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Raising Boys Who Don’t Abuse Women: A Blueprint For Liberals, Conservatives, and Everyone in Between

For men who use violence against women, their train of thought goes something like this:

“She just gets me SO jealous. I keep telling her, look, don’t speak to these other men. You know they are only trying to fuck you. Do you think she listens? No!”

“My girlfriend loves to go out dancing with her friends. Dressed like a slut, of course. It’s embarrassing. I think she’s doing it deliberately to get at me.”

“My wife wants me to stay home with the kids. She wants me to act the wife. No way! That’s not my thing. It’s unnatural.”

As a former attorney for victims of domestic violence turned stay-at-home dad for twin girls, I worry about their future. Before becoming a father, I represented hundreds of women in cases of domestic violence and stalking.  While the facts differed, nearly every case involved men who were insecure about sex and/or money. A particular case involving a couple I encountered in Ohio is emblematic. Let’s call them Lisa & Brian. Brian was not particularly strong or imposing in a traditionally masculine way, but he was the breadwinner — that is, until he lost his job. While struggling to find new employment, Brian offered to drop Lisa off at work and pick her up at the end of the day. “How sweet of him,” Lisa thought, at first. “He really wants to spend time with me.” Brian then started showing up at her office for lunch — every day. While Brian was still unemployed, Lisa got a promotion. Occasionally she would tell him that she was too busy for lunch. “Too busy?” he responded. “I’m your boyfriend for shits sake! You’re lucky to have a guy who actually wants to spend time with you. I guess you’d rather fuck your way to the top.” Shortly thereafter, Brian’s drinking increased, along with baseless accusations of infidelity. One night, Brian came home particularly drunk and knocked Lisa to the ground. While assaulting her, Brian repeatedly yelled “You’re hurting me, so I’ll hurt you.” Lisa left him the next day and filed for a protection order. Prior to the abuse, Lisa had no intention of leaving Brian, job or not. However, Brian’s entire self-worth was tied to being the breadwinner. Fearing that Lisa was plotting to leave him, Brian took measures to control her access to men. So long as he had a girlfriend, Brian could still feel like a man. When all else failed, the only way for Brian to assert his masculinity was by physical dominance. I don’t believe he took pleasure in the control or abuse — he was desperately trying to maintain his self-worth. Continue reading Raising Boys Who Don’t Abuse Women: A Blueprint For Liberals, Conservatives, and Everyone in Between