Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Budget Cuts Lead to Unprotected Victims of Domestic Violence

In this article, I explored the topic of bullying. Bullying can look very different, depending on the context. One of the things a bully can be is the aggressor in a household of domestic abuse. The abuser often will intimidate, or manipulate their victims into staying in the situation. Abuse victims always have a choice, but they may not feel that they have one.

Women used to be viewed as property, with no rights. A husband beating his wife or children used to be looked at as managing the family. Over the years, the cruelty that domestic violence is has been exposed more and more. As the cruelty is exposed, societies have begun to have compassion on victims of this type of abuse. Laws and coalitions have been set in place. There is now a voice to the voiceless, and someone to stick up for the underdogs.

In Topeka, KS, however, they are undoing what it took years to accomplish. Because of a 10 percent budget cut for the 2012 year, they are repealing the laws set in place that protect the victims and also prosecute offenders. The district attorney stopped pursuing domestic battery cases in September, allowing abusers to say to their victims, “See, I told you that nobody cares.”

As of Friday, October 8th, 18 people who had previously been arrested and jailed for domestic abuse charges were released, and charges dropped. Since September, the city has had reports of at least 35 accounts of domestic abuse. Those are just the accounts that have been reported. Statistics show that more than 25% of domestic violence issues go unreported

Maybe this all seems foreign to you, because you have never been in an abusive situation, or known someone that is in an abusive situation. The reality is that victims of abuse feel helpless and hopeless. One reason women go back is because they believe that life has no chance of getting better. They are constantly lied to and told that no one will ever love them like their abuser. They are told this often enough that they believe it.

So, what do Topeka residents do now? If they are citing budget cuts as the reason for overturning the domestic violence law, what is there to do? What does an abuse victim do when the people put their to protect them are turning their backs on a crime that affects women and children (and in some cases, men) all over the world?

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