One of the cornerstones of conventional domestic violence dogma is that the victim is never, ever, responsible for violence perpetrated against them. Rather perpetrators must accept responsibility and be held accountable for their violence. Statements along these lines are enshrined in the White Ribbon Campaign and Australia’s “Time for Action” Plan to reduce violence against women and their children.
A White Ribbon Campaign fact sheet states:
Myth 4 Some people deserve to be beaten by provoking the violence. Fact : Responsibility for violence must rest solely with the abuser.
As a young intern during one of my first night sifts in the casualty department (ER) I received notification that a young man was being brought in by ambulance after being punched in the head outside one of the local nightclubs. He was said to be unconscious but stable, however on arrival he was in complete cardio respiratory arrest and after almost an hour of vigorous resuscitation attempts could not be revived. Post mortem examination subsequently showed that he had suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage as a result of a single blow to the head. The story from bystanders was that another male had walked up behind him and punched him once in the back of the head; there was no apparent provocation.
I learned several lessons that night including, the potential for a single well placed blow to be fatal, the dangers of alcohol fuelled violence on the nightclub strip – and never trust the paramedics radio alert to be accurate. In those days most of the brawling was male on male. But trends in more recent times show mixed violence and female on female violence becoming more common.
In 2010 the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research released a paper “Female Offending: Has their been an increase”  found that
Using police person of interest (POI) data, this brief considers trends in offending by females and juvenile females over the 10 years to June 2009. Over this period, the number of females proceeded against by police increased by 15 per cent, whereas the number of male offenders remained stable.
They also noted a much greater rise in the rate of female juvenile offenders 1/3-increase verses a 1/10 increase for male juvenile offenders.
There are thousands of video clips on Youtube showing drunken violent women to which I recently added this one: http://youtu.be/7qq8Z3L6UwE It’s a recording from a popular Australian evening show called A Current Affair.
Three young women, two of them mothers of young children, were recorded on a mobile phone drunk, violent and out of control outside a nightclub after closing time. The general community attitude to this was one of disgust at their behavior. However the girls wanted to “give their side of the story,” and appeared on national television to tell us “they were provoked by a group of drunken men.”
One of the girls explains “I remember crossing the road, and some guy yelled out you’re a fat s(Beeped out – presumably “slut”), and then I walked over and started yelling at him and stuff, and I think that’s when it started, all the troubles.”
It’s not quite clear what she means by “and stuff” but presumably it means a physical element added to “yelling at him.” Suffice it to say she could have simply walked away rather than crossing a road to confront a group of men and start a fight.
The girls claim “They hit us, they spat on us, they called us names.” Yet whilst there is lots of shouting and name calling to be heard during the video there is no sign of any male hitting any of the girls, only their relentless aggressive attacks. Despite being dragged away by security these girls continued to run back into the fray on the attack.
One even walked up behind a male who was facing away from her and posing no threat and viciously wacked him on the back of the head with her high heeled shoe. That scene sent a shiver down my spine and reminding me of the case I encountered as an intern. She said in the interview that perhaps he did not deserve a heel in the head but “he did deserve a punch in the head.”
When quizzed by the interviewer if this was indicative of their usual behavior the girls admitted, “We’ve been in fights but nothing like this,” so this was not their first involvement in violence. Further the girls admitted to consuming a large amount of alcohol, and feeling “very angry.”
We just wanted to hurt someone because they were hurting us.
When asked if they were sorry for their behavior all agreed they were “embarrassed” but it would appear that they were more embarrassed about being recorded and exposed then by their actual violence, which they claim their victims deserved. “I’m not sorry, I’m not sorry to those guys, I’m sorry to my family but not to the guys.”
One of the girls has no hesitation in stating for the camera “No guy should hit a girl, I think it’s disgusting,” yet their recorded behavior show they clearly believe it is ok for women to be violent toward men.
One of the girls offered this gem “what if their mothers saw them behaving like that towards girls?” which had me bemused. Surely she meant what if their fathers saw them behaving like this toward girls? But then it hit me; apparently single motherhood and fatherlessness are now common enough to considered the norm.
I don’t like being judged as a mother. They don’t know the full story about everything, like we were provoked and they wont know till they watch this.
If this is the view of young mothers it does not bode well for the chances of our current generation of children to become civil, non-violent members of society.
Another recent trend of concern is that of mothers encouraging their daughters to fight in the schoolyard or similar circumstances. There have been several well-publicized cases in Australia and the US including this one where the mother was charged with child abuse. http://youtu.be/G9chmFG50E4
So what is the message from all this? Abusers must always be accountable for their violence except if the abuser is a woman and they were provoked to violence by a man. There is an increasing trend for women to be physically violent and encourage such violence in their offspring, a trend that can only worsen, as the mother headed household becomes a social norm.
US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan commented in the mid sixties “A community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken homes, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future – that community asks for and gets chaos.”
We should add to this that girls who lack the guiding influences of a father and who are encouraged by mothers (who don’t seem to understand all violence is wrong) are adding to that chaos.