WOMEN
06/10/2014 04:38 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2014

Washington Post Column Says Women Should 'Stop Taking Lovers' To Prevent Violence

According to a Washington Post op-ed, there's a simple way to end violence against women -- have all those single ladies get married and stop "taking lovers."

A June 10 column by W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of The National Marriage Project and law professor Robin Fretwell Wilson presents data claiming that women and children are much safer in households where a woman is married to her children's biological father, featuring some incredibly tone-deaf commentary on how women can make themselves safer in their relationships:

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.

The original headline of the piece placed the onus on women and mothers in domestic violence situations, calling for them to "stop taking lovers" and marry their "baby daddies":

The authors claim that marriage "tames" men, the implication being that because men are less likely to abuse their biological children, women should lock down that engagement ring. "Marriage seems to cause men to behave better," Wilcox and Fretwell Wilson write. "That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners -- factors that minimize the risk of violence." Apparently, the responsibility rests on women to marry men and prevent them from becoming violent.

The piece acknowledges that there are married men and biological fathers who do abuse their wives and children, but focuses on how unmarried women can -- and should -- take themselves out of danger by getting hitched. The authors do not investigate other factors that may make never-married women more likely to be victims of domestic violence, like poverty and fear of homelessness. Instead, they tie women's safety to marriage without mentioning other economic or social factors.

Adam Kushner, the Editor of WaPo's Post Everything section, where the piece appeared, posted a series of tweets defending the article's position and acknowledging his own role in running the egregious original headline.

The piece closes by suggesting that anyone who grew up without married parents should feel less secure, and those who did should feel smug about the circumstances they probably had no control over. The authors write: "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."

We'd rather lift a glass to people and programs teaching people of all genders that domestic violence and sexual abuse are never excusable -- and that victims are never to blame.

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