Watch this video … go ahead, I’ll wait.
Now, tell me, honestly … did you laugh? Wasn’t if funny when she said, “Fight back. Fight back!” And even funnier when she changes her tone and breathlessly tells the young girl watching, “Please do not show me that at this point in time.”
Now, imagine the victim in the video is female and the aggressor is male. Is it funny now? We all have this image in our head that domestic violence is a woman being beaten by a man. But men are also victims of domestic violence and rape.So what makes the video of the woman beating the man funny?
Sugar and spice and everything nice. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.
Short answer, discrimination, and add to this, gender roles and stereotypes. For example, when a young boy has just been beaten up by a girl on the playground. He’s taunted. “You got beat up by a girl.” Everyone laughs. Getting beat by a woman is NOT okay. It’s unmanly. It makes you a pussy, and that’s because women are considered inferior. Rather than be emasculated, most men will remain silent about rape and abuse.
Forcing humans to act in accordance to gender-specific social constructs is not only wrong but can have negative epigenetic effects.
Let’s science, shall we? Gender roles and stereotypes are ingrained in us from the moment of our birth and are social constructs. Females are feminine and nurturing. Men are masculine and stern. Pink for girls and blue for boys. We’re conditioned to recognize cultural gender bias and stereotypes through socialization based on nothing more than physical appearance and genitalia. The study of genetics and epigenetics supports the argument for a dissolution of gender roles. Epigenetics delves deeper into what makes us the who we are, the how we behave, and the who we will become. Evidence now suggests that with every decision you make you are essentially coding your DNA, and this doesn’t just happen on an internal level. Environmental factors and chemicals can also produce DNA altering effects. There are studies being done now on the effects of intergenerational trauma and its effect on epigenetics in holocaust survivors, which are fascinating, but I won’t go into more detail here. Suffice it to say that forcing humans to act in accordance to gender-specific social constructs is not only wrong, but can have negative epigenetic effects such as depression and mental illness, and is simply not conducive to advancing our species.
Male victims face the same obstacles as women when seeking to overcome rape. They experience victim-blaming, shaming, disbelief, and fear of retaliation.
Male victims are shamed into silence just like female victims. Females often encounter disbelief over their rapes and men do as well. Many people, ignorant of the workings of the penis, don’t even believe it’s possible for a woman to rape a man. You can’t rape the willing, huh huh. Right? You must have been turned on if you were hard? This is absurd and unscientific. Orgasm or ejaculation, excretion of lubricating vaginal fluid or the presence of pre-ejaculate, and erection do not mean rape victims wanted or acquiesced to their assault. Male rape by a woman is possible and does happen. Male victims suffer from feelings of shame, guilt, PTSD, and other emotional, physical, and psychological symptoms. Defining masculinity by sexual conquest not only perpetuates rape culture but also invalidates female/male rape. Some may mock male rape victims and say they should be grateful for the sex because, since women are inferior to men, the rape is still a matter of conquest. And though of I’ve focused here on female/male rape, I don’t want to exclude any type of sexual violence men face whether that is the rape by another man, rapes of our servicemen overseas, prison rape, etc.
Sexism and Violence
Sexism also plays a role in domestic violence. Women are fed the sexist notion that men are like children. Don’t let them clean the house or do laundry because they won’t do it right and don’t leave them with the children because they aren’t capable of caring for them the right way. Many men take offense with advertisements that make them out to be stupid, as they should, but do men realize the message portrayed by these advertisements is actually for women? These advertisements reinforce the idea of women sticking to their gender roles as domestic goddesses while reminding men of their corporate status. Women are told that they’re raising their husbands, that their husbands are children needing supervision but the idea here, in actuality, is servitude. Which brings me to my point, parenting adult male children can lead to disciplining them and herein you find the rolling pin wielding female archetype. There have been reports of men being beaten with frying pans and rolling pins, some of whom have died, so it’s not just a motif.
The idea of discipline is true for women as well. Look no further than wedding vows in which a woman promises to obey her husband. Obedience means inequality as one partner must assume a dominant role or must assume ownership. Consider how a father gives away the bride. This concept comes from a time when women were viewed as property. The father gives up ownership of his daughter on her wedding day and gives her ownership to another man. I personally look forward to the day when couples walk down the aisle together rather than one person being given away into servitude. I think it’s a nice way to begin a marriage. Two individuals, committed to one another, beginning their married life side by side, as equals.
There is something of a double standard when it comes to female perpetrated domestic violence and this rests on a foundation of sexism, discrimination, and misogyny. Check this out:
“If he mess up, you gotta hit him up.” Hey ladies, if your man goes buck wild, leave him! That’s what you do. You don’t get him back, you don’t try to teach him a lesson. If he disrespects you, if he treats you like crap, if he’s a jerk, leave! Respect yourself. Don’t settle. And don’t resort to being a submissive female who puts up with abuse or neglect for the benefits of your man’s contrition, whether those benefits are of emotional or monetary value. And men, the same goes for you. If you’re in a bad relationship, leave.
If the male and female roles were flipped in this video, we would judge the male as creepy, insane, and possibly homicidal. But here, it’s okay for the woman to destroy a man’s belongings and wipe out his bank account if he’s been unfaithful. He cheated and deserves punishment. Newsflash. Women, the reason society believes it’s okay for you to behave this way is because you are considered weak and inferior. Further, as previously discussed, the issue with subservience is that it promotes ownership and objectification. If he cheated, move on. It comes down to respect. Don’t escalate the situation. Control your emotions and recognize your self-worth. We don’t own our partners (or our children. An aside here, we teach our children while recognizing their autonomy, or we should. Any discipline that uses physical force and violence only teach that violence is an acceptable solution for one’s problems).
Why don’t men just leave?
Don’t ask why victims stay. Ask instead why people abuse. Stop victim shaming! That said, the reasons for staying in a violent and abusive relationship are the same for victims no matter their gender and include:
- Religious beliefs
- Lack of finances
- Fear of retaliation
- Worry for children and/or pets
- Fearful of discovery of sexual orientation
Ending Partner Violence
If we are to end domestic and sexual violence then we need to change social constructs that we’ve accepted for generations. One’s genitalia and/or race should not equal superiority. We must learn to respect one another. We have to begin teaching equality in our homes to our children from the time they are born.
Men, don’t be so quick to hate feminism and women’s rights. Feminist and women’s rights movements shine a light on discrimination, misogyny, privilege, and sexism, which form the foundations of domestic violence and sexual violence. Feminism has educated our society on these concepts and this education has enabled victims to break the silence of abuse and in turn, gives male victims the courage to speak out rather than be silenced by harmful gender stereotyping.
Male Survivor and Victim Resources
- In New York, nearly all domestic violence shelters can accommodate male victims. Center Against Domestic Violence NY
- Gay and Transgender men can receive domestic violence services by calling the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project Hotline at (212) 714-1141.
- Safe Place
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline in U.S. & Canada: 1-888-799-7233.
- Help for abused men.
For more resources, and escape plans, click on this link and scroll to the bottom. Always search the web in incognito mode!