Women and Violence – Why Are So Many Reactions to News of Women and Violence So Disturbing?


When most people think of women and violence they are usually thinking of scenarios in which a woman is attacked on a dark urban street. But violence can happen in the most mundane of situations. And sometimes people’s reactions to the news is as disturbing as the crime.

In a recent incident, a woman had asked a man leaving a restaurant to be careful of the restaurant’s swinging doors. He had swung the door hard nearly hitting her 7 year-old daughter.

The man’s response was to punch the woman in the face in front of her child, even after she told him she was a military servicewoman and didn’t want any trouble. She was thrown to the ground and hit in the head by his hands and feet.

No one expects to be accosted while going to a restaurant for a meal. So it is to be expected that many people react to such upsetting headlines by talking about the incident by the water cooler and venting in blog posts. More details please visit:-ricegumnetworth.com updraftblog.com writingclipart.com litigationlawyer.in umzureviews.com tedbundyinterview.com right-to-internet.com

A casual perusal of blog comments turns up a disturbing number of distortions and cruel comments.

Talking and writing about such incidents is one way people process disturbing news. They are seeking to make sense out of the senseless.

In that vein they will analyze the victim’s actions, her demeanor, her dress, her clothing, anything to get a deeper understanding of the incident. Some comments are inquisitive, some supportive, but too much of the time they are ugly.

What is significant is that the most of the derogatory comments pertain to the victim as a woman. They reflect the ambivalence our culture has about women and women victims of violence including traditional and misogynistic attitudes that linger. How many times have we all heard the throwaway comment “she must have ‘deserved’ it.”

But comments such as these serve another function-they serve to help us find control in the uncontrollable. If we can refrain from taking on some attribute of the victim of a particularly heinous attack, then perhaps we can prevent ourselves from being the victim of such an attack. Hence the prevalence of “blame the victim” comments.

“Blame the victim” comments also serve to deflect criticism from the attacker. People who relate to, have a connection to the attacker, or recoil from particularly ugly consequences of male privilege may indulge in that behavior.

A particularly ugly example is the actions of many citizens of Glen Ridge, NJ who banded around a group of High School jocks who gang raped a mentally retarded young woman with a broomstick and a baseball bat in 1989. Their supporters could not accept that these “golden boys,” celebrated jocks of this affluent suburb, were capable of such an act and they did not want publicity about the rape to sully the town’s reputation. According to author Bernard Lefkowitz who researched the crime and its coverup, the town police’ slow response compromised the crime investigation and the town’s movers and shakers did their best to keep the crime hidden.

Instead of sympathy and support, the victim was vilified. The viciousness of the comments is a barometer of the ugliness of the crime and the extent of the denial. In addition to the trauma of the crime itself, the victim is victimized once again by the reactions of people after the fact as they try to process the horror.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.