How to document violence and abuse, and why it's so important.
Date: 4/12/2011 7:48:07 AM ( 11 y ) ... viewed 14339 times
Right - one of the reasons that victims of domestic violence and abuse don't tell anyone what's really going on is simply because the truly believe that nobody would believe them. Aside from suffering Stockholm Syndrome, this is the main reason, by far.
The abuser will lie-and-deny at a pathological pace, and it's contributory to the crazymaking. "I NEVER said (or, DID, or, PROMISED) that! If you tell someone about this, they won't believe you!" In every case of domestic violence and abuse, this mantra was spoken over, and over, and over, effectively nullifies the victim's credibility and sheds doubt on the victim's sanity. In my case, the statement was typically followed with, "People will think you're CRAZY if you tell them that, and you'll never see your kids, again." Already, victims have been desperate to demonstrate their love and loyalty to their abusers, and these have always remained clouded in doubt by the abuser - if he/she doesn't believe me, why should anyone else?
Documentation is priceless in cases of domestic violence and abuse, and my failure to properly document everything with 100% honesty and objectivity cost me my own children, such was the former abuser's charm and power of persuasion, in Court. By documenting, I would have had evidence of the incredible levels of abuse that I ebdured, and how/when the abuser coerced me to engage in activities that were illegal and placed our children at risk.
To PROPERLY document, it is imperative that honesty and objective truthfulness be implemented - no long, drawn-out personal observations, opinions, or feelings! The documentation logbook is strictly to record activities, actions, and consequences. This means that anything that the victim is forced to participate in must be documented without judgement or personal defense. The proper way to maintain a running log goes as follows:
* record date and time of the event (promise, threat, illegal activity, violence, sexua| assault, etc.)
* record details of the event and include precise quotes used by both (all) parties
* record any consequences of the event (Law enforcement visit, stitches or medical treatment, physical/emotional punishment, financial punishment/reward, etc.)
* NO prelude to the event, such as, "He/she had been under stress from work," etc. ##this log is not meant to EXPLAIN or DEFEND the actions of the abuser or victim##
* update the log, daily, and more often, if necessary EXCEPT when recording updates or making entries will place the victim at risk, I.e.: the abuser is nearby or has called off from work or will be adjacent to the victim
* make 2 or 3 copies of the log and distribute them in a SEALED envelope to TRUSTED individuals - these are people who are NOT "best friends" orfriends that the abuser approves of. A counselor or school principle - someone who understands confidentiality and is not diectly involved in the personal life of the victim
* provide copied updates in a SEALED envelope to the trusted individuals. The instructions to these individuals should simply be, "If anything should happen to me - I end up in the hospital, go missing, or otherwise, deliver this to the proper authorities." That's ALL that needs to be said - the temptation to purge and vent may be overwhelming and it MUST be resisted
* maintain this log using PAPER and writing utensil, ONLY! Do not use any - ANY - technological device and HIDE it in a very, VERY secure place
* never, ever tell the abuser that anything is being documented - do not tell children about it, either
Why go through this process if it's to be kept such a big secret? An honest, detailed log is valuable in Family Court, Criminal Court, counseling, and to the victim, especially. After keeping a log for 2 months, it may finally reach home that the victim is living in an abusive and violent environment. The log is also valuable to Law enforcement in the event that the unspeakable which, make no mistake, is a more frequent occurance than the general public knows.
Call Law enforcement if the abuse is escalalating, press charges, and get the hell OUT! Please, take this from someone who DIDN'T when I had a legal and moral right to do so. "I don't want the kids to see their father/mother/my significant other taken away by police," is the most common response when asked why the police were never called, including myself! Listen and acknowledge this simple fact: the children have been witness to FAR worse and the child who might develop into an abuser will see that actions have consequences. Potential future victim children will see that they don't HAVE to tolerate abuse and that a remedy DOES exist.
"But, if I leave, I'll lose all of my property," is another excuse. Done properly while the abuser is in jail, "stuff" can be secured under the advice of a strong divorce attorney. If the exit is being done without the benefit of an attorney, remember that "THINGS" and "STUFF" will never hold the same value as that of a human soul. "Things" can be replaced, in time. A soul cannot be replaced.
For now, never even HINT, or threaten, that an exit may be in the future to the abuser, or any child(ren) involved. More on that, later.
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