We all, myself included, encourage battered women to call law enforcement when domestic violence escalates and becomes potentially dangerous. We know that police only respond to physical abuse, so it doesn’t matter how much psychological abuse or coercive control has occurred, law enforcement only wants to assess for physical injuries.
When she does call, what happens? Does she get help? Well, that depends. (Don’t you just hate that expression) Does she have any physical injuries? If so, police are supposed to make an arrest. But what is she has no apparent injuries? What if she was strangled but there are no bruises? (Necks often don’t bruise or the bruises show up later) What if she fought back to protect herself and he got scratched? Uh oh. He is the only one with a visible injury. So guess what happens? She gets arrested.
Now she is in jail, she is separated from her kids, and she gets charged. The District Attorney doesn’t want to appear soft on women charged with domestic violence, so she faces charges. And,what is going on while she is trying to get out on bail? The abuser is off to family court to get custody of the kids. And, he will get it because she is being charged with domestic violence. What better way to show her that she better not ever call the cops again, than to take her children?
So, what have we learned here? That it’s never as simple as it seems when you are the victim of domestic violence. That sometimes calling for help ends up being punishment.
Should we encourage people who are abused to get help? Yes, but…..
Ruth Carrillo said:
I have to say that I have learned that the cops are available to keep peace in any civil dispute will be rejected by most officers. Once the victim falls into the system, it becomes hard to prove the victims inocence.
If you have a domestic dispute and there are children involved, either both parents go to jail and the children end up in foster care or on of the parents needs to step up to the plate and take the blame in order to keep the children in their home. I had a similar situation in 2011 and when I found out that my ex had acused me of trying to kill him after he was the one that was hitting me in our master closet and I was seperated from my children for a few weeks unable to return to my home, I wanted to die. When I tried to reach out for help, It was very hard for me to find the resources to believe that I was the victim. In my case my ex told me that the cops had told him that they were going to drop me off at the corner, yet he was calling my family saying that he did not know where I was when he knew he had gotten me arrested because fo his lies. I believe that he was trying to scare me because I had found out he was seeing someone else and he was tring to scare me and show me who was in control.
It becomes a punishment, when you do know know what to do.
On the Couch with Dr. Barnard said:
Thank you, Ruth. Unfortunately, what you are saying is too often true. And once you are identified as the guilty party, that label sticks to you. Many programs will provide no services if they believe you are not the victim. And, abusers use this as another way to control you.