“I want to say, I’m sorry,” she said. “We just got married. We were together for 14 months and there was nothing wrong with our relationship.”
‘The other person is always the victim’
Taylor’s case shows that even when women fight back against abuse, they are often blamed for their partner’s violence or accused of lying about it, experts said. The wife of an abuser who admits hitting her in self-defense can be portrayed as selfish and manipulative; the same woman may not get sympathy if she says no to sex or tries to leave him but ends up dead anyway.
Women also face varying levels of punishment based on their gender: Women charged with murder in domestic cases generally receive lighter sentences than men charged with similar crimes (though this varies by state). When authorities do charge a woman who killed her abusive husband after he tried to kill her, judges often order mental health evaluations instead of prison terms. Studies show battered women are considerably more likely than others to commit suicide; some researchers contend that defendants don’t receive harsher penalties because judges worry about how juries would react if they send a man convicted in such circumstances directly to jail rather than hospitalization first.