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If God was a "she" not a "he", a new Church of England report reckons blokes might be less inclined to beat up women. Ros Dodd wonders whether they've been at the communion wine.

Domestic violence isn't funny, obviously, but I wanted to laugh when I read press reports this week about the Church of England calling for ‘radical corrections' to traditional teachings, questioning the way God is called ‘He' and ‘Lord' and the way brides can promise to ‘obey' their groom in the marriage ceremony.

The ‘masculine imagery' in the Bible, it is suggested in a CofE document entitled Responding to Domestic Abuse, could provoke men to beat up their wives.

I was tempted to mirth - albeit of a dark kind - when I read this, because it struck me as totally ridiculous that men might use this as justification to aim a punch at their partner's head.

Men do violence - with or without an ‘excuse'. Open any newspaper on any day of the week and you'll read horror stories aplenty of men inflicting physical violence on other human beings, mostly women. Take Charles Roberts, for example. The 32-year-old married father-of-three didn't, it seems, beat up his wife, but this week he went on a murderous rampage, gunning down young girls at an Amish school in Pennsylvania (he let the boys go) before blowing his own brains out.

It is being reported that he was ‘consumed with guilt' for having molested two young female relations 20 years ago and had experienced dreams of wanting to do it again. He didn't do it again, however. Instead, he lined up these terrified girls in their schoolroom, tied them together and then shot them, execution-style, through the head. So much for being riddled with guilt!

It would be easy to hate men when you hear of such atrocities, and sometimes I do. Men are animals - when they're not thinking through their nether regions they're thinking through their inbred aggression. Women can be vile, manipulative cows, but they're rarely violent. Men, it seems, are born with a predilection to bare-knuckle aggression.

As the mother of a young daughter, I clearly see the difference in the sexes when I take her to playgroups. The girls play quietly and companionably, while the boys race around madly, colliding their toy cars into each other and hollering the place down when they don't feel they're getting enough attention.

A national newspaper recently gave away a DVD of the seminal film Lord of the Flies, which shows how quickly civilisation falls apart and how rapidly savagery takes over. The characters are all male.

The sad fact is that men are genetically predisposed to violence - we've all heard it said that if women ruled the world there would be no wars, and that's largely true I would contend - and whether God is depicted as a ‘he' or a ‘she' makes no odds whatsoever.

Men don't need an excuse - and certainly not a ‘religious' one - to polish their knuckle-dusters; they'll continue to beat up their wives as long as there are women vulnerable enough in today's ‘equal' society to bear the brunt of male brutality.


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