What Happens When an Abused Wife is Accused of Domestic Violence?

Many of us have a friend or family member who has suffered abuse from a husband for years, if not decades. We are often surprised and taken aback to learn about the abuse. Many times, domestic violence does not become known until the police are called to a domestic disturbance and the husband is charged with domestic violence.

Abused Wives Who Fight Back

In the movie Enough, Jennifer Lopez plays an abused wife who has finally had enough. She decides to escape with her daughter from her abusive husband. He pursues her relentlessly. After exhausting her legal options, she decides that the only way to stop the abuse is to kill her husband. The plot of this movie is, of course, extreme. However, many women throughout the United States feel as though they cannot get out of an abusive relationship with a dangerous husband or partner.

Sometimes, abusive husbands threaten to kill themselves or their children should the wife finally leave. In other cases, the abusive spouse threatens to take away all financial resources and lie about the wife to the courts. Many mothers are terrified of losing their children in a custody battle. It is easy to see why some women decide to lash out and strike back against their long-time abusers as a last resort.

Women Who Use Violence Often Do So After Being Abused

In 2008, the University of South Carolina issued a report regarding women who assault men. It found that typically when women use violence against men, they had previously suffered abuse from those men. One woman reported that her partner beat her head with hammers and broke open her eardrum. She also had a wound from a bat and had her nose broken. She eventually fought back, yet she still faced an assault conviction.

Abused Women Often Do Not Receive Justice

Unfortunately, some courts do not admit evidence of domestic violence when women face assault charges. In some cases, the woman charged with assault fails to hire the right attorney or expert witnesses to testify. Ideally, an expert witness could testify about the mental effects of repeated acts of domestic violence on a woman. Or, the prosecutor may argue that the self-defense claim is not valid because the woman did not call the police, let the abuser into her home, or did not have a relationship with the abuser.

In one instance, a woman faced a murder trial for shooting and killing her ex-husband. She received a 25-year sentence. The judge did not allow her to submit evidence that her ex-husband had faced rape and sodomy charges after allegedly assaulting the woman until she lost consciousness. She has to use a colostomy bag from the damage caused by the sodomy. The day she killed her husband, she was in imminent fear of her life, but she shot without provocation.

We Can Help

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Illinois, hiring a skilled attorney is essential. We have experience and we can help. Contact our criminal defense lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson to schedule your initial consultation today.

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