Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Domestic violence

I have been reading extensively about feminism in recent months. I have also been reading about its opposite - though I'm not sure what name anyone would give to it. What bothers me about some areas of feminism today is that it is founded on the idea of women being victims and therefore entitled to special treatment. I don't subscribe to this theory. There is nothing more annoying than a victim.

The idea of women as victims is nowhere more visible than in the emotive problem of domestic violence. Violence in relationships is not just a women's issue. Men can be victims of it too. This does not mean I am criticising women and saying domestic violence against women does not exist. I am saying it does exist but women can be aggressors as well as victims. Feminism seems reluctant to accept women can be violent - to other women, to men and to their children. I have personally experienced incidents in which I could quite easily have been violent - but I walked away from the situation rather than do something I knew I would regret.

Feminism does itself no favours when it denies women can be violent and provision for those affected by domestic violence needs to encompass men as well as women. Why exclude battered men from refuges? If they are traumatised themselves they are hardly going to be a danger to women. Or are we saying women in refuges are anti-men or see all men as potential assailants? Is the tension between men and women so bad they need to be segregated in this manner? Society needs to face up to the reality that domestic violence is a problem that needs addressing - whoever it affects - and that men can be victims too.

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