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Violence Against Women In The Black Community.

May 7, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

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( The measure of a society – the measure of its cultural or mental health- can be gauged by its treatment of and attitudes towards women.   And by that measure, the Black community comes up woefully short.   As far back as a decade ago, the number one cause of death for African American women aged 15 to 34 is homicide by a former or current intimate partner.   In the aftermath of the murder of his girlfriend and suicide by pro football player, Jovan Belcher, CBS sports anchor, James Brown, reported that three women are killed every day in the United States by a domestic partner. 

Whenever a relationship- ANY relationship is marred by violence- that relationship is by definition, dysfunctional.  In the case of men perpetrating violence against women, the source of that dysfunction can   be found in two distinct, yet inextricably interwoven areas: faulty definitions and disconnected relationships within themselves.

Violence against women is often equated with power and control or rather, Troubled family feelings of lack of power and control.  Feelings of lack of power and control often come from faulty definitions  of two almost synonymous  terms: “manhood” and “strength.”  Men are taught that being a man means being strong.  Being strong means sucking up pain and not letting anybody take anything from you.  There is something to be said for these definitions.  A man should be willing to protect his family and home.  And while some women say they want a sensitive man, those same women will run for cover if they perceive their man as being weak.  Somehow we’ve got to understand that strength does not mean brutishness and sensitivity does not equate to being effeminate.  

Over the years, I’ve been involved in all kinds of counseling sessions, both formal and informal, in which notions about manhood were the central themes.  More than once, during a counseling group I once conducted, a male would defiantly declare, “I do what I want to do.  I’m a man!”  My response was always the same.  “A boy does what he wants to do.  A man does what he has to do.” Often that response would generate helpful discussions about manhood and responsibility.

Then there was the distraught cab driver I found myself counseling.    Suspecting his woman was cheating on him, he declared that he felt he was losing his mind and that he “might have to kill somebody.”  He was stunned when I asked him how long his girlfriend had been his god.  “You know you’ll be sacrificing your own life if you take a life over this woman.  And the only somebody that any sane person would give his life for is that somebody to whom he owes his life:  the giver of life.  God Himself.  Who else could be important enough for you to sacrifice your own life?  If this was just a mere woman, you could remember a time when you functioned quite well, before you even met her.    To whom else would you give total control of your life?  Your woman must be a powerful god!”

By the end of the conversion, the cabbie had calmed down.  He came to understand that his manhood was not defined by the actions of his woman and that he still had control over his life. 

Perpetrators of violence against women do not see anything unmanly about it.  It is especially interesting to note that the example that brought this issue to a little light was a case involving a football player.   It’s a bit ironic that football players, who practice one of the MANLIEST of sports (I’m a lifelong Steelers fan, so I’m hardly against the sport) are among the most prolific in the most unmanly of activities: domestic violence.  

Football is considered manly because it teaches one to “suck up” physical pain; to fight through it.  Ignore it.  But what about emotional pain?  Unlike physical pain, emotional pain cannot be ignored.  It must be confronted and overcome.  The strength to overcome it is derived from a strong honest relationship with self.  That strength cannot be accessed if the individual has cut himself off from himself by focusing on ignoring pain without discrimination with regards to everything else that goes on inside a human being.  

I tried to tackle some of these issues in my novel, The Megalight Connection, in which I developed the following question and answer session between a lad and his mentor:

What kind of discipline is required to have a proper relationship with a woman?

The kind that will allow you to love fully and completely, yet remain willing to lose her if it is in her best interest.  When you can do this my son, you truly will be a man.

I tried to show that being a man meant, among other things, the ability to love a woman (or anybody, for that matter) unselfishly.  Being a man requires a different kind of profound  strength to expose oneself to the vulnerability that comes with loving “fully and completely” while putting the other person ahead of oneself to the point of being willing to lose her if it is in her best interest.

True strength is not a matter of how much weight a man can lift, but rather, a matter of discipline.  True strength comes from having an honest relationship with oneself. It is a matter of being secure within oneself.  When we can come to this, not only will domestic violence dissipate, but we truly will be men.

Staff Writer; William Griggs 

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2 Responses to “Violence Against Women In The Black Community.”
  1. A very thought-provoking article, Mr. Griggs. Thank you.


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