Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is There a Domestic Violence Double Standard?

After months of investigation MTV's "Teen Mom" star Amber Portwood has finally been arrested and charged with felony domestic battery for her assaults on her now ex-boyfriend Gary Shirley and her toddler daughter. You might ask, "Why did it take so long?" That's a great question given the fact that the police have had documented proof of Portwood's physical attacks (attacks that happened in front of their toddler daughter) on Shirley, that were caught on tape, for months now.

Could there be a double standard when it comes to arresting females vs. arresting males for domestic battery? Let's compare two celebs highly publicized domestic disputes and I will let you be the judge.

The police investigation into Portwood's alleged domestic assaults on Shirley, again caught on tape, began in September 2010. Reportedly there were at least three documented domestic violence incidences where Portwood is said to have assaulted Shirley between July 2009 and August 2010. Numerous viewers of the 'Teen Mom's" tv show were said to have called into the child abuse hotline to report Portwood's mistreatment of toddler daughter and Shirley back in August 2010.

The investigation dragged on leaving Shirley and the baby vulnerable to more of Portwood's rage and violence. Still on the loose, having not been arrested for the previous assaults, Portwood reportedly physically attacked Shirley yet again two weeks ago and threatened his new girlfriend Ashley.

An arrest warrant for domestic battery wasn't issued against Portwood until December 27, 2010 over three months after the start of the investigation. According to news reports Portwood turned herself in yesterday and was charged with two counts of felony domestic battery, one count of misdemeanor domestic battery and one felony count of neglect of a dependent. She was placed on a 24 hour hold in jail (24 hour hold is mandatory for these types of charges in Indiana) and her bail was set at $5,000.00.

Now back in 2009, Chris Brown, a popular R & B singer, age 20 (same as as Portwood), had a domestic dispute in public with his then girlfriend Rihanna. The altercation happened in an automobile and concerned passers by felt compelled to call 911 to report the incident. When the police showed up Brown had left the scene. Within hours an arrest warrant was issued against him for two felony counts, criminal threatening and domestic battery. Brown turned himself in the next day and was arrested. Brown's bail was set at $50,000.00.

I am not sure of what to make of the $45,000 difference in bail costs between Brown's bail and Portwood's. Sentencing and bail costs vary from state to state and given that Brown was in California when arrested and Portwood is in Indiana that could be why bail costs are so vastly different. However, what explains the inertia of the police in arresting Portwood? I find it interesting that the arrest didn't come until after she viciously attacked Shirley in public once again.

If Portwood was a man and Shirley was a woman would the investigation have taken over three months and an additional publicly witnessed physical assault before an arrest was made? If Brown had been a woman and Rihanna a man would Brown have been arrested within hours of the assault on Rihanna? Inquiring minds want to know.

1 comment:

  1. It's also interesting that the arrest did not occur until she threatened harm to a woman. I think that probably had a lot to do with the decision to arrest in one situation but not in the other.