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No Safe Escape for Orange County’s Domestic Violence Victims

by Jenny Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 at 12:01 AM

In Santa Ana, Mission Viejo and other Orange County Cities, abuse is excusable. Being a Woman is Not.

Orange County has a reputation for being the least likely place in America for abuse victims to receive assistance from the authorities. When women express fear their husbands will kill them, they are treated as crazy. Santa Ana and Mission Viejo police are particularly soft on domestic abusers and tough on victims. Often these police side with abusers to make victims feel deserving of abuse.

For example, recently Santa Ana police, who were summoned by an abuser to throw his wife out of her house in which he had no ownership interest, came across as sympathetic to the abusive husband. They expressed dislike for a daughter who accused the father of physically abusing the mom. To them, the daughter was too assertive because she dared to accuse her father of being abusive. In that instance, the abuser didn’t really want his wife thrown out. He wanted her to know the police were on his side and that no official would ever side with her.

Often physical and mental abuse is coupled with economic abuse. An example is an Orange County abuser who repeatedly beat his wife, sometimes starving her and the children, confiscated all her money, placing it in a private account in his name and doling only small amounts into a joint account. Though he would only buy food for himself, he would berate the wife if she used any of the joint money for food for herself or the children. As he had taken everything she had and prevented her from working, she had no other source for feeding her children. Sometimes he would order her to buy items for the family and then act as if she were stealing his money when she would follow his orders in buying the exact items he told her to buy. Mostly, he would treat her like a common thief if she requested food or gas money.

This kind of situation is all too common. Officers rarely assist abused women. Bruises are always ignored. Frequently, officers have a tendency to stop women who are covered with bruises and give them a rough time or find something for which to ticket them.

In contrast, some doctors would like to see women go public regarding abuse – in the rare instances when the women get treated. Often their husbands refuse to allow them to seek medical treatment for their injuries or they are too ashamed to get treatment. Women, who do admit to being abused, too often lose what little they have and regret ever having said a word.

Some women have even lost their children by going to domestic violence shelters as courts have ruled that domestic violence shelters are no place for children. Victims find themselves abused by their husbands and then further abused by the police and an arbitrary court system.

Domestic violence victims need jobs, first and foremost. To domestic violence victims, jobs mean escape. However, employers and insurance companies often hold domestic violence against the victims while giving the abusers a pass.

Until the police, the courts and the legislatures take domestic violence seriously and intervene on behalf of abused women, four women will continue to die every day in the United States from injuries they receive from their abusers.

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