One of the worst things an abuse victim has to deal with is the invalidation, disbelief and ignorant behaviors from institutions that supposedly exist to help protect us. Too many of us have horror stories about calling the police for help and not getting it…or worse. Revictimization rates are extremely high, and police officers have high rates of domestic violence in their own homes, so the police are often very destructive when abuse victims call for help. It should not be this way. Society deserves police who 1. can pass a psychiatric evaluation to show that *they* are not disordered, 2. do not abuse their own spouses and 3. are well-educated about domestic violence and the charm of personality disorders.
When I was dealing with the narcopath, the police created a nightmare for me. At first, I didn’t realize my husband was disordered. I thought I could reason with him, get him to realize that threatening, controlling, raging and name-calling were not appropriate, and get him to listen to a therapist. (Yeah right!) I felt obligated to make the marriage work, and I felt trapped because he told me he would not help with medical bills during my pregnancy if I ended the marriage. There were multiple reasons I let him abuse me more than once. Pretty much all of us can honestly say we gave our abusers too many chances. And there are many known reasons that victims do this. There is no shame in it. We simply do not know how to deal with someone so sick. But the police in my case were callous and clueless.
After the abuser assaulted me, I got a restraining order, but it was not valid until the abuser was served. Guess who dodged being served? Yep. The abuser. Instead, he repeatedly came to my home to harass me, and the police could do nothing because he hadn’t been served yet. They did not have the papers to serve him because he kept giving fake addresses for where he was staying. It was frustrating! At one point, one particularly arrogant officer got in my face yelling that I was causing problems because I would not let the abuser in MY house when I was waiting for the restraining order to be served. He kept insisting that my spouse had rights to my home. I kept insisting that he get the abuser out of my yard. He knew the abuser was harassing me by dodging being served, but he kept getting nasty with me instead.
Later, the abuser talked me into dropping the restraining order by promising he’d go to therapy. This is a very typical abuser tactic, but I fell for it. Of course, the raging and intimidation re-started within hours. I ended up calling the police again. The same officer came back and told me it was my fault for letting the abuser come back. I was terrified and crying and he was getting aggressive with me saying I was dumb to let the abuser come back. He told me I was wasting his time and threatened me not to call again. Wow. I contacted his supervisor and politely let them know that their team really, really needed some tactful domestic violence education. The supervisor listened, and assured me I need not fear retaliation if I had to call again.
Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
Well, of course I had to call again. After I went to therapy with the abuser, he came home incredibly enraged, (also normal with a narcissist and therapy. Per Lundy Bancroft, going to therapy with an abuser is dangerous. His book also warns women not to fall for the abuser’s promise to go to therapy if you drop the restraining order!) And unfortunately, the same angry officer came out. And yes. He did retaliate. He made false reports about me saying that I had a history of making false accusations. It was incredibly frustrating for me! I was dealing with a ticking time bomb who went into a verbally abusive explosion every couple hours screaming, raging, getting in my face and demanding I obey him…and instead of helping, the officer made false reports about ME. Sickening. But extremely common. The police are not equipped to understand domestic violence dynamics. They see a charming abuser and a crying, upset woman…and they see the woman as crazy. I recently learned that this same officer further retaliated by spreading his false reports about me to children’s services. He has done very incredible damage with his ignorance.
Today I contacted his supervisor again to let them know that their officers need domestic violence training and they need to be careful about making judgement calls on topics they aren’t educated to make judgments about. If the police officer had no proof that I was really being abused…that is far, far different from ignorantly stating that I was lying. He simply should have said there was no proof, which unfortunately is usually the case with domestic violence. But that certainly does NOT mean that nothing happened.
The supervisor I talked to was rather old-fashioned and got mad when I suggested that his officer had made a bad call and had actually revictimized someone who was already being abused. He said it was insulting for me to say they weren’t trained to understand domestic violence, because they all were. I pointed out that they were not mental health experts and that if they made the wrong guess, they could endanger someone. And you know what? He started telling me his beliefs on abuse…and PROVED that he had no clue. I was horrified. No wonder victims cannot get help. This man literally told me that only threats and physical attacks are domestic violence. I was flabbergasted. How very ignorant and dangerous. He then went on to tell me that raging, screaming, intimidating, threatening, controlling, financial control and more were not domestic violence. I think any DV advocate with real experience would beg to differ! He continued to say that many reports of abuse are false. Wrong. Statistics show that false reports are very rare. I pointed that out to him and he told me that he knew better. I think that is the problem. He did not know better and he wasn’t willing to learn. He ended by telling me that the officers all trusted each other’s judgment, so once the officer had made the false reports about me, the others were going to accept that as fact. This man was a lost cause, and part of the reason domestic violence is a serious epidemic. I’m sure there are good officers out there, but my experiences have been very, very bad.
5 thoughts on “How the police and ignorance about domestic violence hurt abuse victims”
I totally agree with you for me authorities getting involved made things worse for me. Having an abusive controlling partner to deal with and others trying to take control away from you for me made matters worse for me to deal with. People have no idea about the type of person they are dealing with. Narcs are very cleaver people and they are the worst kind of enemy to have. He was such a good liar and his threats against me and anyone who knew me were horrendous. And then there is all the smear campaigns about you and anyone you know. There is also the terrible rages they go into that are very frightening. They know how to hoover you back. This makes it very difficult to leave him. I think the only people who understand what it is like is people who have lived with a narc. A lot of what they do is play mind games with you and my narc made me sit through character assassinations where he would go on for hours about what a horrible person I was. One day it fell into place that all the things he said about me were actually him talking about himself! Anything I had done he had always done better. I know that he only saw me as sport and nothing more. He is not and never will be able to function in a normal family. I recorded my narc with a tiny voice recorder and played it to a friend who was horrified. What I am saying is that their manipulation is so extreme they even makes you doubt your own sanity. Someone else hearing what was going on made me know I wasn’t going mad. This is the kind of person you are dealing with. As I said people don’t understand unless they have lived it, its not something anyone can learn about.
Hello. I found this forum by chance researching advice on helping children who witness and eventually become victims of narcs. If I would have read this one week ago I would have completely agreed with the fact that involving the authorities, even though the right thing to do, makes things worse. My most recent experience was completely opposite and finally life altering. My children unfortunately are more than I would like to admit witness to my narcs attacks on me. This one escalated into physical violence. His rage was out of control and even more frightening than ususal. My daughter out of panic dialed 911. The rage escalated and even though not the first time a threat to my life was made, heard and recorded. Then the rage turned towards the dispatcher on the phone as he grabbed the phone and began verbally assaulting her. A threat to injure himself and make it look like I was the attacker was also heard. Needless to say when the officers arrived the Narc isolated himself. Tore his own shirt and injured himself and told the officers I attacked him. It gets much deeper and crazier but the pre meditation that must have gone along with this was eye opening. He was taken to jail and charged with domestic abuse and child endangerment. The officers who interviewed my two young ladies (alone) gave me a card to a women’s shelter and said call them. I was in shock. A shelter? Come on, really? He didn’t beat me, I have a job that provides for us. The officer said, they will provide you with things you don’t know you need. So I did and I went there. They do a screening interview that determines your level of risk. I was in shock with tears pouring down my face. Things I have been accepting for 20 years is not being married to a jerk it’s ABUSE!! They provided with the Ppw for a protective order to take to the judge, who in turn signed it and he was served while still in jail. They found me an attorney to represent me at our first court date and who will now be my divorce attorney. They also advised me that victims of domestic abuse are granted immediate divorces in the state I live in. They offered me a safe place to stay and I honestly would have moved into a shelter with my precious lil ladies but a dear friend and coworker offered us a safe “off the radar” place to stay. They called the sheriffs dept in that town and they are going frequent drive bys to check on us. Narc cannot come within a city block of me or my children. He cannot call or text me, I have sole rights to my vehicle, he was ordered to turn over his set of keys. I removed all of our belongings out of our home and left. I have since found a townhouse I can afford and should be moving my children and I in this coming week. Now don’t get me wrong , it all seems to good to be true and I will not be shocked if his mommy gets him a hot shot attorney to have this removed. But as of right now, this is the safest and farthest I have come. It’s still not easy and I know I will come across many obstacles. My reason for sharing this, please don’t give up on the authorities. I now am focusing on my damaged daughter who is struggling with guilt for her daddy being arrested but she will some day realize she is her Mommy’s lil hero. The shelter also provided me with counseling services for all of us. It is my mission to never again be bullied out of living life. Trust me I have 20 years of damage to try to fix but with my children as my motivators, I for once have hope. Please stay strong and protect yourselves and your babies. It is the hardest thing in the world but if we continue to support and educate one another it can be done.
Thank you I had a similar experience Today. And the Authorities are they to help But in most cases they’re hands are tied by court orders not being written to exact requirements of what is to be expected. Even the order of protection is only a document, sucks, The day Wil come that this ragefull vengeance comes to reality. And I will be the target in front of my children. I have tried everything to prevent this, It was when I was told to go to a shelter that I realized I was not getting out alive, but only, with dignity and my kids, those who are in favor. The other just suffers in this chaotic drama.
All authorities need domestic violence training. But the term that comes to mind is trauma Informed. Not just police, but all people in the chain dealing wirh a victim in a paid position , including lawyers and judges need trauma informed training.
Yesterday, I saw a part of this disorder that blew me away!
My X in front of police was steeling my dead uncles clock! My dead dad gave it to me.
My daughter said: “Why would he do that”
He proceeded to lie to the police that he did not get things that I saw him and his friend take.
My brother had shown me that he broke open a pad locked door and took firearms.
Beside empty boxes were pawn receipts for others.
He lied to the police about everything he claimed he did not get on some list.
The court is so corrupt and never sent me a document the police had that is clearly date tampered! I was not permitted to make a copy!
While they are leaving the post man delivers a note, it states , from the X, he is going to be there!
Lol , I thank GOD daily that I could never do that to anyone.
I prayed for all involved in such corruptive bullshit! This man is a criminal like no other! We are taught to be good citizens and report crime.the fraud is huge!
I have reported and nothing has been done.
Day by day better and better , as peace is happening.