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I don't know if you can help me. I have exhausted every avenue possible with the legal system here in Dallas County Texas. My sister is going through a divorce because of extreme mental and physical spousal abuse. About 2 months ago, her husband tried to "reconcile" with her. She had pressed numerous charges against him for assault. These assaults included choking, kicking, and biting.

With all of these charges pending, he calls her over to their home (which she had to leave as he wouldn't) and starts an altercation with her. He physically "beat the hell out of her again". The police were called. When they arrived, they called paramedics. She did not want to go to the hospital because hospital bills only enraged her husband even more. The police cuffed him and were about to take him when he told them that they had the wrong person, that she assaulted him and that he was just defending herself.

The police asked for her version of the story and she got angry because she was laying there obviously beaten, and told the officers to check his record. They told her that if she didn't come up with some kind of story they were taking her to jail. She got even angrier and told the cop that with his mentality he was probably a wife beater also. This enraged the officer and he arrested her. She ended up in the hospital later that night. The police went with her to the emergency room and badgered her to the point that the doctor had to ask the police officer to leave her alone.

The police filed class A misdemenor charges against my sister. Her husband had a scratch on his left cheek where she pushed him off of her. The worst part about this is that with all of the beatings she has taken, even with pictures, paramedic & doctor's reports the worst he has had to face so far is a small fine.

Now my sister is faced with having to pay a lawyer a large retainer to defend her. But she currently has a "pending" criminal charge against her. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Thanks for your note and I am so sorry to hear about your sister's experience. Unfortunately, she is not alone. I don't know actual numbers, but I would imagine that there is a fairly high percentage of women who end up being blamed for their husband's abusive behavior. What we need to change this reality is for the police and judges to be "better educated" on issues like domestic violence. There are groups that are working on this in California, but I don't know of any in Texas.

Since that is more of a long term solution and you need a short term one---contact the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Through the Violence Against Women Act, they have established networks in every state to deal with these issues. They may be able to provide you with some good legal counsel or at least some sources for where to begin to "right" the wrong. Good luck and I hope the above helps.


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