Author: has written 9 posts for this blog.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

31 Responses

  1. Jill
    Jill October 23, 2006 at 2:12 pm | *

    I also appreciate how breast cancer is held up as the worst most dangerous disease ever for women. White, upper-middle-class women, that is.

    Breast cancer is cancer. It’s pretty fucking bad. But you know what else is bad? The fact that heart disease — the #1 killer of women — kills far more women every year than breast cancer does. But heart disease, like partner abuse, isn’t sexy, you know? And so “awareness campaigns” aren’t exactly out there in full force.

    Not trying to make this a fight about which diseases should get the most coverage. But it’s interesting to see the vigor in the breast cancer awareness campaigns, and note how it’s missing elsewhere.

  2. Jill
    Jill October 23, 2006 at 2:13 pm | *

    Also, great post!

  3. Jill
    Jill October 23, 2006 at 2:18 pm | *

    When ostensible feminists like Cathy Young pick up their talking points and recast them in feminist language, i.e. “Shouldn’t it be a woman’s choice whether to press charges against her partner? I thought feminists liked choice,” you know the backlash is on, baby. Now git me a beer.

    See, I don’t usually think that Cathy Young is an idiot, but this is Civics 101. Note the titles of criminal cases: State vs. Jill Filipovic. U.S. v. Ilyka Damen. Etc. Because in criminal court, the defendent has broken the laws of the state, and therefore is being tried by the state for his/her crime. If you burn down a residential apartment building, for example, the tenants of that building don’t get to have a meeting and decide whether or not you should be tried criminally. That’s not how the criminal justice system works.

    It is, however, how the civil justice system works, and it is up to abused women if they want to sue the shit out of their abusive partners in court. Just like it’s up to the tenants of that building if they want to sue for damages.

  4. Jill
    Jill October 23, 2006 at 2:20 pm | *

    ALSO — and sorry for dominating your comment thread here — you are not unworthy. You are amazing. No more self-doubt, woman.

  5. The Cat Lady
    The Cat Lady October 23, 2006 at 2:41 pm |

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. And excellent post.

    I would encourage all of us to consider that domestic violence is also about emotional and sexual abuse. Kicking, punching, et al are merely the visible kinds of DV (and consequently, more often noticed, if not more often punished).

    It would do us all good if DV were covered in schools, right alongside all that don’t-smoke-the-dope talk. I don’t think most young women know what DV is, if it doesn’t come in the form of a sucker punch.

  6. Mark S.
    Mark S. October 23, 2006 at 3:16 pm |

    A search on “VAWA” brings up article after article by everyone’s favorite mullet,

    It’s the mullet of understanding.

    Seriously, though, I don’t know how accurate those studies that women hit their partners as often are accurate, but I was taught at an earlier age that you do not hit women. Maybe it’s a remnant of the patriarchy, but it is not something a gentleman ever does.

  7. the15th
    the15th October 23, 2006 at 3:56 pm |

    The fact that heart disease — the #1 killer of women — kills far more women every year than breast cancer does. But heart disease, like partner abuse, isn’t sexy, you know?

    I’m somewhat skeptical about this. I don’t think it makes any sense to worry about heart disease more if you’re below 60 and don’t have any obvious risk factors; women in their 30’s to 50’s are in fact more likely to die of breast cancer. I just don’t buy that breast cancer gets attention because breasts are sexy, or because it’s a disease of rich white women (it’s not.)

  8. Jill
    Jill October 23, 2006 at 3:58 pm | *

    I know it’s not a disease of rich white women. What matters is that it’s perceived that way.

  9. ilyka
    ilyka October 23, 2006 at 4:18 pm |

    What matters is that it’s perceived that way.

    And when it’s marketed that way. Thus the spinster aunt observation that “When you think of a breast cancer ‘survivor’, you don’t picture a poor black grandmother living in squalor without health insurance (and you certainly don’t imagine a woman who, because of sensible research efforts, never got cancer in the first place.) The Breast Cancer Brand woman is a pro-patriarchy white chick: middle-class, straight, virtuous, concerned with maintaining her femininity, and married with two above-average kids.” The poor black grandmother exists, the women struggling on Medicaid programs with breast cancer exist, but these aren’t the women we make television movies of the week about, and that’s messed up.

    It would do us all good if DV were covered in schools, right alongside all that don’t-smoke-the-dope talk. I don’t think most young women know what DV is, if it doesn’t come in the form of a sucker punch.

    All I can go by here is my own experience: I was 20 years old when the man I was living with first hit me, and while I knew what domestic violence was and knew, intellectually at least, that I wasn’t to blame for it, it boggles my mind to this day how many excuses I came up with for why my case was different. You know, I’d think foolish things like, “I’m sure it’s true that studies show most abusers up the level of violence over time without intervention, but that’s not how it is in MY case.” And I’d think that even though that was how it was in my case. I had the cognitive dissonance bad and it’s my understanding that isn’t uncommon. I’m not sure what a good DV curriculum could do to help women not fall into that trap, but I’d be in favor of trying it and finding out.

    Agreed about the sexual/emotional abuse being the really overlooked component here, by the way. That stuff’s the rubber truncheon that leaves no outward marks, but damages just as effectively.

  10. Lesley
    Lesley October 23, 2006 at 4:24 pm |

    Unworthy? I had to keep myself from asking, in annoyingly sycophantic terms, whether or not you were going to be one of the guest bloggers. I was almost like “Please, please tell me one of the guest bloggers will be Ilyka!” I didn’t ask, and yet I received.

    Re: the greater coverage paid to breast cancer than domestic violence, well, if we started to pay more attention to domestic violence, we’d have to look closely at the behavior of men. No such nasty analysis has to be done over breast cancer.

    As for the tendency of women to commit physical abuse, these studies tend to rely on the Conflict Tactics Scale, which is a flawed method for really understanding the nature of abuse. Most of the the studies that rely on it ignore the fact that regardless of the rate of violence or who initiated it, women are 7 to 10 times more likely to be injured by domestic violence.

  11. Andreas Schou
    Andreas Schou October 23, 2006 at 5:11 pm |

    Seriously, though, I don’t know how accurate those studies that women hit their partners as often are accurate, but I was taught at an earlier age that you do not hit women. Maybe it’s a remnant of the patriarchy, but it is not something a gentleman ever does

    Actually, these studies are correct but insufficient. They count instances of violence in police reports, rather than arrests or long term consequences for the victims. Here’s a simplified version of how the Conflict Tactics Scale methodology works:

    Joe Abuser comes home from work. Victim is not done with dinner yet. Joe is upset by this, and corners her in the kitchen, an environment with one exit and surrounded by knives. Joe starts yelling. No tick marks go in Joe’s column. Victim feels unsafe and tries to push her way out of the kitchen. One tick mark goes in the victim’s column. Joe grabs the victim by her hair and drags her back in. One tick mark goes in Joe’s column. Victim kicks Joe in the shins. One tick mark goes in the victim’s column. Joe shoves the victim into the kitchen table. One tick mark goes in Joe’s column. Victim stands up. Joe pins her to the table. One tick mark goes in Joe’s column. Victim scratches Joe’s arms. One tick mark goes in the Victim’s column. Victim gets away, calls the police. Joe breaks the phone. No tick marks go in Joe’s column.

    Police show up and arrest Joe. No tick marks go in Joe’s column even though, in the real world, this is how “crime” is measured.

    So, yes, in a sense, males and females are “responsible for an equal amount of domestic violence”, but that fact is contextually irrelevant. Women suffer much more severe consequences, both physically and financially, from domestic violence. Men are responsible for far more of the violence that meets the standard of criminal behavior. Any study that elides that information is nothing more than sophistry.

    — ACS

  12. the15th
    the15th October 23, 2006 at 5:17 pm |

    I just don’t think that it’s necessarily productive or illuminating to compare the media coverage given to the respective awareness months for a deadly disease and a deadly crime that both affect women. Yes, they fall on the same month, creating a kind of competition, but is it really a result of “how much Awareness the U.S. thinks women’s bodies merit” that the NCADV and American Cancer Society both happened to pick October? And breast cancer isn’t such a nice safe issue. You still hear “what about the MEEEEEN?” comments every time someone brings it up.

  13. evil fizz
    evil fizz October 23, 2006 at 5:20 pm | *

    But Ilyka, don’t you want Campbell’s soup with pink labels?

    My problem with much of this is not just about misplaced priorities, but also commercialism. It bothers me immensely that I apparently need to be conned into buying a pink baseball hat or a new pair of shoes in order to be “against breast cancer”.

  14. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 October 23, 2006 at 5:50 pm |

    Jill: Can I be a guest-blogger?

  15. ilyka
    ilyka October 23, 2006 at 5:51 pm |

    So, yes, in a sense, males and females are “responsible for an equal amount of domestic violence”, but that fact is contextually irrelevant. Women suffer much more severe consequences, both physically and financially, from domestic violence. Men are responsible for far more of the violence that meets the standard of criminal behavior. Any study that elides that information is nothing more than sophistry.

    Thank you, Andreas, I was hoping you’d show up (you work in the field as I recall?). I’m filing this away for the next time some MRA goes all statistical on me.

    I just don’t think that it’s necessarily productive or illuminating to compare the media coverage given to the respective awareness months for a deadly disease and a deadly crime that both affect women.

    I guess we disagree about that, then. I think one can say “We’ve done a good job getting the word out about breast cancer, but we could also do a lot more to speak up about domestic violence,” without implying that the solution is to pay less attention to breast cancer–which, for the record, is not at all what I am advocating. I think you can increase attention paid to one without diminishing the other. Both/and, not either/or.

    Now I am perhaps being cynical in the reasons I offer for why we talk more about breast cancer than about DV, that I’ll totally cop to; but my chief motivation in bringing this up remains that I would like to get freakin’ Men’s News Daily to quit showing up three, four times per page whenever I Google for news on the Violence Against Women Act.

  16. Andreas Schou
    Andreas Schou October 23, 2006 at 6:31 pm |

    Thank you, Andreas, I was hoping you’d show up (you work in the field as I recall?). I’m filing this away for the next time some MRA goes all statistical on me.

    Yeah, I do work in the field.

    I mean, the Conflict Tactics Scale isn’t totally useless. It provides a metric for quantifying what happens within an incident of domestic violence, and, from the standpoint of understanding the use of violence by victims of domestic violence (and almost all do use some violence), that could potentially be useful. Trying to derive useful public policy recommendations from the CTS, on the other hand, is just a titch short of total madness.

    — ACS

  17. Louise
    Louise October 23, 2006 at 6:45 pm |

    A great post! My 11 year old daughter has been asking many questions about dating lately (what qualities to look for in a boyfriend, etc- yikes, she’s YOUNG), as well as watching the news with us and asking about women’s roles in leadership positions (corporate and political). One of the best ones lately was why more women aren’t CEOs.

    First, I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE having a sharp kid who asks questions that challenge me; that’s why I’m reading so many blogs lately. My thanks to so many of you whose blogs I’ve visited… Secondly, I wish that domestic violence WAS openly discussed in the schools! It’s my responsibility to teach her, but discussions among her peers would be insightful. When we see news stories of DV, she is utterly flabbergasted that it occurs and wonders why it isn’t stopped. Why women end up being a 5 minute story on the morning news or another obituary…and it makes her worry that it could be HER or her little sister someday. A sobering thought.

  18. Auguste
    Auguste October 23, 2006 at 9:26 pm |

    That’s pronounced Illleeeekkkkaaaa, right?

    You know you’re looking at a men’s rights crib sheet when all of these studies (1) involve teeny sample sizes

    “Sample.” Sure. That’s what’s teeny.

  19. belledame222
    belledame222 October 23, 2006 at 9:37 pm |
    greed about the sexual/emotional abuse being the really overlooked component here, by the way. That stuff’s the rubber truncheon that leaves no outward marks, but damages just as effectively.

    yup.

  20. Auguste
    Auguste October 23, 2006 at 9:56 pm |

    Agreed about the sexual/emotional abuse being the really overlooked component here, by the way. That stuff’s the rubber truncheon that leaves no outward marks, but damages just as effectively.

    Word.

  21. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost October 24, 2006 at 2:21 am |

    The other thing of that come from a post I read months ago, about someone interviewing an abuser.

    They asked him what he would do if his wife punched him as hard as she could. He said he’d walk away.

    Theny they asked what his wife would do if he punched her as hard as he could. He said she’d die.

  22. zombieprincess
    zombieprincess October 24, 2006 at 3:05 am |

    heh. the pink-ribbon campaign has me all paranoid about breast cancer, yet i should be more concerned with dv, since my husband has slapped me before. [not that i'm just shining it on or anything...]

    at least my local paper (somewhere in idaho) has been great about promoting dv issues, and not just during this month. i’ve actually been fairly impressed with them…editorials, guest columns in the community section, pictures of activists hanging purple ribbons around town. the theresa time murder and other incidents have really brought the issue to the forefront in my area. it’s obviously beyond terrible that women’s deaths are what it takes to wake a community up, but at least the community did wake up instead of ignoring or blaming.

    random thought: feministe, thank you–all of you. i’ve been a lurker for quite awhile now, but the topics the last few days have really made me feel like coming out of hiding. *hugs*

  23. Louise
    Louise October 24, 2006 at 5:51 am |

    Among our discussions here at home- that physical abuse is NOT the only kind of abuse. DOUBLE WORD.

  24. Raging Moderate
    Raging Moderate October 24, 2006 at 7:13 am |

    Well, let me be the first troll to welcome you.

    “Sample.” Sure. That’s what’s teeny.

    I’ve often wondered why an MRA’s claim that feminists are just angry ugly broads who can’t get laid is offensive, but lines like the one above are humourous.

  25. johanna
    johanna October 24, 2006 at 8:13 am |

    Andreas got to the point before me, so I’ll just second his post. :) If you’re looking for a good training on this topic (and I suggest getting law enforcement in on this), I’d highly recommend Mark Wynn. One of his courses, “Beyond the Obvious,” works to train officers to identify defensive marks as opposed to aggressive marks and reduce dual arrest.

  26. Auguste
    Auguste October 24, 2006 at 2:57 pm |

    I’ve often wondered why an MRA’s claim that feminists are just angry ugly broads who can’t get laid is offensive, but lines like the one above are humourous.

    Has anyone ever explained privilege to you, at all?

  27. Auguste
    Auguste October 24, 2006 at 2:58 pm |

    Btw, RM, I didn’t realize that you were a name I recognized. I might not have been so flippant had I known you were not just a drive-by MRA commenter. The point stands, however.

  28. Fat Doug Lover
    Fat Doug Lover October 24, 2006 at 3:00 pm |

    There is nothing funny about micropenis, Auguste. It’s a very serious issue. I’m sure RM has a bunch of materials you can look over until you learn to take this affliction more seriously.

  29. Raging Moderate
    Raging Moderate October 24, 2006 at 5:45 pm |

    Has anyone ever explained privilege to you, at all?

    Not really, but I think I understand it. Please explain how it means that derogatory comments about, say, the size of a woman’s breasts is less offensive than derogatory comments about the size of a man’s penis. Both may be attempts at humour, but why is only one of them offensive, and the other funny?

  30. Minna
    Minna October 24, 2006 at 6:21 pm |

    Agreed about the sexual/emotional abuse being the really overlooked component here, by the way. That stuff’s the rubber truncheon that leaves no outward marks, but damages just as effectively.

    Another round of ‘word’. D: It makes me want to scream and scream and scream.

  31. Spicy
    Spicy October 25, 2006 at 5:02 am |

    What reportage have you found on intimate partner violence that hasn’t been a poorly researched effort led by guys who resent the loss of entitlement to smack their bitches up? If you’ve found some good ammunition for countering the claims of the MRAs, please, pass it on here.

    Not US based but I’d recommend Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey

    Widely considered to be the most reliable source on crime in the UK it shows:

    There were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (nonsexual threats or force) against women and 2.5 million against men in England and Wales in the year prior to interview.

    Among people subject to four or more incidents of domestic violence from the perpetrator of the worst incident (since age 16), 89 per cent were women. Thirty-two per cent of women had experienced domestic violence from this person four or more times compared with only 11 per cent of men.

    During the worst incident of domestic violence experienced in the last year, 46 per cent of women sustained a minor physical injury, 20 per cent a moderate physical injury, and six per cent severe injuries, while for 31 per cent it resulted in mental or emotional problems. Among men, 41 per cent sustained a minor physical injury, 14 per cent a moderate physical injury, one per cent severe injuries and nine per cent mental or emotional problems.

    Of the female victims of domestic violence who had seen the perpetrator since they had split up because of their child/ren, 29 per cent had been threatened, 13 per cent had been abused in some way, two per cent had had their children threatened, and in one per cent of cases the perpetrator had hurt the children.

    This study which was a follow up to the one above: Domestic Abuse Against Men in Scotland

    It showed:

    A quarter of men who had originally stated on the self-completion questionnaire that they had been victims of domestic violence had misunderstood the question.

    Relative to female victims of domestic abuse, male victims in general were less likely to have been repeat victims of assault, to have been seriously injured, and to report feeling fearful in their own homes.

    And concluded:

    Neither abused men’s nor service providers’ responses suggested that there is presently a need for an agency whose specific remit is to support male victims of domestic abuse in Scotland. Neither does there currently appear to be a need for refuges for abused men, although some male victims would benefit from support and advice regarding housing and welfare.

    This is the definitive article (IMO) on the ‘100 or so studies’ showing women are more violent than men: “Gender Symmetry” in Domestic Violence by Michael Kimmel.

    My favourite part is when he reveals that one of these studies is in fact

    based on violence in American comic strips in 1950

    !

    Ampersand has also done a couple of good articles on ‘husband battering’ – I haven’t provided a link as I wasn’t sure about the linking policy to Alas here.

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.