Orders of Protection are just one tool to keep people safe, but do they work?
Are they just a piece of paper or a potential life-saver?
"When somebody's got a gun to your head you got to take them serious. I did and I would again," says Jajuan Legate.
Legate is a survivor.
Last year, she tried to break up with a man she'd been dating for two years, but he wouldn't have it.
In July 2011, he kidnapped her with a gun and duct tape, but she got away.
When he came back again, one week later: "I wasn't going to be one of those women looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life," Legate said.
Legate was prepared, but not with a protection order.
She didn't have enough time to get one and believed he wouldn't have cared anyway.
Still, some experts say, the slip of paper can be a safety shield.
"We do know that it decreases the violence," says Jayne Anne Kita with the Arkansas Domestic Violence Coalition.
Kita says the orders allow police to arrest offenders if they come too near a victim they have previously harmed or threatened.
But the process to get one isn't easy, and often takes hours at the courthouse.
An order didn't exactly work for Alindria Carroll.
"There are some kinks in the process," Carroll says. "He held me over the couch, choked me, I was slapped, dragged across the floor."
Even after she got an order on her son's father, she says he called, came over and threatened her.
Despite a thick paper trail, her ex still hasn't been arrested.
"I don't even think the Order of Protection bothers him," she says. "I know there are holes in the system, so I wish there was some kind of way victims and law enforcement could work together to build that trust."
Numbers suggest the gaps in the system may be narrowing. While the number of people applying for orders appears to be holding steady, the number of offenders arrested for violating the orders have doubled in the past five years: from 250 in 2007 to 500 in 2011.
That's proof positive, Kita says, protection orders work.
"It is a strong deterrent for future violence," she says.
Carroll still keeps a watchful eye, focusing only on her son's safety.
Her advice about that piece of paper: "Go ahead and get it, but call an advocate to help you through the process," she says.
Legate also suggests getting one to prove a pattern of violence, but says it can't be your only defense.
"The police can't be with you everywhere you go 24 hours a day," Legate says.
That's why she had tucked a gun in her purse.
That August day, she unloaded it, killing her attacker before he could have killed her. A prosecutor found she was justified in doing so.
"Victims have to protect themselves most of the time. It's sad, but we are strong enough to do it too," she adds.
Legate's words echo those of other advocates. Protection order or otherwise, they say, do whatever you feel is necessary to survive.
Click here, if you need more information about orders of protection or domestic violence resources.