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War of the Genders

A confrontational soapbox for rants and politically incorrect manifestos regarding feminism, chauvinism, dating and gender issues.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Take Two

After posting the chapter by Warren Farrell on battered men with statistics that show that women are just as violent as men if not more, I also talked about this issue with a few women and the reactions were always the same: A shrug, 'Oh cmon, everyone knows men beat up women much more often', silence followed by a change of topic, etc.

Obviously this is because making such a statement is tantamount to me saying that the Earth is flat and then backing this preposterous statement with 50 pages of statistics and logic. Any proof I would bring is irrelevant; The facts simply don't have a chance.

Well let's go more in depth in any case and try to find holes in Farrell's claim:

First, it must be obvious that if men are being battered, any man who would come forward to complain or tell his story about being hit by his 50kg wife would be ridiculed, ignored, or at best, treated as a freak incident. The Oprah Winfrey Show featured battered men and the audience laughed, TV shows regularly portray battered men as comedic situations, men who tell their pals about being hit by women are treated with ridicule or embarrassment, violent crimes by women against men are seen by the legal system and the public as less severe, school boys are sent to the principal's office but girls that hit are not, and Farrell even cites cases of censorship and threats.

In Hollywood and the media, men respond to everything aggressively and violently and women are the caring, gentle sex who hold them back. When women kick-ass, it's sexy and for a good cause, or it's self-defense against beastly men. This is classic brainwashing. When a trait is portrayed as exclusive to one gender and the other gender is never assigned any blame, this is obvious bias and sexism.

Second, it must be obvious that most men will not report being battered. In addition to the above arguments that would deter men from complaining, most men don't think of being hit by a frying pan as a crime or 'being battered', they see mere bruises as unimportant as they are routinely bruised in sports and similar activities, they are seen as wimps if they don't grin and bear it, and many men simply won't run to expose their private problems as often as women would.

So it should not surprise anyone that if men were being battered, we would not hear of it.

Are men being battered? Can't the statistics, as is often the case, be wrong or twisted to show a different truth? Farrell cites 50 studies in his book that prove that women are just as violent as men, in addition to exposing experiences and witnesses that tell how construction workers and officers were terrorized by female violence or brutalized by their wives with simple weapons. This site lists 174 different studies. When you have 170 studies made by very different people and organizations over a period of 25 years, it's practically impossible to argue the facts. Many of the studies even cite self-reported aggression. I.e. women came forward and said they initiated the violence in the relationship more often than men.

And here is yet another study I found on the internet: The U.S. Justice Department reports in a 1998 study that of the 2,335,000 persons abused annually by their opposite sex partner, 835,000 or 36% of the victims are men. Further, all of the 54 english language studies that have included both men and women have found that women use violence in their relationships more often then men and at every level of severity. In Delaware, where the Forum for Equity and Fairness in Family Issues is most active, the Delaware State Police Statistics Division reports that of all criminal domestic violence cases, in 32% of the cases men are the victim. In non-criminal cases the figure jumps to nearly 50%.

Perhaps men are the ones that initiate the violence? The surveys took that into account and report that this is definitely not the case. Again, even women admitted to being the initiatiors.

Perhaps it's because of the patriarchy and men are somehow instigators of such violence in women? Lesbian violence statistics disagree.

Perhaps women suffer from much more severe violence than men? Surveys show that men are treated to severe violence TWICE as much as women. The numbers vary depending on the kind of violence (hitting, choking, knives, etc) but overall, the figures show that when it comes to injuries, women do not have any kind of monopoly.

And why is this? Aren't women weaker than men? Aren't women more likely to suffer when given a beating? Aren't women easily overpowered and controlled?

But these are fallacies. First of all, it is logical that because women are weaker than men, men get more severe beatings. If you know that the recipient of your wrath is weaker than you, you are more likely to hold back. Sons get beaten harder by parents than daughters. And the opposite effect is true as well: If you are a 50kg woman seeking revenge on a 90kg man, you are more likely to pick up a baseball bat, iron, or frying pan and swing with all your might.

It's very easy to overpower a man. There are literally hundreds of weapons in any given house that will give you an edge, especially when you sneak up behind a man or when he's sleeping. Dozens of horrifying news stories confirm this simple fact. So it all comes down to psychology. Who is more likely to respond with violence when tempers rise? Who is more prone to lose emotional control and commit an act of violence? Who is likely to feel such intense hatred towards their spouse that they will respond with violence? Who has a tendency to panic and snap when under intense marriage pressures or when relationships go bad?

These are the correct questions to ask, not who has the stronger muscles. The mistake that everyone makes is to see women as disadvantaged when it comes to a fight. So when women and men battle it out, who is more likely to get sympathy?

Are men more naturally physically aggressive? I think so. But the way I see it, women have their own weakness which evens out the equation and explains these statistics. Women are subject to stronger emotions which makes them hysterical, and turns them to panic and hate. This will cause them to snap and grab the nearest object that can be used as a weapon and not hold anything back against this physically intimidating male.

In fact I can even argue that men's aggression is what makes women more violent. Yes, you read that right. The argument goes like this: Men are naturally more aggressive and everyone knows this, therefore: a) men are more in touch with violence and can control it better b) men are brought up to curb their aggressive tendencies and are punished and trained by parents and schools to control their violence and act honorably whereas women are allowed to do whatever they want. So when push comes to shove and tempers flare, who is more likely to slap, kick, pull a knife or cut off their spouses genitals? The man who has dealt with aggression all his life, or the highly emotional woman who has never trained her violent reactions? Case in point, men can win a fight with other men by kicking them in the balls, why don't they? Another case in point, if these aggressive men can shut their nagging wives up by beating them up and easily control them with violence, why do so few men beat their wives?

But let's say the numbers are off by a few degrees. Let us assume that women do get beat up much more often than men despite the fact that every study disagrees with this. The fact that men are never seen as victims in domestic abuse issues is a damning fact in itself. Claiming that women are saints and never or rarely beat up men is as preposterous as claiming that the Earth is flat.

As an exercise, let's forget all movies we ever saw, all media stories and rumors about domestic violence, and all violence between men, and concentrate solely on violence between men and women that we know to be true personally and that are not based on hearsay. Here are my personal results: I know of 2 cases where the man hit his woman moderately and one case where a woman got her male friends to beat up her boyfriend severely. I have never raised a hand against a woman but have been kicked by girls both in school and in recent times. And I know of an equal amount of cases where parents of both genders hit their children.

What's obvious to me even without all these studies is that both genders have reasons and impetuses to behave violently, and that muscles or testosterone are not the only sources of violence. Over 150 studies agree with me.



Just two remarks:

I made the experience, that men are as likely to respond negative on the statistics, exept for those already being battered by a woman.

The topic is on rise, there is a shift of focus in serveral european countries giving more attention on domestic violence against men.

Having no english texts about it, I would like to point out, that even a greater taboo is starting to be tackled, sexual violence comitted by females: http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1104694.ece

November 07, 2005 4:18 pm  

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