Gender neutrality is usually assigned to the province of leftist feminism. Most conservatives seem to assume that it is always a bad thing, and that women always abuse the concept to gain an advantage over men. But concerning at least one important issue, the reverse may be true. It may be time for men to insist upon a gender-neutral treatment of domestic violence.
An article by Jon Aerts in the Sacramento Bee asserts that feminists on the Left may be misrepresenting the facts about domestic assaults. “Men can be victimized in the same way women can,” he quotes Calvert County, Maryland state attorney Laura Martin as saying. “And it’s not just the violence. It’s about control, dominion, power.”
Crime statistics strongly suggest that women have been beating up on men in increasing numbers. Many women’s rights activists apparently see nothing wrong with gender bias when it comes to suppressing this. They are, instead, perfectly willing to let the public perception of men as the sole instigators of domestic assault go unchallenged. This has led to widespread neglect of resources for battered men.
Gender neutrality can, indeed, actually benefit men? It’s something to think about. Murray Straus, a sociologist also cited in the Bee article, calls the discrepancy “the best-kept secret on family violence.”
Of course that doesn’t change the fact that in roughly two-thirds of abuse cases, it is the men who are battering the women. Nor can it be disputed that, because they tend to be bigger and stronger, the men do most of the damage. But the women (and children) these men abuse are hardly the only victims of this statistic. An uncounted number of men are being made to suffer for it, too.
A heavy mantle of shame shrouds the victims of domestic violence. They tend to feel that they are somehow responsible for what has happened to them. This is why so few women report that they’ve been brutalized. Add to that, however, the shame of having been beaten up by a woman, and it becomes apparent why even far fewer men step forward to report it.