Control and manipulation. That's what a panel of domestic violence survivors see in the actions of their aggressors. They told their stories at a discussion hosted by the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl. Survivor Jacqueline says many abusers are highly intelligent. "These abusers are very manipulative. They're clever what they do. They're not just abusing and manipulating us; they're also manipulating and abusing the legal system," she said.
The constant flurry of legal paperwork is one reason the panelists say it's very difficult to get a divorced from an abuser. Survivor Myra says she has spent years trying to get free. "Well, they use tactics like mental instability charges against you to try to draw it out longer because they say, 'I don't want the divorce. I still love my wife, your honor,'" she said.
The women on the panel all agreed there should be a legal fast track for abuse-related divorces. State Senator Dean Kirby says that's something he's willing to consider. "I wasn't even aware of the fact that it was so difficult to get a divorce through domestic violence. I really appreciate them bringing it to our attention. And, yeah, I think that we could easily pass some type of legislation to help those that have been abused," he said.
One out of every five women will experience intimate partner violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For men, the number is one-in-seven.