Being accused of domestic violence can ruin your entire life. No matter the ultimate outcome, you are likely to still be labeled an “abuser” by people you knew and trusted. The stigma can follow you around for the rest of your life.
A domestic violence accusation can also cause issues in your professional life. Your job or any professional license may be in jeopardy if your record contains a domestic violence charge or conviction.
This is why it is vital to mount a strong defense against a domestic violence charge. If you are a man, you might feel like it is a lost cause, assuming that courts are automatically biased against men in domestic violence cases. But is this true?
Studies show a bias against men in court
The answer is that yes, studies from the National Library of Medicine revealed that men can experience abuse of the legal system by women through false domestic violence accusations and that there is a general bias against men in court.
The National Library of Medicine studies showed that 72% of men who contacted the U.S. Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men reported that their female abusers had obtained a restraining order against them based on false accusations and used the court system to gain custody of children.
Additionally, many studies found that men were not given a fair hearing in domestic violence court proceedings and that they often had a harder time proving their case. Men also tended to lose custody more often.
The statistics are not much better in terms of men who are victims of domestic violence themselves. Studies showed that even though the abuse prevention law in Massachusetts uses gender-neutral language, men are often not given the same protections as women.
Although courts are supposed to apply the laws equally to men and women and make decisions based on the facts of each case, these studies demonstrate that if you are a man, you could likely still face bias in court in a domestic violence case.
Defending against a domestic violence charge
There are many potential defenses against a domestic violence charge. The alleged victim must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Many domestic violence cases are “he said, she said” cases, with no evidence except the alleged victim’s word.
In those cases, the judge must decide which party is more credible, or believable. Unfortunately, as has been shown, there is a better chance that a woman’s word will be given more weight than a man’s.
You can defend yourself by looking for inconsistencies in the victim’s story or showing a lack of evidence, such as photographs, a police report or other physical evidence. You might even have a case for self-defense, depending on the circumstances.
The stakes are high when defending yourself as a man against domestic violence charges. Having someone on your side to fight for you is essential.