10 December 2022
That is the golden rule Mike Bolhuis, founder of
Specialised Security Services (SSS), stands by and that is why he believes that victims of gender-based violence should speak up and take action after the first assault, before it becomes an abusive circle.
“Incidents of domestic violence just becomes more severe and worse until the victim is eventually murdered. It will not stop. However, the longer it continues, the more devastating the impact not only on the victim, but also on children. Then there is more damage.”
“If a victim acts after the first incident, it is highly unlikely to escalate to a point where the victim is totally broken and doesn’t know what to do, and the abuser is likely to be imprisoned if found guilty,” says Bolhuis.
According to him, victims allow assault to become the norm because they do not take action. “Don’t allow the cycle of abuse to start.”
He believes that an abuser can rehabilitate, but with the right support and intervention.
Unfortunately, victims don’t have enough faith in the ability of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to protect them and the wheels of the criminal justice system is so slow that victims lose faith and interest in cases.
There is also too many people abusing the system with false claims, opening false cases and obtaining interdicts to serve their own motives. These individuals places a huge burden on the system to the detriment of real victims who do not get the services they need and are entitled to.
“There are a lot of so-called victims who obtain protection orders to strengthen their case when filing for a divorce or abuses this in custody battles over minor children.
“Many victims feel that a protection order is not sufficient to protect them. A protection order will help, but only if the victim is honest and adheres to what is expected of them. This is very important, because GBV is not a game. Victims must also act responsible and not use protection orders to scare abusers. A protection order in itself has severe consequences and will have the desired impact if all parties adhere to it, but it may never be used as a tool by the victim.”
Bolhuis has a list for victims when they decide to break the cycle and walk away:
Think carefully about what you are about to do, knowing that when you make your decision, it must be a final break. There is no turning back. If you walk away, you continue walking.
Put your decision in writing and inform everyone surrounding you. Ensure that you have a support structure ready to keep you going. Stick to your written decision.
If you made your decision, start with the divorce proceedings. Get the best help you can afford and seek help from a victim empowerment centre and the South African Police Service (SAPS) if needed.
Turn the page and start a new life. Don’t look back. Build a support structure within your religion, make new friends with a positive influence and take on life, start to exercise and take up a hobby.
Don’t jump into a new relationship. Learn from your mistakes. Be open-minded, but carefully check the background of any person you consider entering into a relationship with, even if it means seeking the help from professionals to do so.
Bolhuis and his team specialises in investigating Serious Violent and Serious Economic Crimes. If you need help, contact him directly on 082 447 6116.
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