Target: U.S. Congress
Goal: Enforce orders of protection and provide protection for those at high risk of domestic violence. Expand legislation to allow domestic violence threats to be dealt with seriously, without waiting for harmful consequences to occur.
The United Nations recently criticized United States policy on violence against women, indicating it does not go far enough to adequately protect women’s human rights. The reprimand comes after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reviewed the case of Jessica (Gonzales) Lenahan. Despite an order of protection against her abusive, violent ex-husband, Ms. Lenahan’s 3 young daughters were abducted and shot to death after a domestic dispute. She called the police seven times over a seven hour period, warning of the potential consequences, yet the order of protection was not enforced.
While women are by far the greatest victims of domestic violence (accounting for 85% of victims), men may be victimized as well and must be protected. We must begin by understanding that abuse and violence are manifested sexually, emotionally and financially, as well as physically. Often, the abuse begins verbally; yet, there are no measures that can be taken to prevent escalation of the abuse. It is prevalent across all races, religions and economic classes, and is not necessarily the result of alcohol or substance abuse. Annually, treatment for medical and mental health issues resulting from domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion. Children who witness domestic violence are likely to carry over this type of behavior into their own adult relationships.
Law enforcement agencies must be empowered to intervene in domestic violence situations. Even when an order of protection is in place, officers are unable to take any serious action unless and until a physically violent episode has occurred. The burden of proof is generally placed on the victim, who often feels shamed. Particularly in instances of marital relationships, forms of sexual assault are chalked up to being “consensual” and dismissed. The attitude of many law enforcement agencies is testament to the lack of seriousness attributed to verbal and emotional situations, which often lead to dire consequences.
We CAN stop this violation of human rights. Please help by signing this petition, urging Congress to act immediately and stop the tragic consequences of domestic violence.
Dear Members of U.S. Congress,
Domestic violence is a serious matter and current legislation does not go far enough to deter crimes committed in our own homes and in our own families. By not recognizing the implications of these acts, we as a country demonstrate our lack of regard for the safety and dignity of individual human rights.
Legislation must be enacted to empower law enforcement officials to take action before severe injury or death occur. Enforcement of orders of protection, as well as punitive measures for emotional, financial, sexual and physical abuse must be a priority. The familial relationship of victim and predator is irrelevant in these situations, and children of abusers tend to become abusers themselves.
Understandably, the process is complicated and must be in line with judicial law. However, we must be pro-active in protecting innocent victims rather than risking needlessly severe consequences.
[Your Name Goes Here]