Domestic Violence – Gender Based Violence by Beaumont Todd and Lisa Fox
THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE
Domestic Violence: Gender Based Violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, dating abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior which involves the abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship. This can include marriage, cohabitation, dating or within the family. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation.
Another form of domestic violence is gender based violence. All forms of domestic violence are connected to the cycle of violence that occurs in relationships of all types.
What is gender based violence?
Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender. It constitutes a breach of the fundamental right to life, liberty, security, and dignity, equality between women and men, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity. Although most gender based violence is inflicted by men on women and girls, both males and females can be affected victims.
What is the cycle of violence?
The term cycle of violence refers to repeated and dangerous acts of violence as a cyclical pattern, associated with high emotions and doctrines of retribution or revenge. The pattern, or cycle, repeats and can happen many times during a relationship. Each phase may last a different length of time and over time the level of violence may increase.
What does the cycle of violence look like?
The cycle of violence can be broken into three main phases:
• Tension Building Phase-Woman can sense irritability. Feels she can and must resolve situation. Withdraws from partner. Partner senses her withdrawal. Tension increases. Sometimes a woman may ignite situation to get it over with.
• Explosion Phrase-Shortest of stages lasting from 5 minutes or 5 days. This is usually the stage where the abuse will occur. Abuse ranges from pushing, shoving, kicking, punching, to the use of weapons.
• Honeymoon Phrase-This is the part of the entire cycle where many persons are caught up in the cycle. This makes it difficult to break away from the abuser. During this phrase the abuser usually says, “I’m sorry” and “It will never happen again.” They give assurances of being penitent and regretful. They give you flowers, gifts and usually anything to appease you. The abused gets caught in a cycle of denial of the incident and minimizing the hurt inflicted and the experience.
Due to this repeated cycle many victims are lulled during the honeymoon phase when their abuser(s) act normal and give assurances that everything will be ok and that the abuse will not reoccur.
With domestic and gender based violence on the rise, it is important for victims and potential victims to be aware of their fundamental rights and also of the various legal and other mechanisms available to them.
What Can I do to protect myself?
The Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act 2007 (DVPOA) was enacted by Parliament in 2007, yet many persons are unaware of the various remedies it provides, which can be used as instructive ammunition in assisting the fight against domestic violence.
As a result of this legislation, victims are able to seek and enforce swift justice without being burdened and discouraged by the cumbersome processes of having perpetrators either bound over to keep the peace or otherwise brought before the courts on charges of assault, threats of harm or other domestic related offences.
What constitutes an offence under the DVPOA?
Within the definition of the Act, domestic violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial abuse committed by a person against a spouse, partner, child, or any other person who is a member of the household or dependent. This also would include gender based violence.
What is a protection Order under the DVPOA?
A protection Order is an order of protection for victims who experience domestic violence in the form of a legal injunction which prohibits or requires a party to do or refrain from doing certain acts. A person who does not comply with an order for protection faces penalties which include a fine up to 5,000 dollars or up to 12 months imprisonment.
How long does it take to have an order for protection granted?
Once an offence has been committed, a victim should make an IMMEDIATE application for a protection order through the magistrate courts. The usual process takes between one to three weeks from the time the initial application is made and the order is granted.
What is an emergency protection order?
The courts have the discretion to grant interim protections orders, or “emergency protection orders” on the same day that a victim appears in court. If there is a compelling reason and the victim is in legitimate fear for life or harm, the courts after hearing the evidence on oath in court has the discretion to grant an order for protection prior to having a perpetrator officially brought before the courts.
Do victims require legal representation in order to make an application?
No, victims can appear before the Courts on their own along with any relevant documentary evidence to support the application and will be required to make an oath before a Magistrate who will grant the protection order having heard the evidence of the victim and being satisfied that a protection order is necessary. There are circumstances however depending on the nature and seriousness of cases where representation by an attorney will be the preferred route.
What are the benefits of having a protection order?
Once a protection order is granted, a perfected order can be produced to the police and or the department of social services. If the protection order is not obeyed perpetrators may face a fine of up to 5,000 dollars or imprisonment or both. The penalties attached to these orders are very strict and therefore a deterrent to committing further domestic related offence or otherwise breaching an order for protection.
No One Deserves To Be Abused
We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to Heal ourselves, families, communities, nation and world.
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