THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE
When Home is Not A Home During the holidays
Nancy Vega of Maria Droste Counseling Center located in Colorado in Domestic Violence and the Holidays: A Survivors Guide states, “The holidays are often thought of as the best time of the year. It is a time for loved ones, celebration, and joy. However, for victims of domestic violence, the holidays can be a very dark and scary time. Unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and the increased consumption of alcohol can raise stress levels, which can contribute to incidents of domestic violence.”
Since the holiday season is supposed to be the best time of the year, many people have high expectations. These can include giving the best gifts, balancing time effectively, getting along with family, and having an abundance of holiday spirit. Many people can become stressed while trying to live up to these heightened expectations, and feel devastated if they fail. Before the holidays, it is important to set realistic expectations and realize that things may not go as planned.
Financial pressures and the stress of having a tight budget can feel more overwhelming during the holidays. The expectations of buying the best gifts can increase anxiety about how to handle the many added expenses. Some simple steps can help with stress management during the holidays. One way to help with financial strain is to develop a holiday budget and plan of action. Be realistic about gift giving; give gifts that your budget allows, whether that include store-bought or homemade items. Prioritizing gift giving and resisting external pressure and the internal urge to overspend can decrease holiday stress.
Another component of the holidays is the serving and drinking of alcohol. Sometimes, individuals will use alcohol and other substances to cope with holiday stress. However, drinking as a coping strategy often doesn’t help because the ability to cope decreases as the amount of alcohol consumed increases. While hosting holiday parties, offer a selection of non-alcoholic beverages and stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends. Consider attending a help group if you or a family member has struggled with alcohol dependency. The meetings can be one of the most important steps to reduce the level of stress during the holidays. Seeking out further assistance, such as addiction counseling, can also help you handle the stress of the holidays.
Domestic violence is more likely to occur when stress levels are high. During the holidays, unrealistic expectations, financial strain, and alcohol can increase stress, and therefore, incidents of domestic violence. If you find that you are in a domestic violence situation, it is important to have a safety kit in case you have to exit a dangerous situation quickly. This kit should be hidden in a safe place and should include emergency numbers, a bag of clothing and toiletries, important documents such as birth certificates and a driver’s license, medication, prescriptions, car keys, house keys, and cash.
There is help for persistent stress, worry, anxiety, depression, or overall negativity during the holidays. Finding the right therapist where you can have a safe place to get support and empowerment during difficult times can be helpful. Therapy can help with stress management, mood and relationships, and confidence and empowerment.”
Healing The Nation
Holidays are a time of family, love and sharing. A time to rekindle bonds and be grateful for those loved ones and friends we all have grown to appreciate, new and faithful. Yet regardless of the time of year or season many persons are living within an environment of fear, pain and abuse. During this time of celebration and joy many individuals are continued victims of violence, spousal abuse, rape and other violent and heinous acts. While many of us look forward to the reverie, partying and celebration others fear the result when their loved ones who hurt and abuse them comes home from a night of partying.
How you can help?
Most people know someone, or of someone, who is a victim of domestic violence. It may be someone in your family, a church member or a colleague in the work place. So what can you do to help, a love one or friend to not be a victim of violence or abuse during this season or any other time?
– Be alert to possible signs of domestic violence in your workplace; co-workers who are increasingly late or absent, unable to concentrate on their work, attempting to cover bruises or are just distracted and withdrawn.
– Neighbors, friends or family members may have isolated themselves feeling that the abuse is their fault.
- Encourage your friend, co-worker or family member to talk to you and assure them that they can trust you and that you will believe them.
– Do not be judgmental and let them know they do not have to stay in an abusive relationship.
– Suggest they obtain a Protective Order.
It can be very distressing to suspect or know someone you know, a family member, a friend, a colleague in the work place or a neighbor, is being abused. There may be a feeling of helplessness that you cannot do anything to assist. If the person is an adult, you cannot force them to make a report to the Police or to talk to someone, but you can encourage them to do so. Many victims of violence feel that nothing can be done to change their situation so the first step is to let them know that there is help available.
We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to heal families, communities, nation, world and ourselves.
ANYONE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, CAN CALL THE CRISIS CENTRE ON 328-0922 OR 322-4999. ANYONE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER SHOULD CALL THE POLICE ON 911, 919.
THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE
Dating is a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by two people with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. While the term has several meanings, it usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple.
Dating is meant to be an enjoyable pastime and opportunity to get to know someone new. Unfortunately along with the joy of dating there are also dangers that in the social climate we live in today that you must be aware of while dating. One of those is the danger of date rape.
Date rape is a scary topic. It is hard to believe that someone you know and trust would ever hurt you or someone you are getting to know. However, it does happen and it is never your fault. You cannot always prevent it happening but there are ways to lower the risk.
What is Date Rape?
Date rape refers to rape committed by a person, who could be a friend, acquaintance or stranger, against a victim. It is commonly referred to drug facilitated sexual assault or an acquaintance rape. Sexual assault is any sexual act done to someone without their consent. Drug facilitated sexual assault is any sexual assault where alcohol and/or drugs affect the victim’s ability to give informed consent. Acquaintance rape is an assault or attempted assault usually committed by a new acquaintance involving sexual intercourse without consent.
With the increase in technology, it has become easier to communicate with persons. Utilizing the internet many persons start relationships that begin in cyberspace but can eventually move from behind the screen to more personal and intimate relationship. However this does not always mean the person you might have begun a relationship on line is the same person you will meet in person. Regardless of the circumstance in which you meet another person you should always take steps to protect yourself.
Even with meeting persons in a conventional manner you have to be careful and do what you can to protect yourself, and ensure your safety at all times.
NO means NO!
Healing the Nation
Dating is a normal, respectable and should be enjoyable way to meet and get to know new people. Many intimate and lasting relationships or even friendships can come out of dating. However this does not mean it does not have its dangerous side, where a person can be placed in harm’s way and be placed in a circumstance where they are abused, assaulted, raped or even lose their lives. This does not just happen to young teenagers but more experienced and mature individuals as well. The following are some tips you can follow whether a teen or adult to ensure you can enjoy dating to its fullest and still remain safe.
1. Always remember, you have the right to say NO even if:
• You have been drinking
• You have had sex previously
• You have been making out
• You are dressed in sexy clothes
• You think he or she will be mad with you
• You have said yes before but have now changed your mind
2. Be careful and trust your instincts
• It is safer to stay in a group of friends or with another couple
• Try not to be alone with someone you do not know well or with whom you feel uncomfortable
3. Signs of Date Rape are when someone forces you to have sex.
This can be:
• Threatening to hurt you
• Not stopping when you say No
• Using a weapon to scare you
• Forcing you down
• Having sex with you when you are too drunk to say No
• Tells you that if you do not give in, they will tell other people you had sex with them
• Threatening you that something bad will happen if you do not give in
• Threatens to harm themselves if you do not give in
4. Communicate clearly
• Say NO very clearly and firmly to anyone who is pushing you to have sex with them
• Remember if the person does not listen to your saying NO, it is not your fault
• Do not be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings if you say no
5. Be in Control
• Being in control means that you say what you want and mean it
• Call a friend or family member if you feel unsafe
• Avoid alcohol and drugs so that you can stay in control of the situation
• Always have some money with you so you can call a taxi
• Make sure your cell phone has minutes so you can make a call if you feel unsafe
6. Danger signs
• If you feel uncomfortable with a person standing too close to you or staring at you, it is not a good idea to be alone with that person
• If the person does not listen to you at other times, they may not listen to you when you are alone and want to make your feelings clear about having sex
• Anyone who seems to enjoy making you uncomfortable is not someone you should be alone with
7. If you are afraid to say NO
• If you feel it is unsafe for you to say No, make an excuse to leave to go the bathroom and make a call to a friend or family member to come and pick you up.
• If you have to lie to protect yourself, that is OK …your safety is the most important thing
8. If the person does not listen to you
• Say it again…very loudly and clearly!
• Say ‘STOP, this is rape!”
9. What to do if the person continues to assault you
• Try to stay calm and decide what to do for the best
• Try to talk the person out of assaulting you
• Run away
• If you feel you can fight back, push away the attacker
• Shout very loudly
• If it is not safe to fight back or get away and you are raped, it is still NOT YOUR FAULT
10. Get Help
• If you are raped, get help as soon as possible. Go to the doctor or hospital and call the police. Call a friend or family member to accompany you to give you support.
Dating can be a fun and enjoyable experience, however at all times do whatever is within your power to ensure it is also safe.
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.
For more information check out our website at http://www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us by email at email@example.com. YOU CAN CALL THE CRISIS CENTRE ON 328-0922 OR 322-4999. IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL THE POLICE ON 919 OR 911.
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Protecting Myself from Domestic Violence with the Law
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 such as 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.
Many persons suffer silently from domestic violence in one form or the other. This is either due to not being able to break out of the cycle of violence where they feel trapped or not knowing what rights they have to protect them when they do decide to leave an abusive relationship.
Two forms of protection the law offers individuals leaving an abusive relationship or a circumstance of domestic violence are a Protection Order and a Bind Over Order.
What are they and what is the difference?
Often persons use the terms “protection orders” and “bind over orders” interchangeably but even when a distinction is drawn between both terms, it is not necessarily the right one.
The two terms have different meanings in Bahamian Law, and anyone seeking protection whether by way of a protection order or a bind over order should be familiar with the difference. Only by knowing the difference does an individual know what their options are and also know what the parties have been ordered not to do, when a court order is given.
WHAT IS A PROTECTION ORDER?
A protection order is a far more extreme ruling of the Court than a Bind Over Order used to try to prevent domestic violence. It is this kind of order that many people refers to incorrectly as a “bind over order.” Both of these orders attempt to restrain people (that is to have them bound over to keep the peace).
The purpose of a protection order is to protect the life, limb, and emotional well being of people who have been the victims of domestic violence or who are at risk of such violence. Battered persons or emotionally abused persons may apply for them. In addition, parents of abused children can apply for them.
WHAT DOES A PROTECTION ORDER DO?
Protection orders usually prohibit one person from contacting, or getting near, one or more other persons. For instance, a protection order may prevent an abuser from coming within 500 feet of the abused person, or within 500 feet of the children. If such a geographic restriction is included in a protection order, the protection order’s circle of prohibition (the area where the person who is the subject of the Order cannot go) moves with the person (or people) protected. Thus, a person with a protection order can have a 500-foot circle around them that their abuser cannot enter, no matter where he/she goes.
Protection orders usually have additional terms, including a general order not to commit acts of domestic violence.
Protection orders create what is really a new criminal law that applies to one person, the subject of the order. Violations can subject a person to contempt of court, but, far more importantly, violations are a criminal offense. Indeed, a protection order may often contain language addressed to law enforcement officials in the form of what is known as a penal notice, telling them to take violating offenders into custody. In The Bahamas law enforcement officials can generally be counted on to do exactly that.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A PROTECTION ORDER?
Both men and women can apply for a protection order. More protection orders are issues against men than against women.
Because protection orders restrain people’s liberty – by limiting where they can go, who they can call, who they can talk to, etc. – they are rare, and a person asking for them has to meet a high standard.
First, no one can get a protection order in The Bahamas just on the belief, suspicion, or fear that domestic violence may occur. Rather, the person who is the to be object of a protection order must have already committed one or more acts of domestic violence and the person asking for a protection order must be able to prove it. However, the evidence that can prove domestic violence can be the victim’s testimony, or the testimony of a witness.
The more evidence a party asking for a protection order has, the better chance of getting the protection order. Going to a doctor or hospital, after a prior assault, for instance, is good evidence that domestic violence has occurred. Similarly, a criminal arrest is helpful, but is not required.
The law recognizes that a person who has engaged in domestic violence in the past is more likely to do so again, as compared to a person who has never done so. But, the past is not a guarantee of future behavior. Therefore, a person asking for a protection order has to show past domestic violence, the risk of it and show the court that domestic violence is likely to occur in the future.
DO I NEED A LAWYER?
You do not need a lawyer to apply for a protection order. But, a lawyer is a very good idea if you think you need such an Order.
An application for a protection order has complicated requirements, and the standard of proof is high. It is far better to have a lawyer on your side, to draft the request for a protection order, and to go to court and argue for the protection order on your behalf, including asking you questions in court, “on the stand.” Your lawyer is also able to cross-examine the person claiming that there is no need for such an Order.
YOU DO NOT NEED A PROTECTION ORDER TO CALL THE POLICE
Although the police often respond more quickly and attentively to people who refer to a protection order, a protection order is not needed to call the police if someone is in danger. If you are being threatened with violence, or are scarred that violence may shortly occur, get help – call 911, protection order or not.
The reason the police responds more efficiency and effectively to protection order violations is that they know from experience that convictions for domestic violence are rare. Proving that someone violated a court-issued protection order, on the other hand, is relatively easy. Therefore victims are encouraged to seek protection orders which can prove to have more effective results than reporting incidents to the police and waiting for the Crown to prosecute abusers.
PROTECTION ORDER PROCEDURES
Protection orders should be applied for in the Magistrates Court.
The person who is the object of a protection Order will then have an opportunity to argue that there is no justification for the Order. Eventually, the Court will decide how long the protection order should last, or whether it should last.
WILL PROTECTION ORDERS PROTECT ME?”
Not necessarily. While protection orders are serious matters, and are generally taken very seriously, they are, in the end, a piece of paper. A violent person can choose to ignore a protection order, take his or her chances of going to jail, and attack someone. Just as laws against murder do not stop all murders, protection orders do not stop all people from committing further acts of domestic violence. They are however a strong deterrent.
Protection Orders are useful, because they often stop people, and because they lead to better police responses. However, no one should consider themselves 100% safe because they succeeded in their efforts to get a Protection Order.
WHAT IS A “BIND OVER ORDER”
This term is used to describe the set of orders the court imposes on one or both of the parties in instances of “altercations” usually.
Bind over orders are not enforceable by the police or Sheriff’s Department. Rather, violations of these Orders can be brought to the attention of the Court, which has the power to order an offender to pay a fine, which is usually attached, to the Order or in some instances jail but the latter is very rare. Bahamian courts are more likely, at the first violation, to simply admonish the offender and tell them to behave better in the future. The Court also has many interim sanctions, including fines.
Both protection orders and bind over orders are available from the Bahamian courts. Both restrict the liberty of the people they reach. However, protection orders are far more restrictive, and have far greater consequences in the event of a violation.
No One Deserves To Be Abused and You have the right to be protected.
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.
If you would like to talk to someone about anything that is bothering you, please call 328-0922 or 322-4999. For more information check out our website at http://www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us.