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Domestic Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Domestic Violence is abuse or violence, which takes place in the household. One side of Domestic Violence is physical, impulsive, and vicious. When that level of violence kicks in, the only response is to take whatever means necessary to stop it. Both man and women are equally at fault for abuse, which means Domestic Violence is not a phenomenon. It is not either man or women’s fault, “Both male and the female are bound in their incapacity for intimacy and appreciation of differences”(Sherven 27). This means that male and female need each other to perpetuate personal and collective dramas of victimization and loveless ness, regrettably so, neither can leave. Women and men are equally at fault for Domestic Abuse.
Domestic Violence occurs unexpectedly with little warning, even for people who are in long-term relationships and supposedly know one another. “Women interviewed in shelters describe a process that has three distinct stages: 1) the tension building stage where both persons sense the oncoming eruption; 2) the battering incident; and 3) the remorseful stage”(Walker 38). There is an entire phase of warning especially for the people who have turned their awareness and responses to the violence. Furthermore, in most cases, the violence is present during the courtship, although not as severe as it later becomes.
In 1985 the National Family Violence Survey disclosed that women and men were physically abusing one another in roughly equal numbers. Wives reported that they were more often the aggressors. While one point eight million women annually suffered one or more assaults from a husband or boyfriend, two million men were assaulted by a wife or girlfriend. Because men have been taught to “take it like a man” and are ridiculed when they feel they have been battered by women, women are nine times more likely to report their abuses to the authorities. “Why are we so surprised and appalled that men hit and abuse women who are physically smaller when women regularly hit and abuse small children?”(Sherven 63). Sherven classifies that men and women should be treated equally when it comes to Domestic Violence.
Some women take the position that “hope springs eternal” for people in love and they shouldn’t be held accountable for the abusive spousal choices they make. That is precisely the kind of romantic notion that men and women cling to and use to seduce them into staying in relationships in which there is abundant evidence that they should leave. Often friends and parents try to intervene but when “hope springs eternal” obvious dangers are overlooked, denied and women tell themselves something like, “If I just love him enough, he’ll change.” Battered men usually say exactly the same things. “What is needed in situations of verbal and physical abuse and danger is not romantic fantasy but a critical and self-protective assessment of the facts followed by a decision based on those facts”(Walker 17).
Our culture refuses to hold women equally accountable as men for their participation in Domestic Violence. Women’s behavior whether perpetrator or victim, is understood and passed off as socialization or poor economic status. On the other hand men are held fully accountable for all of their behavior. “Despite the tough guy stereotype all boys are encouraged to embody and the abuse many bear as a normal and loving part of their upbringing”(Sherven 81). Some will argue that women fall into “spousal abuse syndrome,” in which female passivity is explained as the result of the male brainwashing the female into believing that she is the cause of his violence. The female is powerless to alter the situation, but the truth is that females receive some form of the following lessons: “you’re nothing without a man and It’s just as easy to love a rich man”(Sherven 64).
The belief that “men are more likely to act out their anger in a physically violent way” is a false statement. More and more women during the last thirty years are just as capable of acting out physically. Most men who have been taught, never to hit a women are rendered powerless because they must restrain themselves. Our culture teaches boys and young men that to be a “real man” they have to be able to take it, and especially take it from women. Multiple studies say that women act out their anger in a physically violent way frequently, especially with family members.
Another myth would have us believe that the courts treat abusive men more leniently. Everyone has at least one horror story on both sides of this issue. Most
often those cases have a National Enquirer flavor and make all the news broadcast. The fact is that many women get off just as frequently. One reason is that, as a culture, we have a deep commitment to the belief that women are helpless and innocent. Police admit they are less likely to believe that women can be violent and almost always look to the man, regardless of the actual circumstances.
As long as women refuse to take responsibility for their participation, they will remain desempowered and completely dependent upon men to change. Domestic Violence should not be tolerated; it must be faced and prevented. We must look clearly and fearlessly at the dance women and men create that allows for and sustains that violence. Male bashing and protection of women’s innocence only perpetuate the problem.
The women’s movement claims that its goal is to have equal rights for women. If that is so, then women must share responsibility for their behavior and their contribution to Domestic Violence, otherwise we remain in a distortion that overshadows the truth. Only the truth will show us the way out of the epidemic of violence that is destroying our families.
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