There has been a widely believed myth that domestic violence is caused by personality disorders. This misperception is a simple result of research into domestic violence not getting a representative sample.
Academic centers are located in areas that are economically well off and socially liberal. The economically well-off, socially liberal, people are the ones that form the sample for domestic violence research. In economically well-off, socially liberal, areas, domestic violence is against the social norm, and the people who commit it are people who are in violation of the social norm in these places. Which means that the people who are found to be abusers by this research are people who are in violation of social norms in the places where they live.
Now here’s the problem. The bulk of abuse against women and children is not done in economically well-off, socially liberal, areas. The worst abuse goes on in places that are socially conservative, in which domestic violence is the social norm. The regular abuser is therefore not the “sociopath” or the “narcissist.” The regular abuser is your regular Joe – or Abdul, or Ivan, or Praveem, or Jamal – in socially conservative cultures. And in those places, it is the people who do NOT practice domestic violence that are seen as in violation of the social norm. Which means that, in much of the world, one has to be a “sociopath” or a “narcissist” not to commit domestic violence.
In those socially conservative places, where violence against women and children is social norm, it the people who don’t abuse their wives and their children are seen as wimps, or as fools, or as sinners, or as pushovers, or as traitors to the male gender, or as lacking a penis, or as enemies of God. The research into domestic violence has skipped the places where domestic violence is severest; which means that it has had a woefully un-representative sample. A woman who’s being abused the worst will not be in a position to take a survey. And those who do would most likely lie to protect her “community” and her “culture” from “godless liberal academia.”
As it is, the situation is turning out just as ridiculous as can be expected from a grand misanalysis. The same people who are most vocal about feminist issues have opened the door to the West for ultra-reactionary, severely violent, cultures such as Islam. The result has been these ultra-reactionary men running riot in places like Oslo and Sydney gang-raping liberal Western girls and teaching young Western men to be severe abusers against their wives and their girlfriends. In Oslo, the leadership’s response has been not to imprison these brutes but to tell Norwegian girls not to dress nicely. This is how far we have come.
In cultures that frown on domestic violence, one would have to be in violation of social norms to commit violence against women. In larger cultures that see domestic violence as the norm, one would have to be in violation of social norms not to commit such violence. By the logic of personality disorders, one would have to be a sociopath or a narcissist not to commit domestic violence in most of the world (and far more in America and the rest of the West than many care to know). I doubt that this is a conclusion with which the people who claim abuse to come from personality disorders would be comfortable.
Simply to put, most violence against women comes not from psychology but from ideology. In cases where the causes are psychological and against a person’s conscious convictions, the person would be unhappy to do it and would be willing to change his ways. Whereas the men who believe domestic violence to be the way to go would not only commit it guiltlessly, but would prevail also upon other men to likewise be violent against women. We see that with the Muslims in the most obvious manner; but Muslims are hardly the only culture in the world in which this is the case.
The bulk of violence against women is not a result of social deviance – any kind of social deviance. The bulk of violence against women is a result of misogynistic beliefs; beliefs that are held by billions of people, and which affectuate in barbaric unapologetic abuses against far more women than anyone lets on. A person who believes that women are evil, or that the suffering in the world comes from a woman, or that men should control or be head of women, or that women are an inferior or incomplete gender, will be an abuser. And he will not only be an abuser – unapologetically – but would influence other men to be abusers as well, frequently attacking maliciously and aggressively those men who take objection to violence against women.
The research into this matter did not get a representative sample; indeed it got a woefully un-representative sample. The socially conservative cultures in which violence against women is the norm did not get covered by the research; and the problems it found were problems of people in socially liberal cultures, where domestic violence is against the social norm. One would have to be in violation of social norm of the place he inhabits to be violent to women when one inhabits a socially liberal culture. The problem is, that’s not where most domestic violence takes place; and the issues of the regular wife-beater are not the issues of those wife-beaters who are nearest to centers of advanced learning.
The biggest predictor for domestic violence is not personality disorders, and it was never personality disorders. The biggest predictor for domestic violence is domestic violence-supporting beliefs. And it is only by confronting these and replacing them with better beliefs that any lasting progress can be made against domestic violence.