The Washington Post has just published an op-ed entitled "One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married" (the paper later changed the headline). To that, I say: Washington Post: Stop Posting Bullshit And Set Yourself On Fire.
Less than 48 hours after posting an atrocious column by George Will, wherein the venerable conservative thought leader who has made a career out of being smugly wrong about everything called being a rape victim a "coveted status" and then dismissed the college sexual assault crisis as just another made up thing in Obama's America (TM), the Washington Post has outdone itself with a column by conservative think tank denizens W. Bradford Wilcox, (the director of the National Marriage Project) and Robin Fretwell Wilson (who endlessly beat the BUT RELIGIOUS LIBERTY!!! drum after New York legalized gay marriage in 2011) that claims — seriously, as far as I can gather — that the best way for women to avoid violence is to stop slutting around with "baby daddies" and get married. It's truly breathtaking in its idiocy. I'm sorry for subjecting all of you to this, but, here we go.
This social media outpouring makes it clear that some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls. But obscured 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.
If you were playing a NOT ALL MEN drinking game with this column, your first shot comes in the second paragraph, and by the end, you'd be dead of alcohol poisoning and despair.
Wilson and Wilcox (who I'll be henceforth referring to as SonCox to both eliminate the redundancy of the Wil and convey my disdain for this piece of piping hot garbage) are asserting that yes, some men hurt women, sure. But some men are not bad. Once women get married, Bad Men who might hurt them transform magically into Good Men who will protect them from Bad (unmarried) Men who prowl around looking for kids and ladies to rape. That's because, they argue, men care more about their female partners and kids after they get married because ~*marriage*~.
The pair also seems to believe that in addition to magically turning Bad Men into Good Men, marriage covers women with a Mithril-like cloak of protection that thwarts other (Bad) men who are out there victimizing single ladies left and right. Because there's a statistical relationship between being married and not being crime victims, therefore the aura of a husband must be the root cause of this statistical association.
Women are also safer in married homes. As the figure above (derived from a recent Department of Justice study) indicates, married women are the least likely to be victimized by an intimate partner. They are also less likely to be the victims of violent crime in general. Overall, another U.S. Department of Justice study found that never-married women are nearly four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, compared to married women. The bottom line is that married women are less likely to be raped, assaulted, or robbed than their unmarried peers.
They also argue that married women are more likely to live in better neighborhoods, that kids are less likely to be abused and are more likely to have engaged fathers.
It doesn't take a pair of conservative think tank darlings wearing their most blindery, agenda-driven thinking caps on so tightly that it cuts off all circulation to their brains to realize that attributing all of these things to marriage is either stupid or deliberately obtuse. Everything that SonCox has dubiously attributed to marriage is actually — and solidly — associated with wealth.
Wealthy people are more likely to marry, and they're more likely to wait until after they're married to have children. They're also more likely to live in the sort neighborhood where random street crime doesn't happen as often due to the fact that it's full of rich people. The children of wealthy couples are more likely to attend better schools in better neighborhoods full of other wealthy people who paid a premium to live in areas without a violent crime problem. And non-rage stroke-inducing scholarly works have concluded that the key to reducing violence against women is empower them economically, not get them married off. Victims are much more likely to stay with a partner who physically harms them or their children if they feel like they lack the resources to survive without him.
In the authors' defense, writers often have no control over the headlines run with their pieces, and Wilson indicated via Twitter that the phrase "baby daddy" wasn't his, nor was the atrocious original headline something he concocted (which is another reason that the Washington Post should consider setting itself on fire). But here's something he is responsible for: a reference to two shitty films — "The Burning Bed" and "Safe Haven" — as glibly acknowledged evidence that sometimes abuse occurs in the contexts of marriages. But, you know,
The piece ends with a clumsy, dizzily dipshitty tie-in to Father's Day.
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.
Nah, I'm more in the mood to lift my middle finger right now.