The article by Shwayder addresses the issue of domestic abuse as one of the key concerns of contemporary societal concerns. However, while the problem of abuse is often explored in-depth as a serious issue among heterosexual couples, it is often overlooked when analyzing same-sex relationships, which becomes the exigency of the essay (Shwayder). Therefore, the lack of awareness about the levels of violence in same-sex relationships, as well as the absence of any preventive measures for handling the issue can be regarded as the rhetorical situation that Shwayder sets in her article.
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According to Shwayder, the current framing of the abuse issue affects the LGBT community extensively since it sets a paradigm for abusive relationships and defines gender roles in it very rigidly. Particularly, women are typically portrayed as victims, whereas men are seen as their abusive partners. While the identified paradigm can be observed in most cases, it still needs to be revisited since it leads to the creation of harmful stereotypes, thus, making one overlook the issue of abuse in same-sex relationships. The combination of the factors mentioned above serves as the impetus for Shwayder to write about the issue of violence in same-sex couples.
Since Shwayder endeavors at dissuading the myths associated with couple violence, as well as homosexual and heterosexual relationships, it will be reasonable to assume that same-sex partners can be considered the primary audience. It could be argued that the people that are facing the issue of partner violence do not need to be explained about the situation in which they have found themselves, yet some people may fail to recognize the instance of abuse. Because of low self-esteem or any other psychological factor that can inhibit one’s understanding of the issue, there is a heightened threat of subjecting oneself to painful and damaging relationships (O’Leary et al. 280). The article, in turn, sheds light on the problem, thus, providing people with the information that will help them identify abuse at the earliest stages of its progress and manage the issue appropriately.
The goal of Shwayder’s article is to point out the injustice that the current representation of partner abuse and violence in couples does to people engaged in same-sex relationships. Although specific strategies must be designed to manage the issue and provide victims of violence with required support and assistance, it is also imperative to dissuade people that see couple violence as a threat only to heterosexual communities. Shwayder faces several constraints when exploring the problem of abuse; particularly, not belonging to the homosexual community, the author may fail to address certain factors that define the presence of partner violence in the LGBT community.
By drawing readers’ attention to the fact that partner abuse is also an important issue in homosexual relationships, Shwayder contributes to locating a solution to one of the most difficult concerns to address in the modern society. One might claim that Shwayder has made only a tiny step in the direction of acknowledging the problem’s existence. However, by voicing her concern and drawing public attention to the subject matter, Shwayder has built the foundation for designing elaborate strategies for preventing and handling partner violence in homosexual couples.
When considering the strengths of the stasis points that the author makes, one must mention that Shwayder combines definitional and procedural ones in her analysis. Shwayder gives enough details to provide profound scrutiny of the issue and make the problem evident even to the people that do not identify themselves as members of the LGBT community. As a result, the basis for raising mass awareness and calling for immediate action is built. The specified property of the analysis can be regarded as a definitional since it sheds light on the nature of the issue. At the same time, Shwayder gives clear instructions for how to handle the problem and reduce the levels of partner violence in the LGBT community, thus, subverting the myth about heterosexual relationships being the epicenter of partner violence. Consequently, there are reasons to view the argument as procedural as well.
The focus on the necessity to provide all people with equal rights and, therefore, met the needs of all citizens respectively no matter what their age, gender, or ethnicity is, can be considered the ethos of the article. Shwayder states explicitly on numerous occasions in her article that the safety of all citizens, including the members of the gay community, was the key reason for the article to be written in the first place. For instance, Shwayder says that the mere act of one of the partners stating that they did not mean for the abuse to occur, i.e., not providing any apology, as than acceptable reason for continuing their relationship: “That was his way of apologizing to me,” Chris scoffed. The relationship lasted nine months but continued to affect Chris for years after it ended” (Shwayder). Thus, Shwayder emphasizes the emotional aspect of the identified deviation in abusive relationships between homosexual people, which makes it easier for straight readers to relate to the situation and recognize the necessity to take action.
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Shwayder’s ability to structure her argument to convey the essential message about the need to address the issue of same-sex violence should also be recognized. The logic of the statements made by the author is nearly impeccable. For instance, she places controversial information that is most likely to attract readers’ attention in the spotlight. As a result, the crucial information is noticed immediately, and target audiences become immediately aware of the problem of violence between same-sex partners. Furthermore, the structure of the article allows subverting another myth that serves as a massive block on the way to handling conflicts associated with gender equality. For instance, Shwayder makes a very legitimate statement regarding the possibility of gender roles being swapped and men becoming victims of violence in relationships. Using an elaborate vocabulary to deliver the message that abuse can thrive in any relationship once it trickles into it, Shwayder makes her argument very convincing.
However, Shwayder also appeals to the emotions of her readers when introducing her key points for discussion. For example, she describes the trials and tribulations through which LGBT representatives have to go to be treated equally (Shwayder). Furthermore, the author pointed out the emotional context in which victims of abuse make their decisions, therefore, outlining the emotional nature of the problem: “One of David’s main methods of control was evoking pity and threatening to harm himself” (Shwayder). The specified appeal to the readers’ emotional side leads to a better representation of not only the concern but also LGBT people in general. The pathos of the article subverts stereotypical portrayals of homosexual people and, as a result, reduces the demonization thereof.
Positions and Ideas
Although Shwayder names same-sex relationships as the topic of the article, she also delves into the dilemmas that heterosexual couples have. Furthermore, gender-related concerns, in general, are explored. As a result, Shwayder incorporates arrange of ideas about equality, love, cooperation, threats of violence, ways for victims to identify and handle violence, etc.
The article’s organization is well-thought-out. In her thesis statement, Shwayder makes it explicitly that same-sex violence is underrepresented in modern media due to stereotypes. Each of the supporting paragraphs, in turn, confirms the identified assumption. Shwayder’s decision to split the article into segments by placing key sentences as subheadings might seem somewhat manipulative since most of these highlighted statements appeal to emotions rather than logic, yet it helps organize the paper better.
Much to her credit, Shwayder supports each of her statements with extensive evidence. By describing the experiences of victims of violence in the LGBT community, Shwayder adds weight to her argument. Furthermore, the article features several stories of homosexual people that have been or still are the victims of violence from their partners. Each paragraph contains an implicit link to the topic.
Finally, the issue of tone needs to be listed among the essential elements that make the article especially powerful. Shwayder purposefully avoids using any metaphors, preferring to use direct definitions instead. The result is truly stupendous since the problem of same-sex violence is represented to target audiences unvarnished. Thus, the chances of same-sex abuse being discussed and addressed in modern society are increased.
O’Leary, Daniel K., et al. The Couples Psychotherapy Treatment Planner, with DSM-5 Updates. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Shwayder, Maya. “A Same-Sex Domestic Violence Epidemic Is Silent.” The Atlantic, 2013, Web.