Thank you to the Statesboro-Bulloch County Library for hosting us! We loved partnering with you to spread awareness about Teen Dating Violence.
Safe Haven makes presentations to churches, civic clubs, and other organizations. We can teach your group:
Q: My husband has a temper, though he’s never actually hit me—he only yells. But lately, whenever we fight, he threatens to hurt or even kill our dog because I think he likes how upset it makes me. We live on a military base and the military police said they can’t do anything unless he kills our dog, which I’m really afraid might happen someday. – Anonymous
First off, you should know that if your husband has a repeated pattern of yelling at you—which I’m guessing also includes insulting, demeaning or trying to embarrass you—this is a type of domestic abuse called verbal abuse. Even if he never hurts you physically, he can still be classified as an abusive partner and you, a victim. Take a look at “10 Patterns of Verbal Abuse” and see if they sound familiar to you. If they do, you should consider talking to a domestic violence advocate in your area who can help provide you with support and vital safety planning. There’s a possibility your husband’s verbal abuse can escalate to physical abuse in the future.
Yvette Lozano, director of intervention and emergency services with the nonprofit Peace Over Violence says that many survivors don’t even realize they’re with an abusive partner when they’re not sustaining physical injuries. “Domestic violence is not just physical or sexual abuse. It’s any form of power and control,” says Lozano. And that desire for power and control is your husband’s motivation for threatening the family pet. He wants to intimidate you so he feels like he can control you.
Many who threaten to, or are abusing animals, are also abusing their partners. A report from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that abusers who harm their pets are “both more controlling and use more dangerous forms of violence than batterers who do not.” Additionally, the American Humane Association reports that more than 70 percent of female domestic abuse survivors who own pets, and who sought help at women’s shelters, reported that their abuser had threatened, injured, maimed or even killed family pets for revenge or to gain psychological control over their victims.
There’s hope that things are starting to change, specifically on military bases like the one you live on. According to the National Link Coalition, a group made up of individuals and organizations that bring awareness to how animal abuse and other types of crimes, such as domestic abuse, are intertwined, more incidents of domestic violence within the military have prompted action. Trainings are starting to be implemented to teach victim services units on base more about the connection between domestic violence and animal abuse.
Also, former President Obama signed an executive order last September that amended the Courts-Martial guidelines to include animal cruelty provisions. Since its inception in 1951, the Uniform Code of Military Justice—the legal system within the military—did not include crimes against animals an actionable offense.
It’s now on the books, in other words, that it is prohibited to cause reckless or negligent wrongful abuse, neglect or abandonment of an animal that causes serious injury or death. If your husband abuses or neglects your dog, he could be charged with a criminal offense. If the police on base are ignoring your pleas for help, you should definitely reach out to a trained domestic violence advocate to talk about your unique situation and circumstances, and what decisions might be best for you to make while still retaining your safety as the number one priority. While you can reach out to your husband’s commanding officer for help, or, says Phil Arkow, coordinator for the National Link Coalition, contact JAG, the Judge Advocate General Corps, on base—“They’re the military equivalent of prosecutors,” says Arkow—these types of decisions do have the possibility of placing you in more danger, depending on your abuser, so proceed with caution and always consult an advocate first.
An advocate may also be able to help you temporarily place your pet in a safe place, until you figure out next steps. For more information on this, read, “Planning for Pet Safety.”
Have a question for Ask Amanda? Message us on Facebook, Twitter or email AskAmanda@DomesticShelters.org.
Ask Amanda is meant to offer helpful resources and information about domestic violence. If in crisis, please reach out to your nearest domestic violence shelter for the guidance of a trained advocate.
Although known by many different names, intimate partner violence has been an unfortunate part of domestic life throughout civilization. As far back as 1800 B.C., the Code of Hammurabi introduced the concept of a man “taking” a wife, thereby making her his property. A man could inflict punishment on any member of his household or property for any transgression. “If she had been a bad wife, the Code allowed him to send her away, while he kept the children and her dowry; or he could degrade her to the position of a slave in his own house, where she would have food and clothing. She might bring an action against him for cruelty and neglect and, if she proved her case, obtain a judicial separation, taking with her her dowry. No other punishment fell on the man. If she did not prove her case, but proved to be a bad wife, she was drowned.” (Rev. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, 2008).
In ancient Rome, the "paterfamilias," or "father of the family," had absolute rule over his household and children. If they angered him, he had the legal right to disown his children, sell them into slavery or even kill them. The Roman Emperor Constantine had his wife killed in an over-heated bath.
Throughout the Middle Ages, domestic abuse continued to not only be the norm, but even sanctioned. Squires and noblemen beat their wives as regularly as they beat their serfs; the peasants faithfully followed their lords' example. The Church sanctioned the subjection of women. Priests advised abused wives to win their husbands' good will through increased devotion and obedience. In a medieval theological manual, a man is given permission to "castigate his wife and beat her for correction..." (SafeNETWORK, 1999)
In Renaissance France when it became clear that too many women and children were being beaten to death and their economic contributions lost, lawmakers acted to moderate the effects of domestic chastisement. One statute, considered in its time to be progressive, restricted the chastisement of wives and children to "blows, thumps, kicks or punches on the back...which did not leave any marks," but added, "the man who is not master of his wife is not worthy of being a man." Another law even later, designed to protect women and children stated that, "All the inhabitants have the right to beat their wives so long as death does not follow." (Women Safe, 2011)
In the late 1500’s, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible in Russia, the State Church sanctions the oppression of women by issuing a Household Ordinance that describes when and how a man might most effectively beat his wife. He is allowed to kill a wife or serf for disciplinary purposes. In the 1600’s, many Russian women fight back. When they kill their husbands for all the injustices they have been forced to endure, their punishment is to be buried alive with only their heads above the ground, and left to die. Meanwhile, in England, "the Golden Age of the Rod" is used against women and children. Violence against wives is encouraged throughout this time. (SafeNETWORK, 1999)
Things were no better in the United States. Up through 1871, the “right of chastisement” was the law of the land. Under this law, a husband not only had the ability to physically reprimand his spouse but he also acquired the rights to his wife's person, the value of both her paid and unpaid labor, and as well as any property that accompanied their nuptials.
In 1871, a landmark ruling in Fulgham v. the State of Alabama began a change in how women would be treated. The court claimed that the rule of love superseded the rule of force by denying the privilege of brutality against women. (THE RIGHT OF CHASTISEMENT: Fulgham vs. the State of Alabama, 2008-2016)
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, U. S. laws were changing to prohibit a physical assault by a man against his wife and to recognize marital rape as a crime. However, a stigma remained; wives were hesitant to report and domestic abuse was often not regarded with the same severity as other assaults.
As the Feminist Movement began to grow in the 1960’s, more support was seen for abused women. In 1967, the first domestic violence shelter in the United States was opened in Maine. Five years later, the nation’s first emergency rape crisis line was opened in Washington, D.C.
Finally, in 1978, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence was organized to serve as the voice for the battered women’s movement on the national level. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, federal legislation was passed providing protection, resources and recourse for victims of domestic violence.
Two members of the Statesboro Therapy Dogs and their humans visited our Children's Program. One of the little girls in our shelter was afraid of dogs, including the support animal living in the shelter with another client. We needed to help her overcome this fear. Gatlin and his trainer, Cheri Duffey, worked patiently with the girl over a two-week period. By the time Gatlin left after his second visit, she was petting his soft fur!
Domestic violence thrives when we are silent; but if we take a stand and work together, we can end domestic violence. Throughout the month of October, help us to raise awareness about domestic violence and join in our efforts to end violence. Here is what you can do:
Donate or Volunteer
Join the National Week of Action
In observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Safe Haven and the Bulloch County Task Force hosted their annual Candlelight Vigil to support and honor the survivors of domestic violence.
The prayer was given by Francys Johnson of the Johnson Firm PC and Ashley Moore sang moving renditions of “You Raise Me Up” and “Amazing Grace”.
During the Vigil, a former Safe Haven client told her story of survival and everyone in attendance shared a moment of silence to honor those who have lost their lives due to domestic violence-related crimes in Georgia.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in this event!
On January 3, 2014, Madame Couture’s Consignment Boutique hosted a fashion show that benefited Safe Haven. As an entrance fee to see the show, members of the audience were asked to donate a paper product which were then given to the shelter. The show was held at the Averitt Center For The Arts and the night was full of energy and beautiful clothes from the local boutiques! We would like to give a big thanks to Madame Couture’s Consignment Boutique, DeJa’Vu Upscale Resale Consignment Boutique, Children’s Cottage Consignment, RJ Pope Traditional Menswear, The Feathered Nest, and Silk and Purple for participating in the event. Paper products are always a huge need at Safe Haven and we appreciate your thoughtfulness!
Left: Marie Proctor, Owner of Madame Couture’s Consignment Boutique presents paper products to Safe Haven Staff.