December 03, 2009

High Infidelity

I read someplace that one in every four marriages is impacted by infidelity. If you haven't experienced the searing pain of unfaithfulness, odds are you know someone who has. The affects of infidelity are devastating and have destroyed many families.

The intrusion of the Tiger Woods story across the various media. In case you have missed it. The most famous golfer of his generation was in a car accident. He was unconscious. He was in serious condition. He was treated for facial lacerations and released. He hurt his face in the accident. He hurt his face before the accident. His wife hurt his face. He's having an affair. They're just friends. There are more of them. (and so on).

Then the thought occurred. If the roles were reversed and it was Tiger's wife who had the accident and then refused to talk to police, if Woods had gone berzerk over the possibility of another man, if he had scratched her face and then wielded a golf club as a weapon as she tried to escape, I guarantee the question on everyone's lips would be, "Is Tiger Woods a wife beater?"

When someone does snap, the American double standard kicks in and dictates how we react based on the gender of the parties involved. We have zero tolerance for men who assault women but make excuses for women perpetrators.

Sexism is alive and well!

A man can never hit a woman, but a woman hitting a man is not big deal, especially if he was "asking for it" by having a girlfriend on the side? But what does this say to female victims of domestic violence? That sometimes there's a good reason to batter? That sometimes the victim is asking for it? That the violence wouldn't have happened if only the victim hadn't made the abuser so mad? These are the excuses that have been used by batterers of every generation. They don't suddenly become legitimate reasons when the abuser is female.

As a society shouldn't we treat assault by a woman against a man (or a woman against a woman, or a man against a man) exactly the same way as violence by a man against a woman. For that matter, we wouldn't make a distinction between domestic violence and the same acts perpetrated against strangers on the street.

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