Opinion: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

domestic violence
Domestic Violence Awareness ribbon | Image by Tinnakorn jorruang

As October draws to a close, I want to remind people that we need to speak up for victims of abuse all year long.

The Violence Against Women’s Act was re-authorized in March 2022.

This will allow for the VAWA grant programs to continue until 2027. However, many victims are finding that the VAWA has not done what it is intended to do. The laws are required to go state by state, so if your state does not want to enact these laws there is nobody forcing them to do this. This is why victims cannot get the proper help they need.

For example there are several laws which other states have already implemented such as Piqui’s Law.

There’s also Kayden’s Law.

“The VAWA Reauthorization includes Kayden’s Law, which U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) authored to honor the memory of Kayden Mancuso. Rep. Fitzpatrick applauds the Senate passage of the spending package yesterday and looks forward to President Biden signing the legislation into law.”

The State of Texas for whatever reason has not moved to do anything about this yet. Some people feel that these two laws should be combined to strengthen the law. Others feel that neither one is clear enough, and want something more in order to protect their children from an abusive parent. Either way something needs to be put in place now in Texas, because it has already been almost eight months since the VAWA has passed.

Then there are other domestic violence laws that are greatly needed for the victims who do not have children, or perhaps their children are grown. One thing that should be a law is that anytime a judge orders payments to be automatic. Financial abuse is domestic violence, and abusers will use coercive control in order to get whatever they want. If judges ordered these automatic payments, then this would solve that problem, and if an abuser wants to dare to challenge the judge, then they can just go to jail.

The other thing that the VAWA is supposed to be doing is to “help survivors from historically marginalized communities access the services and support they need. The ARP also provided approximately 70,000 housing choice vouchers to local Public Housing Authorities in order to assist individuals and families, including those who are fleeing, or attempting to flee, from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking.”

However, far too many victims are finding that this is not happening either, and when they ask questions they cannot get the answers, or the help that they truly need.

Think about that number 70,000. That does not even begin to cover the State of Texas alone. Not only that nobody in Texas at HUD – Housing and Urban Development seems to know where the funding for this is. While the intentions are good ones you cannot set something up that is the crucial for helping victims of abuse, and then just walk away, and watch little to nothing become accomplished.

Senators are focusing on the election right now, and even though it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month you will see that almost none of them are talking about this. Why not? Unless I am missing something I have not heard, or seen on Twitter, or Facebook, or anywhere else where Senators Cornyn, or Cruz have mentioned domestic violence victims in months. I have not seen our Governor talking about this either, or the Attorney General, or the Lieutenant Attorney General either. The media barely talks about this.

Victims of abuse want help. They deserve priority when it comes to enacting some sort of airtight laws, so when you see Domestic Violence Awareness Month think about what is written here. Contact your local representatives, senators, and anyone else who you think might be able to help.

As victims we are literally sick, and tired of reading about one more death of an innocent child who never should have been placed with the non-safe parent. The question is why aren’t the Family Court judges still not understanding this?

Or something like this.

This is beyond disturbing that anyone would allow for this to happen. A judge ordered this. These children are traumatized already, and then they do something like this.

Or something like this.

Now the mother is dead, and do I think this could have been prevented? Yes, I do, or at least someone should have tried to help this family.

Family Court judges need to stop with the antiquated thought of it is fifty-fifty, black and white, because domestic abuse is anything but this. Domestic abusers are dangerous, and should never be trusted. If they have already proven that their capable of harming another person then they will do it again, and again, especially when there is no accountability. Judges should already know this and act on it.

Or something like this.

Where, as you can read, he has committed domestic violence on three separate occasions, but is still allowed out of jail. Unfortunately, there are no three strikeouts, so you automatically go to jail. It should have, but it should have happened the first time he abused someone else.

I could go on, and on with the, “Or something like this,” and it is heartbreaking. No more deaths! No more you get to see your child just because you are their parent. If you were a proper parent then you would not hurt their other parent. You would certainly not hurt your own child. An abuser cannot comprehend what it is like to think about anyone other than themself. They cannot stand not to be in complete control. Yes, even when a judge is ordering them to do something. Then things are made much worse when judges give them a free pass, or pass, after pass, after pass.

Right now in the Dallas area, there are moms who desperately want their children back. They have been abused, and for whatever reason Family Court judges are allowing the non-safe parent to have custody. These moms are fighting to get their children back, and nobody is helping them. No not even the people who have the ability to help them. Even the United Nations experts are speaking about this, but then the subject matter of the word alienation is for another article.

Then there are some parents who do not have children, or whose children are very old, and although they were, or are being abused, the judges will not take it into account. They should. Instead, they turn a blind eye to abusers who aren’t going to stop unless they’re told to. Yes, once again, if that means jail, so be it.

If you are in an abusive situation do everything you can to leave, to be safe, and then call 9-1-1, or call:

1-800-799-7233 or TTY – 1-800-787-3224

Or you can text:

“START” to 88788

Make a plan, pack a bag, set aside money, get a cell phone that only you have the number to. Call a friend, or a family member to help you to leave, because the most important thing is that you are safe.

Remember if you are reading this, and you know someone who needs help do something. See something, say something. Do not stay silent, even if they get mad at you, because you might just be the person who saves them. The more we speak out about these things the less, and less articles that we are going to have to read. I for one would prefer to never read about this again, and for abusers to understand that if you do these things then you will be severely punished.

November is Family Court Awareness Month.

These are crucial conversations that need to be had, because people who are in abusive situations are being forced into Family Courts. Any situation involving domestic violence of any kind belongs in a Criminal Court. Judges in Family Court for whatever reason do not want to deal with abusers. This is on them, and must be their responsibility to then move these cases to a criminal judge. Victims of abuse deserve all the help that they need.

No more free passes. No more children being given custody to the non-safe parent, and no more judges saying, “Well this is just the way it has always been, because we need to be fair.” In a just-world abusers would be in jail, and then their victims would have that time free of worry. Whether people realize this, or not you too are not safe with these abusers being out there. The majority of abusers are narcissistic, controlling, and will do whatever it takes to get what I want kind of people. They will not hesitate to harm you too. While they are actors, they can only fool people for so long because their true colors will eventually come out. Unfortunately, by then it might be too late. That’s why it’s essential that you get involved, talk about these things, and reach out to anyone you think might be able to help.

Lilli is a Mom, a Photographer, and an Advocate for victims of domestic abuse, and animal rights. She and her child are victims of domestic abuse.

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