What to Know About Patriarchal Abuse?

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Though times have changed and society has seemingly progressed in a better direction, men and women are still far from equal. Women continue to battle to achieve even footing in the various arenas of life.

There is something known as patriarchal abuse that continues to be prevalent to this day. Knowing more about what it entails is important to making real change.

What is the Patriarchy?

At its heart, patriarchy is a system of beliefs, values, or relationships, embedded in social, economic, and political systems, with a structure of inequality between men and women. Men are thought of as smarter, stronger, and more powerful, and naturally, the ones who should be in charge.

Men in a patriarchy have command over others with dominance over women in particular. The patriarchy limits the rights of women, in particular, leading to a manifestation of abuse that has become all too prevalent.

Overt hardcore patriarchy can manifest itself in a number of misogynistic ways. This can be through physical or verbal aggression, demeaning behavior, and the enforcement of male power. It is the belief that women are simply inferior to men in every way.

Patriarchy and Abuse

Patriarchy is taught as a healthy and holy system, extending back hundreds of years. It has religious connotations especially, with many of faith believing that the men in life and relationships are superior and that their desires and needs are more important than those of women.

It is a natural system of abuse because it puts power into the hands of men, removing control over women in the process. Not everyone in a patriarchy is abusive, but the system itself is abusive in nature. These behaviors are oftentimes influenced by secular society and church culture, with both men and women being tricked into believing that patriarchy has been designed by God.

When the patriarchy is enforced, the gifts and potential of women are wasted. Women’s deciding power is removed, and that, in and of itself, is abuse. Patriarchal abuse covers a lot of ground and is not exclusively limited to physical or emotional abuse.

Cons and Pros of Patriarchy Abuse

A lack of power and influence can make women far more vulnerable, particularly when it comes to other kinds of abuse. It causes women to be in vulnerable positions, which can become dangerous quickly.

Because patriarchy is the backdrop of history, it is not surprising in the least that statistically, women are abused at a far higher rate than men. It is also no wonder that the women’s rights movement gets more criticism than men who have suffered various types of abuse throughout history.

That is not to say that the patriarchy only hurts women. It actually hurts boys and men as well. In a patriarchy, there is a view of hyper-masculinity that must be followed. Those who don’t fit into the ideal expression of masculinity will often find themselves feeling displaced or even discriminated against.

These men and boys feel as if they will be seen as “less manly,” which will make them lower on the totem pole. There is a common viewpoint that men must be initiators, dominant, or aggressive, particularly towards women.

Examples of Abuse and the Patriarchy Intersecting

There are some glaring examples of when the patriarch perpetuates abuse. This is done either through direct encouragement, failing to address the issue, or perpetuating it in overt tones. There are thousands, if not millions, of examples of patriarchy resulting in abuse in some way, shape, or form.

The most prevalent example is a wife being forced to submit to her husband. There are many, particularly within the religious space, who feel as if the wife is meant to submit to her husband. There are religious reasons cited for this, which seemingly make the abuse of women more regular and understandable.

We also see examples of patriarchy in sexual abuse scandals throughout religion. Instead of acknowledging the problem, removing it, and aiming to repair the damage done, there is a need to cover it all up. Simply making changes to placate a public demand is a failure to accept that there is a problem.

There are countless examples of women being abused in many forms with society, not just men, punishing the abused instead of the abuser. This is a perpetuation of the patriarchy, demonizing the victim in many ways. It is what encourages victims in these situations to remain silent, which in turn leads to so many situations of abuse going unreported.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the abuse perpetuated by patriarchy. Though times are changing, that does not seem to be one of them, which begs the question of what can be done to implement change at a real level.


Abuse can come in many forms. Patriarchy has been perpetuated through customs and religion for generations, leading millions to believe that men are the superior sex that should be in control over the “lesser” sex.

This, in turn, tends to lead to abuse in its many forms. Finding a way to recognize patriarchy and make changes has been developing for years, though there are still many who find themselves falling into the traps of the system.


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