Domestic Violence Awareness
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation. It can happen to married couples, couples who are living together, couples who are dating and to members of the same family who live together. Domestic Violence relates to behavior between intimate partners which harms, gains or maintains control over another person, but it can also include such behavior that occurs within the family context (between family members). This includes emotional, verbal, sexual or physical abuse that diminishes an individual’s personal power and creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Violence Intervention and Prevention
Types of Domestic ViolenceAn assault does not have to be physical violence. An assault can occur if someone intentionally threatens to cause you physical violence, even if they do not touch you. Read more about signs of abuse.
This threat must be by word or act and the person threatening you must have done something to make you believe that this violence is about to happen. If the person uses a deadly weapon when committing this act, it is an aggravated assault.
Battery and Aggravated Battery
An act of domestic violence becomes a battery when someone intentionally touches you without your permission. If that person's touching you causes you great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement, or if the person uses a deadly weapon, or if you were pregnant and the person knew or should have known, the act becomes an aggravated battery.
Stalking and Aggravated Stalking
If someone purposefully follows or harasses you repeatedly over a period of time for no legitimate purpose, which causes you a great amount of emotional stress, they have committed the act of stalking. If in doing this they threaten your life or threaten to cause injury to you, with the intent to cause you to reasonably fear for your safety, then the act becomes aggravated stalking.
Two people are arguing more and more loudly about the last space in the parking lot. Does anyone try to prevent a fist fight? A man tells a sexist joke to a group of acquaintances, and one woman in the group winces. Does anyone else say anything?
Bystanders are the largest group of people involved in violence – they greatly outnumber both the perpetrators and the victims. Bystanders have a range of involvement in assaults. Some know that a specific assault is happening or will happen, some see an assault or potential assault in progress, and some know that assaults do happen. Regardless of how close to the assault they are, bystanders may have the power to stop assaults from occurring and have the power to get help for people who have been victimized.
We have all been bystanders in our lives, and we will all be in situations where we are bystanders in the future. The choice, then, becomes whether we are going to be active bystanders who take action, or whether we will be passive bystanders who stand by and do nothing.
Remember, there is a range of actions that are appropriate, depending on the situation. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, calling 911 is the best action a bystander can take.
*Adapted from Stop Abuse at Virginia Tech, (2012); Mediation@MIT’s Active Bystander Program, (2004)
Why Bystanders Don't Act
- They fear for their own safety.
- They fear loss of relationships, with the problem person or with others who may disapprove of action.
- They fear retaliation.
- They fear embarrassment, especially if they may not be believed.
- They feel a lack of competence, or uncertainty about what action would be best.
- They believe someone else will take action.
Special Victims Bureau
24-hour Crisis Hotline
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Coordinated Victims's Assistance
Miami-Dade Advocates for Victims Hotline
305-758-2546 or 305-247-4249 (Homestead)
Serving Miami-Dade County and the cities of Miami, Coral Gables, Hialeah, Homestead, and Opa-Locka.
Miami-Dade County Victim and Assistance Program
305-758-2819 or 305-758-2546 (Emergency)