UN sets the definition of domestic violence on the need to differentiate other types of violence from that exerted on individuals or groups based on their gender. On this premise, it is undeniable that the violence inflicted on women by virtue of being women is overwhelmingly greater than that exerted on men based on sex reasons.

Violence not only affects women, but the entire society. Image by TrasTando.

But any kind of violence is reprehensible and it is quite obvious that those who remain silent on the face of it do not understand the magnitude of the problem and the implications of their silence or denial. Fortunately, once this reality was accepted, and as it happens with other relevant events for society in general and for specific risk groups in particular, associations meant to assess the level of injustice and impunity, the damage caused, and  after evaluating their own resources     -sometimes just moral resources-    were created  to help, defend, and support, to the extent of their ability, those whom they considered at risk. Thus, the intended goal was that no individual needs to feel excluded  from society but rather that society be the defender of the basic human rights. These associations were not born to quarrel among themselves or to split from the rest of society. Because domestic violence is not created solely by the damage inflicted by the violent  -in this case, to women-  but also by  people exercising other types of aggression: for instance,  invectives,  denials,  and silence, that  affect men too.

Denying the overwhelming reality of violence against women on the grounds that women also attack men abusing their situation in divorce processes is mixing situations that are authentic but have nothing to do with each other. It is necessary to state that, to work for human rights, you have to be unselfish, objective, avoid prejudices and be able to put aside your own personal experiences. Given that your store of  experience increases with time, human rights workers need to have a high dose of altruism and sense of justice. On the other hand, making a crime against human rights the justification to bring out one’s anger, resentment, the need for revenge, etc., demonstrates once more that not everybody can handle the necessities of one’s life and further deal with the needs of other people likely to be perfect strangers. That’s called generosity.

To falsely accuse men of iilltreatment, or denounce them for abuse and rape should also be considered as an act of aggression. Women who do that are far removed  from understanding  the embarrassing problem that is abuse and rape for society, and not just for the victim of abuse. Such women believe they have the right to use the protection of the law as if that right was born with them. The law protects, or should try to, the whole of society and, in the case we are now discussing, is directed to protect women victims of abuse and maltreatment. Not somebody for the fact of having being born a woman, as this would unbalance human relationships just as they are unbalanced by gender violence. Furthermore, each time a woman lies on a matter as demeaning to society as this one,  a precedent for “woman-liar” is being established. And this very harmfully affects the woman who has been really assaulted and who is forced to pass the filter of painful questioning meant to clarify the veracity of the aggression. It also sets the precedent  for a “man- rapist” cliché. And gender relations can thus  be affected by distrust in what we all understand very well when we talk about “innocents that end up paying for the sins of the guilty”.

The truth is that there are many women who suffer and have suffered maltreatment and abuse. There are many men who have been abused and raped. But there are many more women who have not been victims and many more men who are not aggressors. But all those who were neither one nor the other should not therefore feel that the attacks have nothing to do with them. Because, let’s not forget it, in this sort of cold war which is gradually  developing between men and women, the aggressors continue to be integrated into society, without  any  visible mark that they are part of the problem. In the middle of such an unjustly provoked cold war it is likely that we eventually forget the true cause of so much disorder: the abusers, who also take, in the silence of many men and women, a hidden permission  to exercise their violence.

Gender violence is not a war between men and women. The aggressor, the rapist, the abuser should not be given such power and prominence as to end up feeling a hero who enjoys moral impunity.

Let us not be manipulated by the violent person; we should not grant any type of power or right based on our own experiences, which even if they were unfair, are not comparable to what a rape victim (mostly beaten, kidnapped women) goes through. Let’s not allow the violent people feel that the increasingly evident differences  between men and women in our society give them permission to attack. The offender, the violent, has nothing to do with men and women relating healthily, quite apart from the good or bad luck in their relationships. Let’s not forget: we grow through our differences, rivalry is not a given, we are all able to live fairly and prosper together.


Translated by Arturo Guillén.