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Feminism: chat

Is the Internet training abusive men in DARVO?

14 replies

AdamRyan · 08/06/2022 13:40

I've been reading about reactive abuse
www.domesticshelters.org/articles/ask-amanda/ask-amanda-isn-t-reactive-abuse-just-victim-blaming

And I read this about Chris Brown/Rihanna
graziamagazine.com/articles/chris-brown-recounts-assaulting-rihanna/

It made me wonder if in our efforts to provide support to victims of DV, we are also giving abusers a tool to better continue abusing. E.g. to know the signs of reactive abuse and them claim that's why they hit their partner.

I don't know why I'm posting this really. How do we protect victims and not give ammunition to abusers?

OP posts:
RoseslnTheHospital · 08/06/2022 17:13

I think abusers have always used the tactic of claiming their partners have driven them to the abuse by their words or actions. I don't think they need websites to tell them how to do it. It's very much better for victims to be able to read about typical patterns of abusive behaviour and to be able to recognise it than be left without that knowledge.

I find it horrific that Chris Brown is given air time to rewrite history and put across his interpretation of what happened in this way. The police report is a hard read and I realise now the incident was much more severe than I thought at the time. I think she could easily have been more seriously hurt either directly by Brown or from him crashing the car.

AdamRyan · 08/06/2022 17:53

Yeah. I wonder though if understanding the advice gives the abusers the opportunity to counter it in the past.
So for example, if you are advised to take photos to show the police when you call them, and your abuser is aware of that they could counter it by finding a way to make it look as if you faked those (e.g. when you call the police, telling the police they are concerned for your mental health as you have been self harming and bruising yourself)

OP posts:
AdamRyan · 08/06/2022 17:53

I find it horrific Chris Brown still has a career tbh

OP posts:
RoseslnTheHospital · 08/06/2022 17:59

I would hope that police officers would not be quite so stupid as to take one persons word over the other in that situation. Plus there are differences between self inflicted injuries and those as a result of being hit/defensive injuries. I still don't think that's sufficient reason to hide information from abuse victims.

AdamRyan · 09/06/2022 09:40

RoseslnTheHospital · 08/06/2022 17:59

I would hope that police officers would not be quite so stupid as to take one persons word over the other in that situation. Plus there are differences between self inflicted injuries and those as a result of being hit/defensive injuries. I still don't think that's sufficient reason to hide information from abuse victims.

I don't think it should be hidden. Just interested in the potential for abusers to refine their DARVO capability and how this can be countered.

In his book, Bancroft shows how abusive men feel justified in using violence to solve an argument. I'm guess I'm concerned that coining a term like "reactive abuse" or "mutual abuse" just feeds that justification.

So like Brown says
"Brown had admitted to being unfaithful with a work friend and Rihanna found out and “starts going off”. “She throws the phone, ‘I hate you!’, whatever, whatever, she starts hitting me, we’re in a little Lamborghini, you know she’s fighting me,” Brown says.

“Like I remember she tried to kick me, just like her beating shit, but then I really hit her. With a closed fist, like I punched her, and it busted her lip,"

Reactive abuse actually means fighting because you are in fear mode, not punching your partner because she's upset you've been cheating. Yet in abusive mens minds that's "reactive" so justified and I'm concerned those attitudes are starting to be played out in public sentiments too.

"Of course he hit her,she wouldn't leave him alone which is abusive" doesn't seem to far from "nagging bitch" type misogyny of old times.

OP posts:
AdamRyan · 09/06/2022 09:44

"Of course he hit her,she wouldn't leave him alone which is abusive" doesn't seem to far from "nagging bitch" type misogyny of old times.
This is a reference to Johnny Depps recent case in his defamation claim but I don't want to focus on that too much because it will draw in a certain type of poster.

I wanted to talk about the bigger point where abusive men are able to successfully use "reactive abuse" to justify their violence. I really worry the damage that will do to womens ability to protect themselves in future.

OP posts:
RoseslnTheHospital · 09/06/2022 09:47

It's always been the case though. It's not a new thing for me, it's not as if abusive men have seen the recent court case and thought that's a great idea I'll try that. They have always been gaslighting, dissembling, controlling. Look at the number of murder cases where the male perpetrator has argued for manslaughter on the grounds of "provocation", where the provocation was non-violent.

AdamRyan · 09/06/2022 09:48

I guess (thinking out loud) that as soon as you decouple abuse from the sex of the perpetrator then that's what makes it possible for abusive men to claim reactive abuse.
"Women fear men will kill them, men fear women will laugh at them".

The chances of a man being at risk ofbeing killed by an abusive woman are fairly remote compared to women with abusive men - so is "reactive abuse" genuinely something a man can experience in a heterosexual relationship?

OP posts:
AdamRyan · 09/06/2022 09:50

RoseslnTheHospital · 09/06/2022 09:47

It's always been the case though. It's not a new thing for me, it's not as if abusive men have seen the recent court case and thought that's a great idea I'll try that. They have always been gaslighting, dissembling, controlling. Look at the number of murder cases where the male perpetrator has argued for manslaughter on the grounds of "provocation", where the provocation was non-violent.

Yep, true
I feel a bit like it's an arms race though. Give women some tools to protect themselves (in this case the ability to name what's happening) and abusers can counter it.

OP posts:
AdamRyan · 09/06/2022 09:55

During highly sensationalized and publicized court cases, terms to describe abusive behavior often trend online. Misappropriating phrases like "gaslighting" and "mutual abuse" can minimize conversations about domestic violence, Glenn said.

"Please don't use them until you understand," Glenn said. "Because you're causing more harm than good."

www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/rcna25461

I think that summarises my concern - that a misinterpretation of "reactive abuse" is entering public consciousness which benefits abusers.

Kind of like a rape myth but for DV.

OP posts:
IrisVersicolor · 11/06/2022 21:42

I agree OP. Reactive abuse is so much more complex than it’s being made out to be, it’s not just about fighting back when threatened.

When there’s violence in a relationship from one partner even if it’s just habitually shouting and smashing things up initially, it turns up the dial of aggression and emotional heat in the in the relationship, and shifts it onto a higher setting. It sets the tone for the relationship. It establishes that things and people can be hit and thrown and sworn and at and spoken to in a derogatory way.

The victim develops latent anger and aggression at being manhandled and controlled and yelled at, put down and threatened, and sometimes that boils over into rage and they yell or fight back in a similar manner.

Some victims can get into a self destructive pattern of goading and winding up from a kind of simmering fury and then the end up getting attacked verbally or physcially, which confirms their low self esteem, worthlessness.

For so many victims of abuse, it’s not just fear that makes them stay but addiction to the person, the toxic dynamic, the trauma, the heightened emotional states associated with trauma.

The key is who is the primary aggressor.

IrisVersicolor · 11/06/2022 21:48

RoseslnTheHospital · 09/06/2022 09:47

It's always been the case though. It's not a new thing for me, it's not as if abusive men have seen the recent court case and thought that's a great idea I'll try that. They have always been gaslighting, dissembling, controlling. Look at the number of murder cases where the male perpetrator has argued for manslaughter on the grounds of "provocation", where the provocation was non-violent.

The provocation defence was ditched back in 2010. It was replaced with loss of control but iirc that excludes self induced provocation - where trigger has been incited for the purpose of providing an excuse to use violence.

IrisVersicolor · 11/06/2022 21:53

Misappropriating phrases like "gaslighting" and "mutual abuse" can minimize conversations about domestic violence, Glenn said.

I really can’t bear the misuse of “gaslighting” - when people simply meaning disagreeing, questioning an argument or belief etc.

Mutually abusive relationships are held to be super rare as per research. Gets confused with common couple violence and reactive abuse.

P00rKids · 11/06/2022 22:10

Sadly I agree with your worry. Of course victims needs to recognise it for what it is. But why are these types of men always steps ahead of the victim and their support network.

“Both as bad as eachother” about the single most, biggest, damaging, suicide inducing insult you suggest to a victim of such violence.

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