In the last few weeks there has been a lot of uproar about domestic violence in the light of the Ray Rice scandal and others as well. Professional soccer player Hope Solo is being charged with domestic violence (she assaulted her sister and her nephew) but she is still actively playing her sport and she is confident she will be aquitted. I cannot stress enough how important it is to hold men accountable for their abusive ways against women, my concern when it comes to domestic violence and violence in general is WHY is it that we as women (and society at large) are quick to want to see the heads of violent men on a platter but are strangely silent when it comes to violence and abuse at the hands of women.. Just because we as women may not be able to utilize the same physical strength when it comes to violence does not mean that we are not capable of violent behavior ourselves. We have other ways of doing serious damage that leaves no forensic evidence many times. It is a sad thing in our society that many times abusive and violent women get a pass and we provide all kinds of excuses for her behavior regardless of the actions she has done or we just simply ignore it.
In my personal experience throughout my life I have experienced more violent expression at the hands of other females that I ever have a man (Even on my FB page). When I was in school all the way up until I graduated, the most violent aggressive behavior I ever saw coming at me or other young teenage girls was at the hands of other teenage girls!! I had a few skirmishes with the boys but those were no more than just foolish words and teasing, the girls were the ones that made my life and the lives of many other girls hell not only because they could be mean spirited but could get violent and many times did. And again I and note hypocrisy that we will express outrage even as grown women if we hear a story on the news about a quarterback or two in high school who sexually assaulted young girl, but we will say nothing or hardly anything if that same teenage girl is ganged up on in a bathroom and bullied or beaten up by a bunch of insecure females sometimes simply because “she thinks she’s cute”.
We have no problem rejoicing over a man sent to prison for murdering his pregnant wife or girlfriend, but express sympathy or silence for woman who repeatedly runs over her husband with her Mercedes when she found that he was cheating on her (True story). She was “distraught” we justify. She beats the crap out of her kids? “Maybe she was stressed”, we justify. Same goes for things like pedophilia, we want that 35-year-old male math teacher castrated and locked up for sleeping with his 14-year-old female student but that 30-year-old female history teacher who was sleeping with her 15-year-old male student? She was just confused and lonely. And we never call her a pedophile which is what she is. We may express a little disgust at her but we certainly don’t riot in the streets and twitter it to death. She may even get her wedding to her now grown lover covered on Entertainment Tonight (Mary Lay Letourneau) and we don’t bat an eye.
If we are going to have this discussion, then we have to cover all the ground. I am not looking for “fairness” as much as I am unbiased accountability when it comes to things like this. We have plenty of stories about violent men, here are some quotes from people who have suffered DV at the hands of women:
“My friend had an abusive wife who hit him and kicked him in the balls. He called the cops and while he waited for them outside, she grabbed her own throat and squeezed hard and long enough to make a mark. Nobody noticed the mark was the same size as her tiny hand, they simply took her crying word for it & whisked him off to jail. He had to take a plea for domestic violence even though she didn’t want to charge him.”
“I’m a six foot one twenty two stone biker with military history and a vicious streak…
But only for other men…
I lived with a violent woman for too many years and she pushed me into a breakdown simply because the evil bitch knew I wouldn’t hit her on principle of being a real man…
Real men DONT hit women”
“Women are just as capable of violence as men. No one stepped to the man’s aid because no one thought he was in danger – because no one takes women seriously as a threat.”
“I never hit her back, but I was forced to restrain her a few times when she came at me with a knife all drunk or jumped on top of me and proceeded to punch me in the face continuously. I shoved her off of me once And she cut her foot on something real bad, but I had to because she WAS attacking me with a big heavy glass ashtray. needless to say I left her.”
“She spanked us without warning and pitted my sister and I against each other,” said the 45-year-old, who now works in a recording studio. “She was very clever at using emotional abuse to get my sister and I to do what she wanted. The two emotions I remember growing up were fear and obligation.”
“Pamela, now 52 and the mother of two, remembers her mother screaming that she hated the children, threatening to leave and never come back. “We formed a human chain against the door but she threw us to the side and left getting in her car and driving away.”
Pamela doesn’t know how long her mother was gone, but the “record player of her hateful words still play in my mind.”
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 56 percent of all abusers — physical, mental and sexual — are women, The most common form is psychological. “Neglect and emotional abuse are every bit as damaging as sexual abuse.”, said Dr. Phillip Muskin, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. With these numbers, why are not women held to the same level of accountability as men when it comes to abuse? Is it because many women are good at not showing evidence? Or manipulating the circumstances in their favor like one of the women above who squeezed her own neck to lie to the police to hide her assault against her boyfriend? I remember a girl I went to school with, a classic mean girl. She was an “A” student, student body president and the teachers loved her, but when the teachers and administrators were not looking, she was a monster. It was very hard to address her behavior because the teachers just could not “believe” she would do such things. I suspect that is how a lot of women get away with things as well because we as a society just cannot believe women the “frail flowers” they are capable of such manifestations of violence. A colleague of mine, a victim of bullying as a youth (female) had this to say:
“…in general females try to cover their tracks using the tendency of people to not believe that girls can be violent to their advantage.”
Many women complain about not being equal with men, but I think that’s more about the paycheck and the bigger corner office because when it comes to accountability about our own potential violent or abusive behavior we’re not as loud about it as we are with men. Somehow we justify it because their physical strength manifests the bruises and black eyes( and believe me when I tell you I am not excusing that behavior) but somehow we just can’t bring ourselves to be as outraged when a woman poisons her husband or boyfriend to death because there are no physical signs of bruising on his body or beats her children out of the house (literally). We operate in hypocrisy in the name of selective outrage. Why? Do we somehow believe in our minds that women simply are incapable of being dangerously violent on the same level as men? Or because statistically the numbers are not that huge (so we think) so therefore it is not an issue.
We get pissed off at men who respond to our reactions to things by saying we are “hormonal” or “emotional” etc. How DARE they? But when our a** is on the line in regards to being held accountable just like the man for our outrageous behavior, then all of a sudden our va-jay-jays matter as well our hormones and emotions. we talk all day long about wanting to be equal with men and be a part of the boys club but funny we don’t want the accountability when we are caught like the men. Then come the tears and the pleas for “understanding” “I’m a girl,” we whine.
I am not bashing my own gender I am calling for accountability. BELIEVE ME I am very aware that globally women are the main victims of violence on all levels. What I am addressing is the focus we give on the GENDER of the aggressor. A man hits a woman? We are pissed and we want his head. A woman hits another woman or a man? Not so much. in fact if it is on a reality show we whip out the popcorn and enjoy the show. Truthfully, when women are violent against men, it is met with humor and ridicule. “He is weak, he is a punk,” we say to ourselves never taking her violent behavior seriously but if that same guy rises to defend himself against her, he is the monster even if she is the aggressor in the altercation. After all he is supposed to exercise full self control and she is absolved of such a requirement because after all, she is a girl.
I’m a woman myself and as I said I don’t give men a pass, their mess goes without saying but I think we unfairly decide what denotes being violent. We automatically cosign against the violence if we see footage of a man beating his girlfriend unconscious or to death and we hashtag all about it, but what about a cancer research scientist whose lover refuses to dump his other girlfriend so she poisons his coffee in an attempt to kill him? (a true story trending in the news right now) SILENCE. Or a woman beats her kids almost to death? SILENCE. When the molester is a female? SILENCE. A female athlete assaults family members? SILENCE. When the bullies are girls? SILENCE. Yet when that same code of silence runs rampant in the NFL and other male dominated arenas on the matter, then we find our voices and verbalize quite loudly the outrage.
A member of my family was a victim of domestic violence as little girl along with her siblings but do you know the abuser was? Her MOTHER not her father. This lovely wife of a minister did this 50 to 60 years ago and she hid her violence under a slew of religious service and public performance. The community adored her, what a wonderful woman she was, but at home her kids knew a different person that had them terrified. She could not leave or escape and had to endure that abuse until she joined the military at the age of 17.
When it comes to domestic violence we always talk about the men but never the women and if we are going to have this discussion about violent behavior and we are going to be outraged, then we need to be outraged on both sides of the fence no matter who’s doing the hitting or the killing and stop using our va-jay jays conveniently as an EXCUSE to not be held fully accountable.
Bruises, injuries and death are not gender specific.