If this keeps up, I’m going to need a cape. Good thing I have some friends who know how to sew!
Today’s ridiculous Facebook debate comes to us courtesy of Judge Hurley, in Broward County Florida, who ordered the defendant in a domestic violence case to take his wife out on a date.
- “Not to defend a potential wife-beater, but…” reads a lot to me like “Not to sound racist, but…” Whenever someone says something like this, you can pretty much rest assured that whatever comes next is doing exactly what they say they’re trying not to do.
- “She also noted that she doesn’t fear him attacking her.” I feel like anyone who would say something like this obviously has no knowledge whatsoever about domestic violence whatsoever. In many cases of domestic violence, the victim will side with the defendant because either 1)they’re in love with the person and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them/don’t want to “get them in trouble”, or 2)they’re afraid of what will happen if they speak out against the defendant. For a woman to stand in front of her attacker in court and say right out that she’s afraid he’s going to hurt her again is pretty rare, especially when there are the legal and emotional complications of marriage involved.
- “ Basically, the judge awarded what she wanted and asked for. If you think he’s wrong, you’re saying the wife (the victim) should not be listened too.” Gahhhh. The combination of ignorance and audacity in this statement has me wanting to run around, flailing and screaming as though my clothing just spontaneously caught fire. Again, there’s seemingly no understanding of what happens in domestic violence cases. As I pointed out in my response, when you’re attacked by someone you care deeply about, who you trusted, there’s a lasting psychological impact. Oftentimes, you’re not fully able to see the repercussions of the situation. You may not have any visible bruises, and you may think you’re just fine…until you’re standing next to someone who reaches for something next to you, or who swats at a mosquito, and you suddenly flinch. Maybe it isn’t even that obvious. Maybe you catch a certain scent, or hear a particular sound, and next thing you know you’re in the midst of a full blown panic attack, and can’t quite figure out why. In many cases, the victim just wants things to return to normal, as quickly as possible. And sometimes, that means going back to their assailant, and acting as though nothing happened. Problem is, something did happen, and by failing to address it, we only heighten the risk of re-occurrence. I think the reverse logic this commenter used is what really disturbs me. It’s clear manipulation…”well if you’re really concerned with what’s best for the victim…” No. Just no. There are times when people aren’t necessarily capable of expressing (or even acknowledging) what is in their best interests. Immediately following an assault? That’s one of those times. That is one of the reasons why many places will have the victim represented by an advocate in court. That doesn’t mean that the advocate just makes a decision on their client’s behalf. Rather, the advocate speaks with their client at length in order to develop a clear picture of what the circumstances are, and what their client wishes to happen. Their job is to obtain a result that both protects their client and upholds their client’s wishes. Protecting their client’s well-being and preventing re-occurrence is the primary focus. Giving the client what they want is secondary.
This article refers to the judge as “perceptive”. I find that description laughable, at best. It seems to me that Judge Hurley is ignorant. Whether it was his intent or not, he has set a precedence with this “untraditional” sentence. Judge Hurley has essentially told the community of Broward County that it is just fine to assault your partner, so long as you don’t leave any visible marks, and you take them out on a date afterward.
Judge Hurley obviously doesn’t know (or care) that those who are well-practiced in abuse (god, it makes me nauseous to even type that out) know exactly where to grab or hit so that they don’t leave visible bruises. Seasoned abusers know just what to say to manipulate their victims into thinking it was an accident, or that the assault was somehow the victim’s fault. The “honeymoon phase” is a part of the cycle of violence in an abusive relationship. During this phase, it is common for the abuser to lavish his/her partner with gifts and attention. By turning on the charm, the abuser hopes to assuage his/her guilt and to regain the trust of his/her partner. The problem is that most don’t seek help to address the underlying issues, so it isn’t long before the abusive behavior re-emerges. In handing down this ridiculous sentence, and dismissing the impact that domestic violence so often has, Judge Hurley is just re-enforcing the cycle of abuse, and the belief that such behavior is acceptable. Sure, he ordered the couple to undergo marriage counseling, but that does nothing to acknowledge the incredibly violent behavior demonstrated by the husband in this case. It also alludes to the idea that the wife is somehow responsible for the abuse.
I’m glad I’m not completely alone in my outrage over this sentencing. The comments on the Sun-Sentinel article are somewhat split, with some commending the judge for offering a “positive solution” to the situation, but the more recent comments are much more critical, with many calling for Hurley’s resignation.
***UPDATE: I wrote the above post before coming across the NPR article, featuring this video:[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef9Rn_3LhyY&feature=player_embedded]
This video makes the whole thing even more troubling to me. Before Mrs. Bray even has a chance to respond, Judge Hurley says “I’m sure he’ll be out of prison today”. This, after Mrs. Bray says that it was not the first time she’s had to call the police to their residence for an altercation.
While I was writing this up, this happened:
So, yeah. Mr. Law School apparently can’t get his facts straight, and his approach to a debate is to ignore any points that don’t support his argument. Something tells me this debate isn’t over yet…
***UPDATE#2: I keep saying “update”, but I haven’t actually published yet, because this stuff keeps coming too quickly. Dude just invoked an OJ Simpson reference while trying to convince me that this domestic violence case is no big deal. I can’t make this up.
**takes deep breath** PHEW. That was a workout. I wouldn’t be surprised if this still isn’t the end of it. I wish I could get some sort of enjoyment out of this type of debate, but at the very least, it’s making it clear who I do notwant personal interaction with.
Also, me? Sexist? Yes. I am SUCH a man-hater. Give me a freaking break.