The Clothesline Project

April 6, 2014

Clothesline Project T-Shirts seen from outside the building through a window.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Clothesline Project is an organization that began in 1990 to bring awareness to, and make efforts to stop, violence against women.  This link is to their homepage and it is worth clicking on the “History” link once there to learn more about the formation and purpose of the group.

Clothesline Project T-Shirts hung from ceiling.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has cited statistics for intimate partner violence against men and reports that such violence against men is “overwhelmingly” committed in same-sex relationships.  It is important to read the “Why It Matters” information there because it explains the reasons for the under-reporting of males-as-victims of domestic violence.  Also included in the cited statistics is this one sourced from D.G. Saunders in 2002:

“Women committing lethal acts of violence against their male partners are 7-10 times more likely than men to act in self-defense.”

That quote would appear to mean that male aggression precipitated the subsequent lethal force employed by the female.

Yet another example is the amount of domestic violence that occurs in military families.  These effects are detailed in the “Army 2020:  Generating Health and Discipline in the Force Ahead of the Strategic Reset” report. Factors such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), other wounds suffered by combat personnel, as well the strain created by multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have had exponential effects on family stability.  The U.S. Army recognizes the need to address and treat these issues.  This report states that referrals to the Family Advocacy Program for “…domestic violence increased  50% (4,827 to 7,228) while child abuse referrals increased 62% (3172 to 5,149) from FY2008-11.” (pg. 145)  That same section also indicates the role that alcohol use appears to have played in the rise of these cases.  The military has plans to provide services to reduce these numbers and assist those in need.

The totality of domestic violence discussed by these three sources is staggering.  Males are socialized within our culture to be strong and aggressive, and one needs only to look at popular culture.  (This is actually one of the reasons for the under-reporting of male-as-victim domestic violence:  being a male and being beaten does not fit the cultural expectation.)  Football, America’s favourite sport is, in part, so popular due to the level of violence required to play the game.  The National Football League has (finally) taken steps to reduce some of the more flagrantly violent hits due to concerns over the longer-term cognitive and behavioural consequences caused by concussions.  Ultimate Cage Fighting seems to be rising in popularity as well.  However, being subjected to verbal and/or physical abuse within an intimate relationship should not ever be part of the equation.

T-Shirts do raise awareness.  More, however, is required in order to deal with the level of poverty, drug use and abuse, mental illness, and other socio-cultural issues that are both associated with and resultant from domestic violence.  The sources linked in this post present recommendations and opportunities (in some cases) for individual, community, and governmental involvement.

Take care.



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