Stereotypes and Domestic Violence

Johnny M. is a police officer with 20 years experience on the force. Once again, one night, he is dispatched to 123 Anycity St. to respond to a domestic violence call. It seems like he visits this couple at least once a month, and it is becoming more frequent. Every time, he separates them, talks to the husband, and gives him a chance to cool off, and everything is all right. The wife is likely to have a bruise or two as always but nothing serious. The officer thinks they would get tired of picking at each other! But then, he also thinks, “It’s no worse than my own marriage. Sometimes, women need to be slapped around to keep them in line.”

Arriving at 123 Anycity St., Johnny M. is in for a shock. The violence has gone beyond bruises this time. The wife, covered once again with bruises, is now covered with blood as well. She has used a knife, and the husband is bleeding badly, though still alive.

– What stereotype of domestic violence and women was Johnny M. buying into?
– How do Johnny’s thoughts affect his behavior in this situation?
– How, in your opinion, would Johnny’s behavior be different if his opinion of women were different? Explain your answer.
– If you were given an opportunity to explain the cycle of violence to Johnny M., what would you tell him?


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