Women are now Just as Likely to be Charged With Domestic Violence as Men

It’s always been the popular belief that domestic violence can only be perpetrated on a woman by a man. Violence initiated by women against a man has often been seen as self-defense. Another long-standing assumption is that a woman cannot inflict serious injuries on a man, as she is obviously the one who is physically weaker.

But this view is fast changing. A lot of men show up in emergency rooms with serious injuries sustained from domestic violence incidents. Protagonists for violence against men hold that women are just as likely to be violent as men, and that the same standards that are involved in bringing a man to justice for domestic violence should apply in cases where the abuser is a woman.

Studies shifting focus to women as perpetrators

Statistics from a 1999 study conducted in a Philadelphia clinic found that 12.6% of male patients who visited the clinic over a period of 13 weeks were victims of physical abuse by their female partners and that they suffered injuries from kicking, biting, punching, or choking.

Another survey conducted by the California Research Bureau on domestic violence shelters in California showed that 9% of the victims were men and 11% were gay or lesbian.

In another survey conducted on 70,000 Americans by the CDC in 2005, 23.6% of the women interviewed admitted to having been violent towards their intimate partner at least once in their life. The same report found that 20.7% of men and 35.5% of women in low income households have been victims of domestic violence, further reinforcing the fact that domestic violence perpetrated by women is a real problem.

Domestic violence exists in female same-sex relationships, also

A dominant partner in a lesbian relationship can also be violent towards her female partner. Domestic violence in lesbian partnerships is a real and rising concern but it’s seldom talked about even in lesbian communities. Research has shown that 17% to 45% of lesbians have been violently abused at least once by their female partner, and that some acts of violence even include sexual assault.

  • Domestic violence in lesbian relationships includes acts of:
  • Physical violence
  • Threats with words or with weapons
  • Acts of psychological domination
  • Threats of ‘outing’ when the victim has not openly admitted to being a lesbian. In such a case the victim continues to withstand abuse for fear of other people knowing.
What to do when accused

The view of the woman as a perpetrator of domestic violence is increasingly being taken more seriously. Therefore, if you are involved in a domestic dispute, you should treat your situation with the same care as if you committed the assault. Even in same sex marriages, domestic violence is regarded in the same way as that of abused women in a heterosexual marriage.

When you get arrested, avoid saying anything that will incriminate you. A statement like, “I only hit him softly and it didn’t even hurt,” could implicate you of guilt. You should also get a domestic violence attorney to represent you in court.

Different charges could be brought against you depending on the statement you give to the police, and the injuries suffered by the victim. However, your chances for preventing a domestic violence conviction or for getting a domestic violence charge reduced will depend on your cooperation with your lawyer.

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