The image of the housewife waving a rolling pin, or frying pan over her head while chasing her husband is one usually depicted in cartoons. An image we typically find funny. The reality is that domestic violence against men happens. It happens more than we think, and there is just nothing funny about it. What's worse is that many men who fall victim to domestic abuse are frequently suspected of, and sometimes even arrested and charged with domestic abuse against their spouse when they act in self defense or in some cases when the man has done absolutely nothing.
Visualize this real-life scenario: a woman for whatever reason becomes angry at her husband or live-in, significant other and she confronts the man with a verbal assault. When the conversation heats up, and doesn't go exactly as she had planned, she slaps, or throws something at the man. She continues to try to physically assault the man, and in an effort to stop injury to himself and to her, he grabs her hand.
A red mark develops on her wrist and even a bruise. She calls 911 to report an assault against her, but she conveniently leaves out the part where she started the fight by hitting him. The police respond and because most police department's policy require an arrest to be made, they arrest the man.
After all, it was the woman who called 911. She is the one with the bruise. He must have assaulted her, right? The police and prosecutors don't care if the man's professional, personal and financial well being is at risk. The police are there to make an arrest and the prosecutors are there to make sure someone gets charged and convicted? The tremendous amount of awareness of domestic violence against women calls for such action, but what about the cases where the man is the real victim. The question is, why don't men report domestic violence more often? Mostly, because they find it embarrassing. Men typically think that they will not be believed and that they may even be ridiculed by other men.
Also, physical injuries inflicted by women are typically not as great as injuries inflicted by men, and may not even be noticed by the man or the police until long after the incident occurs. Finally, it has taken women years of awareness to encourage women to report domestic violence. Very little has been done to encourage men to report abuse. Victims of domestic violence need to be protected, whether they are women or men. Police and prosecutors need to understand that men can just as easily fall prey to domestic violence.
Before just simply arresting and charging the man, the police need to do a thorough investigation the prosecutors need to consider both sides of the story and the corroborating evidence before jumping to a conclusion that may end up victimizing the real victim.
Donald P. Schweitzer, Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer, 201 South Lake Avenue, Suite 700, Pasadena, California 91101, (626) 683-8113 http://www.PasadenaDomesticViolence.com Mr. Schweitzer is a attorney, specializing in domestic violence cases. He is a former police officer, and Deputy District Attorney.