Another Side Effect Of The Economic Recession – Increased Domestic Violence

First we heard that this recession was a “Mancession.” The jobs being lost were construction and labor. The world wondered if men’s new economic turmoil would hurt masculine confidence in the country as a whole. There was plenty of grandstanding about the state of men in our country and the effects of their trouble providing for their family.

Then, the conversation moved to the Hecovery. Men might have lost more jobs, but they were returning to employment much quicker than females who had fallen victim to the recession. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is hoping to win over female voters by reminding them that females have moved ahead as the victims of this recession.

But a fact about the economic troubles of the past years emerged today that made me remember, this isn’t a competition to victimhood. We shouldn’t think about the recession in terms of who hurts more. We should look at what an economic recession can do to our country as whole and then we should support those who need it most.

Recent reports show that this sluggish economy has a profound impact on the number of domestic violence reports being filed. As Jezebel states,  ”A survey of law enforcement agencies across the country polled 700 agencies, and 56 percent of them said that in 2011 the bad economy had caused an increase in ‘domestic conflict.’ A similar survey found that number was just 40 percent in 2010.”

Domestic violence is often spoken of as a women’s issue, but it’s a serious problem that both sexes have to come together on to improve. First of all, both men and women can be victims of domestic violence. Second of all, the tremendous number of these cases shows that couples need help learning how to communicate effectively and deal with stress.

There is no doubt, financial troubles are a huge contributor to stress in the home. So even though it’s sad, should we be surprised that there is increased domestic violence when many families are trying to make do with less? Probably not.

What does this little bit of information have to do with working women? Well, aside from being the possible victim of domestic assault, we need to make sure that we’re all framing this discussion in the correct language.

When we believed that we were suffering a “mancession,” we talked about the dangers to male confidence. We theorized about how men would react to women becoming the breadwinners. And we reinforced the stereotype that men cannot handle a secure and successful female who can support herself.

Then, the “hecovery” happened and the media decided that women were on the losing end of this recession. And yet, we still have increased domestic violence, possibly even more than before. That might happen because people have been dealing with financial hardships for extended periods of time and are just not hitting their stress “breaking point.”

But I think we have to acknowledge that it’s not just a power dynamic shift that’s causing these violent outbreaks. It’s stress. Stress that can come from all kinds of experiences, but is currently exacerbated by economic hardship for many Americans.

No matter whose hurting more, men or women, people are hurting. And its important to point out that the job market has many effects on people’s lives. It’s not just a paycheck, it’s the stress that goes along with not having a paycheck. So let’s stop talking about the “mancession” or the “hecovery” and let’s focus on putting every man and woman who wants to work into a job they’re prepared for.

(Photo: YourDictionary)

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    • Lastango

      “We talked about the dangers to male confidence…. reinforced the stereotype that men cannot handle a secure and successful female who can support herself.”

      It certainly is time to start “framing this discussion in the correct language.” Blaming men is not only self-congratulatory, it sure beats talking about the truth, which is that — according to the women themselves — the most serious, damaging adjustment problems seem to be on the woman’s side. Here’s a sample:

      – Her social prestige needs are not met because she cannot be publicly proud of her husband. Her girlfriends think he’s ridiculous, and she knows her own status is sinking with each smirk from her female and male acquaintances. Yup, she’s a loser because she couldn’t do better. That’s especially true if he’s a stay-at-home dad.

      – She can’t sustain sexual interest in a dependent man she neither respects nor admires. She is denied the opportunity to feel feminine, because, in her eyes, the man is no longer sufficiently masculine. He simply has no standing in the relationship to take on that leadership role.

      – If the income disparity is large and permanent, it dawns on her that she will never be able to stay home and raise her children. Nor can she return home afterward; she will have to keep working, full-time, year after year, decade after decade to maintain the household. If she harbors an unrealistic hope for another outcome, this will eventually surface as bitterness as it becomes obvious he doesn’t have the drive or the career path to ever catch up.

      – If her income is not stratospheric, a steady, meaningful financial contribution from him would be welcome. If he’s underemployed or an SAHD, he’s not providing it. This is grating, especially if she has status needs associated with lifestyle and consumption. When the woman stays at home, the man thinks it’s his job to be the provider. When the man stays home, she often thinks he’s freeloading.

      – When the man is the breadwinner, it’s their money. When the woman is the breadwinner, it’s her money. She resents that she isn’t free to spend it how she chooses, and she is really, really angry about having to give him money.

      Several of these negative attitudes go directly against the narrative that women are enlightened, while the men are poor, pathetic knuckle-draggers that need to be helped to accept the new reality. No wonder points like these these don’t get much press.

      And then there’s the domestic violence shtick. Sheesh.

      PS – there is no “hecovery”. The unemployment stats are completely bogus. The best economic indicators are the continually-sinking housing market, the accelerating economic disintegration of Europe, and the perilous financial condition of our cities and states. When it comes to truth-telling, the value of these developments is that they can’t be hidden by phony unemployment stats, extended UI, exploding demand for food stamps, housing bailouts, and other entitlements and transfers. We are headed for serious economic trouble, and it will take down men and women alike.