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Testimony from a Domestic Violence survivor

Testimony from a Domestic Violence survivor

“I am a DV survivor twice over. When I escaped my first DV relationship, I was told that I needed to disappear, that I needed to go underground. That I need to change everything about myself in order to prevent my abuser from finding me—where I lived, my appearance, the car I drove. With police escort, I moved to an undisclosed location and entered my state’s address confidentiality program. Even then, every time I went out in public, I had to ensure I wasn’t being followed. I couldn’t help but wonder—why was I, the victim, the one who had to uproot my life to stay safe when my abuser could just go about his business unencumbered?

My second DV experience turned out to be a night and day difference. During the legal battle, I fled my home because the lethality risk was so high. I was in hiding for many months, moving from safehouse to safehouse. It was awful. I was drenched in fear every single day. I couldn’t eat and lost a ton of weight. I couldn’t sleep, was shaky, and easily startled. But then, the day of the final hearing, the judge ordered my abuser to be placed on electronic monitoring with victim notification. Tears of relief rolled down my cheeks. My abuser took so much from me. But this technology gave me two of those things back, my safety and my home.

The positive impacts to my health and mental health of being back in my own home and knowing I am safe have been remarkable. I now consistently sleep through the night, I’m able to eat again, and my PTSD symptoms like anxiety and hypervigilance have begun to remit. I used to go into full body panic every time I saw a car similar to my abuser’s out in public. Because of the roving mobile exclusion zone, that doesn’t happen anymore. I walk with confidence knowing that he is not nearby and that if he is, I will be alerted immediately.

Electronic monitoring places the burden, appropriately, on the perpetrator who caused the harm, not the victim. It provides real time enforcement of the promise of safety the state makes when it issues a DV protection order. In the absence of electronic monitoring, a protection order is just a piece of paper–it’s not bulletproof. It is my wish for every survivor to have access to this technology. It has done more than save my life—it has given me new life. I will be forever grateful.”

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