December 16, 2015

TRUE: We Shouldn’t Ignore Female Domestic Abusers.

When men abuse women, they are rightfully chastised, punished and maligned. But when women abuse men, they are often ignored or receive only a slap on the wrist.

This needs to change, argues Maddy Beiwel in the Iowa State Daily, Iowa State University’s school newspaper. Beiwel, a columnist for the paper, notes that pardoning women for abuse “sends the wrong message about feminism.”

Beiwel, who identifies as a feminist (the “equal opportunity” kind of feminist, she says, not the “burn the patriarchy” kind of feminist), brings up two examples of celebrities who abused their partners. Chris Brown, who assaulted fellow singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna; and Emma Roberts, an actress who was arrested in 2013 for attacking her then-boyfriend and co-star Evan Peters.

Brown will forever be remembered as the man who assaulted Rihanna, his career took a hit (though he seems to be doing fine now) and he was angrily discussed at length around the world. Roberts, conversely, received no such condemnation. . . .

Beiwell presents some statistics from domestic abuse organizations (here’s a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics for comparison) that show that more than 830,000 men are the victims of domestic abuse each year. Beiwell contends that “women are just as capable of becoming domestic abusers.”

She also discusses the narrative that seems to have been adopted by modern-day outrage feminists that women are “pure and above reproach, with every potentially controversial or unfortunate action glossed over.” She writes that treating women like they are perfect and incapable of cruelty “is an unequivocal anti-feminist statement that ignores all of the other facets of the movement.”

Beiwell also decries the use of female domestic violence against men as a form of comedy, noting that if men were beating up women in sitcoms no one would be laughing.

“It helps perpetuate the notion in real life that if a woman is hitting you and you take it seriously, you’re weak,” Beiwel writes. “The illusion that men can’t cry leads to an emotionless, strong caricature-like being held up as the perfect man. When men are abused by women, this paragon of masculinity can seem unattainable, and men may feel the need to bury their hurt in order to attempt to measure up.”

She also points out that the old “victim-blaming” approach to questioning abuse victims still applies to men — they are told it was their own fault or even arrested in place of the actual abuser. Men also have fewer resources as abuse victims.

It’s almost as if there’s some sort of war on men going on or something.

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