When boyfriends turn bad

What’s one of the most dangerous occupations?  Being a woman.  Vox. com has collected some statistics on violence against women.   What stands out is the number of assaults from “intimate partners”–boyfriends and husbands.  One out of every five women report being “victimized” by an intimate partner. This includes stalking, assault, and rape.   The levels in the United States are much higher than in European countries like Sweden and Italy.

The culture we’ve created has made it easier for men to justify the abuse of women.   The message  all around us is that sex is an entitlement.   Once you’re in a relationship, you should be able to have it whenever you want it  It’s yours for the taking. This goes back to the Middle Ages and the idea of the Marriage Debt: once you’re married, it’s sex-on-demand.  Pay-up whether your spouse wants to or not.

Women can also assault men, as the statistics from Vox.com show, but in far fewer numbers.  The biggest danger comes from men who see their wives and girlfriends as sexual servants.

How can this culture be changed?  We all need to make it clear to our children (at the appropriate age) that sexual union is an awesome thing—awesome in the old sense of the word–and that it must be approached with Respect and Restraint.  There must be respect for the partner, who should be someone you love very much, your best-beloved, someone you would make great sacrifices for.   There must be restraint even as we acknowledge that powerful drive raging in our DNA. It’s not just an appetite, it’s not just about having fun. There is another human being involved, someone we care about deeply.  We need to cultivate the will forces to withstand the reproductive drive programmed into our lizard brains and create a culture where the highest goal we aspire to is not the Pleasure Principle, but Chivalry.

 

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