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Old 10-10-2012, 06:05 AM   #1
DanaC
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Domestic abuse in the spotlight

Justin Lee Collins, a comedian and tv presenter, was found guilty this week of harrassing his former partner, causing fear of violence.

This is a bit of a legal landmark:

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Some within the legal profession will have been watching this trial closely because of its focus on controlling behaviour. While this is something that is often cited in divorce cases, a clear message that this is also something for the criminal courts has been sent out.

While Collins was initially arrested on suspicion of assault, he was later charged with a single charge of harassment, causing fear of violence.

Many people do not even realise that mental and emotional bullying is illegal, says Rachel Horman, head of domestic violence at the law firm Watson Ramsbottom in Blackburn.

The harassment charge was originally brought in to deal with stalkers, says Horman, and is the only tool that police can use in a domestic abuse case where there hasn't been any physical violence.
Many of the details are bizarre. But they have a ring to them that is recognisable. The 'through the looking-glass' nature of emotional abuse.

Alongside orders to always sleep facing him:

Quote:
She was subjected to tirades of verbal abuse and ordered to abandon her email account and shut down her Facebook page.

In a recording made by Larke, Collins was heard telling her she could look at inanimate objects - a tree, the ground, a bench - but never another man.

There were the threats that if she fell asleep before him, she ran the risk of him texting other women.

Then there was the Pukka Pad, in which details of her previous sexual encounters and relationships were logged, only to be used at a later date to belittle her.

Many people reading these details may now be able to appreciate that mental abuse can be just as painful as physical abuse. Hitting a partner in the face is generally seen as constituting abuse, but many people don't understand the power of day-in-day-out bullying.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19783496


He has been sentenced to 140 hours unpaid community work.
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Last edited by DanaC; 10-10-2012 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:27 AM   #2
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Mental and emotional abuse takes tolls that even time doesn't completely alleviate.

Using the past against the person is a good one. You love someone and tell them your secrets, bare your past and your mistakes. Then, days, years, months later during an argument, those things are brought up. Only now this person you loved and trusted more than anyone is using them as a weapon.

Having been victim to some physical abuse and a lot of mental abuse, I can tell you that the deepest and most lasting scars come from the dismantling of your psyche. Now you have someone in your life who not only agrees with your low opinion of yourself, they feed that hate and make you feel that it's a pretty goddam good thing THEY like you, because if anyone else in your life really knew you, they would hate you too.

I don't think I will ever heal, and that's evidenced in so much of my life.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:22 AM   #3
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When I was young, I thought abuse was only sexual (rape) or physical (hitting). Little did I know...there are many ways to abuse someone. Emotional, verbal, spiritual, and financial are a few of them. Abuse is all about control over another person. The subtle ones are extremely difficult to recover from because they destroy your soul and sense of self...not to mention that other people don't "see" them, so they tend to disbelieve you or minimize your pain.

It has taken a huge amount of work and time for me to overcome the damage and I still have flashbacks and triggers. And it's been a dozen years since I was last abused.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:43 AM   #4
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Yeah. I think it's a real step forward that this sort of controlling behaviour has been treated as abuse in such a formal way. Advocate groups are complaining that the sentence is too lenient, but the very fact that it's been treated this way in law at all is important.

Also, though the community service may be seen as a derisory sentence by some, taking into account Collin's public persona, and the humiliation of a public reckoning, I doubt it is so easily shrugged off.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:37 PM   #5
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I have interacted with people who had previously been in (non-physically) abusive relationships, and the scars were still there and still crippling their functioning years later.

Does "unpaid community work" include being pilloried and pelted with rotten vegetables?
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:57 PM   #6
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Yabut, while emotional abuse is a real and terrible thing, I've talked to people who I'm sure believed they were abused, but convinced me it was all (or mostly) in their head.

Conversation.
She- I was afraid to do X because he would kill me.

Me- Did he ever threaten to kill you... or any physical violence?

She- Yes, he broke a plate once.

Me- That's bad, did it hit you or did he miss and it just broke near you?

She- I was in the other room... but he was mad at me when he broke it.

That's just one example of real conversations I've had. When anyone says someone would kill them if... the red flags go up. I usually try to pursue it to find out what's going on, and if there is really something sinister.
The other thing is when someone goes to their friends with their fears, real or imagined, friends want to be supportive so they heap on disdain without questioning the veracity of the claims. That just reinforces the "victims" perceived reality.

OK, it's real and it's bad. But when I hear of a campaign for public awareness for such&such, I think here come the torches and pitchforks. Well meaning people will be on the lookout for a chance to contribute to the fight against such&such. Ah, the danger of good intentions. Hello, don't forget to think.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:23 PM   #7
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Sure. That's the problem with emotional/mental/psychological abuse. It's subjective. What might unhinge one person could slide right off another person's back. It's too slippery to define; we can all say 'I know it when I see it', but if someone else's experience doesn't match our perception we just don't see it.

I don't see courts ever stepping in in a meaningful way, except in cases where the abuse is egregious and everybody 'sees' it, or where it's an adjunct to physical abuse. That's the damnable thing about it - it'd be SO much easier if the guy just hauled off and decked you.

Bottom line, it's a form of cruelty, and courts don't deal with that very well. Because individual reactions differ so much, it isn't easy to categorize; the PTSD is real but it isn't visible like the PTSD that POWs suffer. I don't see a solution.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:26 PM   #8
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Broke a plate in another room? Really? Not your arm and not your will?

Lucky her. There are those who make it hard for those who need it to be able to stand up and put their personal shame aside and make that move.

I have no respect for a plate whiner.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymous View Post
I have no respect for a plate whiner.
Well, that proves it. Plates have no standing in a court of law. Plate abuse is legal.

Do cats have legal standing in court? In court, which has more credibility? An injured cat or a threatened wife? (Not intended as a facetious queston.)
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:44 AM   #10
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The difficulty is that the injured cat is always a crime. The wife has to be willing to press charges, otherwise there's nothing anyone can do about it.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
The difficulty is that the injured cat is always a crime. The wife has to be willing to press charges, otherwise there's nothing anyone can do about it.
From what I've seen on our local news, a domestic violence call now makes
it required for Oregon police to take the man (usually) in to jail for the rest of the day/night.
Release then is dependent on circumstances (wife/witnesses/man's attitude/etc.)

This serves to get the man out of the house and allows the situation to cool down.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:10 AM   #12
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And if that man kills a cat, what happens to him?
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Yabut, while emotional abuse is a real and terrible thing, I've talked to people who I'm sure believed they were abused, but convinced me it was all (or mostly) in their head.

Conversation.
She- I was afraid to do X because he would kill me.

Me- Did he ever threaten to kill you... or any physical violence?

She- Yes, he broke a plate once.

Me- That's bad, did it hit you or did he miss and it just broke near you?

She- I was in the other room... but he was mad at me when he broke it.

That's just one example of real conversations I've had. When anyone says someone would kill them if... the red flags go up. I usually try to pursue it to find out what's going on, and if there is really something sinister.
The other thing is when someone goes to their friends with their fears, real or imagined, friends want to be supportive so they heap on disdain without questioning the veracity of the claims. That just reinforces the "victims" perceived reality.

OK, it's real and it's bad. But when I hear of a campaign for public awareness for such&such, I think here come the torches and pitchforks. Well meaning people will be on the lookout for a chance to contribute to the fight against such&such. Ah, the danger of good intentions. Hello, don't forget to think.
Yeah. DV is not just physical. It doesn't matter if he never did more than break a plate.

My X never hit me or laid a hand on me until the night I ran for my life. So I spent 8 long years being verbally and emotionally tortured and physically threatened, because maybe it was all me, you know? Maybe I was exaggerating the situation? Maybe I was being "difficult" cuz I "made" him so mad? Maybe I just needed to figure out a better/different/nicer way to talk and do things? Maybe, if I just completely destroyed myself and because a stepford wife, he would be happy and not abuse me and the kids?

Not bloody likely.

He clawed his own face once and told me he'd tell the police I did it (so I'd go to jail and lose my kids).

He picked up a frying pan of hot grease and threated to disfigure my face with it.

He cocked his fist at me more than once, threatening to beat my head in.

He spit in my face several times.

He tried to get me fired and scared off every friend I had.

He threated to kill my son. I was at work at the time, a neighbor heard the threat and called police, who did nothing.

He constantly told me how ugly and bad and useless and greedy and unwanted I was. Said he'd rather pay a $2 whore than have sex with me.

But he never laid a hand on me.

Until the night he tried to strangle me and I ran.

Abuse "in someone's head* is the most difficult kind to recognize and fight. Abuse victims often doubt and blame themselves and minimize the abuse. What you are told initially is usually only the tip of the iceberg. When the people they tell minimize and dismiss the issue, they are compounding the problem.

If you are unsure whether someone is truly being abused, then simply direct them to expert help - DV sites, help lines, books, safe houses, etc. But please don't shrug them off as making things up.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:32 PM   #14
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Oh, and he killed my step daughter's cat and 'disappeared' my pomeranian. They were competition for his affection and attention.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:51 PM   #15
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What Stormie said. Breaking a plate in the next room is one simple act taken out of context. It's worth repeating: "If you are unsure whether someone is truly being abused, then simply direct them to expert help - DV sites, help lines, books, safe houses, etc. But please don't shrug them off as making things up. "
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