@Mark, I’ve read hundreds of appellate custody decisions from across the country over the last decade. Abuse of all sorts is frequently alleged by both men and women, but in the absence of documentation, I have yet to see the courts take it into consideration when making a decision. However, when there’s evidence of so much as a party losing his or her temper easily – man or woman, note – it’s taken into consideration.
If a woman attacks a man, he needs to call it in and/or go to the hospital to start making that paper trail. It may surprise you to know that women also avoid going to the hospital out of shame and fear. But you still have to do it. Otherwise the judges have nothing to go on. In fact men routinely call in DV in this town, and women are arrested for it. I’m very, very glad that I reported my ex to his social worker for being violent when we were still married – I’d meant to alert her that he needed help, and she made me see that I needed help, and to get out of there with my child. I’m still careful now, whenever he does anything as a noncustodial dad that’s dangerous or traumatizing to the kid, to call it in and make sure professional eyeballs have a look. Better to have the record than to let it all pass by and just hope nothing worse happens.
As for victim ratios: well, then look at homicides in domestic violence; there’s no clearer view of who did what to whom, because they’re awfully hard not to report. In NJ in 2009 the ratio of men to women dead at the hands of intimates and exes was 1:10. I expect the ratios were similarly skewed nationwide.
@littlemouse, you know perfectly well that abuse victims are sometimes so sunk in depression or confusion or hope that things will get better that no, they don’t leave. It’s not right to blame them. On Topeka, review the news of the last two weeks. ATC did a segment only last week.
As for the door – I’ve thought about replacing it, and decided no, so long as I have to deal with him daily as a co-parent, I’ll keep it as a reminder of what he’s willing to do. It’s too easy to elide these things, figure it’s in the past, and that nobody you want to think well of would behave like that. I’m not worried about what other people might think about my coping skills. The same guy taught me to take talk more seriously, too. Used to talk a lot about hanging up a punching bag so he could pretend it was his boss. I thought that was unpleasant, but thought he was about the exercise. No, he just really had a lot of hostility towards his boss. Now, years after our divorce, he aims that hostility at me, so I make sure it’s well-documented by professional third parties, use the law when necessary, and do what I can to stay safe.
@CSA: For shame. littlemouse is right; no one else’s behavior drives anyone to violence. People have control of their own hands. They teach that much in elementary school: if someone’s bothering you, walk away; if they follow you, report them and let an authority detain them and handle it, and walk away.