Indeed, there are men in the film behave themselves more aggressively than women in the present, as in the past. Women are more likely to make an argument, but they act emotionally using speeches and gestures as Mrs. Lavin and Sheilah do. Even in the last scene, when Mrs. Lavin is afraid for her children being assaulted by her husband she expresses her rage using emotionally hard words and gestures to come over the situation.
According to the Neutralization Theory, when a person feels a guilt he/she’s likely to use some tactics to justify him/her in the eye of the law and to not feel cheap. The goal is to be excused by a society and get a lenient punishment. The reaction to the accusation can take a form of a denied responsibility when a person says he/she isn’t the one who’s responsible; or denied damage, saying there’s no harm done; or denied victim status, saying victim deserves its fortune; or appealing to the “greater good”; or other forms.
There’s a variety of examples in the film when accused persons behave correspondingly to the Neutralization Theory. Mostly, they are people partly responsible for the crime committed to the boys of the St. Vincent. When the boys’ guardian is asked, how could he charge one of the brothers (so one of the abuses in the case) - Mr. Lavin, - to investigate the case, the guardian says those days it seemed to him like a right thing to do.