Some people become trapped in the cycle of abuse that is domestic violence. A domestic battery is almost always a misdemeanor in Florida, no matter the severity of the beating, because the victim and the batterer are family members. The same violence perpetrated against a stranger would often be considered felony battery, and be taken much more seriously by law enforcement. To the dismay and distress of family members and friends victims of domestic abuse often stay in or return to a violent relationship.
Domestic violence is real. From the outside looking in it appears that the victims must enjoy or welcome the abuse – nothing could be farther from the truth. The cycle of abuse becomes a dance that the victim cannot easily escape. We would never criticize a victim of a serial killer for failing to escape, but many victims of domestic violence are blamed – why won't she just leave?
We love our children, families, and friends. Many Florida families are torn apart by a one time act, or a pattern of behavior that won't stop. We mourn and continue to try to help: The loved ones who did the wrong thing, and find themselves behind bars; and the young people who cannot seem to be able to escape the revolving door; and the people who are plenty old enough to know better, yet just can't seem to get it right.
If you are the victim of domestic violence -- GET HELP. Your abuser is unlikely to stop on his own. Victims spend their time hoping and wishing for the day their abuser will change. Admit to yourself, that your abuser may never change, and change your own life instead.
If a family member is a victim of domestic violence, try to be patient. Try not to turn your back on your loved one, for once again returning to the abuser. Educate yourself about the dynamics of a system of domestic abuse, and power and control works.
“The Domestic Violence Program serves as a clearinghouse on domestic violence information. Through community-based partnerships the office administers and coordinates statewide activities related to the prevention and intervention of domestic violence. The Program regulates, certifies and monitors domestic violence centers across the state of Florida. There are currently 42 certified domestic violence centers. These centers provide crisis intervention and support services to adult victims of domestic violence and their children free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7-days a week. Mandated services include emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis and information hotline, safety planning, counseling, case management, child assessments, information and referrals, education for community awareness, and training for law enforcement and other professionals. Many centers also provide legal and court advocacy, transportation, relocation assistance, life skills training, transitional housing, daycare, outreach services, rape crisis intervention, and prevention programs in local schools.”