Domestic Violence Questions and Answers
Isn’t it true that women beat men as often as men beat women?
Women do hit men—sometimes, in self-defense. But, the vast majority of domestic violence incidents, in which serious injuries occur, men are the batterers and women are their victims. Certainly, all domestic violence is wrong—and the costs of abuse are huge. Domestic violence fills emergency rooms and courts, juvenile justice centers and morgues. And, the crime in our homes is contributing to the crime on our streets. Whether or not there is abuse in your own family, domestic violence IS your business. Each one of us can and must be part of the solution.
Haven’t advocates exaggerated the prevalence of domestic violence In this country? Isn’t domestic violence really quite rare?
Domestic violence occurs here and in every community. Every 12 seconds men stalk, beat, kick, and terrify the women they promised to love. Domestic violence is difficult to measure with precision, but there is no doubt that it is a costly and devastating problem for our nation. If you doubt it, spend a night at an emergency room. Talk with a police officer who answers domestic abuse calls. Go to court and listen to the women who are forced to seek restraining orders against their husbands or boyfriends. The FBI says that domestic violence is the most committed crime in this country, but, the least reported—any statistics are considered to be conservative. Whether there are one million or six million incidents of physical abuse against women each year, the actual estimate in the United States, this is an epidemic we can no longer ignore. There’s no excuse for domestic violence, and no excuse for any of us not to help end abuse.
Isn’t it the feminist ideology that causes battered women’s advocates to portray all men as batterers and women as their helpless victims?
All men certainly are not batterers. We welcome the many men who are joining efforts to prevent and stop domestic violence. Men have a critical role to play in ending this epidemic. It is beyond dispute that the gender roles in our society can reinforce attitudes that lead to violence against women—and certainly fail to condemn those attitudes. We cannot effectively address this epidemic if we ignore the impact of gender roles. Battered women are not helpless victims. Most find remarkable courage as they seek escape from the violence that threatens their lives and the lives of their children. We have to do more to help battered women. Police and doctors, clergy and employers, teachers and soccer coaches, men and women. You and I –can help stop domestic violence. And, we must.
If battered women don’t want to leave, what can anyone do?
If battered women stay in abusive relationships, it is because they lack the support and resources to protect themselves. Nobody wants to be terrorized and battered, and nobody deserves a home life filled with abuse. As a society, we have looked the other way for too long. Domestic violence is an epidemic. It affects every community, every workplace, every family. There’s no excuse for domestic violence—no excuse for men to beat women, and no excuse for any of us to ignore this any longer. Domestic violence is our business. Each one of us can and must be part of the solution.