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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.


Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Orlando…what do all these recent mass shootings have in common? The perpetrators of these horrific crimes showed a proclivity for violence against women. Yet despite the clear connection between violence at home and mass violence against the public, plenty of Americans—especially many white and Republican men—don’t see domestic violence as an issue of high importance.

A new PRRI study asked Americans whether they think domestic violence is a critical issue. Among all racial demographics, women were far more likely than men to answer in the affirmative. Fifty percent of women said domestic violence is a critical issue to them, versus about one-third (36 percent) of men.

Broken down politically, Republican men are the least interested in domestic violence (33 percent) and Democratic women are the most (57 percent). The trend corresponds to domestic violence as it’s been addressed in government. High-ranking leaders in recent years who have been most active around combating the problem are almost always Democrats, like Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. As Amanda Marcotte of Salon writes, “Domestic violence is political because the ideology that drives it—that men are superior to women and have the right to control and dominate them—is political…It’s the attitude that drives the war on reproductive rights.” Not every Republican man believes in male supremacy, but the numbers speak for themselves.

It’s likely that men aren’t as concerned with domestic violence because they are usually the perpetrators, and women are usually the victims. One in four women and one in seven men are victims of physical abuse at home. In the same vein, it’s not surprising that black women are more concerned with the issue than white women are, since African-American women experience domestic violence at a rate 35 percent higher than white women.

But men should care. They should be much more concerned than they report to be, and not just because of the pervasive nature of misogyny. As Marcotte explains, “research conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety found that 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016—defined as incidents in which four or more people besides the shooter are killed—involved the killing of a partner or at least one family member.”

If white and Republican men don’t care about the women whose husbands and boyfriends beat them, you’d think they would care that many of the recent mass shooters had previously committed acts of domestic violence. Women may usually be the victims of violence at home, but mass shooters don’t discriminate when it comes to gender.

Perhaps it’s not entirely these men’s fault for not making the connection. The mainstream media has largely underreported domestic violence in the context of mass shootings, which normally prompt conversations around issues like gun control, labels like “gunman” versus “terrorist” and mental health treatment. As HuffPost’s Melissa Jeltsen wrote, “the untold story of mass shootings in America is one of domestic violence.” It’s a bleak conclusion to draw, but it may take a full telling of this story for white conservative men to start caring about violence against women in the home.

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.



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3 responses to “Domestic Violence Threatens Everyone — Even White Men”

  1. This is an abomination, something out of a Twilight Zone episode when I read the statistics on opinions of domestic violence as cited. Is this Fake News? Not at all.
    And those men who claim to be democrats are as much to blame as those who align with the equally toxic Party that condones this societal abnormality.

    1) “Fifty percent of women said domestic violence is a critical issue to them, versus about one-third (36 percent) of men. …”
    2) “Broken down politically, Republican men are the least interested in domestic violence (33 percent) and Democratic women are the most (57 percent). …”

    If we take item 1, those men who purport to be men but could only answer in the affirmative at 36%, is an obscenity that stinks to high heaven, when we consider the 63% who think otherwise.

    We men have lost a lot of our sense of decency, as both items 1 and 2 confirm, as do what our senses tell us. Many are unsure if whether their own mothers or sisters being abused should cause concern; and 43% of men who claim to be democrats yet dismiss the gravity of this situation just goes to show that political affiliation does not cleanse a person of defilement and immorality. Just because the vast majority of Republican men don’t care if their mothers are sexually abused is nothing for democrats to crow about.

    Some have wondered why I get so angry about this in this forum. Well, it’s because as a Baha’i who is admonished by Baha’u’llah in His Writings to have the utmost respect for humanity, and to strive towards enlightening my fellow humans, Baha’i or otherwise, and myself, I have no way out of recognizing the reality of the equality of women and men. As such, I am obliged to put this into practice in my daily life.

    Obviously, this wasn’t as important an issue to hammer home by the previous Messengers, such as Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, etc. Why? Because humanity had not yet achieved the collective maturity to put this into daily practice, publicly and privately.
    This we may safely assume is part of the rationale behind the statement by Jesus when He is cited as having said, “I have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear to hear them”.

    But, Baha’u’llah has appeared, for among many other reasons, to rectify this imbalance between the genders, and other exigent social issues directly associated with this particular era, because we now have the potential to comprehend, and to implement in practical terms in our personal lives and as a society.

    So, if any of you men would like to acquire this same maturation which I and fellow Baha’i men are gaining and inculcating in our individual lives, I strongly encourage you to review the countless links and references I’ve posted here the past few years on this and other themes relevant to humanity’s progress and achievement of maturity so unique in the evolution of humankind on the planet.

  2. And now, to continue on to the aspect of the impact on white males, let me start off by saying all humanity are of the same family. For me, and the author, to concentrate on white males is due to the unique social status those “Africans” who developed white complexion due to environmental and biochemical necessity find themselves in.

    By way of natural evolution of human societies the world over, those men who would acquire such a skin coloration have been able to be at the apex of the pyramid of power distribution. As a result, their is a dual-edged sword—the ability to dictate terms of who will dominate, but also a perilous position of being most likely to be adversely affected as a result of this position. The corruption of white males is more pronounced, and makes them more vulnerable to assume the notion of superiority over women, and over those of other “Africans” who have a darker complexion. These men are therefore more prone to being inured to the consequences of dealing out abuse, and this has serious implications for their spiritual development if they don’t take care not to be intoxicated by the privileged position they now assume by default. I don’t envy those who are in the position of being at the apex—I could very well be equally imperiled were I to have been among those remnants of “Africans” who migrated into the higher latitudes of Europa and Eurasia.

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