A convicted wife abuser stated in an interview: "When I get a new woman, I hit her once. If she leaves, I move on. If she stays, I know I own her." What you should read into this is that Domestic Violence ("D.V.") is not an accident. Once a woman (or a man) forgives the abuser and stays, it is seen as "permission" or at least "acceptance" of the violence. That explains why in almost all cases, when the couple stay together, the violence escalates over time. My advice is that if a partner ever hits you once even slightly, let things cool down, and next day make it crystal clear that if it ever happens again, you leave forever. Some people learn and reform. If it ever happens again, keep your promise.
Dial 911 and you lose control.
Once you dial 911 on a D.V. complaint, you no longer control the situation. The police and prosecutors do. In many cases, before the police even arrive the wife had changed her mind and wanted the police to leave. They will not. They will make an arrest in all cases. Automatically, he goes to jail and a court order is most always issued barring him from going near her or her residence, usually HIS residence.
It's unwise to call police unless you actually need protection.
After the Prosecutors file court charges, they won't drop the case just because you make up, or even just because your rent will go unpaid while the suspect is in jail. It doesn't matter that you might lose your apartment, or the breadwinner may lose a valuable job the family depends on. Abused partners should call the police if they need immediate protection from real harm, but never, just to gain strategic control or advantage over the other partner. One client's wife admitted she habitually threatens to dial 911 and falsely report that he hit her, just to get him to yield in the argument.
Welcome to the D.V. revolving door.
Having represented them, I can tell you that an abuser who is prosecuted once, will often do it again, perhaps with a different partner. I do get repeat clients because of this. These days, it might be wise to do a criminal court check on a person before marrying them. This goes for men too.
Factors that tend to cause D.V. calls to the police.
Here are some of the things that are frequent factors associated with D.V: being intoxicated (either one); discovery of the partner's infidelity; being jilted; youthful immaturity; control addiction; failing at something and taking it out on the partner at home; and here's the big one: NOT discussing relationship problems. When problems are not discussed openly and honestly, either he can become enraged and strike out, or she can feel hurt and angry at being ignored and provoke him. Many people would apparently rather fight or be hit than be ignored. Before you dismiss this as the ravings of a "misogynist" lawyer, I base that upon what the women have told me after they hired me to defend their husbands or boyfriends for hitting them.
Beware the D.V. "Free For All".
In my experience, about 60% of the time when a man is arrested and charged with D.V., it is the woman who alleged the abuse who calls to hire me to defend him. In those cases, there is usually a history of repeated cycles of this behavior on both their parts. It is not unusual for the female victim of D.V. to attack the police who come to protect her, because she is trying to protect HIM from arrest. Ask any officer. I am not exaggerating.
Fabricated Domestic Violence complaints are on the rise.
There is a fast growing incidence of purely fabricated accusations of domestic violence in the U.S. To be sure, the overwhelming majority of complaints of D.V. are valid and based in truth and should be seriously taken by the victim, the police and by the prosecutors, However, I personally have had about seven such cases of fabricated complaints. The motives include creating a basis for a lucrative lawsuit later; payback for cheating in a relationship; escaping a debt or other obligation; using police as a stick to control a partner; or frustration at being ignored. People who fabricate complaints of domestic violence are never, ever prosecuted for doing so, which is why it is a growth industry.
"Hereditary Domestic Violence": the Gift that keeps on giving.
When a female child witnesses D.V. and then sees "mom and dad" make up, she learns that being hit is a normal part of a relationship. She will unconsciously or consciously seek out a life partner who fits that familiar pattern. When a male child sees it, he learns that if he hits a woman, she will be loyal to him. This is why "child endangerment" charges can also be filed for hitting a partner in front of the children.
It usually takes two to tango.
There is no provision in the criminal justice system for requiring the victim to seek or obtain counseling, but the accused is ordered to attend classes to "Break the cycle of violence." In this attorney's opinion, it is ineffective if the other partner continues in the same behaviors that feed the cycle. Remember that both boys AND girls are scarred by growing up with domestic violence. If a couple insists on staying together after an incident of D.V. results in a prosecution, both partners need to go for counseling to address why they keep falling into this "violence-call police-make up" cycle. This will necessitate a change in our criminal statutes.
Politics rears its ugly head in Domestic Violence cases.
Domestic Violence is very political. Prosecutors dismiss weak charges in all classes of crimes, from murder to drug possession. They are extremely reluctant to do so in any D.V. case, because it lays them open to accusations that they are "soft on crimes against women" during the next election cycle. So be aware that your case may not be handled rationally, and a minor incident can be blown out of proportion because of politics. The Domestic Violence arena has some crazy aspects to it, so it is well to be familiar with it's peculiarities.