Most parents teach their sons not to hit women. But, what happens when a woman is the aggressor and she incites the physical altercation? According to the law, she should be arrested for battery or domestic violence. That, however, doesn’t always happen. In fact, a battered man might end up facing criminal charges if the woman involved claims he was the aggressor, even when the evidence is to the contrary.
Emeka, 31, says he didn’t want to hurt anybody, especially his wife. He felt there was a peaceful way of handling his wife’s violent rages. A black belt in Shotokan Karate, he has the ability to seriously harm people, but women — especially his wife — have never been a target. Emeka says he doesn’t use his physical prowess unless he absolutely has to in defending himself. He said two of his wife’s attacks got so bad, however, that he was forced to defend himself, particularly when she allegedly tried to stab him with a knife and punch him in the face. Otherwise, he said he dodged the blows or held her arms to ward off attacks. According to Emeka, every time he would hold her and refuse to let her hit him, she would scream that he was beating her. The police would come and assume that he was the aggressor because he is almost a foot taller than she. But since their separation, he has been charged with terrorism threats, simple assault, and reckless conduct, all of which are apparently unsubstantiated by any thing, except for his wife’s acrimonious testimony.
Meanwhile, Emeka has ended up in the hospital with contusions and other injuries, which are documented by hospital records, eye witnesses, and police reports. He says he even has a video of his wife hitting him while holding one of their children. After five years of marriage, he only recently pressed charges for battery, but the DA has tried to suspend the warrants against his wife and will not allow him to see their children. After reaching out to the Underwood Foundation for battered men, Emeka says he finally began to feel like someone was listening and understood.
According to the CDC’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, about 1 in 4 women (24.3 percent) and 1 in 7 men (13.8 percent) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. The motivation for battering is typically about control. Physical abuse is just one means of control, but other forms include verbal and psychological abuse. Men, like Emeka, don’t initially report the abuse because they are embarrassed. Many men don’t, in fact, ever say anything. The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men (1-877-643-1120
) is one private means that battered men can seek help. —a. johnson
-Annette R. Johnson is the author of “What’s Your Motivation?: Identifying and Understanding What Drives You” (2nd Ed.) Visit her at www.whatmotivation.com or whatmotivation on Twitter and Facebook.