Category Archives: gynocentrism

Domestic Violence Double Standards: Men Get Shackles, Women Get Chuckles

Ray-Rice-married.final

Ray Rice got a raw deal.  

We are living in a world of huge double standards when it comes to domestic violence and our men are on the bad end of the deal.  When a man commits domestic violence  he is punished very harshly.  But when a woman commits domestic violence she gets cheers, chuckles or is all too often ignored.

Just look at what happened to Ray Rice.

The video of the incident showed Rice’s girlfriend (and soon to be wife) hitting him twice, once before getting on the elevator and once on the elevator.  Then it shows her moving aggressively towards him in what appears to be an attempt to strike him a third time. (please note this not a defenseless woman cowering in the corner) Rice responds by hitting her in the face and she hits her head on a handrail which then knocks her out.  The eventual response to this incident?  Ban Ray Rice from his lucrative association with the NFL, and be fired from his team, the Baltimore Ravens.  These two things obviously shame him, put a big DV on his forehead, cut off his income, his prestige, and his association with his friends and teammates.  A very harsh and far too stringent response in my opinion.  But wait.  What would happen if we reversed the roles here?

Let’s see.

Imagine this: Ray Rice hits his girlfriend before getting on the elevator and then again on the elevator.  Then moves aggressively towards her in what appears to be a third attempt to hit her.  As he moves in to hit her she hits him in the face and he hits his head on a handrail knocking him out. What is the response to this?  My guess is she would get accolades and be seen as a hero, a woman who successfully protected herself from an abuser.  She would likely be on talk shows and be held up as a role model for all women.  Rice would likely be arrested for domestic violence while she is seen as a hero.

Do you see the problem here?   For the same behavior she is a hero and he is shamed and banished.

So Ray Rice was not guilty of beating up on a completely defenseless woman.  No.  As we previously described this was not some cowering woman in the corner covering her face with her arms and hoping not to be hit, this was an aggressive woman who had already struck him twice and was moving in for the  third blow.  This is very different from a defenseless women.  Yes, Ray needs to take responsibility for hitting her but doesn’t she need to take responsibility for hitting him? Isn’t she clearly guilty of domestic violence?  I read quite a few articles on this incident and I simply don’t remember ever seeing her violence addressed. No one ever mentioned it.  Just another example of the huge double standard we face.  It is so powerful that the media simply ignores the violence of women.  The youtube with this article shows numerous women who were violent in relationship and what was the response?  Laughter and very little.

I think the NFL really blew it on this one.  

The punishment he received was far from helpful.  What sort of help might he get from being banished from his profession?  What sort of help might it give his wife?  None. The sad fact is that the NFL acted like a cowardly white knight who was more than willing to throw Mr Rice under the team bus in order to appear that they didn’t hate women and had uber concern about the issue of domestic violence.  It just seems like one big disgusting play for image by the NFL.  A play that ignores the humanity of both Rice and his wife.

What happens to the man on the street who hits a woman?  Is he tossed out of his job as punishment?  No.  Is he banned from working in his profession?  Highly unlikely.  Is he offered some form of counseling or educational opportunity that might help him deal with his mess?  Yes, usually, and in severe cases people go to jail but apparently the Ray Rice situation found that he was best served by this former alternative but the NFL stepped in and amped up the ante to an extremely humiliating degree.  

Does the fact that she didn’t hit as hard matter?  Not really.  If a 5’ 7” 150 lb man came to me in therapy and said that he had hit a pro football player twice in an elevator and was moving towards him again to land a third blow and he got knocked out what would I tell him?  Would I tell him that he should have the pro football player arrested and that he was a victim?  Or should I tell him that his behavior was a part of this equation.  Duh.  Why doesn’t Mrs Rice get the same treatment?  Because we are living in a gynocentric world that holds men accountable and fails to do the same for women.

If we are going to let women off and not hold them accountable for domestic violence than we need to do the same with men.  If we are truly equal it is the only fair thing to do.

Exact Equality with Men Would be a Step Down for Women

Information about Domestic Violence

There is an interesting battle of information going on in the domestic violence scene. The service providers and legislators offer statistics that show the ever increasing incidence of domestic violence. It faithfully shows that men are the perpetrators and women are the victims. Importantly most of their numbers come from hospital and police records or their own statistics. This gives them a decidedly biased flavor. The flavor is that women are nearly the only victims and men the only perpetrators. Keep in mind that the services they offer are for women only. Imagine that we built a hospital for only Caucasian diabetics our statistics would reflect that whites were the overwhelming majority of people we served. We could easily make a case for the need for more services for whites who had diabetes and disregard the need for other races. In the same way, the domestic violence industry’s reliance on their own statistics is skewed and misleading and fails to count the male victims due to its bias.

But what if someone else studied the problem from a different perspective? A perspective that relied on scholarly research in peer reviewed scientific Journals? That is just what has happened. There is an alternate voice that paints a very different picture. Bonafide peer reviewed research. When you look at the scientific research on domestic violence done by legitimate scientists in studies that are supervised by other non-partisan scientists you get a very different story. What you find is that women actually initiate domestic violence more often than men. You also find that men are a significant portion of the injured victims of domestic violence. The Archer meta-analysis published in Psychological Bulletin (2000) looked at all the previous research and found that when they were all tallied that men comprised 38% of the injured victims! Starkly different figures than you get with the stats offered by the domestic violence industry.

For a quick look at a listing of numerous scientific studies you can go to Martin Fieberts page. Skim through the entries and get a sense of the number of studies that have come to the same conclusion: that domestic violence is a two way street with both men and women being victims and perpetrators. In fact Murray Strauss PhD., one of the grandfathers of domestic violence research, states that domestic violence is 25% men beating women, 25% women beating men, and 50% brawl between the two.

The obvious question is why do we have no services for men?

Why are Men more Aggressive & Competitive?

Science has offered us a fairly new understanding about the origins of our sex differences. It is all about competition and survival. Evolutionary biologists show us that in most animal populations one sex does more of the gestating, child birth and child care and the other sex competes for their services. Take Gorillas for example. The females do most of the child care and all of the birthing and gestation. In this case we see that the male gorillas compete with each other for reproductive access to the females. Once they secure access they become the protector of their group. This is nothing new. However, they now are showing that both sexes develop very specific qualities depending on whether they are the competitors or those sought after. The group that competes will be physically larger, more aggressive, more violent, slower to develop and have a shorter lifespan. This can be clearly seen in gorillas where the male is much larger, more aggressive and violent as it competes and then protects, has a longer development to maturity and has a shorter lifespan.

The most important part of this is that they are now realizing that we as humans have a very similar path. Since the females do most of the child care and all of the gestating and childbirth it is our males who are the competitors. Males compete with each other for reproductive access. They compete by trying to raise their status. The higher the male’s status the more likely the female will choose him as her partner. Status can be money, fame, control of resources, power, height, attractiveness, influence or any of a number of factors. Men compete to be first and top of their group and now we have a better understanding of why men have such a passion for competition. It’s easy to see that human males, like the gorilla’s, are larger than the females, slower to develop than the females, more aggressive and violent and have a shorter lifespan. Make sense?

Now there is an interesting twist to this tale. Males predominate in the animal world as those competing but it is not always the males. Biologists tell us that in some animal populations such as the seahorse, the Sandpiper, and the Red Necked Phalarope it is not the male who is competing it is the female! Look at Seahorses. The male seahorse carries the young in a pouch in his belly. He does more of the gestating and child oriented activities and guess what? Yep. The females compete for the males! The female seahorses are larger than the males, they are more aggressive and violent, they develop more slowly than the males and they have a shorter lifespan. Our differences are largely about whether we are in the competing group or the sought group not in whether either sex is good or bad.

This flies in the face of our last 40 years of demonizing males for their aggressiveness, competition, and violence. Would we condemn the male big horn sheep for butting heads? No. It is built into who they are. This is not to say that men should be excused for being violent, far from it. This is why we have laws. What we are simply saying is that we need to understand that men’s aggressiveness is often a part of the male package at birth. Blessing the men for this and helping them learn how to steward that aggressiveness and violence in productive ways for the general good seems far better than condemning men simply because they are male.