I Was a Domestic Violence Victim. My Town Wanted Me Evicted for Calling 911.
This piece originally appeared on The Guardian.
I remember the day I realized that I had to stop calling the police, no matter what danger I was in. It was 9 April 2012 when the police came to my home to arrest my ex-boyfriend, who had physically assaulted me.
When they were there, an officer told me I was “on three strikes”. I had no idea what he was referring to, nor did he explain. “We are gonna have your landlord evict you” he added. Later, after I requested more information from the police department, I was told I was being punished for calling 911.
Norristown, Pennsylvania, where I live, had a local nuisance law that specifically said that calls about domestic violence would count as “strikes”. Three would lead to eviction. I wanted to keep my home for me and my child — so I stopped calling the police, even when there was more domestic violence at my home. But I couldn’t stop other people calling 911. I received two more strikes from the city as a result of other people trying to help me.
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