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When Men Are At The Receiving End Of a Woman’s Scorn

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“There goes a hen-pecked husband,” they would snicker behind their beers, watching a brow-beaten husband head home, not wanting to hear his wife nag him if he returns late from a ‘buddies night out’. If only things went as far as verbal abuse and heckling.

It was recently reported on CNN that there is an increase in the number of cases where women have resorted to violence in their relationships. While some might find cat fights to be sexy, when a woman turns on a man and scratches his face with talon-like nails, it is only then that a man realizes that there is no such thing as the ‘weaker sex’.

Paul, who works for a cement company, said his wife would attack him when he got home from work. “She’d come running at me like a wild animal, both hands and arms swinging; I think she had her eyes closed half the time,” he was quoted as saying.

Women tend to get instant sympathy from society; however, when men are victims of domestic violence, they’re generally heckled for not being able to take the ‘little woman’ into hand. Would the man then be justified in defending himself or would he be slapped with a misdemeanor and do time in jail?

The depths of domestic violence are always murky and while accusations are made by both sides, the law generally tends to believe the woman’s side even if she is the abuser.

While women have earned their rightful place next to their male counterparts, it is imperative that women should not abuse the laws of the land. But then again, human nature is such that when we make mortal enemies we use all means possible to destroy the one who is at the receiving end of our wrath, whatever the gender.

Domestic abuse begins with verbal abuse. The signs are always present and there can be no excuses to stay in a soured relationship even though the spouse may apologize once the terrible words were said or violence was done. The best way to avoid domestic violence is to leave at the first sign of abuse, even when the abuser is a woman.

There is no reason why a man should stay married to a woman who resorts to verbal or physical abuse and should rightfully be able to provide domestic abuse as legitimate grounds for divorce.

And the victim should have the support of his male friends and of society instead of being further victimized by having his masculinity questioned, as the laws of the land, obviously, do not support Horatio-like tactics.

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About Deepti Lamba

  • Tinkerbell

    This is a very useful article. I did not know about the levels of abuse.
    I remeber my mother doing such things as hurtling the bread knife at my father, kicking/slapping us for doing something by mistake (such as spilling a cup of juice) etc as well as threatening on many occasions to leave us (she would pack her bags and everything…
    I think as a result, my brother has become an aggresive (although not physically) person and I have become rather violent.
    I am married now and have spoken to my husband about it in that sometimes when I’m angry or upset, I don’t know how to deal with it other than by lashing out violently. (This I blame on behaviour I was used to as a child). Basically ,u husband and I are working through it. If I hit him, I have told him he must hit me back or restrain me and this has been helping. I hardly lash out violently anymore, I still want to but I don’t because it’s not right. I’ve just learned to deal with it.

  • Denis

    A ex-wifes scorn! when the women that you loved! and still do, that you want too be together forever with! file for Divorce and moves away to go be with her boy.

    but at the same time, wants too keep in touch! we have Divorced and not seen each other in 6 months and she has me believing that she is living in Washinton state, with her proported boyfriend? she wants too keep in touch! So she has agreed to keep paying my cell phone bill. I have unlimited mintues and text! I have told her many of times that I do not want the phone. I keep threating to turn it off and ship it too her! but Everytime I do this, she’s always (able)too somehow talk me into keeping it on! and since she knows that I still love her deeply! she was able too talk me into giving her my E-mail address. and just the other day, I was having trouble hearing her on my cell phone. so I asked her to call the house phone, and when she did. too my surprise? she did not use her cell phone! she used her home phone!she knew very well that her home phone number would light up in my caller ID.
    and when her proported boyfriend is with her? she will not talk too me on the phone! she always goes too phone text mode! all of this stuff Scorn started on apirl 1. she knows that I have been practicing to do stand up comedy! on Apirl fools day is when she annouced too me that she was now living in another state. and then she ask me on another day how my stand up was going? or when my next gig was? that is when she told me that I should start dating other women! she knows that I don’t want too date other women! she knows that I want too be back with her! that is when she informed me that she had a boyfriend. and that they where very happy being together. I was crushed too say the least. she said all of this in several text messages.
    in 07, she came to one day in all honesty and told me straight forward that she was living a double life! and even though she didn’t like doing it! she said she was having the time of her life! and I think that even now, her boyfriend has no idea that she has a secret she’s hidding! an Ex-husband who’s phone bill she is still paying,she stay’s in constant contact with me and has no plans of letting me go! and I don’t think that if she really does have a boyfriend?”why”, am I the only one she has told in her Family? no one else knows. and according too her!! Her boyfriend does not know that she has a secret! another life that she stay’s in constant contact with.
    church family of 13 years and 3 adult children


  • PS

    Great article! Its easy to show the woman as always the victim because the society wants to believe that. In reality, with all the laws and institutions created for her support, itis men who have no where to go when faced with domestic violence. In fact many women create false DV reports and send husbands to jail and then that gives them a better chance to justify alimony and divorce due to cruelty.

  • professorcar

    Battery of a man by a woman can occur in many ways. I have been scratched in the face and have had a TV remote hurled at me and miss me by a fraction of an inch – putting a 1″ deep dent in the wall. Perhaps the worst is when a father is verbally beaten and demasculated in front of his children…particularly damaging when they are his sons. There is no taking this abuse back – not only the disrespect of the woman toward the man but also the subsequent diminished respect of the boys toward their father. It is terrible when a woman berates and lies the about the father in front of his sons, prepares to leave, is asked to stay on behalf of the boys and then is told at another time in front of them that, “you don’t have the balls to leave me.”

  • Scott Butki

    Good, thought-provoking piece,S.P.

  • Let me throw just another light on this painful issue. In Israel, domestic abuse and violence has been on the rise in the last 6 years.

    Various reports have said this has stemmed from a sense of powerlessness. That is to say, people who were subjected to terror and who knew they could not respond adequately, for whatever reason.

  • SIF

    Quoting someone who runs a support org for families,

    Is it possible for a battered husband to get out of the relationship ? In most cases the answer is No. Most Indian Men (like women) are not used to the concept of divorce. Their parents may also convince these guys against divorce. BTW, we need to understand that it takes 6 years to get a Contested Divorce in India. In case the guy files for divorce, it is almost certain that the wife will counter-attack him and his elderly parents with 498a.

    In US, the domestic violence by men and women is 70:30 approximately. But, women initiate Domestic Violence in about 66% of all cases..

  • The title is: “When Men are at the receiving end of a woman’s scorn” and not “When abused men are at the receiving end of society’s scorn.” There is also a problem with parallel construction–men versus woman as opposed to men versus women or man versus woman. This is a matter of lexicon and semantics. In any case, the title is misleading.

    To resolve the problem of domestic abuse, one should look at variations on the theme, including lesbian couples and gay couples as well as heterosexual couples. If you are lamenting how men are treated, then you are comparing it to how women are treated.

    You further weaken your argument when you bring in Asian Indian women and divorce laws when it is well-known that brides in India and Pakistan have been burned by husbands and families disappointed with the dowries. There were 6,208 confirmed bride burnings in 2003. This is considered a form of domestic violence. Acid attacks are not classified as domestic violence because it is usually from outside the domestic structure–instigated by someone whose sexual advances or proposal for marriage has been turned down. There are few confirmed cases of women doing these things against men.

    There is also the problem of divorce laws in regards to Muslim regions as well as infanticide of female fetuses which has caused other social problems. So I suspect that when you write about women using the law to victimize men, you don’t consider how men are using cultural practices and the law against women. You can’t re-write the law or society without considering both sides.

    As with any problem, the more extreme cases, the cases that cause lasting physical damage are given more attention. A broken jaw is given more attention over emotional abuse and legally easier to prove. Thus it is easy to understand why they get more attention. Women do get convicted of battery on their significant others–male and female.

    Yet I have to say that in most cases the kind of abuse you have listed would not really make it to court if it was something that happened between two male acquaintances. Two acquaintances, have a fight. No one requires medical care. Yes, assault and battery did occur, but with little consequence.

    So then it would be natural for there to be more legal concern over women victims of domestic abuse because women are less likely to cause major injuries to men. Legally, there is more concern and a heavier penalty for battery as opposed to assault and battery is usually easier to prove. In domestic abuse situations, two men in a relationship are more likely to cause major injuries. So you can see how a heterosexual domestic problem with the woman as the instigator, using only her own body is relatively minor.

    The problem with domestic violence is that it often comes down to the differing stories of two people, especially when there are no injuries. This is why law enforcement and lawyers to not like handling these types of cases. As for emotional abuse, the question becomes why doesn’t the injured party leave? By staying, isn’t the emotionally injured party somehow responsible?

    The psychologist would ask: “Why does the victim of emotional abuse stay and what does that person get out of the abuse?”

    So rather than talking about excuses, you should consider understanding. Your uncle declined to leave the situation even though in most regions and countries, divorce laws favor the man. That was his choice. He was a person who was considered legally sane I’m guessing and capable of making a choice. Then you must consider what kept him in the relationship and what was he getting out of the relationship.

    If you look at a problem from a more psychological basis as well as a legal basis, then you’d understand it better I think.

    As for self-defense, that is also tricky in terms of legal measures. As I mentioned earlier, self-defense can cross the line and become battery. This is often a problem in situations of domestic abuse for both partners, including gay and lesbian couples. This is also a problem when a resident confronts an intruder.

    Domestic abuse–emotional and physical–has both legal and psychological standards.

  • P.T , as I said in my post I’m talking about women who batter their spouses and do get away with it and when the law sides with them it is scorn. I was not talking about women who are the victims of domestic abuse.

    In India women like my aunt have used the certain laws of the land to either keep men hostage in their marriages or had them languish in prison along with their families.

    And what if I flip your argument and say that if a woman is abused in ways that do not show too much physical harm then its ok?

    There can be no excuse when one partner whether male or female hits or verbally abuses the other.

    Further to suggest that men being abused in a relationship are not as much victims of battery as women as they are physically stronger is hypocracy.

    A battered husband is damned if he defends himself and damned if he doesnt. Does he really need a broken jaw to ask for help?

  • Domestic abuse and domestic violence are different things. Why quote a study that you do not name from the 1970s? More current data would be more revealing and data from both sides and who took the data and their methodology.

    They do have non-violence workshops for women, including women who are in violent relationships with their significant others–men and women. There are also anger management workshops for both men and women.

    If you think of it, how do Americans learn to respond to problems? Non-violence isn’t taught in our schools. Consultation isn’t taught. We are a culture where the president says “bring them on” and seems to show a preference for confrontation and winning over cooperation.

    The aunt in question is surely not the only one, however, as I mentioned, the husband did not leave. There is a dependency issue. You have to ask yourself what is he getting from the relationship? For some people, negative attention is the only way they can get attention. And you have no idea what he does when they are alone.

    There isn’t mention of the husband showing up with a black eye, a broken nose or jaw. There are different levels of violence and their are different reasons for the continuity of such relationships.

    I would also take exception to the use of the word scorn. To scorn someone is to show open dislike or disrepect. It is not linked to violence are abuse. The phrase “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned” doesn’t mean a woman who has been subject to assault or battery.

  • In the late 70s i believe, a big study revealed that a woman was victim of domestic violence every 15 seconds. Since the study was made for women’s studies, the facts about men were left out. The study revealed that men were victims of domestic abuse every 11 seconds. Take from it what you will.

  • Nancy

    Mmmm…my maternal grandmother definitely ruled in her house, but I never observed her physically (or even verbally) abusing my grandfather. Maybe he was already trained, ’cause when she said jump, he did it?

  • Now you know why I duck when I make those snide little comments I make around my house!

  • PT, belonging to a patriarchial culture I am quite familiar with sexist attitudes and where women were expected to know their place and yet I have an uncle who has lived in an abusive relationship for over thirty years.

    I have seen my aunt in fits of extreme anger throw plates at her husband and punch him in delicate areas. Obviously once I told my mom she made sure that I never visited her brother’s home without her.

    It was a rather well kept secret in the family. We never talked about it except to our cousin who was systematically beaten by his mother for the smallest things.

    The extended family did try to intervene once in a while but when she blackmailed them with threats that she would have the entire family put behind bars for demanding dowry or threatened to committ suicide that the family left the matters to my uncle.

    He had the family’s support to leave his wife but he didnt as he made all sorts of excuses for her behavior as most spouses in abusive relationships do.

    The lady is pure venom but can be charming when she wants to be.

    Apart from the ‘family’ no one knows the kind of abuse my uncle goes through in his marriage because of the culture he lives in.

    People might say that women like my aunt are few but the point is that they do exist and there are equally few people who are willing to believe that some men take the abuse without defending themselves.

  • Nancy

    Wow; never heard of anything like this before, except for those babes that practiced male abuse by poisoning husbands/fiancees serially. Anybody who would scratch at someone not in actual defense of self or someone else being attacked is nuts, no matter what the gender.

  • One of the problems with domestic violence is that the reason the other person stays can be part of the problem.

    Because NOW does concern itself with women and because not all women are heterosexual, NOW has recognized the potential for women to be violent.

    There is also a difference between defending oneself and also becoming violent. When a man becomes violent, he is more likely to be the stronger of the two (there is also a concern about violence between gay men in domestic relationships) and thus has the greater responsibility to exercise control.

    Women who have become involved in violent relationships often respond with violence and abuse (both verbal and physical). And this cycle escalates.

    However, just by the phrasing “they’re generally heckled for not being able to take the ‘little woman’ into hand,” you can see there is an expectation of control and even violence.

    BTW, victims of domestic violence are not apt to “to get instant sympathy from society” because abusive men are often very charming and in most cases, charming enough in public for people not to believe the female victim. The most dangerous time for a woman in a violent relationship is when she is pregnant and when she is leaving the relationship. They often do not receive the support of their female friends and their family or members of their ethnic community where domestic violence may still be considered acceptable. For this reason, why would you expect it to be so different for men, particularly when men do not generally talk about their feelings to other men?

  • Not likely you’ll see this kind of stuff on NOW’s site.

    Right on the money, swing.