Why We Can't Forget About Men In Our Fight To End Domestic Violence
We've heard time and again that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, but so rarely do we think of the perpetrator as a woman.
Hope Solo may have single-handedly changed that for us, though. This isn't the first time a female abuser has hit the news. We've read the stories of women who snapped, mutilating their spouses and partners beyond repair.
In a twist of irony, English model Kelly Brook hit her former partner and beefy action movie star, Jason Statham. I've even personally witnessed some unreal verbal abuse, woman to man, that you would have to see to believe.
It doesn't end there, as studies have shown that women are more likely than men to lash out and commit acts of domestic violence.
So, why is it that when discussion hits the mainstream media, we only hear about male aggressors?
Perhaps it is because emotional or verbal abuse, by either party, doesn't leave visible scars for the world. Perhaps it is because, when women do get physical with men, they are still scientifically and biologically lacking the strength to leave as much damage as a man might on a woman.
I understand why people are reluctant to discuss female aggressors in domestic violence and abuse cases. Brutality — including, but not limited to, financial abuse, battery, rape and murder — against women is a serious and growing crime.
It is so present in today's culture that the United Nations is talking about it. We seem to finally be forming some semblance of a path towards ending violence against women, and that's wonderful. However, wouldn't it be even more wonderful if we could simply end violence?
I see Hope Solo becoming the face for a new campaign against violence — one of equality and safety for both genders.
Allegedly, in June, Solo struck her sister and her 17-year-old nephew while intoxicated at a party. While she and her lawyers maintain her innocence, partygoers identified her as the main aggressor the night of the incident. Her family members had visible injuries, and she is currently barred from contact with them.
However, Solo hasn't received the same media treatment as her male counterparts in her domestic violence case. While Adrian Peterson was dropped from Nike, Solo remains a spokesperson. While Ray Rice is (justifiably) crucified by activist groups, Solo stays benched on the sidelines.
It is an unfortunate circumstance for anyone to be in. She may have been heavily intoxicated; it may have been an accident. There may even be more to the story than we will ever know, but what we do know is that violence towards any individual is unacceptable, whether you're male or female.
We are so adamant to involve men in the fight against domestic violence that it would be negligent of women to not advocate for them, as well. If we truly want to abolish abuse, we need to combat this from all angles, all sexes and all genders.
Physical violence is only one piece in this puzzle. While it leaves tangible marks that the world can see, physical abuse shouldn't diminish the damage that emotional and verbal abuse can do, the internal scars it can leave or the subsequent depression and suicide attempts that can ruin a family forever.
The only way for our professional athletes to turn their tragic PR nightmares into something useful would be for them to own up to their mistakes. After all, we all make them, and no one is perfect. They can use their limelight, instead, to turn the spotlight on domestic violence from the inside out.
They can provide insight to those of us who have been blessed and fortunate enough to never experience abuse, give us the information, thoughts and feelings that we would never know. They can accept the consequences for their actions, take a stance and right their wrongs.
Only then, when aggressors and perpetrators of violence take responsibility, will we truly be able to eradicate domestic abuse.
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