When we think about typical cases of domestic assault, we have a certain picture in our heads. This picture usually involves a man physically or verbally manipulating or harming his female partner. This stereotype of what domestic assault looks like has been seared into our minds through images in the media, but it is time to address the other side of domestic assault: men can be victims too.
And not just a small number of men, either. In fact, 1 in 7 men will be the victim of severe domestic assault in their lifetime, and 1 in 4 will experience some type of domestic abuse. That latter findings, published by the CDC in 2013 found that the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner was 29% for heterosexual men and 35% for heterosexual women. Twenty-one percent of straight men reported that they had been with a “violent partner” at some point.
While the number of female victims is still higher than men, the difference is probably a lot smaller than most people would have imagined. And if you look at statistics from the LGBT community, there’s an even higher percentage of male victims. The same report from the CDC revealed that 47% of bisexual men have been with a “violent partner,” as well as 40% of gay men.
But here’s the real kicker: those numbers are likely actually lower than the reality. Why? Underreporting.
You might have noticed that while 1 in 5 straight men reported having experienced abuse from an intimate partner, the report predicts that the likelihood for a straight male to experience abuse in his lifetime is actually 1 in 4.
Why is this? Because many men simply do not want to admit that they have been abused. Due to the stigma associated with being a male or LGBT victim of domestic assault, it is believed that a significant number of men remain silent about the trauma that they have gone through.
How This Affects Domestic Violence Arrests
Unfortunately, the stereotypes of men abusing women still prevail in the eyes of society – and even with law enforcement. If someone calls to report a domestic violence incident and the police arrive to see a man and a woman engaged in a physical fight, the police will most likely arrest and charge the man with domestic assault.
But, as we just discussed, making this assumption is not always correct. In fact, quite a few men are wrongfully arrested for domestic violence while engaged in an act of self-defense.
Thankfully, everyone who is arrested in our country has the right to a fair trial. But in general, male domestic assault defendants who were actually being abused have a daunting task ahead of them: proving to the court that they are the victim rather than the attacker.
It’s a high-stakes proposition. Because if they fail, they might end up in prison.
Charges and Penalties for Domestic Assault in Minnesota
Whether you are charged with the domestic assault of a spouse, parent, roommate, or blood relative, the charge could mean jail time if you are convicted. In Minnesota, a first domestic assault offense is considered a gross misdemeanor. If you are found guilty, you may be fined up to $3,000 and sentenced to jail for 20 days to one year.
If you are convicted of a repeat domestic violence offense, you will become a felon, and the penalties are increased, with fines of up to $10,000 and between 45 days to 5 years in jail.
Additional penalties could be added if the domestic assault involved strangulation, the use of a firearm, or the violence was committed while the accused was under a legal protection order.
How to Fight Domestic Violence Charges
The penalties for domestic assault are serious, especially if you or your loved one is a repeat offender. But there are ways to fight these charges and even bring justice to fellow victims of your abuser.
The following are common defense strategies used by individuals who have been charged with domestic violence crimes:
- Self defense
- False accusation
- Not Enough Proof
- You Have an Alibi
- The Incident Was Consensual
- You Seek Rehabilitation (for drug use, anger management, and so on) Rather Than Punishment
Which defense is right for you will depend on the specific charges you face and the facts of your case. For more guidance and information on how you can seek justice as the alleged abuser, or a victim of domestic violence, contact a Minnesota defense lawyer today.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2016), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2016), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2016).