There’s more to domestic violence than kicks and blows. Experts distinguish three types, says Spa (June 25): physical, psychological and economic. Conventional wisdom sees the husband as perpetrator and the wife as victim. Increasingly, the magazine finds, it’s the opposite.
Police statistics flesh out the tale. In 2014, nationwide, 181 cases of husbands suffering domestic violence came to police attention. In 2018, 1571 did – an 8-fold increase.
Fresh in the public memory is the 2018 murder of a wife by her husband, aided and abetted by his mother. The Chiba District court delivered its verdict earlier this month, finding both guilty, sentencing the husband to 15 years in prison, and his mother to 7.
The court evidently didn’t consider the domestic violence allegedly suffered by the husband exculpatory. As Spa tells it, the wife was a high-level banker with a cleanliness obsession. Nothing was clean enough for her. She saw dirt everywhere – on plates, doorknobs, furniture. It was all her husband’s fault. He was the one who soiled everything. He bent over backwards to humor her and meet her standards – in vain. Her verbal abuse turned physical, until at last, buckling under the stress, he struck back.
The circumstances are extreme, but the salient issue for Spa – the wife’s violence against her husband – is by no means as shocking as it once would have been. Lawyer Konin Mori, who specializes in domestic conflict, figures about 40 percent of domestic violence nowadays is wife-inflicted – most of it non-physical, but abusive all the same.
Mori cites the example of a high-income couple in which the wife, controlling as is customary the household budget, restricts her husband’s spending money to 1,000 yen a day, while she spends a million yen a month on shopping and amusement. The husband consulted Mori on possible divorce proceedings. Don’t rush into it, Mori warned him. Family court would probably award the wife half his earnings, plus child support, with her winning custody of the children almost as a matter of course. The latter point is not as unreasonable as it may seem, Mori explains. Many wives who abuse their husbands are, as mothers, gentle and capable.
Another husband who thought of divorce as his only way out is a 39-year-old father of a three-year-old girl. The couple has been married four years. From the start, as Spa tells it, the wife lorded it over her husband because the apartment they lived in was owned by her parents. She was at home in it. He never was. She too, it seems, is obsessed with cleanliness. Smoking and drinking were dirty – her husband must not enter the house within an hour of his last drink or cigarette. She turned their daughter against him. “Daddy’s dirty!” she’d cry; “Don’t touch him!”
Well, divorce, then. But it was not to be. Advised what he would be up against in court, he gave up, and is adjusting as best he can. We can only hope it doesn’t end up as the Chiba court case did.© Japan Today