This is the first of a two part series on domestic violence. Each part will highlight the main victims of domestic violence: women and children.
Being an old, white man in a world dominated by old, white men, can make it challenging to empathize with the experience of being a woman in this world. Of course I can never fully understand the experience of being female in a male dominated society, but I have had the opportunity to work with so many female victims of domestic violence through the years, and their collective wisdom and insight has helped me overcome some of that challenge.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011-12 the average Australian man was 175.6cm tall and weighed 85.9 kilos. The average Australian woman was 161.8cm tall and weighed 71.1 kilos. I don’t think most men ever stop to think what it would be like to live in world where half the population was almost 14cm taller than them, and weighed almost 15 kilos more than them. We men roam the streets secure that we are the physically dominant humans, and women simply do not have this luxury. As an adult, at 184cm, I have never had someone stand over me or try to intimidate me with their size. Women have this experience so regularly they may not even notice it. Don’t ever buy into the ridiculous argument that women abusing men is as prevalent or as serious as men abusing women.
Of course, it goes even deeper than size. Little girls in our society are brought up to believe that little boys are more important than they are. Even in 2022, gender differences in parenting are incredibly prevalent, and lead to adult women who have been trained to subjugate their needs and wants to those of men.
As parents, we can mitigate against the paternalism of this society as well as try to turn the tide of domestic violence by teaching and role modeling for all of our children that violence is never acceptable. We also have the opportunity to teach all of our children that everyone is equally important regardless of gender.