Today’s example of Duluth working as designed comes courtesy of the Sonoma News. The focus of the story is on police brutality, but it is an excellent example of how the Duluth model primes law enforcement to see men as abusers even when they are being abused.
In this case the wife had been drinking and became belligerent when her husband didn’t notice her haircut. The husband retreated into another room to avoid his belligerent wife, which enraged and made her even louder. Neighbors then called the police who came in primed to arrest the victim, since the Duluth model teaches that domestic violence is something men do to women:
According to Del Valle’s formal claim, he had gotten into an argument with his wife, who had been drinking, after he failed to notice her new haircut.
He retreated to another room as her yelling grew louder and neighbors called deputies, who arrived about 10:30 p.m.
They forced their way through the front door when Del Valle’s wife would not let them in and kicked down Del Valle’s bedroom door when he refused to open it.
The husband made things worse in this case by refusing to open the bedroom door so the police could arrest him. It isn’t right that they had come to arrest him for the crime of not noticing his wife’s new haircut, but he should have complied once the police were on the scene.
Del Valle was not able to record the entire encounter in which he was stunned two to three more times and suffered up to 15 baton blows, causing neurological damage and a separated shoulder, Schwaiger said.
Switch the sexes and you have the classic abusive husband that fills popular imagination. He’s drunk and yelling at her for some minor infraction (perhaps dinner wasn’t ready when he got home). She retreats into another room, enraging her drunken husband who gets even louder. The neighbors hear his yelling and call the police.
In that situation, the police would have instantly arrested the drunken husband after knocking down the front door. They would not have pushed past the belligerent husband in order to break down the bedroom door and arrest his wife. But under the Duluth model, it is the man who must be arrested either way.