When we think about our basic rights, the right to life, the right to liberty, the right shelter, we must understand these rights stand upon the fundamental right that, if attacked you have the right to defend yourself. Without this basic right, you life can be taken without a struggle, your shelter can be invaded and you can be be forced out. Your food can be removed. Simply stated, without your right to defend yourself, you live at the mercy of others. This is recognised in legislation imbedded within our legal framework.
Article 1 of the Human Rights Act provides that : every person has the right to the peaceful enjoyment of your property. Article 2 Provides your right to life and states you may act in defence of any person from unlawful violence.
This would provide basic protection for any person taking measures to defend themselves within their home. However there will be more safeguards placed around you depending on where you live. In the United Kingdom Self-defence is available as a defence to crimes committed by use of force.
The basic principles of self-defence are set out in (Palmer v R,  AC 814); approved in R v McInnes, 55 Cr App R 551. The common law approach as expressed in Palmer v R is also relevant to the application of section 3 Criminal Law Act 1967:
“A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.”
In Australia The general rule regarding self-defence is that a person is allowed to take any defensive or evasive steps that they believe to be necessary. Unlike other areas of law, self-defence isn’t reliant on a specific formulaic approach, but rather, is dependent on the facts of the matter, with the question left for the courts and a jury to decide. The right of self-defense (according to U.S. law) (also called, when it applies to the defense of another, alter ego defense, defense of others, defense of a third person) is the right for civilians acting on their own behalf to engage in violence for the sake of defending one’s own life or the lives of others, including the use of deadly force.
In Northern Ireland they do things a little differently, painted on the side of a building in the Newtonards Road is a quote from Lord Carson. “we seek nothing more than the elementery right implanted in every man. The right if you are attacked, to defend yourself”
It would seem to be a straight forward, cut and dried issue. If someone attacks you, and you use reasonable force to defend yourself and restrain your attacker, you will be acting legally and not be found guilty of any offense. Note there is nothing in any of these laws that state gender, there is nothing in these laws that state circumstances. There is no appendix stating “unless she is your wife/ partner” however it would seem police departments and courts around the globe are acting as if this get out claus existed.
The Case I am going to describe is real, and is just one example, there are thousands like it world wide. This is what happened when one man decided he would not be a punch bag.
There is no good way to respond to your wife attacking you. Over 25 years I tried manny tacticts and none produced results that were good for me. Curling into a ball and protecting your face results in whatever items are available being thrown at you, including hot and cold liquids. Protecting your head/face means you don’t see it coming. Holding your hands behind your back is a insane response, in real life they do not punch themselves out quickly and realise they are wrong. Punching walls produces evidence you are violent. Running away is not always a option and they have a knack of being between the door and you. Grabbing flailing arms and pinning down until things calm down is the best option for the victim, and the method chosen by this person. Given all the legislation about self defense it should also have zero consequences provided she admits attacking you, as the woman in this case did. Here is what happened next.
The attacker called a ambulance, the fact she had no injury makes this a strange decision on its own but it was probably motivated not by the need for medical assistance. It is a well known fact abusive people like to remove themselves from any blame that can be attached to there actions. Therefore calling the police after attacking their partner is not the first choice action. It is much easier to call for a ambulance or visit a Accident and Emergency room, safe in the knowledge they will speak to her alone and ask “did he do this”. For those of you that were not in the know, that is the reason a man is asked to leave when his partner is being treated. The fact this question is not asked i reverse is the reason she is not asked to leave while he is getting treated. At this point the police will be informed. They will then arrest her innocent partner and she can say “the hospital called the police”. In this case a call for a ambulance delivered a police car only. This alone shows how serious any injury was.
The man was then arrested. Spent 2 hrs in a cell and received Domestic Violence Order, for self defense. This seems bizarre, and you would be forgiven for thinking she must have misrepresented her case. The fact is she admitted attacking him, she stated his reaction was to pin her down. No claims of punching, kicking, over reacting, and admitted she attacked him.
Then it gets better. The police, the health professionals, doctors and mental health team, her friends all give her the same advice. Get out, he is dangerous. Somehow the bit abut her attacking him was removed from their thinking. The only part the authorities wanted to deal with was his reaction. The implications of this are far reaching, for all parties. The miscarriage of justice upon her victim is just the beginning. He now has a unwarranted blemish upon his record. Say she stays with him, without some form of treatment or even recognition that what she did was wrong it is entirely predictable there will be repeat offenses. He will suffer harm and be subject to ever increasing punishment under the law.
Say she takes the advice, gets out, moves on and finds a new victim. This will be repeated. There is a chance the new victim may not defend himself at all. He would then face ever increasing levels of violence, and due to the absence of any criminal record both he and the system would be unaware she was habitually abusive. One should question how many previous convictions she should have had, and what effect that would have had on her ability to ruin more lives. Prosecuting innocent people has a cost attached. Both to the person involved and to the state. When eventually she either gets someone put in jail or worse still, gets away with murder, will those involved now and in the past recognise the part they played ?
The biggest question of all however is why did the police not advise her she committed assault. Why did they say “get out, he is dangerous” and not “thats assault, he defended himself, be glad he did so in a controlled fashion” Why did the doctors not ask why she attacked. Why did the mental health professionals not ask about her anger issues. Why did they not warn her self defense is a rational response to being attacked. Why did her friends not say “hitting him is not a good idea, you want to have a look at yourself”.
A big part of the answer can be found in Australia’s Domestic Abuse Policy. It states
Domestic violence refers to acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship in domestic settings.This These acts include physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.
All gender neutral, a good definition, however it goes on to say about those at risk
At risk groups
Women living in rural and remote areas
Women with disability
Women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
The reason the at risk groups are all female is the reliance on The National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Children. The clue is in the name. If women are the victims they can not be the perpetrators. If you use models that teach your medical and law enforcement professionals to look for female victims and male perpetrators, you should not be surprised when that is what they find. This government policy is, and will continue to ruin lives until some real equality kicks in, and actions, not gender dictates who is pursued through the court system.
At some stage we, as a society need to recognise that men have a fundamental right to defend themselves, even if their attacker is a woman.