All divorce cases are unfortunate in their way. I can think of many divorces where good people with children and extended families that love them could not make their marriage work for various reasons. Otherwise, happy and productive households work torn in half because husband and wife had differences that they could not sort through. At this point in our lives, we have all experienced divorce in one way or another, even if we have not gotten divorced ourselves.
There are some common threads too many divorces, but domestic violence is one unfortunate circumstance surrounding many divorces, especially during difficult economic or stressful times. The pandemic has seen many tangential results occur not directly related to the illness itself. One of those results of the pandemic that has risen sharply is domestic violence incidents in our country across the world. Stress, money concerns, being forced to be in close quarters with a domestic abuser, and fear over illness itself are all factors that I believe are relevant to the increase in domestic violence that we have seen over the past year.
If you are a victim of domestic violence at the hands of your spouse or partner, we need to know, but there are resources available to you to help keep you and your family safe. By no means do I mean to imply that the information contained in today's blog post is an exhaustive or all-encompassing list of resources that are available to you. However, I believe that the information contained in today's blog posts could act as a jumping-off point or basis for the beginning of doing some research 2 figure out the next steps are for you and your family as far as your safety is concerned.
Talking to someone can help.
There are resources available through various hotlines, both locally and nationally, that you can utilize to share your information with others who can help you. The national domestic violence hotline is a one 800 number That allows you to get in touch with someone that can provide personalized information and help to you based on your circumstances. The hotline places your safety above all else and commits to making every contact to the hotline based on personalized service.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is contacted by persons like you who may be in a dangerous situation with an abusive spouse or partner, parents or relatives of the abused, or even concerned friends or extended relatives. Specific policies and procedures are in place that will help the person speaking to you from the hotline understand more about your circumstances and provide useful and specially tailored information that can help you in whatever circumstance you find yourself in.
One thing that I would take note of as far as contacting a hotline like this is that it is completely normal to feel out of place or apprehensive about talking to another person about your circumstances. This may be the first time you've ever done something like this, and you may not be able to completely understand or appreciate what is happening with yourself, your spouse, or your children when we do something that we have never done before, it is normal to feel helpless or off balance. With that said, the people that work for this hotline would recommend that you reach out for help if you believe that you need it. Even if you are unsure of yourself, collecting information is never a bad thing in case you need to use it in the future.
The advocates that will answer your phone call at this hotline and any others that we discussed today received training to support you as a victim and survivor of domestic violence. The help provided to you is personalized and confidential. This means that your information and identity will never be disclosed to another person. of course, there will be no way to obtain this sort of assistance without taking the first step to getting help. The folks who work on these hotlines will do everything they can to make it a comfortable and stress-free experience for you and your family as you begin to learn steps that can help reduce the threat of domestic violence in your life and that of your children.
Finding a safe space for you and your children
we hear a lot about safe spaces these days in conjunction with national politics. It is common for people to use the term “safe space” in a derogatory manner when accusing their political opponents of not handling the truth or insulating themselves from criticism. What we can see, however, is that for people in your circumstances, safe spaces are critical and not to be used sarcastically or flippantly.
The advocates who work on various domestic violence hotlines that you can contact will tell you that it is essential for you to contact them when your partner or spouse is not in the home or at least with you. This can be easier said than done during a period where many of us are restricted to our homes for various reasons concerning the pandemic. Even in normal times, this can be not easy when you and your partner or spouse live in the same household.
However, the simple truth is that an abusive spouse or partner is likely to act angrily towards you if it is found out that you have contacted anyone for help in removing yourself and your children from a dangerous situation. Keep in mind that the most important aspect of incidents involving domestic violence typically relates to control. Your domestic abuser wants to retain control over you, and they see abuse as the most efficient way to do so. When discussing The helpful aspects of contacting any of the resources discussed in today's blog post, keep in mind that the mere fact that you are thinking about helping yourself is enough to anger your abuser.
Taking care of yourself during periods of domestic violence
In a way, what we are discussing in today's blog post directly relates to self-care. At a minimum, you should be able to ensure for yourself that you can protect your kids and yourself from abuse. I don't think anyone would argue that it is asking too much to be kept safe from physical or mental abuse at the hands of a partner or spouse. However, you may find yourself in a circumstance where you are relatively powerless to do something at that moment to take care of yourself. That is not to say that you are powerless overall or that you have no means at your disposal to take care of yourself, but you may find yourself in a circumstance where it is not much you can do to protect yourself from harm.
The other important aspect of this discussion is that the more abuse you suffer, the more likely it is that you may be made to feel like you are not capable of caring for yourself or are not worthy of receiving care from others. This is a perilous position to find ourselves in and requires us to focus more and more on how to take care of ourselves as best as possible, even in challenging circumstances involving domestic abuse. If you neglect to take care of yourself when you are able, then any other efforts you make to prevent domestic abuse will be stunted in their efficacy.
Please do not underestimate how important it is to focus on self-care during a period that you may be experiencing domestic violence perpetrated against you. While I have never been the victim of domestic violence, I can imagine how scary, exhausting, or even pointless it may feel to try and perform basic self-care when you are concerned with your physical, emotional and mental well-being on a near-daily basis. I can completely understand how you would question what sort of difference it would make when your physical safety cannot be guaranteed.
The great part about taking care of yourself during domestic violence is that doing so is not complicated. You may be surprised to learn that things as simple as making sure you get enough sleep are eating 3 meals a day. Still, you are getting enough exercise in that you maintain relationships with friends and family. You may forget about doing things when you are stressed to the Max about your living situation. Focusing on these simple aspects of daily life can not only be beneficial for you in the long term but will almost assuredly benefit you in the short term.
Finding support for yourself during periods of domestic violence in your life
do not be afraid to share your specific circumstances with domestic violence counselors or advocates back can meet with you in person, online, or over the phone. Without a doubt, it is difficult to discuss unpleasant circumstances regarding your life and domestic violence. Nobody likes opening up to a stranger about intensely personal matters like domestic violence. You may even need to express information and thoughts that are not the most flattering to you personally. However, if you expect to receive help from another person, you will need to share information that is not pleasant, almost in the same way that you would share similar information with an attorney.
I frequently recommend to clients who find themselves in situations like this to prepare a timeline of events that will help provide a summary of your life to that point with the abuser to any person trying to help you. Not only will this help you to identify potential better triggering events or circumstances that could lead to further incidents of domestic violence, but it can help an advocate talk through steps that she can take, which can alleviate much of the risk of domestic violence in your life.
Emergency safe shelters that are local to Southeast Texas
You should also be aware that shelters are available in our area back temporarily; how are you and your family if you can leave your current home. The usual caveats for right now apply regarding prevention a further spread of the coronavirus; you need to know that these facilities are open, clean, and safe for you and your family if you find yourself in a position where you need to leave your home and have no other place to go at the moment. There are websites for almost all of them, and a simple Google search will reveal information that you and your family can use at a moment's notice if you need help to find a safe place to stay while you are planning your next steps.
The vast majority of these facilities are free of charge, confidential, and offer English and Spanish speakers services. A key point to this discussion will be you're figuring out a long-term plan for your family when it comes to finding a safe place to live. Reaching out to friends or family you have available to stay with them is a wise idea as these shelters are only temporary places for you to remain. Furthermore, I don't think it is your goal to live in a shelter for all that long, anyway. However, do not shy away from taking advantage of these types of resources if you find yourself in a position where you need to.
The staff working at shelters like these can help you find permanent housing, such as in a rent-controlled apartment or even a group home environment. Legal assistance typically is not provided directly by a shelter. Still, there are resources available through these shelters for you to obtain legal representation if you need to file for a divorce or seek emergency protective orders for yourself in anticipation of an additional legal case. Based on your circumstances, attorneys in your area may be willing to help you on a reduced or even know charge basis.
A major concern of many parents during this pandemic has been minimizing disruption to their children's lives, especially regarding their schooling. If your children are of school age, you may be hesitating to move them for fear that they will not be able to attend school in their new location. The support staff at these shelters can help you problem-solve these issues and even help enroll your children in school if you end up going to a shelter that is not within a reasonable distance from where your children are currently attending.
One of the other areas of your life that you may have been neglecting out of concern for your children and your immediate physical safety has been basics associated with living as an independent adult-like becoming ready to find a job, learning how to budget your finances and basic life skills for yourself and your family. The people who work through these shelters are equipped to help provide you with guidance in these areas to transition out of temporary housing and into a permanent circumstance where you can build a life for your children and yourself that is free from domestic violence.
Developing a plan to leave an unsafe situation involving domestic violence
in addition to the resources discussed in today's blog post, I would recommend that you develop a plan to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous circumstance involving domestic violence. Above all else, you should be able to point to a plan of action that you can take if a situation in your home escalates to the point of violence. I realized that even the most well-thought-out plan could go up in smoke given the right circumstance involving domestic violence, but you should at least have a plan in place to implement if you immediately need to leave your home.
This means preparing a bag of clothing for yourself and your children, toiletries, medicine, and important paperwork in your home that may be necessary for you to seek out resources from family or any of the places discussed in today's blog post. Having car keys ready, a full gas tank, and a plan to get your kids out of your home are basic safety measures that can be taken. Having a plan- even a basic one- is a good idea for a person in your circumstance.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how the law can interact with you and your family's lives.