Ignorance

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. Goethe

Two weeks ago, I was summoned to do jury service. It was my second time and as luck would have it involved a woman being manipulated and abused by a man again.

The first time around, about eight years ago, the man was the defendant and was accused of four counts of marital rape. The defendant seemed calm and composed while the victim appeared highly unhinged. Her memory of events was hazy and there were many incongruities in her statement. Moreover, there was no tangible proof that rape had taken place as the wife had not confided in anyone at the time the ‘alleged crimes’ had taken place. Therefore, we had no other alternative but declare the defendant not guilty on all counts.

At the time, I was still married and had not gone through the pain of narcissistic abuse. Like most people, I did not know the intricacies of a toxic and abusive relationship. I did not know about the devastating effects that domestic abuse can have on a victim. Although my marriage was not ‘ideal’, I had never suffered abused at the hand of my partner and was only able to assess facts from my own experience.  I did not know about abuse amnesia. I did not know about cognitive dissonance. I did not know about trauma bonding. I did not know about Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was ignorant. I was biased. I was naïve.

This time around, though, things were very different. The woman was the defendant and I was armed with my thorough knowledge of domestic abuse. The defendant was accused of three counts of ‘acquiring criminal property’ and one count of ‘attempting to obtain funds by deception’.

Before I get any further, I would like to say that since the trial is over and was public, I am allowed to talk about the case. What I am not allowed to do is talk about the other jurors and what was discussed in the jury deliberation room. Therefore, I will keep to what the prosecution, the defendant and the defence said.

The defendant, a young woman, was married to a man who had been running a fake room renting scam. He was renting rooms that did not exist and had the money transferred into an account that he had asked his wife to open -in her name- because he did not have a visa and could not open his own bank account. The defendant stated that, indeed she had opened the bank account, but that she did not have control over it as she had given her husband the bank card and pin number and that he had total control over it.

In her witness statement, the defendant made it clear that she never questioned her husband’s motives as he was not the kind of man that you question and that she trusted him implicitly because he was her husband.  She was working fifty hours a week while he did not have a job, but she believed that he was getting money from his family abroad.

What made my blood boils and nearly led to me having a panic attack in the courtroom, is the fact that the prosecution based their case on the fact that no intelligent woman, as they proved she was, would ever let herself be manipulated in such a way and that she had to be aware of was he was doing. “What didn’t you tell him to open his own bank account”, “Surely you could have told him that you didn’t want to.” You are an intelligent woman; you must have known what he was up to!”

It is hard to give an accurate picture of the case without getting into more details, but I hope you do get the gist of it. There is still a lot of ignorance about domestic abuse. Most people believe that it involves physical violence. They do not understand psychological and emotional abuse. They cannot fathom that an ‘intelligent woman’ would let herself be manipulated and would unquestionably do what her husband or partner tells her to do. They do not know about brainwashing and gaslighting. They have never experienced it and cannot imagine that it even exists.

I was one of these people once. I lived in my bubble. I thought that I was too strong and clever to let something like domestic abuse ever happen to me. I thought I was immune to it. I was so wrong. I learnt the hard way!

There is still a lot of ignorance about domestic abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and narcissistic abuse. This ignorance is allowing abusers to carry own abusing without facing the consequences of their abuse and leaving the victims helpless. The police and justice system are unknowingly complicit of this abuse and I hope that one day they can awaken to the problem.

Because something never happened to us does not mean that it does not exist. We need to listen to victims. We should keep an open mind, step out of our shoes and try to put on someone else’s shoes.

To finish my post, I would like to say that we did find the defendant not guilty. She burst into tears when she heard the verdict and I must admit that I shed a few tears too.

I do my bit to raise awareness of domestic and narcissistic abuse, but there is still  a long way to go. I am not giving hope though.

9 comments

  1. Wow, did this post ever hit home! I’m still trying to figure out how an intelligent woman as I believe I am, could have gone through 2 relationships (1st one a 31 yr. marriage, recent one 5 years of consistently being asked by him, “Are you ignorant or stupid?”). What was/am I? IGNORANT or STUPID? What a struggle inside I’m having trying to heal the wounds!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This will be a struggle base on human nature for every coin with a heads on it tales is on the other side, regardless to how many time you flip it both sides will come up. So now I will not depute abuse of women by men nor can false claims to gain advantage be deputed because of proven human nature.

    If we are no longer going to use anything as conformation when that false claim comes forth and it will come forth are we to just tar and feather the accused just for being accused? Yes their many reason why abused women fail to act this post touches on many establish causes for it but never once should it be a liability for someone else NEVER! so what do we do?

    Like

    • I am not entirely sure what you are saying. I talked about cases of women being abused by men, because these were the cases that I served on as a juror. However I know that women can abuse men. Women can abuse women. And men can abuse men. What I am angry with is that the police and criminal justice system seem to be oblivious of the dynamics in an abusive relationship and the fact that they try to claim that no intelligent person would ‘let themselves’ be manipulated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are correct about the system my point I didnt make clear as a juror you stated their was an acquittal based on the victum not taking any action to notify anyone of the abuse, you could not have done anything esle. Working in the Prison system for 28 yrs I’ve been apart of processing two indivisual back to freedom who spent alot time in prison unjustly, this should never happen an so we must continue to expect comformation of any accusation

        Liked by 1 person

    • @sandymancan – I am having a little trouble understanding what you are saying in your reply above. Can I ask you some questions about your post?
      1. Are you saying that “abuse” (whether physical, mental, psychological, legal, societal or emotional, is part of “human nature”?
      2. Are you saying that, because “abuse” is part of human nature, when one feels “abused” in any way, it should not be “deputed” https://www.google.com/search?q=deputed+meaning&oq=depute&aqs=chrome.3.69i57j69i59j0l4.5733j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 – which means: do not ask anyone to advocate for you; because YOU are responsible for letting that “abuse” (which I think you state is of “human nature”) to happen, or continue?
      3. How do you feel about animal “abuse” (like factory farms)?
      4. How do you feel about sexual “abuse” (like rape and/or pedophilia)?
      5. How do you feel about social “abuse” (like class, or poverty)?
      6. How do you feel about human “abuse” (like the Holocaust or Slavery)?
      7. How do you feel about political “abuse” (like the judicial et al system)?

      https://www.google.com/search?q=abuse+definition&oq=abuse+definition&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.22524j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      It gets complicated, doesn’t it?

      We know there are always 2 sides to a coin. We also know there are even more than 2 sides to a story

      What I am hearing you say, is that everyone should take responsibilty for their own abuses. That no one should be held “liable” for what someone else has done, even if they caused it.

      What do we do? We become aware of what we have done to ourselves by letting it happen.

      That’s a lonely place to be!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some things seem to need to be personally experienced to be understood. I think narcissistic abuse is one of those things..
    It is almost impossible to understand without personal experience. I hate that I have experienced this but equally I worry who I would have been had I not. One minute I lived in this world where I had experienced a relationship with a few ups and downs, The next I had learned almost everything about my life was a lie. I was left wondering if anybody had ever really loved me. We know how these characters operate.
    I have been remembering being told about a mother who had totally abandoned her child by the new girlfriend. Now I think about that poor woman decades later and wonder if she was so traumatised and brainwashed she had imagined her child was better off without her. Believe me my ex tried many times to get me into that headspace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right. Narcissistic Abuse is something that is almost inconceivable and had I not experienced it, I would not have imagined the level of distress and pain that it could cause. Having had this experience has made me more empathetic. I just wish people would listen to victims more and not dismiss them as crazy, unhinged, obsessed, stupid or whatever else they think we are.

      Liked by 1 person

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