I Think I Messed Up! What Would You Do?

  • Thread starter lisab
  • Start date
Some posted a tv news bit on another forum regarding this sort of situation and the general response of strangers.

The tv people had two actors, male and female, go to a park where they had hidden video cameras. First the male actor acted out as a controlling abusive partner towards the female actor who sat by, head down, dealing with his abuse. People walking by were aghast. Several people pulled out cell phones presumably to call the police. Some people even approached the couple and shouted at the male. One guy even tried running him off and looked ready to beat him up.

Next the female played controlling abusive partner while the male sat by head down. Several people walking by smiled and laughed. Some few even shouted encouragement to the female. Only one person (a female) walked up to the couple, told the female she should be ashamed of herself, and asked the man if he was alright or needed help.
 

I like Serena

Homework Helper
6,553
176
Some posted a tv news bit on another forum regarding this sort of situation and the general response of strangers.

The tv people had two actors, male and female, go to a park where they had hidden video cameras. First the male actor acted out as a controlling abusive partner towards the female actor who sat by, head down, dealing with his abuse. People walking by were aghast. Several people pulled out cell phones presumably to call the police. Some people even approached the couple and shouted at the male. One guy even tried running him off and looked ready to beat him up.

Next the female played controlling abusive partner while the male sat by head down. Several people walking by smiled and laughed. Some few even shouted encouragement to the female. Only one person (a female) walked up to the couple, told the female she should be ashamed of herself, and asked the man if he was alright or needed help.
I wonder how convincing the actors were.
I suspect it's easier for a male to be convincingly threatening and abusive than it is for a female.
The question is how credible and accurate the perceived threat is, and how much is mistakenly interpreted from a gender role point of view.

I remember a time when a guy was lying down on the floor in a public place, presumably in some kind of medical trouble.
But another guy was standing close by, probably his friend, who did nothing.
Somehow, it didn't feel as if he was in trouble at all.
Not surprisingly, shortly after, he sat up and wondered loudly that he was surprised that no one tried to help him.
 

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
45
basil, I don't think I would have done anything either, unless I could determine the identities of the "adults". Then I would have notified child protective services and had those parents evaluated. If one of the "adults" appeared to be in danger of harm, I would probably have tried to intervene and calm things down.

Dangerous, though. A very close friend of mine is a former police chief, and though his force could be stretched thin at times, he would try to send two cops to a domestic disturbance instead of one because in his experience his officers were far more likely to be attacked when responding to DDs than when responding to a bar-brawl. For whatever reason, his officers could often subdue the aggressor and end up being attacked by the person who had been beaten while taking the aggressor into custody. Sad state of affairs.
 
If I see a woman who hits her male partner, I think that he's in no danger and if he became sick of the "abuse" he could just leave the relationship.

If I see a man who hits his female partner, I think her mental and physical health are in danger, and she could possibly be intimidated and scared to leave the relationship.

Men can take care of themselves.
You're totally right, a man being abused by his female partner (who he should be more powerful than) isn't going to harm his mental health in any way.


Too many girls go about with the idea that they can attack men without any kind of repercussions because they feel that they're pretected by the force field of 'im a girl'.
 
I wonder how convincing the actors were.
I suspect it's easier for a male to be convincingly threatening and abusive than it is for a female.
The question is how credible and accurate the perceived threat is, and how much is mistakenly interpreted from a gender role point of view.

I remember a time when a guy was lying down on the floor in a public place, presumably in some kind of medical trouble.
But another guy was standing close by, probably his friend, who did nothing.
Somehow, it didn't feel as if he was in trouble at all.
Not surprisingly, shortly after, he sat up and wondered loudly that he was surprised that no one tried to help him.
It is part of the problem that people base their opinions upon societal bias regarding perceived threat in gender roles. A female can be just as dangerous as a male yet we consider females to generally be gentle and safe to be around unless they possess masculine qualities and we consider males to be potentially dangerous unless they are effeminate. Any person can just as easily pick up a knife one day, or a gun, or run someone over with a car. The man in the experiment never struck the female yet he was considered a clear and present danger to her because he was a man. The female struck the male multiple times but was not considered a serious threat by anyone because she was female. What we see right now going on between two people in a public place is highly unlikely to be any immediate threat. Both persons are more likely to find a more convenient and private location to do any real damage to their partner. Both persons have indicated a clear potential for doing violence to their partner. That one is theoretically more capable of hurting the other right now is irrelevant. Even in consideration of the male we don't concern our selves with the fact the he is not actually hurting her right now, only that he is acting in a fashion that indicates he may well hurt her later if he isn't doing so right now. Tonight at home either victim can just as easily wind up with their fingers slammed in a door, a coffee mug thrown at their head, or a knife being waved in their face.
 
You're totally right, a man being abused by his female partner (who he should be more powerful than) isn't going to harm his mental health in any way.
Because of course being emotionally abused by your partner is not very likely. The man isn't going to be depressed because the woman he apparently loves is treating him like crap. He isn't going to be shamed and humiliated by her smacking him about in public and people sniggering about it. And if it does bother him then well he oughta suck it up and be a man and probably deserves the treatment if he's going to be a sniveling baby about it right?
 
Because of course being emotionally abused by your partner is not very likely. The man isn't going to be depressed because the woman he apparently loves is treating him like crap. He isn't going to be shamed and humiliated by her smacking him about in public and people sniggering about it. And if it does bother him then well he oughta suck it up and be a man and probably deserves the treatment if he's going to be a sniveling baby about it right?
Exactly!
 

Evo

Mentor
22,863
2,340
Statutory Ape was being sarcastic, in response to your (hopefully sarcastic) reply to leroy.

Just in case members think you guys are serious.
 
537
1
Statutory Ape was being sarcastic, in response to your (hopefully sarcastic) reply to leroy.

Just in case members think you guys are serious.
this is why we have the rolling eyes emoticon, I think ^^
 
542
44
You're totally right, a man being abused by his female partner (who he should be more powerful than) isn't going to harm his mental health in any way.


Too many girls go about with the idea that they can attack men without any kind of repercussions because they feel that they're pretected by the force field of 'im a girl'.
Maybe it's just from my perspective. Almost all women are shorter than me and a lot weaker than me. I've never had a woman who hits me when she's angry, so I guess I wouldn't know how it feels to have a woman I love abuse me. But what I was getting at was that the situations are different. Women who are in relationships like that sometimes feel stuck, or afraid to leave because she's intimidated by the man. So the beatings she takes are a lot more damaging and can be ongoing because she's afraid to leave him, or doesn't have anywhere else to go. Usually a man isn't going to be intimidated by a woman, and usually a man will have somewhere else to go because he will most likely have a job so he can afford to leave.
I know I'm generalizing, and I'm sure there are exceptions, but the vast majority of the time, the danger of an abusive woman doesn't hold a candle to the danger of an abusive man.
 
288
1
The fact that this discussion has gone on this long is disgusting.

Abuse is abuse. Period. Doesn't matter who's abusing whom.

lisab, if, in your opinion, the woman you observed was being abusive (and from your description it certainly sounds like she was), you should have reported it the same as if you had observed a man being abusive. All you know is that you observed her assault him without any apparent provocation. You don't know all the details, but you don't have to to report violence to the police. The fact that there was a child involved makes it even worse, since if she's abusive to her partner, it's quite possible she's abusive to her child as well. Child services should have been called (either by you or the police).

To all others saying something to the effect of "you shouldn't report it, because he wasn't in any real danger", it's people like YOU that are the reason female on male abuse is under-reported in the first place. First off, if a person is abusive once, they're likely abusive at other times as well. She may not be a credible danger in the park, pushing a stroller, but how about next time, when she's holding a knife or something else that can be used as a weapon? Second, she may be threatening him in ways other than physical: "If you ever leave me, I'll make sure you never see our child(ren?) again" or possibly even worse "If you ever leave me, I'll tell everyone you beat me, and send you to jail". In either of these case, reporting this incident could have gone a long way to ending the ongoing abuse, or preventing a tragedy later on.
 
288
1
In summary:

Yes, you did mess up. Learn from it and make a better choice if you find yourself in a similar situation again.
 

I like Serena

Homework Helper
6,553
176
I believe that if your gut feeling tells you there's no danger, most likely there isn't any danger.
But if your gut feeling tells you to pay attention and that something is really wrong, that you should act on it.

You should still be careful with preconceptions, since they may bring you to ignore your gut feeling.

I dare to assume that in this particular instance, the actual danger was non-existent, and that any action would only have had a counterproductive effect.
 
Last edited:

DaveC426913

Gold Member
18,194
1,802
Maybe it's just from my perspective. Almost all women are shorter than me and a lot weaker than me. I've never had a woman who hits me when she's angry, so I guess I wouldn't know how it feels to have a woman I love abuse me. But what I was getting at was that the situations are different. Women who are in relationships like that sometimes feel stuck, or afraid to leave because she's intimidated by the man. So the beatings she takes are a lot more damaging and can be ongoing because she's afraid to leave him, or doesn't have anywhere else to go. Usually a man isn't going to be intimidated by a woman, and usually a man will have somewhere else to go because he will most likely have a job so he can afford to leave.
I know I'm generalizing, and I'm sure there are exceptions, but the vast majority of the time, the danger of an abusive woman doesn't hold a candle to the danger of an abusive man.
You're still missing the point. It has nothing to do with what organs that hang between the legs of the people involved. It has to do with aggressor and defender.

If the aggressor is in danger of overwhelming the defender then there's a problem. If the defender does not feel the situation is out of hand, then there's no call to interfere.

Gender is irrelevant.
 

DaveC426913

Gold Member
18,194
1,802
The fact that this discussion has gone on this long is disgusting.

Abuse is abuse. Period. Doesn't matter who's abusing whom.
This is true. But it is not necessarily relevant. You must first show that this was indeed abuse. The general consensus we have here - based on observance of the only other person in the exchange who is qualified to judge - is that it was not.

To all others saying something to the effect of "you shouldn't report it, because he wasn't in any real danger", it's people like YOU that are the reason female on male abuse is under-reported in the first place.
Straw man. Deal with the case presented, not with a hypothetical.

LisaB did what she thought was right given the individual circumstances presented. You can't have a blanket response to ALL scenarios.

First off, if a person is abusive once, they're likely abusive at other times as well. She may not be a credible danger in the park, pushing a stroller, but how about next time, when she's holding a knife or something else that can be used as a weapon?
Ridiculous over-generalization and reductio ad absurdum.

Second, she may be threatening him in ways other than physical: "If you ever leave me, I'll make sure you never see our child(ren?) again" or possibly even worse "If you ever leave me, I'll tell everyone you beat me, and send you to jail". In either of these case, reporting this incident could have gone a long way to ending the ongoing abuse, or preventing a tragedy later on.
Again. You have no business making assumptions about what you don't see. You might as well skip ahead and just assume she's a terrorist.

Look, we're all aware that abuse is a big issue. But knee-jerking with absolutes is not an appropriate reaction.
Crime is a big issue but we don't have capital punishment for pickpockets. Black and white attitudes would destroy the world we live in.
 
Last edited:
288
1
You must first show that this was indeed abuse.
Sorry, I thought she tried to kick him, after screaming at him? My mistake... Oh wait! That's exactly what the original post said! If you really don't think verbal and attempted physical abuse is abuse, then you're part of the problem.
Straw man. Deal with the case presented, not with a hypothetical.
I did deal with the case presented. I clearly stated that she didn't know, and couldn't possibly know, any other circumstances in the situation, and that that is specifically why it should have been reported.
LisaB did what she thought was right given the individual circumstances presented. You can't have a blanket response to ALL scenarios.
I didn't suggest a blanket response to ALL scenarios. Just a sensible response to observed domestic violence.
Ridiculous over-generalization and reductio ad absurdum.

Again. You have no business making assumptions about what you don't see.
Assuming a person acting violently is a violent person is an over-generalization now? You are correct that she may not be a generally violent person, but again lisab had no way of knowing this.
You might as well skip ahead and just assume she's a terrorist.
Or to take your stance: we can watch someone try and fail to blow up a building, and decide that they're not a terrorist...
Crime is a big issue but we don't have capital punishment for pickpockets. Black and white attitudes would destroy the world we live in.
Now who's making men of straw? I merely pointed out that she should have reported it, not that the woman be beheaded, or even face any penalties at all. Just that it be reported so it can be invetigated.
 
Last edited:
542
44
You're still missing the point. It has nothing to do with what organs that hang between the legs of the people involved. It has to do with aggressor and defender.

If the aggressor is in danger of overwhelming the defender then there's a problem. If the defender does not feel the situation is out of hand, then there's no call to interfere.

Gender is irrelevant.
If gender was irrelevant, there would be no correlation between gender and which person is likely to get overwhelmed. Is a man more likely to physically overwhelm a woman, vice versa, or are we to pretend that we can't know this answer simply to avoid stereotypes?
 

Drakkith

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
2018 Award
20,574
4,303
Sorry, I thought she tried to kick him, after screaming at him? My mistake... Oh wait! That's exactly what the original post said! If you really don't think verbal and attempted physical abuse is abuse, then you're part of the problem.
No one here is arguing that abuse didn't take place, only that physical harm to the man was unlikely.

If gender was irrelevant, there would be no correlation between gender and which person is likely to get overwhelmed. Is a man more likely to physically overwhelm a woman, vice versa, or are we to pretend that we can't know this answer simply to avoid stereotypes?
Gender is irrelevant in the sense that on a case to case basis, if the defender is capable of handling themselves, regardless of what gender they are, then there is no need to call for assistance. Obviously in the big picture gender is a significant factor because MOST men are larger and stronger than MOST women.
 

DaveC426913

Gold Member
18,194
1,802
Sorry, I thought she tried to kick him, after screaming at him? My mistake... Oh wait! That's exactly what the original post said! If you really don't think verbal and attempted physical abuse is abuse,
Regardless of what you or I think, the boyfriend didn't feel he was in any danger of abuse. That's what's relevant here.

I did deal with the case presented.
Good. Deal with the fact that the situation was not out of control.

I didn't suggest a blanket response to ALL scenarios. Just a sensible response
Which is exactly what she did.

Assuming a person acting violently is a violent person is an over-generalization now? You are correct that she may not be a generally violent person, but again lisab had no way of knowing this.
So we should assume she has a bomb strapped to herself under her jacket? You went from a hissy fit to knife. A bomb is not out of the realm of your possibility.

Or to take your stance: we can watch someone try and fail to blow up a building, and decide that they're not a terrorist...
See the difference there? You pretend like this woman is more guilty than she is. Sure, first it's a hissy fit, but then it's a knife, or blowing up a building.

This is a hysteria.
 
288
1
Regardless of what you or I think, the boyfriend didn't feel he was in any danger of abuse. That's what's relevant here.
First: You have no way of knowing how he felt. Second: He doesn't need to "feel he was in any danger of abuse" to be a victim of abuse. What lisab observed was abuse, plain and simple. Therefore he wasn't "in danger of abuse", he was experiencing it at the time.
Good. Deal with the fact that the situation was not out of control.
I would say screaming and kicking are "out of control". And that's an aside from the fact that control, or lack thereof, are completely irrelevant as to whether an abuse should be reported.
 
288
1
No one here is arguing that abuse didn't take place, only that physical harm to the man was unlikely.
The likelihood of physical harm is irrelevant. Why does everyone discount the psychological harm that comes from verbal abuse? To both the man and the child, in this situation.
 
288
1
See the difference there? You pretend like this woman is more guilty than she is. Sure, first it's a hissy fit, but then it's a knife, or blowing up a building.
No, you seem to automatically assume that she poses no threat to anyone. I'm not the one making any claims either way. The hypothetical situations were merely meant to illustrate situations that many in this thread discount out of hand. Situations that do happen.

My position is quite simple:

Abuse was observed, and should have been reported.

That's it. No further assumptions about danger, harm, or what is or is not "normal" behavior for this woman. Now, please stop trying to misrepresent hypotheticals that were used for illustration as me making claims about this particular woman's behavior.
 

DaveC426913

Gold Member
18,194
1,802
Abuse was observed, and should have been reported.
You have not demonstrated that it was abusive.

"He would evade, but he did not try to get away or strike back, or try to stop her. "

I'm not suggesting for a moment that it wasn't atrocious behavior; it was.

But police? What exactly could police do?
"Did she strike you?"
"No."
"Were you injured? Frightened? Cornered? Anything?"
"No."
"Was this just a hissy fit?"
"Yes."
 

AlephZero

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
6,953
291
But police? What exactly could police do?
Absolutely. An incident happened to me once in the UK (remember UK law and police procedures may be different). I was walking across a road in tne middle of town carrying a large heavy suitcase, using a crossing where I had right of way over cars. I realized there was a car driving towards me at about twice the speed limit, with no obvious sign of stopping.

I jumped back out of the way of the car, and in the process let go of the case which hit the car. I picked up the car and carried on walking. A few seconds later I was expectedly pushed to the ground from behind by a middle aged man who as "effing and blinding" and accusing me of deliberately attacking his car. I decided the best option was "play dead" rather than get up and provoke any more aggression. Shortly afterwards a woman (a passenger in the car I assume) turned up, called the man off, and they went back the the car and drove off. I got the car number. When I got up I discovered (or assumed) the guy's expensive wrist watch had come off when he pushed me, I had fallen on top of it, and the glass was cracked.

There happened to be a police station only about 200 yards away, so I went there to report the incident, and took the watch rather than leaving it in the street. As with DaveC's questions, the basic response was

Was anybody else involved apart from the two of you? No.
Do you have ID of any witnesses? No.
Have you suffered any personal injury or damage to property? No.
Do you know if you actually damaged the other guy's car or not? No.
Are you sure the watch belonged to the other guy? No.

Conclusion and advice: Throw the watch in the trash can on your way out, and forget about the whole thing. We aren't going to waste our time on paperwork just in case the other guy makes a complaint. If he doesn't know who you are, that's his problem not ours...
 

Related Threads for: I Think I Messed Up! What Would You Do?

Replies
34
Views
6K
  • Posted
Replies
22
Views
3K
  • Posted
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
124
Views
13K
  • Posted
2 3
Replies
70
Views
9K
  • Posted
2
Replies
25
Views
2K
  • Posted
2
Replies
32
Views
4K
  • Poll
  • Posted
2
Replies
28
Views
2K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Hot Threads

Top