Doctor Science Knows

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Domestic violence

Over the past week or so there's been an interesting and emotional series of posts in the political blogosphere about domestic violence, which I guess kicked off with :Linda Hirshman talking about Morgan steiner's book Crazy Love.

hilzoy:

Why do they stay? (April 10) Must-read.

Battered Women: The Sequel (april 13)

And another thing (April 15).

Ta-Nehesi Coates:

When You Love Someone Who Chokes You

Abuse and Responsibility (april 9). Must-read.

Battered Women and Responsibility, Pt. 2 (april 14)

Rambling, rambling, and more rambling (april 15)

On Last Note on Spousal Abuse (April 15)

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I can't remember if I posted multiple times, but I've certainly read a lot -- these posts, and their *voluminous* comments. My comment on hilzoy's latest post, for the record:


It's not often that I disagree with Jes[urgislac] by being the *more* radical feminist one, but this time I do.

in any discussion of partner abuse, domestic violence, I agree it's probably better to attempt gender-neutral language - difficult though that is.

Abuse of women by male partners is objectively worse (=more likely to lead to murder, for instance) but also *different* from abuse of men. It is different because it has been -- historically, and in many cultures or subcultures still is -- endorsed. It is expected, it is normal, it is something (some proportion of) men feel entitled to do. They feel that way because other people back them up.

The problem of humans getting violent with their intimate partners is probably eternal. The super-problem here, the over-arching problem, is that one particular sort of violence is tolerated, endorsed, classified as "chastisement" or business as usual. IMHO treating female-on-male abuse as the equivalent of socially-endorsed male-on-female abuse is a way of directing attention away from the social factors, and in particular from the way that *we*, the rest of society, are complicit.

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