It is very common for domestic abuse and harassment to start as something that seems harmless and forgettable. Many relationship problems begin with apparently trivial and inconsequential events such as questioning where you have been or objecting to a social visit to friends or family, but they evolve into something harmful. Often we are in denial about such things turning sour and may be slow on the uptake and slow to realise that something has turned into a situation we need to get out of. We all want to think the best of our partners and try to overlook their faults. You may feel guilty and believe that you are at fault for whatever is happening but very soon you can find yourself needing to take action because you realise that you are being abused or harassed. The problem then is that by the time you need evidence of what you have been experiencing you have no record of what has been happening and it can difficult to make people believe or understand you.
The nature of abuse and harassment is that it is done behind closed doors and away from the public eye. This adds the sinister and very damaging factor that it is hard to prove, and hence hard for the police or lawyers to take action to protect you. So it is important that as soon as you recognise that what you are experiencing is abuse or harassment, you must start to record incidents and the pattern of what leads to them and what the consequences are, so that you have evidence to prove that what you are saying is true.
How domestic abuse can evolve
Domestic abuse can come at the hands of a partner, or a sibling, or maybe even a parent. It can be triggered by problems in the perpetrator’s personality, alcohol or drug abuse, mental health issues, or pressure caused by money problems or infidelity. When it involves someone you love, it can be difficult to admit that a line has been crossed and the relationship has deteriorated into something which you need to escape. This can be further complicated by the threat of violence or coercion, from someone stronger, older or more controlling, making it dangerous to confront it or leave. It is also a key problem that nobody else sees it.
ONRECORD has been specifically designed to help you to make discreet, organised and comprehensive records of experiences such as abuse or harassment so that you can prove that you are telling the truth and show people just how bad it is. As a mobile app, ONRECORD makes it as easy as possible to record incidents as they happen so that a pattern of abusive behaviour can be proved. If you leave recording incidents too late the details get forgotten, information can become sketchy and if you end up trying to prove it happened the perpetrator can claim that no clear evidence exists and you are making it up. Taking legal steps for your protection and trying to get the police to take action can be difficult with no evidence other than your word.
By the way, if you are concerned that your abuser might look at your phone and see that you are making records, thereby bringing more abuse, or worse, down on you, you can always delete the ONRECORD app from your phone when you have uploaded a record and download the app again when you need to make another. There will be nothing on your phone to suggest that you are keeping records but your uploaded records will be safe on our secure servers.
Harassment is another issue which can come in many different forms. You could be having trouble with an ex-partner who won’t leave you alone, or a former employer or employee who feels a grievance. You could be harassed by someone who was involved in an accident with you or has a complaint for any number of reasons. Harassment can come from a colleague at work who is bullying you, or a neighbour over a boundary dispute or unsociable behaviour. These things can fester over a period of time and become intolerable, but as soon as you realise that what you are experiencing is harassment, it is vital you start to record evidence. As with domestic abuse, it can be very difficult to show people just how bad it has been for you unless you have kept a record of the harassing events so that you can illustrate the pattern over time. It’s easy for people to not take it seriously if they can’t see how the repeated pattern of what may seem minor incidents builds up into a major problem..
Putting yourself in control
Making records in itself can be useful even if you decide not to take any further steps, so you aren’t wasting time to get started early. It can help you to get your situation in perspective and see that maybe it’s much worse that you liked to think or, possibly, not as bad as you thought. You will certainly get a clear sense of how others will view it if you share your ONRECORD records with Family and Friends using the ‘Connect’ feature of the app. At the very least you have a chance to make a careful judgment about how the pattern of abuse or harassment is affecting you and what you need to do about it. It will also help you get support from those who love you. Once you have uploaded dates, times, images, recordings and your account of events all together in one place with ONRECORD, it will be in a format that is easy to organise and share if/when this becomes necessary.
It is wrong to think you can rely on your memory. Vague memories won’t be taken seriously as credible evidence. You need clear proof that something has happened or been said or done on a particular occasion to build a case against someone. Building a record of dates and times, along with a description of what happened can build a body of evidence of an intolerable pattern of behaviour that nobody can argue with. Ideally you should include quotes of what was actually said, a description of exactly what was done and its consequences and a record of any witnesses who can vouch for what you are saying. Presenting the police, a lawyer or a judge with such information immediately puts you in a strong position to get the protection you need. Knowing that you have watertight evidence of the abuse or harassment also makes it much more likely to result in the perpetrator admitting guilt, ending their abuse, or you being able to obtain an injunction or a conviction against them.
Ultimately, you need to ensure your own safety and that of your children and other dependents. It is never too early to start keeping a record of abusive or harassing events. As soon as you recognise that you are being abused or harassed, you must start recording evidence. If you decide not to take it any further, then there is nothing lost in you having been cautious and organised, but if the situation does escalate, then you are in a great place to be able to present information which will get the help you need to be safe. In short, you are putting yourself in control.
Sign up to ONRECORD, the essential evidence gathering app.