Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Thursday, July 15, 2010

C: A Necessary Permission

emotional abuse Some of the news reports on Mel Gibson’s tirade, which was addressed in my last post, has prompted me to repeat to you something that I say to my clients (especially women) all the time. 

As a family law attorney, I work in a field that is intimately involved with the subject of domestic violence , I want to make something clear:

If you are abused, it is OKAY to document the abuse in any legal way you can. 

V told me today that she had just heard a discussion—between women, no less—that Oksana was somehow wrong to tape Gibson in his tirade.  Let me say this again: the fact that she had the tape recorder rolling and continued to speak with him and let him rant is OKAY.

Do you hear me?  If you are in an abusive relationship, it is OKAY to trap these guys at their game by any legal means.

Oksana was successful in “setting up” Gibson (to her great credit) because she had endured life with him.  Don’t you see?  This only documents what she has already endured.  She knew how he would behave, because it was his custom.

Do a Goggle search fpr yourself on “underreported domestic violence statistics.”  The usual figure is that under one-fourth of domestic violence occurrences are reported.  I think that really even fewer are actually reported than this indicates, especially if you include emotional bullying with no bruising or lost teeth to document the incident.

Most abusemotionalabuseed women keep silent, I’m convinced.  Domestic abuse is a very safe crime to commit—there are often no other witnesses.

I often have to pull reports of domestic abuse from my women clients.  I ask every single one of them  “Have you been a victim of domestic abuse?  Does your spouse hit you or hurt you in any way, either physically or emotionally?”  Many is the time we have to go back to that question again several times as I sense the shame in my client that comes from being abused and while she struggles to keep it hidden from me, still.

Many times women almost won’t own up to the fact that they are abused.  And many of them do not recognize belittling and bullying as abuse because they don’t have a black eye to show for it.


I challenge you to listen to Mel Gibson’s tape if you think Oksana was in any way to blame for “setting him up.”  Listen to the tape and tell me if  there is anything that anyone could say or do to make you berate and threaten them in such appalling terms.  Is there?

No, not if you’re normal, there’s not.  He walked into her trap because this is the way he acts.  And I applaud her for documenting it any way she can.

In fact, I often tell my clients to do just that.  I very bluntly say to my cowed, scared client who has not yet shared with others her plight because she cannot prove it: “Go to Radio Shack.  Buy a recorder.  Get him doing that again—you’re a smart girl, you can get him to do that.” 

Many clients feel ashamed to do this—more ashamed than being abused!  Until I help them see the light. “Persevere through the ickiness,” I tell them, “He’s forced you to this point…”

[CAVEAT: It is not legal to tape phone conversations in every state; be sure to check that out! If it's illegal, there are other ways…abusers tend to be so cocky that they’re stupid. Just look at Mel.)

Do you think that’s wrong advice for me to give them?  Nope, it’s not.  Too many women endure abusive relationships because they cannot prove what is going on, and many of them are afraid to leave and afraid they’ll lose their children because they’ll be made out to be the crazies (a favorite tactic).  These women need proof.

These guys need to be outed—they don’t get better without serious intervention.  They get worse.  And women need to be empowered to get out and to be able to prove what is happening.

So, if you are in an abusive situation, you are in a battle for your own welfare and that of your children if you have them.  You have my express permission to document abuse in any legal way you can.

And if some woman you care about is in an abusive situation, you give her this permission, too.

So there! C


Anonymous said...

Some great information coming from someone who obviously has had experience with victims. Great post.

gaelikaa said...

Oh, I do agree Cynthia. Domestic violence is deplorable.....

Callie said...

Great post! It should be sent out to every person on the internet. So many people don't even recognize abuse and make excuses for it when it is called to their attention. I know I did.

KathyB. said...

So, do you think this should apply to men who are attacked, threatened and slandered, deliberately pushed and challenged verbally and physically in the wife/girlfriends' hopes to further a court case already stacked in favor of the woman ? In the past few years I have come to know many men who are the victims of women ( yes!) and they seem to get no respect or proper representation until things get way out of hand and the truth finally comes out. My father being one of these men in the 80's. A shrewd woman knows how to play the game too,and a woman can get a great amount of mileage out of claiming she is abused.

Not saying I believe Mel.He seems bent on self-destruction and taking along anyone he can.But I have known way too many men who have been victimized by the women they trusted , and lost everything they hold dear, including the women they love and trusted, the children of their union.I know at least 3 women who have caused self -inflicted physical damage to themselves to prove their husbands are guilty of abuse. Fortunately all 3 times the truth finally prevailed, soundly and without doubt. But what a cost to the poor men and their families. What a cost to children who courts seem to think automatically belong to mothers, regardless of mom's perversions and abuse, regardless of dads who are of good reputation and character.

Do I sound a little excited about this post? Well,being the daughter of a man who suffered such malignment ( falsely) and the mother of another, and seeing the bias of the court in favor of women beyond any logic,especially given facts, I challenge anyone and everyone to seek the truth.

Domestic violence is awful and caused by both sexes.There are good men and fathers as well as good moms and mothers. The abuser alone is responsible for inflicting such pain on their spouse. But a male family member was told by his attorney he could not tape or legally submit the tapes of his abusive wife( she threatened many times to kill him or anyone she thought he might be involved with)without her permission. So, do you think he would have received the compassion Oksana has?

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Kathy B is right--men are abused, too. In the past six months, I have represented two men who were the victims of abuse. And, yes, there are false claims made. I do see our domestic violence statutes over-used for spurious reasons.

I agree that men do not get the sympathy that women do in physical abuse situations. But I hae to also say this: My observations is that men do seem to react to it more quickly, and to come out from under the demeaning spell without that brow-beaten, shamed response that many abused women have.

As for not being able to tape--well, as I have said, laws differ. In my state I am happy to say that is not the case. As I have said, I believe an abuser (male or female) deserves being caught by any legal means.

And, as for the snare of femine wiles, Kathy, you are right: many women know how to work their charms, and many men just fall into that snare.

Thanks for the comments! C

Arkansas Patti said...

Great advice. I was in an emotionally abusive marriage years ago. I was a virtual prisoner for the whole marriage.
With out proof of abuse, it becomes "he said--- she said".
Way to go Oksana.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

thanks V for the nice welcome back

you're a dear

sending love this july weekend

kary and teddy

Zuzana said...

What a passionate post. I have never been in an abusive relationship, nor do I know anyone who has, luckily. Your writing is certainly very informative and supportive to those who has.

jan said...

Great message, great post!

Anonymous said...

C, I love you. You are my kind of woman - bold, straightforward, and unafraid. Keep preaching it. (Wish I'd known you when my daughter was having her problems in Rodgers.)

Vee said...

I think that it is good advice to give to women who are abused. I very much appreciated your saying that so many women don't recognize abuse.

Sumandebray said...

As long as cases are genuine... But unfortunately people uses this and tries to trap one another .. both men and women. We are in a very strange and selfish world my friend where only a handfull of people can think beyond the word ME

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