October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence is aggressive or abusive behavior by one person towards another, in a household setting.  This includes spouses, former spouses, blood relatives or those living in cohabitation. Domestic violence takes many forms; it can be physical, emotional, sexual, digital, financial, psychological or emotional abuse. It is a pervasive pattern of behavior that affects persons in every race, ethnicity, religion, gender and social status.  In the State of Florida, last year, there were more than 120,000 cases of domestic violence reported, as per the Florida Office of the Attorney General.  Sadly, this doesn’t reflect the true number of domestic violence events, as many abuses are never reported to law enforcement.  Due to the enormity of the problem, Congress passed Public Law 101-112, in 1989, officially designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In support of persons that have survived domestic violence, the color purple is worn during October as a symbol of peace, courage, survival and dedication to end violence.

Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as any assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping or false imprisonment by a family or household member. Due to the potential severity of a domestic event, a call to law enforcement will result in a subsequent arrest and generally, a no contact order from the court. An arrest can be made even without supporting evidence or witnesses. The penalty for domestic violence depends on the severity of the alleged incident.  It includes mandatory jail time for any physical harm and a criminal record that will follow the defendant for a lifetime.  There can be court ordered treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, anger management or community service programs.

Examples of  domestic violence and how to recognize if you are in an abusive situation includes, but are not limited to, the following; physical abuse is the use of weapons to injure a person in your household, sexual abuse, forcing drugs or alcohol usage, refusing to get a person medical care or medications, or any behavior that causes bodily damage.  Psychological abuse occurs as threats to injure the victim or others in the family, including pets, controlling what the victim can wear, where the victim can go or making the victim question their perception of reality.  Emotional abuse happens through insults, criticism and humiliation.  It can take the form of jealousy and possessiveness.  Financial abuse is refusing access to common monies, stealing the victim’s money or refusing to contribute to bills.  In today’s technical world, there is digital abuse. This occurs through posting threatening or insulting messages through social media, text messages, or tracking the victim through social media.  Stalking is following, spying or repetitive calling when it is requested that you stop contact.

Why do persons stay in abusive relationships?  An abusive person exhibits power and control over another and when the victim threatens or leaves the situation, there is often retaliation.  Women are 70% more likely to be killed in weeks after leaving an abusive situation.  So, it is often the fear factor that keeps the victim in the home. Other reasons are low self esteem, cultural or religious reasons, immigration status, lack of money, limited resources or disability.

If you are in an abusive relationship, or if you have been accused of domestic violence, let the Law Office of Frank P. Remsen represent and advocate for you.  If you are being victimized, we can seek a no contact order to prohibit the abuser from making contact with you.  A civil lawsuit can help you recover your financial losses so that you can start a new life. We can help you with your divorce and custody agreements.  Or, if you are being charged with alleged domestic violence that is unfounded, we can fight for your rights.  False allegations of domestic violence can be the result of revenge, divorce and child custody battles. We can help you defeat baseless claims to clear your name and your reputation.  Call for a consultation today!