Washington Post Thinks Marriage Would “End Violence Against Women”

The Washington Post is having a very, very bad week when it comes to misogyny. First, it published a column by conservative George Will claiming that not only is there not an epidemic of sexual assault on campuses across the country, but that those who allege they were assaulted are likely trying to cash in on the “coveted status” that “victimhood” allots them.

As if that weren’t bad enough, now the news outlet has published a new column, this time explaining how to reduce violence against women. The master plan? Marry them off.

“One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married,” reads the original headline, with a subhead, “The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer hitched to their baby daddies.” The backlash online against the article was instantaneous, causing the Washington Post to rewrite the headline, only, and leave the rest of the message intact.

Even with a revamped headline (“One way to end violence against women? Married dads. The data show #yesallwomen would be safer with fewer boyfriends around their kids.”) the message remained unaltered. Violence against women, according to the columnists, is a result of women remaining single, versus entering into a marriage contract.

“[O]bscured in the public conversation about the violence against women is the fact that some other men are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence: married biological fathers,” argues co-authors W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson. “The bottom line is this: Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.”

“So, women: if you’re the product of a good marriage, and feel safer as a consequence, lift a glass to dear old dad this Sunday,” they conclude.

The multitude of studies cherry picked by the article’s authors are problematic on their own. After all, when it comes to violence against women, 30 percent of it globally is instigated by an intimate partner, and 38 percent of all women murdered are murdered by an intimate partner.

It’s not surprising that the authors would be inclined to play with statistics to try to promote their “pro-marriage” viewpoint. Wilcox has already been accused of skewing data to help support legal arguments for same-sex marriage cases. Publishing in one of the country’s most prestigious news outlets now gives their version of “facts” an air of authenticity they could not get by continuing to preach to the religious right family values crowd.

Also sadly unsurprising is the introduction of yet another article full of theories of how women and girls can protect themselves from violence, rather than creating some true solutions to stopping abusers from committing acts of violence and assault, both physical and sexual. Advising women and girls to marry as a means of protecting themselves against abuse doesn’t actually fix the problem, as domestic violence statistics show, and even if it did, promoting it as a solution moves our talking points back to a realm where it is up to male partners to offer protection from other men’s attacks.

Marriage is not an answer to the crisis of violence against women. Not drinking in public is not a solution to avoiding sexual assault from strangers or acquaintances. We do not need to arm ourselves with guns or protective underwear.

What we do need is a real campaign that says women are not property, violence against women and girls will not be tolerated, victims’ accounts will be taken seriously and not dismissed as “status seekers” and judges will not give light sentences or no sentences because of an assailant’s background, history, position or wealth.

What we also need is a media that will confront these issues, rather than pander to those who diminish them. We must keep the media just as accountable for its role in perpetuating this crisis as we do the assailants committing the crimes.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven10 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S10 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Roberto M.
Past Member 3 years ago

Spot on Carol L.!!! Great comment.

Carole L.
Carole L3 years ago

“James W
“Sometimes the violence starts with mom, I saw mine break her hand hitting my brother. The sooner we deal with child abuse, the closer we'll be to a more peaceful loving world.”

“Mom was the toxic one in my family, and she made me the target child.”

doesn't sound like you were her only target. Some women are not cut out to be mothers. Which is why I oppose forced motherhood.

James W
“It's a documented fact that females rate males sexually by their potential for violence.”

indeed, care to provide such documentation.

you sound a bit sexually repressed. I stand by my original comment, that perhaps your mother resented being a mother. which is an excellent reason to support reproductive rights. don't you agree?

James W
“You tell me, that's your battle. What I can tell you is approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4. It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. More than 80% children under five are killed by their mothers. That percentage shoots to more than 90% in the first year and near 100% within the first 24hrs.”

another reason to support reproductive rights.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 3 years ago

I give JAMES the info he demands & he buggers off!

Cathy Koch
Cathy Koch3 years ago

Um, what?

Regus S.
Regus Slantei3 years ago

Marc P. -- I think ye doth protest a bit too much. Very defensive.

I am sorry, but (1) there was little evidence that it was "adults" that I was responding to; (2) it can be easily argued that the term "neo-tard" is an accurate socio-political description of some people; and (3) I do think it is fair to label those who play the blame-the-victim game in our criminal justice system as "socially retarded". You certainly, in your recent responses to me and others, have not presented any DOCUMENTED proof to refute the notion that we should protect and support alleged victims and let the evidence and the criminal justice system sort out the issues. I do not think it is I who lacks the "perspicacity" to grasp the issues at hand......after all it is you and Will who are the ones making excuses for lame attempts to blame the victim until the perpetrator is found guilty.


anne r.
Tom R3 years ago

Who wrote this article. Misinformed, dont think it will work or end domestic violence

Linda McKellar
Past Member 3 years ago

Typo- Intimate partner deaths were 14% of homicides. Left out the 14%.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 3 years ago

JAMES - Got the stats you wanted SO badly.

From the NY Office for Prevention of Domestic Abuse:

1/3 of female murder victims age 13 and older were killed by intimate partners.
IPV (Intimate partner homicides) were the LEADING cause of homicides and injury related deaths during pregnancy. Intimate partner deaths of both sexes are attributed to intimate partner homicide. The death rate is over twice as many women as men. Male deaths are frequently attributed to self defense during violence.