Male Violence During The Pandemic
Increasing male violence during the pandemic comes as no surprise to me. All over the world, men have a problem. Any lockdown, with its frustrations, brings out the bully. As a result, they resort to abuse. Usually it’s the nearest and dearest, those in the vicinity, most often the female partner and children. I was one of those children and I recall the hell of it all. I was only happy when outdoors, out of lockdown as it were. There are no excuses. The fact that my abuser was consistently thrashed as a child is no excuse. He knew what he was. Consequently, he took great care not to put bruises on the face or where they could be seen at school. Out in the street he was so polite and helpful, such a nice man. But what makes an abuser?
Machismo is a wonderful word derived from Latin. My abuser had machismo, an exaggerated pride in his masculinity. According to him, he was always the hardest worker, the toughest character. In truth, as his testosterone levels reduced, he shrunk to a rather pathetic little old man. Nobody outside our house knew that he was an abuser because it was always behind closed doors. As kids, we never knew when it would out itself; calm one minute, explosive the next. The tension was as bad as the abuse. The trigger could be anything, often the most insignificant things. Reading a book in front of him, his dinner not being hot enough, something casually said. A plate of food or a mug might then be flying towards you. Or, he had you up against a wall, his hands around your throat. A string of invective always attended, together with copious spit into the face.
Male violence during the pandemic
How to recognise an abuser is difficult. Does it start at school? At school I hated laddishness. The bullies were always the laddish types, surrounded by dumb acolytes, those who hid behind a bullying mate. All these boys goaded and needled but many changed as they grew up; or did they? Also, as a male growing up, I saw bullies everywhere in the guise of soldiers, businessmen and politicians. We are taught to have a strong hand, to speak with conviction; male traits abound. The male consultant dominated the nursing profession. It had to be Superman to save the world. The alternative approach, replacing testosterone with the soft skills of social and emotional intelligence, that of women, is rare. Neither do modern men understand that in the past women were equal to men. The truth about women, if men could only see it, comes as a profound shock.
The weaker sex – really?
In my recent book, I deliberately focussed on a woman in prehistory. This was before the warrior cult or a monotheistic religion was created. I did so knowing that in nature, female babies survive better than male. As they grow, females also fight infection much better. Coronavirus reminds us that men are physiologically weak; more will die than women. Men routinely live shorter lives, are more inclined to heart disease and less able to manage mental stress. In prehistory, the women foraged and produced about 70% of the food, and still do in some remote societies. On an intellectual level, it was women who developed language when caring for children. In prehistory, men and women were equal. Then the men elevated themselves through religion, identifying women as ‘unclean’.
Looking back, Neolithic children were taught how to survive, how to find food. The females, together with the children, had value in society. The men were all dirtbusters, turning soil with the ard, and growing grain. The gods were animistic and did not have human (male) form. A journey to Stonehenge was all about nature. Mother nature was a force, not a judgement. Then, for many reasons, the vanity of men took over and they became control freaks. Was it the introduction of cattle and eating more meat? Or was it the need to protect those cattle? Whatever, when metal weapons were created, testosterone ruled. Men have never looked back since and it distorts everything. Women and children are now seen as dependent rather than equal. This is why a woman takes the man’s name when she marries. Male violence during the pandemic simply reflects the fact that women and children are second class citizens. Is this why so many women now prefer to stay single?