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Newly created commission hears domestic abuse survivor speak

Not all domestic problems lead to violence; however, when they do, the results can be serious and have legal ramifications. When domestic violence leads to death or serious injury to the victim, charges may be pressed. The harm, however, has already been done. In an effort to prevent such injury, one area in central Florida is seeking to reduce the violent end that many victims face, a recent development that Orlando domestic violence survivors should take note of.

In an effort to deal with a recent trend of domestic violence killings in the area, a commission in Orange County, Florida, has been formed. Throughout the past 23 months, there have been 27 deaths reported related to such violence. A woman who is a domestic abuse survivor spoke to the commission about her experiences. She mentioned how, when 12 weeks pregnant, she was thrown across the room and strangled. She spoke to the commission in hopes of preventing others from going through what she had experienced.

Unlike the speaker, however, most domestic abuse victims do not talk about the abuse. According to the CEO of Harbor House, which helps domestic abuse victims, about 92 percent of the perpetrators experience no negative results from their actions. Likewise, officials have stated that 92 percent of people arrested on domestic abuse charges are not prosecuted.

However, the harm done to the victims can be dramatic. According to a minister who is on the commission, a woman in his congregation was shot four times by her estranged husband. He mentioned that there is no book in ministry that prepares you for that type of experience.

The damage experienced by the victims of domestic assault can be multifaceted: physical, mental and emotional. The fear that the abuser may retaliate if the victim speaks up may prevent the victim from coming forward. However, it is imperative for victims to know their rights to try to stop the abuse for good and when in need, to consult with an attorney to explore available legal options.

Source: WESH.com, "Domestic violence survivor speaks to commission," Feb. 8, 2013

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