Imagine being trapped with a monster in your own home, not just for one brief nightmare during a normal night’s sleep, but everyday. They say home is where the heart is, but this is not the case for victims of domestic violence in Mississippi. In the state of Mississippi, being assaulted by a spouse is not enough to free oneself from the clutches of an abusive marriage.
Citizens would likely assume that if a victim of domestic violence demonstrates physical evidence of abuse within a marriage, he/she would obviously hold the key to his/her own freedom. However, this is not the case. One picture of one black eye and one spouse ready to run is apparently not enough for Mississippi. Part of the problem is that the abuse must prove to be “habitual.” This implies the victim would need to gather his/her own evidence throughout the years (talk about disturbing selfies). The situation becomes even more grim than it already is if the violence is verbal, sexual or emotional; there is little potential for gathering physical evidence of these types of abuses.
Furthermore, as of now, in order for an abused spouse to have the opportunity to divorce, both partners of the marriage must seek divorce. This seems reasonable but only to a certain extent. It’s pretty common knowledge that psychotic abusive people have a hard time letting things go due to their obsessions with control and dysfunctional personal schemas.
Recently, there was a glimmer of hope for the people of Mississippi with the reintroduction of a bill that would make domestic violence legal grounds for divorce. Tragically, the bill failed. There are currently 12 acceptable reasons for divorce according to Mississippi law, and domestic violence was supposed to be the lucky number 13. Unluckily, politics has betrayed the most vulnerable victims of its populace.
It’s unimaginable that today in a state that is part of the country best known for its prioritization of human rights lacks such a basic legal right.
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