Letter: Men and women must work to stop domestic violence

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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Rather than taking another spin on the faulty and outdated Duluth Domestic Violence Power & Control Wheel, which assumes that all victims must be female and all perpetrators must be male, it is time we take a look at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.

Don Mathis

International Student Services



  1. Capt Robert Collins on

    In my experience with handling domestic violence cases women initiated the violence launching one violent attack after another until the man responds back with one blow. Perfect is example is the NFL player and his wife in the elevator incident. The news media only shows the blow by the player but if you watch the 45 seconds preceding this incident you see her attacking him multiple times and then it got to his snapping point where he resolved the situation with striking her back.

    The DV laws have unfairly changed to ensnare men since in many cases witnesses would come forward and claim the women started the attack then the women is responsible. The laws and policies changed to biggest aggressor which in most cases is the man will end up arrested even if the video or witnesses testify he never even attacked back or hit her once. The worst thing is that someone is convicted of Domestic Violence and they never even hit, but the system is quick to hold men accountable for the actions of women and not women for men.

    Our society on focuses on that men do not hit women and that men must respect woman and if a women says no it mean no. These ideals worked when their was a lack of equality, women held a special place in our society. However, things have changed and women and men are considered equals, but the rules still have not changed. The many women like the feminists want to have their cake and eat it too where women are allowed to disrespect and hit men but men are not allowed to disrespect women and don’t ever hit a women. We are in the time of equality, but it seems everyone focuses on the actions and accountability of men and not women. For example, if a man murders a women he will get life in prison or the death penalty. A women who murders is considered a victim of men and she may not even get charged or if she is the sentence is very light possibly four years max.

    If we want to stop domestic violence, both men and women need to be held accountable for their actions and that women will have the same consequences as men in the justice system and that we are all equal under the law. Both men and women have to be taught to respect each other and that violence will not be tolerated by either sex.

  2. Robert Gartner on

    One could hardly improve on the thoughts shared by the esteemed Mr. Don Mathis who has remained on the front lines on matters like DV, vitality for parents, and their children.

    It was probably mentioned but I will say it here that much strife comes out of society’s continuing casual regard for the critical need of a human child for each and both parents and on an Equal basis. We also still carry generational shame for destroying this planet and all its indigenous peoples. This is a factor too. In fact, Depleted uranium (DU) bombs are being launched from U. S. planes as I speak.

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