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When abused women fight back Those trapped in violent relationships are still being let down by the justice system

The state has a tendency to criminalise women who we might otherwise be burying. Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis / Getty

The state has a tendency to criminalise women who we might otherwise be burying. Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis / Getty


February 15, 2021   6 mins

“Well, why didn’t she leave him if the violence was so bad?”

Sadly, this attitude is still a common one in the justice system when it comes to understanding abused women. I’ve also lost count of the times I’ve heard: “She gave as good as she got.” Or even: “She was a jealous wife.”

As the new report Women who Kill highlights, very little has shifted in official and public attitudes towards those trapped in violent relationships and how they might react.

I’ve been campaigning for them for decades. It all started with the campaign by Southall Black Sisters to free Kiranjit Ahluwalia, which Justice for Women (JfW) supported. In 1978 Kiranjit entered an arranged marriage in India with Deepak, and then settled with him in London. The couple moved in with Deepak’s family and the cruelty began immediately. After a decade of violence, rape and sexual abuse, she set fire to his feet as he slept. He died ten days later

She was convicted of murder in December 1989. The trial judge said that the violence she had suffered was “not serious” and the prosecution claimed that she had merely been “knocked about”. Years later, Kiranjit told me that she could not bear to talk in court about the many times he had raped her, often in front of their sons, because “the shame would have killed me”.

This was 30 years ago, but as the report published by the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) and Justice for Women reveals, 93% of women convicted of murder are still being failed. The subtitle of the report says it all: How the State Criminalises Women Who We Might Otherwise be Burying. It is the first research of its kind in the UK to build a comprehensive picture of the criminal justice system’s response to women who kill their abusers — before they themselves are killed. It shows that there is very little understanding, and scant sympathy for those trapped in a situation which leaves them saying such chilling things as: “I strongly believe that if he hadn’t died, I would have.”

Back in 1990, a year after Kiranjit’s conviction, another woman was given a life sentence for the murder of her violent husband. Sara Thornton had been married to Malcolm for 18 months, during which time his violence and alcohol-fuelled aggression escalated.

Having fruitlessly approached her church, her GP, Alcoholics Anonymous, social services and the police for help, Sara was desperate and scared. In June 1989, 10 days before Malcolm was about to stand trial for an assault on Sara, he told her and her 10-year-old daughter to “get out” or they would be “dead meat”.

Sara took a kitchen knife, stabbed him in the stomach and immediately called an ambulance. Malcolm died hours later, and Sara was arrested, convicted of his murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

After hearing about the violence Sara endured, the judge said she could have “walked out or gone upstairs”. The following year Sara appealed her conviction on the grounds that Malcolm’s violence and threats to kill had “provoked” her. She failed and was returned to prison.

As it happens, two days later, Joseph McGrail, on trial for the manslaughter of his wife Marion whom he had kicked to death, pleaded provocation as a defence, recounting tales of her “nagging”. Handing down a two-year suspended sentence, the judge expressed “every sympathy” for Joseph McGrail, adding “this lady would have tried the patience of a saint”.

After noting several cases of men using similar defences to Joseph McGrail, I began to use the shorthand “the nagging and shagging clause”. I have been in court when men have claimed provocation on the grounds that he could not “shut her up” or that she had humiliated him by having an affair with his best friend. I have seen male judges nod with understanding and sympathy – sometimes the same judges who dismiss women’s testimony of extreme violence with, “If it was so bad why didn’t you leave?

Today, men are still able to plead diminished responsibility by convincing a psychiatrist that they were “depressed” at the time of the offense. Women, on the other hand, are prosecuted and convicted for murder not manslaughter; available partial defences are not advanced at trial; when manslaughter pleas are offered, these are sometimes not accepted by the CPS; and women are rarely acquitted on the basis of self-defence. The contrast between how violent men are treated in court and how women defending themselves against these men are treated is nothing short of scandalous.

It’s because of this unjust treatment of women by the courts that the indomitable Harriet Wistrich became a lawyer and now ensures that dangerous men, such as John Worboys are locked up and women who kill after years of abuse are given justice. We co-founded JfW together as a response to the Kiranjit and Sara cases and have campaigned hard ever since.

We managed, after three years of protest and lobbying, to get Kiranjit’s murder conviction overturned on the grounds of diminished responsibility because of the severe depression she suffered as a result of the violence. Sara’s second appeal was successful. Following a re-trial in 1995, she was cleared of murder and convicted of manslaughter.

Both these judgments set important precedents, which attempt to accommodate the different ways in which women may respond to provocation. In the years since, recommendations have been enacted in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, including the abolition of the defence of provocation and its replacement with the defence of loss of control, caused by a fear of violence. The offence of coercive and controlling behaviour (2015) has been introduced along with the Domestic Abuse Bill (2020). Sally Challen’s successful appeal in 2019 raised further awareness of the impact of coercive control.

But as our new research highlights, neither the criminal justice system nor juries have a detailed understanding of this. Regardless of these hard-won victories, there are still numerous examples in our report of the CPS pursuing inappropriate murder charges and refusing plea bargains from women. Those myths and stereotypes about female behaviour still abound.

Part of the reason for this is the media. For the report, over 100 substantive media reports of women on trial for the murder of a current or former partner were analysed and found that, in almost all cases, the copy contained sexist tropes and vilification of the woman involved.

Often, the reports were top-heavy with comments from the prosecution or experts that presented her as being worthy of hatred and scorn. At the trial of Sally Challen in 2011, the prosecution case against her was that of a jealous wife, stalking her husband and driven to kill because she feared he would leave her.

Negative portrayals of women who kill are often in sharp contrast to the sympathetic manner in which some men who kill are portrayed. Luke and Ryan Hart’s father Lance murdered their mother Claire and sister Charlotte in 2016 before killing himself. Lance had subjected Claire to horrendous abuse throughout their marriage, in which he controlled her every move. A number of press reports described Lance as a “nice guy” who was “always caring” and “good at DIY”. One report even stated that the murders were “understandable”.

The research team for the report conducted in-depth interviews with 20 women who had killed violent male partners. The team also analysed 92 case files. Additionally, interviews with defence and prosecution lawyers as well as judges provided invaluable insights into the workings of the system regarding cases of abused women who kill.

They concluded that the lack of understanding extends to experts as well — psychiatrists, police and judges are often not trained in issues around violence against women and girls and therefore can fail to understand what leads abused women to kill. Take the case of Farieissia (Fri) Martin, a 22-year-old mother of two toddlers who was convicted of the murder of her violent partner in 2015. During the trial, the history of violence perpetrated by the deceased was not explored and a mental health assessment was not carried out.

In December 2020 Fri’s appeal was successful. Her new legal team sought new psychiatric evidence that would have assisted her at the original trial, and a retrial was ordered for May  this year.

One valuable lesson learned from the women is how the fear instilled in them by their abusers prevents them from engaging with the police and other agencies. And because few women have the language to describe the daily abuse they suffer that does not involve black eyes or broken bones, it can escalate to deadly violence before anyone intervenes to help.

Over the past 30 years I have spent time with scores of women who sought advice and advocacy from JfW, and every one of them expressed a profound sense of remorse and deep regret at taking a life. All had suffered serious trauma as a result of the abuse and the homicide, and many could not even remember the fatal act. The women all spoke of the terror that dominated their lives with the abuser. More than one told me that being sent to prison, as distressing it was, meant that for the first time in years they felt safe.

Many found the experience of giving evidence in court highly distressing, and the presence of the family of the deceased was an inhibiting factor. One woman said: “During the trial, I didn’t want to talk about when the relationship was bad. His family were all there and I didn’t want to properly address what he was in front of his family.”

Every single one of the many women I have met who took such drastic action to escape abuse deeply regrets what happened. And yet, the criminal justice system doesn’t seem to hear them. Isn’t it time we tried harder to understand? In the words of one woman who is awaiting trial, “The police never stopped him, and I knew he would kill me one day. I did what I did because I wanted to live for my kids.”


Julie Bindel is an investigative journalist, author, and feminist campaigner. Her latest book is Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation. She also writes on Substack.

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Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

Of the many injustices in our culture, it should be noted that only women have access to a special defence plea, where they can claim that they had been abused so that they were entitled to murder their male partner.
As a man wo has, at the hands of two different women, been physically abused, I know that the most important thing for me was to take enormous care in how I defended myself. Had the attack been from a man, I would have flattened him. In the situations I was in with these women, I would have gone to jail for doing so.
Abused women can fight back. Abused men may not.

Neil John
Neil John
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Having seen the violence and damage lesbians in relationships visit upon each other and the easy adoption of violence by women as a means to control and bend men to their will, men often having been taught by female teachers that any violence against any woman no matter the provocation and harm is unacceptable, I doubt any claim it’s solely a single sided issue in either direction.
Equality in and before the law for ALL, no exceptions, no special treatment, then we might get somewhere.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil John

Can I have some apple pie and motherhood to go with those cliches, please.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

it could be that women have fewer means of physically escaping an attacker if he doesn’t want them to.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

These days, there are no barriers to women escaping violent relationships because there are plenty of hostels available, funded by government money.

Although 50% of the victims of female violence are children, and 38% men, there are very few shelters for men attempting to female violence against men and children.

A Woodward
A Woodward
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Uh? Didn’t you read the article? There was a clear reference to exactly the situation of men fighting back and getting away with it. Joseph McGrail was one. Thomas Corlett killed his wife when she put the mustard pot in the wrong place, he only got 3 years. Bisla Singh walked free after killing his wife. Open your eyes.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago
Reply to  A Woodward

Yes. It happens. As do many other injustices in the the judicial system. But the idea that violence, even the domestic sort, is a gender issue, or that injustices are unique to women is frankly untrue.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  A Woodward

Highly exceptional case, and Mr McGrail was lucky to have a fair and reasonable judge in his case. Most men are not so lucky.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

If she as much as breaks a nail while trying to claw your eyes out, YOU will go to jail. YOU will be barred from entering your own home while she will get to live there rent free while you pay the bills.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Don’t you get the physical imbalance of power between men and women? Data clearly shows that mean commit vastly more crimes. Perhaps Bindel should have quoted the stats showing the miniscule percentage of men killed by women compared with women killed by men.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

In Israel right now, the recent murder of a young woman mother of two small children by her husband, has achieved national publiciy for two important reasons.
One is, because she was one of about twenty in recent years murdered by their husbands.
And second, because the woman had herself been an advocate and counsellor and support for other women in abusive relationships.
One common theme, that many psychiatrists are very aware of, is that the neighbours often describe the husband-murderer as “the nicest, quietest, gentlest person” totally unaware that that surface facade has covered up increasing rage that one day boils over.
This article justifiably points to the blithering ignorance and prejudice of judges and lawyers who either ask the question “couldn’t she have found another alternative, such as walking away?” or far worse, fall for the “she deserved it, or provoked it” as with the well-known rape defence.
I admire and congratulate these women who have fought to educate such practitioners of incompetence and ignorance, and sought to balance the situation – because – and this is the hard part, the pendulum should not swing too much the other way.
Sadly, for deep-roted psychological reasons, some “victims” do stay far beyond the time when they should have left and others have advised them to leave, they rationalize – but don’t understand that they have psychological issues that leave them remaining in an abusive situation.
For a while, the “battered wife syndrome” was used in the courts to explain those women who did fight back even killing their abusers. I am interested the author didn’t refer to that.
The matter is a deeply complicated issue, and it is not surprising that it has been very divisive over the years.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

the “she deserved it, or provoked it” as with the well-known rape defence.

Can you give an example of when this “defence” has ever been allowed or worked?

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I can’t give you exact dates and references when it appeared in newspaper reports, but in Canada in recent years it was invoked many times, and eventually provoked outrage. “Her skirt was too short, she was dressed provocatively, etc”
One of the most egregious was a very well-known media celebrity being defended by an outstanding woman lawyer who got him off going to jail because e-mail correspondence was found between “victims” that implied that instead of instantly breaking off the relationship, the women apparently continued the relationship, “going back for more” so-to-speak. The celebrity’s career was destroyed, but he escaped jail.

Robert Crandall
Robert Crandall
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

That is a very unfair representation of the Jian Ghomeshi trial. The two women colluded before the trial, sending over 5000 emails between each other, and proceeded to lie about it in court. Essentially committing perjury.

After the alleged abuse, choking being the main accusation, took place contact was made by the accuser, emails that went from expressing a desire to “f–k your brains out” to telling him “I think you are magic.” In a handwritten letter written days later, she wrote, “I love your hands.”

None of this is me claiming that Ghomeshi is a stand up guy with good morals, but is seems more like a case of revenge for cutting off the relationship. The only conviction of Ghomeshi was in the the court of public opinion, in a climate tainted by #believeallwomen. If the genders are to be considered equal, is there not the possibility of women being dishonest, or this this strictly a masculine trait

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
3 years ago

Would it ever be impermissable for a married woman to murder her husband, according to Bindel?
The problem is that it’s impossible to know what really goes on within personal relationships, so the law is obviously restricted in the objective judgments it can make.
There are such things as manipulative & abusive women, who could simply take advantage of any leeway they are given with a re-emphasis of the law, & (shock horror) lie!!
An insoluble problem. But Bindel is locked inside her religion of Good vs Evil, where men are always bad, & women always their victims.

Val Cox
Val Cox
3 years ago

Maybe but by and large it is men who kill women and not the other way around.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Val Cox

Well, unless you count unborn ones. Women in the UK kill 205,000 unborn babies a year. About 100,000 are male. Men have no say in this, so responsibility for it is 100% on women.
That’s about 200 times more deaths than male killers cause.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

“It is 100% on women”…Not trying to let women of the hook, but…it always takes two to make a baby. If you’re opposed to abortion, the best thing you can do is avoid making one in the first place unless you and your partner really want it. And most abortions are performed with the full blessing of the fathers, and often at their urging. Statistically, more women are opposed to abortion than men.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago

No, more women are vocal about being opposed to it. It’s not fashionable for women, it’s almost taboo for men to voice an opinion. Women have around 30 different methods of birth control, all apart from keeping their legs closed are undetectable by the man. Men have 2, both of which are blatantly obvious to the woman. Meaning the woman can go ahead with a pregnancy or terminate a pregnancy without the man’s consent.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Laird

Precisely, women have far more precise control over their fertility than men. The only undetectable method for a man is a vasectomy, and is often irreversible. Women are always responsible if they get pregnant. Emergency contraception is available for those who claim to have been raped.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago

Please provide a reference to the statistics that show that more women are opposed to abortion.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Don’t go there Jon! Everyone knows that women who have abortions are in fact victims themselves, right? If only selfish MEN hadn’t impregnated them (almost certainly by rape of course) then abortion would even be necessary.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Abortion of male foetuses is sure to became the policy of the Green Party. After all, what have men ever done for women?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

Benedict, you are a gem – I truly laughed. Not only is Mizz Bindel a misandrist and revoltingly one-sided, but she is also a lesbian, the most violent relationship a woman can be in (statistically, probably not individually) is a female homosexual coupling.

The Ancient Mariner
The Ancient Mariner
3 years ago

I am astonished that this attitude still persists, almost 40 years after the publication of QC Helena Kennedy’s book “Eve Was Framed”. She made the case then that society’s (and thus the court’s) attitude to a woman who kills is much harsher than to a man who kills. Having been a child brought up in such an abusive marriage, it is no surprise to hear how outsiders perceive the abusing partner as ‘nice’. The fear and control is such that even the children are stunned into silence. And as to ‘she could leave’, should she (or he) just leave the children? And where should they all go, in these times of dispersed families and cutbacks for hostels? Pity those suffering abuse now – they are doubly punished by lockdown. More Covid-related deaths?

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

“[Kennedy] made the case then that society’s (and thus the court’s) attitude to a woman who kills is much harsher than to a man who kills.”
This is false. Men are far more likely to be imprisoned, and for longer, than women, for the same crime.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

And hanged, just look at the prurient fuss over Ruth Ellis. (1955)

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Lots of women leave abusive situations, sometimes with their kids. They go to relatives or a shelter sometimes. And yes the kids are terribly damaged, most shelters have programs and services for the kids affected.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago

“She made the case then that society’s (and thus the court’s) attitude to a woman who kills is much harsher than to a man who kills.” Really? Why then do women receive shorter sentences, escape jail time more often, hardly ever end up on death row, and when they do escape execution for the same crimes?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Laird

Gentlemen gentlemen please! Facts are not acceptable in this debate, the only thing you need to know is that there are women out there who have been held accountable for their choices. It’s our job to see that this doesn’t happen in future. Have I done well, m’lady?

Last edited 3 years ago by Aaron Kevali
Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Your knighthood awaits !!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

Many sensible considerations here. But for clarity, Ms Bindel, what would be your end goal? If a battered woman kills her husband/boyfriend/abuser what should happen to her? A manslaughter conviction? Or should she be judged not guilty, much like the old ‘crime passionel’ defence?

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A medal probably. But seriously, her answer is definitely that the woman should be cleared of all charges.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

For every woman who is murdered, 1000 men should be executed. Don’t claim that some of those men have never harmed a human being in their life. All men are embryonic murderous rapists, and ipso facto, they deserve to be executed

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Where are the male friends and relatives of these women? Years ago, a friend and co-worker’s marriage was disintegrating, and becoming violent-his wife (a friend of ours too)kept appearing with bruises-he said “you don’t understand how abusive she can be, I just can’t help it”. After a time I, and another buddy came to him and said “if you beat her again, we are going to kick your ass…” He never touched her again.

The Ancient Mariner
The Ancient Mariner
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

There are too few people willing to support abused people like this. Bullies tend to buckle when faced with strength. Thank you.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

Please, enough of this kindergarten “bullies are cowards” myth. I’ve never found it that way at all. The opposite in fact. Bullies are bullies because it always works and if you challenge them they beat the 5hi4 out of you. All the bullies I knew at school were the biggest kids there.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

You have a point, but bullies are still cowards in the sense that only fear works as a deterrent. And it takes someone much bigger and stronger to instill that fear. There was a legendary incident in my elementary school in which the father of a severely bullied boy came to the school, pulled the offending boys right out of their classroom (I think the teacher was too scared to intervene) and verbally reduced them to pants-wetting terror in the hallway. That boy, who had been so terrorized by those little thugs he was afraid to come to school, was never bullied again.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago

A heart warming success story. I can recount many opposite results. It doesn’t do to instil a false notion in people with that kind of anecdote. Many bullies have no fear at all. I’m not against giving them a good pasting, just don’t leap to the conclusion it will work every time. It doesn’t. You can always make them go away permanently. That’s another story.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

I wonder how many years ago you were in elementary school.
Although that father behaved in the way we wish many parents would, today the parents of the bully would have him in court and almost certainly in jail in no time.
Almost certainly the parents of a bully have been abusive parents, which is why their kid needs to threaten or beat up others.

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

But when a bully is confronted with more strength, he folds.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago

“Bullies tend to buckle when faced with strength. ” An unhelpful and dangerous myth.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

So women basically need men’s protection? Bit sexist

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Laird

It is funny how Julie and all feminists believe:
a) Men are responsible for all of women’s suffering and women need to be strong and liberated.
b) Men must save women from all their problems.

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

You are just trying to avoid the responsibility that comes with greater male strength. Feminists don’t hold men responsible for all of women’s problems, but we do hold men accountable.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Though you were right to discourage him from hitting his wife, you did not know whether his wife was abusive and you responded with…more violence? Posturing and pathetic, it’s men like you who ensure society will fail – white knights indeed.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

the lack of understanding extends to experts as well — psychiatrists, police and judges are often not trained in issues around violence against women and girls and therefore can fail to understand what leads abused women to kill.

Lucky for them they’ve got you, who clearly knows everything, to set them straight.
I mean, the very idea that psychiatrists, police, judges, the CPS, or counsel for the defence should have a different perspective to yours. And as for these juries who reject women’s defences, and “fail to understand” why women commit perfectly fair and reasonable murder – well, they’re all part of the problem, clearly all wrong, and indeed any man (spits) who dares to defend himself when accused is clearly a disgrace. They’re certainly not depressed, and how dare any psychiatrist say they are when you know they’re not?
Why don’t we just have you act as judge and jury? Then you can let off all the women and convict all the men.
What a horrible, horrible know-all bigot you sound like.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

“Why don’t we just have you act as judge and jury? Then you can let off all the women and convict all the men.”
This is essentially the point of every single article by Julie Bindel, in every publication, ever.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Those psychiatrists, police, judges,prosecutors and counsel for the defence are biased.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago

Again why anyone who claims “Aileen Wuornos was no monster” and that men should be put in concentration camps gets any credence I don’t understand.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago

The problem of violence in our streets in our homes is the liberal attitudes that have prevalence in our thinking, laws and government.
The author seems to think that all that is required to “ fix” the problem is more laws, more police, more government.
The need for upholding virtue is not mentioned, because virtue is hard to establish and even harder to maintain in a society that has abandoned virtue in favour of complete personal autonomy.
When you give men unconstrained liberty, don’t be surprised when they turn it into license. Something then must constrain liberty and secularism has proved itself notoriously incapable of doing so. It has however proved itself quite capable of throwing off restraint in the name of human autonomy – and around us we see all the human wreckage that has resulted.
And yet the demolition has hardly even begun. The author describes only one aspect of it . A change in the law will do nothing as she ignores the elephant in the room which is the root of our social problems and economic decline.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I seem to have missed the author’s proposition that more law, more police, more government is all that is required to “fix” the problem. I gathered that she thought a profound change in society’s thinking was needed.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

Sadly, this attitude is still a common one in the justice system when it comes to understanding abused women. I’ve also lost count of the times I’ve heard: “She gave as good as she got.” Or even: “She was a jealous wife.”
Because it’s often true. And everyone knows it, though we aren’t supposed to say it.
“Many found the experience of giving evidence in court highly distressing, and the presence of the family of the deceased was an inhibiting factor. One woman said: â€œDuring the trial, I didn’t want to talk about when the relationship was bad. His family were all there and I didn’t want to properly address what he was in front of his family.”
Well…sorry but it’s a court case and the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth, must be told. Especially if you want be to exonerated or given a fairer sentence. This article is basically saying that poor women can’t be relied on in court to give reliable evidence. Deeply ironic – shades of islam?
“Every single one of the many women I have met who took such drastic action to escape abuse deeply regrets what happened.”
Yes Julie, the blokes who kill their wives usually express deep regret as well. They’ve taken a life, it usually stays with people and they usually hate what they done.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

Thirty-eight percent of those physically harmed by domestic violence are men.

Women initiate 50% of all domestic violence, including violence against children.

The most violent relationships are lesbian.

There are almost no services for men trying to flee abusive women.

But typically, Bindell chooses to examine only one side of this issue, ignoring the hundreds of thousands of men physically abused by their partners.

I’d respect feminists more if they weren’t such hypocrites.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Awaiting for approval

Where are the male friends and relatives of these women? Years ago, a friend and co-worker’s marriage was disintegrating, and becoming violent-his wife (a friend of ours too)kept appearing with bruises-he said “you don’t understand how abusive she can be, I just can’t help it”. After a time I, and another buddy came to him and said “if you beat her again, we are going to kick your(insert euphemism for bottom)
” He never touched her again. This is a re-post with the proper word omitted to satisfy the delicate sensitivities of the censors.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
3 years ago

This is an important article. It would have been strengthened by data showing the vast gap between the amount of violence from men on women than the tiny fraction of violence from women on men. It speaks volumes.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
3 years ago

‘Well, why didn’t he leave her if the violence was so bad?”

Sadly, this attitude is still a common one in the justice system when it comes to understanding abused men.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
....sometimes the same judges who dismiss women’s testimony of extreme violence with, “If it was so bad why didn’t you leave?

[sic]
When is question a dismissal? When it is uttered by a man to a woman, obviously.
Bindel, you do understand that a question invites an answer?
Was this the judges giving an opportunity for the woman to go into more detail about her actual experiences?
But I forget, you are speaking from deep experience of engaging with men on a meaningful level, aren’t you? That, together with an uncanny ability to read minds, especially of people you hate.

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
3 years ago

Julie,
Thank you for what you do.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Knight

Peddle misandry?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Knight

Dr Tim, White Knight or troll?

Karen Jemmett
Karen Jemmett
3 years ago

OK, agreed. But unless someone is coming at you with a knife or about to set you alight or endanger your life in any way, it is still an unlawful act of violence that could end another person’s life. And, whilst I applaud the writer for taking the side of vulnerable and disenfranchised women, this kind of situation places law enforcers with a difficult dilemma in several respects. Although the lengthy prison sentences handed out to the victims of domestic abuse who kill are clearly at fault and more must be done to tackle the cultural oppression and enfeeblement of women in a much wider sense. My own feeling is that the serial, domestic dog fights we hear so much about these days can so easily be avoided if people of all sexual delineations were more discerning about their choice of partners in the first place. This can really only be achieved by permitting and encouraging a more educated and enlightened society to evolve in harmony with – and, when necessary, seclusion from – one another. I don’t know about you, but I was hugely impressed by Justin Timberlake’s statement last week apologising for the fact he enjoyed cultural – specifically patriarchal – privileges as a young man that were detrimental to the mental well-being and esteem of former girlfriends. By radically empowering women to value themselves as equals deserving of respect, kindness and tenure – surely this is the most effective way to deal with all forms of domestic violence, moving forwards?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Karen Jemmett

“ By radically empowering women to value themselves as equals deserving of respect, kindness and tenure”
Why do you need anyone else to “empower” you to believe you are deserving of respect, kindness, etc? This is a really bizarre notion. No one needs to “empower” women to value themselves, in fact, self valuation does not and cannot come from outside. It’s an internal thing. Stop telling young women that they have to be empowered before they can respect themselves. It’s incredibly patriarchal.

Justin Timberlake is a celebrity. He didn’t enjoy privileges, he is just a singer. The fact that some women will let a singer do whatever he wants to do says nothing about him. It says plenty about the women. If women want to be groupies, that’s their choice, one they are free to make.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

God bless you Annette. May not agree that women need empowering in the first place, but at least you’re consistent.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Karen Jemmett

Respect has to be earned. I don’t expect to be respected merely by being a man, or by being white. Equally I don’t respect people merely for being female or not white. There have been some pretty nasty, and not quite so nasty, women and non-whites.