Domestic violence campaigns one-sided

By Emily Anderson

March 28, 2012

Males constitute half of victim population

Recently, a cloud of humanitarian discourse has been kicked up around the issue of domestic violence. This, of course, is not a bad thing. Trying to make changes and spread awareness about the effects of abusive relationships is an honorable and important cause that deserves the amount of media coverage and public attention that it’s getting. Every single victim of domestic abuse should be aided and supported by the community.

But not every one of them is getting support. Only half of them are. The campaigns that call for the ending of domestic abuse only portray women as the victims of this type of violence. As it stands, little to no attention is given to the men who fall prey to domestic abuse, and no one seems to care.

This is not because men are not being abused. They are. According to the website for the Domestic Violence Resource Center, “men and women assault one another and strike the first blow at approximately equal rates.” However, there are risks and restrictions that come with a man reporting being domestically abused that don’t apply to women in their same situation.

The public sees a “battered woman” who seeks help after being abused as being strong and resilient. A man who does the same is subjected to public scrutiny “due to cultural norms that require men to present a strong façade and that minimize female-perpetrated abuse,” reports the Domestic Violence Resource Center.

Much worse than the potential public scrutiny is the difference in how law enforcement handles complaints of domestic abuse based on the gender of the person complaining. If a man does decide to report being domestically abused, there’s a good chance the case will be turned on him and he will face some sort of conviction or punishment himself. A woman is hardly ever categorized as the sole aggressor in domestic violence situations, because the public always seeks a way to pin it on the man, as well.

The current social climate does not allow many changes to be made to this double standard. The Department of Justice has repeatedly refused to fund studies on domestic violence against men and the female-specific activist groups against domestic violence portray men as “feared … violent and abusive” and women as victims of this violence, according to Concerned Women for America member Janice Shaw Crouse.

The problem with current efforts to end domestic violence is that they have become specifically feminist in nature. The campaign calls to end violence against women, not to end spousal abuse. They ignore half the population that is affected by the issue and perpetuate the perception that domestic abuse can only happen to women at the hands of men.

But domestic violence isn’t a specially feminist issue. It’s an issue that affects all people of all genders in all social standings -— and it should be treated that way. We shouldn’t look to End Violence Against Women. We should look to stop the violence as a whole.

Source: The Daily Gamecock