Community Connections
Domestic violence is also a men’s issue
by Elaina Budris
VISTA representative at Seekhaven Family Crisis & Resource Center
Oct 12, 2017 | 177 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print


In our previous column, we discussed that domestic violence is a public health issue that affects us all. Some consider it an epidemic.

The men and adolescents who experience domestic violence are most likely to experience it at the hands of other men. But, as it stands, women are at the highest risk of and endure the majority of domestic violence.

Violence against women is shaped by a wide variety of factors at personal, social and situational levels.

This violence is more likely in situations where a man’s identity is defined by dominance or how his peers perceive him. There is a correlation between abiding by gender norms and abuse.

There are higher rates of domestic violence in cultures where violence is normalized (i.e. seen as a way to resolve conflicts). In these cultures, men often times feel entitled to power over women. Some examples of this control and display of dominance over women include the assumption that husband-wife relations are private and when women are kept socially isolated from resources such as friends, family, and community.

Drug abuse, alcoholism, socio-economic status and mental illness are other societal factors that play into domestic violence. Other social divisions such as race, class and sexuality also shape domestic violence.

Ending domestic violence is not just a women’s issue. Men play a crucial role in domestic violence awareness and the fight to end this violence against all persons, male or female. The people, men included, in our community who are our leaders and decision-makers, play a key role in stepping up and speaking out about domestic abuse.

It is a men’s issue because men have the option to speak out when their peers make a sexist joke or attack women. It is a men’s issue because there is a minority of men who treat women with disdain (or worse), and it is the majority’s responsibility to assist in creating a culture where this is unacceptable.

As Luke Wojciechowski, Seekhaven’s director of client services said, “a few bad apples spoil the bunch.”

Many folks, including men have chosen to remain silent.

Why should that failure to speak out scare us? It is because boys look to men in order to define what it means to be a man, and men look to other men to define what it means to be a man.

If a culture of silence persists, the cycle of abuse continues. When we are silent in the face of rape jokes and demeaning comments to and about women, or when we see assault in our workplaces, classrooms and parties, we interpret that silence as consent and acceptance of abuse.

A good goal is to challenge these comments and actions, acknowledge that they are wrong and speak up.

The statements in this article are not to be interpreted as collective guilt or blame. It would be better to interpret these words as an act of collective love for the men and women in our lives.

If this is a topic you are interested in and would like to share your thoughts and opinions, we will be having “Tea & a Topic” hosted by the Resiliency Hub at the CommuniTea garden, located at the corner of Walnut Lane and 100 West, on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m.


Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.