Good Research Paper On Women & Domestic Violence
The denigration and physical maltreatment of one partner towards another has commonly been associated with men mistreating women. However, times are changing as women are increasingly more violent towards men from a statistical standpoint. That being said, the commonly held belief that men should never assault or defend themselves against women is being upheld at the same time. This is creating an awkward middle ground whereby men are still strictly disallowed from assaulting women (as they should, generally) but this is despite the fairly or very aggressive tactics that women are taken. This paper assesses these changing trends as compared to the growing double standard that seems to be emerging in a concurrent fashion. While men are stronger and larger and thus should held to a higher standard as it relates to what physical conduct they levy towards women, women need to be held to the same standards of never being permitted to assault their partners either.
Several recent cases have revealed the stark dichotomy that exist when it comes to domestic violence. Indeed, there seems to be a different measuring stick at times men assaulting women and when women do the inverse. Perhaps the quintessential case of this in recent history is the Ray Rice event in the elevator. Of course, everyone now knows per a video that surfaced that Ray Rice decked his then-fiancée (now his wife) and knocked her out with one punch. What is focused on less is the fact that Janay Rice (the fiancée/wife) was herself engaging in much the same behavior even if he size and strength is a fraction of Ray’s). While Ray Rice certainly misbehaved, it is fair to suggest and point out that Janay Rice needs to learn her own lesson about keeping her hands to herself. It is, of course, less than mature to suggest that Janay picked a fight and lost or that Janay should have known better than to pick a fight with Ray Rice. However, it is perhaps relevant to ask why Janay would indeed do that in the first place. Perhaps she thought that she could smack and punch him with impunity and not get hit back. If that was her thought process, then that is perhaps worse than what Ray Rice did in the sense that she was exploiting a societal faux pas and standard by assuming that Ray Rice would never cross that line even though Janay Rice was herself crossing it (Marcotte, 2014).
Regardless of how the human, relationship and cultural dynamic worked between the two of them, the pattern of women becoming more and more violent, up to and including domestic violence, is hard to miss or deny. The common refrain as it relates to domestic violence is that men hold all of the proverbial cards when it comes to having a physical, mental, financial and cultural advantage over women. Indeed, there have been a few factors that work against women. First, men are statistically taller, more muscular and otherwise stronger than women. Second, men have traditionally been the breadwinners of the household (if not the only breadwinner) the vast majority of the time. Third, the confluence of the above means that men are much more able to control the life, and in all aspects, of women in terms of how much money they can have, where they can go, who they can associate with and so forth. This leads to some very hard choices for women who want to leave but feel they cannot. The stakes are raised significantly when speaking about situations where there are children or other vulnerable people involved. Having the resources to leave and stay gone can be a tall order and violent husbands are often willing to maim or kill when the spouse they control “dares” to try and leave (Paulino, et al, 2014).
However, there has been a paradigm shift in that women are finding their voice and their power. This often manifests in several positive forms. This would include women having careers rather only being homemakers and raiser of children, asserting that there should be equal standing in making life and marital decisions, more equal standing when it comes to the raising of children and so forth. However, there have been some unhealthy shifts as well when it comes to women recoiling and revolting against the oppression and abuse from men. Some forms are clearly wrong (e.g. Janay Rice) but others are perhaps more shades of gray. Indeed, there have been many situations over the recent years where women have killed their abusers. The reason that “shades of gray” come into play is that the killing of a violent spouse is not always happening in the heat of the moment or when the life of the women is in immediate danger. For example, there is often a “lag period” between threats of or instances of abuse and the time that a woman responds by killing her abuser. Other times, the woman will wait until their abusing husband is asleep and they will then shoot or stab him when he is vulnerable. The question becomes whether this is necessity as a “fair fight” would end with the women losing or if it’s a case of murder because there is not technically an active threat in play (Hodell, Dunlap, Washarhaley & Golding, 2012).
When it comes to women abusing men, even the higher tiers of scholarly research and so forth are starting to notice. Just as with men abusing women, there are common signs that should be looked for and taken seriously. Those signs include calling of names or insults, preventing the male partner from going to work or school, stopping the man from seeing family member or friends, acts jealous or possessive on a constant basis, accusations of unfaithfulness even when no evidence exists, anger that comes when there is use of alcohol or drugs, threatening with weapons of any sort, any physical violence towards the man (or pets and children), forcing of sexual acts and blaming of the victim for violent behavior. This can also happen with gay, bisexual or transgender relationships. Further, there will be a pernicious cycle that may seem to emerge. This cycle is typically in the form of a threat of violence, acting on that threat, an apology for the violence and then the cycle repeats (Mayo, 2015).
As intimated above, the woman is sometimes the aggressor and that happenstance is getting more and more common. While the vast majority of domestic violence is against men, the opposite is happening a lot as well. Indeed, there were 830,000 instances of domestic violence last year in which the victim was a man. This means that there is an incident against a man every 37.8 seconds in the United States. Further, there was a study of 18,761 relationships for a study. About three fourths of them were completely non-violent in nature while the other fourth (24 percent) were violent. Of those that were violent, half of them were reciprocally violent while the other events were one-directional in nature. The resolution to all of this is expressed in two parts. First, boys and young men need to be taught what is acceptable, what is required and what is proper when it comes to relationships, conflict resolution with the same and an avoidance of any sort of physical violence. However, the same discussions need to take place with girls. Put another way, “our girls and young ladies need to be taught what appropriate behaviors is and what non-violent conflict resolution looks like (Rhymes, 2014).
There are a few things that the author of this report can say in terms of conclusion, personal analysis and what should be done going forward. First, it is beyond debate that men are almost always the aggressors and the damage they render is surely more when it comes to looking at the aggregate. However, women are increasingly doing it more and this should be condemned and combatted as well. This goes double when abusive women are actively exploiting the fact that men are chastised for showing emotion, showing weakness or otherwise going against pre-described gender roles. The common refrain to not be a “wimp” or a “bitch” that seems to be coming out of the ether is entirely the wrong message and cannot be justified in the name of revenge for gender inequality.
Second, this would seem to be a broader symptom of the breaking down of the family, marital and cultural framework. Some might suggest that this is a “Bible-thumping” moment but it is not. Divorce is more common, children being born out of wedlock is more common, step-children/parent situations are more common, children being introduced to prospective step-parents or boyfriends/girlfriends is more common and the list goes on. Not only are relationships growing more and more casual and fleeting, but children are getting thrown into that mix as well and that lead to a lot of negative consequences. Some of those consequences are relationship function in general and multiple forms of abuse including physical, sexual, mental and others.
Another thing that has to be pointed out is that abuse is abuse. Marcotte, one of the authors cited in this source, is quick to point out that men are still the abusers most of the time. That is true and beyond debate. However, if she would seriously suggest that this should make any sort of difference when it comes to condemning women for doing remotely the same thing, then she would be wrong. Ray Rice should be condemned and punished for what he did but so should Hope Solo, Janay Rice and any other woman that engages in that behavior. Women that kill or wound their husbands or boyfriends in self-defense when they are actively being attacked is all well and good. However, killing or wounding people as they sleep should never be condoned or allowed to be posed as a defense to what is still a pre-meditated and unnecessary act. What some people might call “snapping” or “seeing red” should instead be called vigilantism or murder. The best litmus test of this being true is if a man is being abused and he shoots his abusive wife in her sleep. In all likelihood, the man would face murder charges and this is as it should be. A real-life situation where a murder charge was levied but perhaps should not have been was the Andrea Yates-like case where a man came home to find his wife had ostensibly killed two of his children. His immediate and visceral reaction was to grab a Mag-Lite flashlight and bludgeon her to death. He was charged with second-degree murder and he pled out with no argument. One can only assume what the clarion call would have been if the genders were different.
Equal treatment is something that women have demanded for decades. They do deserve it and should get it. However, an over-correction or double standard is certainly not something that should happen instead. If a man abusing a woman is going to lead to punishment under the law and public condemnation every time, then the same thing should happen when the genders are inverted. Until or unless that happens, justice and equality will truly not prevail.
Hodell, E. C., Dunlap, E. E., Wasarhaley, N. E., & Golding, J. M. (2012). Factors
impacting juror perceptions of battered women who kill their abusers: Delay and
sleeping status. Psychology, Public Policy, And Law, 18(2), 338-359.
Rhymes, E. (2015, September 19). Woman As Aggressor: The Unspoken Truth Of
Domestic Violence. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from
Marcotte, A. (2014, September 11). Ray Rice Defenders Have Found Their Argument:
He’s a Victim Too. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from http://www.slate.com/blogs/
Mayo. (2015, March 1). Adult health. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from
Paulino, J. B., Dayana Tavares de Lucena, K., Medeiros Cavalcanti da Silva, A. T.,
Rodrigues de Almeida, L., de Souza, J. A., de Mendonça Faustino e Freitas, W.,
& de Souza Chaves Deininger, L. (2014). THE ASSISTANCE REALITY
OFFERED TO WOMEN IN A SITUATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Journal
Of Nursing UFPE / Revista De Enfermagem UFPE, 8(9), 2975-2982.
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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