Patriarchy And Abuse: No Direct Link -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 02:2 (Mar 1997)
Article: Patriarchy And Abuse: No Direct Link
Author: Anonymous

Patriarchy And Abuse: No Direct Link

In our first issue (CBMWNEWS Vol. 1, No. 1 [August 1995], p. 3) we reported that CBMW issued an expanded statement on the abuse of women. In a related piece, we noted that the group Christians for Biblical Equality declined to join CBMW in issuing this statement. The apparent reason for this was CBE’s refusal to acknowledge the possibility of loving headship in marriage. The notion persists that a complementarian view of biblical manhood and womanhood in and of itself promotes the abuse of wives. Now there is some documented evidence to the contrary.

The following is excerpted from New Research, a monthly supplement to The Family in America, published by The Rockford Institute, in the November 1995 issue; reprinted with permission.

Wife abuse, many feminist theorists believe, is fostered by a patriarchal culture. Indeed, some feminists assert that patriarchy is the major cause of wife abuse [see most recently Catherine Clark Kroeger and James Beck, ed., Women, Abuse and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996)—ed.]. But after carefully analyzing numerous studies of violence among married and cohabiting couples, psychologist Donald G. Dutton [“Patriarchy and Wife Assault: The Ecological Fallacy,’’ in Violence and Victims Vol. 9, No. 2 (1994): 167-82] has concluded that “no direct relationship exists between patriarchy and wife assault’’ and that, therefore, feminists will have to find another explanation of wife abuse. [Emphasis ours].

In the first place, Dutton notes, “if feminist analysis is correct, we should expect greater violence directed toward women in more patriarchal cultures.’’ Yet it turns out that the rate of wife assault among Mexican-born Hispanic couples runs “about half the rate’’ found among non-Hispanic whites, “despite Hispanic cultures being generally more patriarchal than American culture.’’

Furthermore, researchers in this country have docu- mented some of “the highest rates of severe wife assault’’ in “states where the status of women is highest.’’ Likewise dif- ficult to explain within feminist theory is recent research which has found that “couples where only the female was violent were significantly more common (39.4 percent of dating couples, 26.9 percent of cohabiting couples, 28.6 percent of married couples) than couples where only the male was violent (10.5 percent of dating couples, 20.7 of cohabiting couples, 23.2 of married couples).’’ It thus appears that “female violence may be serious and may not be in response to male violence.’’

But it is in explaining the extraordinarily high incidence of violence among lesbian couples that patriarchy-as-theroot- of-violence theories fail most complet...

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