Causes of violence

A question of sex?

Have you ever wondered why some characteristics are more attributed to one sex than the other, regardless of the individual? If you are told the word “virility”, to whom do you think of, instinctively? A woman or a man? And as for the word “sweetness”, what is the first gender that comes to your mind? Masculine or feminine? Chances are you thought of a man for the first example and a woman for the second. At birth, the little girl inherits a pink coat that teaches her the necessity to be kind, gentle and submissive, to say yes, to be in harmony at all costs and to be at the service of others. In short, to put the needs of others ahead of her own. The little pink coat fits so well to the girl that it ends up sticking to her skin. On the other hand, the baby boy, at birth, inherits a blue coat that teaches him the necessity to be strong, to assert himself, to go forward, not to express his emotions, to be virile, to stand up. He, too, appreciates his coat so much that the garment ends up sticking to his skin. We are talking about socialization, stereotyped or sexist education.

Gender-based socialization creates inequalities that explain why a woman is more likely to suffer violence than a man. Stereotypes engender perceptions that stigmatize the role of men and women. Anger, for example, is better accepted in males than females. This emotion is indeed frowned upon by the woman, and the expression of it by a woman is associated more with her loss of control than with her affirmation. Instead of expressing anger, the woman will exteriorize her sadness, her guilt, which is more socially acceptable. How many times can we see a woman show her anger by crying? Have you noticed that when a girl or a woman takes the right to adopt attitudes and behaviors typically reserved for boys or men, they are often treated as crazy because that does not please to controlling men?

What happens when there is a disparity or difference between what the person chooses to be and the expectations that society has for them? Society uses aggression strategies that cause the person to feel guilt, doubt, shame and fear. It becomes tempting for the people to mold themselves, to correct their behavior and their attitudes to meet the expectations of society, believing that they can reduce the feeling of powerlessness created by these emotions. Whether in society or in a conjugal relationship, we are witnessing the same phenomenon. In short, as Susan Schechter writes: “This violence is socially constructed and individually chosen [1].”

Socialization can create expectations and a sense of obligation to conform to what a man / boy and a woman / girl are. Gender equality requires equal needs and rights. This is the best way to prevent violence in marital relationships.

[1] Casser la vague – Une réponse aux arguments sur la prétendue symétrie de la violence conjugale. Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale. [1] Break the Wave – An Answer to the Arguments on the Alleged Symmetry of Domestic Violence. Grouping houses for women victims of spousal violence.