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Violence In Society Essay, Research Paper

The first reaction to hearing about the topic of battered men, people

tend to think of it as being absolutely false or very uncommon. Battered

husbands are a topic for jokes because people always assume that it is the

women who are battered. One researcher noted that wives were the

perpetrators in seventy-three percent of the depictions of domestic violence

in newspaper comics. Battered husbands have historically been either ignored

or subjected to ridicule and abuse. Even those of us who like to consider

ourselves liberated and open-minded often have a difficult time even

imagining that husband battering could take place. Although feminism has

opened many of our eyes about the existence of domestic violence, the abuse

of husbands is a rarely discussed phenomenon. One reason that husband

battering is not investigated is that it is a rare occurrence. Another

reason is that because women were seen as weaker and more helpless than men

pertaining to sex roles, and men on the other hand were seen as more sturdy

and self-reliant. The study of abused husbands is considered to be

unimportant.

In 1974, research was done to compare male and female domestic violence.

In this study, it was found that forty seven percent of husbands had used

physical violence on their wives, and thirty-three percent of wives had used

violence on their husbands(Gelles 1974). Also in 1974, a study was released

showing that the number of murders of women by men was about the same as the

number of murders of men by women. Although it had finally been shown that

there was violence being perpetrated both by wives and husbands, there was no

evidence about the severity or who initiated the abuse and who is acting in

self-defense.

The idea of women being violent is a hard thing for many people to

believe. It goes against the stereotype of the passive and helpless female.

This, in spite of the fact that women are known to be more likely than men to

commit child abuse and child murder. Laws about domestic violence is always

orientated toward the female victim. Society states that it is the woman who

suffer from abuse. These reasons explain why most abused men, no matter how

capable they are of doing so, offer little or no resistance to their

partners’ physical violence. And many women, well aware of these fears, may

actually continue their abuse, knowing they can get away with it. While

battered men find few facilities or support, there are a variety of programs

(many of which are run by feminist men’s groups) to help abusive men deal

more effectively with their violence. But for violent women–strangely

enough–no comparable treatment programs exist. This fact further illustrates

a serious problem: society is simply unwilling–or unable–to acknowledge and

deal with violent women. Resources and facilities to combat domestic

violence are, unfortunately, in short supply due to cutbacks in almost all

social services. Perhaps some battered women’s groups fear that if society

recognizes that men are victims too, what little money is available will be

diverted. But acknowledging men’s victimization in no way involves denying

that women are victims. Women’s groups that help battered women could also

help battered men, while men’s groups that counsel abusive men could make

their expertise available to violent women as well. Continuing to portray

spousal violence solely as a women’s issue is not only wrong–it’s also

counterproductive. And encouraging such unnecessary fragmentation and

divisiveness will ultimately do more harm than good. No one has (or should

have) a monopoly on pain and suffering. But until society as a whole

confronts its deeply ingrained stereotypes and recognizes all the victims of

domestic violence, we will never be able to solve the problem. Domestic

violence is a neither a male or a female issue–it’s simply a human issue.


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