Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Go directly to jail: Women are the worst perpetrators of verbal violence against men

"In the sea of conflict, men sink and women swim"--Researcher John Gottman

Many of you have been emailing me about France's new law banning "psychological violence" against one's spouse (wife is more like it, I'm sure). Apparently, jail time might even be involved for perpetrators who dare to mock their spouse (wife). Fausta emailed me a post she had written on the topic and asked if I thought women were more likely to be the perpetrators of insults against their husbands. My answer, "absolutely."

The research bears this out. In psychologist Richard Driscoll's book Opposites as Equals, there is a section called "Women are more confrontive." Driscoll discusses the work of John Gottman who observed that women are freer and more open in expressing their anger than are men:

While we might expect men to be more forceful than women in marital arguments, the research shows just the opposite, surprising our expectations.

Women tend to be more insistent, according to various researchers including John Gottman [i] at the University of Washington. Women argue more forcefully in almost twice as many marriages as men.

In the most lopsided arguments where only one argues and the other remains silent, by a ratio of 6 to 1, it is the woman who continues to argue and the man who remains silent. ....

Men are typically more stressed and confused in arguments with women and remain bitter for longer afterward, while women are more comfortable amid verbal jousts, recover from them more quickly, in our ready for another round. Generally, it is fair to say that men are more intimidated in confrontations with women than the other way around.


So, if men are more stressed and confused by arguments, meaning that they suffer more psychological harm than women, it seems fair to say that women are the ones who should suffer because of this law.

I should note that I do not believe the government has any right to interfere this way in people's marriages. However, given that these statist laws seem to abound, it seems only fair that women should be held accountable. And lest you think this an impossibility, remember that more and more women are being arrested for assaults, one reason being that due to feminism, women are no longer getting away with their crimes as often.

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38 Comments:

Blogger noodles said...

Hello Dr. Helen,
I'm writing from the BBC.We're going to cover this story today and love to speak to you.
Could you email my colleague Krupa.Thakrar@bbc.co.uk or worldhaveyoursay@bbc.com
Really hope to hear from you.
Thankyou.

7:54 AM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

helen, i agree with the your position regarding laws and the bedroom for the most part, but how does feminism make women more accountable for their crimes?

by the way, i agree entirely with your statements about women`s verbal agression during arguements as i`ve experienced this on a number of occasions in relationships and in discussions with female acquaintances.

in some instances a woman will seem almost shocked that a man would disagree with her soveriegn right to her postion in a conversation.

i challenged a woman`s statement that she felt that sean penn made the film "milk" because he wanted to promote homosexual issues in modern society.

my position was that he made the film in the hopes of financial success and get that vaunted academy award actors all want, and that the issues in the film were, in all likelyhood, secondary to that aim.

she then proceeded to call me homophobic and fascist and riffed off into thoughts about her own children`s potential to be homosexual and what i would do if i found out that one of my boys was gay.....

i was glad at that moment that she was someone else`s wife and that i wouldn`t have to camp out on the couch for daring to challenge her.

i always thought debate was a healthy exchange of ideas and not a vitriolic ad hominem assault.

by the way, my girlfriend and i hold many divergent views but we don`t become agressive because we are threatened by the other person`s position....and we have great conversations and learn things about how other ideas and processes work.

11:00 AM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger noodles said...

Hi
Could you email my colleague Krupa.Thakrar your phone number?
She is trying to contact you.
Thanks
Nuala

11:18 AM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

Nuala,

I just did. Look forward to hearing from you.

dr. alistair,

Female assault numbers are up to around 22% last time I looked. Some researchers say that rather than women being more violent, the higher assault #s are due to "equal rights"--police and others are more likely to arrest women than they used to be. I don't know how true this is, but it is a theory.

11:29 AM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

so, are women feeling more empowered to assault, or are officers more empowered to make arrests of women?

12:35 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

helen--I am constantly amused at your anti-female stand taken in post after post in defense of Men...women are, it seems, here, always in the wrong and men picked upon and deserve much better.

That said: women tend to be more verbal and men, more physical...perhaps that is why women scream and men hit?

1:04 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

dr. allistair,

Probably both.

1:10 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I was having a conversation with my mother last week. It went like this:

Me: "Mom, I am a little concerned about your upcoming retirement and how you spend so much of your time worrying and having panic attacks. I am graciously suggesting you may wish to find an outlet for your time and energy and look at some of the interesting volunteer opportunities available in your area."

Mom: "Quit trying to insult, manipulate and control me and quit shouting and being so rude. I know you want me dead."

So this leads to the question, what is an insult? What is rude? What is psychological violence? How do you prove it?

1:22 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

Cham,

Exactly, who is to say what psychological violence is in a relationship. What is mothers were allowed to have their grown kids put in jail for insults etc.? One person's insult is anothers compliment.

1:32 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger randian said...

I think the reason men are stressed and confused in arguments with women is that men are prohibited from responding to women's aggreession with aggression of their own. Since the stress of the argument has no outlet during the argument itself, it manifests in confusion and bitterness after the argument.

1:55 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

It is very strange what has gone on with the law regarding domestic violence and family court. IANAL, but in most interpersonal crimes, a clear standard exists for whether it was a crime. For example, an assault charge must show an assailant who intends to threaten the victim, and does something that reasonable people might consider threatening. Ditto why we have many degrees of murder and manslaughter (someone actually has to be dead for either charge, then they haggle over the killer's level of fault and intent).

But when it comes to abuse allegations, if the victim "felt threatened" or "is afraid of the perpetrator," that's enough to determine guilt and issue protective orders, take away the children, argue criminal indifference, or rationalize retaliatory violence. (Kind of like how some states' laws apparently allow someone to decide after the fact if they were raped?)

Now we've added a new tool to the newspeak arsenal, "psychological violence."

It's bizarre.

6:51 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

4-5 days a week I take a lunch time walk around downtown Cincinnati and have for several years. It is not uncommon to see a black woman yelling at and cussing out her husband/boyfriend in public. I probably see this 1-2 times a week on average.

I've yet to see a black man doing the same. Perhaps many of the problems black men face are due to the "Misandry Bubble" you posted about as well as other subjects you've covered such as learned hopelessness and being the subject of verbal/psychological violence.

8:01 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Trust said...

@fred (mary?)

Women are both verbal more often, and hit more often. Men are just more dominant physically, so women end up physically hurt more and men arrested more.

Dr. Helen isn't saying men are always right and women are always wrong, she's just presenting the other side. When a man is wrong or a woman is right, 99% of the venues are with it. However, when it is the reverse, few care so she is basically speaking up for those who dont' have a voice.

I hope Dr. H. will correct me if I've misrepresented her intentions.

8:32 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

Trust,

Couldn't have said it better myself. If men speak up at all, they are berated, humiliated and shot down. As long as the narrative goes that women are victims, men oppressors, all is well with the PC world. When the reverse is true, men caused the problem and should be punished or ridiculed. This societal shaming and blaming has led to laws that are unjust and statist against men, (arrested with no due process, put in jail for owing debt, etc.) meaning that in the US, men are treated under the law as second class citizens.

5:46 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger hM said...

I would also say that most men, from when they are very young are taught to show respect to the girls/women around them. Be nice to the little girls, don't push them down or throw sand on them (Heaven help you if you do), and above all NEVER hit a girl.

I imagine it would be extremely frustrating to be raised to be a decent, respectful guy only to be faced with choosing between various "Daddy's Little Princess" types, of which I'm noticing there are a lot more these days.

8:58 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Laws, regulations, and attitudes such as those evinced in the "psychological violence" law appear to me as archetypically symptomatic of social pathologies increasingly characteristic of nearly the entire post-modern journey.

Most prevalent of these is the automatic assumption that someone else is responsible for my situation. Therefore, I am a victim and redress is required.

In this case it takes the form that someone else is responsible for my feelings and reactions. Sorry, folks. Nobody can make me feel bad, and I alone am responsible for how I choose to use the moments between stimulus and response.

When, on occasion, someone says to me "I'm deeply offended by that comment" -- and it was a reasonable comment -- my reply tends to be "So?"

I suspect the widespread sensitivity and intense reactivity to what others do and say merely reflects the absence of a solid emotional, rational, and spiritual core.

That people actually wish to use laws to enshrine and protect such emotional immaturity would be laughable, were it not so dangerous.

9:16 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I have a different theory on how this will go. I think that far more women will use this "psychological violence" charge against men for the simple reason that the "victimology" culture is alive and well for women, but not for men.

Feminism has given women the courage to speak up when they are being abused, and that is all well and good. Feminism has made women unafraid to speak up and say, "I am a victim." This can be overdone and we've all seen the unpleasant results that occur when society can't stop itself from portraying women as victims, but it is clearly a good thing for women who are trying to escape abuse.

There's no such corresponding cultural shift for men, and thus, it doesn't matter how many abuse laws are put into place - men will not use them because they are not conditioned to recognize when they are being abused.

I socialize with, I would say, anywhere from 50 to 100 married couples, all of whom are educated, employed, and financially stable. There is zero verbal abuse that I see male-to-female, but there are quite a few wives who are known for being really nasty to their husbands. They do this in public, with no shame, and their husbands don't call them on it, because they don't recognize it as abuse. I spoke to one man and pointed out that if a guy spoke to a woman in public the way his wife spoke to him, people would be calling abuse hotlines, and he just looked at me like I had two heads.

Maybe it's the difference in physical strength - men put up with female verbal abuse because they know no serious physical harm will follow. Maybe their parents told them that a woman's bitchy moods just have to be tolerated. Regardless, we have a long way to go before men, in general, are willing to admit how abusive women can be.

9:23 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Kimberly:

What is preventing YOU from saying to these women, "Please stop verbally abusing your husband in public, your behavior is inappropriate and is making me very uncomfortable."?

Try it, it works.

9:32 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger G said...

Men are slower to argue, because once that switch gets triggered, they will use their power, verbally, and physically if necessary.

Women, on the other hand, do not fear they will "go postal" on someone they love, and so they "henpeck" and hector. They do not realize that a man going s]lent on them doesn't mean that he is agreeing with them, or is guilty. Rather, he is engaging in a adaptive response to keep from escalating the violence.

This is well-known research.

9:32 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

G says:

Men are slower to argue, because once that switch gets triggered, they will use their power, verbally, and physically if necessary.

Why must men use their power physically? I would assume most mature adults have some sort of control over their behavior. Sure, men are more prone to violence than women but men are quite able not to be violent. Women should be able to have a verbal discussion in a calm reasonable form, but that shouldn't be because women should be afraid that their male SO will have a violent outburst if they don't like what is said.

There is a happy medium here. Perhaps women should be more aware of their tone of voice and discussing a topic longer than necessary and men could perhaps learn to say, "All right, that's enough, I've heard what you have to say now let's move on." rather than working the silent treatment.

10:19 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Hunka-hunka said...

I dunno about France, but if this law were passed in the U.S., I think it's safe to assume that many, MANY more men would be prosecuted... regardless of who actually committed the crime more often.

10:30 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Doc said...

I agree with G on this one. Cham, what you don't realize is that when women scream and yell and thow a tantrum even to the point of hitting a guy it's accepted. When the guy even raises his voice to correct the woman then it's considered threatening to the woman. Then when a guy goes postal and acts just the same as that woman does, it's domestic violence. A screaming man is much more intimidating. We continue to ignore the fact that men and women ARE DIFFERENT. We're wired different and built different. The more we ignore this, the worse we will be as a society.

11:10 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

When the guy even raises his voice to correct the woman then it's considered threatening to the woman.

Why would you be 'raising your voice' and 'correcting' anyone? I'm not condoning violence, throwing tantrums or even yelling. People certainly don't need to be corrected, man or woman. If you don't like someone's actions then get away from them, far away. Don't stick around to find out what will happen next.

11:41 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger moonrage said...

According to DOJ statistics, women are responsible for most physical assaults in domestic violence but also physically hurt more than men. Unfortunately, gender-equality has proceeded exclusively from the point of view of women and "enlightened" men are properly conditioned to accept the woman's POV as correct and just.

11:50 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Milwaukee said...

Wowser. Just think: I went through a lot of anguish in a bad marriage, and then getting a divorce. Now I am greatly relieved. There are worse things than being single, and unhealthy marriages really are unhealthy. A poet once wrote that one of the reasons for writing poetry was "It's cold and lonely here, a) without you or b) with you."

12:17 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Ronnie Schreiber said...

DADvocate said...

4-5 days a week I take a lunch time walk around downtown Cincinnati and have for several years. It is not uncommon to see a black woman yelling at and cussing out her husband/boyfriend in public. I probably see this 1-2 times a week on average.


If you think that's something, wait till you see two black women fighting over the same man. In a Burger King parking lot in Detroit I saw two women going at each other over a guy who was playing them both. Like Jerry Springer only without the bouncers to keep the combatants apart.

And when they're done going after his other woman, then they go after him.

Go figure.

1:34 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

cham, i know you are not being deliberately obtuse, but when it comes to spousal communication, one party will try to assert control over another by any means possible....and in many instances a woman will use psychological agression without let or hinderance, knowing that a man will not reciprocate in a physical way....most of the time.

many women get dead that way, or badly hurt, because they don`t read the signals correctly....and drugs and alcohol don`t do much to clarify either parties position.

but leaving is many times an extremely difficult option for a man, as there are no shelters or supports if they do.

so he trys to make a stand.

i`m nearly 50 years old and it is only in the last ten years or so that i`ve bee able to manage my temper in difficult situations. had my ex been any more confrontational during our break-up things could have gotten out of hand quickly.

she hired a lawyer to actually perpetrate the theft and i had to leave a meeting with him once for fear of pulling his head off.

so i know how to "leave" cham, but i have spent years on my issues and do work professionally in the field of personal developement.

many do not.so to smugly suggest that a man just leave waves a red flag.

i hope this was recieved in the way it was meant. not as a personal attack, but as a discussion of my experience and my belief that most men don`t have structures in place to not attack if sufficiently provoked.

1:42 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Ronnie Schreiber said...

The problem with the DV debate is that if you take a stance against the woman-good/man-bad ideology of the domestic violence industry (the various "advocates", agencies and shelters) you're immediately regarded as akin to an abuser.

Trying to debate with feminists and DV industry types mirrors actual domestic violence. Anything women do is fair, but even vigorously challenging them or firmly debating, will be considered some kind of abuse. As was pointed out, a woman can be a complete harridan, and scream and yell at her husband and kids, and that won't be considered DV. But let a man even raise his voice to make a point emphatic and he'll be accused of trying to intimidate or worse.

My ex would routinely tell me to stop shouting. I've spoken publicly, I know the difference between raising my voice and shouting. I used to work in my dad's veterinary hospital and he taught me how to quiet down a kennel with an appropriate shout of "Shurrup!" (Dad was from Brooklyn and tended to drop his Ts).

Eventually my ex and kids learned not to accuse me of shouting when I wasn't shouting because I'd demonstrate the difference.

2:13 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Ronnie,

If I may inject a bit of humor (bad idea, probably, but still here I go...)

Now that you've mention dogs, remember this one from the "Why Dogs Are Better Than Women" email that made the rounds quite some time ago?

"Dogs understand that sometimes you have to raise your voice to make your point."

2:40 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger gs said...

Topher writes: Now we've added a new tool to the newspeak arsenal, "psychological violence." Cham asks: So this leads to the question, what is an insult? What is rude? What is psychological violence? How do you prove it?

It is whatever the people who create and impose definitions want it to be.

As for proving it, well, expert assessments are obviously indispensable...and who is more expert than the people who created and imposed the definition? (The taxpayer will have to "invest" in these experts and the enforcement process.)
************
What is the justification for this drastic intrusion of government into citizens' private interactions? I don't see it. The burden of proving a need should be on those who wish to expand state power. Instead the law is sailing through--and this is only Version 1.0.

2:48 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger mariner said...

Cham:
Sure, men are more prone to violence than women ...

No, they're not. This assumption is an example of the reflexive anti-male attitudes that we need to change.

Both the 1975 and 1985 National Family Violence Surveys showed that women are slightly more prone to violence than men.

8:07 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

On this thread, it's as if everyone SEEMS to be disagreeing with everyone else, but it looks like there's actually great agreement.

Kimberly: "I have a different theory on how this will go. I think that far more women will use this 'psychological violence' charge against men for the simple reason that the 'victimology' culture is alive and well for women, but not for men."

I think that's everyone's theory.

"Feminism has given women the courage to speak up when they are being abused, and that is all well and good...There's no such corresponding cultural shift for men, and thus, it doesn't matter how many abuse laws are put into place - men will not use them because they are not conditioned to recognize when they are being abused."

You just nailed it.

"I socialize with, I would say, anywhere from 50 to 100 married couples, all of whom are educated, employed, and financially stable. There is zero verbal abuse that I see male-to-female, but there are quite a few wives who are known for being really nasty to their husbands. They do this in public, with no shame, and their husbands don't call them on it, because they don't recognize it as abuse. I spoke to one man and pointed out that if a guy spoke to a woman in public the way his wife spoke to him, people would be calling abuse hotlines, and he just looked at me like I had two heads."

Yup.

"...men put up with female verbal abuse because they know no serious physical harm will follow."

...do they?

Doc: "We continue to ignore the fact that men and women ARE DIFFERENT. We're wired different and built different. The more we ignore this, the worse we will be as a society."

The belief that the sexes are different has caused men far more harm than has the belief that the sexes are the same.

9:11 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

That said: women tend to be more verbal and men, more physical...perhaps that is why women scream and men hit?

I wish you people would get a clue.

If a man is staying silent or tries to turn his back and walk off, that is a sign that he is ceasing hostilities. If a person continues to argue with them, encroaches upon their physical space, or just hits them with a physical object, violence is sure to ensue.

The man has already declared his intent not to contest this space, and by staying silent, he is communicating that he won't stab you in the back if you leave now. So if you pursue him, his preservation instincts go into thrive.

If a woman doesn't want to get hit, she should stop pursuing people like that.

10:38 AM, January 08, 2010  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It's more like the women believe violence won't ensue if they keep using verbal violence on their targets.

This isn't isolated to women. If you look at Professor Gate's threat display and hysterics, it's what happens to all those that feel threatened but have no conception of actual violence. Usually yuppies who go into gang territory will use a threat display like Gates did, if they feel threatened. A criminal or a gang member, however, sees that threat display as communicating "I am going to kill you" and proceeds to strike first.

If insecure Gates had done this to a black hoodie, he'd have been dead. Instead of warning off violence, Gates would have brought it on himself. That's why we told him not to mouth off at police if he doesn't want trouble. If you feel threatened, the worst thing you can do is to try to do a threat display that is then perceived as a threat itself.

There are ways to conduct threat displays to warn people off correctly. But when it crosses the line into aggression, when you're actively entering a person's space and verbally abusing them, that's no longer defense but aggression. You are no longer asserting that if he comes to attack you, you will attack him, but aggressively communicating that you are going to attack him NOW.

That's what Gates did. That's what women do when using verbal abuse. They think it won't ever come to violence. Or they think they can control violence with words. Not true.

That's what Democrats and Leftists do when character assassinating people. They think words=reality. It only looks like that because people choose to abide by laws and restraints. But if you actively threaten people enough, everybody has limits.

In the third world, their limits are pretty sparse, so they tend to explode at the smallest things (cartoons). But even here in America, there is such a thing as the limit.

The point should be that everybody, men and women, should learn the correct social lines between what violence is, threats of violence, and how to resolve such issues without violence.

The Left claims to be able to do so. In reality, they are the ones instigating almost all of the verbal violence and many of the physical violence. They are insecure, cruel, people. You don't get conflict resolution with such.

10:48 AM, January 08, 2010  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Women should be able to have a verbal discussion in a calm reasonable form, but that shouldn't be because women should be afraid that their male SO will have a violent outburst if they don't like what is said.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is a fantasy. Everybody must be aware of the potential for violence and death from their actions. This was always true of America's frontier ancestors. This will still be true even when America is decadent and spoiled, like most Americans are today.

If I don't fear physical violence, I can do whatever I want to you verbally. Destroy your children's reputations. Harm your wife or husband psychologically. Make them commit suicide using mental manipulation methods. Re-educate them using indoctrination and brainwashing. Con them. Defraud them. Make them a laughing stock of the world. Destroy their reputation and character in the eyes of most of society.

And I need not fear any repercussions, because everything I have done would be lacking in physical violence and would be perfectly legal.

This is the world you want your children to live in. Where right is made by such people due to their verbal might?

Fortunately for those of us without the family clout of the Kennedies, reality isn't that way. Violence is still a sure fire answer when all else fails.

The potential for violence sets natural and common sense limiters on what we can or should say or do to people. It, like artificial law, is a natural law. And does much of the same thing. Except the judge, jury, and executioner is reality itself. There is no appeal.

This is only troublesome for people who can't handle physical force. This is only a problem for people who like to abuse those like Sarah Palin, but also wish to feel physically safe and guarded. This is only a problem if you yourself can't deal with physical violence.

This is not a problem for a key segment of the American population. The very US Constitution was built upon the assumption that humanity will always be prone to greed and violence, as well as other human vices. People forget this at their peril.

11:03 AM, January 08, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:47 PM, January 08, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Ymarsakar: France might be the best place for you. I have no problem exercising personal responsibility and I know when someone is attempting to psychologically abuse me. I don't need or wish to have to government to protect me from it. Nor do I feel compelled to display any sort of violence toward people who engage in psychological abuse. That would be childish first, illegal second and immoral third.

6:25 PM, January 08, 2010  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I can't slash won't use travel advice from you, Cham.

I have no problem exercising personal responsibility and I know when someone is attempting to psychologically abuse me.

There's no point declaring such to me. It's not going to change anything either way.

It's not about you. It's about something that contains more than one person.

Women should be able to have a verbal discussion in a calm reasonable form,-C

The world is not the way it should be. That's why people argue. It contains people other than themselves, so people argue with those that are not themselves.

5:04 PM, January 11, 2010  

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