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January 6, 2018


The Duluth Model- Feminism on Steroids

Postby Chestaan » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:34 pm

For those of you are unaware, the Duluth Model is a program that aims to reduce the occurrence of domestic violence against women. According to Wikipedia, it is the most common batterer intervention programme used in the US, which is the main reason why I have a problem with it as explained below.

The thing about the Duluth Model is that it assumes, without any evidence, that there is only a sole cause of domestic violence, which is the existence of a patriarchal culture that encourages men to control women through the use of violence of necessary. This ignores other factors such as alcohol or substance abuse, sexual abuse as a child and even psychological disorders that may lead to violence against a partner. So, assuming that the only factor causing domestic violence is the one above, it is not surprising at all that the Duluth Model has been shown to be ineffective:

Now, there have been some studies used to support the Duluth Model that show that those who complete the Duluth Model programmes are less likely to re-offend than those who haven't. The problem with this? Any man who is willing to undergo any programme is obviously less likely to re-offend than those who have no interest in doing so! In other words, those studies take no account of selection bias. Those that do account for selection bias by using a control group, such as the one above, find that completing the Duluth Model programmes has NO effect whatsoever on the likelihood of re-offending. 

But apart from the fact that the Duluth Model is ineffective at best, it also serves to absolve female domestic abuse by claiming that women who engage in domestic violence largely do so because they are defending themselves!

Women's use of violence does not have the same kind of societal support. Many women who do use violence against their male partners are being battered. Their violence is used primarily to respond to and resist the violence used against them.

No evidence is giving to back up this startling claim... As you think about this approach, it gets more and more disgusting as it is basically victim blaming men that have fallen victim to violence by their partner. 

In case my opinion is not obvious, I think that the Duluth Model is a horrible way of dealing with domestic violence as it is both ineffective and is adamant that men, and men alone, are responsible for domestic violence. It reinforces the flawed gender stereotype that women are gentle and non-violent, whereas men are brutes who can snap at any time and lash out. The fact that such a flawed system is still the primary one used to deal with domestic violence in this day and age is shocking and is particularly a failure as it does nothing to deal with domestic violence against men and even goes as far as victim blaming male victims of domestic violence. 

Domestic violence against men is currently an issue that does not get treated seriously enough. According to a Guardian article 40% or more of domestic violence victims are male yet there are only 60 shelters available for men in Wales and England compared with 7,500 for women. This, just like the Duluth Model, is a sign of the large-scale ignorance of domestic violence faced by men, which sadly will only cause less and fewer men to come forward to report such abuse. 

What say you NSG? Is the Duluth model flawed? Should a different approach which takes account of other factors influencing domestic violence replace it? 
(I've been trying to link some more sources, particularly by Dutton but I've been only able to find abstracts on Google Scholar.)



Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at