A parade of demonstrators marched through campus Oct. 15 to remind us that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Rather than taking another spin on the faulty and outdated Duluth Domestic Violence Power & Control Wheel, which assumes that all victims must be female and all perpetrators must be male, it is time we take a look at the facts.
There are many more issues to consider in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) than Power and Control.
Some couples simply lack an ability to resolve a conflict or to avoid escalation. There are other factors.
Domestic Violence is far more likely to occur among the poor and among those with less education.
Being in an unmarried relationship is another predictor of IPV. Add other factors such as substance abuse, relationship instability, or mental illness and the chance of IPV explodes.
But there is another factor, greater than all these, that may predict violence towards women.
A report in the American Journal of Public Health found that about half of all cases of domestic violence is bi-directional.
One partner hits the other and is reciprocated.
The fact that most men can hit harder than most women accounts for the fact that 66 percent of those injured are female.
But the fact is, most of the bi-directional and 70 percent of the one-sided violence is initiated by the woman. Which brings us to a terrible and ugly conclusion: If we want violence against women to diminish, we must convince women to stop initiating violence! I am not one to blame the woman for all cases of domestic violence. But I am not the one who seeks to blame the man either. In the words of one researcher, Dr. Sandra Stith, a woman’s initiation of violence against a partner is “a dramatically more important factor than anything else” in the woman’s being injured. Domestic Violence Awareness Month has been going on now for 27 years with not much change. That is because the problem is viewed as a man’s problem; only he can stop domestic violence. But until we begin offering women equitable anger management classes — and offering men their own domestic violence shelter — not much is going to change. We need to teach women as well as men that violence is not the answer.
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