We need to stop stereotyping when discussing domestic violence

April 09, 2013

I read with interest the article "Fight against abuse" (April 5). I applaud any effort to stop the horror of domestic violence. However, I am concerned that the article's content reinforces the old stereotype of men as the aggressors and women as the victims.

Men are often the victims of their girlfriends or wives. Ned Holstein and Glenn Sacks ("The violence we ignore," July 16, 2009) cite a 2007 Harvard study that says, "according to both men's and women's accounts, 50 percent of the violence in their relationship was reciprocal (involving both parties). In those cases, the women were more likely to have been the first to strike."

The article continues: "Moreover, when the violence was one-sided, both women and men said that women were the perpetrators about 70 percent of the time."

The article makes good suggestions that can avoid stereotypes:

First, "we need to encourage women not to attack their men." Second, "the domestic violence system needs to treat violent couples as violent couples, instead of shoehorning them into the 'man as perp/woman as victim' model."

Yes, we need to stop domestic violence. We also need to stop the stereotyping.

Robert Morton

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