The Protection Order—A False Sense of Security

By Kellene Bishop

Photo c/o gafamilylawblog.com

Photo c/o gafamilylawblog.com

Too many times there have been instances in which a person’s life was lost or forever physically altered because they mistakenly thought they were safe by virtue of a Protection Order.  This is a façade.  A fallacy.  A state of dreaming.  In spite of the name of a Protection Order, the only time protection is actually ordered is in the courtroom when the judge utters such words.  It has very little efficacy otherwise.  Just as contracts are only as good as those who sign them, laws are only as effective as those who enforce it.  Whether it’s a matter of priority, culture, or manpower, rarely are Protection Orders enforced with any kind of a police presence or support. 

It’s unfortunate that such a legal process has consistently proven to be ineffective in protecting the life of its intended person.  Stalking, harassment, violent threats, even child kidnapping have all been cause for women to request a Protection Orders.  But very few times do they come with any semblance of enforcement by local “law enforcement” authorities.  I don’t mean to sound too terribly bitter in writing this, but it infuriates me when I see—literally—10 times the number of persons being pulled over for speeding in the last several months, all the while knowing that some woman is living her life with a false sense of security from a Protection Order that will not be enforced by law enforcement.  Too often such protective orders are recognized when it was far too late. The point of this piece is not to trash on law enforcement or the court systems.  It’s to make you realize that a protection order will NOT physically protect you and truly gives a false sense of security.  Chances are a Protection Order will only legally protect you (which becomes very important, but much later than you may anticipate).  The Supreme Court has already passed down a ruling clearly stating that police officers don’t even have the obligation to protect you even when they are witnessing a crime, let alone when you call them up in fear for your life because you just got a threatening phone call.  

firearmSo what can you do when Mr. Crazy Man is unfazed by a piece of paper that says he’s not to be anywhere near his object of violent obsession?  I recommend that we not fool ourselves into believing that this Protection Order will physically protect us.  While it’s an excellent legal strategy to have a protective order in place, and it will make an impact on a small percentage of offenders, it certainly is not the same as having Bruno, the bodyguard, follow you around.  Instead, I would recommend that you are regularly accompanied by Mr. Smith & Wesson, or his cousin, Mr. Glock.  While a Protection Order does give you a thin veil of safety, it’s important that you mentally prepare to defend yourself in spite of a protective order.  As you’ve no doubt heard me say time and time again, get a firearm, get a permit (so that you can use the firearm regardless of where you are—with a few exceptions) and get some quality training with that firearm.  It’s the ONLY equalizer that can stand between you and the enemy… and make no mistake about it, if a man is harassing you, stalking you, or threatening you, he’s NOT your husband, boyfriend, acquaintance, the father of your children, the former love of your life.  He IS indeed your enemy and you have every right to protect yourself from such.

For another example of a protective order gone bad, click here.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

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7 Responses

  1. I’m with you on the fallacy that restraining/protection orders provide protection.

    And you do mention, “Chances are a Protection Order will only legally protect you (which becomes very important, but much later than you may anticipate).”

    But it is worth emphasizing that if the person feels their stalker, abuser, etc may harass them and might not immediately escalate to attempting to take their life, then the PO/RO is essential for ratcheting up charges and getting Mr./Mrs. Crazy locked up for longer. In many jurisdictions, PR/RO initial violations are misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors, but repeat offenses become felonies.

    Further, PO/ROs are often described as a homework assignment for victims to prove they’re serious about the offenses they allege of their crazy person. i.e. if a woman is willing to go to the trouble of getting a court order, then she’s probably not just a whiner.

    Of course, PO/ROs are so prevalent in bad breakups which don’t have a dangerous component that some law enforcement agencies can’t see the trees for the forest. To them it’s just another item to serve on a respondent, not a plea for help from customer in their jurisdiction.

    So it’s important when you get an PO/RO to sit down with a preferably more senior officer in your local law enforcement agency to explain the background on the PO/RO so they understand it’s serious.

    The subsequent benefit is that when/if something does happen, they are more likely to respond to your requests for help; they’re more likely to view you as the obvious victim as opposed to just one of two trouble-makers; it’ll be a smidgen easier to convince city or county prosecutors to charge the crazy person with something. And if things really go south and you end up using lethal force to stop Mr/Mrs Crazy, you might just be in a better position in the eyes of prosecutors and jurors, if it comes to that.

    So by all means provide your own protection to survive the incident with Mr/Mrs Crazy. But do get the protective/restraining order…it might just help the justice system work in your favor.

  2. This is something I have preached for years. It is only a piece of paper,and meaningless to crazy people.

    The only way to feel safe is to be safe, and that is not 911.

    Get a gun,get trained,and have the will to use it if need be. This is what women need to do to be safe from crazy people.

    • By and large, PO’s mean less than the paper they’re printed on. In my experience, that is not by fault of law enforcement; rather by the fact that if the perpetrator was inclined to follow the law, there wouldn’t have been a need for a PO to begin with. Expecting a court order to keep an abuser from exacting further abuse is about as smart as believing a gun ban will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

      I wish more victims would recognize the limitations of the PO and start taking matters into their own hands…literally. My all-time favorite quote: When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.

  3. Restraining orders are only valid to rational actors, not unlike gun laws, which only carry the weight of law for law-abiding citizens.

    If you’ve got a ‘crazy’ on your hands, you’re on your own, sister.

  4. Excellent advice, Kellene. It is always safer to fully and legally exercise your 2nd Amendment rights then rely on an understaffed, overworked police department who is always a day late and a dollar short.

  5. I realize this is not a recent post, but wantted to say thank you for it. This kind of advice should be given to every woman applying for a PO. Additionally, being served with a PO often enrages the perpetrator and makes hime MORE likely to attack. Having the order is good – it let’s law enforcement know there is ahistory of violence. By itself it is just paper. My violent ex repeatedly violated these orders despite being arrested (the courts aren’t always tough on offenders). I got a German Shepherd and a 9mm. I let my ex know that gun was on my headboard. He never broke in or attacked me again! As women we owe it to ourselves to protect ourselves.

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