Why Stereotyping All Women As Victims Is A Deadly Mistake Our Society Is Making

I was at a famous mall in Dubai. In the same cookies aisle as I was, there was a couple with a toddler. Malls in Dubai are magnanimous and probably the child was tired of walking. He was pestering his parents to buy some cookie and within minutes his words turned into loud screams. Both the parents pinned him by his arm and threw heavy weight palms to smash his face, back and whatever they could hit.

The feminist movement and gender equality protests has brought into the limelight, the most ferocious crimes against women.

The good news is that now, our society has learnt to recognize comments on the street as harassment and forced intercourse as rape.

As more and more women speak of their horror stories, the world consumes that information and translates that as a stereotype.

All women are considered victims and as a general consensus, all men are rapists. Most people know that not all men are really rapists but men do share the infamous reputation created by few fellow members of their community.

The reason why stereotyping all women as victims is deadly is because violence is not about sex or sexual urges. It is about power.

It is the feeling that ‘I am more powerful than you and I can use it to do any damn thing I want.’

We usually see men as criminals or abusers of their power because of their physical stature (which many men do use to intimidate women, sure).

But if you flip the coin and hold women in power, then what?

Would women abuse their power like men?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes, although disproportionately.

Let me explain.

Men are taught/groomed to be aggressive, dominant and emotionless by the patriarch society under the myth of masculinity. The only emotions we allow men to express are anger, disappointment and violence. This certainly plays a huge role. To be approved by fellow men or family/society, men act in a certain way that would qualify them to be called ‘the man of the family’.

However, this is about violence and misuse of power over the less powerful. Women may not be able to exercise their power over men due to various reasons (some do), but they do it on children.

Before I go ahead, let me emphasize it enough that not all women abuse children (just like not all men rape and beat).

However, many evidences have come in the media recently where women were found guilty of battering babies like a dead punching bag. Watch here

http://www.click2houston.com/news/caught-on-camera-mother-beats-toddler/26007746

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2266431/Monster-nanny-caught-camera-beating-child-wouldnt-eat-soup-locking-kitchen-own.html

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/nanny-cam-mother-catches-bad-nanny-camera-26208480

Child abuse can be done by nannies, mothers, fathers, step parents, teachers, the list is endless regardless of their gender.

Stereotyping all women as victims eliminates the fear that a woman would ever do such a thing. I, as a woman, cannot imagine such person (man or woman) beating up a child like that but when I see other women do that, I learn that there are all sorts of people in this world.

Power is the crucial element and the culprit of these crimes. The ability to hurt another individual and use intimidation to suppress their voices.

I call this kind of stereotyping deadly because when men suppressed women, women took a stand and stood up for their rights, told their survivor stories and made the world recognize their pain.

I wonder how these babies will ever be able to speak up against these women (or men) who abuse them. They don’t have a voice. If their parents do not find out or if they are orphans, their abusers will hide forever as the oppressed victims of the society and enjoy a place they don’t deserve.

If I have learnt anything from my recent course on Violence at Emory University, it is to stop believing in the stereotypes of violence, stop connecting violence with certain religions, countries or genders.

The truth is that violence is an individual’s ability to exercise power, trust or authority abusively when they know the other person is powerless.

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17 thoughts on “Why Stereotyping All Women As Victims Is A Deadly Mistake Our Society Is Making

  1. I wonder if you ever felt the need to examine. Rape statistics closely to learn what they actually say . I would. recommend starting with the CDCs studies on sexual and interpersonal violence, dig down until you find rates of “made to penetrate” and figure out if your power dynamic can work out why. A woman can force a man into vaginal sex and have it not count as rape.
    Rape and violence are equal opportunity crimes.

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    • Disagree with your statement “rape and violence are equal opportunity crimes”.

      Infants and dead people are raped too. Who would you blame for that? How can a dead person or an infant force someone as ‘made to penetrate?”

      I think your ‘made to penetrate’ phrase is another way of victim baming.

      The purpose of my article Why Stereotyping All Women As Victims…. was to inform my readers that both men and womn can be abusive…

      What you mention about ‘a woman forcing……’ may not be entirely untrue but I don’t think that there is a competition between false rape and real rape stats. As long as there is one rape victim out there, there is injustice.
      Besides, male rape are as horrendous a crime as female rapes, although the main culprit in male rapes are mostly other men.

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      • I mean no offence, nor do I wish for you to think this is an attack, but I think you missed the thrust of the original comment. The original poster was making a statement about female perpetrated sexual violence (forcibly making men penetrate them, thus “made to penetrate”) and how it is not considered rape by statistics gathering entities, or most governmental bodies. The phrase “made to penetrate” is NOT victim blaming…unless you are saying that it implies something about, or blames, the male victims.

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      • I think you have not read the article at all. This article has only ONE PURPOSE- To inform readers that women can be as much abusive as men when in power and children can suffer the consequences.
        I am not a government body that can explain you the statistics and even if I did, I don’t see how that is relevant to the post about CHILD ABUSE.
        I don’t know what you actually mean by the phrase ‘made to penetrate’ but I guess it sounds like sex on gunpoint; which is nonconsentual rape. I am not interested to argue which gender is better or worse because the article only makes ONE POINT: Anyone can be a perpetrator.

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      • Abuse is not about power it’s about a power imbalance. Power is not just physical force but comes in many forms, e.g. emotional, societal, legal, financial. Even when it comes to physical force power is not about what someone could do but what they will do.

        A woman that has less physical power than a man can still physically abuse that man if she knows the man will not respond because: he was raised not to hit women; he knows she will call the police and get him arrested if he strikes back; he knows she will divorce him and take the children; he knows she will accuser him off rape/sexual assault/child abuse; he is worried she’ll leave; …

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      • Great insights Paul. I agree. Physical power does play a role but in no way one can ignore emotional and psychological power that one partner has on another.

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      • No it’s true. Most states have a statute that basically says if no penetration occurred, then no rape occurred. The worst charge that could be levied would be molestation. This leaves women in a legal grey zone when they can force someone to submit to forecable sex, but could never actually be charged with rape since “no penetration occurred.” It is a legal double standard that happens exactly because of what your article was about. Always labeling women as “victims only” leaves them unnacountable for criminality.

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  2. Women are just as abusive in domestic environments as men, not only when in positions of power. Here is just one study that shows women are just as violent in domestic situations as men. Note the sample size (over 1/3 of a million people) and over 300 references.

    http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
    SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 371,600.

    REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS:
    By: Martin S. Fiebert, Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach

    And here is a show done on ABC that shows women’s attitudes towards violence against men by women. It is especially emphasized by the woman who fist pumps as she walks by a woman hitting a man. Ya, that’s right, you Go Girl, way to be violent!

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  3. If I read this correctly, what you’re saying is that by labeling/stereotyping all women as victims you mask their propensity or, at least, their capability for violence?

    If that’s the case, I agree.

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  4. Thank you so much for writing this article. I have suffered repeated physical and psychological abuse at the hands of several women in my history (there were reasons why I was at unusually high risk), and a one-time case of sexual abuse, and the double-standards at work did so much of the damage – because the attackers were female, it became a tabboo subject, or excuses were made for them that would never be made if the attacker was male. These excuses stopped me from seeking help, stopped me for part of the time from recognising the extent of the abuse and what I needed to do about it, and otherwise generally kept me trapped in a violent environment.

    In cases like these, the victim gets silenced by the culture of denial, and the attacker gets enabled because if women are victims-not-abusers then their actions must not be seen as abuse. This can also feed into the abused-becomes-abuser cycle, because the victim sees the abuse being accepted by others.

    I know you were put-off by someone’s comment that seemed to be discussing who is worse (the one referencing the CDC and made to penetrate). I think it gets brought up because claiming female-on-male abuse is rare is one of the methods used to sweep that abuse under the rug and maintain the stereotype you are warning us about: I do remember opening up about the abuse I suffered to be told abuse by women is really rare as if it somehow negated the abuse that was done to me.

    You’re totally right that stereotyping all women as victims is a deadly mistake, and I truly appreciate you speaking up on this subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I can truly understand the taboo denial you faced because this is such a pertinent thing in our culture. We label women as victims yet we blame women for taking the abuse. When the victims are men, we totally deny the possibility of abuse and if so we see it in a weird light and ask hurtful questions and trivialize it.
      I can understand that even in workplace scenarios we are barely getting our heads around abuse of women by men and women abusing men is still far from human comprehension. This needs to change. Abuse and crime has no gender. Whoever the criminal; they must be incarcerated for their actions. Period.

      Like

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