It was a story that shook the world (at least the entertainment world) and for the first time many of us became acquainted with the the concept of the silent movie (or in this case the short three minute clip). TMZ had successfully changed the way the public viewed the Carter’s and Solange’s fly kicks became the talk of the town.
Some of the pictures plastered all over instagram and twitter (and the internet in general) were absolutely hilarious and some of them were not but the reality is domestic violence is by no means a funny topic. Domestic violence is hurtful and deserves far more attention and I think the media missed out on a perfect opportunity to speak on the issue of men as victims of violence as opposed to perpetrators.
I’d like to draw our attention to another high profile domestic violence case that gripped the entertainment world a few years ago, in order to draw some parallels and make a few valid points. When Chris Brown hit Rihanna he was slated as a woman beater, shunned and prosecuted. The world wanted to protect Rihanna and rightfully so. Rihanna’s story empowered women to challenge the violence they experienced. Yet when Solange hit, kicked and apparently spat at Jay Z, their altercation was downplayed and the issue was glossed over. I’m yet to see any sort of male empowerment against female oppression as a result of their clash. I believe the reason why the backlash was so much greater with Chris Brown v Rihanna and minuscule in the case of Solange v Jay Z is the fact that a woman beat up a man in the latter case.
Society’s response suggests that woman beating up a men is funny, thus pales in comparison to a man beating up a woman. However, I am of the view that domestic violence, despite the gender of the victim, is still domestic violence. The fact that the victim is a man doesn’t make the case any less serious.
If traditional violence i.e. violence against women is undereported think of how many cases against men that are hidden.
The reason why men do not report cases of domestic violence are numerous. For example, the stigma attached to a man being the victim of domestic violence is quite different. He cannot tell his friends for fear they will laugh and so the likelihood that he will report the case to the police is diminished. The problem hinges on the fact that domestic violence against men is depicted in the media as something amusing and insignificant, as the fight between Solange and Jay Z perfectly illustrates.
Social engineering also plays a part here. We are conditioned into thinking that women are helpless beings and so the notion of a woman abusing a man whether physically or mentally is ludicrous. Society has embraced new ideas and conventions but fails to embrace domestic violence against men which is worrying. Equality across genders is apparently celebrated but how equal are we if we are yet to see violence against men as equally important?
Then there is the idea that if a woman hits a man it’s because he deserves it. What if he doesn’t? Nobody deserves to be broken down physically or mentally and I am confused as to why we can even think of raising this defence when we slander those vicious men who use that same tag line when oppressing women.
The image of male/female domestic violence is false and the statistics prove it. Data from the Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey shows that in the UK alone men make up 40% of domestic violence victims. So what message are we spreading to those 40%? Are we saying their hurt doesn’t mean anything because they are men? The pictures were funny but the statistics are not.
A persons gender should not dictate how we measure the seriousness of the abuse.
Domestic violence is domestic violence.
Make love not abuse.
Love Cris x
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