photo: Catherine Kieu Becker/credit: Garden Grove Police/Handout
A California woman is in jail, accused of drugging her husband and cutting off his penis.
According to a CBS News story,
This sort of attack is notable more for its severity than its rarity. Wives and girlfriends abuse and assault their partners far more often than people realize, but the genitals are rarely targeted. The most infamous penis attacker was Lorena Bobbitt, who severed her husband John’s penis with a knife in 1993.
Despite popular belief, studies have shown that men and women are equal-opportunity domestic abusers. Women assault men almost as often as men assault women when you look at actual numbers of incidences regardless of severity. Men, however, usually cause greater injury than women do because they are often physically stronger.
Female abusers often use weapons or drugs to assist in the attacks. In this case, Becker allegedly used both drugs and a kitchen knife to assault her husband.
Domestic abuse in general is underreported, and many experts believe that domestic abuse by women is reported even less often, partly because men are embarrassed to admit that they have been abused by a woman.
Many male victims are also keenly aware that police (and society at large) often assume that men are always the aggressor, and that if they fight back in self-defense, they may be accused of initiating the abuse.
Domestic violence against men is often treated as a joke; late night comedians had a field day in the wake of the Bobbitt assault. It seems unlikely that the public would have been as amused if a man had cut off his wife’s breasts, or mutilated her genitals with a knife.
But it’s no joke for either the victim or the accused; Becker’s husband remains hospitalized, and if he dies she may be charged with murder.