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Sorry to dump this on y'all so soon; I hardly know you. I am so outraged. Will somebody be outraged with me, please?
My husband put me in an arm lock & unplugged the phones when I threatened to call the police, and wouldn't let me leave the house. I got away & went to the neighbors and called for help.
I told the police officers what happened. They took a report and left (I didn't press charges, I just wanted my son out of there). Later, I reconciled with my husband. Yes, you probably think I'm an idiot, maybe I am. He realizes he was an ass and is in councling now and feels extremely remorseful. He knows he was out of control.

My husband was going to lose his job because of my accusations against him. He is our only source of income; I only work half the year. So I called the police and recanted my story. Stupid huh?
Now for the really outrageous part.
They charged me with a criminal misdemeanor for filing a false report. They never brought charges against my husband (which is good for us, we'd be living in a box).
I guess I shouldn't have recanted, but at the time it seemed like a choice of staying financially solvent and keeping our family together vs. going to jail.
I have talked to the police leiutenant abou the charges against me. He tells me this is agency policy. They do it partially to try to get battered women to testify against their abusers and partly for liabilty reasons.
I'm over feeling sorry for myself. (They will probably dismiss my case) But I think this is a terrible policy. I think it will get women killed. They may be afraid to call the police in the future if they are tried as criminals. Battered women can recant for lots of reasons. What if they're threatened? If they are forced to the stand and testify against their abusers, they may face retaliation.
I have called most of the women's rights/civil rights organizations I can find, both state and national. What I've mostly gotten is some version of "You're right, but we don't really do that sort of thing. Good luck."
I can't be the only one outraged by this, right? mad.gif
i agree its horrible. i used to work at a domestic violence counseling center and the police are generally awful at respnding to domestic violence complaints.

i am glad that you are being proactive about protecting your right as a citizen, but are you being as equally proactive about ensuring your home is a safe environment for your child and yourself? i would recommend that you talk to a counselor at your local domestic violence/womens' center. its always good to have plans for the future, whether it be to make your relationship with your husband healthier or to ensure that you have a place to go in case this ever happens again. remember you can always dial 911 from a cell phone as long as its charge, even if its not activated.

stay well.
QUOTE(ferraro @ Aug 22 2006, 11:22 PM) *

i agree its horrible. i used to work at a domestic violence counseling center and the police are generally awful at respnding to domestic violence complaints.

i am glad that you are being proactive about protecting your right as a citizen, but are you being as equally proactive about ensuring your home is a safe environment for your child and yourself? i would recommend that you talk to a counselor at your local domestic violence/womens' center. its always good to have plans for the future, whether it be to make your relationship with your husband healthier or to ensure that you have a place to go in case this ever happens again. remember you can always dial 911 from a cell phone as long as its charge, even if its not activated.

stay well.

Yes, I do feel safe at home. If I believed my son was in danger nothing on earth would make me stay. My husband isn't generally violent, but he does have a temper. We are both in conselling and are determined that this will never happen again. I've actaully worked domestic violence situations before (ex-law enforcement) and I can't believe I ended up on the other side.
write letters. lots of them. and send them everywhere, carbon copied everywhere else. call all your local radio, tv, newspaper, congress people etc, make a BIG stink and make some changes happen.
i know how hard this is but you aren't facing it alone, there are LOTS of women out there who have gone through the same thing. start some community action, talk to some churches, community centers, women's centers, any and every one you can think of. make waves woman.
I can't believe that thread about denying god has more views than mine. How embarassing! An update: I was arraigned yesterday. I pled guilty to the criminal misdemeanor of filing a false police report. I explained to the judge that "if I lied to the police it was to keep my family together and to keep my husband employed." I told him I didn't deserve a criminal record for that. He deferred the sentence for one year provided that we attend counseling (well, duh) and - get this - there are no more domestic calls to our residence.
The message that the police are sending women in my town? If you're husband's beating the crap out of you, that's your business, but don't bother us with it.
It's not like this has ever happened to us before. I've never even gotten a speeding ticket.
I think I'm gonna go to law school. mad.gif
I must be missing something (and also I know little about the US system), but - it seems to me that legally speaking, your official story is that you lied about the domestic incident, not that you are lying now.

So the reason your sentence is deferred conditionally is because they are going on the premise that you are telling the truth that the domestic callout was a hoax, so you're not being charged for it on the condition that you don't do it again.

So, the message would be to hoax callers to not hoax call. Because in order for them to accept your recanting, the court has to accept that it was a hoax call.

I agree that the police policy is a terrible and destructive one, but it seems like it's really at that end of the system that the problem lies. There needs to be a third option, where a woman can say yes, the incident happened and I didn't lie, but also no, I am not pressing charges. And the police should drop it there.

Just my 2c.
venetia, are you in canada? the reason i ask, i am in canada, and you brought up an interesting point at the end of your post, about a woman being able to call, state the facts and also state that she does not want to press charges.

i remember when i lived out in the prairies years ago, there was a policy change of some kind (i'm sorry, i don't know exactly the times and the specifics) - but they were making it so that if i woman called in regarding domestic violence and the police went out - and it was obvious or whatever that violence had happened, the police *had* to charge the person committing the violence. am i making sense? even if the person (usually the woman) who called did not want to press charges. then i think it changed again, but i'm not sure.

and i'm not sure if this is a nation-wide or just provincial policy. does anyone know anything about that?

sweet_persephone, how are you doing? is the counselling working for your husband and for yourself? (sorry, if that's too personal and you don't want to answer, i respect that).
ambercherry, i'm in Winnipeg and I think that the policy is still the same, however, the police must witness some sort of abuse taking place, otherwise they can't do a thing unless the person being abused presses charges. I think that's where it becomes murky...people tend to think they can just go in and arrest, but they have to witness it, and it's pretty unlikely that an abuser will do something with the cops standing right there.
erinjane, thanks for the info. i wonder in how many other cities this is the case. i thought there was something like that - about the police having to witness something. what about in the case where a neighbour/passer-by makes a call and the police attend - and just before entering/knocking, they hear obvious violence going on and there are visible, fresh wounds on the victim (sorry, i hate that term). i think it still applies in those cases, no? or something like that?
i used to work in child protection, and it's amazing what some people will do in front of workers and police.
persephone, I'm not sure where you are, but in Canada, policies on violence in intimate relationships, including mandatory charging, do vary from province to province, based on provincial legislation. However, it's Crown (our version of the D.A.) and not the RCMP (or municipal police) that decides whether or not charges are carried forward to the courts. You may still need to figure out whether you're being impacted by RCMP/police or Crown/D.A. policies. If there are no women's centres or free legal clinics in your area, you may want to contact a lawyer to find out what your rights are - most lawyers will give you a first 1/2 hour consultation free.

If I'm understanding what you're saying, you were charged with a criminal misdemeanor b/c you've told police you made a false claim about being assaulted and held against your will. Then you told the courts you were guilty of that criminal misdemeanor even though you weren't guilty - you actually WERE assaulted and held against your will. You have, in essence, perjured yourself in order to protect your assailant from facing criminal charges. I'm not saying this in judgement of you, just trying to be sure I understand - for whatever reason that you felt you needed to do this, it's happened.

I don't think the court's decision really means you can't have any more domestic callouts to your residence - it means that if there ARE domestic callouts, action will likely be taken against the abuser, and your original misdemeanor charge will be revisited, likely with the expectation that you'll confess to dishonestly recanting. If your partner is genuine about getting help and moving forward without violence, then there should be no future breaching of the conditions laid out by the court. If he does turn violent again, I don't think you should have any fear about calling the police - at that point, its more likely that they'd want the truth about the first incident in order to help them build the case against him, not you. I get the sense this isn't necessarily your worry, but that you are more concerned about how other women might be affected by the same conditions, but I wanted to put that out there, just in case.

The criminal justice system is rarely, if ever, possessed of concrete information regarding which situations are genuine exceptions, and which are absolutely serious - a mistake on the part of police or the courts could end in further harm and even death of an abuser's victim. In the next town over from me, ten years ago, a woman and 8 members of her family were murdered by the woman's estranged husband - the 2nd largest massacre in Canada, after the Montreal Massacre - because of mistakes the RCMP made in handling the case. In that case the woman had refused to press charges, and FROM that came our province's mandatory charging laws. Real life situations in your own region (perhaps not as dramatic) probably resulted in the policies affecting you now. So, you are in the position of being punished for breaking the existing laws, whether or not you feel they apply fairly to your situation. Sadly, the legal system isn't about justice, it's about laws.

This particular anti-recant policy is what it is, and in many cases, it probably does improve the situation for battered women as a whole, because so many abused women DO recant and/or lie about abuse in other ways, for many reasons. They may face pressure from their abusers or other family members and friends. They may genuinely believe their abusers' promises to change - laws like this are made in large part because the "honeymoon phase" is now more widely understood to be part of the cycle of abuse. They may feel they have to protect their abusers from coming into contact with the criminal justice system. They may have other reasons altogether. By giving victims "no choice," mandatory charging policies (and by extension, the anti-recant policy affecting you) do lean more towards protecting women by taking away some of these pressures, and by giving the abuser "the system" to blame, rather than his may not always end up going that way in reality, but the principles aren't without merit. No, I'm not saying it's ideal, and I'm not saying I necessarily agree with this particular anti-recant policy, either, though I do believe mandatory charging is an improvement over previous policies, and that more women are protected by mandatory charging - and protected sooner - than are without it.

Yes, the anti-recant policy probably does prevent some battered women from contacting the police the next time, which is a huge flaw in the policy. The impact of mandatory charging as a whole is pretty much the same; it undoubtedly prevents some women from bringing in the police. Yet I know that mandatory charging has also given many women MORE power and courage to make the call and/or to deal with the aftermath of having called, knowing their abusers WILL be dealt with - the decision is out of their hands and they are released from those outside pressures. Mandatory charging also goes a long way towards validating women's experiences of abuse and often empowers women as survivors, by acknowledging the seriousness of the abuse via the criminal justice system. And the reality is that policy and legislation designed to protect people can't be effective if victims aren't willing to disclose the truth about what they need protection from. I do agree with venetia that there needs to be a range of options for abuse victims, BUT, I also feel there are situations where, at some point, some battered women do have to accept a level of personal accountability - not for the abuse, but for refusing to take steps to end it when those steps are made available to them.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh about it. I also apologize if any of it sounds patronizing - I don't mean it to be. I work as a women's rights advocate (I started my current job only months before the massacre I mentioned above, and was heavily involved in the lobby efforts for policy change), and I know the system sucks even when it's trying to be helpful...but I'm also trying to be honest about what's realistic to expect.

The best hope you have of changing the policy is to get involved a lobby campaign to change it. The first thing to do is research the policy and its impact, and talk with other women who've experienced similar situations. I'd suggest doing a LOT of research into finding out whether changing this policy actually WOULD benefit more victims than keeping it as is does. AND finding out the impact the policy has already had - not just on women who've been in your situation, but other women, including women who've been caught in the cycle of abuse. Find out who's benefited from it and how, as well as who's been hurt by it (and how). Perhaps all it needs is a little tweaking. Then you involve other allies and stakeholders in your effort, and start lobbying the policy-makers with women's personal stories and specific recommendations for change. You should also be very specific about which pieces of policy need changing, as some decision-makers are just as likely to want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and weaken protections for victims of abuse. (By the same token, you want to be careful that those you pull in as allies "stay on message" and don't drag the group into their own personal agendas...which some folks are wont to do, especially if you wind up pulling in media attention.)
(Ambercherry - no I'm in Aotearoa or New Zealand)

Doodlebug's post made me think - the other issue is that laws are made by and for the whole society, so there's a sense in which a crime is illegal whether a specific victim wants it to be or not. Eg, I want to live in a world without rape, so even if someone forgave their rapist I would still want him punished for the sake of the rest of us.
That's a good point too, venetia. If the laws were created in order to ensure the greater public good, we don't necessarily get to pick and choose how they apply to our individual situations. The heart of the matter is that this man did break the law by assaulting his wife, and picking and choosing which situations that applies to can, as I said, lead to mistakes resulting in further harm and death.

One thing that I noticed in your posts persephone, was that you said your husband has never been physically violent before, but he does have a "temper." Can you explain how that manifests itself? What happens when he goes into a "temper?" How does he express it?
Hi guys! Sorry to leave you hanging. I just didn't realize how long it had been. The counseling is working out very well. My husband has told some stories about the abuse he suffered a the hands of his father that have made both the counselor and I cry. Horrific stuff. He said to me the other day, "How could I have not realized I was abused?" So he is facing the issues in this situation that made him the abuser, while I am facing my issues that made me the "rescuer".
I have some distance from the situation now, and I will admit that I didn't do my husband or myself any favors, pyschologically speaking, by taking the rap for him. But I gotta tell you, I would do the same thing if it happened today (then I'd leave his ass) out of pure practicality.
The main reason I told the cops that I was mistaken - not that I had lied, or that it was a hoax, that I had misintepreted the situation - is that my husband would have lost his job if an accusation of Domestic Violence had been leveled against him. As it is, he cannot carry a firearm (though our counselor has convinced both of us that's a very good thing) due to what's already happened. Even if I had left him, I would have had no means of support for myself or my son. My son has asthma and depends on the health insurance my husband has through his employer.
I think it is wrong to persecute women for recanting , with the exception that the officer believes there has actually been a hoax. Neither of the officers who responded to this should have believed that, though I am ex law enforcement, and ex-cops are almost as self-righteous as ex-smokers (been there too). Women recant for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that their abuser threatened them.
And it's true, I am not complaining for myself. i am esentially off the hook. I believe this is a bad policy that will result in women getting killed because they are reluctant to call the police. I m lucky in the sense that should this happen again, I have family, far away, but I do have family, that I can go to. What about women who have no where to go and no one to turn to?
Ah, my husband's temper... he has actually put his hands on me twice before.
Once, he shoved me because he thought I had been yelling at our son. Jay was a newborn and I was changing him about two a.m. and suddenly here is Drake (husband) shoving me. It was a weird surreal experince. He explained that he heard someone yelling "Shut up!" and thought it was me screaming at Jay. At the time I chalked it up to sleep deprivation. Then once I refused to have dinner with his parents and he put me in an arm-bar and threw me on the floor. I told him if he ever did it again I'd have him arrested. I tried to make good on the threat but I was blindsided by the whole "no more job" thing. Also he has punched walls, upset furniture and said verbally abusive things before.
I was always so self-righteous around women in these sort of relationships before. I always said to myself that if it was me I'd leave him so fast....
Don't judge your victim until you've walked a mile in her Birkenstocks.
I contacted virtually every civil rights, women's rights, and domestic violence organization out there, and not ONE of them was willing to get involved in this.
For the record, I am in the U.S., state of New Mexico. Our policy is that domestic violence is a crime against the state. It doesn't matter if the victim presses chrages or not. It has only been this way for about the last ten years. Many people including myself thought this was a good thing when it was changed. We were all sick of wife-beaters getting off scot-free. So in closing, my final thought - maybe this is karma, y'all.
Thanks for updating us, Persephone! It's really good to know that things are looking up and that the two of you are working through all this.

For me the big issue this raises is women's economic dependence on their spouses - how you had no way of supporting yourself and your son except by staying in the relationship. In your case your husband has got help, and you have family, and things are turning out okay - but like you said, "what about women who have no where to go and no one to turn to?" What about women who are reliant on husbands that just keep on abusing them?
Yes, thank you, persephone, for coming back and letting us know how things are going! I have been wondering. I'm glad to hear you are getting help, and I hope you and your children will be safe and secure from now on.

ven, that's a really good point, and I think it's a really overlooked one. I think 2/3 to 3/4 of the women who come into the women's centre for abusive relationship issues stayed longer than they would have (or are still staying) exactly because of economic issues. A woman's core urge to protect her children and ensure their survival is one of the strongest urges a human being (and many other animals) can have - science is proving it's biological. So women will often stay in abusive relationships in order to ensure their children have the things they need, especially when it comes to basic needs, like shelter, food, clothing, and health care. I think a lot of people take that for granted when they say things like, "Why doesn't she just leave?"

It's very frustrating to try and make legislators see any connection between violence against women and women's economic inequality. So many times, their eyes just start to glaze over....*sigh* But I think it's one of the most important things we as women activists need to put our energy behind.
Just to clarify my position - I am not staying with my husband because of economic concerns, though I can see why that would be a factor for some women. I am staying with my husband because I love him and I can see he is trying to change. I believe that if he confronts the abuse he went through as a child, he will be able to change.
Economic concern was my reason for lying to the police - that is, telling them the incident never happened. My husband holds a very high security clearance and if I so much as offically alleged he'd harmed me, his career would have been over. He would have been dismissed from his job immedialtely.
I do work, but I only work part time, which means no health insurance (that is changing as of November, I just got a kick-ass job offer! biggrin.gif ) It takes two salaries to pay our mortgage, student loans, other bills and buy groceries.
I don't know what the solution is, globally speaking. Men should have to face consequences when they perpetuate domestic violence. If they don't (for whatever reason), should their victims be made to stand in their place? That doesn't seem right either.
I was assaulted today. Again. I pressed charges. I wasn't my fault he decided to fuck up his life by engaging in physical violence against me. I did it once before two years ago, now I'm gonna have to go before a magistrate & get *another* TRO. Fucker. I hate wasting time on this shit, but if I don't come forward, how can I encourage other women to do so?
QUOTE(sweet_persephone @ Aug 30 2006, 04:22 AM) *

The message that the police are sending women in my town? If you're husband's beating the crap out of you, that's your business, but don't bother us with it.
It's not like this has ever happened to us before. I've never even gotten a speeding ticket.
I think I'm gonna go to law school. mad.gif

Actually the message that he is sending is don't lie to the authorities about a very serious situation. I think it is also to encourage women not to be fearful, and stand up. I have read your posts, and you are living in fear. Fear that if you leave, you will be destitute, your son will not have insurance (your son is also his son and even if you leave, he will still be covered), and the like. This is fear, and it all surrounds your husband and his temper. I know you love him, but this is your SAFETY and your sons' SAFETY.

I am glad you are getting counseling and he is having breakthroughs, but, IMO, you need to be staying at another residence until this is straightened out, be it a sublet or a shelter. You have to realize your strengths, and that houses can be sold, loans can be negotiated, and sometimes, change is for the better and safer. You do have a son to think about, and until now, he is in an environment where it has been "okay" for Daddy to rough up Mommy.

AP, I am so sorry, but you have to have strength in that you are doing the right thing.

I agree about the message they are sending.
Persephone, you don't know how lucky you are that you have a police force that cares enough to press charges. When my ex husband assaulted my mother, the police basically told her "if you press charges we might be able to keep in jail one night, and it will just be worse on you when he gets out". When He got around to assaulting me, I they gave me a TRO, but they still didn't let me press guess what...3 years later and I have to share custody and have daily dealings with a man who tried to kill me.
I know what it is like to love someone and hope they can change, but I've seen it happen too many times to several of my friends. Most of the men just don't change...not long term.
And when I got away from him, I was unemployeed and destitute and it took several months before I was able to get court ordered child support. But you couldn't give me enough money to go back to that situation. And teh house, the cars, the things...are just that.Things. My life and my daughter are worth far more than anything monetary he might have provided.
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