Running head: BATTERED HUSBANDS
[The Writer's name]
[The Name of the Institution]Battered husbands
Over the past thirty years, community response to wife abuse resulted in radical changes in the perception and treatment of domestic violence. The tireless efforts of many feminists and other activists to highlight the severity of wife abuse brought domestic violence under the microscope of public scrutiny, re-defined `normalities' in dyadic relationships, exposed injustices, initiated reforms, instituted a pro-victim and pro-women culture, and set in place policies and practices which offered a more constructive solution to the problem of wife abuse and a relatively safer place for women to live in.
Although these changes improved significantly the status of women, and civilised interpersonal relationships in dyadic systems, they also led to a feminisation of spouse abuse and of domestic violence in general, and to an invisibility of husband abuse. This was accompanied by a marked shift of relevant policies from a pro-husband to a pro-wife position, a bias in favour of abused wives and against abused husbands (who are being ignored and disbelieved), and a new philosophy which equates spouse abuse (and domestic violence in general) with wife abuse, where husbands are the primary perpetrators and wives the primary victims (Adams, 1988:191; Grace, 1995:3; Kurz, 1993:88, 99; Saunders, 1988: 90; Seth-Perdie, 1996; Thorpe and Irwin, 1996:6).
Kurz (1993) epitomised this attitude to domestic violence (and through this to abused husbands) in statements such as `only violence against women should be evaluated as a social problem requiring concern and social intervention' (reported in Gelles and Loseke, 1993:63); or `only men can be perpetrators of violence' (Kurz, 1993:88); or `women are typically victims and not perpetrators of violence in intimate relationships' (Kurz, 1993:99). This is not a single voice but rather a common belief shared by the vast majority of those dealing with domestic violence (see eg Dobash and Donash, 1979; Schechter, 1982; and Tierney, 1982), and a principle that is widespread among most current writers on this subject.
Billboards, radio, and TV ads across the country proclaim that every fifteen seconds a women is beaten by a man. Violence against women is clearly a problem of national importance, but has anyone ever asked how often men are beaten by women? The unfortunate fact is that men are the victims of domestic violence at least as often as women are. While the very idea of men being beaten by their wives runs contrary to many of our deeply ingrained beliefs about men and women, female violence against men is a well-documented phenomenon almost completely ignored by both the media and society. The first reaction upon hearing about the topic of battered men, for many people, is that of incredulity. Battered...