Just marry the violence away

The Washington Post posted an article suggesting the solution to domestic abuse and sexualized violence was for women to – wait for it – marry more!

Washington Post changed their headline from 'Stop taking lovers and get married' to the slightly less offensive 'Married dads [are less violent]'

They try to back up their argument by quoting statistics about the incidence physical, emotional and sexual abuse in families with married biological parents versus other married, unmarried, and single parents w/ partners. Their conclusion, as made very obvious in the now-changed headline, was that in order to reduce the incidence of violence, women should just get married instead of having live-in boyfriends.

Even when they explicit state in the article that “For women, part of the story is about what social scientists call a “selection effect,” namely, women in healthy, safe relationships are more likely to select into marriage, and women in unhealthy, unsafe relationships often lack the power to demand marriage or the desire to marry.“ it does not make the authors pause for even a second before they continue with “But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better.” (At least they timidly acknowledge, en passant, that violence against women is predominantly a problem of MEN BEING VIOLENT.)

That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners—factors that minimize the risk of violence.

Looking at the first chart, it seems obvious that the strong correlation for child abuse is whether the child lives with the biological parents, especially father, or not. Only in the second chart – domestic abuse of their partners – is the case clear, not for marriage, but instead against single mothers. Unfortunately the data is not broken down further.

Finally, despite one of the authors being a sociologist, the article culminates in this gem of ignoring the context of the reality of living:

What’s more: women who are married are more likely to live in safer neighborhoods, to have a partner who is watching out for their physical safety, and—for obvious reasons—to spend less time in settings that increase their risk of rape, robbery, and assaults.

Selection bias, ick hör’ dir trapsen.