Sunday, 8 March 2015

Gender Attitudes towards Domestic Violence

I’ve often commented on the attitude of some women towards Domestic Violence and have been contemplating this for a while.  As a victim, survivor and now as a supporter of those experiencing DV, I’ve spoken to many survivors of both genders and have seen a pattern emerge between the attitudes of genders going through Domestic Abuse.   I hope that this piece proves insightful as I share my conclusions.  There will always be some exceptions, however the vast majority of people that I’ve encountered have exhibited the attitudes I describe.  

This was true for me and for other men I have spoken with.  I was a victim of Domestic Violence, but at the time of my abuse, I didn’t consider myself as such.  In fact, I didn’t even recognise what was happening to me was abuse.   Other men have said similar to me.  Is this because the societal messages subconsciously convince us that only men can commit domestic abuse against women?  Even now, the lobbyists keep promoting ‘Violence against Women and Girl’ parliamentary bills and campaigns which keep influencing society to believe that only women can be victims of domestic violence with men generally the abusers.  THIS IS FAR FROM THE REAL TRUTH.  Out of every 5 victims of Domestic Violence, 2 will be male.

It does concern me that many women don’t recognise their violent attacks of their partners as Domestic Violence.  They will make excuses.  Their actions are justifiable because they are women and prone to mood swings or hormonal imbalances caused by menstruation or pregnancy.  

Very few women will claim or accept responsibility for their actions.  It always someone else’s fault.  If they lash out, it’s not their fault it’s the fault of the person they’ve hit.  

The media contributes to this.  Read all the news reports from the courts.  If a man is in court, there’s no leniency.  If a woman is tried for a crime  9 times out of 10 the report will read mother of 2 ( you seldom read father of 2), it will state that the crime was so out of character and she didn’t know why she committed it.  If the woman doesn’t state that, the report will usually says she suffers from mental health or substance addiction.  The resulting sentence often means that the woman would get a suspended sentence whereas a male offender would go straight to jail.

Do you think I’m over-reacting?  Recently , the ITV This Morning show spent a morning on ‘Female Anger Epidemic’.  A woman talked about her own anger issues and admitted throwing a rosebowl at her partner.  She said that if it had been the other way around and her partner had thrown the bowl at her, it would be domestic violence.  I sat there watching, and said It is Domestic Violence – there’s no difference. 

But this highlights the difference in my eyes.   In my experience, women don’t recognise their violent behaviour towards their partners as Domestic Abuse and consequently fail to accept any responsibility for their actions.