By Kevin Powell
In my recent travels and political and community work and speeches around the country, it became so very obvious that many American males are unaware of the monumental problem of domestic violence in our nation. Since October just ended and was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this seems as good a time as any to address this urgent and overlooked issue. Why is it that so few of us actually think about violence against women and girls, or think that it’s our problem? Why do we go on believing it’s all good, even as our sisters, our mothers, and our daughters suffer and a growing number of us participate in the brutality of berating, beating, or killing our female counterparts?
Investigations of domestic violence reveal significant relationships between interpersonal violence, masculinity, and gendered power relations. One in five women and one in fourteen men has been physically assaulted by a current or former intimate partner in their lifetime (Tjaden & Thoennes 2000, 25-26). Men’s physical violence against women is accompanied by a range of other coercive and controlling behaviors. Domestic violence is both an expression of men’s power over women and children and a means through which that power is maintained. Men too are subject to domestic violence at the hands of female and male sexual partners, ex-partners, and other family members. Yet there is no ‘gender symmetry’ in domestic violence, there are important differences between men’s and women’s typical patterns of victimization, and domestic violence represents only a small proportion of the violence to which men are subject.
Ever pressured a woman into sex? Mark Layton reflects on his past sexual behaviour and on the steps necessary to change it.
Widespread ignorance of the sexual assault of males is part of a culture of silence. Dez Wildwood speaks up, showing the links between sexual assault, sexuality and male power.
Are women the perpetrators of domestic violence as often as men, and are men the victims as often as women? Ben Wadham assesses the evidence.
A recent research project claimed to find that men and women are equally likely to be the perpetrators of domestic violence. Studies such as these have been taken up by anti-feminist men to claim that 'husband battering' is widespread. Michael Flood outlines a critique of such claims.
Have a look at this white ribbon on my chest. It is not a badge of purity. It does not mean that I have never been violent. It does not mean that I have perfect relationships. It is does not mean I have all the answers. It simply means that I think violence towards women is unacceptable.
I want to talk about the connections between men, masculinity and rape and violence, and war. I will then talk about the positive ways in which men help end the violence.
Men's monopoly of violence is the product of a lifetime's training in how to be a "real" man. The dominant model of masculinity offers to boys and men such qualities as aggressiveness, control, a sense of entitlement to power, and emotional callousness, as well as a series of myths which justify men's violence and men's power. In Western countries, to "be a man" is to be tough, self-reliant and dominant. Many males are taught to adopt an aggressive and violent masculinity, to be repressive of empathy and extremely competitive.
Men’s anti-violence activism is an important case study of male involvement in struggles for gender justice. What does this activism involve, why do men participate, and how do patriarchal inequalities shape both men’s efforts and their reception?