Spectrum News shared the story of a domestic violence survivor on November 20, 2020. For nearly twelve years, a woman in Cleveland found herself in a series of abusive relationships and she wanted anyone in an abusive situation right now to know that there is help for them.
"The first time I ever came in contact with an abuser I was 25 years old and it was something that caught me off guard — something that I wasn't used to dealing with, so I didn't really know how to react to it at the time," the survivor told Spectrum News.
Watching her mother be abused growing up, the survivor knew that was not the life she wanted for herself, but at 25 years old, the survivor was smacked across the face so hard her contact flew out her eye. And that was the start of violence against her.
"I was stabbed,” the survivor said. “I was choked to the point to where you couldn't tell my chin from my neck, everything was so swollen. I believe my jaw was fractured at one point, but I never went to the doctor to see, but I couldn't open my mouth to eat."
It was not just physical abuse that the woman experienced. She also dealt with emotional, mental, and verbal abuse as well. The survivor was in an abusive relationship for a year before being able to escape.
"The last straw was when I was stabbed and then I had told him 'hey, you know, it's time for you to go. You've overstayed your welcome. I'm working. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do. You're not helping, so at this point it's just time for you to go.'"
Spectrum News reported that the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that in Ohio alone, 35 percent of women and 30 percent of men experience domestic violence at the hand of an intimate partner. The survivor said she stayed in her abusive relationships because of fear, but once she decided to leave she had a plan and she said anyone experiencing abuse right now should do research, make a plan, and find resources to help them leave.
On October 31, 2020, Spectrum News reported that the Toledo-based Zepf Center, a nonprofit behavioral health care provider for youth and adults, was awarded an $800,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). The grant will be used to create a connected health platform aimed at preventing suicide among adults 25 years and older who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has a focus on helping victims of domestic violence who have been struggling to access help.
On November 13, 2020, WEWS-TV reported that domestic violence advocates throughout northeast Ohio worried that the possibility of another stay at home order looming in the near future meant more victims being trapped at home with their abusers. Terri Heckman, the CEO of the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties, and Melissa Graves, the CEO of Journey Center for Safety and Healing in Cuyahoga County, reported to WEWS that when the pandemic first hit, calls to help hotlines went down, in the summer months those calls went back up, now they’re decreasing again.
A little more than a week later, WTOL-TV reported that advocates for domestic violence survivors said domestic abuse was increasing in Ohio due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Legal Aid of Western Ohio said there were tens of thousands of domestic violence related calls to police in Ohio every year.
Circumstances like a child remote learning or a parent working from home created an increased risk for victims of domestic abuse. The number of people booked into jail with domestic violence charges does not factor in victims who do not file charges or the people who violate restraining orders.
Lucinda Weller, an attorney for Legal Aid of Western Ohio, said one tool for domestic violence survivors is to file that restraining order against their abusers. WTOL, however, reported that restraining orders were on track to be down this year.
There were 791 protection orders in 2019 compared to just 580 so far in 2020. The primary reason for the drop, according to Weller, can be traced back to the coronavirus pandemic as some victims may not feel comfortable going to the courthouse for a protective order during a pandemic.
While 81 Ohio residents were killed by their abusers between July 2018 and June 2019, 109 Ohioans were killed by their abuser in the same time period a year later. People who feel in danger, in need of safety planning, or need additional information on how the LSS Network of Hope can help you escape a cycle of abuse should call 614-224-HOME (4663).
Domestic violence crimes can include a number of offenses, from the common domestic assault offense to violations of protection orders. Domestic assault may be a misdemeanor offense, but it can also result in felony charges in certain circumstances.
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2919.27, no person can recklessly violate the terms of any protection order issued or consent agreement approved pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 2919.26 or 3113.31; a protection order issued pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 2151.34, 2903.213, or 2903.214; or a protection order issued by a court of another state. Violating a protection order is customarily a first-degree misdemeanor, but the crime may be a fifth-degree felony if the alleged offender previously has been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or been adjudicated a delinquent child for any of the following:
● A violation of a protection order issued or consent agreement approved pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 2151.34, 2903.213, 2903.214, 2919.26, or 3113.31;
● Two or more violations of Ohio Revised Code § 2903.21, 2903.211, 2903.22, or 2911.211, or any combination of those offenses, that involved the same person who is the subject of the protection order or consent agreement;
● One or more violations of this section .
If an alleged offender violates a protection order or consent agreement while committing a felony offense, violating a protection order is a third-degree felony. The domestic violence court processcan be incredibly daunting for many people, so it is in your best interest to appear in court with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Were you arrested for any kind of domestic violence offense in Columbus or the surrounding area of Franklin County? You are going to want to be sure that you consult legal counsel for assistance determining the most effective way to fight your criminal charges and preserve your freedom.
Sabol | Mallory handles all kinds of domestic violence cases for clients in Central Ohio, and we will work tirelessly to make sure that you are able to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your case. You can have our firm review your case and speak to you about everything that you are dealing with when you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.