Today on MSNBC I watched Contessa Brewer and her co anchor Melissa Francis smirk and commiserate with the wife of a man after she handcuffed and attacked her husband for not listening to her after he told her he wanted a divorce.
If you listen carefully to the call the man sounds absolutely terrified as he pleads for help from authorities. Not only did she handcuff them together, to the bed, she had changed the locks on their bedroom door and as he sought help she repeatedly bit him.
You hear the man plead with the operator as he details that she has a record of violence.
How is there anything funny about this?
We know that if the roles had been reversed and a man had handcuffed his wife and then attacked her we wouldn’t be laughing at least most of us wouldn’t.
But what if it were a woman and a woman? or a man and a man? Would we condone this? Is this level of violence and control acceptable in any type of relationship? No. And what about the brutality would we have even seen it on the national news if it were a same sex couple? No. Yet, we should know by now that regardless of the gender of the perpetrator this type of behavior is unacceptable.
One in four lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are battered by a partner that’s the same level of intimate partner violence we see in heterosexual couples!
That’s why domestic abuse is no laughing or smirking matter regardless of the gender of the perpetrator.
Granted the cases of women being the perpetrators of violence against male partners account for less than five percent or fewer of the domestic violence cases in the US. However, when we view a woman attacking a man as funny we are intentionally reinforcing a myth that men cannot be victims of domestic violence and also unintentionally suggesting that there is only one type of intimate partner violence man-woman and this myth continues to do harm to women and men in same sex relationships.
That’s why we have to stop looking at the gender of the perpetrator and view domestic violence as DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!!