Recently, a story broke about a New Jersey councilwoman who is being accused of beating her husband over the head with a broomstick and a cookbook. The councilwoman also allegedly bit her husband’s arm. The story was not just carried locally – news agencies from Ohio to Georgia ran the story, and it even appeared in the British tabloid the Daily Mail. Police say that the alleged assault took place while children were present in the home and that the husband presented with signs of abuse.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 20 people are abused by an intimate partner every minute in the United States. So, of all the incidents of domestic violence, why was this the one so newsworthy? While the publicity is likely due to a number of the circumstances involved, undoubtedly a key aspect of the case is that it involves a wife domestically abusing her husband. In fact, sadly, it is does not seem far-fetched to imagine that some people would find the story amusing. However, if the story was about a man beating his wife with a broomstick in their family home while their children looked on, readers would probably have an entirely different response.
The Practical Challenges of Seeking Protection from Domestic Abuse as a Man in Today’s Society
It is this phenomenon that can make representing men in domestic violence matters exceedingly challenging. Effective representation involves being able to confront the reality that for many people, the subject of domestic violence conjures up an image of a victim who is a woman and an assailant who is a man. To be sure, victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly female. But, female-on-male domestic violence is a very real and serious issue, and men who need help protecting themselves and their families are entitled to the same protections as women under New Jersey law.
What Should You Do if You are a Male Victim of Domestic Violence?
If you have experienced domestic violence, ensuring your safety and the safety of your loved ones should be your sole priority. Help is available, and seeking help quickly is the best way to protect yourself and prevent further abuse. Steps you can take as a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey include:
- If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who has been abused, we strongly encourage you to seek help. You can call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, and you can also contact us for free and confidential legal advice about your situation.
- If you have been physically attacked, you should seek medical attention right away. Even if your spouse or partner is currently designated as your emergency contact, you can still tell your doctor or care provider what happened to you in confidence.
- Hire an attorney to obtain a restraining order. As a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey, the law protects you, and it is possible to get a temporary restraining order on an emergency basis without giving your spouse or partner the opportunity to appear in court.
- Keep any evidence you may have. Provided that it is safe for you to do so, you should keep any evidence you can use to prove that you have been abused. This can include photos of your injuries, the item(s) with which you were attacked, your torn clothing and any other items that have been damaged, and copies of your medical records.
- If you have not been physically harmed and you are not in imminent danger, you can learn more about your situation by visiting the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website, thehotline.org. The website is designed so that you can leave the site quickly if necessary, and it provides more tips for protecting yourself from ongoing or repeated abuse.
- Talk to your loved ones. If you have friends or family members who you trust, talking to them about your situation can help alleviate your stress, and they will likely be more than willing to do whatever they can to help you.
Protecting Yourself Against False Allegations of Domestic Violence
As a man, one of the most devastating aspects of today’s societal norms around domestic violence is that if you claim to be a victim, you may face false retaliatory allegations of domestic violence as well. Unfortunately, this can have severe and immediate consequences, and you need to be prepared to act quickly if you are falsely accused. While the protections afforded to domestic violence victims and their families in New Jersey are of critical importance, due to the swift nature of domestic violence proceedings, both legitimate and false allegations can potentially lead to:
- Losing the right to live in your home;
- Losing the right to see your children; and,
- Facing other legal and practical consequences in virtually all aspects of your life.
In cases of opposite-sex domestic violence, the tendency is to believe – and protect – the female. With this in mind, speaking with an attorney as a male victim of domestic violence serves two critical parallel purposes: (i) it ensures that you can secure protection against further abuse for you and your loved ones; and, (ii) it ensures that you will not face undue consequences due to being falsely accused of domestic violence.
Never Be Embarrassed or Afraid to Seek Help. You are Not Alone.
Domestic violence isn’t funny. Stories about people assaulting their intimate partners by beating them with weapons should never be dismissed as inconsequential or treated as laughing matters. All victims of domestic violence – women and men – should avail themselves of the protections afforded by New Jersey’s domestic violence laws, particularly given the tendency for violence behavior to escalate in tumultuous relationships.
Contact The Gorman Law Firm for a Free and Confidential Consultation
If you need to speak with a domestic violence lawyer in Essex County New Jersey, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with attorney Scott Gorman about your situation in confidence, call 201-489-9199 or tell us how to reach you online now.
Published in Categories: Domestic Violence