Yes, she's strange and different...but not THAT different.

29 March 2006

Hit It!

Maria at Daily Dose of Queer posted about this article: Boy Beaten to Death by Mother’s Partner and it really got to me - as every story about injury to a child does. I have a VERY hard time getting my mind around that concept: hurting your child, or any child, badly enough to kill him. I’ve struggled with this before, and I’ve failed to comprehend it, both then and now. Like infinity, it’s something that I simply cannot grasp on any level. It truly is alien to me.

Violence has simply never been an option for me, but especially violence against someone that I love. I recognize the fact that violence exists in Nature, but in that arena it is simply a way to ensure survival. I also realize that violence exists in human nature, but in that arena I truly don’t understand it as a reaction to any circumstance other than perhaps a last-ditch defense of one’s family or one’s self. Maybe I’m too weak in this emotional area, or maybe my psyche is deficient somehow because I don’t have this response to more situations. (Hey, maybe I really am a pussy.)

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to come off sounding like a saint here. I have plenty of shortcomings and personality deficiencies. I definitely do get angry, sometimes even to the point of being enraged, but I’ve never acted with violence while in that state of mind, or any other state of mind. I’ve been in exactly two physical confrontations in my life, one when I was 8 and one when I was 18, and I vividly remember them both. Both were circumstances where I was physically threatened and literally could not walk away because others didn’t allow me to. I did walk away after both situations were over and my tormentors did not, but I remember that I did not feel good about "winning". I had to physically hurt someone else, and I knew in my heart of hearts that that was not a good thing. But I don’t think most people believe that hurting someone else is a good thing, either.

I don’t think that I’m alone in my non-violent response. Most people that I’ve talked to about the subject of violence are pretty much the same as me in this regard. Now, most of those people are gay or women or transgendered because they happen to be the majority of my closest friends, and a non-violent reaction is typically looked at as a feminine or effiminate reaction, so maybe that explains it. Maybe we don’t react with violence because we’re basically lazy people. A violent outburst - hitting, throwing, screaming - requires much more energy than simply sitting down or walking away, which happens to be my preferred response. Maybe we’re more civilized. Maybe we value life more. Or maybe because we have been the targets of violence, we don’t react that way ourselves. I don’t know, but I’d like to. I’d like to know why I cannot get my head to hold the idea of beating an infant to death while it comes so easily to someone else, because maybe then we as a society would know what to do prevent the death of another little boy or girl or another group of high school students or another Matthew Shepherd or Gwen Aruajo.

  • On 3/30/2006 4:07 PM, Blogger DeniseUMLaw said…

    I don't think you can get your head around it. I can't and I've finally given up trying. There are some things that go on inside people that we just can't grasp. Perhaps like others' inablity to grasp what it is like to be gender-different?

    Humankind has struggled with the problem of violence since the whole thing began. I'm not saying there is no solution, but I don't foresee one anytime in the next millenium or two. Unless, of course, we resort to my spouse's proposal: save a few men for breeding purposes and neuter the rest (and neuter the ones you've bred after they've donated a few of their cells).

    BTW, check out my previous blog post on your use of the word "pussy", here:
    http://musingsonlifelawandgender.typepad.com/life_law_gender/2004/10/political_corre.html

    Love ya, Jami! :)

     
  • On 3/30/2006 4:19 PM, Blogger Jami said…

    I don't think we can understand the mind of those who injure and/or kill those innocents who look to them for protection. I'm pretty sure I don't want to understand that mind set.

    Read your post and all the comments, but as for "pussy", you know me - politically incorrect if I think I can get a laugh out of it or use it as a metaphor or get away with it or .... hmmmm ... whenever I feel like it?

     
  • On 3/31/2006 6:31 AM, Blogger DeniseUMLaw said…

    Yeah, yeah, I know you... you pussy.

     
  • On 4/04/2006 4:11 AM, Anonymous Spicy Cauldron said…

    I can't and don't want to understand such violent expression.

    Denise, I don't think you can so dismiss men as the source of the problem of violence. I know you're being light in your post at the top here, but the fact is violence exists among and between women.

    Look at the stories of violent (female) nannies, or lesbian domestic violence... We surely can't be expected to blame men when men aren't present? Or do we males have some kind of remote control mojo device over women, even those of us who are gay?

    I find it profoundly insulting, because it's limiting, to blame men for everything under the sun, but especially violence. I've met many women with mean tempers and experience tells me we - male, female, whatever - resort to violence when either defending ourselves or when we're frustrated, unable to communicate by other means. And yet we have a society which, at base, hates to acknowledge violence in women. Women are meant to be sweet, homely, nice, safe... convenient. It's why the likes of Myra Hindley, the now dead Moors murderer, get variously classed as 'under the power' of a man (in her case, Brady) or as unholy freaks. Women killers either get a lot more sympathy, or they get a lot more hate.

    The path out of violence is education in how to communicate and how to express and how to love. For all genders. x

     
  • On 4/04/2006 9:46 AM, Blogger Jami said…

    Spicy: Denise knows that my posture on domestic violence is that it is a universal problem. My partner was the executive director for our county's only domestic abuse shelter for several years, and we both know only too well how prevalent the problem is. It is not restricted to poor males of color against poor females; it cuts across all boundaries: socioeconomic, gender, sexuality, race and any other distinction. Violence against others is not a good thing at all, but violence against the very children we should treasure and cherish is especially abhorrent.

     
  • On 4/07/2006 7:06 PM, Blogger metrogeekboy said…

    I like some of the nerves this post and the comments hit.

    You know, I worked in a "human aggression research lab" for years where the PIs basically where studying human aggression and impulsivity. Also, they were studying how to "fix" it when it serves a negative purpose [ie, aggression in animals often times surves a survival purpose].

    That being said, I must address Spicy's comment. There actually is a gender difference when it comes to aggressioin in males vs females. We could rarely even include females in our studies, because aggressive females were just too hard to find. And finding an impulsive female: forget it.

    Often times, because of society upbringing, women will express violence in much different ways because it's unexceptable for them to "hit", "kill", "steal", "rob" etc. What they end up doing is other violent acts such as emotional, verbal or financial abuse.

    Also, female serial killers often have a profile of extreme abuse by men. Male serial killers often do NOT have a history of abuse. They simply start out as violent children [abusing animals, etc].

    I'm not saying women can't be violent. There is just major academic evidence showing that men are more physically aggressive than women.

    And just as a note: there is a notable difference between pathologically violent antisocials and rapists.

     
  • On 4/07/2006 7:20 PM, Blogger metrogeekboy said…

    Oh yeah, Denise...there's this very feminist sci-fi book you might like to read called The Gate to Women's Country by Sherry Tepper. Totally along the lines you were thinking of.

    Intriguing read if you have the time

     

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