Oct 312012

As I’ve pointed out too many times before, in the aftermath of any weather disaster, women often face different needs than men.  In particular, people, mostly women and children, who are living in an abusive situation may be more vulnerable to violence because stress is often a trigger for acts of domestic violence as is feeling powerless as one might well feel if you have been flooded or burned out of your home, or you are cut off by water, no transit and no electricity.  And if you are the primary caregiver for children or elder relatives, fleeing an abuser is all the more complicated.

Compounding the problem, shelters and other facilities that might normally be available to help may also be without electricity and phones or have been flooded or be short-staffed and unavailable or less available to help and police may have a harder time responding to calls if the victim even has a phone (which as I write this a great many people in New York and New Jersey still don’t have).

If you know people who may be  particularly vulnerable to intimate violence in their lives and who have been affected by this horrendous storm, please do what you can to reach out to them and also, please consider making a donation to domestic violence shelters that may have been impacted as they may really be scrambling to provide additional services or rebuild.

And while we clean up here in the U.S. please be mindful that we were not the only country impacted by the storm and women in Haiti, still recovering from multiple weather disasters in the last few years,   are very vulnerable, particularly in refuge camps, where rape and sexual assault have been serious problems and where access to such basics as food for infants and feminine hygiene products may be hard to get.

 October 31, 2012  Posted by on October 31, 2012

  One Response to “Helping Victims Of Domestic Violence In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Sandy”

  1. Economic abuse is part of domestic violence. Judges should anticipate economic abuse when storms are approaching and the courts are predicted to close. Abusive spouses seize this time to wield their sword of economic abuse. (They use the Judge’s vacations as another opportunity to squeeze the wife.)

    The Judge in my case was keenly aware that my Sept support was not paid, my internet and cable were shut by my husband despite court orders requiring all payments. We tried to schedule a conference call but the Judge denied the request. We were supposed to be in court on Tuesday to address these issues but the court was closed. Her failure to address these issues prior to the storm via a phone call when the closing of the courts was predictable placed me in a precarious position. I could not monitor the hurricane via television and had limited access to storm information. I had to rely on a weak, crowded open network for internet access. Friends and family could not reach me via email since my email account is part of my cable package. My finances were forcing me to charge without knowledge if my support would be paid. knowledge

    I was lucky not to have extensive damage but if I had, not having my support could have placed me in a very dangerous position. Not having funds limits your choices and affects your decisions.

    My Sept support was finally paid today, the last day of October when my October support was due but not paid. The court is still closed. I still do not have internet and cable or my Oct support. In today’s day and age, these are no longer luxuries but critical like other utilities.

    Judges know which men have a history of abuse and which men are not regularly paying their support. It’s not rocket science and they need to address the non-payment of support in swift fashion. Economic abuse should not be tolerated by any Judge especially, when the husband works at a white shoe law firm.

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