Side Effects: Victim Cycles

According to statistics men are most likely to suffer both physical and sexual violence at the hands of other men. Men are also at higher risk during childhood and adolescents when looking at rates of physical abuse committed by both female and male caretakers (Hattery, Angela, and Earl Smith. The Social Dynamics of Family Violence. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2017. Print. 538) The increased chance of early victimization for men while they are still considered boys may contribute to higher rates of adult male perpetrators seen later in their lives. I take issue with the statement “men rape because they can” as I have heard expressed by individuals in my other courses. The idea behind this statement explains how the legal system allows for unlikely just punishment and low social reprisal for the perpetrator in the way of victim blaming in the rape-culture society we live in. This reason does not however explore why men are decide to commit such high rates of sexual violence? The previous is an entirely separate question from, why does the justice system allow for male violence?

In the fight for gaining equality of the sexes, the treatment of women and also the opportunities given to young girls has been focused on and rightfully so. A victim does not deserve any less, the issue I find is that the perpetrators are also victims. Sentiments of, raising young boys to treat young girls with respect are common lessons in our society. Jackson Katz in his talk explains that when we move “John” from the beginning of the sentence, “John beat Mary” to the end of the sentence “Mary was beaten by John”, we shift focus from John who is the perpetrator of violence, to Mary who is the victim of this violence. Going further this shift of focus from John to Mary can be seen as a side effect of a larger structural issue. The acceptance of male emotional inferiority. Mary is now analyzed but she is not the issue. (Jackson Katz, 2017)

While I read Betrayed by the Angel: What Happens When Violence Knocks and Politeness Answers? By Debra Anne Davie I found to my own surprise wondering, “well why would a girl allow for a boy to jab her so much?” the thought I should spend more time focusing on is, “why is that boy jabbing his sharp pencil into that girls’ arm?” The girl in the story was the victim, and with risk of sounding detached, her situation is the side effect of a toxic male expectation that is upheld by other men and women in the form of androcentrism. Although her story is important and must be shared, it can only accomplish the identification of who is being victimized and how. With little boys being cited as “more likely to bully than girls and to bully other boys” (Hattery & Smith, 540) the behavior of their actions should be analyzed due the statistic that boys are as we have talked about in class, at a higher risk to commit violence after witnessing violence in the home or among people in the boy’s life.

Davis does a phenomenal job of relating early childhood experience as possible influencers in later abilities to handle an event. Through her story as a young girl she outlines her acceptance of the irritating behavior reinforced by her superior, in this case a substitute teacher who takes a lacks approach to Davis’ complaints of getting poked with a pencil by her male classmate. Later while she recounts her rape, she highlights the thoughts running through her mind. They comprise of not being rude, or deciding whether it was okay to be impolite while this tragic event is occurring. She makes the acknowledgement that despite the fact that she did not struggle, allowing minimal force exuded by the perpetrator, that he was extremely angry with her to which she could not figure out why. (Hattery & Smith, 572)

When Davis asked little girls, what did your parents teach you? What will you decided to teach your kids and what will you not teach them, the startling answer of not wanting to continue the idea of being kind to everyone was stated. Davis speaks about her own uncomfortable encounter and that her rape caused her to be rude to strangers in her situation men. Davis ends her story with multiple questions but I do not believe those are questions an individual must seek to understand why there is a larger system causing the outcomes of male aggression.


[WS301 – 8]

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