Domestic Abuse – And the Winners are…
Much is written and discussed about domestic abuse, which is mostly understood as men abusing women. Or escalating to domestic violence where men hit women.
The definition on Wikipedia illuminates this conventional wisdom.
Domestic violence (closely related to domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence and intimate partner violence) is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence against a spouse or other intimate partner.
Okay, both marriage and gender neutral so far:
Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Domestic violence can take a number of forms including physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse that results in disfigurement or death.
Expands the definition, from abuse to violence, in a careful manner…
And then lurches into a form of societal accepted bias:
Globally, a wife or female partner is most commonly the victim of domestic violence, though the victim can also be the male partner, or both partners may engage in abusive or violent behavior, or the victim may act in self-defense or retaliation.
The “wife” is generally presented as the victim, with absolutely no analysis whatsoever of root cause.
And then comes a general explanation and attempts to dive into root cause, without examining physiological aspects of males and females.
Victims of domestic violence may be trapped in domestic violent situations through isolation, power and control, insufficient financial resources, fear, shame or to protect children. As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and poor ability to create healthy relationships. Victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Children who live in a household with violence may continue the legacy of abuse when they reach adulthood. Domestic violence often happens in the context of forced and child marriage.
Alcohol consumption and mental illness can be co-morbid with abuse, and present additional challenges in eliminating domestic violence. Management of domestic violence may take place through medical services, law enforcement, counseling, and other forms of prevention and intervention.”
The these is mostly defined at this point. The Wikipedia article continues the refrain that domestic abuse and domestic violence are committed on women by men, which is consistent with male behavior which is general the result of some provocation, as opposed to being a spontaneous action by males with no provocation.
Which brings us to analysis and provocation. We’d not argue than men are more easily provoked into physical violence, some men more easily provoked into violence than others (obviously some form of statistical distribution), and some men become more violent or more quickly turn to violent with provocation over a long time period, which we could call learnt violence, for example: im a marriage.
What then are the provocations which could make men become violent? What do we know of human physiology which comes invoke such behavior?
We’d repeat at this time, violence is a poor solution, however violent reactions are rooted in the mammalian stress reaction, fight or flight, – negotiation, a learned response, is not possible when the situation is very stressful, negotiation requires a calm, not angry, environment. It also requires an understanding of both sides of a discussion.
Violence is thus derived from stress, and is a stress reaction.
A second side to human physiology is humans spend million s of years as hunter gatherers, and have spent a small percentage of their evolution as in agriculture, or trade, or city, region, country or empire building.
Human behavior in a hunter gatherer society is highly specialized. Men hunt, women gather. Woman cannot hunt, the human upright posture and physiology required for child birth dictates differences between male and female skeletons (shoulder structure and arm carrying angle), such that women’s and men’s arms and shoulders differ, and that difference result in men being able to throw and women relatively unable to throw – especially spears.
In hunting, because humans are weak in comparison to other animals, men form a hunting party, plan direction, distance, and size of desired prey, role of the individuals of the hunting party, before going on a hunt, because discussion of these item in the “field of prey” guarantees absence of catch or success – the prey hear the plan and mostly decide they need to be elsewhere – except African Buffalo which may have a different and more lethal response.
Thus men plan and talk less, and specialize more, while going about the hunt, or “work” Hunting is an intent to perform violent acts, making violence a foundation behavior for men – or an evolutionary necessity – good hunter increased the chance of their genes surviving.
Women gather. Gathering is opportunistic and much more efficient than hunting, because any fruit and vegetable will satisfy the gatherer’s needs. In addition the women in a gathering society fetch water, and look after the infant and young children.
In this environment talking serves many purposes. Communication, teaching, defense (make a noise to frighten predators, or defensive by aggressive herbivores), let the children know where the mothers are, and because children need continual watching, avoid an overfocus on “gathering”. This behavior is lauded in modern society as multiplexing, and women are noticeably better at multiplexing than men.
Opinion: Shopping (or retail therapy), that is gathering in the modern day, is exploited by modern consumer societies to the point of becoming an addictive behavior, and in extremes a perversion, and a huge generator of stress for men, because of its financial costs.
Opinion: Women are no less capable of fermenting violence (going to war) than men. Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, and other “strong” women come to mind (Yes Hilary, you too).
A second source of stress for men is excessive non-task focused talk. The difference between male and female behavior is the butt of many jokes. However man and women use talking for communication with some commonalities, and some completely different purposes.
The different purposes also cause much stress between men and women, especially when men perceive excess talking as damaging to their “task” and when repetitive, irritating.
Such causes of stress, and the potential for violence by men – for hunting is violent. Some domestic violence could be attributed to the stresses caused by differing evolutionary pressures on the sexes.
Opinion: Sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
This is absolution nonsense, ask any child. And is generally coupled with Nagging.
Nagging, in interpersonal communication, is repetitious behaviour in the form of pestering, hectoring or otherwise continuously urging an individual to complete previously discussed requests or act on advice. A form of persistent persuasion that is more repetitive rather than aggressive.
According to the Wall Street Journal, nagging is “the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed”. Thus, nagging is an interaction to which each party contributes.
According to Kari P. Soule “That Interpersonal ritual is nagging. Yet, the term nagging seldom appears in interpersonal communication or conflict textbooks.It appears that “nagging” is commonly used in everyday conversation but it rarely makes it to academic print“
Forming the complaint: Men need to listen more and women need to speak less.
Opinion: Nagging is not considered a form of domestic abuse, and a cause for violence? Really?
Because that failure increases the stress in the relationship, and when taken to extremes, the result will be provoked violence. The man has got the message, is probably unable to do anything about the complaint, and the women repeats the complaint because she believes the man ignore the complaint and the man believe the women is over emphasizing the point by repetition.
The solution is clear. The parties need to defuse the conformation by seeking the company of their own sex to relieve the stress of the situation. That is “flight” from the situation, or there will be a “fight.”
Historically in the US the male retreated to his workshop, or now retreats to his man cave. In the UK the man retreated to the Pub, with possible alcohol fueled consequences on his return to the stressful environment.
Will they then negotiate? Maybe, but a repetition of the words will not succeed in keeping the situation calm. What the situation requires is a plan – only then will the task focus of the male override frustration violent male response – as will females abandoning the plan without consultation (aka: change of mind).
Female whims destroy men’s plan and cause stress. This is considered by our society as both acceptable and funny. That’s an unbiased view of behavior? Really? And Acceptable?
And finally a joke:
I was asked “Is anyone abusing you at home”
Response: “Yes, I’m married”
Result laughter: “Yes, women need to keep the men is line…”
And the final part? That’s really not funny.
I do feel abused by my wife and women of authority (early childhood teachers) in my life. Society does not recognize my feeling of Verbal Abuse as valid. Where’s the equality of the sexes now? I’d like some of that.
Women are not exclusively the victims of domestic abuse.
In conclusion I’d wish for as many women attending male studies classes and men current attending women’s studies classes, and balance in the study of Human Rights.
That would require a plan…