Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Those reasons look awfully familiar...

When you mention interpersonal violence most people will not just presume that the violence is male against female but will go the extra mile and be unable to comprehend the possibility of female against male violence and many will even go the extra two miles and outright refuse to acknowledge the fact that it does happen (the fact that its more likely to be male against female is not the same thing as only being male against female). There's this post over at Saveservices.org in which clinical psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack is quoted on why female abusers attack their partners. And they sound familiar:
SHOCK VALUE: “Girls who beat their boyfriends can have the mentality that ‘I can get my point across by hitting him because it will scare him and I know he won’t hurt me back’,” says Sally-Anne. “The girl won’t think twice about hitting because she’s safe with the knowledge that ‘boys can’t hit girls’,”
Sounds a lot like guys who use fear to keep their abuse victims in line.
ANGER ISSUES: “Girls hitting into boys can be the result of an adolescent temper tantrum,” says Sally-Anne. “A girl sees her boyfriend as a reflection on herself and if he doesn’t act the way she thinks he should, she might take her frustration out on him, sometimes to extreme levels.”
Just like guys that throw fits if the women in their lives do live to the exact expectations they put before them.
THE SPOILT FACTOR: If a girl was the centre of attention in her own family and was given everything she ever wanted by her parents, she’ll want her boyfriend to measure up,” says Sally-Anne. This type of girl can begin to hit if her boyfriend isn’t worshipping her to the degree she expects him to. “If she beats him to submission, in her mind it will teach him to treat her accordingly.”
This sounds a bit like guys who grew up in homes where they always got what they wanted. Not used to the fact that things won't always go their way and that people aren't going to bend to their will. And when the spoiled person doesn't get what they want the anger rears its ugly head.
ABUSIVE PAST: Some girls model their own behaviour on how their parents abused them in the past. “It’s a possibility they’re emulating behaviour their parents used on them as they were growing up or behaviour their mum used on their dad,” says Sally-Anne.
We've all heard people talking about how a lot of abusive men were either abused themselves or witnessed regular abuse on someone else during their childhood. (The only difference being when talking about men suddenly this is swept away as an excuse.)
DOMINANCE: Some girls who violently abuse their boyfriends are wanting to show their partners that they’re the ones in control. “She’s trying to send the message that ‘if you don’t respect me, I’ll beat you’,” says Sally-Anne.
Do I even need to talk about this one?

On one hand I can totally understand why people would want to talk about male against female abuse in separate spaces and context. On the other that does not explain why, in the face of similar reasons, people want to base laws, policies, and practices on how to handle all abuse on a single model and act like that single model is the only one that exist (to the point where people committing abuse in ways outside that one accepted model are often treated more leniently and the victims of that abuse are left with weak or no support).