Abuse and assumptions

In our society there is a double standard in regards to domestic violence, and it is more dangerous than any of us care to admit.

Chances are relatively high that, at some point in time, you’ve been witness to a couple getting into an argument. We’ve all heard heated debates between partners, but only a few of us have ever seen the physicality of such high tension fallouts. One person grabs the other too forcefully, or pushes them up against a wall, whispering threats of violence to be delivered later. You get the idea. Here’s the question: When you imagine these situations, is it a man doing the threatening, or a woman?

When the subject of domestic violence comes up we always make the assumption that the culprit is a man, and that the victim is a woman. The majority of the time this is correct, and any man who would raise his hands in violence to his partner needs to be punished for it, either physically or legally. But, there is a problem with making this assumption: Sometimes, men are the victims of such abuse.

Last year, a video was posted in which a social experiment was conducted. The experiment showed a man and a woman getting into an altercation in a well-populated public area. There were two different scenarios: One in which the man was the instigator, and one in which the woman was the instigator. In the first scenario, when the man became violent and raised his hands to the woman in question, men and women in the surrounding area came to her rescue. There was an immediate, obviously negative, response to the situation. But, when the scenario was flipped and the woman was the violent instigator, the situation was seen as comedic with the majority of those in the area laughing as the man was publicly berated and physically abused by the woman.

Do you see the danger of this mindset? Domestic violence is a blight on our society. No one is disputing this fact, but the way these situations are handled when they do not fit the social norm is dangerous. If a man calls the police to file a report against his wife or girlfriend for assault, will he be taken seriously? Will he be treated with the same seriousness and professionalism that a woman would in the same situation? If the situation turns deadly, who is at fault?

Regardless of gender, domestic violence is a reprehensible act. Anyone, male or female, who seeks to subjugate and control their partner through threats and violence needs to be punished for it, and their victim needs to be protected. We cannot take the risk of seeing any acts of violence as comedic, because there will be consequences for this, and they will turn deadly if given the chance.