Express Yourself

About anything and everything on the planet

March 26, 2009

Male Victim – Chris Brown case

The recent media circus surrounding Rihanna’s alleged abuse at the hands of Chris Brown has got everyone talking about domestic violence and abusive relationships. People are talking about whether or not she should leave him (my vote is YES!), whether or not he should go to jail (again, my vote is YES!), and whether or not she should speak out about what happened to her, to provide an example for other domestic violence survivors (one more YES!). One other idea has cropped up, however: people want to know – what, if anything, did she do to him first?

No, no, NO, before anyone starts: I am in NO WAY accusing Rihanna of assaulting Chris Brown, nor am I suggesting she did anything to “deserve” such a brutal attack. The details released of their incident have yet to be confirmed, so I’m not speaking directly about what happened between then. However, the issue has brought to mind the essentially silent problem of battered husbands/male partners.

When we think of (heterosexual) domestic violence, or intimate partner violence , most people immediately think of the woman as the victim and the man as the attacker. Despite this is assumption, this is not always the case; in fact, in the United States every year, 835 000 men are battered/abused by the woman in their life. 835 000 woman are, every year in the US, assaulting their male partners. We have, as a society, come to accept the idea of “Battered Woman’s Syndrome,” but what about the battered men?

How many times have you seen a woman hit a man? How many times have you seen a man and woman argue, and seen the woman raise her hand to him? I personally know a girl who hit her boyfriend in the side of the head so hard she ruptured his ear drum; he’s now partially deaf in that ear. Did he call the police? Of course not – the stigma around battered men tends to preclude that. Is she guilty of assault? Of course she is! Our society tends to look the other way, however, because we assume that men are “big” and “strong” and are incapable of being assaulted by a woman.

If a woman strikes a man first, people look the other way. (Incorrect.) If a man strikes a woman first, he is an abuser. (Correct.) If a man strikes a woman first, and she strikes him back, she is defending herself. (Correct.) If a woman strikes a man first, and he strikes her back, he is an abuser. (Incorrect.) Anyone who takes action to harm the other person is the abuser, regardless of gender, and they should be dealt with as legally appropriate.

There is an appalling double-standard with respect to gender and intimate partner violence, and we have a responsibility to those in our community to eradicate it. Feminists battled to have women’s rights equally recognized under the law; should women therefore not be held responsible, equally, under the law?

I’m not saying that Rihanna hit him first; I’m also not saying that what he did to her should be taken lightly – we’ve all seen the photos. However, if it comes to light that she assaulted him first, then she should also be dealt with, like any man would be. It is time to put an end to violence – not just violence against women, but violence against EVERYONE, regardless of gender.

Similar Posts:

Post a Comment