In 2016, California spearheaded the #MeToo movement regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. Over time, this hashtag expanded in meaning to include the overall mistreatment of women, and sometimes, men. That same year, the President reportedly announced that October would become Domestic Violence Awareness Month going forward. Exactly how common is domestic violence though?
According to USA Today, every 15 seconds in America, there is an incident of domestic violence. By the end of every day, four women have lost their lives on average. Domestic violence against women gets a lot of media attention, but children are also common victims. In some instances, men may also become the victim of intimate partner violence.
Some people believe the current statistics may be even higher. Domestic violence remains underreported among all demographics for a number of reasons:
- The LGBTQ may fear the need to disclose their sexuality or other aspects of their private life. This is especially dangerous or frightening if they are still living publicly straight lives.
- Women may fear that people will blame them for putting themselves in the position they are in, or that their partner may retaliate against them.
- Men may feel emasculated by reporting the crime.
- Children often believe that adults may accuse them of lying.
A CNN article shares the timeline of developments in laws meant to address domestic violence, especially violence against women, all around the world. America’s first memorable attempt came from Senator Joe Biden in 1990. His persistence led to the passing of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
These developments coupled with the prevalence of domestic violence and the often-gruesome stories sometimes make it difficult for an accused person to prove their innocence. Public opinion quickly turns against the accuser in many instances, particularly if that person is male.
This is not to say that there is no hope for an accused in these instances. However, it does mean the need to prepare well for potential personal biases in the judge, jury and public even when allegations are false.