never investigated or followed through with my case. As I studied the law more carefully and more deeply and read about other cases, I began to learn that in many cases the DA/prosecutors and police believe that Domestic Violence is a family matter that should be dealt with within the family instead of a court of law.

As it was, I thought the abuse was somehow my fault, so when I sought help and this happened, once again I began to think that they were right, it was my fault and that I asked for it. But they are WRONG! It’s never the victims fault! What they did was what was happening before VAWA existed and due to their actions continues to happen today!

The bruises and head injuries will eventually go away and heal, but they won’t in my case and in many other cases, as I found out that I suffer and have to deal with PTSD.

The Protective Order does not work, as it is the intent of it, when you call the police and they do nothing to stop the abuser from violating it. But they do give you a lecture about making sure you call them when the abuser is there so they can see the abuser, totally ignoring the fact that the abuser knows to leave once the police has been called so they will not be arrested.

 I feel and understand what Jessica Gonzales said on her quest of her Domestic Violence and Human Rights case: Lehana vs USA “if protection orders are not enforced, they are not worth the paper that they are written on”. This case is a Landmark for Human Rights.

Domestic Violence is NOT a family matter like many would like to believe. The injuries sustained in an attack should not matter to the point that even if you are not lying in a hospital bed dying YOU ARE STILL A VICTIM and YOU MATTER! I do not recall reading anywhere in the statutes of the law against Domestic Violence that I have to have been in the hospital dying or bleeding profusely to be recognized as a victim. 

Domestic Violence is not just physical abuse but also covers psychological, emotional and economical abuse; one of the consequences of it is PTSD as it is in my case. Domestic Violence knows no boundaries, it does not have a specific socio-economic class, gender, religion affiliation, race or age. What will you do if this happen to you, to your sister, to your mother, to your daughter, to your girlfriend, to your wife what will you then?  Would you speak out for justice or remain silent? 

Jess Hill is an investigative reporter who has received several recognitions, including the Gold Award for her outstanding report on violence against women, she said it best when she published the following: Some men, driven to distress by things such as unemployment, substance abuse or mental illness, were unable to control their anger, and took it out on the person they loved the most. We’ve all said and done things we’re not proud of in relationships – I thought domestic violence was just the extreme extension of that.  It took about two weeks for that notion to be demolished. Dozens of conversations with survivors and advocates revealed a very different reality, and understanding it was like being given the key to a secret room. Domestic violence is not driven by anger, first and foremost. It’s driven by a need for – and a sense of entitlement to – power and control. But someone with such a powerful drive to control would surely reveal that at work or around friends, I thought. But I wasn’t right about that, either. Sometimes they do, but often perpetrators come across as normal, good people – even pillars of the community.  Domestic violence doesn’t make sense. But for these people – and for the thousands who are suffering in silence at this very moment – we need to make sense of it. It wasn’t until I’d spent months researching and writing about it that I began to understand why most people don’t get domestic violence: it doesn’t make sense. The traits are often entirely counter-intuitive, and attempts to look at it through the lens of common sense can actually drive you further from the truth.” 

By now I believe you already know why I want your support, why I am so invested in this matter. Now, instead of being known as a victim or a survivor, I want to be known as an advocate against Domestic Violence and I want everyone, men and women, to educate themselves about it and learn what they can do to help prevent it. If you are willing to listen, you can learn a lot about from the survivors, from the impact it caused in their lives, to the changes they had to go through in order to first survive and then what kind of journey they have gone through to rebuild their lives and stop the cycle of abuse they were involved in.

Become an ally to the women in your life – do not participate in sexist behavior or remarks which objectify or stereotype women. Believe people when they tell you they’ve been abused by someone. Give your support and help to the person who is talking to you about what happen to them. Encourage them to file charges and seek counseling. Don’t judge their appearance, lifestyle and demeanor. Listen to them, you may be the first or sometimes the only person they talk to about what happened to them. Acknowledge that the victim neither asked for nor deserve to be abused by anyone.

If you see anyone abusing another person or is disrespectful to women or men in general, don’t look the other way, report the abuse.   If you don’t know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. I STANDING UP AND DO NOT REMAIN SILENT!

As per my case I chosen not to follow through, not even to respond to the questioner about the abuser, because (as per what the prosecutor said) it was not a wining case. However I also decided to stop being a victim and instead I decided to become an active advocate and make public my case so what happened to me will not happen to someone else.

I no longer feel ashamed because now I know it was not my fault and it certainly was not something I did or said that provoked the attack.  I refuse to let this assault against my life to define who I am or to label me as a victim for life. I decided to let my voice be heard and make everyone aware that they matter and that they do not have to remain silence. I want to help other victims in their journey to recovery and that journey starts with filing a report. I want to make sure that the way of thinking about Domestic Violence and the way the victims are threated in the State of Indiana changes for the better and that VAWA is actively pursued.

Even now, after many months of reading and educating myself about the subject, I feel that my rights were taken away. After consulting with several attorneys, I found out that my abuser should have been charged with 3 counts of Assault, Battery and Kidnapping/Unlawful restrain (since he prevented me from leaving so I could not seek help). This may not mean much but when the prosecutor decided not to file charges because my injuries were not grave enough to “win”, I felt that the system that was set up to protect me, it actually failed me.

Now I say no more, not one more and this is my quest, if you are a victim of Domestic Violence in any form, I would like to help you, together we will do more so,  please contact me at the address at my email ritadacasia@gmail.com  Thank you. 

 

 

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Is This a Taboo?