What is Domestic Violence?

Many who criticise me would want to ask on what basis I have de-bunked the idea that women are just as violent as men. There are a number of reasons......

What is Domestic Violence?

Some of the confusion (or excuses) about who is more violent are based on the idea that domestic violence is simply physical abuse. It is more than this. It is an unequal balance of power in a domestic relationship. It covers a range of behaviours directed by a spouse to their partner.

Even where their is violent behaviour, there is the question of just what the balance of power is. We have little trouble seeing there is a difference between the violence of two boxers in the ring slugging it out with each other, and one of those boxers using that same strength to rape a woman. Marriage or partnership does not somehow magically guarantee a level playing field with a coach and umpire on the side to keep things equalThe list below was a synopsis from a domestic violence task group of which I was a part. I've added a little commentary I find that most of this stuff is much more the province of we men than of women. In the final outcome, the blokes in an abusive situation get to call all the shots.

Physical Violence

Physical Abuse: Holding, restraining, pushing, shoving, shaking, punching, slapping, twisting limbs, using weapons. Any use of physical force whether it leaves evidence of injury or not. Women can do these things. They sometimes do. But as police and hospital reports show all over the place, it is mostly the men who cause the damage.

Sexual Abuse:
This is forcing or coercing a woman to do sexual things against her will, physically attacking the sexual parts of her body, demanding sex, rape, bondage, using objects, treating a woman as a sexual object. Again, it is men who have the upper hand in this kind of behaviour.

Object Damage: Throwing crockery, breaking furniture or household goods, damaging doors or walls, ill treating or killing family pets. Women can do these things. They do, too. But many don't because the bloke will beat the crap out of them if they do. Even if they do throw a saucepan, the bloke is far less threatened and at risk from this behaviour than she is.

Emotional Violence

Threats , Intimidation: Making threats, with looks or actions, or speaking in ways which are frightening or threatening.

Put Downs: . Using put downs regarding a woman's body shape, grooming, intelligence, mothering ability, home management skills etc. which erode her self-esteem. Telling her or making her think she's crazy, useless. worthless etc.

Yes, women can put their man down. You see them do it at parties. They gossip with each other. I can't believe what I hear women in groups say about their husbands. I would regard it as disgraceful to speak of my wife that way... although I know men who do. But again, it is not something that leaves a man in fear in the way it can be used against a woman. Neither does it pull him into line, or cut him down to size when they are out.

Some women nag like hell. They can be a miserable pain in the butt. But that is not violence, that's nagging. Too many women are too scared to nag.

Social Abuse

Isolation: Constantly criticising and being suspicious of her family and friends, being moody when her friends come around and making them feel uncomfortable about being there. Not allowing her to have her own friends and keeping her isolated.

Smothering: Controlling what she does, who she talks to, where she goes, keeping in contact with her to see how she's going" (when it's really to check up on what she's doing), through to insisting on doing everything together so she has no life of her own.

Put Downs Making hurtful remarks about her in company or making blatant verbal attacks on her in public.

Economic Abuse

Keeping her financially dependent, trying to keep her from getting or keeping a tab, controlling the money, refusing to involve her in financial decisions, making her ask for money, making her account for money spent, telling her she's a free-loader . having unrealistic expectations of what she can do with a limited amount of money.

Male Power Abuse

Making all the big decisions. Acting like the master of the house. Treating her like a servant. intruding on her as a person, ignoring her rights. Expecting her to share all her thoughts, feelings, plans, regardless of whether she wants to.
A major issue in domestic affairs is where the power lies. Is there an equality? It is not so much a question of whether a relationship is happy or unhappy. It is about whether their is an equal partnership and sharing of power. Or is one side always under the thumb. I find that too often it is the woman who is an under dog. And that the blokes, perhaps with out lifting a hand, have them solidly under control. That is a violence.

Sept 2000




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