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If Your Man Knew What to Say, Here’s What He Might Say If He Knew You Feared His Potential For Violence...

Excerpted from Warren Farrell's Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say.

(Permission to reprint granted by Warren Farrell.)
See www.warrenfarrell.com and www.warrenfarrell.info.

 

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“Dear Abby: Thank you for printing the warning signs of an abusive partner. However, you have unfairly portrayed men as the only abusers. Not so; women can also be abusers.

My brother was married to a physically abusive woman who exhibited all 15 points you mentioned in your column. It wasn't until he joined a support group and realized he wasn’t the only man who got beat up by a woman.

After much research, I find that women are just as abusive as men in relationships.

Women are able to get away with abusing men because most men are too embarrassed to report it. With the massive attention now given to domestic violence, it’s time the other side of the story is told.

— E. V. Liland, Dallas1

Dear E. V. Liland: If what you state is true, I would like to see the statistics. Although I have no doubt that many men have been subjected to abuse by their spouses, experts tell me that their numbers are dwarfed by the vast number of women who experience physical abuse at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends.

Abused women are often captives in the abusive relationship, fearing that if they leave, they will be killed. Frequently they have been isolated by their abuser, have no money, credit, or job skills, and feel they'll be unable to support themselves and their children. The same is not true for men.”

Even men who share their personal experiences find that, instead of empathy, they get the response Dear Abby gave this man: “Women have it worse.” This belief is so strong that over the past quarter century, women’s old fantasy of marrying a man-as-protector has been tainted by women’s new nightmare of husband-as-batterer. She feels she is being told to Marry-the-Enemy.

 

2



1 Abigail VanBuren, “Dear Abby,” syndicated column, San Diego Union-Tribune, Tuesday, May 28, 1996.

2 Time, August 5, 1996. It is an Ad Council public service ad.

 

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