parenting advice

Teach Your Daughters That Women Can Commit Domestic Violence, Too

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The 2013 ESPY AwardsAccording to various sources, including The New York Daily News and The Seattle Times, women’s soccer star Hope Solo was arrested yesterday on charges of domestic violence against her sister and nephew. This got me thinking about the epidemic of domestic violence in America, and how infrequently I see a genuine discussion about woman-on-man violence or family-related violence.

According to The Seattle Times, Kirkland police released the following statement:

“On June 21st 2014 and just before 1:00 am, Kirkland Police Department Patrol Units responded to a 911 call of a disturbance in the 10600 block of 124th AVE NE. The male caller stated that a female at the residence was “hitting people” and they could not get her to stop or to leave the house. Officer arrived and immediately heard the sounds of the disturbance inside the residence.

They entered and contacted several persons; one being Hope A Stevens (Solo) who appeared intoxicated and upset. As officers made contact, they observed visible injuries on Solo’s 17-year-old nephew and on Solo’s sister. After receiving statements of the persons involved, Officers determined that Solo was the primary aggressor and had instigated the assault.

Solo was arrested on 2 counts of Domestic Violence Assault 4th Degree and booked into the south King County detention facility (SCORE). Solo will have a mandatory court appearance Monday June 23rd at the Kirkland Municipal Court, with the time yet to be determined.”

I think this kind of thing is more common than one might imagine. Young men (if they’re raised correctly) hear a constant refrain of “you never hit girls” growing up, but I’ve rarely heard anything similar said to young women. I would wager to say that female-on-male and familial domestic violence happens a lot, yet it goes unreported, and unpunished. Why? Because women aren’t taught to keep their hands to themselves. Female domestic violence is considered a joke. And that’s bullshit.

I don’t care what your sex or gender is, violence is never okay. This isn’t to take away from the very real problem of male-on-female abuse, it’s not the only type of domestic violence, and it shouldn’t be the only type we talk about. Abuse can happen in any relationship; straight, gay, lesbian, poly, etc. and if you’re the one letting your fists fly, then you’re wrong. Period. End of discussion.

So let’s start actually teaching this to our daughters. Instead of merely telling our sons “men should never hit women,” how about “no one should hit anyone, ever?”