Family Violence & Harassment

 

 

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.

 Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. It is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior that is only a fraction of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death. The devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

It is not always easy to determine in the early stages of a relationship if one person will become abusive. Domestic violence intensifies over time. Abusers may often seem wonderful and perfect initially, but gradually become more aggressive and controlling as the relationship continues. Abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. However, violence and control always intensifies over time with an abuser, despite the apologies. What may start out as something that was first believed to be harmless (e.g., wanting the victim to spend all their time only with them because they love them so much) escalates into extreme control and abuse (e.g., threatening to kill or hurt the victim or others if they speak to family, friends, etc.). Some examples of abusive tendencies include but are not limited to:

 

  • Telling the victim that they can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
  • Accusing the victim of cheating
  • Keeping or discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
  • Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do
  • Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
  • Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone)
  • Preventing the victim from making their own decisions
  • Telling the victim that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill, or take away their children
  • Threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones, or pets
  • Intimidating the victim with guns, knives, or other weapons
  • Pressuring the victim to have sex when they don’t want to or to do things sexually they are not comfortable with
  • Forcing sex with others
  • Refusing to use protection when having sex or sabotaging birth control
  • Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing the victim from working or attending school, harassing the victim at either, keeping their victim up all night so they perform badly at their job or in school
  • Destroying the victim’s property

 

It is important to note that domestic violence does not always manifest as physical abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse can often be just as extreme as physical violence. Lack of physical violence does not mean the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim, nor does it mean the victim is any less trapped by the abuse.

Additionally, domestic violence does not always end when the victim escapes the abuser, tries to terminate the relationship, and/or seeks help. Often, it intensifies because the abuser feels a loss of control over the victim. Abusers frequently continue to stalk, harass, threaten, and try to control the victim after the victim escapes. In fact, the victim is often in the most danger directly following the escape of the relationship or when they seek help.

Unfair blame is frequently put upon the victim of abuse because of assumptions that victims choose to stay in abusive relationships. The truth is, bringing an end to abuse is not a matter of the victim choosing to leave; it is a matter of the victim being able to safely escape their abuser, the abuser choosing to stop the abuse, or others (e.g., law enforcement, courts) holding the abuser accountable for the abuse they inflict.

 

 Die Wet op Beskerming teen Teistering no 17 van 2011

 Die verkryging van ‘n beskermingsbevel teen teistering was nog nooit so maklik en koste-effektief nie.  ‘n Beskermingsbevel tot voor inwerkingtreding van die Wet slegs van toepassing was op persone wat in ‘n naby verhouding teenoor mekaar staan, met ander woorde indien hulle verloof is of was, getroud is of was, saamgewoon het, of in ‘n ouer-kind verhouding staan. Die goeie nuus begin egter hier.

Voor die inwerkingtreding op 27 April 2013 van die Wet op Beskerming teen Teistering no 17 van 2011 was die verkryging van ‘n beskermingsbevel teen teistering ‘n langdurige en duur proses. Die situasie het egter sedertdien drasties verander.

Een van die belangrikste oorwegings wat bygedra het tot die inwerkingtreding van die Wet was om behoeftiges en armes wat nie ‘n grootmeneer-prokureur kan bekostig nie, tegemoet te kom.In een van die eerste sake waar ‘n bevel kragtens die Wet toegestaan is, het dit slegs vyf ure geneem om die bevel te verkry, teen minimale moeite en koste. Voordat ‘n aansoek om ‘n beskermingsbevel oorweeg word, moet daar egter vasgestel word watter gedrag as teistering beskou kan word.

Teistering word oor die algemeen beskryf as optrede wat volgens die oordeel van ‘n redelike persoon, waarskynlik sielkundig, geestelik, fisies of ekonomies vir die slagoffer beledigend en skadelik kan wees. Afloer, agtervolging of die aanhoudende stuur van SMSe, e-posse en briewe wat die effek van bedreiging of afpersing het, is nog voorbeelde van teistering.Nietemin moet daar fyn onderskeid getref word tussen boodskappe in die middernagtelike ure wat beskou kan word as ‘n liefdesverklaring en middernagtelike boodskappe wat seksueel van aard is en verleentheid veroorsaak.

Die inwerkingtreding van die nuwe Wet beteken dat “kuberboelies” ook aangekla en vasgetrek kan word voordat hulle iemand skade berokken. Kuberboelies is gewoonlik mense wat eksplisiete video’s of foto’s van ander sonder hul toestemming op sosiale netwerke plaas.Dit bring ons by die mees gevreesde vorm van teistering, naamlik die teistering van jou kind. Hierdie teistering kan plaasvind by wyse van die bedreiging van jou kind of selfs konfrontasies wat die kind in ‘n ongemaklike posisie plaas en vir hom/haar traumaties kan wees

.Nog ‘n voordeel van die Wet 17 van 2011 is dat jy selfs ‘n beskermingsbevel teen teistering kan verkry, al weet jy nie wie die teisteraar is nie. In so ‘n geval sal die hof gelas dat die polisie ondersoek instel ten einde die identiteit van die teisteraar vas te stel. Dit weerspieël ‘n belangrike dryfkrag agter die inwerkingstelling van die Wet.

Snelle tegnologiese ontwikkeling het meegebring dat elektroniese teistering baie maklik is. Hierdie vorm van teistering is veral gewild onder skoolkinders en is ‘n effektiewe metode van intimidasie en bedreiging. In sulke gevalle sal die hof ook die elektroniese diensverskaffer gelas om die identiteit van die oortreder te verskaf.Die Wet is ook ontwerp om dieselfde vinnige aansoek om ‘n beskermingsbevel wat vir algemene teistering geld, op elektroniese teistering van toepassing te maak.Die metode om ‘n beskermingsbevel te verkry, is soos volg:

1. Wanneer jy seker is jy word geteister, kan jy bloot ‘n beëdigde verklaring by die naaste landdroshof aflê (die hof moet egter geleë wees binne die gebied waar die teistering plaasgevind het of binne die gebied waar die teisteraar woonagtig is.)

2. Let daarop dat die bevel tydelik van aard sal wees en slegs toegestaan sal word indien die teisteraar se optrede jou bedreig of skade aan jou berokken.

3. Die volgende stap is ‘n aansoek om ‘n permanente beskermingsbevel. Die aansoek word dan op die teisteraar beteken om hom/haar te verwittig van die datum waarop die aansoek om die finale bevel deur die hof aangehoor gaan word.

4. Indien die bevel permanent gemaak word en die teisteraar met sy/haar optrede voortgaan, kan die polisie se hulp gevra word. In so ‘n geval sal die teisteraar in hegtenis geneem word en gestraf word met ‘n boete of gevangenisstraf wat nie vyf jaar oorskry nie

Sou iemand ‘n vals klag van teistering lê, kan hy/sy op dieselfde wyse as hierbo verkla word.

Die doel van die Wet is om teistering te bekamp en ook om as hulpmiddel te dien vir behoeftiges wat nie regshulp kan bekostig nie.  Teistering word veral ernstig geag wanneer dit by kinders kom, aangesien die beste belang van ‘n kind baie hoog geag word.

 

Dit is dus elke persoon se plig om homself of sy kind teen teistering te beskerm deur dit aan te meld by die klerk van die naaste landdroshof om ‘n beskermingsbevel te bekom.  Die Wet poog om beskerming teen teistering ‘n werklikheid te maak deur ‘n proses wat nou vinniger en goedkoper as tevore is.

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