Since pleading guilty to assaulting his wife six years ago, Jason Kidd, the New Jersey Nets basketball star known for his jump shot, has been heckled on the court as a wife beater.
On Tuesday, however, the Kidd family drama took a surprising turn when he took out a restraining order against his wife, Joumana Kidd, saying that her recent behavior had negatively affected their three young children.
Famed New York divorce lawyer Raoul Felder, who is representing Joumana, told ABC News today that she had been ordered out of her home on Tuesday by authorities after a "police misinterpretation" when her husband filed the order.
Felder notes that even Jason's lawyers joined him in pleading with the police to reconsider.
"She was put out of the home," Felder said. "And she denies all of the allegations."
Neither Felder nor Jason's legal council would comment on the nature of the allegations. As for the restraining order, Felder said, "They both have one against each other."
Shocking to Some
A husband having a restraining order against his wife may seem shocking to some. Restraining orders are taken out for a variety of reasons, however, the most common reason is domestic violence.
The allegations against Joumana are not yet known.
In January 2001, Jason was charged with domestic violence assault after Joumana told Phoenix police officers that he had hit her during an argument. He pleaded guilty to spousal abuse, was fined $200, ordered to take anger management classes.
Jason's record was later expunged.
Although most divorce lawyers say that domestic-violence claims against women are far from common, they agree that in the last decade such claims have seemed to spring up in the legal system.
"Domestic violence against men is the exception, not the rule," divorce lawyer Bernard Rinella told ABC News, although he has seen a slight increase in the number of men seeking restraining orders against their wives.
Rinella fears some men might be trying to take advantage of an increasingly gender-unbiased legal system by filing restraining orders.
"It is a 'he said, she said,' so it's hard," Rinella said. "And sure, some men have been abused, but we are loath to bring these actions to court because of the double standard. The guy is usually bigger and stronger, and we look like a wimp. Most judges pooh-pooh the claim."
As Many Men as Women?
Experts on domestic abuse disagree on the number of men who are physically abused by their wives, but they agree that it is an underreported phenomenon.
There are few statistics regarding domestic violence against men.
A 1999 National Violence Against Women Survey sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that while 1.5 million American women were beaten by a domestic partner or husband, 835,000 men -- more than half that number -- reported that they also were victims, a surprisingly high number to some.
Philip W. Cook, advocate and author of "Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence," is working to change what he calls "societal disbelief" in domestic violence against men.
"Attorneys don't encourage prosecuting it," Cook said. "Fred Lane of the … Carolina Panthers was shot and killed by his wife, and Tyrone Williams of the Green Bay Packers had his clothes slashed and tires slashed, and he needed to get stitches. … These were obvious victims. Just because a guy is a big athlete doesn't mean he's not a victim."
Lisa Mills, a feminist and author of "Insult to Injury: Rethinking Our Response to Intimate Abuse," agrees.
Mills notes that when women get violent, they often seek out tools and weapons to make up for what they lack in brawn.
"Men are beaten just as often as women, but women are injured twice as often," Mills said. "But the question really comes down to the validity of each claim."