Has anyone you know been framed for domestic violence?

I’m a divorce and family lawyer, and so the crimes I see people framed for or manipulated into “committing” are domestic violence types. It’s frighteningly easy to do. Before I go any further, I note: virtually every time I write one of these kinds of posts I get a comment from someone who claims that I believe all domestic violence allegations are false. Obviously that’s impossible because there are instances of domestic violence that are objectively provable as fact.

But I do believe most domestic violence claims made in conjunction with a divorce or child custody case are false and are made for the purpose of getting leverage in the divorce and/or child custody action. So if your relationship with your spouse or parent of your children is strained to the breaking point, don’t be surprised if you are accused of domestic violence. Forewarned is forearmed.

Here’s a good recipe for framing your husband or the father of your children for domestic violence (one can pick and choose what ingredients work best):

1. Start rumor mongering among friends and family members that you “don’t feel safe” around him. That’s all you need to start with. Just “I don’t feel safe around him.” If you feel you must add detail, a simple “He’s been behaving erratically lately” is good. And at some point in your scheme you’ve got to use the word “erratic,” so doing so at the outset works.

a. Let your listeners/readers do your work for you by allowing them to imagine and then convince themselves what that all means;

b. If your husband owns a gun, you could mention that;

c. If your husband drinks alcoholic beverages, mentioning that is a stylish touch too;

d. When pressed for more detail, avert your eyes and speak with a catch in your voice as you say you “can’t talk about it”—that will help you claim battered wife syndrome later;

2. Start “asking” friends and family members, “What is sexual abuse?” Ask the question with all the naivete and childlike innocence you can muster. This will start the conversation that allows you to paint your husband as a pervert and sexual abuser. If you don’t want to go the sex abuse route, you can substitute with “What is PTSD?”

3. Post on social media:

a. quotations about resilience against the backdrop of sepia toned photographs that include sunbeams or flowers sprouting from asphalt as an element of the composition; season with hashtags to taste;

b. reviews of books and articles in The Atlantic about domestic violence. Praise them for being “so true” and that they “understand what it means to be abused” and stuff like that. Don’t start spinning yarns in print about abuse; they are too hard to keep straight later. Keep it vague. Keep it melodramatic. Leave your audience wanting more.

4. Join an abused women’s group, both in person and online.

– not only is this good optics, but you get the fringe benefit of associating with other people who are plotting as you are; you can trade notes;

5. Start seeing a therapist for treatment for spousal abuse. The fact that you haven’t actually been the victim of abuse does not matter.

6. If you have children, start indoctrinating them about how dangerous Daddy is, teach them how to dial 911 and Child Protective Services, talk about safe words, and make sure you speak with their pediatrician and school counselor about things that they have been telling you (even though they have been telling you know such things) about daddy’s erratic behavior and the whippings, slappings, pushings, kickings, molestation, and even starvation he’s engaging in.

7. Accuse your husband of a “pornography addiction”. If you’ve got the guts, accuse your husband of pornography addiction while you’re both meeting with your minister or pastor—odds are that your minister will grill your husband for quite a while and may never believe he’s innocent.

a. “Remember” being raped while married. Accuse husband of rape—do so in person and by text message;

i. cite husband’s denials of rape as proof of rape;

ii. cite husband’s accurate statements to you that your rape allegations are insane as proof that he’s a control freak, a “bully” (“bully” is a great word to throw around these days), and violent (you know, emotional violence);

8. Relentlessly criticize your husband and argue with him for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Give him the silent treatment. You need to disorient him and soften him up for the next phase.

9. After steps 1 through 8 are in place, stage an argument. If you can do so after he’s had a few drinks over dinner or after a ballgame, so much the better.

a. Tell him to “get out of my house!”;

b. Tell him to “get out of my house!”;

c. Tell him to “get out of my house!”;

d. Tell him that you don’t feel safe with him in the house and that therefore he must leave, now;

e. Tell him to “get out of my house!” several more times; really work yourself up into a lather; get flushed; start to perspire; run your hands through your hair a few times and get it disheveled;

10. Tell your husband you’re going to call the police and report him for domestic violence. If you can goad him into trying to take the phone from your hand, that really helps a lot. Then you can claim that he’s trying to prevent you from calling for help, which is a crime in an of itself in most jurisdictions.

11. Physically attack your husband in ways that require him to fight you off. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up getting some scratches and bruises. Try not to scratch or bruise him in the process, but if you do, it’s no big deal.

12. Injuries to the face are the money shots.

a. Bonus points if you punch or slap yourself in the face and/or bark your shins on car bumpers and coffee tables to create the impression that you have been physically assaulted;

b. Blood is not necessary, but if you have the stomach for it and you can get your nose to bleed or you don’t mind scratching yourself to the point of bleeding, blood only helps;

13. If you have children, send them over to the neighbors or coordinate in advance for your parents or sibling to “rush” to the house and bundle the children into your car to “get them to safety”— this not only makes for good theater but also makes it easier for you to control access to the children and the car later;

14. Go outside, either to call the police or after you have called them.

a. if you can turn on the tears, do so now;

b. make sure you are not wearing shoes or socks; you must be in bare feet to maximize your pathetic appearance;

c. wail outside just enough so that people can see you standing out there in your bare feet, crying (and shivering—don’t worry if it’s not cold enough to pull that off believably, you can just claim that it’s the effects of shock);

15. When the police arrive, make sure you have your story straight. The simpler the better.

a. Don’t start out with the punching, hitting, and kicking claims. Build up to those and leave them for the end.

b. Ensure that your story has these elements:

i. Claims that your husband pushed you. Lots of pushing. Cops love pushing. Pushing you in the chest. Pushing you from behind. Pushing you out of the way. Pushing you down. Pushing you down on the bed;

ii. Claims that your husband “grabbed” parts of you (you must say “grabbed,” not “grasped” or “gripped” or “held”). Like pushing, grabbing is a magic word for the cops. You must say “grabbed my arm” at least once. Also helpful: “grabbed my wrist,” “grabbed me by the upper arm,” “grabbed me by the hair,” “grabbed me by the throat. Heck, even “grabbed me by the ankle” works; don’t worry about the lack of marks on the areas of your body you claim your husband grabbed—it’s not necessary;

iii. Claims that your husband falsely imprisoned you. You need to include in your story claims: 1) that he cornered you in the bedroom or kitchen or bathroom; 2) that you wanted to get by him and asked (you can say “begged” if you don’t think it’s over the top) him to let you pass; and that he refused to let you leave;

iv. If you’re afraid that you might forget the false imprisonment claim, the good news is that the cops will probably remind you to make this claim in the course of questioning you, but don’t leave it to chance;

c. Claims that your husband threw something—and it doesn’t have to be thrown at you. Just thrown. Anything. Even if it’s nothing more than a gym sock or one of those flimsy empty water bottles thrown on the floor and nowhere near you. But you have to accuse him of throwing something. Other possibilities:

i. thrown keys;

ii. thrown books;

iii. thrown pills;

iv. thrown jacket;

v. thrown shoe (not both shoes);

vi. thrown phone(s).

d. One area that doesn’t get enough attention is torn clothing. If you don’t want to rip it, at least stretch out the neck on your T-shirt or yank on your blouse until several buttons pop off.

e. Claims that your husband broke something. If what he threw is what he broke, that’s fine—they can be the same thing—but they don’t have to be. Good things to claim your husband broke include doors, windows, screens, and crockery.

f. Wildcard – include a few weird details so that your story doesn’t seem to rehearsed or too down pat. Some of my favorites: “He chased me around the living room with a pair of deer antlers,” “he sat on me for ____ minutes,” “he tore up our daughter’s drawings on the fridge.” If you’re just not the creative type, then “he told me she wanted to kill himself” is usually a good catchall.

g. Make sure that you claim that your husband committed domestic violence against you in the presence of your children. Committing domestic violence in the presence of children is a separate crime, so don’t waste this opportunity to get him charged with two crimes for the price of one.

h. Bonus: If your husband was drinking (just something to drink, not that he got drunk) that night, that’s just icing on the cake.

16. Finally, go get a restraining order or protective order against him. Then lure him back to the house with promises of wanting to reconcile. Once you’ve secured his commitment to come over, call the police and tell them that he’s on his way over. He will then be arrested for violating the no contact provisions of the protective order.

If you play your cards right, you can get him charged with at least three or four crimes in one night and an additional crime shortly thereafter.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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