PURPLE HAZE: Domestic Violence Against Men, Part Two
Cynda Green | 10/24/11
Read Part One

In Part One, I wrote about my only domestic abuse experience that occurred about 25 years ago.  But since then, I have never thought of myself as a victim, or a survivor.  It was an incident in my life that I quickly moved past.  It doesn’t define me.   In fact, I’ve tried to stay clear of the “victim mentality” in all aspects of my life.

Carmen Hubbs, director of Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program, indicates in the Domestic Violence Awareness Month articles she has sent to the Pagosa Springs SUN this month (but not to the Daily Post) that both genders fall victim to domestic violence.  But it appears to me that the general sense of her organization is that they are there to support and advocate for women only.

“Tickets are going fast for Some Like It HOT!, Archuleta County Victims Assistance Program’s fourth annual Girls Night Out”, Hubbs wrote in the June 2, 2011 SUN.

"Girls Night Out." Men not welcome?

In the October 20, 2011 edition of the SUN, Hubbs wrote, “Victims of domestic violence are no different than any of us.  We’ve all endured things we shouldn’t have.  We’ve all stayed longer than was in our best interests.  We’ve all believed in a change that never came.  We all work at our paths...”

“But remember, the last thing a victim needs is to be blamed or questioned.  Instead, let us work together, alongside her [emphasis added], to help her... find a new street.”

I’m not sure I agree with Ms. Hubbs’ omniscient-sounding statement.  I believe a woman who presents herself as a victim does indeed need to be questioned.  There are always at least two perceptions of what occurred, and all should be heard without bias.

And what if the victim of domestic violence is a “him”, not a “her”?  That possibility doesn’t seem to be a part of ACVAP’s advocacy program — or most other domestic violence support programs, for that matter. 

Where does that leave a man who is being abused by a woman?

I’ve been researching and educating myself on the topic of abusive women for the last week or so, and have come across some informative websites.  The following is my opinion, strongly based on and synthesized from my research.

Abuse between men and women may be psychological, emotional, or physical in nature, or a combination of these.  Men, even more so than women, do their best to hide that they are being abused, so estimates of the numbers of men abused by women vary.  One estimate that reoccurred in my research was that 40% of all domestic abuse is perpetrated by women.

Suppose a man, who comes from a loving, nurturing family and who is peaceful by nature, enters into a relationship with or marries a woman who comes from an abusive background and is used to negotiating her way through life via violent and demeaning verbal outbursts that she attempts to escalate into physical violence?

If a woman cowers to the threats of an abusive man, it’s understood as a survival tactic.  If a man cowers to the threats of an abusive woman, he is more than likely considered a "wimp".  What man wants to feel like or appear to be a wimp?  So a man is more likely to resort to ‘flight or fight”.  If the man doesn’t leave — if he doesn't walk away, or run away, from the potentially violent situation — he will sooner or later strike back.

In these situations, we may have not just one, but two people who become abusive to each other.   One is the provocateur – the other is the provoked.

Unfortunately for the man drawn into an abusive relationship by a woman, the law is on the woman’s side.  It is likely that, if he calls 911, he’ll still be the one going to jail for domestic abuse.  The law and the general societal perspective is that domestic abuse is a one way street where men perpetrate violence on women, and not vice versa.  This perspective has been promoted by mainstream feminist groups that are supported by massive government funding and viewed as politically advantageous, which in turn, is reflected in the law and its enforcement.

Do you know there is only one shelter in the U.S. that accepts men who have been abused by women?

The truth is, however, that abusive women are not helped when society fails to acknowledge their existence.  They may come to believe that their abuse is acceptable and permissible, and may feel empowered to continue and escalate their abuse against men.  They are not required, nor do they feel compelled to get therapy for their abuse.

In Daily Post tradition, I decided to write this article as an alternative source of information in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.   I am not an expert, but I find the subject of women abusing men intriguing.  If you are interested in this topic, I have found Dr. Tara J. Palmatier’s website, Shrink4Men, to be an excellent resource.  Her postings are informative, easy to read and offer a bit of humor whenever possible.

Here are some of Dr. Palmatier's more popular postings:

Welcome to the Land of Emotional Reasoning:  I’d Turn Back if I Were You” opens with, “To the north, you’ll find Never-Never Take Responsibility Land and just to the south you’ll find the Land Where It’s Always Somebody Else’s Fault.” 

Divorce and High-Conflict People: Borderlines, Narcissists, Histrionics, Sociopaths and Other Persuasive Blamers”.  Many abusive women have some level of personality disorder.   See if the shoe fits.

An Immodest Proposal:  Domestic Violence Groups Claim the Use of Logic by Men is Abuse”.  When you’re competing for $4 billion in government funding for women victims of abuse, any emotional argument will do.

Over the last few decades, domestic violence perpetrated by men against women has come to the forefront of the American conscience, and has received the financial and legal support necessary to physically, psychologically, and emotionally support women victims.  The downside is that it sometimes supports female perpetrators in its zealousness to protect female victims. 

Isn’t it time to recognize that domestic abuse is a two-way street shared by both men and women, and to offer recognition and support to men who are victims of female abuse?

Isn’t it time to blend the purple haze of domestic violence against men into the purple bows that hang from our streetlights as a reminder that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? 

The time is long past due.

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