Violence Against Women and Forgiveness

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8 Responses

  1. A.W. says:

    Hey, i take violence against women seriously, but that “every 9 seconds” smells of the kind of bull that organizations feed us all the time to create extra urgency.

    It doesn’t pass the smell test.

  2. I am happy to say my teenager pulled down all her Chris Brown posters off her walls and took off his songs on her Ipod.. She did it on her own. There is never an acceptable excuse for abuse!

  3. A.W. says:


    *high five*

    I wish there were more parents like you.

  4. Lia says:

    I think the issue here may be that contemporary teenagers find themselves in a sort of paradoxical gender-sex dynamic.

    According to this dynamic, the genders are functionally equivalent. Males and females work in the same professions, they go to the same schools, and they contribute to society as thinkers and as agents. Both are valued as active societal participants. They are equal, despite indoctrinated differences in taste and demeanor.

    At the same time, this dynamic acknowledges biological realities. Most liberal- minded young people acknowledge the sex-specific privacy concerns regarding pregnancy. They also acknowledge that men, for the most part, are notably bigger and physically stronger than women.

    In turn, our society presents genders as equal and sexes as unequal (clearly this makes sense). In a situation like domestic violence, the relationship between equal genders and unequal sexes may complicate young people’s ability to judge the violent situation. Their understanding of the power dynamic pulls them toward two different judgments.

    An egalitarian perspective on gender suggests that males and females are equally capable. Males can be victimized; they can be sensitive and emotional. Females can be resilient and powerful. These new lessons about gender complicate the basic idea that men are bigger and stronger than women and thus should not physically hurt women. These gender lessons introduce male-gender vulnerabilities and female-gender strengths; and in turn may cause teenagers to look past the sex-based issue surrounding the violence (i.e. big man hitting small woman) and assess the other factors affecting the violent situation (e.g. instigation).

    Perhaps, these new gender scripts are functionally equating domestic violence with the classic male fist fight where one male is bigger and stronger than the other. I wonder how teenagers today would attribute blame in a situation where one male beats up a smaller male. They would probably look for instigation—which seems to be what the teenagers were looking for in evaluating the Rihanna-Chris Brown scenario. Furthermore, I wonder if the specific gender-based power dynamic between Rihanna and Chris Brown affected the teenagers’ judgments. Here, Rhiana is clearly the bigger star. She seems to be more successful and acclaimed in her field. She exemplifies the collapse of male gender supremacy. Perhaps, the teenagers would have been more disgusted with Brown (as the physical dominant party) had he also had more social clout or gender-based dominance.

    I don’t know how to reconcile these issues; other than to teach and remind young people of the distinction between gender and sex. Sex-based realities are important and need not compromise gender-based equality.

  5. A.W. says:


    Its nothing more than the age old ignoring of domestic violence. There’s nothing new about it, so there is no need to talk about the conflict between gender equality and sex difference.

    As for why this seems a little more resurgent today, I would say that the rise in the gangsta rap culture has more to do with it that your philosophical explanation. When children are fed a daily diet of women being bitches and ho’s, what do you expect them to think?

    And in this case, i expect a little bit of celebrity worship, along with the common conspiracy theories that swirl around whenever an affluent african american is accused of a crime, and the fact that the woman is going back to him, all combine to give the kids a distinctively wrongheaded impression of the whole thing.

    What to do? Education, I suppose. And the LA DA needs to charge and convict brown, to send the message that even if she goes back to her abuser, it isn’t right.

    And I will say something else. Women need to be taught not to hit, either. Everyone needs to understand that a romantic relationship is a “no hitting” zone, however crazy the other person makes you.

  6. Colin C says:

    A.W., 3.5 mil beatings a year. Sounds very possible.

  7. A.W. says:

    Colin, seriously, according to whom?

    One underreported phenomenon is the over reporting of this sort of thing. For instance the claim that wife abuse went up 40% during the superbowl–complete crap. So you have to trust but verify with this sort of thing.

  8. Colin C says:

    A.W.: To me, of course. You don’t like the figure, right? You prove it’s wrong.