Off The Beaten Path

Letter to Village Voice Editor


Wista Jeanne Johnson ["Abuses and Power," November 14] reports that misogyny is a strong component of men's violence against women and must be targeted in prevention programs. I would like to point out that intimate-partner violence is not perpetrated solely by men against women. Since the rates of partner violence are approximately equal in heterosexual and homosexual couples (about 25 to 33 percent, as reported in the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project report mentioned in Johnson's article), it is important not to limit the causes of domestic violence to misogyny. Focusing on misogyny as the sole social cause ignores other factors that lead people to abuse their partners, such as low self-esteem and having a history of abuse in their families.
The emphasis on misogyny may also perpetuate the silence surrounding intimate-partner violence among gays and lesbians. Gay men and lesbians, as well as transgender people, face incredible hurdles getting support from many domestic-violence shelters and agencies, as well as from friends and families who do not believe domestic violence is a problem for them. A lot of work needs to be done to prevent intimate-partner violence and to support those in abusive situations. We can start by stopping the perpetuation of the myth that misogyny is the sole cause of domestic violence.
Sarah Roberts
Ann Arbor, Michigan