Riding the Donkey Backwards: Men as the Unacceptable Victims of Marital Violence

MALCOLM J. GEORGE, Department of Physiology, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, United Kingdom. The Journal of Men's Studies, Volume 3, Number 2, November 1994, p. 137-159

In post-Renaissance France and England, society ridiculed and humiliated husbands thought to be battered and/or dominated by their wives (Steinmetz, 1977-78). In France, for instance, a “battered” husband was trotted around town riding a donkey backwards while holding its tail. In England, “abused” husbands were strapped to a cart and paraded around town, all the while subjected to the people’s derision and contempt. Such “treatments” for these husbands arose out of the patriarchal ethos where a husband was expected to dominate his wife, making her, if the occasion arose, the proper target for necessary marital chastisement; not the other way around (Dobash & Dobash, 1979).