MEGA Monday: A domestic violence discussion

On March 28, CF hosted a domestic violence discussion sponsored by the Criminal Justice club in the Webber Center from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The goal of this discussion was to inform our community on signs of domestic violence, how to handle domestic violence, how to get to a safe place, and how to help those that may not want help.
Thomas Ziesemer, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, represents the Criminal Justice club. This club has students that adhere to the three focuses of CF. These focuses are the student, the college and the community.
“By sponsoring events like this related to timely topics, we hope to help the students understand,” said Ziesemer. “We also hope to spur the students to represent the college when they go out into the community and spread the word out into the community about what’s available to help identify, fight, and diminish incidents of domestic violence.”
So, what defines domestic violence? According to the Florida state statute 741.28-741.31, domestic violence means “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family member or household member by another family member or household member.”
Having these discussions of domestic violence is important to Gerald McDonald, board member emeritus, because you won’t hear it anywhere else.
“Most domestic violence occurs in secret,” said McDonald. “Nobody wants to talk about it, nobody knows how to deal with it, it’s not open. “They don’t tell you on the news how to deal with domestic violence. They tell you incidents of domestic violence, but they never tell you what happens with the aftermath.”
The aftermath of domestic violence certainly isn’t addressed as much as the initial incident. After the dispute happens, families may relocate, relationships may be lost, custody battles ensue, property becomes lost or stolen, and injunctions are created.
Injunctions, also known as restraining orders, vary in lengths and purposes. Injunctions may be six months, a year, permanent, or however long the judge deems fit. Junctions can be made for repeated harassment via phone calls, stalking, being physically harmed from the perpetuator, property damage from a perpetuator, and much more.
A common reason why at least 4 out of 10 incidents of domestic violence go unreported is the victim says they are in love with the perpetuator. Along with this they say things like “he didn’t mean to” or “he’s only done it a few times.” Crystal Blanton, Ocala Police Department Victim Advocate, gave her take on this matter.
“Love should not hurt period. At all,” said Blanton.
Love shouldn’t hurt, but 1 in 3 women will experience some form of physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. This number is 1 in 4 for men.
Subsequently there have been 8 domestic violence deaths in Marion county in 2018 so far. This compares to 6 in 2017 and 5 in both 2015 and 2016. A program put in place just three years ago to prevent situations from escalating that far is S.H.I.E.L.D.
S.H.I.E.L.D, surviving harmful interactions through electronic location devices, allows court ordered pre-trial offenders to be released from jail and return to their daily routine. However, the offender must wear an ankle monitor that will track and map the offender’s location. Exclusion zones are set and if the offender goes in that zone, charges will be brought up and the offender will return to jail.
For those that may want to leave the area where the domestic violence is taking place, always have a bag of viable materials in case you must leave in a timely matter. This bag should include identification papers, keys, an emergency cellphone, money, insurance documents, social security number, license, clothes, and anything else to last at least a weeks’ time.
Having discussions like these are necessary to prevent these cases in the future. Sandra Duryea, Lieutenant of the Ocala Police Department, finishes with some positive words to reflect on.
“No one in this room or out there deserves to be physically abused or emotionally abused,” said Duryea. “And there is nothing anybody has done to deserve it.”

Story by Zach Grinstead