In one of the most horrible miscarriages of justice that I have ever heard, a woman was sentenced to 365 days in jail for lying about being beaten by her boyfriend. The full story is attached for your own reading and thoughts.
To make a long story short, a tape of an interview with the victim after a second incident where she was being threatened by her live-in boyfriend provide information to the courts about her lying about an earlier incident where she had been beaten with a tire iron. The deputy district attorney who issued the perjury case said that victims of domestic violence lying to protect those who beat them is sad but truthful testimony is essential to justice.
Victims do not report the abuse or do not press charges and they lie in court to protect themselves. Victims know that if they do take action against their abusers, they will suffer harsher punishment as soon as the abuser has access to them again.He also said, “There is no excuse for violence. Situations where people recant or minimize are on a human level understandable. But we rely on evidence for truthful testimony. Victims of domestic abuse lie, we anticipate it, but we want to put on truthful evidence.”
Obviously, this court officer has absolutely no idea about what the victim’s real motivation for lying may truly be. In addition, if you read the comments submitted by readers of this story, you will quickly understand that those who have never endured domestic violence haven’t a clue about it. I suppose this makes it easier to understand why it is so very difficult to get help for the victims who do want to get out of their abusive situations.
I don’t know of a single abuse survivor who would lie in court to protect those who beat them. Victims do not report the abuse or do not press charges and they lie in court to protect themselves. Victims know that if they do take action against their abusers, they will suffer harsher punishment as soon as the abuser has access to them again. Victims’ lives are threatened if they tell the truth. And victims who try and succeed in getting restraining orders against their abusers know that the abusers will not respect the order and will come after them with a vengeance. If you don’t believe it, just think about and keep an eye open for all of the stories where a restraining order was violated and the victim was killed.
There are also those who believe that domestic violence is only an issue in lower economic groups and among those with lower levels of education. However, those who have done studies in this area have proven that this is not true. In just the past two days, I have come across several stories of police officers, legislators and professionals such as doctors and lawyers abusing their own spouses or partners. It happens all the time on a daily basis.
I believe that the only way that domestic abuse can become real for most people is to put a face on it. Every survivor needs to tell her own personal story over and over and over to everyone who will listen and in every possible arena. People need to know that it is their family members, their friends and co-workers who are real victims and survivors of abuse. While most victims are too ashamed to talk about the abuse, it is the only way that others will come to know the magnitude of this problem. In addition, when survivors share their stories, those that are still suffering do know that they are not alone, that there are those who have fought for their own survival and that help is available if they chose to leave.
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Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.