This comment is from That Guy in response to “A Reader Responds to Chris Brown Post“
I’m glad the article at least mentions some famous cases of female-on-male domestic violence, e.g. Lisa Lefteye Lopez. (I don’t think Rison’s mansion actually burned down, but she did torch it in anger.) I don’t recall much outrage in the media about the death of Steve McNair or Phil Hartman. Granted, these were two different scenarios, but both were victims of types of domestic violence. I don’t recall much discussion about violence against men when it became clear that Elin Woods attacked Tiger Woods with a golf club. I’m guessing the main sentiment out there was that they deserved it somehow, or in Hartman’s case it’s a shame there’s not more support out there for mental health problems.
The ethics have started to flip. A century ago, a husband could often get away with killing his wife if she was unfaithful to him. I think most of us would say that’s reprehensible, that it’s outrageous that infidelity could be an excuse for murder. Totally barbaric. Now, however, the sentiment towards men who cheat is that violence seems perfectly reasonable. During the Clinton sex scandal, someone asked Dick Army what would happen to him if he had cheated. He joked that he would be lying a pool of his own blood, with his wife standing over him asking how she can reload the gun. That sounded really wise and comical at the time, but if you think about it, that’s not all that funny.
Maybe one solution is to stop using the phrase “domestic violence” as if it were some totally different kind of activity than other crimes. The phrase seems to have gendered overtones built into it, but assault is assault. Attempted murder is attempted murder. Murder is murder. Arson is arson. Why not refer to an alleged murderer as an alleged murderer, no matter what the sex of the person is? We already have all the gender-neutral terms we need. Let’s start using them, because they’re pretty accurate already. Hartman and McNair were murdered.Tiger Woods was assaulted. Andre Rison was a victim of arson. Why is that so hard?
photo: mike_nelson / flickr