Earlier today several of my friends were up in arms about a Washington Post piece titled: One Way to End Violence Against Women? Stop Taking Lovers and Get Married. Worth noting that the Washington Post did change the title to make it a little less vile.
Even a cursory reading of the piece with a basic knowledge of…anything really…immediately debunks it as complete horseshit full of wildly misrepresented data. I expect many of the authors of the cited studies to complain about their work being misused in short order. (Author’s Note: Already Happened.) Unless, like authors W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson, they too are bigots. (More on that later.)
The conclusion is essentially that since married women (and children of married parents) suffer less abuse than their counterparts, that marriage is the solution to domestic and sexual abuse. Which is only a valid conclusion if you’re a complete fucking moron.
Children are more likely to be abused when they do not live in a home with their married father. What’s more: girls and boys are significantly more likely to be abused when they are living in a cohabiting household with an unrelated adult—usually theirmother’s boyfriend.
Um…no shit. You mean a relationship that is (not always, but) most often rooted in stability and years of intimacy, trust, and knowledge of one’s partner is less likely to contain a complete fucking creep than one that isn’t? WHOEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT. Do you think that perhaps marriages are less likely to produce abuse because they’re more likely to have undergone a process of vetting a partner over several years? Maybe? Maybe?
And to be fair, I didn’t read the entirety of the several-hundred page sourced links yet, but from reviewing the study designs, they did not adjust for relationship lengths to compare like situations. The long and short of it is that people tend to avoid marrying scumbags, not that marriage fixes scumbags.
It’s probably not necessary to go any further than that. Wilcox’s and Wilson’s premise relies on comparing two completely different things and saying one is better because marriage. If you don’t see the flaw in that, then you have an agenda. But we soldier on…
Another aspect of a married vs. unmarried (even a cohabiting unmarried relationship) is that the former tends to have a lot more supervision and thus a lot smaller of a window for abuse than the latter. (And I’m shocked Wilcox didn’t launch into a “working women raise the likelihood of child abuse” tirade, but there are more articles to be written by noted bigots I suppose.) Let’s get to demonizing single mothers.
It’s funny because Wilcox and Wilson ignore that the abuse rates in the households of their targeted group, single mothers, has dropped DRAMATICALLY in the past two decades. Do you know what else has dropped dramatically? The marriage rate of single women. Again, correlation does not equal causation, but the irony is delicious.
Women are also safer in married homes. As the figure above (derived from a recent Department of Justice study) indicates, married women are the least likely to be victimized by an intimate partner.
Again, is this perhaps because that married partner has typically been vetted over a number of years? NAHHHHHH
What’s going on here? Why are women safer when married and children safer when living with their married biological parents? For girls, the research tells us that marriage provides a measure of stability and commitment to the adults’ relationship, that married biological fathers are more likely to be attentive and engaged with their children because they expect the relationship to be enduring.
It’s not because the woman has had ample time to learn that their husband is not an abusing shitbag? NAHHHHH It’s because shacking up makes him more attentive, of course. Again, marrying a shitbag does not fix shitbagginess. It’s funny because when you click on the study the article links you find it was authored by…Robin Fretwell Wilson. Oh, I see what you did there. (More on this later.)
More generally, the “emotional support and the supervision” that engaged fathers provide to their children can limit their vulnerability to potential predators, as David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center, has observed.
Ohhh, now you mention supervision, but not within the contexts of married households simply having more supervision, but within the context of marriage creating more “engaged fathers.” Got it.
For women, part of the story is about what social scientists call a “selection effect,” namely, women in healthy, safe relationships are more likely to select into marriage, and women in unhealthy, unsafe relationships often lack the power to demand marriage or the desire to marry. Of course, women in high conflict marriages are more likely to select into divorce.
Oh, so it’s not about marriage in a vacuum after all. Well for fucks sake, why did you write all this bullshit then?
But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better. That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners—factors that minimize the risk of violence.
Er no wait it is about marriage. Marry that shitbag after all! It’ll make them settle down and become more attentive! Holy god this is mind-bogglingly awful. A really good way to curb violence against women might be to take away Wilcox’s and Fretwell’s computers.
Marriage is no panacea when it comes to male violence.
But…but…you just got done saying that it is…
But married fathers are much less likely to resort to violence than men who are not tied by marriage or biology to a female.
Wait, what? But you just got done saying that marriage isn’t a solution. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING ANYMORE!
About the Authors:
W. Bradford Wilcox is a noted bigot who is the director of the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute’s Program on Marriage, Family, and Democracy. The Witherspoon Institute is guilty of funding the fraudulent New Family Structures Study conducted by disgraced bigot and researcher Mark Regnerus. W. Bradford Wilcox is ALSO guilty of being one of the peer reviewers that vetted said fraudulent study.
So to recap that: The Witherspoon Institute approached Regnerus to do an anti-gay study, gave him $785,000 to do that anti-gay study, and then was part of the process of “objectively” approving that anti-gay study for publication.
Robin Fretwell Wilson is a noted bigot who wrote letters to several NYS Senators urging them to vote down marriage equality. Wilson has also fought for religious exemptions from many human rights and non-discrimination laws. She has been frequently smacked down by greater legal minds than her.
Of the 12 Links of “Supporting” research (some sources were used multiple times) that Wilson and Wilcox Cite:
- 1 was from 1994
- 1 was a misused study from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (2009)
- 2 were authored by Robin Fretwell Wilson
- 1 was from 1986
- 1 was form 1990
- 1 was from 2002
- 1 was a misused study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (2005)
- 1 was the above chart from the Dept. of Justice
- 1 was an article from the Republican Herald, not a scientific study
- 1 was a book (not a study) put out by the Institute for American Values founded by the formerly anti-gay, currently pro-LGBT David Blankenhorn.
- 1 was a book co-authored by hate-monger Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the virulently anti-gay National Organization for Marriage
Or to put it simply, three actual studies that were wildly misused, several studies of questionable age and relevance, and a whole lot of conservative bullshit written by other haters.
So it’s abundantly obvious that Wilcox and Wilson don’t have the best interests of women at heart. (The implication that women should marry scumbags to make them more attentive should tip you off.) Worse than that though, both have a history of virulent bigotry that coalesces with the conservative false flag of “family values” or more accurately put active hatred against those that don’t fit their narrow view of acceptable conduct.