Re: sex based studies on violence...

From: Matthew Gream (
Date: Sun Jan 09 2000 - 11:26:33 MST

Hash: SHA1

> >>The largest study ever done on domestic violence, involving detailed
> >>interviews with 23,000 victims revealed that in 70% of the cases, the
> >>woman instigated the violence. Typically she would keep escalating
> >>the man responded, at which point the police would be called and the man
> >>arrested - about 98% of the time back then (this was three or four years
> >>ago, as i recall).
> >
> >Have a cite for this study?
> >
> Bottom line: it's not politically correct (read economically
> feasible, when
> women account for 85% of consumer purchases in the U.S. and the
> mass media
> caters to the purchasers of advertized products, right?) to label
> women as
> potentially just as violent as men, given opportunity.

A few points, then a more general discussion:

1. It is sometimes the case that people who feel that they have been
aggrieved in same way, want to see acknowledgement and response from the
aggressor. I can recall (no cite, sorry) reading about this, which is
embodied in the hypothetical dialogue "he did this and this, and i got
really angry, but there's no response from him, nothing. he doesn't even get
upset when i'm upset, can't he see i'm angry, why doesn't he acknowledge me,
he just stands there, it doesn't even affect them, that really pisses me off
...". This was in the context of domestic disputes, where the female
acknowledged that she continually provoked the male until the male snapped
and hit back: the provocations were either verbal or physical. I can relate
this to observation of my own parents disputes as I was a child. That's not
to say that there are also many cases where men beat up on women just for
the sake of venting frustration, anger and whatever other purposes, which is
also very wrong. I would like to see a study that takes into account several
models and categorisations of behaviour. There are also submissive men that
are at the behest of dominant women partners, that suffer in the same way
that submissive women suffer in the hands of dominant male partners.
2. Observational experiences at high school have shown situations where
tough females have beaten up less-than-tough males. There were not as many
cases as there are of males beating up males, mind you. However, the general
credo is that "a physical male" never beat up a "physical female",
irrespective of differences in psychological composition. However, it was
overlooked when a female beat up a male, and in fact, the female was given
kudos, and the male relegated to being a "wimp" for not living upto his
"expected social conditioning". While I disagree with violence in general
(but, in extreme cases, it may have its uses, when all other avenues have
been exhausted or are assessed as unworkable), there is an inconsistency
about the way it is viewed and accepted based upon "physical gender" as
opposed to "psychological gender", in the context of "expected gender
behaviour" due to social conformance and conditioning.

I think that females have suffered far more at the hands of men, than
otherwise. I also think that females have suffered due to the roles that
society places upon them (Greer's assertion). I also think that men have
suffered for the same reason (the male breadwinner, the relationship between
work and self-esteem, etc).

Unfortunately, and a good dose of Chomsky is required here, the debate is
sometimes often stifled because of narrow mindedness at times. For instance,
if I make a statement of the form "females can be as violent as men", then I
am categorised as fitting into the group of people that generally want to
see a return to the dark ages; rather than having my comment assessed in and
by itself.

Personal experience, through observation and reading, has illustrated
anecdotally to me, that there are many effeminte males, and many masculine
females, and many anywhere in the spectrum between the poles. It may be the
statistical case that there are more effeminate females, than there are
masculine females, though. In the same way, there are males attracted to
males and females, and females attracted to females and males. Sometimes I
have to wonder at whether physical gender is an appropriate categorisation,
or pyschological nature/composition is a more accurate categorisation.

Contemporary society -- some do it better than others, and some segments do
it better than others -- and future society, should recognise that
individuals are in themselves a unique combination of various learning
experiences and backgrounds. There is perhaps an argument that all
individuals should conform to "basic" rules (i.e. some basic ethical rules
about how to act in relationship with other people), but above that, each
individual can be a unique being with any combination of behaviours, whether
"traditionally" referred to as masculine or feminine.

It is interesting, for example, to find Jung discuss the reason why first
marriages often fail -- and, this can be applied to many human-human,
human-entity relationships -- which is because the person may be in "love"
with a perception that they "think" the other person embodies. However, over
time, they come to realise that the other person does not live up to these
perceptions. Jung indicates that in marraige, it is due to people having
models of behaviour they inherit from observation of opposite-sex parents,
and their own observations of parental marraiges; hence they may expect
their partner and marriage to operate similarly.

This may occur in some cultures more than others. I am Australia by
background, so in our heterogenuous multi cultural society, this is more of
an issue than it may be in other homogenous and stable cultures.
Contemporary Australian cinema plays on these themes quite a bit.


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