Domestic Violence Victim Mocked, Jailed By Seminole County Florida Judge (VIDEO)

Florida Seminole County Judge Jerri Collins sentenced a single mother and domestic violence victim to jail recently for failing to testify against her abuser.

Image via Yahoo News

After allegedly being choked and held at knife-point by her abuser, the victim described intense feelings of depression and anxiety as one of the main reasons she had failed to testify.

“I’ve been dealing with depression and just a lot personally since this happened. My anxiety is like, this is everyday for me.”

Judge Collins was unmoved.

“You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety.”

The victim called the police in April after her abuser allegedly choked and threatened her while holding their one-year-old son. Her abuser was a repeat offender with prior charges of domestic violence against this same victim.

According to ABC News, the victim told the judge that

“She had gone to a domestic abuse class and had asked for the charges to be dropped. The woman said, in her defense during the hearing, that she did not want the alleged abuser to be convicted because when he’d been jailed previously, he’d lost his job and had been unable to pay child support. She said she’d lost her house and was now homeless.”

The victim’s reasoning is not atypical. According to FamilyLaw.Com, an inability to be economically self-sufficient after leaving an abuser is one of the most cited reasons that victims recant their testimonies.

If, for example, a woman’s abusive husband was the sole source of financial support for her and their children, she may be reluctant to risk his going to jail or prison if it means the family suffers.”

Judge Collins didn’t appear to understand this or even care. She sentenced the victim to three days in jail, despite her status as a single mother, removing her from her child, her job and her life. Disturbing moments in the video of the courtroom proceedings shows the victim pleading with the judge to no avail.

“Judge, I’ll do anything… I have a one-year-old son and I’m trying to take care of him by myself. I’m begging you, please, please don’t.”

Jeanne Gold, CEO of SafeHouse, an organization that assists victims of domestic violence, responded by saying:

“There’s no — absolutely nothing that I could think of that would be the reason to re-victimise this person by putting her in jail, and so I don’t understand where that thinking came from.”

Gold also fears that revictimizing her client in this way may prevent her from calling on police again should her abuser harm her further.

“She’ll never call again. Look what happened to her. She could be lying, broken in a ditch somewhere, and she would probably not call police because of what happened to her in this place.”

As a domestic violence victims’ advocate myself, I worry that other judges will follow suit and that other victims will hear of this story and become fearful of calling police when their lives are threatened.

Watch the video below and see what you think:

Featured image by Yahoo News, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.