Bergen County Let Me Down: Violence against Women Ignored and 4 Women a Day Die

BettyJean Downing Kling

Today as I sat in court awaiting my case I was shocked to see no less than 7 DV cases go unheard because the women did not take the case forward. Whatever happened to the state proceeding without the woman because she may be afraid to testify? I saw officers agree to allow the state to drop the case.
Some abused women came in but said they did not want to proceed, a few called in saying they wanted to drop the charges and some simply did not appear. A parade of men came and went in and out without a care in the world, allegedly having violated the women they are intimate with.
What a horrible shame on two counts. First that the women let these men get away with violating them physically, but what about these punks that hit women and walk in here as if they are not the least bit ashamed of their behavior. I saw one man fondling and kissing her after the court and thanking her- she didn’t look happy about it at all. I saw another woman sitting there looking scared to death and she didn’t leave his side for a second. I could not help but look at these gems and think – gee what a prize that lady just saved from his consequences so he can be free to hurt her again!
On the other hand, I was there to see my case through. Having procured a final protection order from the county seat a few months back after the Judge found him guilty of terroristic threats, I was surprised to learn another county division downgraded the threat to kill case to a simple harassment and sent it back to Lodi to be heard. Funny no one spoke to me about that to be sure I wouldn’t drop the charges – or to be sure how much danger I was in. Did they think a protection order would keep me alive from a lunatic? In any case I was blindsided by that move but I proceeded to trial.
The defendant, my son, was found guilty but because the charge was downgraded he got what amounted to a slap on the wrist and a minimal fine compared to the seriousness of the crime he should have been found guilty of. The judge could only find him guilty of the charges before her and no more.
Downgrading a threat to kill to simple harassment is a serious injustice against me by the county. I did not get my day in court- and if anything happens to me – it is blood on their hands. I did not drop charges – I followed through – the county let me down. This is the reason 4-5 women a day are found dead in the USA- even when they don’t drop the charges and they are willing to show up – they do not get the justice and protection they deserve. Wake up America- a protection order is not a guarantee on saving a life!

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2 Responses

  1. This is so hard and takes so much energy to even think about it. I am consciously putting myself through a healing process to reclaim my spirit and recover my will to work on this – I agree that the matter of a person being subjected to force and intimidation causing her to undertake or accept acts against her free will must be resolved. But,clearly, our approach falls short of our objectives. The violators are emboldened, and the System for addressing it grows ever more mechanical, caustic, callous and reactionary by the day.

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