Domestic abuse epidemic

Following from Jender’s post on the focus of domestic violence responses, have a look at this article, reporting on an ‘epidemic’ of domestic abuse in the UK, and this report from a woman who was herself abused.

Many philosophically relevant issues:

The first report stresses the need for ‘urgent attention and … for doctors to be trained to spot victims and help them’. Little is said about the form that help might take – clearly, the view one takes about the autonomy, rationality, of the victim’s choice – or even whether (see comments on Jender’s post) there is a choice – would make a difference here.

The thought that it is fruitful to look at the abuser’s behaviour rather than focus on the victim’s psychology seems to be echoed in the first person report, and her perspective on how she considered her situation: ‘I kept asking myself if I still loved this man… I should have been asking myself why I was subjecting myself to this profound humiliation, with or without love’.

Back in the first article, some interesting epistemological issues and silencing issues also raised – one of the problems being that ‘some victims were not believed [concerns about lack of epistemic credibility, perlocutionary silencing] while others did not realise the abuse they suffered was a crime [locutionary silencing]’.

Finally, in the first person report, it struck me that there was a similarity between the response of the woman:

‘My sincere but perhaps feeble act, which I doubt the children remember, was to apologise to them for their father’s behaviour every time they heard or observed him hitting me’

…and the response Jender noted of the victim in the De Anza rape case – to apologise. Although the earlier post on domestic violence considers refocusing responses, away from the moral psychology of the victim, I couldn’t help but wonder: is there a documented phenomena of ‘victim-apology’? Is this something more often found in women than men? Just wonderings – any help?

Toddlers and gender

There’s a new study out, showing that 2-year olds look longer at behaviour that deviates from gender norms (such as a man putting on lipstick). It used to be thought that such awareness didn’t show up till preschool (3 or 4, I’m figuring that means).