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Article by listed attorney: Fawzia Khan

The trial of Oscar Pistorius continues to capture the world’s media attention, as the Paralympic athlete defends the charge of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The State contends that Pistorius shot his girlfriend dead after a heated argument, a charge denied by him. The court of public opinion may already found him guilty, however whether or not Pistorius is indeed guilty of the crime of murder, is still to be decided by the court.

Whatever the outcome of the case, it has brought the topic of domestic violence under the spotlight. Most women are victims of violence perpetrated by their partners.  Whilst statistics show that most abusers are men, this is not necessarily always the case. But by and large the majority of domestic violence victims are indeed women. One of the many misconceptions people have is that domestic violence only exists amongst the poor and downtrodden. In actual fact, domestic abuse can exist in any home whether affluent or not, regardless of race or religion. During my career as a lawyer I have seen a number of victims of domestic abuse. Some of the telltale signs I have found that a person may be in an abusive relationship include the following:- the person displays little, if any, self confidence; or would have unexplained bruises or marks on her body; or the partner is extremely possessive and jealous or extremely controlling to the extent that the victim becomes genuinely fearful of their partner’s reaction if there is a slight change in their scheduled movements for that day, and many others.

If you are in an abusive relationship, you can apply for a protection order, in terms of the Domestic Violence Act. The law offers protection against physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse (this is where the abuser withholds finances necessary to allow you and your dependents to continue to enjoy the standard of living you are accustomed to), intimidation, stalking, damage to property, entering your property without your permission, (provided you and the abuser are not still living in the same house), or any other controlling behaviour that causes to fear for your safety, health or well-being. There are many shelters for women who are in an abusive relationship. Here they are offered a safe house, often with an opportunity to learn new skills to empower themselves in the working world.  

Know your rights! The Law Desk of Fawzia Khan & Associates. We know! We care! We deliver! Email or call 031-5025670 for legal assistance.