Hesperian Health Guides
Why Does a Man Hurt a Woman?
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These reasons may explain why a man abuses his wife, but they do not give him permission to do so.
A man may offer many excuses for hurting a woman—that he was drunk, that he lost control, or that she ‘deserved it’. But a man chooses to use violence because it is a way he can get what he needs or what he feels is rightfully his as a man.
When a man does not feel that he has power over his own life, he may use violence to try and control another person’s life. It is natural for someone to want to control his or her own life in normal ways, but it is wrong to try and control someone else’s life, especially with violence. Here are some of the reasons why some men hurt women:
Violent or abusive relationships often happen when one person has more power over the other.
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- Violence works.
- It offers the man a quick end to a disagreement without having to talk about the real problem or find a real solution.
- A man may find the fight exciting, and have lots of energy afterward. He may want to have these feelings again.
- If a man uses violence, he ‘wins’ and gets his way. The victim is likely to give him his way again the next time to avoid being hurt. This gives the man even more power.
- The man has a wrong idea about what it means to be a man.
- If a man believes that to be a man, he must control what a woman does, he may feel it is OK to hurt her.
- Some men think that they have a ‘right’ to certain things— to a ‘good’ wife, to sons, to making all the decisions in the family—just because they are men.
- The man feels that the woman belongs to him, or that he needs her.
- If the woman is ‘strong’, the man may feel afraid that he will lose her, or that she does not need him. He will take steps to make her more dependent on him.
- He does not know any other way to be.
- If a man has seen his father or other people in his life react with violence when life is difficult and stressful, then he may have never learned any other way to behave.
property — something they own — they are
more likely to feel as though it is their right
to treat them however they want.