Just Asking: Why Doesn’t Henry Call the Women’s Hotline? (USA)

August 10, 2012

By Jan Elizabeth Brown

I want to talk about two kinds of domestic violence advocates.

Traditional battered women’s advocates, who have spent decades fighting to bring recognition, services and just laws to victims of intimate partner violence, are more and more being called out for their one-sided approach to intimate partner violence. Make no mistake: the use of violence to control and dominate an intimate partner is a horrendously cowardly act, and abusers should be held accountable.

But traditional advocates tend to see domestic violence as rooted in “male privilege.” Barbara J. Hart of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse captured this on her website:

 As long as we as a culture accept the principle and privilege of male dominance, men will continue to be abusive. As long as we as a culture accept and tolerate violence against women, men will continue to be abusive.

There is another kind of advocate for victims of domestic violence, one who gets beyond the gender stereotypes of the traditional advocates and sees not gender or sexual orientation, but a person who has been harmed by a domestic partner. This group recognizes a fact that traditionalist refuse to see: sometimes it is the men who are victims of domestic violence at the hands of their female partners.

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