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.)
Save The Whales, Batter The Males
Oprah Winfrey Show.4 Four men describe how their wives hit them in the lower back with a pole, cracked them over the head or in the neck with a frying pan...the audience renews its laughter after each story. The men are part of a “PMS Men’s Support Group.”
Imagine an audience of men laughing as battered women describe how their husbands threatened them with brain or spinal cord injuries by battering them over their heads or in their necks with a frying pan.
Note that all of these battered husbands are still
their wives. When a woman stays with a man who batters, we provide shelters to encourage her to
escape. If she decides not to escape, we say she is a victim of “Battered Woman Syndrome.”
When battered women form support groups, we call it a Battered Women’s group – her victimization is cited. In the PMS Men’s support group, the woman’s excuse is cited – the fact that the men were battered is left out. For men, unemployment often precedes battering, but women rarely form a “Wives with Unemployed Husbands’ Support Group ” (no mentioning of the battering) to help them understand the
of the battering – the unemployment. The emphasis of the men’s group was on understanding, coping, changing the situation and then, if all else failed, getting out; the emphasis of battered women’s groups is on getting out first, and second, locking up the problem (the man).
In brief, when women batter, men’s first priority is to support the women and help them change; when men batter, women’s first priority is to escape the men and put them in prison. The motto of feminists: “There is never an excuse for hitting a
woman.” Shouldn’t it be, “There is never an excuse for hitting.”? None of these distinctions were made by anyone on the show.
An attitude in American culture actually supports the battering of males, as it does the saving of whales. In 100% of advertisements in which only one sex is hitting or beating the other, it is the woman who is beating the man.5 One-hundred percent. Sitcoms routinely portray women hitting men, almost never portray men hitting women. When he fails to leave, it is not called “Battered Man Syndrome”; it is called comedy. In the chapter on man bashing, we will see this pattern in everything from greeting cards sent by women to Disney films watched by children. This makes it hard to listen to a different reality, that of men who are abused...