dara_carlin_root_male_priviledge"Hey, pick that up RIGHT NOW!"  Without ANY further detail, imagine who could and/or would say that to whom.  

Would a female be shouting this to another female?  If so, what would their relationship be to one another and what context would it be in?  Could this be a prelude to a cat fight between two same-aged rivals?

What scenario do you envision if the person yelling the command is a female and the person it's being directed at is a male?  Perhaps a mother chastising her son comes to mind or a teacher reprimanding a student?

Because this is a column about domestic violence, that'll probably be the first scenario that'll come to mind if it's a male whose issuing the demand at a female, right?  But that's not where I'm going with this...  ;) Part of the therapeutic process is bringing the unconscious to consciousness (which is just a fancy way of saying that one of the tasks in the process of change is to point out and make you aware of things you're unaware of).    

As someone whose constantly watching human behavior and trying to ensure accurate communication, I'm probably more diligent then most in paying attention - not only to the thoughts, feelings, words and non-verbals of others - but to my own and even with all that attention, I'm still as blind as anyone else when it comes to what's unconscious to me or beyond my awareness.  (And that's why it's called UNconscious and being UNaware, yet strangely so many people translate "unconscious" and "unaware" to = ignorance or stupidity which is SO NOT the case!)

Just to provide an example, have you ever asked someone to please stop shaking their leg while they're sitting because it's shaking the table or distracting you?  When you call the leg shaking to the person's attention, they're like "Huh?  What?  I am?  Oh, sorry."  The "huh, what, I am?" is bringing what someone's doing UNconsciously to their conscious mind (and then they can MIND their manners/behavior because they're AWARE that it's irritating someone else).  

If you take the "Huh?  What?" to a higher level (where you become aware of "a great truth") it's called an epiphany and this is how I intend to write all of my articles: in the hope of DV epiphanies.  :)  To tie this all in:

So yesterday I was walking in Waikiki with my kids, waiting for the light to turn green to cross at the intersection of Ala Moana and Kalia Road.  An island separated the opposite side and some pedestrians hadn't made it all the way over at the last light change so they were stuck on the island waiting.  One of the pedestrians on the island was a middled-aged woman who had been smoking a cigarette.  Above the street noise was a local man yelling something; I was able to locate what car he was in among all of them because the woman on the island was yelling back at him.

Oh boy - domestic violence in Waikiki.  As I scanned the area for any police officers, I was thinking how amazing it was that this man was able to find and identify this woman at a busy intersection during rush hour; I mean really, what are the chances right?  But then I heard the next volley of shouting between them. 

Her:  "Mind your own @#&% business!"

Him:  "I said to pick that up RIGHT NOW!"

Her:  "I don't have to listen to you!"

Him:  "You wouldn't like it if I came to your home and threw a cigarette butt down on your land!  Pick that up NOW and take your rubbish back to the mainland with you!"

Hey wait a minute!  These people don't even know each other!  This isn't domestic violence!  BUT actually, it is related to it...

Whenever I talk about domestic violence, I don't think a time has ever gone by where the whole gender issue hasn't been raised:  "Why do you always say 'she' when you talk about the victim?  Men can be victims too!  What about WOMEN'S use of violence against men?"  While that's an article for another day, here's the short answer: 85% of domestic violence victims are women http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf and women's use of violence against or abusiveness towards men isn't the same.  Here's why:

Remember my "new and improved" definition of domestic violence - "The use of oppression, coercive control and sometimes physical force to get ones wants or needs met at the expense of another as rooted in history, law and culture"?  And remember one of the tactics identified in the Power & Control Wheel, male privilege?  The history of the world, our laws and culture in the United States all originate from (and continue to be maintained by) male privilege.

The thing about male privilege is that if we're not AWARE of it or we're UNCONSCIOUS of it, we simply don't SEE it.  By the same token, almost all of us - regardless of age, affiliation or gender - abide and live by it.  To be clear, male privilege in and of itself is not domestic violence, but is more like the soil in which the plant grows.

While yesterday's crosswalk experience may just as easily be chalked up to an environmentalist reprimanding a litterer or a kama'aina scolding a tourist, I found it fascinating that a man could order a woman he doesn't know to do something, even more amazing that this woman actually did as she was told and absolutely mind-boggling that no one else seemed to pay attention to this exchange.  Unaware or minding their own business each person at the intersection went along their way, which for domestic violence, is a layer of fertilizer on top of the soil.

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