How frequently have you heard people ask, "Why do women stay with men who hit them"?
Progressive feminist writer and women's studies professor, Shira Tarrant, author of The Man Files at Girl With Pen, raises this exact point in her most recent article "Serious Talk About Men's Violence".
Tarrant writes, "The most effective way to end violence against women is to stop the problem before it happens. Doing so means we need men on board. We need men taking responsibility, getting in on the conversations about male violence, and refusing to be silent bystanders to the problem."
Domestic violence has traditionally been treated as a women’s issue. Besides constituting the majority of victims, women make up the greater part of the workforce in the field. Additionally, the focus of the work has been on helping victims leave their abusers and restore their sense of agency and independence.
To stop violence before it begins, attention needs to be directed towards young boys and men, specifically those who show a predisposition towards violence. This can happen by researching risk factors, as well as providing better rehabilitation for proven abusers. Additionally, men need to be involved in the movement to end violence against women. Men like Jackson Katz are leading the movement in this way.
Since the cycle of abuse hurts everybody, domestic violence is a societal issue, not just a woman's problem.
So why then, do men hit? And why aren't we asking that question?