Let’s face it: when we talk about abusive dating relationships or domestic violence in general, we usually think of a man abusing a woman, right? Women are always the “victims.”
It’s time for us to change the way we think because in fact, while male-to-female abuse is leveling off nationwide (at a very high level, I’ll grant you), female-to-male abuse is skyrocketing. Even if you believe in equal rights, that’s not good news for anyone! The fact that women have discovered equal opportunity bad behavior is not promising.
It used to be thought that female abusers used emotional abuse against men. You know what I mean: they would whine, pout, make him feel guilty. Here’s what some high school boys have told me about this form of abuse:
“If I don’t call my girlfriend at least once every night, she accuses me of not caring about her and starts to cry. I just saw her for half a day at school. Aren’t I allowed to have a life?”
“I feel like I’m always apologizing for stuff I didn’t do. She tells me I’m looking at girls when I’m not. I love her and I’m not looking at other girls. I can’t get her to believe that, so I just end up saying I’m sorry to make her feel better.”
“My girlfriend used to call me a ‘dick’ in front of her friends. It was humiliating. All the girls would laugh and think it was so cute. I told her how I felt and asked her to stop. When she wouldn’t, I realized that I was with a girl who told me that she loved me but didn’t care anything about my feelings.”
Do any of those stories sound familiar? They are the same sort of things women say about their abusive male partners! Why is it OK if a girl does the same thing? The answer is: it’s not.
Now, here’s the really depressing news: female-to-male PHYSICAL abuse has gone up at least threefold in many areas of the country in the last year! But there’s a difference between the ways in which girls abuse boys and the way boys abuse girls.
Men use their hands. They punch, slap, push, choke. Girls use weapons. Because, as women, we know that we are usually smaller and physically weaker than our male partners, we can’t overpower them, right? So, women are now using baseball bats, golf clubs, and the like to “even the score.” Let’s say a 5’ 2” girl decides to hurt her 6’ tall boyfriend. Ordinarily, it would look comical, but if she’s got a Louisville Slugger circling over her head like a lasso, it’s going to connect with his head. That’s much scarier than a push against a wall or even a black eye. I find that frightening and depressing.
Men don’t report when they have been violated. They feel that people would make fun of them or joke about their perceived lack of masculinity. The live with the same secretiveness and shame that abused girls and women speak of.
Girls and women have the same insecurities as guys, but a girl’s fears are socially acceptable. They act out abusively for the same reasons boys do: power and control. They like dominance. They need to get help just like male abusers do.
If this article applies to you, I hope you will seek some help. You can’t be happy with yourself and your relationships. If it applies to someone you know, why don’t you e-mail it to her, or suggest she take a look at this website. Then, be a friend and support her in this difficult journey of self-discovery and healing.