If you encounter domestic violence, you may not have a choice but to defend yourself. Unfortunately, when you take safety into your own hands, your partner could turn around and claim that you attacked him or her first.
If you face allegations of domestic violence, the court will listen to arguments that you meant to protect yourself.
How can you use self-defense to protect yourself?
Family violence and domestic abuse affect about 10 million people in the U.S. each year. When domestic violence becomes physical, you can suffer severe injuries, including broken bones and internal injuries.
When faced with domestic violence, you have a right to protect yourself and others against immediate harm. Self-defense refers to reasonable force to counter imminent threats, with the goal of neutralizing the threat, not dominating the other party.
What does proportional response mean?
The principle of proportional response revolves around finding a balance between safeguarding yourself and avoiding the use of excessive force. The idea is that the energy you use to defend yourself should equal the threat level you experience.
If your partner attacks you, you have a right to defend yourself, but only with a proportional response. For example, say that your spouse confronts you with a fist. In this case, you should respond with equal force. You can push the aggressor away or hit back. However, the court may see force as excessive if you use a weapon or overwhelming force to escalate the situation.
Those who use domestic abuse often use physical violence to control their partners. Unfortunately, they may also try to manipulate the situation and make accusations to exert further control in the legal system.