Domestic Violence – Psychological Abuse by Beaumont Todd and Lisa Fox
Domestic Violence – Psychological Abuse
What is emotional Abuse?
Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder as stated by Wikipedia.com on psychological abuse. Such abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, and abuse in the workplace.
Emotional abuse often times leads to physical abuse which can lead to serious bodily harm and death. Domestic violence takes place within an intimate relationship and tends to get more severe and occur more often as time goes on. It can happen to anyone, in all kinds of relationships, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, social standing or age. Women and children are not the only victims of domestic violence. Men are victims of domestic violence as well.
First of all, the number of incidents of domestic violence against men appears to be so low that it is hard to get reliable statistics. Also, it has taken years to encourage women to report domestic violence whereas nothing has really been done to encourage men to report abuse. The idea that men could be victims of domestic violence is so unbelievable that most men would not think of reporting the situation.
Regardless of age, sex or Gender:
EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE IS ILLEGAL AND CONSTITUTES AN OFFENCE UNDER THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTION ORDERS ACT (DVPOA) IN THE BAHAMAS.
Healing the Nation
Growing up so often we were the told the phrase, “sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.” How untrue this statement has proven to be. In our society where we are taught to suppress or ignore our feelings and emotions, or that they are inappropriate to express in general society or societal arenas, we have left ourselves both vulnerable and incapable of being able to fully functional as both logical and emotional beings.
The very emotions that act as a warning sign when something is amiss in our hearts, as does our nervous system when our bodies are in pain, we are taught to ignore. However the resultant effect of ignoring such a God given system of identifying the state of our hearts and thoughts leave us very vulnerable to both be exposed to and eventually accept emotional abuse as normal or something we may even consider we deserve. Whether this emotional abuse comes from another or even us, inflicting unhealthy words and thoughts upon ourselves.
What Can I do to protect myself?
What is the legal definition of emotional and psychological abuse?
The DVPOA defines emotional and psychological abuse as “emotional or psychological abuse” means a pattern of behavior of any kind, the purpose of which is to undermine the emotional or mental well-being of a person including:
a)Persistent intimidation by the use of abusive or threatening language;
b)Depriving that person of the use of his property;
c) Interfering with or damaging the property of the person;
d)The forced confinement of the person;
e)Making unwelcome and repeated or intimidatory contact with a child or elderly relative of the person;
Who might be guilty of an offence?
The DVPOA applies to partners and/or members of a household. This includes the following:
a)Persons in a common law relationship between a man and woman living with, or who have lived with each other in the same household as if they were husband and wife.
b)A person who would, but for the fact of not living in the same household, be said to be having or have had with a person of the other sex an intimate relationship.
What this means is that the act applies to any intimate relationship, whether married, cohabiting or otherwise. Therefore, a person does not have to be married to or living with their partner in order for the DVPOA to apply.
This will enable an individual to have a protection order or emergency protection order enacted depending upon the urgency of the matter.
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.
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.