The Backlash! - March 1996

Self-defense no defense for men

Defending himself against a violent woman got eastern Washington man 31 months in the state pen

by John Sample

Tom Roberts is your ordinary small town kid. But at 6'2" 206 pounds, he is anything but a small boy.

One night in March of 1992, Tom and some friends were out having dinner and drinks, when a strange woman ran her hand through his hair. Being single, he took the bait. Within a few days he and Linda Jones (not her real name) were involved in an affair that would eventually drastically alter Tom's life.

At first things were all bliss. Tom even found himself falling in love. But after a few months, the relationship began to change. Tim began to uncover a number of lies. Linda had told him when they first met she was 31. Later when one of Linda's adult children called, Linda admitted that she actually was 42. And of course now she also had to admitted to having been married -- a number of times. Finally she became physically abusive towards Tom.

It was small things at first, a slap or a light punch. But because Tom was significantly larger than Linda, he took her abuse like a father would take it from a frustrated child. But soon the physical abuse grew more significant. She escalated the attacks to biting and scratching. She even made a special effort to aim her kicks at a previously injured knee. On separate occasions she also tried to stab Tom with a pocket knife and a fork.

Their relationship deteriorated. It became a classic case of abuse, both verbal and physical. Tom tried to leave a number of times. Each time Linda pleaded that things would be better this time. When he returned, things would be better for a day or so. But soon she would start up the abusive behavior again.

(This pattern of abuse is what the feminists' movement claims only happens to women. But the statistics show that men are abused at equal rates. The only differences are; 1. When men batter, they often do more harm because of their size. 2. When women batter, men usually don't report the abuse because of humiliation.)

Finally one Saturday morning after an evening filled with verbal and emotional abuse Linda became physically hostile. She punched Tom and went into a rage. He tried to restrain her, but after a number of attempts to attack him, she lunged for a pocket knife sitting on the TV. Tom grabbed to keep her from getting the knife. He reached the handle first. She grabbed the blade, cutting her hand. She continued to attack Tom for a short period more. Finally she stopped.

After Linda finally cooled down, she wanted to leave. Her daughter was due home and Linda didn't want to see her. The two decided to go to Tom's mother's apartment. They could be alone there because Tim's mother was not home. Tom told Linda that she needed to have her hand looked at by a doctor. But Linda refused.

They spent the night at Tom's mothers. The next morning as Tim was watching TV, two police officers came to the door. They wanted to talk to Linda. She was in the bathroom and would not come out. The officers isolated Linda and Tom. They questioned Linda and then arrested Tim for 4th degree assault.

The next day, the police threw the book at him; attempted murder, 1st degree assault, and robbery.

As it played out in court, Tom was found guilty by a female judge of 1st degree burglary and 2nd degree assault. He was sentenced to 31 months in Walla Walla state prison in Washington state. He is serving his sentence as this issue goes to press.


This is another classic case of a woman's word being worth more than a man's word. As in other cases that I have reported on, there were no other whiteness to this incident. How could it be that Linda's word is the defining factor when it comes to findings of fact? How is it that both the police and prosecutor never talked with Tom?

It should also be noted that immediately after his arrest Tom told the police that he wanted to press charges against Linda. But of course they never responded. Why? Because Tom's charges against Linda are not worth as much as her's against him.

Tom was also a casualty of a special privilege that women get in this type of case. Presently, because of shield laws, bringing up the past of a victim in court is not allowed. (Shield laws were enacted in the 70's after pressure from women's groups. These shield laws are designed to keep an alleged rape victim's past out of the courtroom.) So, even though Tom's private investigator uncovered a long history of Linda's physical attacks on other men, this incriminating evidence could not be presented in court. As a result, Tom's defense became his word versus her word. And when it's his word verses hers, SHE always wins.

Another point of bias in this case is, the female judge who heard the case not only works in domestic violence court, but she also works on women's domestic violence issues. By any reasonable standard, she was prejudiced and should have removed herself from the case.

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