Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Is lenience towards women increasing domestic violence against men?

First of all, let’s see what’s happening with domestic violence rates.

Excerpt:

Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.

Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

The 2008-09 bulletin states: “More than one in four women (28%) and around one in six men (16%) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. These figures are equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.6 million male victims.”

In addition, “6% of women and 4% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the past year, equivalent to an estimated one million female victims of domestic abuse and 600,000 male victims”.

Here’s a typical case: (from the same article)

Ian McNicholl, 47, has painful memories to remind him of the terror he endured when he found himself a male victim of domestic violence.

His then fiancee, Michelle Williamson, punched him in the face several times, stubbed out cigarettes on his body, lashed him with a vacuum cleaner tube, hit him with a metal bar and a hammer and even poured boiling water on to his lap. That at 6ft he was almost a foot taller than her made no difference. He still has burn marks on his left shoulder from when she used steam from an iron on him. Williamson, 35, is now serving a seven-year jail sentence for causing both actual and grievous bodily harm.

During the trial last year McNicholl told the court that, during more than a year of attacks and intimidation, he had lost his job, home and self-respect. He had been too scared to go to the police and had considered suicide. She was only arrested after two neighbours saw her punch him.

Sentencing her at Grimsby crown court last year, judge John Reddihough told Williamson: “Over the period of time you were with him you destroyed him mentally and seriously harmed him physically, leaving him with both physical and mental scars.”

Why is this happening? Well, even women who seem to be nice on the surface can turn violent when they placed under stress (like from work or pregnancy or their periods) that they are not prepared for, and when they perceive that there is no cost to becoming violent with a man. This is especially problematic when the man has no leverage in the relationship to negotiate with because of anti-male bias in social programs, police and courts. How is a man supposed to negotiate with someone who holds all the cards? She can just do whatever she wants, and the whole system is rigged against him.

Look at this news story.

Excerpt:

Judges have been told to treat female criminals more leniently than men when deciding sentences.

New guidelines declare that women suffer disadvantages and courts should ‘bear these matters in mind’.

The rules say women criminals often have poor mental health or are poorly educated, have not committed violence and have children to look after.

‘Women’s experiences as victims, witnesses and offenders are in many respects different to those of men,’ according to the Equal Treatment Bench Book.

‘These differences highlight the importance of the need for sentencers to bear these matters in mind when sentencing.’

The controversial advice comes from the Judicial Studies Board, which is responsible for training the judiciary.

[...]The Bench Book tells judges that the problem ‘consists mainly of violence by men against women’. It adds ‘the reality is that some of the most physically violent incidents are committed by men on female partners’.

The document also suggests that aggression against men by women is rare, saying that ‘men and partners in same-sex relationships might also be victims of domestic violence’.

[...]Updated guidance on how to sentence female criminals was distributed in April in a new section on ‘gender equality’.

It told judges: ‘Women remain disadvantaged in many public and private areas of their life; they are under-represented in the judiciary, Parliament and senior positions
across a range of jobs; and there is still a substantial pay gap between men and women.’

On women accused of crime, the guidance quoted Judge Baroness Hale, the only woman among the 11 at the Supreme Court, who describes herself as a ‘soft-line feminist’.

She said: ‘It is now well recognised that a misplaced conception of equality has resulted in some very unequal treatment for women and girls.’

The rules were prepared by a team headed by High Court judge Dame Laura Cox.

She wrote: ‘It is hardly revolutionary that judges should know of the matters central to the lives of those who attend courts and to aim to provide judges with that knowledge.’

And you can can easily see this in the divorce courts of Western nations where men are regularly taken to the cleaners. (Women get custody 90% of the time, 70% of all divorces are initiated by women, with 80% of them for no other reason than insufficient happiness – despite the fact that they made a vow to love that man forever). When you total up the costs of the marital home and property, alimony and child support, it really is prohibitive. The risks are too high!

And in more extreme cases you get things like this case.

Excerpt:

Three Missouri women convicted of murdering their husbands years ago learned today that they will be released from prison on parole because of claims of spousal abuse.

Vicky Williams, 55, and Roberta Carlene Borden, 65, will be released on Oct. 15, according to their lawyers and relatives. Ruby Jamerson, 57, will be released in 2013. All were serving life sentences from cases that date to the 1970s or 1980s.

[...]Borden was convicted in 1978 of conspiring with her lover to shoot her husband, Delbert, as he lounged in a chair in his Springfield, Mo., home. Jamerson was accused of hiring two teen boys in 1988 to stab her husband, Horace, to death in their north St. Louis County home. Williams was convicted of hiring someone to shoot her husband, Gilbert Lee, as he made his rounds as a security guard in a Chesterfield industrial park in 1979.

Lawyers for the three women later claimed that they had suffered years of mental and physical abuse, including vicious beatings. (See the attached link for more details on the cases.)

Many relatives of the slain spouses have disputed the claims of abuse and argued that the women were only conning their way to freedom.

The problem is that these charges of abuse are used regularly in divorce courts to tilt the table against the man – the charges of abuse are used to get custody of the children, but they never go to trial. The warrants for restraining orders are sworn out before the charges of abuse can be investigated, and custody rights are granted. Later on, the charges are dropped. But the damage has already been done – the woman has already been granted sole custody. Similarly, there is not history of abuse in many battered wife cases – the lawyers make them up after the fact to get their clients released. Sometimes, after only a few months in jail for murdering their husbands! And they get custody of their children after a few more months. Or sometimes women just take men to court to have their daughters groundings overturned. And the courts do it.

Men understand these things, and it causes them to stay clear of relationships with women that are regulated by the state. So, you may get a lot of men hooking up with women for sex, but men will not marry women and take the chance of coming under the authority of judges who think that women are always victims and should never be blamed or held accountable – even if they make false rape accusations or kill their husbands (that they freely chose to marry!). Some women believe that violence against men is justified because they have been indoctrinated to perceive themselves as victims. The victim attitude allows them to blame men for invented wrongs even when women themselves are the aggressors. And this is why men don’t commit to marriage anymore. It’s not cowardice. It’s that women have priced themselves out of the commitment market.

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18 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    I understand that you are trying to look at the whole in order to fix the whole.

    I also do not deny that abuse is increasing among women. I see that as the natural flow of the decay of our society.

    Couple things not pointed out in the paper.
    With the increase of openness to homosexuality, some of these men who are being abused by partners, are still being abused by men.

    Also, in dealing with women who are dealing with angry men, it doesn’t matter what numbers you show them, they are still dealing with one angry man in their house.

    My co-worker (Church going sunday school teacher) has just been severely, verbally abused by her husband, all because some other man, who should have known better, called her the sexiest grandma around. And this happened over this last week and week-end.
    Her husband, besides making her life miserable for over a week, finally brought it to a head when he just yelled “f*** you” over twenty times, any time she tried to talk about it, draining the life out of her emotionally and physically. She came to work, Monday, in a total fog, hardly able to do her job.

    Then when he was done ‘punishing’ her for something she had no control over, he wanted to go on like nothing ever happened. No apologies. No admitting his anger problems.
    He never laid a hand on her.
    But I’m telling you. No woman, Christian or otherwise, is equipped to live this way.

    If this man doesn’t straighten up, he’s going to lose her. But instead of seeing the fact that he drove her away, he’ll say that she was unfaithful and that it was all her fault and all the men around him will chalk it up to the wife being selfish and unwilling to love him and honor her vows. Vows he has already broken by his verbal abuse.

    And this is just ONE of my co-workers.

    Sorry, Wintery. I understand you wanting to fix the problem and trying to look at the whole.

    But there is a whole lot more going on than what sterile statistics put together by men will ever tell you.

    Women live in the real world of angry men who are getting angrier. Some women are retaliating violently. Some are engaging in preemptive strikes, doing unto others before they do unto you. Both innocent men and women are being destroyed in the battle of the sexes.

    But if you want to get into who is more guilty of violence, then check the percentages of men and women in prisons and see who is the most violent.

    You aren’t going to fix our society by fixing marriage.
    You will only do it by fixing people.
    Jesus didn’t die to save marriage.
    He died to save people.
    Once people are truly saved and healed, then healthy marriages can be built, and those marriages will help our culture.
    But the church heals people superficially, using band-aids when surgery is needed, then wonders why marriages are blowing up.
    Must be those nasty feminists! It could never be because men aren’t willing to deal with the issues of the heart.

    My coworker’s marriage is not being destroyed by feminists. She’s a tea-party conservative that sends me emails about everything wrong with Obama.
    But when her marriage joins the long line of divorce statistics, it will be easy for conservative men to blame her for leaving her husband, never giving a thought to the possibility of the hell her husband put her through before she finally had to get out to save her sanity.

    Jesus can save a marriage. He saved my parents marriage over 20 years ago. But He has to do it by saving the people in it first. He has to save them from destructive attitudes and behaviors.

    • Thanks for not being TOO hard on me, Mara.

      I actually am pushing for POLICY solutions to these problems. If men are bad, then it should be dealt with by women rejecting them at the individual level – not by punishing all men with taxes and coercion. If anything, women should be instructed and empowered to make good decisions about men by understanding what men ought to do. That should be done with engaged fathers, perhaps through the church. But I don’t think that Christianity should be the main solution – the main solution is policy changes that level the balance of power.

      I think the first thing to do with your friend is to do a root cause analysis on why she chose THIS man. What was the process of assessing him? What testing did she employ? What did she make him do to earn her love? When I talk to some women, all of their criteria has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage. Some women prefer men who will entertain them and not judge them, challenge them, or lead them. They basically use non-Christian criteria to choose a boy, and then they complain when the boy they freely chose acts like a non-Christian. Some women don’t want a MAN who is a Biblical MAN – they talk about it, but they don’t really make decisions based on what they talk about. The talk is just a pose – to appear pious in front of their friends. And usually, their friends egg them on since they don’t know how to choose a father/husband either.

  2. Foxfier says:

    The abuse thing REALLY needs working on.

    My little sister has (soon to be “had”) an abusive husband. My aunt was abused. In both cases, the slime was smart. In both cases, they didn’t call the cops, because they thought they “deserved” it– it had to be witnessed by someone else. In my aunt’s case, he slammed her face into the pickup bumper after leaving her parents’ house, assuming they wouldn’t look outside. In my sister’s case, he assumed the guy going through an ugly divorce wouldn’t be bothered by it, and started throwing stuff at her and breaking things against the wall. (Thankfully, he was wrong– which is why she’s in divorce court, rather than the hospital or graveyard.)

    The whole edifice needs to be worked on– being responsible and removing yourself from a bad situation means you get no help; having the cops called on you because of a verbal argument gets the guy judged guilty without more than a say-so.

    Maybe some sort of reform that requires evidence rather than hearsay? The guy with the burns, for example, has evidence….

    • I can’t believe what I am reading. Can men really treat women like that? I don’t even raise my voice to women.

      My way of dealing with someone who is really bad is to tell her I love her and then to just vanish or give her the silent treatment. There’s no point in even raising your voice. If you have to raise your voice or use a swear word, you’ve already lost the relationship.

      Do you think that women need to do a better job at testing men to see if the men can perform as a provider/protector (I mean apologetics!) and moral/spiritual leader? Is that the problem? Can women really feel safe with a man who has no reason to be moral because he doesn’t really know whether his moral intuitions are rooted in anything objective? Can you ask a man to do marriage when he doesn’t really know if morality is rationally grounded? Can a woman sort of skip over that question during courting and just “hope” that he will be moral – especially if he’s got all the non-Christian characteristics that she wants in order to have fun?

      • Foxfier says:

        A better testing process before marriage might help reduce the obvious problems, removing the high rate of false positives (that is, innocent guys who still get punished) might help people identify problem guys better… in one of those cases, the guy was perfect until well after they were married; in the other, there were doubts from the start, but it didn’t get worse until he felt secure in being treated decently…which he interpreted as having absolute power, and thus violations of whim or a disagreement were a challenge, and…ugh.

        I don’t think we’ll ever entirely get rid of abuse of those with less power (That is what this boils down to– it’s just that some men are now the ones with less power, given the automatic judgement against them, and that they’re still assumed to have the former, physically-based power.)

        I’d be willing to bet that immaturity has a lot to do with it. Dealing with people is hard, especially if you can’t just up and leave.

        • One way to get around the absolute power thing is to test them with how they treat waitresses and waiters and stuff. How much they complain about little things that people do that don’t really matter. People who complain about small things are risks for crazy coercion later, in my view. If the person harps about silly things, that means they’ll be very bossy. This is something that is a risk for me. Not because I harp about small things, but because I’ve never had roommates. I do have siblings. It’s a risk. I’ve always got my own way.

          • Foxfier says:

            That might work– but it also might incorrectly remove folks from consideration, and it requires that the person applying it be fully mature, rational and responsible. (I’m not sure _I_ fit that; I don’t know of any human that I’d be comfortable saying fits that.)

            I don’t think the problem can be fixed; it’s like battle-tactics. You figure out that when X happens, you do Y…and sometimes you do it, sometimes you don’t and hopefully enough of the other guy dies without killing your guys so you win.

      • Mara says:

        Yes, Wintery.
        There are men who actually do this. And it pains me to say, there are men in the church who do this.

        Thanks Foxfier for sharing this.

        Wintery, one of the reason these men are able to do these things and get away with it is because of how repulsive and unbelievable their action are.

        Decent men can hardly get past the fact that other men would actually do this.
        Because good men would never dream of doing anything so repugnant, they make the dangerous assumption that other men wouldn’t either. Or they make the assumption the only, say… 1 out of a 1000 men might do this if pushed a little too hard by the little lady. Therefore making it the little lady’s fault rather than the abuser’s fault. Or at least making her half responsible for the guilt.

        I know this view. I’ve seen it in good men, well-meaning men who give abused women bad advice in dealing with abusers. Advice that would work with a good man. But if used on an abuser, it could get her killed.

        Evil hides in darkness. Remember that just because you can’t see something AND would never do something, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t go on.

        Foxfier brings up two situations that point this out.
        In the first incident, the only reason the abuser was caught was because his behavior, that he hid so well from everyone else, was finally seen and exposed by light by others.

        In the second, the abuser assumed that another man would hate women as much as he did and lived in the darkness that he did. But he was wrong. That other man, even though he was going through his own darkness, he did not let that color his view of all women and make him feel the need for women to be put in their places. (An honorable man that I would like to meet someday.)

        It goes on. And until men in the church champion the cause of abused women, the abused have no choice to go to the world.
        And you see the mess that is creating.

        • Foxfier says:

          I think I better mention… I would consider the second one’s father an abused spouse. He grew up watching his mother utterly control every aspect of the family’s life– including a minute to minute schedule for all holidays. I am not exaggerating– we only found this out when the guy nearly had a melt-down the first big family holiday at his place. Even now, I feel sorry for him– his entire personality was like a dog that thinks it’s in trouble. Apparently because my mom has a strong personality, and was there to help with the holiday.

          Anything that went counter to the Dominant One resulted in yelling, threats, things being thrown or the cops being called, and the other members would turn on the one that went counter. His father is a big guy, but his manners are stereo typical beaten wife.

          Why would he think there was anything wrong? His mother did it, in front of people, even in public. At a guess, she hid it from his grandfather, since I can’t see him putting up with anything like that before his death.

          I wish a third of the worry aimed at the topic was aimed at abusive women– think of the last time you saw a man even play-hit a woman. Now think of the last time you saw a woman throw something at a man.

          Utter domination and crushing of one’s spouse and children is bad. Of course it goes physical sometimes.

          • Mara says:

            Foxfier,
            I think the most distrubing part of all of this for me, the most disturbing part of watching the increase in abuse, etc, is the continual cycle of it.

            In my profession I see the worst of the worst parents, male and female.
            I watch the heartache and distruction of our children (clients) by the bio-parents who produce them, who are addicts or psychotic or absent or so emotionally destroyed themselves they can’t parent or… (etc to no end).

            I’ve seen the disappointment in the faces of the little boys and girls, knowing that if they don’t find their way out of this emotional upheaval, they will grow up to become either abusers or abusees.

            Men who abuse often were little boys who had an abusive parent, mother or father. Doesn’t matter.
            Women who abuse, I’m sure, do it for the same reasons.

            But instead of dealing with the root of the problem, instead of getting to the true heart of the issue, entire ministries are dedicated, even overfocused on the outward structure, on roles, and policies.

            Roles and policies will not save an abusive marriage. No, not one.

            The whole head it sick, the whole body is sick. Superficial structure and outward policies won’t save it.

            Isaiah 1:6 From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it, Only bruises, welts and raw wounds,
            Not pressed out or bandaged, Nor softened with oil.

            Only utter and deep healing of the wounded child who grew up will do so.

            But too many are looking at the outside of the dish while glossing over what lies within.

            Jeremiah 8:11 And they heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

            Understand, I’m not saying good policies aren’t needed. I’m just warning against putting to much hope into them.
            It’s what goes on in the hearts of the people that will save or destroy a nation.

          • Foxfier says:

            Of course if we could fix people, there would’t be abuse.

            Not really a workable option, though; we can do damage control and urge folks to fix themselves.

            (I think the most disturbing part of abuse is that it’s a betrayal of trust, a perversion of love– and the “prevention” of it is then used as a further perversion of trust and love. Destroys people an all levels.)

  3. Mary says:

    I agree that the increase in domestic violence on the part of women is alarming. I agree that the bias against men in courts is bad.

    That said… 1) These stats also show that women are fifty percent more likely to be victims of abuse than men are – and that abuse of women is by MEN. 2) It would be nice to see a better balance of posts on these things instead of LOTS of posts on this blog about how bad women are and NONE on how bad men are. I can guarantee that men and women were equally affected by the Fall. Women are not worse than men. 3) While I agree that policy corrections are important, they are NOT the main way to address the issue. Mara is right that Christian transformation is the main way to address the issue. Sure, we still sin as Christians. However, if someone claims to love God and hates their fellow Christian enough to beat them, then they are a liar about being a Christian. The Apostle John pretty much says so. 4) While testing a person is important to see whether they are good material for marriage, it’s not foolproof. The article you yourself posted a few days ago on how we are all married to the wrong people said as much.

    And you know that I am NOT a feminist, so don’t even try that line… [raises lobster eyestalk]

    • Some nitpicks: 1) The numbers for abuse are about 45% men being abused and 55% women being abused. Keep in mind that lesbian relationships are some of the most physically abusive. And remember, this is really reduced for MARRIED men, who love their wives and children. It’s the nasty live-in boyfriends and stepfathers who are the real villains. Although they can be good individually, statistically, they are more prone to wickedness.

      2) Agree, I just like to even out the bias in the mainstream media. Men are on the decline, that’s why I am not attacking them. Plus, the man I know best is me, and I’m a lamb. So how bad could men really me since they are probably ALL like me? All my friends are like me – we all don’t drink, and we’re all either virgins or married. We all hate sports and TV and beer. We all love apologetics and theology and chivalry. My friend Andrew’s sisters recently told him how grateful they were that he was an example to them when they were choosing a husband. ALL my friends are like that. I don’t know ANY bad men.

      3) Well… I think that it will be easier to change the policies than to make the whole world Christian, although I put all my effort on the latter and very little effort on the policies, because more people work on the policies already.

      4) I agree!

      The point of posting this is to get women to be sensitive to men, not to beat up on women. All the women I know who I am not related to, except She Who Must Not Be Named, are really good.

  4. Teralek says:

    “2) It would be nice to see a better balance of posts on these things instead of LOTS of posts on this blog about how bad women are and NONE on how bad men are. I can guarantee that men and women were equally affected by the Fall. Women are not worse than men.”

    LOL! I’m SO with you on this one!!

  5. Shalini says:

    I agree with Mara and Mary. At this point, I don’t want to say anything more.

  6. Marshall Art says:

    This whole issue speaks to the benefits of long engagements. The engagements must not be marriages without vows, however. Though I didn’t follow my own advice to the letter, the way it worked out convinced me of the wisdom of it. My wife and I took seven and a half years to get married. Though we did live together at one point, the mere fact that we didn’t tie the knot right away gave each of us a chance to understand just who it was that we were considering. It is hard to pose as someone you’re not for seven years. Even if one is honestly just trying to be on one’s best behavior as a matter of personal principle, one is tested by life in the presence of one’s potential spouse and the extended courtship allows for the novelty to fade so that one is not ignoring in the partner what would not be ignored in others. In the case of my wife and myself, despite doing other things wrong (by the wisdom I’ve gained by the experience), we knew each other pretty well by the time we set the date.

    There is one other point about our relationship that I think is important. We each had enough respect for ourselves to not tolerate bad behavior from the other. By that I mean horrible stuff that leads to horrible situations. We aren’t perfect by a long shot (though I’m closer :D ). We knew ourselves and we knew what we had to have and what we absolutely wouldn’t tolerate and the rest doesn’t matter.

    I think most abuse victims set themselves up for any number of reasons. Having a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as a strong sense of what is a legitimate expectation out of a spouse as well as what the spouse can legitimately expect of one’s self reduces the possibility of such abuses as described here.

    • I think that if the other person is selfish and responds evasively and negatively to being “judged upward” (pushing her to a higher standard of self-sacrificial love that is what she’ll need to do to be a good wife and mother anyway) then it’s the end of the courtship. If you try to impose a moral standard on her for being selfish and she responds by defending her selfishness and blaming you for “manipulating” or “patronizing” then it’s over. That will NEVER work. I think that from a man’s point of view, the more you can stress a woman to do things in the courtship that she’ll have to do later (listen to you talk about your work, listen to you complain about politics, help you to make plans and solve problems regarding education and child care) the better a picture you’ll get. You don’t learn anything useful about a woman watching her eat chicken wings and drink beer or hiking around in the mountains. You need to watch her perform as you work on compromising on difficult issues together.

    • Foxfier says:

      Having a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as a strong sense of what is a legitimate expectation out of a spouse as well as what the spouse can legitimately expect of one’s self reduces the possibility of such abuses as described here.

      Those are also the characteristics that make you more likely to BE an abuser.

      Just as being a gentle soul who wants to help people and tends to trust those who should know better is a prime target for violence.

      Part of what makes this so horrifying is that it is a perversion of how things rightly should be.

      (Side note: both of the instances I mentioned involved engagements of over a year; one of them was at least four years.)

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