Sunday, January 23, 2011

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a topic much influenced by politics. Recently though with the censorship stranglehold of stage 2 feminism and the bullying of political correctness lifting there is more room for science. My research mentor said it wasn't a topic open to study 20 years ago because of the violence inherent to the researcher.
That said, a large Canadian study disclosed that women were most likely to be violent in the home. It was an interesting epidemiological study looking at families in general.
The stage 2 feminist position had been "all men are rapists", "all men are violent kilers'. The only solution for these feminists was 'gender cleansing'. It was like ethical position of the old west which said 'the only good Indian was a dead Indian." Not group likely to come up with viable solution to violence.
The light at the end of the tunnel was beginning to be seen a few years back when a number of radical feminist family, child and political studies were exposed for research bias and flaws. The radical researchers were simply doing experiments to 'proove' their points while ignoring any information to the contrary.
Comprehensive research in the 1980's using all sources of data done by a couple showed that women were more likely to kill their husbands than vice versa. The researcher later said he was almost killed for reporting this and his partner didn't want him working in that area because of the risk to family, all night death threats. What the research had shown clearly was that a lot of couples scrap and that women quite frequently believe it's okay to beat on men. The problem in this situation arises when men fight back, Men get killed 'probably unintentionally' in the heat of passion simply because women are most likely, due to reduced size and strength, to pick up an 'equalizer'. Men will use hands fists and feet with the damage being relatively restricted to bruising and occasionally broken bones. Women in contrast will be most likely faced with their big bruiser husband to hit him in the head with a lamp. The husband occasionally falls down dead and the woman claims self defense. It didn't matter if she'd started the violence and then finished it off with the fatal blow. It was always self defense rather than premeditated since it usually occurred in the heat of passion. The other group was the classic male bullies who married dependent personality disorder women and continually threatened them wanting them to be controlled because they themselves were out of control.
A particular plains Indian (native) mating ritual was for the woman to attack her chosen mate, prospective husband, and fight him viscously until he turned and had sex with her which constituted marriage in that tribe. Given that anthropological evidence no one can really say what women were doing before they killed their husbands most likely accidentally.
The modern female ape studies showed that younger females would attract older men by aggression and avoid being injured by presenting sexually. This was not something males were likely to get away unless they were perhaps exceedingly feminine. Ape groups have heirarchies with younger males being commonly brutalized when they challenged the older males.
The data of female contribution to domestic violence was heavily censored in the 90's. Clinically it was common to see men and women who had fisticuffed in marriage. The coroner was interesting in that he noted that bruises on the arms were common for women and that the bruises were consistent with what occurred when hitting. Naturally these were considered self defense too. By 2000 the courts were increasingly interested in the placement of bruises. The men though were more commonly scarred in the head. Faces equally were slapped but men would come in with lacerations from very objects on their scalps and evidence of many occurrences. With violence to children those most at risk are those whose face and exposed body parts have been avoided. The same was true with those tortured who had injury to feet in contrast to the obvious facial bruising which suggests a scrap as seen when two women or two men go at each other in public. The premeditated violence is most often indicated by injury in places which can't to self induced and yet are specifically chosen as least likely to be seen. Coroners and police medical examinations have been critical in recent years for assessing any trauma.
Men asked why they stayed in violent relationships commonly said, "if I'm not there she hits the children". Not surprisingly this has been the same reason for some women to remain in violent relationships.
The most battered men I personally encountered were a group of males married to a native group, the women owning the land which would become joint property only if the man stayed married 7 years. Those seven years were ruthless. The men could be expelled from the community without anything if they hit the women in self defense. A lot of status and financial power was involved in this situation. The men said they had nothing when they met the girls and that they so wanted to be farmers. It was a classic role reversal to the american stereotype promoted by second wave feminism.
Today it's known that alot of violence seen in the late 40's, 50's and 60's was a consequence of the PTSD or the returning male soldiers. Women today serving in the line of duty faced directly with frontline risk and violence are increasingly returning with PTSD, classic nightmares, sleep disturbance, irritability and exaggerated startle reflex and difficulty controlling their anger. These female police and soldiers are further trained as the men before them in effective interpersonal violence so that when they lash out as trained soldiers and police they are more likely to do damage. It's recognized that this form of reactive violence is inherrent in the training and consequence of exposure to the dehumanization of war and street violence rather than a genetic or moral flaw in the individual.
Study of street gang behaviour comparing female and male gangs shows that men will more commonly use violence as a form of extortion against community members. Women in contrast will more commonly use sex and threat of exposure regarding sex to extort money but will when this doesn't work move on to arson, ganging up and such traditional male gang financial violence. Increasingly the media is covering the violence of female gangs to each other with the increasing death of school girls in the altercations.
Anger Management for Women followed the Anger Management for Men classes which surfaced in the 80's or earlier. I only saw the first Anger Management for Women class circa 2000 in Seatle. Indeed 20 years ago no woman I saw admitted to 'anger'. Frustration, exasperation, irritation, etc was acceptable to most but when asked 'were you angry', the most common response was 'I don't get angry" or "I was depressed". Research today outside of the political restrictive environment shows that males and females of mammalian species experience fear and anger as well as love.
In studies heterosexual marriages faired the best with these having the least violence. Men and women were least likely to enter fisticuffs in their sexual relations. In contrast Lesbians relationships were associated with the greatest physical violence. This was followed by gay men. In all groups alcohol and drugs are most associated with violence and a strong case was made for the excess violence in the lesbian and gay population because of the excessive alcohol and drugs in that community. However, when lesbians began to address what was called 'the great secret' of violence, their statistics began to change quickly and dramatically.
Out of the closet women were most successful at stopping the secret warfare. The changes in the gay and lesbian culture in this regard have surpassed the heterosexual violence which seemed to some to be static and entrenched with a particular group of bruiser men and bruiser women accounting for the violent stats. Male and female psychopaths and sociopaths are most likely to use violence to bully. Violence has however occurred regardless of socioeconomic class or religion or creed. The variations in some groups often explained relatively easily by social crowding, increased contact and poverty.
Domestic violence was a problem in a refugee camp I visited but so was fresh water, food, privacy etc. so it's unfair to compare the statistics from these situations to middle class america. In that refugee camp the mother in laws and grandparents held greatest power and men were violent with their wives predominantly when the women refused to kowtow to the ways of the in laws and the husband was expected to bring his 'guest' into line.
Domestic violence against children is a common problem and it's least where parents stay together, greater in single parent homes, and common in blended families. In violence against children there's a lot more research on cause.
Now that the political censorship of second wave feminism has begun to lessen the wealth of data from the WHO files on culture can be more broadly explored. Unfortunately so far there's usually 'a priori' bias in this area like a lot of the ethnocentric studies of latter years with few able to see beyond this.
A very important factor put forward by a black researcher was that his culture had no large homes to retire too and was commonly out in streets or public so that it could be studied by social workers. The wealthy and powerful had the money and status to hide their violence behind closed doors in great mansions.
Given the increased burden of work and responsibility on single parents it would not be surprising that they would be more likely to be overwhelmed and strike out simply because they were more likely to be tired. Lack of sleep is certainly associated with increased irritability.
However, parenting follows animal husbandry. The wealthy, old money, not nouveau rich, knew long ago that race horses did best if treated well and that beating an animal resulted in poor performance. That said, it's true that the wealthy can hide their mistakes and failures far better than the poor but overall there is a tendency with wealth and power for a decrease in violence of children. Poverty and poor education are greater risk factors than money and status. It remains true that little is really known about truly wealthy and powerful because they have the power to privacy. It's further poor science to believe the 'kiss and tell' stories that later surface in the sordid hollywood scenes of Jerry Springer relationships.
Mental illness plays a role with specific brain lesions such as temporal lobe epilepsy being a cause for unconscious violence. Alcohol and drugs have already been mentioned and can't be over stressed. Bipolar disease, impulse disorders, PTSD and finally personality disorders are associated with increased risk of violence. In these conditions medications, usually antidepressants or mood stabilizers and the atypical antipsychotics can be extremely helpful for people who can't control their emotions. Schizophrenics have commonly got a bad rap because of their rare but often bizarre acts of violence. This usually occurs when the schizophrenic can't escape or when they are in the community without proper supervision of their medications.
Given the history of political violence in the world it's not surprising that marriage, the first political structure has it's share. However marital violence is quite rare considering the numbers married. The vast majority of people don't find it necessary in adult hood to bludgeon their partner or even their neighbor. Further there is ample evidence that education and social change can dramatically reduce violence. It's a relatively short bit of history since Doystoyevski wrote of a man beatting a horse to death in a public square. The collective raising of consciousness has had its impact with hope that it will continue to progress forward.
For one I'm delighted that we are getting further away from that horrid binary era of boys against the girls when whites said blacks were the problems and Americans said it was the Russians and gays said the problem was the heterosexuals and vice versa. Today we know that these political factors may be part of the story but that the story is far more complex. Just as the problems of domestic violence are mutlfactorial, so are the solutions. The good news is that today there are many solutions. Domestic violence isn't any more a necessary fact of human existence than perhaps war. Both clearly are a failure of diplomacy. When people are more diplomatic there is less likelihood of violence.
When people 'blame' and empower those outside themselves perpetually perceiving themselves as victims there's little hope for progress. Empowerment is being open and honest about solutions and having the willingness to make changes yourself if you expect others to change.
In the Canadian game of hockey a good coach will look at both defense and offense. Everyone in the violence equations needs to consider all aspects of what transactional analyists would call the game. When this is done there are often many possible solutions to an apparently insurmountable problem.
Marriage therapy and group therapy and United Nations interventions in war zones have all been extremely effective in stopping violence. Police, social workers, and courts especially where the domestic violence is addressed by male and female judges can be powerfully productive. In France domestic violence is addressed by tribunals. Alot of the domestic violence addressed in the courts for decades here floundered on the limits of the white male dominant workaholic judges with the courts improving in this area as more women balanced that historic impasse on progress in this area. It will be hoped that male and female judges will be a normal as this was found to be the most logical and ideal arrangement in family therapy work , not surprisingly.
Different cultural responses to violence are now a source of learning. Inuit resolved their domestic disputes with poetry wars in public forum. Male violence has been commonly siphoned off into sports. Today women are similarly siphoning off their violent tendencies into contact sports. Maybe men and women fighting in marriage should be given a coach and sent to the gym to at least learn Queensbury Rules of civilized dispute.
The future overall is bright if only politicians don't return the planet to a more primitive era because of their failure to address violence, bullying, miscommunication, and short sightedness on the greater stage. Personally I am truly amazed at the extraordinary history humans have of collectively of surviving. Despite the millions killed in war billions survive. Domestic violence remains rare despite the failure of media to report all those who appear to get along with each other without bludgeoning. We are now at a time when we are open to learning from these surprising individuals in the majority just how they live with each other without killing or maiming.

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