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Domestic Violence: NOT a "Woman's Problem"

Updated on February 26, 2009


So the violence enacted against Rihanna allegedly (not that I personally doubt the event's occurence) by Chris Brown has been splashed all over the internet, news outlets, and popular media at-large. While there are a thousand issues that come up in regards to this that get my activist and feminist self wanting to pull out the soap box, there is one that comes to mind most prominently.

While watching TV this morning, I saw several women discussing how to prevent domestic violence [definition here] against women and how to avoid having young girls and women engaged in violent and abusive relationships. This is a lovely conversation topic, and an important one.

The problem I saw was this: ALL of the proffered suggestions and points of view focused on what women and girls should do to avoid getting into or staying in these relationships -- how we need to change the behavior of these women.

No one suggested how we might address the fact that men and boys are ABUSING, but that women and girls are BEING ABUSED.

Something about this seems incredibly wrong to me, so much so that I feel compelled to address it.


There is a long history of victim-blaming, and this round of suggestions on how to avoid having women abused that focuses on the steps women should take to avoid it has that flavor. I am certainly not suggesting that women shouldn't take this advice and pay attention to the abusive actions of their partners, but I vehemently suggest that there should be just as strong of an outcry regarding what we should and can do as individuals and a society to re-educate our boys and men about violence.

We live in a society that values women for their bodies and their beauty above nearly anything else. This same society prizes men for their aggression and possessions. It should come as no great stretch then, that men are being given the message that women are possessions over which they should have control.

Clearly, however, not all men -- not nearly all -- treat women as objects and punching bags, but this is most often due to proper parenting and good role modeling of a male-female partnership relationship.

There should be a huge conversation in the media, in sociological circles, among men, among parents, and myriad other groups regarding how we address the epidemic of violence against women from the perspective of what we can do as a country, as a society, to stop giving men the message that this is ok...for any reason, under any circumstances.


I have no solution.

I have no magic cure, no special insight into how to perfectly change the situation overnight and that is not my point.

I want, however, to live in a place where when a man is violent against a woman, we talk FIRST about how he got to be the kind of person that does that and how we can prevent the creation of violence of this kind.

The attitude of "boys will be boys," is unacceptable and I entreat you to stand against this perception and talk about the creation of violent individuals above talking about the creation of women as vitcims.

One idea on how to prevent DV here.

Another here.

Similarly, of interest.

**Again, I do know that talking about how women come to be in victimizing situations is important -- my point is that it should not be the only conversation.**

The Wheel of Violence


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I was curious if you ever thhougt of changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

    • robpeach profile image


      8 years ago from The Internet

      An excellent article, and a problem that is never taken seriously enough. My personal thought is they should teach these things in school, no different than driver's Ed. I wonder how kids would react if they were to see the photos or hear the stories of the ones abused?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I completely agree with the fact that domestic violence has historically been seen as a woman's problem. However, there are typically two players in an abusive relationship- the abuser and the abused. I think that in order to make a positive change in domestic violence, we need to focus on both parties. I viewed the link titled "10 Things Men Can Do to Prevent Gender Violence," and it seems that some of the things can be done by both men and women. I thought this list was very inclusive; it actually went into trying to make a change in society by not funding those companies that promote sexism.

    • Lgali profile image


      9 years ago

      good hub

    • CarolynnMarie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, CA

      Thank you!

      I have added some links to resources on different perspectives on making this world a safer place for women, if you'd care to look at them.

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 

      9 years ago

      Thank you!! We do tend to make this the girls problem but if we can get our men to understand that women are to be treated as our loving mothers than we will make much great strides than the side step avoiding we have been doing.


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