There’s some plain and simple truths about domestic violence. Women are victims of domestic violence. Men are also victims of domestic violence. There are people who are violent and do violence against others. These people are both men and women. When women make accusations of domestic violence, the judicial system is most likely to believe them.
In fact, there is a presumption in the judicial system that she is telling the truth. When men make accusations of domestic violence, they’re very often not believed unless they have hard compelling evidence. Even though the same standards apply to both men and women, these standards are not evenly applied.
False allegations of domestic violence are becoming more and more commonplace. Most of these false claims are advanced by women against men, and most often the men and women in the cases have children in common. Accordingly, men need to fight with everything they have to defeat false claims of domestic violence.
The consequences of losing these battles are significant and pervasive. If the accuser is successful, a permanent public record that they are guilty of domestic violence will result. These records are viewed by potential employers. They’re also available to the public, so people in your circle will have access to this defamatory record as a forewarning.
Biased Court System
Even when men prove that the allegation is probably not true, they still lose. This is because the courts, the county, and the state that you live in are charged by the federal government with the task of reducing violence against women within their domains. In furtherance of this mandate to reduce domestic violence, states have modified their laws over the last decade to help the accuser more readily succeed in their claims of petitions.
For protection against domestic violence, the accuser is only required to prove that the allegation could have occurred even though the same burden applies whether you’re in the courtroom. There is an obvious bias against men and in favor of women in just about every courtroom in this country.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
Accordingly, the first step in defending against false allegations is to hire an experienced attorney, and by this I mean an attorney experienced in defending men against false claims made by women. Let me explain why you need an attorney to defend yourself. Attorneys know how to read the allegations and identify allegations that are unlikely or contradictory.
These observations can be used to undermine the credibility of the witness. Proving that the accuser is lying is the most effective way to defeat a false allegation, and a skilled attorney is the best way that you can do this.
Understanding Your Witnesses
Attorneys will also help identify which witnesses may be helpful to build up your credibility and undermine that of the accuser. There may be witnesses who know the accuser to be a liar that know she made false allegations before or who were present during the alleged incident or interacted with the accuser close in time to the alleged incident. These witnesses may help cast doubt on the accuser and her claims attorneys understand motive, how to communicate, motive to the court, and how to use motive to undermine the accusation.
For example, if there are children involved and she’s seeking custody, this is motive. If the court believes that you’re guilty of domestic violence, it will hurt your custody case. If you’re able to show that the accuser was motivated by her desire to win custody of the children, this may help you defeat the false claims.
Building Your Case
Attorneys also know how to identify other sources of evidence. For example, communications between you and the accuser may help undermine the accuser or may help prove that she was motivated for reasons other than domestic violence. Was a bank account emptied out before the allegation was a divorce attorney consulted with.
Knowing the Right Questions
These are questions that need to be asked. Investigate, plan and prepare. That’s all you can do to protect yourself from an accusation of domestic violence, and you’re better off preparing under the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. So what happens if there was violence that the woman in the case initiated and you were only defending yourself?
File a Claim
So the first thing you have to do is file a claim against her. You need to be prepared. If she files the claim first and then you file second, the court may find that your filing was retaliatory. So file as fast as you possibly can. Even if you did file and she started the incident and you only defended yourself, you’re still at a disadvantage for many reasons.
Consider, for example, societal norms and gender stereotypes. They portray men as strong and vulnerable and less likely to be victims of abuse. These beliefs create a powerful bias against men throughout the judicial system. It’s a belief that men cannot be victims of domestic violence, which leads to disbelief when men report being victims of domestic violence.
Further, male victims of domestic violence may be less likely to report abuse due to fear of judgment. Shame or societal expectations that they should be able to handle the situation on their own. This under-reporting can perpetuate the notion that domestic violence is primarily a female victim, male perpetrator issue. It’s so important that men report when they’re physically abused by women because it is the only way to start chipping away at these biases.
Should you proceed with a claim that you’re a victim of domestic violence, your claims will be met with disbelief or skepticism. The reasons why are complex, multifaceted, and deeply embedded within the American culture. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon. Lack of awareness and education.
For example, society, including legal professionals, judges, and the general public are not aware of the prevalence of male victims of domestic violence. This lack of understanding results in dismissive attitudes when men come forward with allegations. Do not let this stop you. Be part of the fight to defend men against bias in the judicial system.
Perception of Physical Strength
There’s a general assumption that men are physically stronger than women and therefore they can defend themselves better or are less likely to be seriously harmed by their female partners. This assumption overlooks the fact that domestic violence can take various forms including emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse.
The assumption of physical strength also ignores the fact that many men will not hit a woman even to defend themselves when they are being attacked. Men are trained to just take it. If you’re physically abused, come forward and make a claim. Unfortunately, you have to be prepared to lose. The courts are replete with embedded gender bias, and assuming that men cannot be victims or are less impacted by domestic violence is rampant in the courts.
Despite the Gender Bias, Continue to Fight
If you call the police to help intervene, don’t be surprised if they don’t help you at all because you’re a man. And you can take it when you appear in court and claim that domestic violence has happened to you. Expect the judge to be dismissive. An attorney can help you at each step in the process to present your claim and to defeat gender bias.
Addressing this issue requires raising awareness about the prevalence of male victims of domestic violence and challenging gender stereotypes be a part of taking the first step. If men don’t start raising awareness that we too are victims of violence, society and courts will continue to act against us.