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December 29, 2006

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't homicide and violent crime rates in general also peak in the early 90s? This may be further evidence of the gradual downwards trend of violent crime that has taken place since then. I coudn't begin to guess why, though. There are few things lower than a man who hits women. Maybe we're just getting more enlightened.

We might be getting more enlighhtened. This is completely anecdotal, but my experience with high school students is that the girls were not at all tolerant of crap from boys. At our school a young man who hit his girl friend was likely to get hit right back---and then dumped. We actually had a incident wherein a group of girls got together and beat up a boy for slapping one of their friends.
This is not meant to imply that the female victims of domestic violence are partners in their victimization. I'm just speculating that the younger generation of females may be more likely to pull out of a bad relationship early as compared to say my generation (boomer) or my parents' generation. Are there any statistics about the ages of the domestic violence victims?

lily: ask, and ye shall receive.

Of possible interest is this essay about the situation in Japan, from a local group's website.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't homicide and violent crime rates in general also peak in the early 90s? This may be further evidence of the gradual downwards trend of violent crime that has taken place since then.

Um.

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2006

(CBS/AP) Murders, robberies and aggravated assaults in the United States increased last year, spurring an overall rise in violent crime for the first time since 2001, according to FBI data.

Murders rose 4.8 percent, meaning there were more than 16,900 victims in 2005. That would be the most since 1998 and the largest percentage increase in 15 years . . .

. . . The overall increase in violent crime was modest, 2.5 percent, which equates to more than 1.4 million crimes. Nevertheless, that was the largest percentage increase since 1991.

Criminal justice experts said the statistics reflect the nation's complacency in fighting crime, a product of dramatic declines in the 1990s and the abandonment of effective programs that emphasized prevention, putting more police officers on the street and controlling the spread of guns.

While that last sentence fills me with trepidation that conservatives will, of course, try to blame this on Clinton, I'm sort of giddy at the thought of other critics trying to blame violent lawlessness on Bush the way the cons tried to blame a casual nationwide attitude towards honesty on Clinton.

Thanks hilzoy. The statistics, though heartening, don't speak to my thesis one way or the other, however. Still it is nice to know that so few young couples have domestic violence problems.

Cultural changes due to feminism.

I know that over the past fifteen to twenty years in the UK, there has been a massive shift in mainstream perception of domestic violence - the Zero Tolerance campaign began about ten or twelve years ago, and it would not have received public funding (which it did) if there were not already a perception at the level at which funds are awarded that domestic violence was a serious issue: and these days that's not only the official position, it's the mainstream position. The mainstream idea that it's okay for a man to hit his wife has just withered.

Women who were teeny feminists in the 1970s (I just barely don't qualify as that group) 20 and 30 years later, in positions to change things from the top down in departments and organisations and companies. We're seeing cultural change as a result. Feminism is a very successful revolution...

Domestic violence still exists, of course - the abusers we have always with us - but far fewer women think they have only two alternatives - to suffer abuse, or to kill their abuser. I can't point you to any nationally gathered statistics on this, but it was a truism among law enforcement professionals that the most common motivation for a wife killing her husband, especially if it was "premeditated", was that he'd been beating her until she couldn't stand it any more. These days she's more likely to walk out - and to be able to walk out. Indeed recent changes to the law mean that even if the abuser is the one who owns their home, or the lease is in his name, the victim can still get a restraining order banning him from their home - this right used to be exclusively for married couples, but now applies to any abuser/victim.

Over half of all female murder victims are killed by intimates? That astonishes even me.

The graph goes from 0-50% , so it's around a third of female murder victims. Still pretty disturbing, though.

Ben: Thanks; corrected. (Ooops!)

Jes: I thought about citing feminism, but I thought: that might explain a drop in the number of assaults that a given woman puts up with -- which these figures, annoyingly, don't let us count -- but would it explain a drop in the number of women victimized to begin with?

It would if it were easy to spot abusers in advance, since then one might say: thanks to feminism, women won't get involved with these jerks to begin with. But it isn't easy to spot them.

Anyways, that's why I didn't cite this.

that might explain a drop in the number of assaults that a given woman puts up with -- which these figures, annoyingly, don't let us count -- but would it explain a drop in the number of women victimized to begin with?

I dunno, from stories I've heard, domestic violence seems to escalate over time. I wouldn't be surprised if most abusers intitiate the abuse with an assault sufficient to tip off someone with other options that flight is a reasonable response, but not severe enough to merit a law-enforcement response that would show up in statistics. But I'm speculating here, I don't have any actual data.

LB: yeah, but the statistics for non-fatal violence are based on survey data. (Can you tell I spent a while trying, unsuccessfully, to puzzle this one out?)

Hilzoy: that might explain a drop in the number of assaults that a given woman puts up with -- which these figures, annoyingly, don't let us count -- but would it explain a drop in the number of women victimized to begin with?

I think so, because a good part of the reason husbands used to beat up wives was simply and straightforwardly: it was culturally acceptable to do so, and a man knew that so long as he only hit his own wife, he could get away with it. These days I think a man whose first impulse is to lash out is more likely to be aware that this is wrong, and to know that if he does hit his wife, he'll no more get away with it than he would if he hit any other adult. Where behavior is either acceptable or condoned, it will be more common than where it is unacceptable/not condoned. And the change there is squarely down to feminism.

So what are they doing with their anger, if they're not taking it out on their partners? Learning to control it? Kicking the dog instead?

Or are men just less angry nowadays - which, if true, flies in the face of everything we think we know about popular culture, and how it's too violent/desensitizing people to violence?

I'm intrigued, and not in a pleasant way, by the direct upward climb of women killed by "intimates" from 1995-2000, the peak years of angry-white-male politics.

So what are they doing with their anger, if they're not taking it out on their partners? Learning to control it? Kicking the dog instead?

Channeling it into emotional manipulation...

One of the strong elements of abuse is a desire for control, and if they can't control their partners (or punish them for defying control) this way, they'll find another.

There's also, of course, the effect of feminism on men -- not just women learning when to walk the hell out, but men learning from very young ages that these sorts of behaviors and attitudes are simply not acceptable.

Has there been an increase in the number of shelters? Are they better funded and equipped and publicized than before?

It seems to me that there has been an increase in awareness of domestic violence, and this might make itself felt a number of different ways, not least in communities providing more help to victims.

I'm nursing a huge hangover from the chonaikai bouhan patrol from last night that morphed into an end of the year party with a bottle of scotch, so I may have missed this, but it seems that everyone is connecting women's assertiveness primarily with an ability to leave, which is only part of it. I am reminded of John Scalzi's post (here, followup here) that brought the Insty's wife into the fray.

"Or are men just less angry nowadays - which, if true, flies in the face of everything we think we know about popular culture, and how it's too violent/desensitizing people to violence?"

Do we really think we know that? Take Japan for instance. The levels of very graphic violence and rape in many of their popular culture items (books, TV, cartoons, movies) is much higher than is easily accessible in the US, but the levels of rape and violence are not higher. (Cue Liberal Japonicus).

Well, the question is whether rates of reported rape and violence is a suitable stand in for actual rates. But the culture of sex in Japan has me baffled even more than that of the US (which is really saying a lot) and there is a huge amount of misogyny here, as that link I gave earlier suggests. In fact, I can't think of anywhere to get statistics that could give even a slight comparison to the stats that hilzoy gives.

lj: but it seems that everyone is connecting women's assertiveness primarily with an ability to leave

Well, we were discussing domestic violence, LJ. As was clear from the title of the post, the content, and the statistics quoted. The story John Scalzi told wasn't about domestic violence: it was about his wife dealing with a random aggressor in a bar, quite a different situation from one where the person whom you are living with is abusive.

It's interesting that some people are disturbed by the fact that over 1/3 of women who are murdered are slain by intimates but nobody seems all that concerned that men are far more likely to be murdered overall.

Well, partly the hangover, I suppose, but I also assume that women's assertiveness doesn't completely change into something different inside the house. Also, I was also referencing the comments by the perfesser's wife and others that seemed to be somewhat based on a reaction that women don't stand up for themselves.

lj: but I also assume that women's assertiveness doesn't completely change into something different inside the house

Good grief. Okay. LJ, try this. On the street, a strange woman gut-punches you. You've never seen her before and you have no intention of ever seeing her again. However you deal with being assaulted by this stranger, are you saying that your reaction to a stranger assaulting you is going to be much the same as it would be if your wife took to gut-punching you every time you annoyed her?

I think not. Being harassed, assaulted, or raped by a stranger is completely different from being harassed, assaulted, or raped by someone you love and you live with. Really, practically, if your wife took to punching you in the gut every time you annoyed her, your recourse has to be to leave (or to get her to leave). You can't be expected to put up with that treatment: she can't be allowed to keep doing it to you: you really can't resolve it the way John Scalzi describes Krissy resolving the problem of the stranger in the bar harassing her: you can, of course, start legal proceedings against her, but the first thing that your lawyer will advise you to do is to leave (or get her to leave).

Chuchundra: It's interesting that some people are disturbed by the fact that over 1/3 of women who are murdered are slain by intimates but nobody seems all that concerned that men are far more likely to be murdered overall.

Women are more likely to be murdered by men. Men are more likely to be murdered by men. Nobody (including you, Chuchundra) seems all that concerned that men are far more likely to be murderers.

It's interesting that some people are disturbed by the fact that over 1/3 of women who are murdered are slain by intimates but nobody seems all that concerned that men are far more likely to be murdered overall.

In addition to Jes's last paragraph right above me, there are things we as a society can do about women (and men) being murdered by their partners and lovers that we can't do about anyone being murdered by total strangers.

Whatever, Jes, I was just interested in the rise in assertiveness in women and was merely suggesting that assertiveness operates on a variety of fronts. I was also thinking development of true self defense for women, specifically the Impact or Model Mugging program where you use a 'padded assailant' in complete protective gear because they don't want the woman to hold back at all. But thank god this forum has you to prevent the discussion from sliding over to something like general societal trends.

Women are more likely to be murdered by men. Men are more likely to be murdered by men. Nobody (including you, Chuchundra) seems all that concerned that men are far more likely to be murderers.

Actually, I am pretty concerned about that.

lj: But thank god this forum has you to prevent the discussion from sliding over to something like general societal trends.

I'm sorry, I thought we were discussing a general societal trend: domestic violence, diminishment of, and causes of that diminishment.. And that you wanted to discuss a different societal trend: readiness of women to defend ourselves against violence by strangers.

Chuchundra: Actually, I am pretty concerned about that.

Couldn't prove it by me: you didn't mention it.

Steven Leavitt in his recent book, "Freakonomics", claims that the reason all crime has decreased radically in the US over the last 15 years is simply "Roe vs. Wade". We simply have had fewer unwanted children being born. These unwanted children overwhelmingly (relatively speaking) grow up to commit crime.

Phrased more positively, Oyster Tea: since 1971, women in the US have had the legal right to decide how many children they wanted to have, and when to have them. That this results in greatly-improved upbringing of the children they do have is unsurprising, and that those better-brought-up children are less likely to commit crimes is also unsurprising. Overall, too, the impact of feminism on the US is good for children - as any charity operating in the developing world will tell you, to improve the welfare of families, do things that will improve the welfare of women. There was a discussion relating to this in Pandagon a couple of weeks ago.

(I didn't read Freakonomics. But the reporting of it suggested that Steven Leavitt wasn't really thinking about how women bring up children: he was just suggesting it made a difference that some childre weren't born.)

I'm sorry, I thought we were discussing a general societal trend: domestic violence, diminishment of, and causes of that diminishment.. And that you wanted to discuss a different societal trend: readiness of women to defend ourselves against violence by strangers.

I, like LJ, am unconvinced these societal trends are independent of one another. Could you provide some evidence for that proposition?

Anarch: I, like LJ, am unconvinced these societal trends are independent of one another.

What made you think I was claiming they were independent trends? Both trends are firmly sourced in feminism, as I would have thought was obvious. But that they are clearly different situations I would have thought was obvious. A woman can be perfectly well able to deal with an attacker in a bar while still unable to deal with her husband beating her up at home, if the law and society make it impossible (or at least very difficult) for her to leave her husband.

Pure assertiveness will not help anyone who is being held in a state of legal or financial dependence on the person who is abusing them. It seemed to me that liberal japonicus was attempting to divert the issue from the legal and societal discrimination that once made it perfectly acceptable for a man to beat his wife (and still makes it more acceptable for him to abuse or murder her than if he abused or murdered a stranger: sentencing is on average lighter in "domestic abuse" cases) to blame women for, in the past, being "less assertive".

'divert the issue'? You might want to make no mind reading resolution this year.

Let me lay this out the way a linguist might.

1. readiness of women [to defend ourselves against violence by strangers]

2. readiness of women [to assert themselves in a conjugal relationship]

Is that clearer?

If you read the comments of the Scalzi thread, you'd see that there are a number of people questioning the fact that it was appropriate for Scalzi's wife to take the action she did. I'm sure that 30 years ago, that same clutching of pearls that a woman would actually stand her ground would have been reversed. That this has something to do with the discussion is obvious to me and Anarch, if not to you.

And sorry, by reversed, I mean that more people would deem it unladylike to have made a fuss and the man would have been able to get away with a lot more.

liberal japonicus: 1. readiness of women [to defend ourselves against violence by strangers]

2. readiness of women [to assert themselves in a conjugal relationship]

Is that clearer?

Yes, but I understood you already. You want to lay at least part of the blame on women for being beaten by their husbands because the women being beaten were not sufficiently assertive to prevent themselves from being beaten: you do not (at least, you have not so far) wished to discuss the legal/societal changes making it possible for a woman to leave her partner if he abuses her.

But freakonomics was eagerly simplifying things to proove their point (the article consists of 4 pages of email exchange).

Personally I think economic independence is a hugh social motivator for leaving domestic abusive relations. As is social acceptance of ending relationships. For both we have to thank feminism.

You want to lay at least part of the blame

Well, maybe you can make that no mind reading resolution next year.

Perhaps I wanted to suggest that feminism has affected a wider range that was being concentrated on (notice the last two words of the post title)

Of course, if I had any knowledge of the legal/societal changes in the US, I might discuss them, but since I have lived outside of the country for 18 of the last 21 years, I might not be able to accurately describe them, and I wouldn't want to try and describe the changes here without being sufficiently familiar with the law and the debate around any changes. But because I don't talk about them, that is proof of whatever it is you want to prove. Ironically, it seems to me that this ignoring of the larger context would be precisely the sort of evidence you would use to accuse someone of being a retrograde male chauvinist pig. Which seems to account for your tone, in that I've taken an argument away from you. Sorry about that.

Of course, you could have written something like 'I think you are implicitly suggesting that women were not sufficiently assertive, and I think that is a dangerous conclusion to draw', and I could have replied 'I didn't mean to imply that, what I meant to say is that feminism affects society on many levels and it can give a misleading impression if we don't acknowledge that'. Well, again, maybe 2008.

Well, LJ, it seems to me that you could make a resolution yourself for 2007 to avoid laying blame on others when a discussion doesn't go exactly as you want it - like accusing me of "mindreading" when I assume you mean what you write, rather than taking the meaning you were trying to convey. Not being able to mindread, I go by what you wrote, not what you now say you intended to mean.

Or, if you're sufficiently ignorant of a discussion topic to know you can't join in, just don't join in. It's what I do.

Oh, come on, Jes!

You want to lay at least part of the blame on women . . . [Emphasis mine, but the words are yours]

Tell me that's not mind-reading! And (if I say so myself) probably damn poor mind-reading at that, since I'm sure that's not what LJ "wants" in any conscious sense.

You could have made the reasonable point that such an argument implicitly blames women, even though you acknowledge (as politely as possible) that was not his intent. I know you can do this, because you did just that yesterday over at Slacktivist (and I'm sorry for not linking, but it's real late and I'm real tired). You can be both precise and civil when you try.

But by asserting something apparently untrue, and manifestly undocumented here, about LJ's state of mind, you simply weaken your own argument. And then to follow up, when called on it, with "I assume you mean what you write, rather than taking the meaning you were trying to convey. Not being able to mindread, I go by what you wrote, not what you now say you intended to mean." is in this context simply ludicrous.

Please do better. You know you can. You know I still love you (to the extent compatible with my marriage, your sexual proclivities, and the fact we've never met each other). Happy New Year.

Slacktivist inspires higher standards of behavior than Obsidian Wings. Either because it's a smaller group, or because of Fred's shiny influence.

(Also, because I've had similiar arguments with Liberal Japonicus in the past, and this has always resulted in long, painful, detailed attempts to explain what he means and what I mean and the impression I always get is that we're not understanding each other at all.)

But this time, as I recall the sequence of events: we're discussing domestic violence: LJ changed the subject: I pointed out to him that he changed the subject: LJ accused me rudely of trying to control the discussion: I tried to reply at length: LJ accused me of attempted mindreading in an insulting manner: I gave up trying to be polite.

(And if LJ would now post his version of the sequence of events, we'll have gone about as meta as I want to go in 2007.)

I wasn't going to look at this thread again, but dr ngo (like son, like father, I guess) pulled me back. I would simply say that there was no 'intent' to change the subject, we were talking about assertiveness, and I remember the Scalzi thing and googled it. Looking back, I see Amanda's comment previous to mine talking about 'men's attitudes' in a global sense which probably had me thinking along those lines. Also, it seemed like the conversation seemed to have petered out, with a 5 hour gap between Bernard's comment and mine, so I'm not sure what this notion of topic diverting is. As far as the rest of the exchange, I confess I found Jes' 4:07 rather sharp but tried to explain and got a 'good grief' for my troubles and things went downhill from there.

And that was your meta for 2007. 明けましておめでとうございます。

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