What do many lone attackers have in common? Domestic violence

[D]esperate profiling plays to people’s desire to believe we should be able to spot terrorists. But while rent-a-gobs flail around naming and shaming Kent and drunk teenagers, it is telling how rarely one feature common to many “lone wolf” attackers is called out: a history of domestic abuse.

Domestic violence is frequently a way for male abusers to try to impose so-called traditional gender roles on their female partner – beating them when the laundry isn’t done, telling them what to wear – using violence to validate their own feelings of insecurity. So it is almost inevitable that these men would then be attracted to belief systems – whether it’s Isis, evangelical Christianity or the fundamentalist version of pretty much any major religion – that advocate wildly restrictive attitudes towards gender and endorse patriarchal systems which encourage men to punish women for their own failings.

The problem isn’t Islam, or a perverted interpretation of Islam, but rather a perversion of frustrated masculinity. After all, 98% of mass killings are perpetrated by men, and many of the attackers discuss women in proprietorial terms.

And yet this is almost never discussed, because there is no political capital to be gained by suggesting warped masculinity might be more to blame than Muslims. After all, domestic violence is a problem that spans cultures, and if President Trump were to try to ban men accused of domestic violence from entering America instead of Muslims, he would lose some major figures in his own White House.


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