Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Carolyn Ramsey, who is guest blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy shares her research on Intimate Homicides--here is a sample:

Lack of attention to non-lethal intimate violence may have been ‘the normal state of affairs’ throughout most of American history. Prior to the 1980s, only the colonial era (especially 1640 to 1680) and the late Victorian era (especially 1870 to 1890) witnessed sustained efforts to curb wife-beating and ‘unnatural severity’ toward children. However, scholars have overstated the level of public apathy toward men’s homicidal aggression against women. Leading criminal law casebooks, numerous law review articles, and books by influential legal scholars and historians repeat the erroneous claim that, in the past, the legal doctrines of self-defense and provocation endorsed men’s brutality, whereas women were severely punished for perpetrating intimate violence.

In fact, the converse was true. Data culled from dusty criminal case files in New York and Colorado demonstrates that, in both the eastern and western United States, men accused of killing their intimates often received stern punishment, while women charged with similar crimes were treated with leniency . . .

It is quite an eye opener--go take a look.


Blogger Kevin Dougherty said...

do you have any recoommendations, to get more people to view your blog

8:46 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. If you're not careful, you'll blow political correctness, on this topic, at least, right out of the water. Please.

A more balanced approach to treating victims of abuse, of both genders, and to prosecuting the abusers, is much needed. I would add that a more balanced prosecution of parents (including step-parents) who kill their children is also needed. There's still (I think, with no backup) a strong bias against punishing a woman who kills her child(ren).

8:59 PM, November 15, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

Well, here in Tennessee a woman who chained her stepson to a bed and starved him was denied parole and will serve her full sentence. While the sentence was too short, at least she will serve the entire time.


12:33 AM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is at least a little understandible given the stereotypes of our society and the physical characteristics of people.

I was once physically abused by an intimate female partner. It was almost funny because she would get violently angry, but was not strong enough to do me any physical harm. The fact that she would punch and kick me as hard as she could with little effect would enrage her even more. I guess I'm lucky she never picked up a frying pan or kitchen knife.

Anyway, I would hold her off with one hand and call the police with the other. Generally, as soon as she realized the police were on the way, she would calm down. After 45 minutes or so, the police would finally show up (good thing she wasn't capable of hurting me or I would have been in trouble).

The first time or two the Police seemed incredulous that she was the one instigating the the time they got there everything would seem calm.

These episodes only occured when she was drinking...the reason there was more than one is because she was making an effort to stop drinking but failed several times...Anyway, once she was finally drunk enough to admit to the cops "yea, I was beating him up pretty good" like she was proud of it. A report was filed and I finally had some documentation.

I finally got out of that situation.

The point is that women are generally assumed to be the victim because they are physically weaker than men and most other men can't imagine the woman being the aggressor. If I had defended myself against her (other than just holding her at bay) and had marked her in any way, the first couple of times the Police came out, I probably would have been the one arrested just because I probably would have left a mark on her whereas she just wasn't strong enough (or sober enough) do really do any damage to me.

In cases of homicide, it is natural (in our society) to assume that, if the woman kills the man, it was self defense; but, the other way around, we assume that the man was the aggressor.

I truly believe that abuse occurs in approximately equal numbers in both directions but due to the above mentioned physical differences, the relatively small chance of the man being hurt enough to need medical treatment, plus the social stigma attached to a man being "beaten up by a woman" leaves the female on male abuse largely unreported. Combined with the social bigotry that results in (mostly male) police officers assuming that, even if the man was the one reporting the incident, the male is always the aggressor, we end up with males being punished more consistently and more severely than women in cases of domestic abuse.

8:30 AM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another thing...

If a man intends to kill his wife, he usually does it himself. If a woman intends to kill her husband, she either engages the services of a "professional," or more frequently and amateur: her new lover. Further, poisonings and household accidents resulting in death are rarely investigated at all, so we rarely know if they were in fact, spousicide.

To explore the facts, check with Warren Farrell. But the bottom line is that the number of men murdered either by or otherwise at the behest of their wives is likely to be FAR higher than currently recognized when all of these factors are accounted for.


12:34 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"There's still (I think, with no backup) a strong bias against punishing a woman who kills her child(ren)."

You are not just guessing. Andrea Yates and Susan Smith are to very famous cases that illustrate your point. The bias is quite literally patriarchal - daddy's little girl cna do no wrong. Apparently in usan Smith's, the women in prison had better sense than the men in court, and the harassment supposedly drove her to suicide. If you can trust anything you read in the National Enquirer.


"The fact that she would punch and kick me as hard as she could with little effect would enrage her even more. I guess I'm lucky she never picked up a frying pan or kitchen knife."

Or waited until you were asleep.

Violence against men is a women's issue, for women that have sons or brothers or fathers.

12:56 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct in that male and female abuse is roughtly equal. Take a look at this at .

1:29 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can think of virtually no crime for which women receive less punishment than men.

1:57 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, Jim, was that a joke about Susan Smith and the National Enquirer? Susan Smith did NOT commit suicide. She is alive and remains incarcerated.

You don't really get your "news" from the National Enquirer, do you?

2:50 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can think of virtually no crime for which women receive less punishment than men."

anon824: Then you cannot think.

3:37 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, yes. Obviously. Of course she did not commit suicide. She would have to have a conscience for that.

"I can think of virtually no crime for which women receive less punishment than men."
anon824: Then you cannot think."

How do you think can drive such denial as you are responding to? Can you think of a more perfect example of gender bigotry?

I remember how when Mary K. Letourneau was caught after seducing and raping one of her students, female teachers were 1) absoultely toxic in their commnets about her and 2) puzzled and disgusted by the kid-glove treatment she got from the male-dominated law enforcement and criminal justice system. They obviously had a much cleare sense of justice than the justice system did.

And we see the same double standard applied over and over when female teachers molest their students.

4:57 PM, November 16, 2006  
Blogger Caz said...

This is all rubbish.

Because women are still, inappropriately, held to a higher moral standard than men, they have historically been handed harsher sentences than men for similar crimes.

In addition, the social sanctions reigned down on female criminals is far more vicious and longer lasting than any backlash for even the worst of male criminals. Again, this is on the basis that women are, somehow, the superior gender, while men are given the "boys will be boys" treatment, both by courts and by the wider community.

As for Mary K. Letourneau's "kid glove" treatment - HUH? She was in jail for years, not exactly a short sentence either.

2:05 AM, November 24, 2006  
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11:56 PM, June 07, 2009  

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