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The Many Heads Of Domestic Violence: Dare We Attempt to Slay the Beast

Updated on October 10, 2016
Sebald Beham, German, 1500-1550 Hercules and the Hydra, from The Labors of Hercules, 1545
Sebald Beham, German, 1500-1550 Hercules and the Hydra, from The Labors of Hercules, 1545 | Source

Domestic violence in general is sickening. It’s the classical embodiment of the mythical hydra and has many heads. The more we fight it however, every time we think we have beheaded the mighty beast, we seem to find that it grows another one. It is always hungry, and thrashes without discrimination always hunting for another victim. Entire nations, kings and countrymen through the ages of man in all of our ever changing advances of warfare, no-one has prevailed in its conquering. It’s time perhaps to take the books, to ask our scholars to take an in depth study of this beast, so finally after centuries in the making, we can understand its motives and its effects.

The Beast of Domestic violence Becomes Gender Specific

I personally searched for domestic violence in google.  This is the social face of domestic violence on the internet, yet clearly demonstrates that domestic violence has a gender.
I personally searched for domestic violence in google. This is the social face of domestic violence on the internet, yet clearly demonstrates that domestic violence has a gender.

The very first page that comes up in a Google search on domestic violence, was from a prosecuting attorney’s office on domestic violence*1, which clearly creates a situation not of an individual who is abused, which is a neutral statement about one who is being abused, but rather it is expressed as gender specific violence with a woman who is a victim and a man who is not. Though the infamous Wikipedia discusses domestic violence in a more neutral manner it immediately loses its neutrality by stating "Globally, a wife or female partner is more commonly the victim of domestic violence, though the victim can also be the male partner, or both partners may engage in abusive or violent behavior, or the victim may act in self-defense or retaliation." The very first statement indicates women are more commonly abused. This is a false truth conveyed to people for decades. This statement purposely creates a lesser degree of concern about males who are abused. This is accomplished by separating and outlining abuse against women and grouping abuse against a male with both partners, or worse by indicating that the abuse may also be the result of self-defense or retaliation.*

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What is the purpose of highlighting the facts that women are more likely to be abused, as opposed to this one, “Overall, 24% of individuals were victimized by physical domestic violence.”, as stated by the recently formed PASK or Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project? Further, why is it that we see generalized statements about woman being more likely to be abused, when the percentages are in fact rather close to one another? According to PASK, more recent numbers show 23% of women and 19.3% of men victimized by physical domestic violence. Why are we raising concerns for women in the manner in which we do?

In truth, the statistics used for this "truth" is that women have in fact reported more abuse than men have. Ironically the lack of reporting from males has little to do with the amount of abuse they have actually endured by their partners, but more with the very social conditioning I am demonstrating. The victim can also be a male partner, or both partners, not to mention the fact that sometimes we are forgetting completely about the domestic violence among same sexed couples. Do we dismiss the woman who abuses her female partner, or the man who abuses his male partner? Where do we place the transgender in our statistics about all of this domestic violence?

Violence is violence, and when we teach women their weakness instead of their strengths we create a system in which men cannot possibly be abused, or if they are its the few, yet when a male is the victim, because of the very same archetypal mindset, they feel as though they are just supposed to "take it like a man" and never strike a woman". Unfortunately in many states and cases of domestic violence, the officers responding to a domestic violence scene, make an assumption about the aggressor, and often will automatically or more readily cuff the male in the situation, and leave the female without containment. In many cases the male is automatically arrested and removed.

In 2016 Women Finally Allowed In Combat Roles Across the Military Branches

Until 2016 arguments among US Military branches ensued over women being allowed in combat. In 2016 women were finally allowed to serve among men with equal rights and equal roles once forbidden to them.
Until 2016 arguments among US Military branches ensued over women being allowed in combat. In 2016 women were finally allowed to serve among men with equal rights and equal roles once forbidden to them. | Source

It took our own U.S. Military forces until this year to finally allow women in combat across the board, despite efforts to gain the same rights men have had in combat since our inception. What do you think this says to our American women? When our very own country’s authority figure, the parent of that which keeps this country true to its moral compass, the very defensive lines of all that we hold dear, made up of those whom we see as heroines are telling us that “women may not be as capable as men to fulfill certain combat rolls.” What does that say to our women? It says she is weak, less capable and inadvertently says she has something to be afraid of in her stronger more capable counterpart. It says she can’t physically or emotionally hold up in a fight, so at home when she becomes abusive, she carries this mindset with her, and grabs a knife, a gun, or a bat in order to gain any advantage she will need to make sure she is equipped with something other than her fists. This mindset may be setting the stage for men to sustain worse injuries, because the woman feels she needs a weapon, or needs to have an element of surprise.

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In many cases women become so manipulative and covert in their abuse that it is often unrecognized as abuse, and restraining orders once meant to protect people against their abusers, have become a further tool women to abuse their partners with as men are often left without a place to stay, and worse they are left without their children.

The catastrophic effect of this becomes a tragic spiraling effect that makes it nearly impossible for him to fight against the tides. Suddenly without a home, employment becomes a challenge. According to the “Domestic Violence National Statistics”, published by the NCADV or the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, between 21-60% of victims of domestic vio-lence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse. http://ncadv.org/files/National%20Statistics%20Domestic%20Violence%20NCADV.pdf

If the family was with one car, he is also without a vehicle, and then finds himself facing bail and various court costs that pile up while he faces charges. In addition he now faces the judgment of officers and other law enforcement and state officials and workers that have already formed their opinions, and the children are in a situation in which they are left with the actual abuser who is in fact still abusing, but this time she is abusing her children, and creating planned tactics in order to create dissensions within the family. The spiral continues and if it continues far enough, the children are left in her custody while the man is faced with mandated anger management courses which are just another expense to add to his tab. Now he has nowhere to live, no way of getting anywhere, now lacks employment because of it, and is supposed to get to court to fight for his children and to defend himself as an abuser. No need for fists when you have the justice system on your side to abuse your partner for you.

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Any statistics or studies that indicate that women abuse men equally or even more than men abuse women are immediately dismissed by the National Institute of Justice because according to them, the data compiled through the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) is entirely accurate and is lacking important information. Then again I could tell you that data collected that statistically demonstrates that more women are victims that men, may lack the men that simply didn’t speak up or report the crime due to social conditioning. After all, if a man is getting beaten by a woman, he is in fact considered a social pariah among his peers.

Of course both the recent men’s movement and the previous women’s movements have different opinions about the statistics that support their varying arguments, but in truth, violence among any gender is unacceptable, and neither side should be worried about who is more afflicted as it is irrelevant to matter at hand. Violence is violence and no matter the gender, or the ways in which it occurs, in the end what we are dealing with is a victim, a person. So why do we continue to waste valuable resources arguing a moot point creating unnecessary dissension among two groups who should be working for the victims themselves?

If one researches domestic violence and is able to look past the ingrained social and economic gender bias issues, one may notice the bias, and further, they may perhaps gain a deeper understanding of how these biases are now counterproductive toward the actual goals set out by the National Health Organizations. Woman and men alike, should understand how domestic violence is being highlighted as a gender issue, more than it is an actual violence issue, and that as a result a forum for blaming the “other gender” is created. Worse perhaps, it creates an invisible fortress in which domestic violence is allowed to preside unaffected as outside its walls no one on an individual level is taking a personal responsibility to for the real issue, their own personal abusive actions or in-actions.

Women should understand that in all of the efforts to claim justice for women, who are highlighted as the “real” victims of domestic violence, they are actually facing a greater injustice. Behind the scenes, perhaps quite inadvertently, women are portrayed as somehow weaker against their abusive man counterpart, unable to defend themselves or anyone else for that matter, against the bullying raging testosterone of our quick tempered, strong icon of a man, because after all, women are more abused than men. Women have also, and are still victims of a social conditional to fear men, which only acts to feed the fodder and begin the cycle of an issue that is not gender specific as it is portrayed, but that it simply is. In truth domestic violence itself is way more complicated than the genders we keep trying to claim as the culprits.

The Right's Movements on Both Sides Affect How We See Domestic Violence

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The impact of the women's movement and it's need to address real issues about offenses among women, has greatly influenced a very negative social conditioning that creates fear of men in women. What we see today is that this attempt to act as a voice against women grew, it crossed the threshold of what was actually needed, and failed to have the broad spectrum scope that prevention of violence among a population of people of any age and any gender should be prevented. Domestic violence, in its macrocosm of husband verses wife, and him verses her, loses its perspective completely and though they are not completely left out or forgotten about, there are several other victims in domestic violence. The issues are always larger than the heterosexual community, and violence is not done by males or by females but by those born of both genders who are also abused and need to be represented.

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Even still there are the children, and there are the children abused by their own siblings in the rarely heard about or discussed issue of sibling domestic violence, which goes unchecked in a society that, though completely focused on bullying in our public schools, still finds it in a “normal” spectrum to see two siblings duking it out in a fist fight as an acceptable.

In an attempt to prevent child abuse in the past decade, child abuse prevention has become a larger part of the limelight, but this too is creating a fortress around the real issues behind the violence itself. Parents are watched with an unyielding and in many cases an outright paranoid lens. Once again, in an attempt to gain recognition and prevent the abuse against children, the threshold in which it obtains a well-executed fulcrum, has now leaned too much into fear, and now becomes disturbingly just as counterproductive in its well-meaning attempts to stop the abuse of our youth.

Manifesting in the wake of the shifting weight between the parental and state rights and responsibilities to keep our children safe, and perhaps created out of the waning self-confidence of our parents in their parental roles, parents are now discussing, the latest, still considered taboo subjects of parental abuse by children. Parent groups and training methodologies are there to assist parents in their parenting, but inevitably in all of their luster, as various methodologies make their way to the forefront in increasing numbers, parents slowly find themselves losing any confidence they once had. Parents are told how to parent so often, that perhaps they are lacking trust in themselves. As they cower in their own growing lack of confidence, they also face the states that ultimately have the mindset that they know better and have vested authority to do something about it. With critics at both ends of the scale, parents lose their abilities to be the authority in the home, and children, who perhaps have not had the chance to be taught any better, start their own cycle of abuse. Once again new fodder is laid for the fires of violence in our society.

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Hercules Vanquishing the Hydra of Lerma;  RENI, Guido (b. 1575, Calvenzano, d. 1642, Bologna)
Hercules Vanquishing the Hydra of Lerma; RENI, Guido (b. 1575, Calvenzano, d. 1642, Bologna) | Source

Domestic violence is violence. It is not gender or age specific. It does not have race, nationality or color. Its origins reach back to the early days of humanity, and it has no territory or bio-me. Violence has no moral compass, yet it is affected by and has an effect on all of these things. It is a disease. One that is more prevalent than any other sickness we have faced as a species. It is an epidemic, a plague secretly weaving itself through every aspect of our being. It is as complex as it is simple, and needs to be addressed on an individual basis, seen as a human condition, and not one that is specific to any group or sect. The only way to fight such a hydra, is to stop cutting off its many heads, and go for its heart. We must see that this beast resides within our heart, and none of us are exempt of its various degrees and temptations or various manifestations. To understand ourselves more deeply will allow us to gain the edge as we battle it. In the end we may just realize that the monster we are fighting, isn’t really the monster we thought it was, but an urban legend which became scarier and scarier every time someone appeared to tell it through their own personal lens. When the time finally comes to face the legendary hydra of domestic violence again, we will ultimately have to decide whether we will continue, as we have for centuries, to fight her, or to take an entirely different approach, and simply see it for what it really is, and just tame it.

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A very comprehensive and well presented hub concerning a very real but disturbing social issue. Good work. I have written a recent hub on the same subject.