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Domestic violence awareness: Part Two

A recent study concluded that one in four women in Minnesota has been the victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. While this number may be shocking to some, the reality is that domestic violence can affect friends and neighbors and is often incredibly difficult to confront.

The Home of Women's Advocates in Saint Paul made an influential documentary called "With Impunity: Men and Domestic Violence," which discusses the attitude of American men on domestic violence. The documentary makes an effort at drawing attention to the repercussions of domestic violence.

While the documentary focuses on women as the targets of most domestic disputes, men can also suffer from relationship abuse. All victims of partner or spousal assault should be aware of laws, programs and social service organizations that can help them escape violent situations in the home.

Although leaving the dangerous situation at home can be difficult for many reasons, Minnesota law does offer some relatively quick ways to gain protection for victims. One such option is an order for protection from the court, which bars the victim's abuser from any contact with the victim or their children until the court holds a hearing. The order can be obtained without a personal appearance in court. Violation of an order can lead to jail time, ranging from three days to five years. Though reaching out for help is often the most difficult step for domestic violence victims to take, once they do so they can take legal action to protect themselves and their children.

Source: Twin Cities Daily Planet, "Is Chris Brown watching? Minnesota documentary film "With Impunity: Men and Domestic Violence" focuses on ideas about manhood," Cynthia Boyd, Sept. 27, 2012

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