As outlined byNancy Berns’, the political discourse on domestic violence has traditionally obscured male abuse whilst placing the burden of responsibility solely on females. Berns’ analysis refers directly to what she calls ‘patriarchal resistance’ where a majority of male directed magazines, talk shows and websites downplay the actions of men and fuel the victim blaming mentality that revolves around similar statements as ‘Did you see what she was wearing? She had it coming’. However the social constructs and implications surrounding domestic violence extends beyond what Berns’ explores and it is important to acknowledge ingrained gender stereotypes that exist for both men and women.
The essence of the One Couple One Punch campaign centres on recognising how men and women are equally capable in taking on the role of perpetrator or victim in situations of domestic violence and abuse. Whilst we aim to degender the problem, we also strive to degender the blame. In order to address the true nature of domestic violence it is imperative we do not actively discount the experiences of any domestic violence victim, whether that be male or female. We should not assume that any one case of domestic violence is more severe than the other, depending on which partner takes on which role. To progressively address this issue, adequate resources and support measures should be afforded to all victims whilst appropriate consequences are directed to perpetrators according to the crimes they have committed.
Domestic violence therefore is not purely a male or female issue but a humanistic one.
With October being domestic violence awareness month, we’d like to encourage all readers of our blog to acknowledge the impact of the issue on our community, speak out and feel comfortable sharing their experience. For more information on this please visit http://www.thehotline.org/dvam2016/ .