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Women Behaving Badly – Women As Domestic Abusers

Women Behaving Badly – Women As Domestic Abusers
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

When you hear the phrase, “domestic violence”, what image automatically comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you envision a bruised and battered woman. Would you be surprised to know that 1 in 7 men will fall victim to domestic violence at the hands of their female partner? According to the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2011 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) , published in 2015, that’s approximately 14% of the U.S. population, or roughly 16 million men. Women still make up the largest percentage of victims, about 29 million cases.

Although the numbers are staggering, are they accurate? Some experts think the numbers are higher. Women are more likely to report being abused, whereas men are often reluctant to self-report. They may feel that no one will believe them or feel ashamed. They may simply grin and bear it, hoping that one day their loved one will simply snap out of it. Just like women, they often make excuses for their loved one’s behavior or blame themselves.

Domestic violence crosses all races, ethnicities, age groups and socioeconomic status. The image of celebrity women behaving badly against men has largely been downplayed or dismissed as isolated incidents, rather than patterns of long-term abuse and in some cases they are just that. But if left unchecked, these abusers may continue to abuse, rather than seek help because many don’t feel they have a problem. The victims also often downplay the incident and continue the relationship.

Although the marriage ended, most people felt Elin Nordegren, AKA Mrs. Tiger Woods, was justified in her behavior after she found out about her husband’s infidelities. It was reported that she scratched his face and then chased him from the house, with a golf club, striking his car in the process. And who can forget, Lorena Bobbitt? In 1993, she cut off her husband’s penis as he slept. She later claimed that he had raped her. No evidence of an assault was found. During her trial she said he had systematically abused her during their marriage and she had just “snapped”. She was found not guilty due to temporary insanity and essentially received a slap on the wrist, a 45-day evaluation at a state hospital.

This is not just a young woman’s issue. Middle-aged women are just as likely to abuse as their younger counterparts. Especially in instances where there has been a progressive history of violent acts over years of marriage. They may become angry that they haven’t achieved their life’s goals and blame their spouse. Or in the case of illness, may resent having to nurse their spouse, becoming verbally or physically abusive.

Red Flags

Abuse comes in many forms and some victims may not even believe they are being abused. It’s not just about physical abuse, it’s much deeper. Abuse includes sexual violence (and yes, men can be sexually violated), psychological mind games, coercion and even stalking.

While an abusive male is more likely to use his hands to strike his victim, a physically aggressive woman often threatens or attacks her victim with a weapon. Most often everyday household items like knives or whatever’s handy becomes the weapon of choice. She is also more likely to attack her victim when he’s incapacitated and therefore unable to fight back such as when he’s sleeping or at times when she can sneak up on him.  Women are more likely to throw things, especially glass items.

The idea of the henpecked husband, played out for fun on the big and little screen, with the angry wife screaming, yelling and throwing things, is no joke for men who have to deal with this issue on a daily basis. Much in the same way when men are the perpetrators, the pattern of violence may start small, almost indecipherable. She might threaten her partner or call him names. Even something seemingly as simple as slamming doors or breaking things can lead to physical violence. Physical violence also may start small. A push or a shove here, a slap there, escalating to more physically violent acts.

Does your partner:

Control most aspects of your life including where you go and who you see? Isolate you from family members?

Continuously embarrass or put you down?

Control all the money in your house, give you an “allowance” or refuse to give you any money at all?

Make all the decisions in your house, without any input from you?

Threaten to hurt you or your children?

Blame you for making her abuse you (“Look what you made me do!”)

Destroy your personal property or joint household items?

Make veiled or overt threats?

Monitor your phone calls and online activities (checking emails, for instance?

Put tracking devices on car or phone

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be a victim of domestic violence.

Getting Help

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, there’s no need to be ashamed; help is available. Talk to a family member or friend. Contact a support group or seek professional and/or legal help. Despite what your abuser may tell you, it’s not your fault. The first thing you need to do, if possible, is leave. Just like women, some men stay with their abuser because they are afraid for the safety of their children. For a middle- aged man, it might be easier to leave because he may not have dependent children in the house. Unfortunately, they may also feel they have fewer options than a younger man. They may not want to start over or may have no place to go.  A younger victim may have parents or relatives they can live with temporarily.  Older men may not want to be a burden to their aging parents or relatives.

If you or a loved one is the victim of domestic abuse, these resources are a good place to start to get help:

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE), offers 24/7, confidential assistance

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a listing of state coalitions that can assist you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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