Using Brain-Twisters to Untwist Twisted Things
A saintly, long-suffering and completely blameless husband endures years of psychological violence from his shrewish hell-wife. He pleads with her, he reasons with her, he exhausts all negotiatory possibilities.....but no luck!
One day, in the middle of another emotion-flaying session, he finally can't take any more and snaps, sending the wife sprawling across the room with a broken jaw - an injury that requires hospitalization.
The police arrive and haul the man off to jail. He eventually gets convicted and sent to a batterer's treatment program which is built upon the Duluth Model. In this program, he is forced to confess that he is a perpetrator. His case goes into a repository, and some time later it is harvested by a feminist researcher who is working on a report about male violence, to be presented to a legislative committee which is debating whether to pass more laws to increase funding for women's shelters, and to ease the standards of evidence needed to convict men of intimate partner violence in order to "get more convictions", which will enhance the male violence statistics that future feminist researchers will be harvesting for the purpose of encouraging the legislature to pass more laws that will make it easier to put more men in jail or in Duluth programs.
All right, let's break this down. A typical feminist would argue that male domestic violence against women is NEVER, under ANY circumstances acceptable. The man was just plain wrong to hit his wife. No excuses, mister!
Very well, riddle me this. If the man was entirely at fault, and nothing that the wife did could possibly "excuse" his action, then what can we say about the behavior of the wife?
We surely wouldn't care to assert that she was at fault, since that would be blaming the victim, right? He alone made the decision to smack her; she didn't "make" him do it; the burden was upon him to practice anger management and control his own physical behavior.
All right, so we might allow in theory that the wife bears no culpability for what the husband did with his fist on that occasion. Correct?
But take note of a distinction: Granting that she is not to blame for what HE finally did to HER at the precise climactic moment, is she in any way accountable for the years of emotional torture that she inflicted on him prior to that moment?
In other words, was her behavior during all of that time in ANY way reprehensible? Whatsoever? Is she deserving of ANY censure, ANY reproach, ANY condemnation of ANY kind? Or is she, categorically by any measure, an innocent dove?
Does the question of guilt for her long-standing behavior require examination in any context whatsoever? OR... is that point too frivolous to merit discussion in light of the 'male violence' which her husband finally inflicted, and more broadly in light of the violence which men are said to inflict upon women in society at large?
Think about this very, very carefully.
Now let's try something different. Picture a scenario number two, in which the husband continues to "suck it up" and "take it like a man", and the jaw-breaking episode does not occur. Got that on your monitor? Good. Now ask yourself, what precisely is the qualitative difference in the wife's behavior as between scenario number one, and scenario number two? Is there any qualitative difference whatsoever?
Consider, that the only way in which the two scenarios differ is the brief moment of impact of the husband's fist against the wife's jawbone. The entire time leading up to that moment - measured in years - was identical in both cases, yet the sole circumstance of the occurrence somehow makes everything "different".
Or does it?
The simple objective factuality of the wife's behavior has not been modified by the occurrence. What is pivotal to the present discussion is her possible blameworthiness. We know that her objective behavior was identical in both scenarios, but would you then aver that her behavior was rendered less culpable solely by reason of her husband's eventual action? Does that action somehow retroactively erase the wife's guilt?
Very well, supposing this last to be the granted, let's consider a further point. Does the husband's action somehow modify the wife's creative agency in bringing about the final occurrence? More precisely, does the husband's action retroactively cause the wife's creative agency to NOT BE creative agency after all? Quite apart from question of moral accountability, does the husband's action retroactively annihilate the sheer objective possibility that the wife co-scripted the final outcome in ANY way. Does the husband's final action literally erase history and re-write it?
Now: Can you plausibly argue that the husband was operating from motives of "patriarchal control" or anything of that sort? That the wife mentally tortured him until he couldn't take it any more, and the resulting violence was......"patriarchal"? That he only wanted to "control" her in order to maintain his "male privilege"? Consequently, would you say that the wife's behavior needn't be taken into consideration in any way, and that everything necessary to understand what took place is contained in what the husband did?
To summarize: In the case of scenario number one, are you going to argue both that the wife's behavior was undeserving of blame, and that her behavior had no causative link whatever with the eventual violence? Would you argue further that the outcome in this scenario flowed exclusively from the husband's patriarchal control needs while the behavior of the wife had no creative significance, whereas in scenario number two the husband did nothing "patriarchal", and that in such a context the identical behavior by the wife took on a completely different meaning?
Would you insist that the wife had zero creative agency altogether, and therefore zero culpability because both her creative agency and her culpability were retroactively cancelled by the impact of her husband's fist? Would this accurately summarize your thoughts upon the matter, and would you be willing to sign your name to it?
If you would answer yes, then let me tell you this: you are as good as calling it acceptable for women in general to inflict psychological violence upon men in general, and affirming that if a man eventually answers this with PHYSICAL violence, then the woman is in no way accountable for the genesis and eventual outcome of the situation.
If you admit such a conclusion in this one hypothetical case, then you cannot in good consistency deny the extension of your rule to any similar case anywhere at any time.
You are saying it is perfectly fine, in an absolute global sense, in principle, for women to inflict mental violence upon men. It is impossible to escape such a conclusion, given that you are complicit in the absurdity that the wife's behavior was essentially, qualitatively different as between scenarios one and two. You have effectively concluded that the wife's behavior in scenario number one was blameless and lacking in causative agency, whereas the absolute identical behavior in scenario number two was exactly the opposite. By so doing, you exercise a double-standard: you make use of the "patriarchy" explanation in a completely arbitrary manner, for no other reason than because it is convenient to your case in scenario number one! So if you wish to eliminate the double-standard, a burden of consistency lies upon you: either make the wife blameless and causatively inert in BOTH cases, or make her a culpable causative agent in BOTH cases....but whatever you do, get off the fence! If you employ the patriarchal explanation in scenario number one, consistency requires that you employ this explanation for scenario number two likewise - EVEN though that would land you in difficulties because it so patently inapplicable there. Your only alternative is discard the patriarchal explanation altogether and admit that the wife had some degree of causative agency, hence culpability, in either scenario equally. But clearly, you'd be loath to do that if you were a feminist!
Therefore, being a feminist, you would have only one choice: to apply the patriarchal explanation in BOTH scenarios - pointing to the conclusion that I explained above, namely that it is perfectly fine, in an absolute global sense, in principle, for women to inflict mental violence upon men. (Possibly citing the well-known feminist claim that nearly all female violence - physical or otherwise - is in self-defense.)
Have fun with these thoughts. Digest them. Grind them in your mill. Improve upon them. Dilate upon them. Put them to work in your own preaching. Devise a hundred creative ways to catapult these ideas back into the ranks of the enemy like crackling missiles of greek fire.