CORAL SPRINGS, FL – When a 42-year-old woman was recently arrested for allegedly attacking her husband in Coral Springs, the incident highlighted a lesser-known issue in domestic violence cases across the nation: violence against men by their spouses and partners.
Women account for roughly 1.5 million incidents of domestic violence every year, but more than 830,000 men also fall victim to domestic violence, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey.
In the Coral Springs case, Jemny Molina was charged with battery after her husband told police that she drank roughly a bottle and a half of wine and then bit him in the left wrist, scratched and hit him, and struck him in the back with a broom handle during a fight on Dec. 27, according to a police report.
Police saw a bite mark on the husband’s arm, and he told officers he grabbed Molina’s hair while she was attacking him as a way to defend himself.
Molina told officers that everything she did was to defend herself. She showed officers the redness on her chest.
Police arrested Molina and took her to Broward County jail.
Molina’s alleged attack against her husband mirrors those experienced by male victims of domestic violence, experts say.
Based on the violence against women survey reported in an article on WebMd, women who do the abusing are more likely to attack their male victims by throwing something, kicking or biting, hitting them with an object, and threatening them with a knife, or actually using a knife.
In addition, men are less likely to report domestic abuse because many may be embarrassed about being abused, according to the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men.
Another issue male victims sometimes confront is that women who batter may have a greater ability to use the "system" to their advantage, Philip Cook, program director of Stop Abuse for Everyone, told WebMd.
"Systemic abuse can occur when a woman who is abusing her husband or boyfriend threatens that he will never see his children again if he leaves or reports the abuse," Cook told the health news website. "A man caught in this situation believes that no matter what his wife or girlfriend does, the court is going to give her custody, and this greatly limits his ability to leave. While this can occur when a woman is being abused, it is more likely to happen when a woman is abusing."
The data on women arrested for abusing their spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends isn’t clear on whether the numbers have gone up in recent years.
Here is what’s known:
- In the past five weeks, in addition to Molina, at least three other women have been charged by Coral Springs police with battery related to domestic disputes, which included attacks against other family members as well, according to police reports.
- A review of charges against inmates at the county jail on Thursday and Friday found two women were incarcerated for domestic-related battery.
"There is no national data on average arrest rates for women in domestic disputes," added Cook in the WebMd article. "My best guess is that it's about 20%. But we do know anecdotally that there are many men who, when the police arrive, clearly have the most serious injury, clearly when interviewed separately indicate the female started it, and nonetheless, the man gets arrested. This does indeed happen."
In the case with Molina, police took photos of her husband’s injuries, the police report said.
But in the end, her husband refused to give police an official verbal statement on what happened.
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