Tapati (tapati) wrote,

While I'm On The Subject

One of the other annoying features of any domestic violence discussion is that as soon as you mention it online, the poor neglected men pop up and say "What about us? As many men are abused as women, what about that?"

Lately they've taken to posting links about a particular woman who abused a man, as if we've never heard of such a thing. No one denies that this does happen.

Often in my writing I will add that women can be abusers as well. It gets cumbersome to keep writing in a gender inclusive manner because our language hasn't evolved to handle that well. Some solutions have been used but they don't flow naturally and not everyone understands the new terms.

Those who argue that the numbers are equal are, simply, wrong. But it doesn't matter in terms of the discussion what the respective numbers are.

The existence of male victims doesn't mean we can't talk about female victims. Each victim has his or her own set of particular obstacles to getting help and getting out of the relationship. I think there is room for many conversations about domestic violence. I don't see why it has to be an either-or scenario. I don't see why we aren't supposed to talk about male-on-female domestic violence just because there is also female-on-male domestic violence.

There have also been rants about why there are battered women shelters and not battered men shelters. Why? Because women--often former battered women--started and helped staff and fund those shelters. Any federal or state grant money came later on. Those shelters still operate on a shoestring budget at the best of times. You want men's shelters? I don't know any delicate way to say this: get off your asses and create them! While you're at it, work on removing the biggest impediment to men reporting abuse and using such shelters: the macho culture that says men can't be victims, men can't cry, men can't be vulnerable and men who can't control their woman are "pussies." (And also, stop using terms like pussy, sissy, and so on to describe men who don't meet your standard of male behavior.)

In fact, these social standards play into male victims not reporting and also men not being able to deal with hurt, sad, lonely, and scared feelings except by battering women. Not the same men, obviously. But this facet of male culture is a primary contributor to both problems.

You want federal help in solving the problem of female-on-male violence? Go after it! After you've opened your shelters you can gather solid statistics of the need for more help. That's what we did. We've provided you with a working model. Do we have to do it all for you?

If you want to talk about battered men (and I've known one) please go start your own conversations and lose the whiny, embittered, women victims get all the attention vibe. Some of us might even join in and try to help. But stop attacking us for helping our own first, especially those of us who have been battered.

Finally, in all my years of talking and writing about this issue, I've had many women come forward and admit that they were battered too. I haven't had one man express that he was battered. The one battered man I do know about didn't tell me--only his second wife knew the full story and she shared a bit of it with me. Either there aren't the same numbers or they just aren't talking or a bit of both. I do know that on a bell curve, more men are aggressive than women, with some overlap between the two. Hormones undoubtedly play a role in the intensity of anger needed to overcome normal inhibitions against violence. Alcohol also often plays a role. There are lots of things to study and questions to ask in order to get to the bottom of the true number of male victims. I suspect that women more often verbally and emotionally abuse than physically. But sure, let's find out. Just not on our dime during our conversation about abuse that happens to us. Thank you.
Tags: domestic violence
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