” Media can also learn and report on what happens to men convicted of domestic assault, what local schools are doing about battered women and domestic violence, and what grants might be available from the federal Violence Against Women Act.
The help for women – in the context of educating people on the issues whether they come into contact with domestic assault or not – should also be planned for and provided in the workplace, Jones write on pages 240-242. Employers can and should sponsor workshops and seminars about violence in the home, and also they should be encouraged to make donations to local shelters or other groups that support women who have been abused.
FIVE: Critique of the book. This is an effective book in terms of its overall tone and theme and the factual, investigative narrative strategy. Its blunt, sometimes shocking stories of abuse and injustice done to women cry out for sympathy and empathy. Perhaps it was designed to be a shocking book for more than one reason (books that are provocative tend to get more notice, and an “in your face” with facts kind of book gets positive critiques), but whatever her purpose in presenting the gruesome cases she does a masterful job of keeping the attention of the reader. But there are instances when her narrative is on the seamy side. For example, her referencing of the book the New Joy of Sex: The gourmet Guide to Lovemaking for the Nineties (by Alex Comfort) drifts down into the gutter. Comfort writes that there is a “need” for “some degree of violence in sex” as opposed to the “pretty normal sex” (Jones, 108). The author of the sex book insists that women “dig” an “extra sensation of violence and/or helplessness” like being tied up and having men be violent with them.
But while that is clearly an unsavory aspect of love making, its just one book and Jones does not offer any data as to how many women actually enjoy being put in restraints and having men be violent during intercourse. She brings psychologists into the discussion of violence during sex, saying (Jones, 108) that they tout “the beneficial effects of aggression.” If a little violence along with sex is good for couples, Jones writes, “then unalloyed aggression must be positively therapeutic.” Then she does what she has a habit of doing too often in this book: she makes a sweeping generalization about psychologists in reference to violence as part of the sexual culture. “A whole school of psychology said it was so,” she write on 108.
There are instances where Jones goes on an unprofessional stereotyping spree without an apparent reason. She finds passages from books that back up her thesis that there is a built-in sense of misogyny in the justice system and in much of the male side of society. Some of those are valid and powerful. Some are not. Like the passage from author and “sexologist” Van de Veldes book Ideal Marriage: What men and women – “driven by primitive urges” – hope to feel during sex is “…the essential force of maleness, which expresses itself in a sort of violent and absolute possession of the women.”
Van de Veldes quote is taken further by Jones: “So both of them can and do exult in a certain degree of male aggression and dominance.” Van de Velde quotes from the “eminent British sexologist Havelock Ellis” (Jones quote, 107) that “…a certain pleasure in manifesting his power over a woman by inflicting pain upon her” is “quite normal constituent of the sexual impulse in man” (Jones quoting Ellis, 107-108). Jones cant resist taking Ellis words even further as he offers that in any event the “…
normal manifestations of womans sexual pleasure are exceedingly like those of pain.”
Jones also makes generalizations that are very weak, and that lessen the impact of her otherwise valid points. For example, on page 107 she declares “Throughout history, men have had things their way, thanks in large part to their strategic use of coercion and violence.” That is an across-the-board attack – impossible to back it up – but Jones doesnt have to.
SIX: The authoritative thinking of the book and her assumptions. Jones does in fact offer many facts and situations and theories that are mainstream and valid. But she assumes that because certain attitudes are out there, and controversial books support the abuse of women, that this explains the societal bias in favor of men and against women. A man has a right to control women in Muslim cultures, but not in Western culture; and yet men do get away with behaving in violent, irrational ways. But by dipping too often into clips from weird books, and by using generalizations and stereotypes, Jones, in the view of this paper, loses some of her authority. Shes clearly an angry person, and her rage has weakened her argument somewhat.
SEVEN: What did I learn? The facts of violence against women are there for anyone to research, but Jones has done the work for us, and for that an alert reader is grateful. Despite some of the generalizations and cheap use of quotes to make her point, Jones brings to light the terrible situations women have found themselves in. The most compelling injustice against women, beyond the abusive relationships, is the failure of courts and law enforcement to provide the protection and the ultimate justice that is called for in many cases.
EIGHT: What questions would I ask Jones? I would ask her why she didnt go to her high school or grammar school counselors and report that she had been sexually and physically abused by an alcoholic father. Hindsight is 20-20 they say, but it is a valid question. Those beatings and those molestations could have been reported to authorities; after all, she ran out of the house screaming so the neighbors would hear, why couldnt she have reported these violent violations of her person dignity to the authorities?
NINE: A favorite quote from the book – that might have meaning for many people who otherwise might not have read this book. On page 186, Jones is writing about psychological harm done to women. “Put brainwashing in the context of an intimate relationship where traumatic bonding is likely to occur, add physical violence, sexual coercion, sexual abuse, and drugs – and the subjects world rapidly collapses inward.” As a result of all those things being done to her by a controlling person, Jones goes on, she “restricts her movements, censors her thoughts, silences her opinions to match the demands of her increasingly powerful controller… [and] she is captive.” How terrifying and how unconscionable this type of behavior really is.
TEN: Thoughts and feelings reading the book. I was horrified at the way the system of so-called “justice” was AWOL for so many women who had been beaten, slapped, stabbed, and otherwise abused in inhuman ways. I hope that with a new and progressive leader in the White House, Barack Obama (Im assuming he will be elected), he can use the bully pulpit of the presidency to encourage families to love their children and each other, and if they cant, to seek help. The president can urge communities and states to provide education and training to citizens and to professionals regarding domestic violence. Having a president raise the consciousness of the nation regarding.