What will you tell your son?

I suggest you watch this short clip before proceeding:

Amazing.

“She won’t be the only one,
she’s not asking
what you’re going to tell your daughter
she’s asking
what you’re going to teach your son.”

There’s no dispute that domestic violence has now reached epidemic proportions in the world. Here in the US of A, 1 in 4 women are abused by their partner in their lifetime. Our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends; we all know a victim.

So when does the violence end?
The past year I’ve worked as a domestic abuse crisis counselor with heavy academic and activist involvement in the anti-violence movement here in San Francisco. I can tell you, from the inside, that the violence has become so massive, so monstrous, that all of the–albeit EXTREMELY limited–resources go toward helping the people who have already been abused. Survivor outreach is important and necessary in a society where “domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined” (Surgeon General’s Office). Obviously, we cannot cut off the help for victims.

But what are we doing to PREVENT it? Will this cyclic abuse continue forever? Reality is, the numbers are growing, not diminishing.

To prevent male on female abuse (by far the most common type of abuse, but definitely not the only type of abuse), we must begin combating against the idea that being masculine means being violent. Just as Gibson indicates, it is my belief that we must be talking to young people, especially young men, about healthy relationships, anger management, and nonviolent communication. I argue that we should start these discussions during childhood. We learn the most during our childhood, and the messages that we get are reflected in our behaviors for the rest of our lives. Personally, I have used schoolyard violence in my little brother’s life to talk to him about violence and the treatment of people–and more specifically, the treatment of women. I’ve found that having open, gentle lines of communication with each other as well as giving him specific things to say/do when he’s in difficult situations has helped tremendously to nurture his compassion and empathy.

If it were up to me, violence, just like sexuality, would be a talking point in every home and school across the nation starting around age 3 or 4, executed in a thoughtful and age appropriate fashion. The conversations would revolve around (1) acknowledging what’s going on around us, (2) how to deal with anger and stress, and (3) fostering excellent communication skills. We often start this conversation young (i.e. “No hitting, Tommy!”), but don’t continue it (i.e. “Let’s talk about other ways to deal with being angry, son.”)

I plan to delve into the execution of these 3 violence prevention objectives in the future. For now, the question remains: what will you tell your son?

For further information, see my video “When Love Gets Violent. You can also visit my “sex+ toolbox” where you will find 10 tips for men to prevent gender violence and a nonviolent communication guide among other (lesser related) tools.

*Wow. To all the men freaking out about male victims, this is an article about VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN as should be very clear from the beginning. Why can’t I just FOR ONCE talk about violence against women without every man freaking out and feeling personally victimized? Does it always have to be about you? Do you not see the irony in that? Like a caucus on racism and insisting on talking only about racism against white people. Yes, we know that it exists; yes, it should be dealt with–but HELLO? That doesn’t change the fact that racism is a systematic problem that affects mostly people of color. Despite however defensive talking about gender issues might make you feel, this isn’t an attack on men, and any rational human can see that. That’s right: NOT ALL MEN ARE VIOLATORS and NOT ALL WOMEN ARE INNOCENT and I NEVER said they were. I’m here to talk about a major problem that presently and historically has had a gargantuan impact on my world. If you have a problem with that, this isn’t the blog for you. THANKS.

88 thoughts on “What will you tell your son?

  1. “Here in the US of A, 1 in 4 women are abused by their partner in their lifetime.”

    And yet there are people still stupid enough to believe gender equality has been accomplished. I really hate how gender roles are so emphasis, even by people who are not part of the social right. Yeah there are biological difference, but so much of it has to do with the culture and the asinine rules society has developed.

  2. Laci,

    please be the mother of my unborn child…please.

    “If it were up to me, violence, just like sexuality, would be a talking point in every home and school across the nation starting around age 3 or 4, executed in a thoughtful and age appropriate fashion”

    I mean, this alone says it all. I cannot think of a more wishful partner to raise a child with.e.

    Back to reality:

    I completely agree with your proposed solution. There is only one thought that bothers me, and that is that even such a simple and reasonable thing as educating a young child about abuse and violence, you could alienate your child from other children since even such a simple as this does not comply with the status quo. Sad really, but not enough to keep pushing for a more open and sane society!

    • Haha. I love you sasch. :)

      Valid point, but I think it’s a deviation they will immediately reap benefits from (stronger relationships, more compassion, easier female companionship).

  3. “To prevent male on female abuse (by far the most common type of abuse, but definitely not the only type of abuse)”

    While I do appreciate you mentioning that, I wish you had a put a little more focus on it. I understand the article was focused on male on female abuse but if the intent is to stop abuse, why limit it?

    • Because the nature of violence against males is much different and requires a separate methodology/discussion. Also, I think the whole “let’s talk about men” rabble that always comes up from MEN in these discussions is a quaint way to avoid the actual issue. 95% of victims are FEMALES and the percentage is even higher in most parts of the world. It’s not unjustified to turn the focus on women, while still remembering that it isn’t exclusively women.

        • I don’t have any plans at the moment to cover violence against men because it is not a gender equality issue (half of the 5% is executed by other men). However, psychological abuse against men will be, as this is a very gendered issue.

      • Actually no. In Australia, a survey last year that was done as part of a larger sensis showed that 40% of DV was caused soley by women against men. An i can hear you saying “Well thats okay, that still puts men 20% ahead”. Unfortunately thats not true. Out of the remain 60%, 30% was mutual DV where both sides hit each other.

        Turns out that the real victims of DV, atleast in Australia is everyone, not women. i can’t speak for the US, but i’m thinking if you let your own prejudice go for a minute & a proper survey was done, with all 3 categories being available (instead of the 2 categories that are usually available, if you allow 2 categories at all), you’d find that alot more DV is commited by women then men.

        Lets not even get started with DV by proxy, which is a seperate section that is hard to judge. If you are unaware, DV by proxy is when a couple are having a non physical argument (maybe plates are being smashed) & someone calls the police with the intention of getting the other person arrested. That is DV by proxy.

  4. My sons are 3 and 5. We already have talks that it is not okay to hit women, no matter what. They are young so they easily get caught up in the moment. But I remind them every chance I get that hitting women is not okay.

        • Male on male abuse exists. Besides, you can hardly claim to tell me that you know your children’s sexualities already. It just baffles me that you wouldn’t teach that that they should never hit *anyone* instead of just limiting it to women.

          • I believe that in self defense it is perfectly acceptable to hit a man back. Are you telling me that if some guy walked up and started swinging at you; you would just let him punch you?

            As far as sexuality goes; no I don’t know. I can only go off of what they have shown. And yes my 5 year old has shown interest in women. If that is not the case then so be it.

            • Are you telling me that if a women came at you swinging you’d just stand there and let her potentially beat you to death? I highly doubt it. Besides, I wasn’t talking about self defense, obviously in a situation if someone is attacking you, regardless of gender, you should defend yourself.

              • What I am telling you is that if a woman hit me I would not hit her back. And yes I know that I would not do it because I have dealt with it before. Could you say the same Steven?

                • *sigh* I could go into why that’s sexist and explain that gender equality does not mean that one gender gets a special set of rules over the other but frankly, I don’t think you care. To answer your question though, yes, I would probably defend myself against a women if she assaulted me.

    • Hitting is one thing but what about verbal/emotional abuse. Personally I think that’s even worse than physical abuse because it’s hits an even more deeper level. People say that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, which I think is crap cuz I’ve been called names most of my life and they’ve cut me deeper than any physical pain could even dream of doing.

      • At 3 and 5 verbal abuse is a little trickier to talk about. But we do have talks about name calling and how it is not okay.

      • Definitely a big part of the issue. However, I think that fostering the objectives I laid out can help to work against other forms of abuse as well.

    • No offense dude, but you’ve just neutered your kids. There is a time and a place to sock a woman. Women aren’t some delicate flower, or fine china.

      • @ Matthew Lane

        Really? REALLY? Promoting violence against ANYONE is NOT the answer. And to essentially say they are both less of a man because his father preaches non-violence? Beyond fucked up. You need help.

  5. I am a transgendered man (which means I was born “female” and took hormones “become male”). When I first started my journey into manhood, I kept worrying I would not pass as a man. So I began to mimic the actions and attitudes of those men around me. Perhaps it is because of my transgender nature that I saw things differently than other people. Most people accept “men are this way” and “women are that way” without tacking questions to that, or challenging that. I was violent, hid my emotions, and became a heavy drinker in order to “become a man”. But I often questioned why. If I spoke my emotions, I was ridiculed. If I cried, I was a “pussy” or a “fag”, which not only sowed the seeds of being an emotional cripple, but seeds of homophobia as well.

    Keep in mind, this was not only from other men (though the majority was) but from women too who expected this kind of behavior from me. That just goes to show how deep the patriarchy runs when women feel that men need to be strong and emotionless in order to be real men. I felt confused and lost for a long time. When I met my partner, who is a transgender woman, I felt broken. I distinctly remember pouring my heart out and actually feeling ashamed that I had done so. However, she didn’t turn me away. Instead she taught me how fucked up “manhood” really is and taught me about feminism – which at the time I had some really skewed ideas about (picturing man-hating lesbians). But she also shared how her father and uncles instilled the same patriarchy upon her – be tough, emotionless, strong. It got to the point that, after transition, she was afraid of men and declared she was a lesbian (she’s actually bi) because she thought she couldn’t be with a man.

    After shedding myself of this fucked up version of “manhood”, I began to feel more happy and more at peace with myself. A real man talks about things, shares his emotions, and loves. And real men are also feminists ;)

          • Um, i’m Australian, we dont get Fox News. Unfortunately there is equality on both sides of the fence & feminism does not fight for male rights. You can’t claim to be objectively interested in sexual equality, if you only fight for one side of the divide: at best you can say is you are countering sexism with a different brand of sexism.

            The truth is that 90% of the feminist rhetoric has been conclusively proven wrong in peer reviewed studies (including there tierrbly inflammatory, made up stats), yet that doesn’t stop the feminist rhetoric.

            Did you know the the CDC itself has a study that shows that women are just as responsible for domestic violence as men. In fact women are more likely to initiate the violence. But of course a single study, a fact does not make. So i’ll point out the fact that there have been countless meta-reviews (thats a review & assimilation of data from many peer reviewed studies & is considered the strongest way in science to prove the validty of your data) & its shown overwhelmingly that DV is split 50/50. DV is no a gender thing, its strictly a people thing.

            For more information here’s a couple of great links to get you started. All the evidence is clearly laid out & its all been peer reviewed.

            http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/reprint/97/5/941

            Fiebert’s Studies
            http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

            NIJ/CDC report
            http://www.menweb.org/battered/nvawsurv.pdf

            • I’d like to apologize if my initial comment seemed US-normative. I live in Canada personally and I get Fox news, though I suppose that’s not surprising since we get a lot of the States’ leftover shows.

              As for the topic at hand, feminism IS about gender equality (for myself it’s about the abolition of inequality for women from all races, genders, sexual orientations, and socio-economic classes, as well as the abolition of inequality of men when applicable), however it tends to focus largely on the issues of women because -hey- that’s what feminism means. And in case you weren’t aware, males still have a large amount of privilege in our culture. As feminists we’re not out to attack men, and we’re not out to make women the “dominant” sex, we’re only trying to correct societal imbalances concerning the treatment of women.

              If you are affected by men’s issues, then rather than attack a movement that’s out to help women, why don’t you start a movement that’s out to help men? A positive pro-man campaign is long overdue – and I’m not talking MRA bullshit here, I mean tackling actual men’s issues, for example the strict gender-shaming of boys that occurs from a young age, or as you mentioned, domestic violence and abuse against men.
              Attacking feminism isn’t going to solve these men’s issues any more than angry feminists attacking men is going to solve women’s issues.

        • @Matthew Lane

          There seems to be this stereotype that feminism is only about butch man-hating lesbians only interested in enforcing a matriarchy.

          While few are like that (particularly the older ones that were beaten into the ground so far that they felt they *had* to be that way)… most are interested in furthering the rights and goals of the female gender IN ORDER TO BE equal to the male gender! It’s about leveling the playing field, not for females to be on a higher level socially to males.

  6. To take on the fight against domestic violence, particularly when it pertains to women being the victims, serious consideration has to be given to the (crazy) women who injure themselves and blame it on their men just to get the men in trouble and to the women who strike first and tell the authorities they didn’t. I’m sure, statistically, those women are a minority, but in a scenario where people are being less than honest and the people recording the statistics are gullible, statistics aren’t really reliable.

    If you want to fix a problem then you have to start at home.

    • I’m really startled that so far 2/5 men that have posted, yourself included, are more than ready to pull out absolute minority cases where women abuse instead of discussing what I actually brought up. SMH.

      • My post was meant to get others to think about all of the causes of domestic violence. I’m fully acknowledging that the majority (and not just 51%, barely the majority, but well over that) of domestic violence reports have the man as the perpetrator. The point was to get people to think about the reasons why those reports say as much aside from the obvious, stereotypical answer that everyone automatically jumps to without giving it a second thought.

        My point is that while the number of reports make it seem like a minority case, it can very easily not be a minority case. It’s the same line of thought of leads people to believe that there isn’t racism anymore or even that domestic violence isn’t all that common. It’s the, “I don’t see it so it must not exist” line of thought. Head-in-the-sand syndrome. Just because the statistics say woman as the perpetrators of domestic violence is a minority, that doesn’t mean it’s an accurate statement. That’s only what’s been reported and what people have chosen to believe. There’s a level of naivety there that has to be considered in order to take the subject as whole, or in part, in a serious way.

        By ignoring any aspect of domestic violence whether it be man on woman, woman on man, man on man or woman on woman, you’re only letting the problem grow in the area you’re ignoring. Kill all the weeds in your front yard and leave all the weeds alone in your backyard, you’ve still got weeds.

        It’s also a bit hypocritical to tell another group of people to stop committing domestic violence when your own group of people is guilty of it, no matter how few people in your group of people that may be. If your house is the only house on the block looks like total shit and you’re telling someone else they need to clean up their yard, do you really expect them to listen to you? How about if your friend and neighbor has the dirty house, the whole neighborhood knows you’re friends with that person and you’re telling everyone except your friend to clean up their yards? Do you expect them to listen to you? They’re more likely to both become embittered towards you and ignore everything you say, no matter how right you may be.

        So I say again, as a way to get people to listen to and consider what you’re saying, if you want to fix a problem then start in your own home.

      • “I’m really startled that so far 2/5 men that have posted, yourself included, are more than ready to pull out absolute minority cases where women abuse instead of discussing what I actually brought up. SMH.”

        I’m a little startled that the statistic of “90% of domestic abuse is carried out by men on women” is perpetuated when we know that this statistic is largely unreliable due to the very same factors that cause male abusers to be abusive; that is the gender roles that men (and women) are taught to adopt.

        Parity, an organisation concerned with equal rights for both men and women in the UK issued a report last September that claims more than 40% of domestic violence victims are *male* and lists some interesting reasons as to why this is.

        I concede though that we are talking about violent males and it is not surprising given the cultural education most young men receive when they are boys in how they are expected to behave as men.

        Keep up the good work with your blog, Laci!

        Mike

      • Laci, I absolutely love your work, especially the stuff on logical fallacies, but in this case you happen to be wrong… Its okay, it happens to the best of us.

        I would hope that you agree that basing your conversational stratagems on Logical Fallacies is bad, however there is something similiar that you’ve used a lot of in this particualr video: Cognitive Bias.

        You’ve used two common biases

        1. Observational Bias: You said you spent some time working with DV victims. No doubt you noticed that there were a lot of women & little to no men. From that you’ve subconsiously surmised that there are more female victims then male victims. However you should keep in mind that men won’t go to a DV abuse center, they’ll just go to a doctor, or a hospital.

        2. Confirmational Bias: Much of your data no doubt comes from sources that are from centers who are also functioning on faulty numbers based on Observational Bias (heck look at the differences between a proper review of DV & the propoganda in those pamphlets. Those pamphlets will rarely ever even mention reciprocal violence).

        However multiple peer reviewed studies & meta-studies based upn those studies are starting to show a trend towards mutual violence & not one side being better or worse then the other.

        Now i know DV is an emotional thing, but the numbers do not lie. Its looking more a more like women aren’t the victims that the “victimization industry” wants us to think they are.

        Below i have linked a couple of peer reviewed studies for your purusal.

        http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/reprint/97/5/941

        Fiebert’s Studies
        http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

        NIJ/CDC report
        http://www.menweb.org/battered/nvawsurv.pdf

  7. First thing my brother taught me: do not hit women. Second thing he taught me was how to do drugs, but that’s a different issue.

    I think a conservative, old-fashioned, and simply fucked up idea of masculinity is (at least one of) the cause(s) of this epidemic of domestic violence. Al very well explained by Jackson Katz -> http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/tough-guise/

    Another documentary (this time specifically on domestic violence) is this one: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/every-fcking-day-of-my-life/ . The wife beater in this doc actually made a heavy metal song about killing his wife, which made me rethink my love for Eminem songs such as “Kim”, “Kill You” and “Superman”. I don’t listen to those songs anymore. I’d rather listen to Pearl Jam’s “Better Man.”

    P.S.: Steven’s reaction is rather predictable. As explained by Katz, problems created by males are often degenderized (is that an actual word), while female problems are not. Example: It’s always “girls” and “young women” who suffer from anorexia, but it’s always “kids” who are shooting up their high schools and get involved in drunk driving accidents. Even if school shootings are exclusively done by males, that is not addressed in the media or society. About time that changes.

    • “Steven’s reaction is rather predictable.”

      I’m not trying to shift focus away from women, I’m sorry if that’s the way it came across. I just wanted to know why there was little mention of male abuse and if there was going to be a topic on it.

  8. *This is to continue my discussion with Steven so it can be read*

    To be fair Steven if it was guy that was hitting me and I was obviously stronger than him I probably would not hit him back. Why return the violence if there is no threat to my well being or safety?

      • How is it sexist? For the most part men are physically stronger than women. That is just fact. Now if I was saying women were lesser than men because they are weaker than that would be sexist.

        • And so it’s fair to say that most women are not capable of harming a man and thus, it’s not right for him to defend himself against her?

          • Absolutely he can defend himself. Does he have to hit her back though. All I am saying is that me personally I will not hit a woman and I will not hit someone that is obviously weaker than me. Unless there is some kind of weapon involved.

      • I don’t think it’s sexist or unfair to state that generally speaking males are physically stronger than females. That said, you guys seem to discuss when it is appropriate to defend yourself against random violence (such as drunk assholes picking a fight in a bar). That is a vastly different kind of violence compared to the domestic violence Laci wrote about. So I don’t see the hypothetical situation you two are discussing is in any way relevant to this article.

          • No, violence is not all the same. The motivations and causes for domestic violence are vastly different from random violence, or gang violence, or bullying (< I think we can consider that a form of violence) or military violence, and so on. A specific form of violence needs a specific approach to battle it and decrease it. To treat every kind of violence as though it is the same won't get you anywhere.

  9. Laci, you’re wonderful. We adore you. The number of your male readers/viewers who are posting here defending men by pointing out the small number of cases that aren’t simply men hitting women is, I think to a certain extent, a reaction to the trend over the last 30 years or so for feminist groups and other, less formal, groups to scream that men are all rapists, monsters, evil, scum etc. The guys who listen to you… Well, I’m willing to bet most of us aren’t the sort to abuse a partner, so when the “violence against women must stop!” stories come along, well, we rather feel like a persecuted minority. Like “Oh yay, we’re being villified again. How many times is that this week?”
    We agree with you. Absolutely. I doubt it’ll ever be stamped out completely. We’re human after all. But it must be crushed as effectively as possible and as soon as possible, but the way it’s currently done and handled in the media makes us feel like everyone with an XY chromosome pair is being lumped in with Ike Turner. That puts good men on the defensive whenever the subject is broached.
    We’re with you Laci. 100%. It’s just painful.

    • “But it must be crushed as effectively as possible and as soon as possible, but the way it’s currently done and handled in the media makes us feel like everyone with an XY chromosome pair is being lumped in with Ike Turner. That puts good men on the defensive whenever the subject is broached.”

      I don’t think Laci or the media are saying every man is a (potential) Ike Turner, so there is no need to defend yourself. Hell, I don’t feel the need to defend my being dutch because some Joran van der Sloot pulls some fucked up shit.

      The problem is not that ALL men are violent, wife-beating, kids-smashing assholes. But the problem is that violence seems to be an essential part of manhood. Without being violent, one cannot be a man. And it is that attitude that we (and by that I mean we, the MEN) need to change.

      • I agree Toko. I don’t think that Laci’s attacking men in general, but my reasoning isn’t that we’re under attack. It’s that we *Feel* like we’re under attack. The very definition of paranoia is the idea of people being out to get you without anyone being out to get you. People can do unfortunate things when they think everyone has turned against them.

  10. Great post as always, but I really feel I need to tell a personal story in regards to some of the comments left here.

    A friend of mine was abused by his girlfriend who he lived with. She hurt him so badly, so often, he was left with lasting injuries. People just thought he got in a lot of random fights. Truth is, he wouldnt hurt a fly – he never defended himself against his girlfriend. She would throw things at him mainly, but would hit him with her fists and with objects, bully him. He wouldn’t go to the police. Why? ‘Domestic violence is only against women, isn’t it?’ was his reason. He genuinely believed her hitting him didn’t count at first. He was a decent man who would never hurt a fly.

    Thankfully, he got out of that relationship with a little help from his friend group, but could never be convinced to inform the relevent authorities even when out of the relationship. He didnt want to seem ‘less of a man’, because ‘domestic violence only really happens to women’ even though we made him see that domestic violence WAS what he suffered.

    It makes me wonder how many men this happens to, how many dont speak up – and whether we’re underestimating how damaging the focus being on violence towards just women really is. And yes, I’m a female saying this.

    I also wonder how many people reading this comment would consider my male friend ‘weak’ because a woman was violent towards him and seriously injured him? Hmmm. I wonder if that plays a part too.

    I got out of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship myself (before the situation with my male friend), at the hands of a man, so I am certainly not in a position to trivialise violence towards women by men.. and would rage at anyone saying that this was what I was trying to do. Certainly, damn well not. I just know he was likely to be as scared in his violent relationship as I was in mine. And he probably felt a lot more helpless considering theres a lot less help for men, very few places for them to turn to/run to. 100% of the (very few, I may add) refuges in my area are women only. Also.. one wrong move in defending himself, and who’s betting his violent girlfriend would have gone straight to the services available to her, putting all the blame on him… and would have ended up suceeding? It’s good he didnt try to ever defend himself, considering this.

    *takes a deep breath* Just sayin’.

  11. If I may leave just one more comment after reading some of the comments here.

    The fact of the matter is… that yes, some women are abusive. It would be a shame to leave that in the dark that men also get abused. No one deserves to be hurt.

    First off, Laci did point that out, Second off, the point she is trying to make (at least, from what I’ve taken from it… my apologies if I’m a little off point) is that dismantling the patriarchy would certainly be beneficial to both men and women. If a woman thinks it’s OK to hit a man because he is “strong” and should be able to handle it, she is part of the patriarchy. Men who hit women because they think they are better than them, or that women are weak or deserve it, are also part of the patriarchy.

    This isn’t a biased piece, at least I don’t see it that way. This was about attacking the root of the problem, which involves all genders.

  12. i just thought id share my veiw from an international perspective. im from the carribean more specifically trinidad and tobago , but i have spent a yr in the usa so i believe i can compare. in trinidad there is quite a bit of domestic abuse going on, i will admit to that. however its not as simple as u may believe. in older generations of men trinidad they believe in beating women . most of those men are dead or to old to do anything. the younger generation fought back against the abuse and caused it to decline rapidly ( in most communities certain communities still have very high domestic violence rates).

    now ur wondering what did you mean by fight back, i mean it on all levels. you may believe that anger isnt always the best approach but directed anger can achieve quite a bit. it can force social norms to change… fast.

    but thats the past. the present day situation is vastly different than what it used to be. because for the most part a man will not hit a woman, alotta women deliberately piss of their men over various things and for various reasons. what happens next depends on circumstance. sometimes they can work it out , if they are not attached by marriage or children most of them will end it. the final one is where the man starts spending times with his guys and avoid going home. honestly i dont blame these guys. most of them work 8 – 10 hrs a day under somewhat stressful conditions to have to go home to face that sorta abuse, i think i mite want to stay away for as long as i cud as well. the prob is they spend tht time drinking most times ( ironically the newer generation tends to go gaming instead meh , cultural evolution). when they go home now they face only more abuse. now remember what i said about the cultural norms shifting i did mean it. its not to uncoomon to notice men with scars on their faces and so on due to being hit on the face with some sort of breakable object or sharp object . but because of the new social norm they for the most part will not hit the women , may grab them disarm them and then leave or just leave bleeding. those that cant leave end up in a fight in which case it ends up as most domestic abuse cases end, police are called , woman says she got beat up and tried to defend herself man looses everything…. and before you say this cant be true and i am being biased my mother is one of these women i speak off, so is my sister and many of my female friends…… needless to say im never in a hurry to meet new women.

    the exception to this group that i have hinted to is a somewhat large community that embraces the usa getto lifestyle , needless to say the type of abuse you mention is quite prevalent there

  13. Simple rule, no hitting women, with one exception, defense of myself or others. Though I will tickle, you’ve been warned.

  14. Hey Laci , great toipic . I wish more people could hear what you are sayig and that more people were saying it . I was a victum of child abbuse when I was ony ten years old . It lasted for two years and only ended because he left the city . It was years before I cameto tearms with what had happened . He was crafty enough to use fear to keep me from saying anything. He to;d me that if I told anyone that some realy bad woul happe to someone I loved . A year after he left I decided to tell my parnts why I was so withdrown . The day I got up the courage , my father had a heart attach and died.
    Needless to say it took me 16 years before I was able to speek about it . Once I did I was able to begin the healing prosses.
    Now I will take the time to listen when a child talks because I nevr want any child too go through what I did . Please keep up the excelent work you are doing . I wish there had ben someone like you aound when I was a child.

    Thank-you

  15. Just figured I would mention the male side of this. Firstly, I agree with your decision to talk about male on female violence and how to combat that. Really, the same issues with cause male on female violence ends up causing abused men to stay silent. It is the idea that men are superior, strong and in charge that really leads to all this. Yes, there is the aspect of it all that says men are violent, but I see that accepting the descriptor “violent” isn’t necessary if you irrationally accept male dominance over women.

    The thing is, men may not be abused as often as women but we are also effected by these modes of thought. Men are trapped in their little man-box. There are all these ridiculous expectations put on men and if we fail them, then we risk no longer being seen as a “man”. It might not solve the whole problem (since it is a multifaceted issue) but getting rid of the man-box and even the woman-box would put us on the right track. Personally, I would prefer that the entire concept of gender be completely gotten rid of. I’m not talking about biological sex or sexual preference. I’m talking about gender identity and gender roles. Simply by stating “those of a specific biological sex should act in ways attributed to that sex” we set up a standard that is not only unnecessary, but destructive.

    We harp on freedom of religion and freedom from religion in the Atheist community. What I don’t hear any of, is mention of the importance of freedom of gender and freedom FROM gender.

    • Yes! My thoughts exactly. Most of today’s gender problems, be it the oppression of females or the restriction of males, stem from the strict criteria that men are expected to adhere to if they want to be considered “real men”.

      The main problem in combating this is that the privilege that men receive for adhering to these criteria tends to make them blind to the way in which they are being oppressed, meaning that they are unlikely to ever rebel. Being a “real man” means, among other things, ease at getting jobs, acceptance in homosocial male groups, having the media pander to you, and not having to deal with the gender/sexuality issues that many other people struggle with… and that’s a hard thing to give up.

      However, as small anecdotal example of why such restrictions are harmful;

      Recently some very, very unpleasant (I won’t bother getting into specifics) happened to my boyfriend and I, causing us both a great deal of grief and making me break down and crying in his arms for a good couple of hours. After he went home that night, I sent him a text commenting on his composure during the incident and his ability to kept from breaking down in any way.

      He told me that after we parted ways, he went home and cried in his truck in his garage. I asked him why he didn’t let it out when he was with me, when I could have provided him comfort, and his response was, “It’s part of my manhood”.

      He saw absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it broke my heart. We’ve been together for almost three years now, and as partners I feel it’s our job to each other to support the other emotionally… and yet after three years, he can’t allowed me, as a deeply trusted friend and partner, ever catch him in a moment of “weakness”.
      It makes me angry that the cultural “man-box” has oppressed my loved one to the point where he has to hide all outward emotion. It makes me angry that he’s been conditioned to fear and feel threatened by all that is “female” or “homosexual”. It makes me angry that a sweet, loving person has to deal with great personal devastation in a cold car, alone, without comfort, if he wants to be accepted as a proper member of our society.

      I hate the man-box. It breeds nothing but fear and oppression on all sides. It’s an outdated convention just like sexism against women, and if it were up to me, we’d have another civil rights movement to abolish it, just like we did (and are still doing) with feminism.

  16. ‘There are lies, damn lies – and statistics.’

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, I feel that more and more people are viewing domestic violence as just that-a statistic.

    I think it’s a sad, horrible, evil abomination, but worse yet it may just stem from anti-intellecutalism in the US. Let’s just be apathetic about everything and pretend we know everything and lose the ability to comminicate with each other. If parents can’t comminicate comfortably and well with their five year olds, they will lose the chance to do it when their kids turn fifteen. It’s more than just a statistic and I hope more people will learn how to fix it.

  17. Hi Laci,

    I came across your blog this evening after having been subscribed to you on YouTube for a while (you may remember me under my YouTube pseudonym Deco….ts).

    I watched the YouTube video with baited breath and although I agree with your assessment, it was an “amazing” video it did leave a bad taste in my mouth when I got to the end of it. I hope as the critical thinking, uber-rational lady that we all know you to be you might understand why.

    Not all men are the same, like not all women are the same. Consider how, for a man, being exposed to the defacto “feminist” feels when you’re told that you’re effectively just a rapist in waiting, as something disgusting, “only after one thing” and so on. A lot of women have an irrational fear of men (this seems to be the subject of the video) and it plays out as a prejudice against all men. Moreover, take a look at some of the comments in that video to get an idea of the sentiment of those who watched it.

    Consider what we teach young boys in even innocuous Disney films – that women are fair, tall and beautiful and exist largely for no other purpose than to give pleasure to a man. Consider what we teach young boys in those same films – that real men are big and muscular and conventionally attractive and the more physical prowess one displays the more successful you are as a man. No other body types are allowed unless you are single, a clown or just plain nasty. Men in children’s programming are also typically not smart (unless they are portrayed as nerds). This sends out the message that you’re either a strong “real man” or not a man at all. And to those “real men”, they must pursue women at all costs and for the purposes of their own pleasure. These are not good messages.

    Why can’t we have an good-looking strong heroine saving an average looking smart man for once?

    As an adult male in the western world, I am expected to hold doors open for women (it is rare that a woman will ever hold a door open for me, despite other men doing so – and I for both genders). A man is also expected to be the “provider” and “protector” of a family. If a man is providing most of the income (men do get paid more, on average) some may expect repayment in kind, “Why isn’t my dinner ready for me?” and lash out. I don’t do this, most men I know aren’t like this but those that are tend to have issues that stem from childhood. So yes, I agree – we are failing to teach our sons.

    As a man, happily married with a three year old son who receives probably more parental instruction than average (we have made it a priority to teach our son good values, equality and fairness with others) and even we have found it particularly hard to avoid gender role traps. It starts from before birth and in the same way that the religion of ones parents and country of ones birth can define ones culture, living among other human beings tightly defines gender roles. Toys aimed at little boys for instance tend to be hunter/gatherer occupations such as carpentry or large construction or military themed toys. For girls, home making toys like washing, kitchen toys and so on. The toys are aimed at parents who then buy certain gifts depending largely on what type of genitals are seen moments after birth or on a prior ultrasound.

    What about me walking down a dark street on my own? To be honest, I’m happy to say that my family and friends would almost certainly either be coming with me or would pick me up. Or I’d take a taxi. I would hate to walk down a street on my own at night, dark or not. Here in the UK, you are *more likely to be attacked in public as a single man than as a single woman*. Yes, the violence is probably perpetuated by other men but the point still stands that men live in fear of violence too.

    What happens in a domestic dispute in England if a woman says she was attacked by a man/boyfriend/husband? Generally, the police are called who turn up in force and arrest the man. The man is often charged. This plays into your “95% of attackers are men” statistic. Ok, now how many men who get attacked call the police? I’d be surprised if any do. Men are supposed to be stronger and therefore any physical assault is on their terms, right?

    And what of family courts? In the UK they are heavily biased towards women such that if a couple break up, a woman is able to lie about her male partner and the court will accept her testimony over a mans. All this for no other reason than her gender.

    So in summary what can I say? It’s not a “BAD GENDER, GOOD GENDER” problem. Domestic violence, violence against women and violence in general are multi faceted problems that aren’t simply resolved by gender (or any other) profiling.

    Have a good evening!

    Mike

    P.S. I’ve gone on longer than I expected (it’s late!) and haven’t written as thoughtfully as I would have liked. However the sentiments in the video, the comments and some of the comments on your blog strike a chord with me and I wanted to let you know my thoughts, speaking as a man…

  18. Hey Laci. I am a almost-22 year old man now. This may be me being the nutritional nut that I am (previously struggled HARSHLY with obesity for over 7 years!). I’ve noticed that how we eat affects our behavior and because of a lack of nutritional education and a trillion dollar corrupted food industry in the U.S., I’ve noticed a lot of females losing their ‘femine’ side and becoming both fat, drunk, ad highly aggressive?

    How is this relevant? Because my stepmother feel under this criteria and would beat me when she wasn’t happy at all due to her poor habits. I eventually took up heavy eating at one point too because I quickly became outcasted because my family wasn’t made of solid money in this upper surburban area at one point of my life (Imagine that even if you are a football GOD in a place that normally worships football as a religion and you are STILL hated by EVERYONE irregardless and they make claims that you lose for the fact you don’t have pretty boy looks and lots of cash). My father was on “borrowed” money when we lived in this community. Also it was for me “Be f#%ked with or be feared” so a lot of voilence took place and I defended myself only but when I did, I was VERY dangerious because I took out the abuse from my stepmother on them. When I finally moved to a better community, I was already extremely angry and negative all the time due to my past experiences and my struggle with weight loss. There is a lot more detail to it than this but this is the best I can do as far as generalizing it Laci. Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

  19. I’d tell him that violence is wrong. That it’s “never the answer”. That the only time it should be used is in defense. Ether of themselves, or someone else. And even then, only as much is needed. That there are ways of handling anger. That if they have a problem with someone, the best way to solve it, is by talking to them about it. And if that doesn’t work… That it’s ok to walk away.(I would also tell all these things to a daughter.)
    I would also teach him that “being a real man” or being “manly” just means being a good person. Not shooting guns; scoring chicks; acting tough, or stereotypical gender roles/traits.

    What I WOULDN’T teach him is “Don’t hit women”. I feel that makes women out to be something different and weaker. Which they are obviously not. Strength isn’t something you’re born with. It’s something you gain and obtain.

  20. I still have dreams of when i watched my mother get beat by my younger brothers and sis father ( i was like 6 or 7 at the time ), dropping that mormon bible and slamming her to the wall. I fight with my brothers and sis over why there dad is a P.O.S and needs to b beaten. 3 yrs ago he final got the balls to talk to me. he ask me ” what r u up to? ” like i was doing something wrong. SO i replayed with ” waiting for the day to snap ur neck for what u did to my mother yrs ago ” and just stared at him. Im going to b 25 in june, my mother has cancer ( blood ) is going thru a rough time now. HE has never seen the bars of a jail house and owes over 5 yrs and child support. Its bad that it happens but worse when the courts let it happen more and dont do anything about.

  21. GOSH, some of the comments really had me face-palming.

    Another great post Laci. Once again you tackle a touchy topic, can’t wait for the next one!

  22. Such a sex war going on in the posts! I’m scared voicing my opinion would be seen as taking sides. Violence is bad. Education is the answer. The statement “what will tell your son” pierced me. Boys are raised by women who (understandably) feel like men are monsters. The emotional scars on both sides are deep. It’s these scumbag violent men that created this gender war and want it to go on.
    Men most of the victims of violence from other men. In domestic violence specificaly, women are most often attacked by men, and children are most often attacked by women. Do you see the pecking order in the trend? We need to stop this. These dialouges help, but to stop ALL violence, not just domestic violence education is the answer.

  23. What am I supposed to do though? I mean I know I’m not supposed to abuse women, but what am I supposed to do about what other people’s abuse? I’m probably never gonna get married, don’t currently intend to have kids, and I don’t currently beat people. Am I supposed to occsionally remind my male friends not to abuse women? Do I need to occasioanlly double-check with women I know to make sure no-one’s abusing them? know I cold volunteer at a battered women’s centre or something, but if we’re talking prevention rather than cure, what could I do?

    (sorry if I sound facetious, it slips into pretty much everything I say or write)

  24. what are the figures on female-on-male violence?

    i would tell my son:

    - to only fight with people when both parties have agreed to fight
    - never gang up on others
    - fight fair
    - learn how to defend yourself
    - no one to end a fight and never use excessive force
    - never hit girls; if she hits you just walk away and never talk to her again

  25. This is a great article, Laci. I also love how you included Andrea Gibson at the beginning, I am a lover of spoken word since it can be such a powerful medium.
    I really respect my mother because she taught me about sex and violence at a young age, she answers any and all questions she can. I have been telling my cousins this too. When they start hurting each other I explain to them the effects of that hurt.

  26. hey laci, have you ever heard of DearLisa? it’s this guy that lost his daughter to an absolutely horrible abuse case (her boyfriend) and now her goes to high schools talking to girls (idk about boys; i went to an all-girls school) about how to avoid relationship violence. when he tells his story, no one i know has been able to resist crying. i think you’d be really interested in it. here’s the website if you want to look it up
    http://www.dearlisa.org/

  27. Thought provoking post as always. As someone who works in a female dominated industry and has most of their daily interactions with women, I have to strongly agree that prevention is better. I’ve heard so many stories that have made me frankly appalled and deeply saddened. Knowing that such abuse goes on and continues to go on and worse still, is accepted or even considered ‘normal’. We absolutely need to talk to our children early, have open discussions, and make sure that things change. Thanks for promoting the lines of communication on this subject, and for all the work you do for the community in general. Your a real inspiration.

  28. That poetry reading by Gibson at the beginning of your post was absolutely fantastic, and it hit the nail right on the head. If we as a society stopped teaching our young men that masculinity is defined through violence, aggression, apathy and competition (but rather through the qualities that define a decent human being, such as empathy, consideration and caring), I bet you that domestic violence would all but disappear.

    A culture that teaches men that sex is something that must be won or taken from women to prove their masculinity is not a culture that is safe for the female population, nor is it a culture that provides males the opportunity for both sexual and emotional fulfillment.

    Shit needs to change, bro.

  29. I would just like to say thankyou for introducing me to the words of Andrea Gibson. how powerful and emotive not only “blue blanket” but many of her peices are!

    and on topic….

    being from the UK i decided to check out what our stats on domestic violence were like. The first thing that came up was from a survery done in 2009 by Ipsos Mori, who conducted a telephone poll found “One in seven people believe it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend if she is dressed in “sexy or revealing clothes in public”,”

    I personally find this disgusting, and think that education on domestic violence should be carried out globally.

    I work within the hospitality business and we are always told never try and help either man or women if it looks like there is a public domestic violence issue going on. regardless of whether he/she has raised his hand or not.

    Thankyou for making me think this morning.

  30. I love you laci. I think exactly the same thing about how to prevent all this, and one of my dreams for life is to do what you’re planning on doing too. Also, the footnote at the end made me happy :P

  31. Thank you for spreading awareness on this very important issue. <3

    Only when society starts considering violence a social epidemic will we be able to prevent it happening on a larger scale. It's education that has this power to make it come true (and I'm glad you're advocating it) but unfortunately in our society parents don't really know how to raise their kids. Adverse childhood experience has turned out to be the major cause for violent behaviour. The next factor that increases violence rates is poverty or economic conditions which trigger this behaviour. All this considered, abusers themselves are also victims of the culture but most people only see them as criminals.

  32. okay, I am sorry, but for all the guys posting about how “man on woman abuse is not the only kind” you sound stupid. this article was aimed towards man on woman abuse, and Laci did mention that it is not the only kind of abuse. YES. she knows that it does exist, however did not choose to write about it. If YOU are so passionate about it, YOU create a blog and write about it.There is NOTHING wrong with the information she has provided us and is 100% true.

  33. I’m sorry, but you ask us do we see the irony of men making everything about us, yet you don;t seem to see the irony in the fact that you and many other women always have to make things about YOU. This isn’t about YOU. It’s about everyone. Domestic abuse is wrong, regardless of who is the victim and who is the abuser. If you understand that women can be abusers, then I would hope society would teach EVERY child that violence isn’t the answer. Just because you don’t hear about men getting abused by women doesn;t mean it doesn’t exist, or it is as rare as you think. As a man, it is really frustrating to hear a woman asking people to take domestic violence against women seriously, all the while trivializing that it happens to more men than you think.

  34. I haven’t checked in here for a few weeks because I thought it was getting boring, but the last handful of posts are really awesome quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily favorites. You deserve it mate…

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