This webpage is a call to academics interested in addressing potential solutions to the global problem of domestic violence.
Academic research is often driven by the desire for recognition, prestige, and validation. From where our research team currently sits, we cannot offer any of those rewards.
It is my personal experience, however, that many honest researchers work from an entirely different psychological driver. One that may see them identify as a Seeker of Truth. In this search, there is a lot we might offer.
Seekers of Truth are driven to understand why humans have found themselves in a situation where—with so much ingenuity, creativity and resources in the world—we still witness so many people suffering.
It is important to understand that Becoming a Seeker of Truth can be a symptom of PTSD. This suggestion does not negate the validity of that search. Instead, it offers a context that may help a person better understand—and self validate—their need to find answers that explain the trauma that they may have experienced or witnessed in their lives.
My own story involves a long search in finding a narrative to help explain the personal trauma I have experienced—and helped many other people deal with throughout my life; not as a psychologist but as a writer—sharing the traumatic experiences of my early marriage, including how I pulled my family back together, first hand.
My books have drawn readers to me, which has involved me working with numerous individuals and couples facing similar—and sometimes much worse—emotional, physical, mental and financial aggression in their homes.
This work has entailed me spending many years in the trenches, so to speak, hearing the worst about marriage inequality. Like a general returned—personally—victorious from war, I now have to ask, “What on earth has created this conflict?” My conclusion is that our male-dominated society is at the heart of this conflict. This constitutes a system of inequality in our world that hurts everyone—men and women alike.
I have recently discovered that this situation, rather than arising naturally—has been artificially created by one primary underlying mechanism. I have written a short book where I call this underlying—deadly—mechanism ‘Prince Charming’s Dirty Secret.’
Anyone interested can read the first draft of that short book here: Be Careful What You Believe: Navigating a Narcissistic and Codependent World https://thencmarriage.com/marriage-help/be-careful-what-you-believe/.
If I have invited you to read this page, I may have mentioned your work in this book. If so, I would encourage you to read it and let me know if you feel I have represented your research accurately. I would be most honoured if you were to offer suggestions for how the book could be improved.
“How could it be that throughout history, so many stories have been told encouraging ‘common’ women to keep waiting for ‘their prince?’ Wouldn’t royalty prefer to marry one of their own? Why is their such a surplus of princes around, looking for a marriage that lacks an equal social footing?
Female infanticide is usually described as a practice that became necessary in poor communities that wanted to protect future generations from overpopulation—and hence starvation—or to avoid paying dowries required for their daughters given in marriage.
While this may be true to some degree, the fact that female infanticide was predominantly practised in upper class or caste families is well documented but largely hidden—by being buried—amongst tomes of anthropological and sociological research.
Lower class families were expected to feel honoured to pay a heavy dowry for the privilege of their daughters marrying upwards in society.
In India, the Jahareja Rajput’s ‘removed’ virtually 100% of female live births prior to British suppression of the practice.”(Dikeman)
The British claimed to have ‘discovered’ this heinous practice and made concrete efforts to curb it. They identified the high caste khatris, bedis and rajputs as primarily responsible for infanticide in colonial India. Imperial reports regarded caste pride/hypergamy (the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class) and the exorbitant expenditure on marriage/dowry as primarily responsible for these infanticidal deaths. Contemporary scholarly discourse has, however, countered these imperial claims and has shown how on the one hand colonial policies were primarily responsible for the failure in checking and on the other hand, perpetuating this menace. They (British) never found it worthwhile to examine the social effects of their own methods of governance and development that produced the milieu in which sons became even more preferred and dowry gradually acquired the very characteristics that the British purported to reform.” [Oldenburg 2003].
The British, I might add, legislated marriage in India as only legal with a dowry.
A similar hypergynous system probably occurred at least in parts of preindustrial Europe… There sex ratio distortions were greatest in the upper class and clear evidence of selective aggressive neglect and abandonment if not outright infanticide is provided. The importance of the traditional dowry in traditional Europe is well known… preferential female infanticide operates in a variety of human socioeconomic systems as a significant contributor to the maintenance of social structures ranging from 10-100% of female live births per social unit.”(Dikeman)
Female infanticide in many parts of the world has been as prevalent privately as it has been publically disavowed. Unbalanced sex ratios in a community, however, make the practice impossible to hide. While England has had a long history of queens on the throne, how many living female children did they produce compared to surviving male progeny?
Although these queens—either single or paired with a partner of equal or lower standing—have made more stable and trustworthy rulers throughout history, only a cursory glance at any royal or elite family tree in Europe or the Americas will show a predominance of healthy male descendants.
Upper class or caste women have not only been killed, abandoned or aggressively neglected throughout history; they have also been locked away in nunneries and infirmaries. Many who survived were spinsters or disinherited. The ones who did inherit usually did so under strict provisions in their father’s wills.
As Dikeman says in the quote above, this becomes a significant contributor to the maintenance of a male-dominated society. She goes on to say:
Female infanticide guarantees the operation of the model of male competitive aggression and reproductive success: in stratified societies it magnifies the natural discrepancies in in primary sex ratios between upper and lower classes that is a result of socio economic status and birth order.”
To this day, women are encouraged to marry upward. With fewer women in the upper socioeconomic classes, this shifts the out-of-balance birth ratio down to the lowest classes. Men without women to marry are then used as cannon fodder or inadequately paid labour.
Prince Charming doesn’t want to free your life from drudgery. He wants a wife that will bring his family a dowry and servitude. Don’t ask what will happen to any daughters you bear him, or what will happen to you if you don’t bear him sons…
The worldwide convention of men marrying women who are younger, less educated and less intelligent continues throughout most societies. Men who never marry are the lowest end of the intelligence quotient while spinsters are at the highest.”
To the biblical scholars, I have invited to read this page: all would be aware of the common troupe in biblical literature of kings also killing—often broadscale—many of their subject’s eldest sons.
This would obviously further skew sex ratios amongst the socio-economic strata of those societies.
The practise of female infanticide continues to this day. As quoted from Melbourne University’s website:
A preference for sons in patriarchal societies across the world means we are missing 126 million women.”
Again quoting from Be Careful What You Believe::
“People who believe that female infanticide is a natural phenomenon, that is essential for controlling overpopulation, should dig a little deeper. Raising families out of poverty is a far more moral and reliable means of stabilising population growth than killing female babies and allowing the rich to use poor unmarried men to kill themselves by being worked to death or to kill each other on the battlefield.
Some of the most despotic and violent countries, such as Saudi Arabia have the lowest numbers of female-to-male ratios in their societies. Surely we can deal with overpopulation in much healthier ways than promoting violence, inequality and war?
Out of balance birth ratios are also known to be a major cause of wife stealing, child marriage and sex trafficking.”
Not a battle of the sexes but instead an all-pervading and insidious class war.”
The book continues…
“Inequality in marriage only serves upper-class male domination. An age-old conspiracy, if you will, that keeps us all divided to this day…
Feeling the need always to project a higher position of status at home leads to problems that often become unmanageable for men. All of us need to learn to step up and step down at times, depending on what problems we are facing. The need to hide one’s vulnerability at all times is not a comfortable position of power to occupy—especially at home.
Home should be a place we can relax and be ourselves, which can only happen if we embrace equality and balance power in our homes.”
And later in the book:
“Equality in our homes is not a subject that only addresses liberating women. It is a practice at the very core of liberating us all. Men do not benefit from our current system that requires them to dominate women to prove that they are men. This is an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation. We are here to help and support each other. Men and women working together collectively and collaboratively constitute a value system that needs to be fought for with strength and the certainty that it will lead us to a better world.”
My ideas towards a solution:
“While women and men in the West may not be able to stop female infanticide in the world, we could become aware that a marriage based on equal social and intellectual standing is much more likely to balance power in our homes in a way that allows each of us to be loved and appreciated for who we are.”
Arguments for marriage equality being in the interest of strengthening communities throughout all of society need to be put forward by the best and most influential minds of our times. Men, in particular, need to champion this cause.
Emotional intelligence is another vital part of the solution.
Again quoting my new book:
“Most of what I had found that had been useful, ironically, was information about human emotion—usually discounted as stuff that clouds our reason and should not be trusted to guide us in any way. Research doesn’t back up these claims. Emotions need to be regulated, but give us vital information that little else can. The feeling we get from someone’s tone of voice. Our gut instincts that something’s amiss.
Noticing and regulating our emotions is critical in our search for knowledge that benefits us emotionally.
For example; a person whose unregulated jealously drives their quest to gather information on their partner may cause an all-out war with many unintended consequences.
Noted and regulated; however, jealousy is a vital signal that a precious relationship may be under threat.
Once regulated, this emotional signal may prompt a whole different course of action that draws their partner close and builds stronger bonds through empathy and understanding.
Understanding is not the same as knowledge.
Understanding has a profoundly emotional foundation, assisting us in relating to each other in ways that create peace, prosperity and the kind of security that makes the quest for knowledge worthwhile.
Where does understanding fit in a world preoccupied with highly questionable facts?
Emotions if left unregulated, can have disastrous consequences on our quest for knowledge. Humans have been proven to be fairly useless at predicting what will make them feel happy and secure.
As most of us have not been trained to regulate our emotions—as we enter the ‘brave new world’ of artificial intelligence (AI)—machines that do not possess emotions will undoubtedly lead us to a world of truly horrifying unintended consequences.
If you have ever been frustrated by an automated customer service system, imagine where AI might take us when it starts to dominate even more aspects of our lives.
The value of relationships emotionally is something that machines will obviously struggle with unless programmed by humans with emotional intelligence.”
The rise in artificial intelligence will certainly fail us unless a glaring gap is acknowledged in our current system of knowledge. That gap is the lack of emotional intelligence in the field of epistemology.
Information that helps families balance power in their homes needs to be differentiated wisely and developed further into educational quizzes etc. that direct people to the resources they require, serving people’s desire for heuristic answers to their problems.
I have, over many years, developed a library of practical resources that now need to be made more accessible in this way. Other people’s work, too should obviously be included in the final quiz.
Police, clergy, and other community workers would benefit tremendously from having this type of quiz available to help family members quickly get to the true source of the power imbalance in their family relationships and access the appropriate solid resources available to help start setting these imbalances straight.
This is not to say that men always have the upper hand in a DV relationship. Finding the imbalance of power and addressing unhelpful bias and prejudice in a relationship, in my experience will go a long way to helping families and community workers who are attempting to assist.
This work is not based on psychology, but can include elements of it; a hidden credit card, for instance, is—in my experience—is a major cause of serious fights in couple’s homes. The smoke screens and lies needed to keep the inevitable hole this will cause in the families finances hidden may involve psychology. Still, once the credit card is exposed, much more practical solutions are then able to come into play.
Getting these type of practical solutions in place usually works to the benefit of all family members.
I cannot keep going at the slow pace I have with my small team (all-volunteer) with the world under such extreme threat. Domestic Violence call outs are now estimated at 60% of the Australian police’s workload. I can only guess a similar situation exists elsewhere in the world.
Our current response is not working.
A one-stop quiz or questionnaire would go a long way to standardising a higher level of service to families in need.
The other solution I will put forward is devising community-based rewards program for men, in particular, who provide outstanding support to their wives and children’s lives. Public recognition for the role of husband and father in most societies is long overdue.
I do not know what a collaboration like this will look like working towards these goals, but am hoping that other’s reading here may have ideas of how that might work.
I am not a professional academic. I need solid help towards these goals.
If you have anything to offer, please email me at Kimcooper66@gmail.com — I look forward to hearing your ideas.