Often, Minnesota victims of domestic violence feel alone. Their attacker may have intended it that way: One of the hallmarks of domestic abuse is isolation from friends and familY. Abusers often shut off the victim’s social outlets in an effort to gain greater control over the victim.
Another reason domestic violence victims often feel alone is that Americans, as a whole, underestimate the incidence of domestic violence. According to a recent survey, 54 million Americans have been victims of domestic violence. Still, while Americans are aware that domestic violence is a problem, they have yet to realize how that problem might affect the people they know.
According to the survey, 80 percent of respondents said they recognize that domestic violence is a serious problem, but only 15 percent thought it was a problem with any of their friends. In fact, 60 percent of Americans know a victim of domestic violence.
Researchers said they suspect that people underestimate domestic violence because people don’t often talk of their experiences. It is perhaps understandable that victims don’t want to discuss an uncomfortable memory, even years later. Unfortunately, researchers say the widespread underestimation of domestic violence gives victims an unrealistic perspective on their own experience. As a result, they say many fail to seek out help. According to the survey, only 42 percent of victims said they sought out help. Many said that if they heard more discussion of domestic violence, they might have been more likely to seek help.
One important legal step victims of domestic violence can do is to obtain an order of protection. These orders come from a Minnesota court and can provide immediate relief to keep an abuser away, or even to remove the abuser from the victim’s home. Orders of protection can be very powerful legal tools, but negotiating the system to have them put in place can take skill and knowledge. It’s important that Minnesota victims of domestic violence get protection from their abusers, and it’s important that they seek out help getting that protection.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Silence, Inaction May Compound Problem of Domestic Violence: Survey,” Sept. 23, 2013