Saturday, May 25, 2013
Battered Men and Abusive Women-An Update
The recent trial of Jody Arias and her conviction of the first degree murder of her boy friend, Travis Alexander is still in the news today. Yesterday on the penalty phase of the trial, 8 out 4 jurors voted for the death penalty. Since a unanimous vote is needed for the death penalty, another jury hearing will be schedule hopefully soon. This case is the most graphic and cruel example of a battered man that resulted into his murder.
Prosecutors have the option to take the death penalty off the table, in which case a new trial wouldn't be necessary and the judge would determine whether to sentence Arias to spend her entire life behind bars or life with the possibility of release after 25 years. Should the state decide to seek death again, jury selection alone could take weeks, given the difficulty of seating an impartial panel in a case that has attracted global attention.
The guilty verdict of first-degree murder would stand, leaving the new panel only tasked with sentencing Arias. However, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said the case could drag on for several months as the new jury reviews evidence and hears opening statements, closing arguments and witness testimony. If the second jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, the judge would then sentence Arias to one of the life-in-prison options. The judge cannot sentence Arias to death.
This Arias case is a very rare event. But, I know of two other men being abused by their wives. Nobody believed them until they finally decided to end the marriage. This abuse by women is not widely publicized compared to abusive men who battered their wives or partner. Luckily this two men got out of the relationship, so both men are still alive.
I have read and heard many cases of battered wives but not of battered husbands. The first time I heard of a case of a battered husband was about 12 years ago when I was still working for Food and Drug Administration in Maryland. A Review Chemist I had supervised confided in me, that the reason he is now divorced is because his former wife has been beating him at least once a month for the last two years. At first, he just protected himself, but after the fourth beating he reported it to the police. The police came to their apartment, investigated and nothing else happened. The physical and mental abuse continued until he finally decided to break the marriage and left his wife. There was a restraining order issued against his wife.
My first reaction was one of disbelief. This man although softly spoken is 6'6" tall, athletic and very masculine. He has a PhD in chemistry and is very personable and friendly. I ask myself-is this man telling the truth? But the way he confided in me was very convincing and I believe him. The abuse was not only physical but also mental according to him. The guy is about 45 years old and they have no children.
The second case of a battered husband that I heard was just recently in the Philippines. This case is sad and really touched my heart since the battered husband is a close relative of my wife. During one of our many family reunions, I noticed the absence of his wife. I ask him why his wife was not around. He replied "I do not have a wife anymore". I was embarrassed for asking the question and totally forgot about the incident. However, the next day, I was talking to his mom. She told me about the domestic abuse that her son had tolerated for the last 10 years. It was only last year that he told his parents what was going on. They are now separated and have two children, 9 and 2 years old. The children are with him, but his wife has visiting rights. In this case the abuse is also both physical and mental. As in case above, this man is good looking, athletic, very personable, and intelligent. This guy is only 41 years old.
Do you know of a case of a battered husband? Abuse could be either physical or mental or both.