Monday, April 21, 2014

A PFA Is A Piece of Paper

Disclaimer:  This is a personal web log. The opinions expressed are my own. Please note that I am not dispensing advice. These are my personal experiences and reflections. 

I cannot tell you how often I was told to “Get a PFA”.  I heard it from family members, crisis hotline workers, attorneys and friends.  A protection from abuse order is a paper that is signed by a judge and tells the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences.  It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims.  An attorney described a PFA as a tool for police and lawyers.

Each time I was asked my answer was an immediate and emphatic “NO”.   I would then have to explain my belief that a PFA is a piece a paper.  The piece of paper would not have protected me from a person with unstable mental health and a proclivity for violence.  I believe that if I would have gotten a PFA…I would not be here writing this blog post today.   Could I be wrong in my assessment?  Sure.  However, it doesn’t matter because I believed it to be true.

In February, I was contacted by the police because they wanted to talk to me.   The detective told me I could come to him or he could come to me.   Not much of a choice.   It really sucks getting a phone call from the police…just saying.  We set an appointment and the waiting was much worse than the actual interview.   I went to the police station and sat with the detective.  The interview room looked nothing like I imagined it.   It was a big open classroom and not like the CSI, NCIS or SVU interview rooms.

At the end of the appointment, I asked the detective if I needed to get a PFA. This was the first and only time I considered filing for a PFA.  He shrugged and said “A PFA is a piece of paper.”  It was explained that I might get one but since there was no imminent threat I might not get one.  It was also explained that certain conversation are not protected especially since we had a child.  I pretty much got the feeling there was no point.  I left the appointment reassured in my past decisions to not file for a PFA.


The Strongest Karate said...

Awful, what you and your daughter have been put through.

Regarding the PFA, I don't pretend to be a lawyer or LEO but I think you got good advice and made the right decision. One of the things I remembered from "The Gift of Fear" was that PFAs often have the opposite intended effect, depending on the person's mental state. It can signal to that person that they have been, as a human being, completely rejected. And this can, for some, trigger further episodes of violence.

You probably know all of this already, though, I'll bet.

I hope your situation improves soon.

Anonymous said...

Michele, I just idly checked your blog, and realized your situation. We don't know each other except through your words in this space, but as one mother to another, I just wanted to say that I will be thinking of you, and hoping with all my heart that things get better for you and your daughter.


Robot Fight Fitness said...

I totally agree with you when you refer to the PFA as just a piece of paper. I think the idea of it is a good one, but realistically, it is nothing more than just paper, and does not really offer any real protection.