There is a widespread myth that personality disorders are the cause of domestic violence. This misconception is simply because research on domestic violence does not have a representative sample. Academic centres are located in economically prosperous and socially liberal areas. Therefore, the sample for research on domestic violence consists of economically well-off and socially liberal individuals. In economically affluent and liberal areas, domestic violence is contrary to the social norm. Therefore, those who perpetrate it violate the social norms in these places. According to this study, domestic abusers violate social standards in the place where they live.
Now the problem arises. Most violence cases against men, women and children do not occur in economically prosperous and socially liberal areas. The worst abuses occur in socially conservative countries where domestic violence is the social norm. The typical abuser is therefore neither a “sociopath” nor a “narcissist” – it’s an ordinary Joe, Jessica, Abdul, Zahrah, Pravind or Neha – in socially conservative cultures. And in these places, people who do NOT perpetrate domestic violence are considered to be breaking the social norm. That is, you have to be a “sociopath” or “narcissist” not to commit domestic violence in much of the world.
In socially conservative places where violence against women and children is the social norm, those who do not abuse their husbands, wives and children are considered sycophants, fools, sinners, weaklings, male traitors, sexless or enemies of God. The research on domestic violence has avoided the places where domestic violence is most severe, which means that the research sample was highly unrepresentative. A woman who suffers the worst abuse will not be able to participate in the study. And those who do are likely to lie to protect their “society” and “culture” from the “godless liberal academy”.
As it stands, the situation is as absurd as one would expect from a seriously flawed study. The same people who are most vocal about feminism have opened the door to the West for ultra-reactionary, highly violent cultures like Islam. As a result, these ultra-reactionaries have caused riots in Oslo and Sydney, committed gang rapes on liberal Western girls and taught young Western men to abuse their wives and girlfriends severely. Oslo responded to not jail the rapists but telling Norwegian girls not to dress up. Here’s how far we’ve come.
In cultures where domestic violence is forbidden, it would go against social norms to commit violence against women. In larger cultures where domestic violence is the norm, it would otherwise violate social norms. So, according to the logic of personality disorders, you have to be a sociopath or narcissist not to commit domestic violence in most of the world (and in the US and the rest of the West to a far greater extent than many would like to know). I doubt that those who argue that personality disorders cause abuse would feel comfortable with that conclusion.
Simply put, most violence against women do not come from psychology but ideology. In cases where the causes are psychological and against a person’s conscious convictions, they would be unhappy to do it and be willing to change their ways. Whereas the men who believe domestic violence is the way to go would not only commit it guiltlessly but would also prevail upon other men to likewise be violent against women.
The bulk of violence against women is not a result of social deviance – any social deviance. The majority of violence against women results from misogynistic beliefs, beliefs held by billions of people, which effectuate in barbaric unapologetic abuses against far more women than anyone lets on. A person who believes that women are evil, or that the suffering in the world comes from a woman, or that men should control or be head of women or an inferior or incomplete gender, will be an abuser. And he will not only be an abuser – unapologetically – but would influence other men to be abusers as well, frequently attacking maliciously and aggressively those men who take objection to violence against women.
The research into this matter did not get a representative sample; indeed, it got a woefully unrepresentative sample. The socially conservative cultures in which violence against women are the norm did not get covered by the research. The problems it found were people’s problems in socially liberal cultures, where domestic violence is against the social norm. One would have to violate the social standard of the place he inhabits to be violent to women when one inhabits a socially liberal culture. The problem is, that’s not where most domestic violence takes place. And the issues of the regular wife-beater are not the issues of those wife-beaters who are nearest to centres of advanced learning.
The biggest predictor for domestic violence is not personality disorders, and it was never personality disorders. Instead, the biggest predictor for domestic violence is domestic violence-supporting beliefs. And it is only by confronting these and replacing them with better views that any lasting progress can be made against domestic violence.
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