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September 13, 2012 / Man in the Mirror

Counsel and Heal: Women Who fight Back in Domestic Cases Being Stereotyped: Study

Drishya Nair

The first idea that one generally gets at the very mention of the word  ‘domestic violence’ is that of the male partner abusing the female physically.  However, there are also many cases where the woman in the relationship is the  one doing it, or may be refuting to what has been done to her, by being violent  in return towards her partner.

Domestic abuse has always remained a controversial topic with regard to  determining a punishment for battered women who use violence toward their  partner.

A recent study suggests that bettered women who engage in mutual violence  with their partners, and with a shared history of substance abuse, are often  seen in a bad light and, according to the report, are also subjected to harsher  punishments.

For the study, Elisabeth C. Wells, the author of the research, analyzed the  reason behind the kind of sentences that were given to women by the judges.

Wells studied 26 domestic homicide and abuse cases in Canada between 1974 and  2006.

The study focused on two possible lines of reasoning: One that considered the  threat and extent of violence toward the women in the relationship and other  that used police evidence to emphasize substance abuse and ongoing mutual  violence.

The analysis revealed that while making a decision to determine the sentence  for women, a judge’s reliance on each line of reasoning was associated with  harsher sentencing, Medical Xpress reported.

“Judges downgraded acts of previous partner violence by using minimizing  descriptions and by emphasizing the mutuality of the violence and of substance  abuse,” wrote Wells.

Wells emphasized that there is a need for the legal systems to understand and  recognize the complex nature of victim’s mentality and behavior in domestic  abuse cases.

“Typically, women’s use of violence within their relationships has been found  to be another aspect of their ongoing victimization.”

The study was published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, a SAGE Journal.

Read more at  http://www.counselheal.com/articles/2849/20120913/women-who-fight-back-domestic-cases-being.htm#UFMELFXGyMGIWPdf.99

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