Abusive Men Describe the Benefits of Violence – Voice Male magazine

For many years, I facilitated courtmandated groups for men who batter. In the early 1980s we were concentrating on healthy relationship skills building, emotional identification and selfcontrol, and anger management, among other related issues. Then battered women in Duluth, Minnesota, began gathering to discuss the impact of the violence on their lives. What emerged was that the men who beat them not only physically assaulted them, but also controlled where they went, who they talked to, what they wore, where they worked, if they worked, how the money was spent, when, with whom, and how they had sex, how the kids were raised, how the domestic labor was split in the household. You get the picture. Basically, the men got to control the women to get what the men wanted… and the threat and use of violence was the bottom line that ensured it would happen.

Now I was training men in weekly groups at the time to use assertiveness when in conflict with their wives or girlfriends, teaching them how to access and express their feelings appropriately. Then I would send them home to practice. The next week they would come back and report that their new assertiveness “skills” weren’t working. I asked them why, and they would say, “Because she still did A, B, C, and D and would not do E, F, and G.” Which is what he wanted. I began then to slowly understand that I was teaching men multiple personal life skills and they were simply using those skills in attempts to control women even more effectively.

One night I started the group by asking the men what they thought the benefits were of their violence. At first they all looked at each other (notably) and said, “There are no benefits.” This did not surprise me, as men who batter routinely deny their actions—as they deny their intents as well. So I said, “Well, there must be some benefits from the violence; otherwise why would you do it?” They looked at each other again and then one guy started admitting there were benefits, and then they all chimed in until the four-by-eight-foot blackboard I was writing their responses on was full.

The first time I did this exercise I looked at the blackboard and I thought, “Oh my God. Why would they give it up?” I then decided to ask the men: Why give it up? They then filled a two-by-two foot space on the blackboard with things like, “get arrested,” “divorce,” “get protection orders taken out against you,” “adult kids don’t invite you to their weddings,” “have to go to groups like this.” That was about it.

This was the first time I fully comprehended the necessity of a consistent coordinated community response through the criminal, civil, and family court systems which can mete out safe and effective interventions that hold men who batter accountable while preserving the safety of the women, girls, and boys they abuse. It was on that day that I realized if I had to choose between providing batterer groups for men who batter or a consistently effective criminal and civil/family court response to domestic violence, I would choose the criminal and civil/family court response every time. There are just too many benefits gained from this behavior.

Source: Abusive Men Describe the Benefits of Violence – Voice Male magazine

2 thoughts on “Abusive Men Describe the Benefits of Violence – Voice Male magazine”

  1. This is precisely why I have opposed from the outset ‘anger management’ courses for men who engage in criminal assault at home and other forms of domestic violence. Yes, took an age for the penny to drop for this ‘trainer’. Unbelievable yet all too believable. I cannot understand why these programmes continue when they are so clearly run by people who have no clue – or having that clue continue anyway (funding etc etc). Obvious! Yet sadly not to some until well into the training they have engaged in – training the men to be even more astute about control, coercion and clever at it. Whilst on this – ‘anger management’ is so nonsensical – what has to be asked is why on earth do men think they have a right to be angry! Why do they think they have a right to take out their anger on women? This is the issue, not jolly well ‘managing’ it, as if the anger is a-okay – just have to learn to ‘manage’ it. Good goddess! The mind …

  2. Adding to earlier – Yes it begins ‘for many years’ … all those years of training men to be better at their coercion, control and violence. All those years for the penny to drop. All those years of damage to women who had to put up with the men who were learning better skills at their ‘work’ of control, coercion, violence, exploitation … Horror of horrors. And all paid for by the state – usually with the support of women, too, who should damn well know better …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.