In yet another installment of outrageous news that seems like it should be fake, but is all too real, a popular Russian newspaper — the week before Vladimir Putin signed an amendment decriminalizing domestic violence — ran a column that tells women to be happy about being “smacked around by their husbands.”
The shocking column, titled “From Evil Men Boys Born,” was written by Yaroslav Korobatov and published in the science section of Komsomolskaya Pravda, a longtime tabloid newspaper. Korobatov’s column based its claims on the work of a controversial evolutionary psychologist named Satoshi Kanazawa.
“For years, women who have been smacked around by their husbands have found solace in the rather hypocritical proverb, ‘If he beats you, it means he loves you!’’ However, a new scientific study is giving women with irascible husbands new grounds to be proud of their bruises, insofar as women who are beaten, biologists confirm, have a valuable advantage: They’re more likely to give birth to boys!”
Parts of that incendiary and offensive passage have since been removed from the online version of the column by the paper since it was first published on February 1. A web archive capture of the article as it appeared on the Komsomolskaya Pravda website on the day it was published shows the piece originally contained the “proud of their bruises” language. This Google translation also shows that the language that originally existed in the first published draft of the article translates from Russian to English in the form that it’s widely being reported. The current form of the piece no longer contains that passage and includes a disclaimer, saying, “Some readers will make a ridiculous conclusion: If you want to [sic] baby boy — let’s pummel his wife!” The passage goes on to warn that the paper is “strongly opposed to any kind of battering” because doing so is “immoral.”
But that certainly wasn’t in the original version of the article, which just began making news and stirring up outrage in Western media late Wednesday into Thursday. According to The Independent, Korobatov drew his conclusions from two studies published by Kanazawa: “Violent men have more sons” and “Why do some battered women stay?” Korobatov also relied on some outdated thinking that suggests parents should value having a boy over welcoming a baby girl to bolster his point.
Putin’s decriminalizing of domestic violence has been roundly criticized by world leaders and rights groups. Amnesty International denounced the legislation for being “abusive” and called for it to be abandoned. “While the Russian government claims this reform will ‘protect family values,’ in reality it rides roughshod over women’s rights,” Amnesty International said in a statement. “It is a sickening attempt to further trivialize domestic violence, an issue the Russian government has long attempted to downplay.”