Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Addendum on depictions of domestic violence

(Or “DV on TV” as I almost called this article.)

A major problem with modern day fiction (in particular, TV) is the depictions of domestic violence and, to lesser degrees, sexual abuse and rape:

While any given depiction need not to be undue, the sum is disastrous. In real-life domestic violence is comparatively rare and committed by women slightly more often than by men (with the reverse applying to the role of victim). See e.g. an extremely thorough collection of references on DVe.

In fiction, however, domestic violence is very common, is committed almost exclusively by men (with reservations for comedy), and is on average far harsher than the average in real life. Indeed, the frequency of such depictions is sufficiently high that they almost always have a negative value to the work in question.

In particular, female heroines with an extremely abusive ex-partner (or a rape, or sexual abuse as children) in their history are so common that they come over as hackneyed, boring, and unimaginative. By all means, let the protagonist have a dark secret, a mental scar, whatnot—it can open many doors both with regard to character development and with story lines. However, do avoid stereotypes that have been done to death and which in their quantity are misandrist. We do not need yet another detective with alcohol problems; we do not need yet another woman with an abusive ex-husband.

These excesses perpetuate common prejudice and play into the hands of evil feminist rhetoric, with their view of women as poor and innocent victims and men as vicious brutes—every second of which is a wife-beater or rapist just waiting to reveal his true face.

Worse, I strongly suspect an evil circle, where the world-view of the writers has been affected by prejudice and rhetoric, which leads to their failing to realize how often they make unrealistic depictions, which feeds prejudice, etc.