Many people who are being abused do not see themselves as victims. Also, abusers do not see themselves as being abusive. People often think of domestic violence as physical violence, such as hitting. However, domestic violence takes other forms, such as psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Domestic violence is about one person in a relationship using a pattern of behaviors to control the other person. It can happen to people who are married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated, or dating.
If your partner repeatedly uses one or more of the following to control you;
- pushing, hitting, slapping, choking, kicking, or biting
- threatening you, your children, other family members or pets
- threatening suicide to get you to do something
- using or threatening to use a weapon against you
- keeping or taking your pay check
- puts you down or makes you feel bad
- forcing you to have sex or to do sexual acts you do not want or like
- keeping you from seeing your friends, family or from going to work
YOU HAVE BEEN ABUSED!!
What are my options if I am being abused?
You have the right to –
- apply for a protection order at the nearest police station or
- magistrate’s court; or
- lay a criminal charge at the police station and apply for a protection order.
What is a protection order?
It is an order issued by a court at your request, ordering a person with whom you have or had a domestic relationship, to stop the abuse. It may also prevent the person from getting help from any other person to commit such acts. An interim protection order can also be issued at any time of the day or night for your protection.
Who can apply for a protection order?
Any victim of domestic violence. Children, and if they are too young, a parent or guardian, or any person acting on behalf of someone who is responsible for them, but with their permission. A police official.
What other assistance will the SAPS provide?
They will, where possible, help you find access to –
- medical attention;
- shelter; and
- victim counselling.
They will inform you of –
- the support services that are available in the area;
- alternative shelters if available;
- counselling services, if required;
- medical assistance;
- free services that are available; and
- the time of day these services are available.
They will ensure that a medical officer collects and records any medical evidence in support of a criminal charge.
They will go with you to your home when you need to collect personal belongings, if this is provided for in a protection order that has been issued.