ExPatriatePen wrote:Who looks out for the individual who's falsely accused?
What is the risk for a person when they make false accusations? Perjury? When have you ever known anyone convicted of perjury?
Who knows who's to blame in this case? I can only say that being falsely accused is a terrifying experience. To be arrested, booked, confined, dragged in front of a judge for arraignment. To hire an attorney to be brought to court repeatedly, to have a jury impaneled. To have a prosecuting attorney make false claims, a plaintiff lie on the stand, to have a jury deliberate. It's scary.
When you're acquitted. When the judge dismisses te case "with predjudice", it doesn't change the perception of guilt among the uninformed. And your accuser generally loses nothing. Has no risk of any consequences for their actions. Because if you were to even show signs of being frustrated, or angry, it would only validate their claims.
No, the system is flawed. It's not fair to the falsely accused, and it's not fair to the true victims of abuse who now have a higher bar to clear.
It's a fair question. There's two sides to every coin, and there are those who are falsely accused and have their lives ruined. I wouldn't blanket that sentiment with the notion of a woman "getting dumped," as that fails to properly explore the issue for what it is. Sure, there are vindictive girlfriends trying to shame their ex, but more often it's about money, possessions, child custody, winning the relationship--not to mention men who do the same to women.
If a person is falsely accused and his or her reputation tarnished, how does the system repair the damage? It's certainly quick to tear the individual down; why doesn't it help pick up the pieces afterwards?
So, yes, I agree that the current system is broken. It's one in which winning and losing trumps truth and justice. And while there are cases in which individuals are convicted of perjury, the damage is done and far outweighs the minor fine (or in very rare cases, the limited prison sentence).
The question then is how to fix the system, and my answer (which I am ready to change with additional information) is education and reform. We need to educate our country on what domestic abuse is and what to do should we find ourselves in that loathsome position. That means more support systems, more avenues for victims to explore (more shelters for the abused, homes that could take children as well, phone numbers with contacts, information. Calling the police is a scary thing, and often means never being able to go back--a scary thing. Some people need to inch their way forward, however foolish). People should also know how to look for possible signs, be they aggressive behavior or acts of violence. And men and women who are lucky enough to be in loving and/or single relationships should hold off their judgment and treat every person as an individual (and not as a fool).
Also remember that people change. A loving relationship can turn sour over time, be it because of job failure, mental illness, PTSD, etc. Would it be so easy to leave your wife or husband of 20 years because they had a stroke and their personality changed? Is it so easy to break ties and support to the mother or father returned from war with the blank stare and drug addiction?
It's easy to say that men and women are stupid for sticking in a violent situation, but what if there are children involved? What if there's no money to provide housing, no relative willing to aid your escape? What if you don't have the tools of a proper education (inner cities, rural towns) to make it on your own. Remember, we are in a recession. There aren't people clamoring from the rooftops looking for employees. It's hard enough for college educated men and women to find jobs. What if you just have your GED? Or not even that?
And we are human beings: we crave a place of safety and comfort. It can be terrifying to consider a life outside of your own, and sometimes people need our help to see the light outside the darkness of their current lives.
In terms of reform, we need to remove the incentives for police officers, judges, and lawyers to win. That means enough crime by numbers, enough DAs chosen by win record--every case needs to be treated on its own merits and on the basis of its truth. It's a court filled with people and it will get things wrong. But we can better and we need to at least attempt to be so.
In terms of the damage down to family and friends, there's no easy answer. There's comfort in being part of a group, and there's comfort in pointing the finger at people and saying they can't be part of that group. Again, I would suggest that it takes being informed, being educated, to battle this issue.
I apologize if I got off topic, but I enjoy the discussion.