The Consequences of Lying about Rape and Domestic Violence
REGIONAL – If you’ve been watching the political circus surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, then you’re fully aware of the 35-year-old attempted rape allegations made against Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. By now, most people have made up their mind on who they believe is being truthful, while theatrical outrage is displayed by both sides of the political aisle. There is one thing that most can agree on; Ford’s testimony was compelling, and she most likely suffered some kind of trauma at the hands of someone, but she could not provide evidence that Kavanaugh committed the offense. Whether the allegations are true or not, what happens to Kavanaugh’s reputation from this day forth?
In a tearful opening statement yesterday afternoon, Kavanaugh told members of the Senate Committee, “I love teaching law, but I may never be able to teach again.” He further stated, “my life is permanently destroyed by vicious and false accusation.” In the end, the majority voted to confirm Kavanaugh, but the final decision will not be made for at least another week or two.
High profile cases like Judge Kavanaugh’s may seem rare but to the average person accused of rape or domestic violence, the consequences are severe and go unnoticed by the media, even when they are proven false.
There are far more domestic violence (DV) cases investigated than rape and sexual assault, and because Florida is a mandatory arrest state, it only takes the accusation to result in an arrest, and sometimes against the will of the alleged accuser.
Over the last year, RNRF has reported the arrest of several individuals who have made false claims of DV against their partner or family member.
Last week, 44-year-old Holly Lynn Pereira was arrested after she falsely claimed her estranged husband, Jose Pereira, contacted her via cellphone text messaging. Holly was granted a temporary domestic violence injunction and alleged that her husband contacted her after he was served.
During an investigation, deputies discovered that a phone found in her possession was being used to send messages to her other phone, pretending that it was from her husband. Holly was subsequently taken into custody and charged with filing a false report.
Holly admitted to the offense, stating that she did it because she loved her husband and wanted him to come home.
In a more disturbing case out of Pasco County, 36-year-old Tammy Steffens reported that her business partner attempted to abduct her 12-year-old daughter from the back yard of their Holiday residence.
Deputies searched frantically for an alleged child predator, but he was nowhere to be found. Turns out, Steffens lied about the incident because she was mad at her business partner over a online contest. Thanks to video surveillance showing the suspect in Tampa at the time of the incident, he was not arrested
Steffens was arrested for Tampering with Evidence and Child Neglect. (FULL STORY)
Many say the laws surrounding domestic violence are overreaching, discriminatory, and are completely ineffective.
A 2011 Florida Senate Review of Procedures and Standards for Securing Protective Injunctions claims 80% of domestic violence injunctions are either fraudulent or have no merit. The vast majority of DV arrests in Hernando County are not extremely violent or result in serious injury; instead, they are what the law refers to as “an unwanted touching.”
During a domestic dispute, if one person touches another person without permission, even if there are no obvious marks or bruises, a law enforcement officer must arrest the person he/she deems to be the primary aggressor. For male defendants, even if the charges are dropped, they are forever perceived to be a “wife beater” in the eyes of future employers and prospective relationships.
For respondents who are bound by a DV Injunction, they often lose their home, contact with children, and loss of employment. For defendants found guilty of misdemeanor DV Battery, they forever lose the right to own or possess a firearm.
And remember, just like the Ford/Kavenaugh debacle, in a civil DV court, the burden of proof lies simply in verbal testimony. There is no need for physical evidence to convince a judge of guilt or innocence, and in most cases a judge will err on the side of caution, and grant an injunction.
Like Kavanaugh, whether he is guilty or not, he is guilty in the minds of millions of Ford supporters, and not a shred of evidence has ever been produced. He will always be referred to as the Judge who raped the young high school girl over 35-years ago.
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