Treating Men Who Batter Women; Men: The Scientific Truth; Scientific American Presents; by Holloway,; 6 Page(s)
The scene is a football field. Three-hundred-pound bodies are preparing for the all-American pastime: bone-crunching battering. A player on the field turns to the camera: "There was a woman who walked into doors and one who frequently tripped on smooth floors." Other football players pick up the story: "A mother of three broke her arm on the stairs; another simply stumbled over a chair. There was a woman who hid scars under her hair, and for some reason, she's no longer there." It is a bone-chilling poem, part of a public-service campaign against domestic violence sponsored by the Liz Claiborne Foundation and one of the first to speak directly to men. The advertisement took its cue from real life. The years following the O. J. Simpson trial have seen an ominous rise in reports of sports figures assaulting women-with little repercussion for many of the athletes. Christian Peter of the New York Giants has been convicted twice for assaulting women, and he continues to play. Darryl Strawberry of the New York Yankees was arrested for threatening his then wife with a gun. The list goes on, running through the ranks of other football teams and a host of baseball and basketball lineups.
Although Northwestern University researcher Jeffrey Benedict-author of Public Heroes, Private Felons-has found athletes disproportionately violent toward women, they are hardly the exception. According to the most recent figures from the National Institute of Justice, approximately 1.5 million American women are raped or physically assaulted, or both, by an intimate partner every year. Despite three decades of awareness about domestic violence-including efforts to identify, treat and protect battered women and, more recently, to arrest consistently men who batter-the practice appears tragically entrenched.