Thursday, August 9, 2018

Violence By Women

There has been a shift in 'elements' regarding female physical violence. These new circumstances are clashing with both our cultural assumptions/stereotypes and promoted narratives about women, ergo there's all kinds of confusion and denial about what is happening.
 
Author’s note: Violence comes in many different forms, levels and intentions. That is why I use a ‘road of violence’ analogy. If, instead of an act (e.g., a punch) we look at violence as a process, we can see ‘how far down the road’ a situation is. That’s to say, verbal and emotional violence are lower mile markers while physical violence is varying higher mile signs (the difference between a slap and homicide). While many women prefer to operate at the lower mile markers (non-physical) this does not mean they aren’t being violent. However, in this article we are talking about physical violence. Rather than having to identify it every time, from here on I’m just going to use the word violence.
 
About the violence itself. Yes there's more of it, but we are also seeing it more. The two aren't necessarily the same. (That's what's causing our cognitive dissonance and refusal to accept how often women are physically violent. )
 
First, women have always been violent. It was, however, hard to see because of how it was committed. What has changed on that front is
a- their targets,
b- privacy,
c - the level of violence,
d- lack of reporting
e- the willingness/perceived need to engage.
 
Second there's video proof now.
 
Let’s take a look at both our cultural assumptions and why there is such shock and discomfort about female violence. (As well as denial.) 
 
It used to be that violent women were very selective on who they unleashed on and where. By that I mean, their target selection tended to run –in order –their children, intimate partners and other women. This violence often occurred at home or behind closed doors (think fur flying in the women's bathroom). While there’s the old cliche about a pissed off woman giving her man the silent treatment on the car drive home (and then unloading) many times the argument starts in the car and continues through the front door. Back in these ‘mastodon days,’ something women very seldom did was physically assault strange men in crowded environments (that kind of stupidity was ‘a guy thing’). Because of these conditions, it was easy to believe that women weren’t violent. That’s because you simply didn’t see it. Worse, anything you’d personally experienced was easily written off as an anomaly. 
 
Another complicating factor is the domestic violence and rape agendas. According to these narratives women are always the victims –never the victimizers or aggressors. We have –literally– been conditioned into this belief and now accept it as unquestionable truth. This has a lot to do with the discomfort we have when we see women fighting (especially with strange men) and/or beating the hell out of other people. That doesn’t qualify as ‘victim’ behavior. Worse, we are often told to disbelieve our own eyes, ignore the obvious contradictions and return to believing the victim narrative. Failing that, we are given excuses and justifications for this ‘behavior by women.’ Excuses we wouldn’t accept for a man doing the same thing. 
 
This is just one of the many double standards about female violence. Another double standard is ‘that didn’t hurt.’ Apparently there’s some mystical standard out there that unless it causes injury or really, really hurts, it’s not violence. That idea is a whole lot deeper than you might imagine.
 
Some years ago I heard a female psychologist with a specialization in domestic violence acknowledge: Women hit more. Men cause more damage. For a professional to say this is startling, except anyone who’s ever lived in a trailer park knows this is like saying the sun will come up tomorrow. I make the trailer park crack because you will not find this out by doing interviews of victims hours, days, months or even years after an incident. In fact, even if you’re involved in the incident, you may not notice it due to adrenal stress. But if you’re witnessing it or watching videos of arguments and physical fights, you’ll immediately see it. Not only do women strike more, but they usually hit first. Against other women, it’s clearly a fight. Against men, there is still a hesitation to hit back by the male. But when he does, he often ends it with one blow. Although in growing numbers, the woman gets back up and attacks again. That is –typically –where men start with the multiple strike responses (a beating). If you know about this pattern, it is easily seen in many videos of violent incidents. 
 
There are many disturbing elements in these behaviors. One of which is this pattern of violence used to be reserved to how men fight each other. But even then there’s some differences. For example the male who ‘ends it’ wouldn’t have taken so many hits before decking another guy. In the past there were clear rules about use of force on women and on your fellow men. Built into these rules were behavioral requirements -- often on both sides. But let’s look at the using force on women. The differences between “you never hit a lady” (and a lady would never give you just cause to hit her) vs. “you never hit a woman (but if necessary you could tackle and control her) vs. “you’re not allowed to use force on a woman regardless of what she’s doing.” Two of those standards are functional. The third, although based in the most noble of sentiments, is often abused and used as a free-pass for female violence. 
 
There are two important considerations here. One is we must ask ourselves how many women are using this ‘you can’t hit me back’ idea as a free pass to physically attack and verbally/ emotionally abuse men? In fact, we can ask if they are aggressing while relying on men not hitting. This especially in light of, if the woman loses at the physical, how often will she run to the authorities to get the man punished for hitting back? 
 
Two is we must ask if this inherently unjust double standard is prompting men –especially young men– to just say, “Fuggit” and treat women just like they would another man? If you hit him, he’ll hit you right back, just as hard as he would another man. If that last is the case, it becomes a matter of ‘when?’ Will he hit you that hard after the first strike? Or will take multiple hits –and the pain they cause– before he either loses patience or realizes you’re trying to throw him a beating and defends himself? 
 
Or are men ‘supposed to’ submit and just take the beating? This is where the rise in the numbers of women attacking strangers becomes an issue. In a domestic relationship, men typically put up with such violence. Often because it’s limited to one or two strikes (incidentally this includes when he thought he was ‘being funny’). It’s when unchecked anger goes into beating mode that men will typically hit back. Having said that, this forbearance does not mean women’s attacks are not legally prosecutable ‘assaults’ or that they do not cause pain to the man. (Incidentally I’m not talking about male abusers. They only make up a small percentage of ‘domestic violence’ as do female abusers. Mostly I’m talking about couples fighting. Which, contrary to the narrative makes up the supermajority of ‘domestic violence.’ But you don’t run national campaigns or get funding on the low numbers of actual abusers. 
 
Oh and while we’re at it, do you know the raw numbers of child abuse lean way more towards women than men? This especially when it comes to other forms of abuse than just physical.) 
 
Something I included in the initial list, but haven’t discussed yet is the ‘lack of reporting.’ It’s a huge can of worms that impacts a multitude of issues about this subject. Starting with the other side of that same coin is when numbers aren’t tracked – arguably intentionally. Remember, we’re not just talking about individuals here, but we’re also talking politics, funding, social movements and agendas. 
 
Everything I have said here can – and will be– dismissed because there are no numbers or academic studies ‘proving’ these points. Or it will be dismissed as anecdotal My question is –when you have countless video evidence and mountains of anecdotal stories – “Why aren’t there studies and numbers tracked?” This especially in light of how well men’s numbers are tracked – and loudly promoted– by these same organizations.
 
Another issue is how many men are willing to come forth and admit they were thumped by a woman? Once again, especially young men. There is a good chance of ridicule and shame being heaped upon such an individual by his peers and ‘orchestrated disbelief’ not from first responders (who know it happens) but their departments (who often have unofficial policies that no matter what, the man goes to jail). Given the current domestic violence enforcement strategies, a man who defends himself and calls the cops is often getting himself arrested. In some cases, even if he didn’t hit back. Thus far we’ve only talked about women physically assaulting men, but women are just as, if more likely, to assault other women. These ‘cat fights’ are no longer being limited to inside the women’s bathroom. These days it’s happening right out in the open, just like two guys fighting. Once again, we have a difference between now and then, now these fights– and that’s exactly what they are– are being videoed. 
 
Something in the list we’ve edged around, but not specifically talked about is the level of violence. This takes us back to the mile markers on the road of violence. Do women kill more than men? No. Do women attack with deadly force weapons more than men? No. Those are all high mile marker types of violence. (Although there’s good evidence that women use proxies for their high level violence far more than men. Unfortunately those proxies are also men.) The question is how much unreported ‘lower mileage’ physical violence are women engaging in these days? These lower levels include both numbers of strikes and how effectively they can hit (i.e., cause pain but not injury). Sure men kill more than women. But do women hit more than men? That’s a question nobody in the hallowed halls is asking. 
 
Another question we need to be asking of law enforcement statistics, because of the ‘cause more damage’ issue are women being arrested for assaults and battery less than men? If so, then arrest records do not indicate all the assaults, but only the top levels of force. The top of the pyramid, if you will. 
 
Finally comes the big not-so-rhetorical question of what has changed in society that makes so many women feel safer about committing violence? That’s not a facetious question. But it certainly is an awkward one. It’s not just why do large numbers of women not just feel the need, but give themselves permission to engage in violent conflict? And don’t tell me ‘self-defense’ because when you watch video of these incidents, quite often they are tantrums that escalate to physical violence, if not outright fights. That’s a hell of a big topic; one way beyond the scope of this piece. 
 
So there you have it. Now I’d like to point out that I’ve seen three very strong ... what correlation? causation? contributing? ...factors to this kind of violence. They are age, socio-economic levels and sub-culture. 
 
You’re not going to see a couple of Boston Brahman matrons crashing into the buffet table at a Mayflower Society trying to claw each other’s eyes out. But trailer parks, barrios, hoods and backwoods? Hell yeah. You’ll also see a lot of it on the weekends in college towns and the local ‘bar row’ where the young gather. So this behavior isn’t exclusive to just one socio-economic level, race or age.

This has probably been a very uncomfortable bit of reading for many. But I’d like to leave you to consider three statements.
1 - Men are violent.
2- People are violent.
3- Women are violent. Which of those do you have no problem accepting? Which do you feel uncomfortable with? 
 
Number two is actually the most accurate statement -- especially if we tone it down to “...can be...”. But ask yourself, why do you feel uncomfortable with the idea that women can be just as stupid, aggressive, hostile and physically violent as men?

3 comments:

  1. Hey Marc, I'm curious if you could cite some sources for what you're saying about female violence.

    Because what you're claiming sounds plausible, but it'd be nice to have some empirical backing.

    As is, this comes across as "just trust me, ok?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here are some articles:

      "When wives beat their husbands, no one wants to believe it"--LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-young-sorenson-male-domestic-abuse-20180222-story.html)

      "Woman As Aggressor: The Unspoken Truth Of Domestic Violence" (https://www.mintpressnews.com/woman-aggressor-unspoken-truth-domestic-violence/196746/)

      "A rape epidemic — by women?" (https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/09/22/rape-cdc-numbers-misleading-definition-date-forced-sexual-assault-column/16007089/)

      “What Do You Do When A Girl Hits You?” (https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/brand-what-do-you-do-when-a-girl-hits-you/)

      "Help for Battered Men" (https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/help-for-battered-men#3)

      "WHEN WOMEN SEXUALLY ASSAULT MEN" (https://psmag.com/news/women-sexually-assault-men-92099)

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete