American Judges Association


Court Review: Journal of the American Judges Association

Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 53, Issue 1 (2017)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.



A woman is battered in the United States every nine seconds.1 Between 25% and 31% of American women will be physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner at some point during their lives 2—an estimated 1.3 million women annually.3 Intimate partner homicides make up 40% to 50% of all murders of women in the United States.4 Every day in the United States, more than three women are killed by their abusers.5 The statistics from Canada are similarly astounding. “Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.”6

These facts are difficult to believe and even more difficult to fathom. How can it be that a woman is in more danger from her life partner than from strangers on the street? How does the good, kind juror who has never witnessed an abuser slap or even browbeat his wife accept that the same man, who is calm and non-violent at work, can hit his wife with a bat and leave her bleeding on the side of a highway? How does the self-made working single mother of three on the jury evaluate the testimony of the wealthy victim who testifies that her paramour has been sexually assaulting her for years but that she still loves him?