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Author Topic: Just in from Cathy Young: "The other aggressor in domestic violence"  (Read 7207 times)

Brent

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"The other aggressor in domestic violence"
CATHY YOUNG - 12/1/2003

LLEGATIONS of domestic violence involving celebrities are nothing new, but two such stories in the news in the past couple of months have had a relatively unusual twist: The accused perpetrators were women and the alleged victims were men.
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First, there was the lawsuit against Liza Minelli by her estranged husband, David Gest, claiming that the singer-actress had subjected him to repeated physical abuse. Then actor Christian Slater's wife, Ryan Haddon, was arrested on charges of battery after smashing a glass on her husband's head and causing a cut that required stitches. Yet despite such incidents, the public perception of domestic abuse as something that horrid men do to helpless women persists. People who have challenged this stereotype (myself included) have been called everything from anti-feminists to backlash peddlers to apologists for abusive men.

The news story I read on Slater had the headline "Haddon Glasses Slater". Cute. If Christian Slater had hit his wife in the head with a glass, splitting her scalp open, would they have run such a dismissive headline? Would the headline have said "Slater Glasses Haddon"? NO, it would have said that he attacked causing severe injuries. There would have been no cute dismissal of his assault and battery upon her. But she can attack him and the paper hides her violence under a cutie-pie term like "Haddon Glasses Slater". ...Brent



Well, now someone with strong feminist credentials challenges a lot of the conventional wisdom on domestic violence and ways to combat it, and confirms a lot of the things we dissenters have been saying for years. That someone is Linda G. Mills of New York University, a professor of law and social work and author of the new book, ''From Insult to Injury: Rethinking Our Responses to Intimate Abuse.'' Mills, 45, is a feminist who has spent a decade working on behalf of battered women. Moreover, as she reveals in her book, she herself, 20 years ago, was a battered woman -- though she would prefer the more neutral term, ''woman in an abusive relationship.''

Drawing both on research and on her own experience in the field, Mills concludes that the conventional feminist paradigm of domestic violence as a form of patriarchal oppression is woefully inadequate. It is manifestly irrelevant for abused lesbians and gay men; it also has little meaning for women of color, who do not see the men in their community as powerful oppressors. Even for white women, it is a vast oversimplification of a complex reality. ''Years of research, which mainstream feminism has glossed over or ignored, shows that when it comes to intimate abuse, women are far from powerless and seldom, if ever, just victims,'' Mills writes. ''Like men, women are frequently aggressive in intimate settings.''

''From Insult to Injury'' is full of such heresies. Thus, Mills asserts that women who stay in abusive relationships often do so not just because of ''women's socialization within a patriarchal system'' but for complicated emotional, familiar, and cultural reasons. In many cases, she says, this decision has to be respected. She claims that policies of mandatory arrest and prosecution in domestic violence cases not only disempower women -- who aren't given any say in the handling of the case -- but actually endanger them, since an arrest may trigger an escalation of further violence. She suggests that mothers' physical violence toward children, particularly male children, plays a key part in perpetuating the cycle of abuse.

Mills does not deny (and neither does anyone else) that male violence toward women is more likely to result in physical injuries than the reverse, and that women in abusive relationships are more likely than men to be in danger. But she argues that this is no reason to disregard female violence, which needs to be acknowledged not only out of fairness to male victims but out of concern for female victims as well: A woman who starts a physical confrontation with her male partner may well find herself severely battered. To understand and prevent male violence, Mills concludes, we must understand female violence as well, whether it's physical assault or psychological aggression.

Where do we go from here? Mills is critical of the current ''lock 'em up'' dogma; instead, she would like to see a practice of ''Intimate Abuse Circles'' in which the spouses could discuss the abuse in the presence of other family members, relatives and friends. While she stresses that batterers must be held fully accountable for their actions, she also wants to see more emphasis on healing rather than punishment.

Currently, Mills's plea for reform is unlikely to have much effect. The ideology that views men as wolves and women as lambs is too deeply entrenched, and despite some feminists' claim that the media are eager to leap on any ''antifeminist'' bandwagon, Mills' thought-provoking book has received little coverage. Her message needs to be heard by politicians, judges, prosecutors and many others. It took the ''mainstream'' feminists about 30 years to establish their monopoly on the public debate about domestic violence. Mills's book may be the first step in dismantling that monopoly.

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine. Her column appears regularly in the Globe.

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/335/oped/The_other_aggressor_in_domestic_violence+.shtml


Indigo Mom

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 01, 2003, 12:09:38 PM »
WTF is this?  Now who is their right mind is going to want to sit in a cute little circle, with their abuser right there, and talk to their close friends and family about what went wrong?  Christ, when I was getting my ass kicked all the time, my parents didn't even know! I was so humiliated, I never told people. I can see it now "hey mom, I need you to come with me and monster to our Intimate Abuse Circle meeting next week so we can discuss what he did to me and why".  NOT

Jeesums...what a bullshit idea.  Man or Woman...you beat on someone, you go to jail.  What's wrong with that????  Commit a crime, do the time. Abuse circles...for crying out loud.

I had a thought about this whole DV mess.  I wonder...(and yes, flame away) what would happen if in each act of DV, the victim was allowed one good, solid punch to the face of their abuser.  Court ordered by the Judge. Would people continue to batter their mates?  Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part...cause I'd LOVE to give monster a reality check right upside the skull for what he did to me and my child.  

let the flaming begin.

StPaulieGirl

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From Insult to Injury
« Reply #2 on: Dec 01, 2003, 12:44:14 PM »
Abuse encompasses more than heads going through drywall.  It can be a systematic campaign to demoralize your victim through mental abuse.  Never discount mental abuse.  Unfortunately, mental abuse is almost impossible to prove.  I'm talking about guys who are abused.  I'm sorry to have no sympathy towards David Gest and Liza Minelli, as imo, they're an aberration.  I'm sorry, but Liz Taylor and Michael Jackson went to their wedding.

StPaulieGirl

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 01, 2003, 12:53:43 PM »
I know.  Don't you love psychobabble?  The article dosesn't address ways to cope with abuse...reality wise.  The humiliation is almost as bad as the pain.  Maybe worse...

tryn2begooddad

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #4 on: Dec 01, 2003, 12:53:58 PM »
I like your idea of letting the abused sock one to the abuser...would it apply to men who have been abused by their wives as well or just for women who have been abused?


Indigo Mom

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RE: Both ways! I'm not one sided!
« Reply #5 on: Dec 01, 2003, 12:59:08 PM »
Like I said, I would L-O-V-E to whack monster.  I've also posted before about how years ago, I had assaulted my husband.

Now, lemme tell you WHAT!  My hub is a foot taller and over a hundred pounds heavier than me.  If I knew, in the back of my head, that I'd have this guy socking me in the nose...I'd be bowing down and thanking him for putting up with me rather than whacking on him!!!  I might have even cooked him a GREAT meal that night!

Peanutsdad

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 01, 2003, 04:12:24 PM »
Actually, Im in favor of public stocks. Put the batterer in the old new england stocks on the street corner with a friggin sign on em. Be it male or female. Let passersby throw bags of dogshit at em. THEN give em one court ordered punch to the nose by their victim.

Peanutsdad

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 01, 2003, 04:14:50 PM »
Furthermore,,, I am an intellectual thinking man, yet I am also a former marine with 10 yrs service. THAT means, I have an ingrained response to any type of attack on my person, and its hard as hell to STOP that response. So when my pb attacked me, it took everything I had NOT to respond and break her ever lovin psychotic neck.

tryn2begooddad

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RE: Both ways! I'm not one sided!
« Reply #8 on: Dec 02, 2003, 05:03:47 AM »
Indy, I have read your posts and I know it was as tupid question and call it playing devils advocate but I had to know if it was a one sided street. My gf and I are not violent but we are in the same situation where I tower over her in height and weight I shudder at the damage I could do if I was to hit her it wouldnt be pretty.

tryn2begooddad

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 02, 2003, 09:07:35 AM »
Peanuts, but if you had struck back who most likely in your opinion would have been arrested...you or her??? And I understand what you say about being trained in the Marines to act a certain way I am still trying to break from the mold of the submarine service that was ingrained in me for 10 years

Brent

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #10 on: Dec 02, 2003, 11:07:35 AM »
> I had a thought about this whole DV mess. I wonder...(and
> yes, flame away) what would happen if in each act of DV,
> the victim was allowed one good, solid punch to the face of
> their abuser.

I think this is a terrible idea and I fail to see how this would do anyone any good, especially in the long-term. Violence against another person is wrong. Suggesting a court sanction it is just as wrong, if not more so.

If you like the idea of court-ordered violence, there are lots of countries in the Middle East where you'd feel right at home. If that's your idea of justice, by all means, move to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan. Steal an apple, lose a hand. Curse someone, have your tongue pulled out.

Send us a postcard and let us know how wonderful it is.

Peanutsdad

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #11 on: Dec 02, 2003, 02:39:03 PM »
I can gauruntee I would have been arrested,, in fact, the officers that responded, flat told me,, one mark on her, I WAS goin to jail,, REGARDLESS of the marks on me.

I have NEVER in my life stood and just took a beating,, until that day. I never will again.

Peanutsdad

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #12 on: Dec 02, 2003, 02:44:34 PM »
Hmmm no court sanctioned bop in the nose, but hey, lets court sanction the taking of life..

Just a point. I bet if this country got a tad tougher on criminals,, ie castration for violent rape, child rape. Or removal of the hand for armed robbery,, care to bet repeat offenders would not really exist??

I deal with the wreckage left by criminals EVERY night at work. I see the results of being soft on crime in every victims eyes, provided they survive, and in the eyes of their families. You keep right on posting about boppin bein court sanctioned folks. Afterall, compared to other decisions in family courts,, a bop in the nose is pretty JUST.

Indigo Mom

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RE: Oh bite me...
« Reply #13 on: Dec 02, 2003, 03:19:08 PM »
Like you've never thought of socking someone in the jaw.

Yep, and I'm the Queen of England.

Indigo Mom

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RE: I withdraw my "bite me" comment...
« Reply #14 on: Dec 02, 2003, 05:19:20 PM »
As I'm calling a truce.  

I just don't know how to delete my "bite me".


Brent

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #15 on: Dec 03, 2003, 08:41:12 AM »
> I see the results of being soft on crime in every victims
> eyes, provided they survive, and in the eyes of their
> families. You keep right on posting about boppin bein
> court sanctioned folks.

Actually, I'm a big fan of the death penalty. I just wish it was applied more often, and without the 20 years of appeals that always occur. But having a court give one party permission to "bop" another party is a slipperly slope.

Brent

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RE: I withdraw my
« Reply #16 on: Dec 03, 2003, 08:44:27 AM »
> As I'm calling a truce.
>
> I just don't know how to delete my "bite me".

As near as I can tell, we can't delete our posts. We ca,edit them, so if you want you can remove all the text and just leave a period or two behind as a place holder (it won't let you make a completely blank post).

hisliltulip

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RE: Intimate Abuse Circles?
« Reply #17 on: Dec 03, 2003, 10:22:27 AM »
I disagree with the "bopping".  Here's why....

When my DH found out (within six months of marrying her) that Psycho was sleeping with a drug dealer, he was understandably upset and started calling her some pretty crude names.  She leapt at him with a knife, cut his arm, threw a TV at his head, and punched him repeatedly.  To the point of breaking one of his teeth.  From the impact of that punch, his tooth got knocked to the back of his throat, and he started gagging on it.  She didn't let up, even though he couldn't breathe.  At this point he finally punched her back, which resulted in a black eye.

Guess who went to jail?

My husband did.  

He has an incredible amount of remorse to what happened that night.  Because of it, it was very difficult for him to let us get serious, because he was afraid of hurting me.  He has never hit a woman besides this one time in his life.  (Yes, I know for a fact because I have known him since high school and am very close with his first wife.)

On the other hand, Psycho (wife #2) takes no responsibility for her actions, and portrays him as an "abuser" to anyone who will listen.

So, by your rule, since HE was the one who was arrested, then she should have been given the option to "bop" him in court.  She'd already been hitting, kicking, throwing things for years.  I don't think she needed a Judge telling her any more than they already did that her actions were acceptable.

NoNicky

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RE: From Insult to Injury
« Reply #18 on: Dec 04, 2003, 01:00:55 PM »
I think you got to the heart of the issue there.  Bruises heal, broken bones mend, usually much quicker than the heart and spirit of a person.  That is why my signature is a scripture.  It is a daily reminder to me that I do not have to live in that terror ever again.  I do not have to feel like I am worthless ever again.  And it does go for either sex.  My loving dh was abused mentally, emotionally and even had a punch or two thrown at him by his ex.  Like me he took it all without striking back.  I still see the fear and hurt from what she did in him.  It's really rather ironic.  Each of us can see the damage our ex's inflicted on the other but each also has trouble seeing it ourselves.  We think we're past it and it is long gone; but every once in a while there is a trigger, something that causes that fear, that palpable terror to raise it's ugly head again.  We don't always notice it but the other does.  Sometimes I think it takes someone who has lived through those things to spot them in another person.  But then again all of this is purely my personal opinion.

Nicky

For God has not given a spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  1 Peter 1:6

StPaulieGirl

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RE: From Insult to Injury
« Reply #19 on: Dec 05, 2003, 12:33:19 PM »
It's hard to trust in God.  I'm trying to work my way back, but I think I will always hold this resentment(however wrong it is), that God didn't protect us.  Some of the platitudes I've heard, are that God doesn't give us more than we can handle;  there is a reason for everything, etc, ad nauseum.  There are things that happened in my marriage that will never be discussed in public.  The whole experience has made me pretty fierce when it comes to defending innocent people, especially children.  I don't believe that God created us just to have us end up as roadkill.  I just want to know when God will straighten this whole mess out.

That 24/7 flight or fight response will screw up your heart.  I finally went to the doctor (county health dept....at least I qualify for MediCal), and they put me on Prozac and stern warnings about stressful situations.  On my initial visit, my resting pulse rate was 123.  This isn't just about my ex's shenanigans.  Just too much stuff happened, and I got buried.  If I could give you and your husband any advice, it would be to try and get your heart and blood pressure checked regularly.  Gardening is helping me, except that the neighbor from hell comes out and glares at us whenever we step foot out of the house.  She's the biggest and last reason that I got sick.  Gardening is wonderful for therapy, though.

I share your opinions....

 

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