Flip your script and it sounds exactly like victim-blaming: “If you don’t want an abusive man, then…
Sumant Manne
32

That is not flipping the script. That is completely rewriting it. You said that you can’t even feel safe living with a woman because basically, the Duluth Model blames men for domestic violence. You didn’t say anything about the woman actually being abusive. You were referring to your interpretation of the Duluth Model as targeting men. If you had said you can’t even feel safe living with an abusive female, I would have agreed because why would anyone feel safe with someone abusive. You weren’t saying that and if that is what you meant, it was not clear. My view of what you said was that the Duluth Model automatically labels you as the abuser so you could never feel safe living with a woman, abusive or not, because you will be blamed no matter what happens. If you want to clarify your statement that would be different but what you said here is not flipping, it is changing to suit your current argument. It greatly diminishes your credibility.

What exactly is it that you think I am projecting? This isn’t the first time I have seen you use that as a defense when someone disagrees with you. Is this your “go to” when your argument is completely lacking in substance? It is starting to look like you are arguing your ego more than anything valid based on facts.

Anyway, have you actually read the Duluth Model? Or did you just skim through and make conclusory assumptions? I only ask because of your last statement that according to the Duluth Model, female abusers don’t even exist. Here are some excerpts from theduluthmodel.org:

Does the Duluth Model shame men?

No. A Duluth Model men's nonviolence program helps facilitate men's change through a process of ciritcal dialogue. Our facilitators create an open learning environment that respects the men, their experience, and their thinking, but also challenges their entitlement to abuse. Both participants and facilitators are challenged to question the beliefs we each carry about ourselves, our partners, and our world. Together, participants and facilitators analyze how men use violence, what beliefs give them permission to control their partners and their children, and the impact of this violence on everyone and then explore and practice noncontrolling and nonviolent alternatives.

While some programs have inappropriately used our curriculum to shame men, that is not our methodology. Shaming dehumanizes and creates resistance to change.

Why don’t you use gender neutral language to describe domestic violence?

The battering of women by men continues to be a significant social problem--men commit over 85% of all criminal assaults and women are killed 3.5 times more often than men in domestic homicides. Not naming this gender disparity, and the continued underlying social, cultural and institutional structures that support it, keeps us from naming the social problem for what it is. While we do recognize there are cases of domestic violence other than male perpetrated violence against women, even in those cases the perpetrator's sense of entitlement to control or dominate another remains the predominant cause of violence.

Do women use violence as often as men in intimate relationships?

When women use violence in an intimate relationship, the circumstances of that violence tends to differ from when men use violence. Men's use of violence against women is learned and reinforced through many social, cultural and institutional experiences. Women’s use of violence does not have the same kind of societal support. Many women who do use violence against their male partners are being battered. Their violence is used primarily to respond to and resist the violence used against them. On the societal level, women’s violence against men has a trivial effect on men compared to the devastating effect of men’s violence against women.

Battering in same-sex intimate relationships has many of the same characteristics of battering in heterosexual relationships, but happens within the context of the larger societal oppression of same-sex couples. Resources that describe same-sex domestic violence have been developed by specialists in that field such as The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse, www.nwnetwork.org.

If we ignore the power imbalances in relationships between men and women and power imbalances in society we miss the opportunity for real societal change. By naming the power differences, we can more clearly provide advocacy and support for victims, accountability and opportunities for change for offenders, and system and societal changes that end violence against women.

The Duluth Model does in fact recognize that women can be abusers and that men can be abused. That is not the purpose of it. Their purpose is based on sound facts and it is very much needed. There are definitely men who are victims of violence as well but they do have protections under the law. To think otherwise is foolish. Is there a presumption that a violent relationship is usually an abusive male and an abused female? Yes. Is that fair? Maybe not, but physical abuse is predominantly about power and typically the male is the one who has it over the female.

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