For decades the feminist explana tion of domestic violence has been the common wisdom in society in general and also and in the courts.  This explanation holds that men use violence against women to exert power and control over them in order to maintain their paternalistic power and control within society.  It is alleged that even when women are violent this is as a reaction to the power and control exercised over them by men - in simple terms men are always to blame.

Of course this logic is deeply flawed.  It fails to explain why there are high rates of domestic violence in lesbian relationships and it fails to explain clear cases where the woman's violence has no relationship to power and control exerted by her partner.  It also fails to explain why hundreds of research studies show that women initiate domestic abuse as often or more often than men.

Feminist answers to this include denial of the statistics and threats and intimidation to those who speak out and say that women can be abusive too.  These tactics bear an uncanny resemblance to some aspects of emotional abuse itself - victim blaming, threats and intimidation.

Research suggests that domestic abuse is driven by a need for power and control in the relationship for both male and female abusers.  Underlying the need for power and control may be 'mate guarding' behaviour.  Abusers have often had deep insecurities in their childhood and as a result have never learned to have an emotionally secure relationship.  Abusers often have personality traits similar to 'borderline personality disorder'.

Mate Guarding

Mate guarding behaviour by women can include -

Insisting that he spends all his free time with her

Yelling at him for talking to another woman

Criticising the other woman's looks, motives or intelligence

Telling him that she would die if he ever left her

Staring coldly at the other woman who was looking at him

Staying close by his side at social occasions

Threatening to break up if he ever cheats on her

Telling him that she will change to please him




Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms can include -

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

A pattern of unstable and intense personal relationships

Persistently unstable self image

Impulsivity - sexual / binge eating or drinking / substance abuse / reckless driving

Suicidal behaviour or threats, self harm such as cutting or picking at oneself

Chronic feelings of emptyness

Intense instability of moods usually lasting only a few hours

Inappropriate anger or difficulty in controlling anger

Temporary stress related irrationality or delusions