Woman Speaks Out for Being Jailed After Refusing to Face Abuser in Court (VIDEO)

You know exactly what we shouldn't do to domestic abuse victims? Punish them for being too scared, depressed, or generally overly emotional to testify against their abusers. One woman was thrown in jail for three days when she failed to appear in court to testify against her husband, who was charged with choking her and threatening her with a knife last spring.


Myles Maynard Brennan was arrested last April for allegedly choking his wife and threatening her with a kitchen knife while she held their 1-year-old son. He has a prior domestic abuse conviction, by the way, and will likely have more, since his wife has since spoken out that she won't go to the police again if she's abused.

I mean, why would she? The last time the police got involved in her domestic dispute, she wound up being sentenced to three days in jail.

I get that she missed the trial to testify against him, and I'm not here to say that's okay. But sometimes you have to look at the big picture, especially when abuse is involved. We have no idea what sort of insidious things she may have been told over the years by this jerkface. For all we know, he threatened to kill her if she ever spoke in court against him. And what about their son? My point is that we just can't know what scared this woman away from court.

Speaking anonymously in the above video, she even said that it seemed "easier to go to jail than to testify against him."

Seminole County Judge Jerri Collins didn't see it that way, and held her in contempt of court for missing the trial. In a hearing, the woman said that her depression and anxiety over the abuse, and now being homeless and trying to care for her baby by herself, caused her to miss the trial.

Judge Collins responded to her plea with, "You think you have anxiety now? You haven't seen anxiety."

Wow. What a peach. The judge continued, "Turn around. You should have come to court. I've already issued my order." The victim was then handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom.

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I can't even fully process this story, and I really hope there's more to it than what's being reported. Domestic abuse victims are already so brainwashed with fear about coming forward and prosecuting their abusers -- cases like this are only going to create more fear among victims. Why would anyone get the law involved for protection, if they're just going to be thrown in jail?

Even a spokesperson for the Safe House of Seminole County is afraid of what this will mean for other victims. Jeanne Gold said that she's worried that others will be too scared to get the system involved after seeing what happened to this poor woman. "Unfortunately many victims will remain silent," she lamented.

This woman needed help and safety, not to be reprimanded in court for being a weakling and then sentenced to time in prison. I only hope that she doesn't allow herself to be abused again, as she said that next time, she won't go to the police.

What a terrible precedent to set.

If you or someone you know needs help escaping domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. 


Image via © Nathan Griffith/Corbis

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