The biggest problem victims of domestic violence face is believability. If you spent years living with someone that was regularly harming you, other people have a hard time believing that you were ever hurt. This is very distressing when you face the fact that
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (CDC, 2017)
Violence against men is often under-reported too, because men do not want the stigma of being "weak" attached to being a "victim." Everyone needs to understand that these acts are not about being weak; they are about control. If you want to be believed when you pursue a lawsuit against an intimate partner or family member, here is what you MUST do.
See a Doctor EVERY TIME You Are Hurt by the Other Person
You never have to tell your doctor what really happened; he or she already knows by your injuries. That is perfectly okay, especially if you are very afraid of what your abuser might do if you did say anything. You can honestly tell him/her that you told the doctor nothing when the doctor asked, but the doctor would be able to keep a running log of what has been happening to you. That is hardcore evidence right there if you ever sue the abuser.
Take Pictures and Transfer the Pictures to a Jump Drive or Send Them to Someone You Trust
When your abuser is asleep or is not home, take pictures of your injuries. Send the pictures to someone you trust who will keep the pictures safe. Otherwise, load the pictures onto a jump drive and put it into a safe deposit box for safe keeping. Doing this is scary, but it will be empowering to you when you need it most. Pictures and doctor's files are some of the most damning and irrefutable evidence in court.
Leave as Soon as the Best Opportunity Presents Itself
When you have finally had enough, and a really good opportunity presents itself, leave the home you share with your abuser. Find the safest haven you can; domestic violence and abuse shelters are perfect because your abuser will not be allowed to enter the building. These shelters will also take in children if you are able to remove them and flee together. When you can show the courts that you left when you could, you become more credible than someone who stays for decades.
For more advice, reach out to an attorney like those at Jacobs & Barbone P A.