When people hear the words “domestic violence,” they tend to immediately think of victims as being women. The fact is that both men and women are victims of partner violence, and despite efforts to educate and stop this epidemic, some states just do not seem to be getting the message.
Couples who are married where one, or both, are engaging in violent acts with one another need to evaluate whether the marriage is worth saving, or whether you could be risking your life by staying.
No safety in numbers
In 2017, there were 77,846 violent incidents in Tennessee categorized as domestic violence. Almost 3/4 of these calls were labeled as simple assaults, and 22,108 of them involved victims who were men. Considering men report intimate partner violence far less than women do, which is never easy to begin with, it stands to reason that there are likely many more cases of violence against men that never come to light.
While violence against men is a bigger problem than most probably would have thought, as of June 2018, Tennessee ranked fourth in the United States for men killing women in domestic violence-related homicides.
Those who have a gun in their home coupled with incidents of abuse, increase the chances of homicide by 500%.
Obtaining an order of protection
An Order of Protection is a court order intended to protect you from abuse, threats of abuse or sexual assault, and stalking behavior when your abuser is an intimate partner, familial relation, or has stalked or even threatened to rape you.
Orders of Protection allow you to request numerous forms of relief, including:
- No contact between you and your abuser
- Your abuser being required to stay away from you
- Restraining personal conduct such as interfering with utilities
- Requiring your abuser to vacate the residence you share
- Restraining firearms possession, to include submitting an affidavit of dispossession
- Granting you custody of pets to ensure their safety
Abusive partners are likely to become violent towards anything he or she knows you love and care about as a means to instill fear in you and gain control. For example, harming your pets, or killing them outright, is a standard method of operation in domestic violence situations.
Enforcement is key
In Tennessee, you have no obligation or requirement to file a police report when you have experienced abuse and would like to obtain an Order of Protection. Additionally, after you have petitioned the court and been granted the Order of Protection, any violation of the order allows your abuser to be immediately arrested without the need of a warrant.
Orders of protection can help, but as long as you are married to your abuser, you will be forced to deal with them regularly in some form or fashion, leaving you vulnerable to more abuse. Shared bank accounts, homes titled in both of your names, children you share: all of these tie you to each other, some more than others.
Protection, not punishment
Because the courts recognize that false allegations may be made in cases where one party simply wants to punish the other party for a personal reason, filing for an Order of Protection has consequences for those who seek to use the court system to settle a vendetta.
An order of protection does not guarantee your safety when your abuser is determined to cause you harm. Seek the advice of a legal professional who can help you choose the best course of action for your particular circumstances. If you believe it is time to look at divorce, speak with a Nashville divorce attorney at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC now to learn your options. Reserve a consultation by calling our Nashville office directly at 615-391-4200, or through our contact page.
Karla C. Miller has devoted her entire career to the practice of family law in Tennessee. She attended Auburn University and Nashville School of Law, and upon graduation in 1996, she opened her own law firm and has been assisting families throughout Tennessee since then. Learn more about Karla C. Miller here.