Myths About Women And Domestic Violence

domestic violence mythsBy Julie Garrison

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It is uninformed attitudes like the ones discussed in my previous divorce article that have pigeonholed domestic violence as a women’s issue only and ignores mens rights.

Research shows women in their 20s and 30s are statistically more likely to commit violence against men than their mothers did.

One of the reasons for this demographical age difference is that younger women have learned from their mothers, teachers, other mentors and role models that men are the abusers and women are (always) the victims.

They have also been taught that men can cause physical injury and – absent a weapon – women can’t because they are physically smaller and weaker. Cultural norms are more tolerant of assaults by women on their partners.

But, how many shelters for battered men have you heard about or seen? Most would say none.

The Florida State University Law Review had this to say about women and domestic violence:

“When the severity of a woman’s violent behavior is greater than her spouse’s, it is suggested that a woman’s lack of training in less violent reactions may excuse her behavior. A woman’s anger toward her mate, rather than simply her fear of violence, is also raised as a defense. Such a defense is illustrated, for example, in the characterization of the female use, perhaps even initiation, of domestic violence as simply a ‘slap the cad’ response to offensive, even if not physically violent, male behavior.

“Others have gone further in defending the female use of violence. Warning against describing male behavior as simply caddish, the defense raised instead is that women’s use of violence is warranted when men engage in ‘unwanted sexual advances, belittling of . . . [women], verbal intimidation, [and] drunken frenzy.’

“In this vein, the question changes from, ‘[W]ho began [the] hitting?’ to, ‘[W]ho began the argument?’ Such a change is more dangerous than defending female violence as a response to caddish behavior, for it risks legitimizing female violence whenever the argument is male initiated. However, this focus on the argument, rather than on the use of violence, is significant in that it exposes the core justification for disregarding the violence perpetrated by women.”


Society’s Swinging Pendulum:

We live in a pendular society. First the pendulum swings one way, as in the 1868 case, State v. Rhodes, where a husband was found innocent because, the judge said, “the defendant had a right to whip his wife with a switch no larger than his thumb.”

Then it swings the other way, as in the feminist concept that men are always the abusers and women are always the victims.

The standards of conduct have always been higher for men than for women. In cases where a wife accuses her husband of spousal abuse, in many jurisdictions, corroborating evidence is not required for conviction.

Since these claims are often conjured to exclude possible witnesses and physical evidence, the case must hinge on the credibility of an accuser who has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Domestic Violence Laws:

Why is Female Aggression Ignored?


Julie Garrison has been writing articles and short stories for the past 10 years and has appeared in several magazines and e-zines.

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