In other words, Brenda could have been proactive rather than reactive. To get a protective order something bad has to have happened - a protective or restraining order restricts a person's civil rights and Brenda would need to show cause before a judge will order one put into effect - but Brad's lower-level but nonetheless traumatizing behaviors are aimed at making Brenda's life miserable, and it is up to Brenda to think about what might happen and plan accordingly.
The thinking here is very much like planning for a power outage from a snowstorm, or an earthquake, or a flood. The upsetting influence is another human rather than an act of God, but the mindset is similar. Because this is someone you loved, and probably still love, it can be difficult to be proactive, but maybe reading Brenda's story will give you some hints as to why it is worth taking another look at safety planning.