Last week an anonymous prosecutor who has prosecuted a domestic violence caseload explained to us, from her professional point of view, how we should respond when we have friends or family members in abusive relationships. Some of the comments objected to her use of the pronoun “he” as the aggressor and “she” as the victim. Here the prosecutor, who requested anonymity, is back to respond.
Absolutely, men can be and are victims of domestic violence. The choice to use the pronoun she exclusively was a choice that I made as the author because the majoriy of reported domestic violence victims are women. The data also shows that women are more likely than men to report incidents of domestic violence, according to Measuring Intimate Partner Violence by National Institute of Justice.
Changing the pronouns used does not change what I have to say about domestic violence, nor does it change the experience I have prosecuting domestic violence cases. I do not condone domestic violence, regardless of the gender of the defendant. While the majority of the defendants I have prosecuted were men, I have and will continue to prosecute women for domestic violence offenses, when appropriate.
Collecting actual data on the rates at which men and women are victimized by an intimate partner is not straightforward. It is difficult to collect data that takes in to account the complex nature of domestic violence, which includes who was the primary agressor, the controlling nature of the relationship, multiple victimizations, and many, many other factors.
To quote from the Measuring Intimate Partner Violence data:
“The studies that find that women abuse men equally or even more than men abuse women are based on data compiled through the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), a survey tool developed in the 1970s. CTS may not be appropriate for intimate partner violence research because it does not measure control, coercion, or the motives for conflict tactics; it also leaves out sexual assault and violence by ex-spouses or partners and does not determine who initiated the violence.”
I could reverse my usage of he/she throughout the entire article, and what I have to say would be exactly the same. Male victims of domestic violence recant. He will go back to his abuser. Leaving may be difficult for him. He will still love her. And if you witness it, you should still act.
If you would like to contact the author of this post, send an email to Jessica@TheFrisky.com and it will be forwarded along.