Ladies, did you know if you marry your baby’s daddy you can save yourself from male violence? Me neither.
But earlier this week Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson published a piece in the Washington Post titled “One Way to End Violence? Stop Taking Lovers and Get Married.”
Yeah, that’s what I thought when I first read it too. It’s crazy. It’s short-sighted. It’s almost criminal in a way because if even one person absorbs this idea, it could be dangerous. Even scarier, most of the argument is paper thin.
“This social media outpouring makes it clear that some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls. But obscured in the public conversation about the violence against women is the fact that some other men are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence: married biological fathers,” said the article.
Really? So, it’s like a verifiable fact that if you marry you will not only be safe from the wrath of conservatives who seem to take special pleasure in shaming women for just about everything except breathing, but no man will be violent toward you ever. Or, is it that women are, dum dum de dum, just safer with men, period?
Why the insistence on shifting the focus? In this piece the problem is less about women being harassed and their desire to feel safe and more about men being maligned. It’s disintegrated into finger pointing, and the issue, women’s safety, becomes the butt of an ideological joke.
The crux of the article is women are safer in the company of good men. And marriage is the be all end all state of being to which you should absolutely aspire. Great. Now if you’re single you’re desperate to marry just to feel safe? Don’t unmarried women have a right to be safe too? If not, why not?
Wilson and Joslin offered some interesting passages detailing a “selection effect,” and how men behave better when married, which also minimizes violence. There’s no mention here of domestic violence at all, and in its presentation of stats stating married women live better and other lopsided choices, the piece also neglected to mention the simple economics of the scenario. Duh. Two salaries will always be better than one.
It’s just silly, I tell you, willful denial – perhaps even hysterical blindness – that the traditional way is as good as it is only when it’s not. And, in matters of safety, marriage is no more a determinant or assurance of safety than a black belt. Making blanket statements that men are more engaged and caring not because they’ve been raised to believe that’s the right way to act but because someone waved a magic wand called marriage? It’s like saying we don’t have unicorns because they were late getting to the ark.
But one thing’s sure. It’s getting rough out here for women. Choices and pickings are slim. Whatever will those of us without husbands do in the end? Taekwondo? Knives shaped as lipstick? Stay tuned …
This blog also appeared in Diversity Executive magazine online.