Domestic Violence, Society, and the Media

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When it comes to coverage of domestic violence and/or child abuse issues, I’m disheartened on a daily basis at the profound level of media bias, societal bias, and general slant towards “man blaming” which continues unabated.  This is the case despite the overwhelming, reputable evidence about the violent tendencies of women – particularly in domestic violence and child abuse circles.  With regard to the media, you’re likely to see examples of what we’re talking about every single day in most newspapers across the country and across the world.

Lately, we have seen more of the usual portrayals of man-as-perpetrator in some fairly high-profile, very violent incidents.  One of these involves the death of three children at the hands of their mother in New York State.

In the aforementioned case, a mother, distraught after an alleged argument with the children’s father, willfully drove the family minivan into a river with the children strapped in their seats.  Only one child managed to escape.  The other three – died at the scene.  When you read many of the articles, a very common theme comes to the surface for those who pay attention to these issues.

  1. In reference to the actual murders of the children – the term “domestic violence” is rarely, if ever mentioned.
  2. In reference to the alleged argument between the mother and the father – the terms “domestic violence, domestic dispute, domestic incident” are tossed about with much frequency.

Another common theme is the level of effort by the mainstream media to find a “reason” (see: excuse) for why the “poor mother” was “forced” to commit such a heinous act.  The mother frequently is seen as “driven” to do it, as if some outside force was responsible for the murders and not the actual perpetrator. Read this sympathy piece over at momlogic: Is Society to Blame When a Mother Kills? I’ll answer that question: No. The mother is to blame.  Not society.  Not the father. This article is astounding to us.

I assure you that if the genders were reversed, there would be no such investigation as to what prompted the father to commit the murders.  It would seem that society has this default foregone conclusion that the man was a monster who was inherently violent.  Apparently, victim-blaming is okay when it’s a man who was the victim.  If you want to read the unconscionable efforts by too many to vilify the grieving father in such a situation, read: Father Gets Criticized for Mother Killing Kids in New York

Jean Pierre didn’t kill his kids. It was their mother, not their father, who took the three little children with her in a suicide plunge into the Hudson River this month.

But Pierre, 26, has come under constant criticism. He’s been vilified for cheating on Lashanda Armstrong, labeled a deadbeat on child support and charged with being a danger to children, all of which his lawyers dispute.

In another high-profile domestic violence case, Brandon Marshall, wide receiver of the Miami Dolphins, was violently stabbed in the stomach by his wife, Michi Nogami-Marshall. The only surprise here is that Brandon Marshall wasn’t arrested with a knife sticking out of his stomach, as is often the case in a domestic violence matter with mandatory arrest laws usually applied to mean “arrest the man.”

While it is true that Brandon Marshall’s past isn’t the best in terms of his ability to avoid trouble – in the hours and days after he was taken to the hospital in critical condition, you would find it difficult to find an article or hear a sportscast where the focus wasn’t on Brandon Marshall’s past indiscretions and not on the fact that he was stabbed by his violent wife and taken to the hospital for emergency surgery.

If a woman were a victim of a similar crime with and she had a checkered past, I’m fairly convinced (via my experience studying news coverage regarding domestic violence) that the victim would rarely be so taken to task in the press.  Look no further than the false allegations of rape in the Duke Lacrosse Case.  Back then, when the lying victim’s past were called into question, the unbridled outrage was long and loud.  Once exposed for the liar she was and having gone virtually unpunished, Crystal Mangum went on to victimize others and was recently arrested on charges of attempted murder, arson, and others earlier this year after trying to kill her boyfriend.

The real truth about domestic violence and really violence in general is out there.  You just have to weed out the vast cesspool of biased, agenda-driven falsehoods that are out there to find it.  And what you’ll find is that women can be every bit as violent and criminal as men – particularly when it comes to domestic violence.

Sadly, until such time as female perpetrators are treated with the same level harshness as male perpetrators – this type of terribly wrong coverage of domestic violence will continue.

Worse, until such time as male victims are treated with the same level of care and compassion as female victims – the frightening imbalance of government funding for legal aid, resources, shelters, etc. will also continue.

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