The director of Harmony House, an emergency shelter for domestic violence victims, emphasizes the importance of understanding that domestic violence affects people of all classes. Domestic violence knows no boundaries; it affects lower, middle, and upper-class families as well as people of all races and ethnicities. The Harmony House Director debunks the misconception that domestic violence does not occur in affluent, suburban communities. She continually attempts to spread awareness that domestic violence victims come from all socioeconomic levels and that they can all take advantage of various resources to help them transition into independent living and navigate the legal system.
Recently, there have been several stories in the news regarding domestic violence that resulted in homicide. These instances occurred in affluent neighborhoods to professional members of the community such as physicians, lawyers, and church deacons. The Director is not surprised by this trend and notes that when domestic violence happens to members of the middle or upper-classes there tends to be a “veil of silence” surrounding the abuse, often leading victims to stay in their abusive situations.
The Veil of Silence
The veil of silence is a phrase used by advocates to describe situations in which domestic violence victims do not seek help because they fear retaliation, having no source of income, or wanting to maintain a certain image. Domestic violence victims may experience shame and embarrassment or be afraid of how it might affect their careers. They may also fear that no one will believe or support them. Sometimes, seemingly affluent victims cannot access the money necessary to remove themselves from the situation and maintain an independent life.
The Harmony House director believes that poorer victims’ tendency to call the police or stay at shelters may explain why people have misconceptions about domestic violence and socioeconomic status. The reality is that, regardless of affluence, one in four women in the United States will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Non-affluent victims may be more likely to utilize services like emergency shelters because they cannot afford to move out of town or stay at a hotel. However, affluent victims can take advantage of other forms of assistance provided by organizations like Harmony House.
There are many non-shelter resources available to victims regardless of their class such as education and assistance developing safety plans. Case managers are able to assist victims who need help leaving their current situation as well as victims who have left their current situation and are seeking support. Victims may also benefit from the advice of legal counsel who can help them navigate the legal system should they choose to divorce.
Mendham Domestic Violence Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Victims of Domestic Violence
If you wish to discuss or obtain counsel for a domestic violence matter, contact a Mendham domestic violence lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Our firm utilizes a client-centered approach to help you through your personal challenges. We can provide you with experienced, knowledgeable representation and help bring your case to a successful conclusion. Our offices are located in Somerville, New Jersey, and we represent clients throughout the state including Somerville, Somerset,, Mendham, and Woodbridge. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777.