Some say domestic violence in America is a big deal, but a court in Arizona and the WNBA seem to disagree. Women’s basketball star Brittney Griner accepted a plea deal April 28 and will enter a diversion program following her April 22 arrest on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct, her attorney David Michael Cantor said Tuesday. She pled to disorderly conduct.
Griner will attend half a year of domestic violence counseling and upon completion all charges will be dismissed. She voluntarily began counseling the day after her arrest and is cooperating with the WNBA’s pseudo investigation into the matter.
The center and her WNBA fiancee, Glory Johnson, were in a physical fight that sent both to jail days earlier. Griner had a laceration on her right wrist and a tooth mark on the middle finger of her right hand, according to the police report. Johnson had a cut on her lip and Julio Trejo, a friend of Griner’s, had a cut on his neck after attempting to break up the fight.
The stress of planning the wedding was one of the factors cited of the fight. Another was buying the house they shared for all of two days before the altercation. A third factor was the stress of their relationship.
The couple may want to rethink their nuptial plans. If they are having knock down-drag out fights now, a marriage certificate will not change that. It may lead to one being murdered and the other going to prison.
Some people believe that women are not likely to abuse each other. But experts believe that abuse happens at least as often in same-sex relationships as in heterosexual relationships. Domestic violence in lesbian relationships is greatly under reported, according to experts.
A National Coalition Against Domestic Violence study in 2006 found:
• Approximately half of the lesbian population has experienced or will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes;
• 78% of lesbians report that they have either defended themselves or fought back against an abusive partner; and
• 18% of this group described their behavior as self-defense or “trading blow for blow or insult for insult.”
Northwestern University reported in 2014 domestic violence in same sex couples could be as high as 75 percent. A key factor seems to be the stress of being sexual minorities.
Help exists for homosexual victims of domestic violence. LGBT victims can call a hotline the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs at 212-714-1141 for 24-hour assistance in English or Spanish.
There are laws that protect people who are abused and laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Shelters can help you find lawyers who work for free if you can’t afford to pay. Lambda Legal offers help on legal issues related to sexual orientation.