Men get a bad rap in this world for being abusive toward women. In fact, sensational media loves to throw pictures up on the screen and in the newspapers of the faces of abused and beaten women who were victims of their male partners rage and anger. Women have long been the weaker sex, the victims of abuse, the ones who stay in long relationships only left with battle scars from men who laid hands upon them, in the most disturbing of ways. Men who hit women (or children) are the ultimate villains.
But what happens when women abuse? What happens when women turn all Lorena Bobbitt, and do awful and evil things to the men in their lives. What happens when a woman hits and throws things at her spouse – and he doesn’t retaliate because (1) he has been taught its wrong, and (2) he is likely the one that would go to jail?
According to crime statistics from the United States Department of Justice, in domestic situations as much as 55% of the abusers are women, yet only a mere 11% of these women go to jail; whereas 61% of men abusers end up spending a night or two in the slammer. When the laws in the United States changed and gave law enforcement the right to press charges rather than have to wait for a victim of abuse to send her loved one off to jail – incarceration due to domestic abuse rose by 73%. And most of the folks locked up, were men.
Is it because men are afraid to admit that they have been abused by a woman? Or is it because often times when the law arrives at the scene – they see the remnants of a domestic situation and notice a bruise or whelp on a female complainant and immediately feel sympathy for her and take her side regardless of who threw the first punch. After all, it is NEVER okay to hit a woman, right? Not even in self-defense. So often times – men sit back and ‘take it like a man,’ enduring phases of rage and abusive behavior from the women in their life because they feel like their hands are tied. Or, admitting the abuse in public would be nothing more than a blow to their ego.
Men stay with abusive women for the same reasons that women stay with abusive men. Sometimes, its habit. Other times it’s because of the kids, or money, or to save themselves the trouble of a divorce or split. Often, it’s because it’s all they know. And these men are just as victimized as women are. The biggest difference is that if they were to retaliate, to simply snap one day and hit back – they are immediately portrayed as villains.
The reality is that dysfunctional, abusive relationships are a hard nut to crack. For people NOT in them, it seems simple. If there is abuse, you leave. But for the people in these relationships, it’s just not that easy – and the psychological effects and reasons to stay are not something that people living on the other side could ever truly comprehend. These relationships are destructive and unhealthy to say the least – but the people involved in them are addicted to them. And many grew up in households of abuse, so are simply living a life that they believe is normal.
Much of the abuse that goes on in relationships is verbal, and women are often the most verbally abusive creatures on the face of the earth. Just because this form of abuse leaves no visible scars, does not mean that it doesn’t hurt. It does.
It is also important to understand that women cannot just hit men, because they have long been seen as the weaker sex. It is NOT OKAY for women to throw things and punch, or hit, or scream at a man in their life under the veil of safety that suggests, “A man cannot hit me.” The reality is that people shouldn’t physically abuse one another. If a woman hits a man, she is just as much as a villain, as an abuser as a man is. Women cannot advocate for themselves and then pull the ‘we are the weaker sex’ card out of convenience. For now, this ploy is still working in society, as many men sit silent as the receivers of abuse from their women partners fearful that if law enforcement does show up, they will be seen as the villains while their women abusers are heralded as victims. This doesn’t make it right.
The reality is that there are always two sides to every story. It is often the case that only side – especially in mainstream media which is determined to grab your attention and suck you in, will only present one side. While it may be fair to say, according to statistics, that women are victims of crime more so than men are – it is also fair and accurate to suggest that women too, can and ARE often the abusers.