Commentary: Domestic abuse is gender blind

Russell Lindquist

Russell Lindquist

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — Rape is ignored every day.  The rape of men in prison officially never occurs, because to the thinking of the law enforcement community rape is  ‘the forced, non-consensual carnal knowledge of a female’.

Domestic violence is misunderstood when thought of as necessarily a male perpetrator and a female victim.

In their book, Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family, Suzanne K. Steinmetz, Murray A. Strauss and Richard J. Gelles report  “ approximately equal number of assaults on partners by men and women…”; and further it states that “more than a hundred studies” substantiate these figures.

There are those in our culture who cling to the indefensible idea that women are virtually incapable of crimes such as domestic-violence. Further, there are those who believe that a woman would only attack a man in defense, but that women are otherwise inherently nonviolent.  However, such female-centric chauvinism simply does not stand up to scrutiny.

Filmmaker Justine Chang’s film, She Stole My Voice,  is a documentary about lesbian rape and an excellent portal for those interested in learning about the true nature of rape: it is not about gender, not about sex – it is not even about sexual-contact. Rape is about power.  The documentary explains how women can indeed be perpetrators of domestic-violence, and can even be rapists.

There are those who strongly doubt that male victims of domestic-violence exist.  Ironically, in the face of such incredulity are continuous examples of men suffering domestic-violence.

Among the problems unique to male victims of domestic-violence is that most people in our culture are socialized against believing that a woman hitting a man is a crime.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  We should all be fully aware and supportive of the plight of domestic violence survivors – both females and males.  Currently in our culture, plenty of sympathy and support is given to female victims of domestic-violence.  This is entirely appropriate.  Yet, male victims of domestic-violence are often not so well-treated.

Male victims of domestic-violence frequently suffer doubly: first, by being attacked; and second, by being sharply doubted, even mocked.

Domestic violence is among the most serious problems for our culture.  Victims of domestic violence – both men and women – suffer greatly: physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

I propose a simple, powerful improvement to our current outlook on domestic-violence: in our culture, we say, “there is never an excuse to hit a woman”;  I propose that we drop the ‘a woman’ part, and all live by the standard of “there is never an excuse to hit.”

Lindquist is a student in Media Comm 132