The Echoes of the Mind (143-10) Sexual Violence Perspective


Men’s violence toward women occurs with the aim of controlling women’s sexual behavior. ~ Laurie Rudman & Peter Glick

As women are a sexual resource for men, male motivation is for females to produce offspring for them. This only means that violence tends to stop short of murder (if the baby-maker is still wanted).

Biologically, a man’s self-interest is enhancing his reproductive success, not only via dominance over male competitors, but also in ensuring that he invests resources only in his own offspring, not other men’s. This corresponds with numerous other simians and several mammal species.

Uncertainty in paternity explains the strong vigilance that men have on their mate’s sexual fidelity, and the related tendency to experience jealousy when a female mate “strays.” Sexual jealousy is an intense emotion that can stir frustration-induced rage: provoking severe, even lethal, violence toward female partners.

In contrast, women have no uncertainty about the maternity of their offspring. A woman’s jealousy rises at the prospect of a mate becoming emotionally invested in another woman, and the prospect of his diverting resources that might otherwise go to her. Hence, women more easily tolerate sexual forays by their partners as long as they do not threaten their own position.

He’s a hard dog to keep on the porch. ~ American politician Hillary Clinton, referring to her husband’s casual sexual infidelities, for which she declined to divorce him

Whereas men report more distress in response to imagining sexual infidelity, women are more troubled when imagining emotional infidelity. This corresponds with responses to actual incidents.

The rates of relationship violence vary considerably across cultures. Social structural variables – such as gender stratification, sexist attitudes, and related ideologies (e.g., ‘honor’) – affect the prevalence and levels of violence against women. Cultural differences in gender status and power correlate strongly with relationship violence: there is more wife abuse where women have less status, social power, and fewer resources.

Though men trump in thumping their partners, the violence is not just one-way.

Both men and women commit a range of acts of physical aggression against their partners. ~ English psychologist John Archer