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Has anyone tried to take their abuser to court?

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My relationship included sexual assault, as well as emotional abuse, a violent threat and instances where he shoved and shook me. I feel so stressed and pressured like I need to take him to court about the assault - but I feel hopeless and helpless like there is no point, I want to do it but I feel like I will be putting myself through a horrible retraumatusing experience that won't end up anywhere - I don't remember specifically when the assault even happened and we stayed together afterwards because even though I knew it wasn't 'right', I didn't realise that was what it was. It was also like two years ago, if not more (I can't even remember when specifically it was) -  I feel like these things mean I won't have a hope in hell... I feel so stressed and pressed like people are saying "you should go, have to go", but having assessed it I feel like there is no point and I feel so powerless but I don't want anything to happen to someone else :( , yet stressed because I feel like people aren't understanding or can't understand... I've also studied how brutal and retraumatising that those court cases can be, to the point of women killing themselves. WTF is there no one around to help us? And not to mention, the a-hole isn't even in the country anymore. 


Anyone have any advice? 

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Vanilli...........I'm so sorry you are having such a rough day and that the trauma is closing in on you again.

So.............the relationship is over..........he is gone from your life, you are finally safe and you are trying to heal.  You have no evidence with which to proceed with charges and he is out of the country. My $.02 would be that you need to concentrate totally on your healing, knowing that you may never find an answer to the injustice that was done to you and many more women like you.  You may never hear a judge or jury say "guilty as charged!!"  Many times the only "closure" is to have them out of our lives for good and close the door on that ugliness.

However..........you are certainly NOT powerless!  You now have control over who you allow in your life, in your mind, and in your most personal space.  You know how the abuser works to win you over and how they keep who they really are a secret............you know how they control, manipulate, coerce, bribe, threaten, lie, isolate and terrorize. You are a survivor......you have the scars to prove it and you should feel like a conqueror..........you have taken control of your life back!

if you are not already, I hope you are working with a good counselor to continue the work of healing..........you are stronger than you know!


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Vanilli, I think that Lizzibethak has words of wisdom. Without evidence it seems pointless to take him to court.

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I totally get this. I kind of went through a similar thing - not on a physical level (although there were physical consequences) with being severely mentally/emotionally terrorized and taking legal action.

For what it's worth, here are my thoughts.

When making these types of decisions, here are some factors:

* When I'm trying to make a decision like this, I flash-forward and put myself in my own future-shoes, thinking back on my past. What would future-self regret more - if I don't  do it, or if I do?

* I went for it. I felt I had to. I also felt I had a prima facie case. (However, I didn't successfully present it, and in the end I didn't prevail, and the powers-that-be won even though I had direct proof of complete lies.) 

* I spent literally years wasting my precious time and life and energies on doing this - being severely traumatized, and piling on life-sucking thing after thing, task after task. And the doing of it - itself - was traumatic. Writing things up. Answering documents, creating documents - it literally - LITERALLY - sucked all my life and any good from my life. It was all-consuming.

***** Yet I felt absolutely compelled to, because the nature of the horrific crap that was done to me was so severe. That it felt, at least, empowering that I was trying to stand up for myself.

***** So either way it was a catch-22. I had to try my every best effort. But in so doing, it seriously hampered my life and sucked years and years out of me and severely impacted me negatively on every level.

* Then in my last chance for gaining anything from it, I was so completely traumatized that I couldn't even bring myself to go through the evidence that one more time that would almost assuredly have brought me at least some sort of good outcome.  Now - many many MANY months past the deadline - I realize I did have the needed evidence. But while I was still within the deadline, I couldn't even bring myself to think about it. So I had consciously let it go, at that point. I just couldn't, anymore. (Do I regret not forcing myself to somehow make that one last effort - after the years of my life and psyche and body and soul I'd put into this? Actually... yes, I think I do. Would anything have come of it? Maybe not, and it would have been at a big expense I didn't have. But what was done to me was so severe that ... well, it was a difficult call.)

* Is my life better now that I'm past that? Yes. I'm more able to focus on myself and the extremely important things in my own life. Yes, life is better without dealing with that.

* Do I still have severe negative repercussions from what I'd gone through? Yes, all the time. Not sure I will ever stop having flashbacks, feeling the need to at least be heard, to be taken seriously about it. For me what had been done to me had also included a form of real-life character assassination and things that potentially impact my livelihood and my reputation. That's in addition to the direct impact of what was done to my soul, my psyche, my body. 

* Do I regret not having nipped the whole thing in the bud and never started it in the first place and just gotten out while the getting was good? Yes, kind of. That was probably my biggest mistake. Things were done but the escalating of it was almost worse. Did it make me feel better to at least try? After it had gotten to a certain point, I had no choice BUT to try. So, yes.


So there's no easy answer here. What may help, though, is if you can know for certain that you have zero evidence. Maybe there's some other way you can backtrack to figure out the date it occurred. What other things happened around that time? What other things were going on to help pinpoint the timing? 

Now, from my own experience, the trauma has a habit of clouding and fogging and making it so difficult to even think about that all the details and other important information are almost impossible to zero in on. It's like trying to force two magnets of the same polarity together. 

So if it's possible to make a fact-based list of the things that occurred and when they occurred, then you might have more than you think.

On the other hand, if you did proceed, would you be comfortable with an outcome that was not the best-case? Would just trying make you feel better about it? Would you be okay with any potential negative consequences that might arise from just trying? (Repercussions from him, to your health, etc.)

Also, do you know if this is still within the statute of limitations for this type of crime in your jurisdiction? Have you researched the laws about what forms a case and what type of documentation or evidence you might be called upon to provide? Sometimes doing this kind of research can help you decide, too. And if you proceed, it can help you organize your notes and documentation and put you on more solid ground.

So anyway - those are my thoughts and experiences from a similar standpoint, for what it's worth. Sometimes it just plain feels better to try, even if there's no good outcome from it. Sometimes it turns out to have been a life-sucking mistake. Sometimes a mixture of both. 


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