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June 10, 2014 3:11 PM Protect Yourselves

By Ed Kilgore

If you’re on Twitter, you probably saw an outburst of righteous indignation over a WaPo column by two academics (one associated with AEI) that bore this provocative headline: “One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married.”

The bulk of the column involved double-loaded research predictably showing that women in stable two-parent households were less likely to be victims of reported acts of violence by men. But it also included the usual crap about marriage being a civilizer of inherently beastly men, and rounded back to the argument that marriage is the great protector for women:

Marriage is no panacea when it comes to male violence. But married fathers are much less likely to resort to violence than men who are not tied by marriage or biology to a female. And, most fundamentally, for the girls and women in their lives, married fathers provide direct protection by watching out for the physical welfare of their wives and daughters, and indirect protection by increasing the odds they live in safe homes and are not exposed to men likely to pose a threat.

So never mind better enforcement of better laws prohibiting violence against women, and let’s don’t pause to lecture men about their beastly behavior (we just can’t help ourselves, it seems). Instead the column urges the potential victims of violence to protect themselves by marrying the brutes. That this happens to be the eternal and patriarchal message of conservative ideology isn’t noted, so the residual effect is to provide a social-science patina to the usual stop-being-sluts-and-settle-down-with-a-servant-leader message of the Cultural Right.

Given the headline, I’d say WaPo was engaging in some combination of forced even-handedness and trolling its readership. That makes it all the more annoying.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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