As Russia moves to decriminalize certain forms of domestic violence, one of the country’s leading newspapers is claiming that hitting women actually has a benefit, citing the research of a discredited scientist.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, a leading tabloid read by millions in Russia, published an article Tuesday in its science section with the title, “From evil men, boys born.” In the column, the author claims that abuse leads to an increased likelihood of conceiving males.
“Recent scientific studies show the wives of angry men have a reason to be proud of their bruises. Biologists say that beaten-up women have a valuable advantage: they more often give birth to boys!” the story read, per The Guardian.
The scientific proof for the article was the research of Satoshi Kanazawa, a evolutionary psychologist based at the London School of Economics. Kanazawa has incited controversy in the past, claiming that many Africans suffer from poverty because they have low IQs and that African women are objectively less attractive than others, per the Moscow Times. He was disciplined by the university, who prevented him lecturing and writing for certain journals, and criticized by dozens other scientists in his field who said his conclusions were based on “poor logic, lack of nuance and blatant disregard for the totality of the evidence,” per the Huffington Post.
The article cites Kanazawa’s 2005 claim that women may have evolved evolutionarily to “tolerate a certain level of non-lethal violence in their mates” in order to produce more sons, per Metro. It also touts the idea of the “returning soldier phenomenon,” which holds that men returning from combat in World War II fathered more sons because they had pent-up hormones they released while having sex.
There is no scientifically-accepted evidence that enduring abuse makes a woman more likely to bear a son. But in Russia, 600,000 women suffer from domestic violence each year, and 14,000 die from it, according to BBC News.
Resources for abused women are scant, and a new law signed by President Vladimir Putin limits legal repercussions. Despite intense international opposition, Putin and the Russian government passed a law that makes violence within families no longer a criminal offense. Instead, offenders will only have to pay a fine, per The Guardian. And according to the Washington Post, there is no specific legislation for domestic violence, forcing those who are abused to use battery and assault charges.