Domestic violence, as we see it today, is completely despicable. The police have a no tolerance policy when they get a call. But domestic violence is nothing new. In fact, fathers have beat their wives and children for thousands of years, and for nearly as long as history has been documented, this was normal. Condoned, even.
-Purposes of domestic abuse:
-keeps father in charge
-makes wives and children more obedient
-Explain where “rule of thumb” comes from
(at some point mention I’m using the pronoun “he” for the aggressor and “she” for the victim because that is generally how things play out. It doesn’t always happen this way, but for our purposes and lack of confusion, these are the pronouns I’ll by applying)
Transition: When did it all change?
Policy change: 1980s
-Ronald Reagan, policy crackdown, zero tolerance with drugs, reform for policy policy
-Equal Protection Policy: Police must protect everyone equally under the law
–But police could be called to break up a bar fight–they’d immediately arrest those who participated. But if they were called to investigate a domestic, they’d just check to see if beating was in progress (if they came at all), the leave. Usually, the husband would then get mad and continue to beat the wife when they left.
-Story (name pending): A woman calls the police multiple times over the course of six months. They never do anything. When they’re finally called for the last time, husband has shot the woman, dragged her outside and is kicking her. Police watch the woman get kicked twice more before arresting the man after the third kick.
-Woman sues under the equal protection policy and wins. Several more women then sue for similar problems with policy and continually win.
-Reagan calls for police policy change. Police also get paranoid–they don’t want to get sued. They start a zero tolerance policy: If there’s evidence of abuse, perpetrator gets arrested on the spot, whether the victim wants them to or not.
-Since women were talking about it now, people were beginning to think of domestic abuse as something bad, and no longer the norm. It became a huge issue within the feminist movement, especially in Western society.
-More domestic abuse reported than ever–became apparent that it was the most common form of violence perpetrated.
-Definition of “violence” changes: emotional and psychological abuse also considered violent (see Duluth Model of Power and Control)
-Talk about new punishments and their severity: Are they severe enough? Feminists would argue no=> goes along with lack in severity in rape penalization.
Considering Rape Culture:
-Explain what rape culture is (find suitable definition, then elaborate with a ton of examples + some personal experiences–i.e. cat-calling, slut-shaming, people expecting me to “prevent” myself from being raped)
-What this implies for the issue of domestic violence:
-It’s expected that domestic violence will happen, because sex is often portrayed violently in our culture and men just can’t help themselves. (“Boys will be boys”)
-Marital rape is only just becoming an “real thing”
-People are quick to victim-blame: “She threw a cup at him first–he was just defending himself by punching her in the face!”
-Personal example: Guy I know defends Ray Rice, saying it might have been self defense because his girlfriend hit him first.
Explain why women might start fights:
-women may be violent in a relationship, but when asked why, it’s typically for different reasons than men. Remember, men tend to domestically abuse people in order to control their partner within a relationship. But normally, that’s the last thing on a woman’s mind…
- She’s just so angry or upset–she acts on her emotions, but it’s not calculated
- She wants to start the fight because she can feel it coming, and she just wants some control over when it happens
Conclusion: What can be done now?
- Feminist movements need to keep going–women know what’s best for women, and we need to trust victims when they say something is going on.
- Men need to confront other men who are abusers–these people tend to listen more to men anyway.
- More education for everyone: what is abuse, how to deal with it. It’s not always like in movies.