As many as one in three women will experience at least one instance of domestic abuse or domestic violence in their lifetime. While there is never an excuse for a man to abuse or terrorize a woman—and those who do should be severely punished—there is a flip side to the story. Most people would be surprised to hear that a significant percentage of spouses who are verbally or physically abused are, in fact, husbands. It’s hard to get a solid number of the men who suffer domestic abuse or violence since most men who experience violence at the hand of their partners don’t report it, and when they do they are rarely believed. While a woman who levels charges of domestic abuse is generally immediately believed and protected, a man may not be nearly so fortunate. The shift in society’s attitude regarding domestic violence toward women is a positive change however few people are talking about the men who are abused by their spouses or the false allegations of domestic abuse made by women against men.
Why False Allegations are Made
Perhaps the number one reason false allegations of domestic violence are leveled is nothing more than revenge. A person who is angry about a divorce, an affair, a child custody case or an asset division they consider unfair could make the vengeful decision to “get even.” There is little way for the falsely accused to prove their innocence in a situation that is nothing more than “he said/she said.” The typically smaller, less physically able to defend herself woman is much more likely to be believed whether she is speaking the truth or not. False allegations can be seen as an easy win with little risk involved. Approximately 65% of those making accusations of domestic abuse will recant before the trial, with over 3/4ths of those being women.
Police and prosecutors put little stock in story recants, generally believing the male has intimated the woman into saying the incident never happened. While this is certainly true in some cases, in others the person doing the accusing has an attack of conscience and takes back an accusation which was never true in the first place. Many times false allegations of abuse are made in order to defame a parent during a contentious custody case. This can happen when a mother seeks to get full custody of the children using whatever means necessary. Courts tend to err on the side of caution, issuing a restraining order against the father with little or no actual evidence. Once a father has had charges of domestic abuse made against him, he will have to fight much harder to get any sort of custody or visitation for his children.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy involving false allegations of domestic violence is that a person’s vengeance and anger can effectively silence the voices of the true victims. Every time there is a cry of wolf, we begin to doubt the validity of every report of abuse—this means that the real victims can be turned away at a time they desperately need help. Those who have been falsely accused of domestic abuse must hire a highly experienced criminal defense attorney with a broad background in domestic abuse charges specifically. A conviction could alter your life forever, so take the charges very seriously and hire a legal professional to protect your rights and be your advocate.