I was reading an article the other day that included comments concerning domestic violence made by recently appointed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Within it I noticed the following quote from an outspoken Australian feminist academic and female violence enabler by the name of Dr Michael Salter:
“In the context of intimate relationships we do see women use violence but it’s predominantly self-defence. We have to reaffirm everyone has the right to defend themselves against violence”.
Sadly this is by no means the first time I have come across a feminist proposing this shameful nonsense as a truthful reflection of reality.
The dominant theoretical framework employed by the Domestic Violence Industry is known as the Duluth Model. A paper attempting to defend this approach, included the following statement:
“The vast majority of women arrested in Duluth for domestic assaults are being battered by the person they assault. Most, but not all, are retaliating against an abusive spouse or are using violence in self-defense. The notion that battered women share responsibility for the violence used against them because of provocative words or actions is a dangerous form of collusion with men who batter (Mills 2003). We do not accept that these women should complete a batterers’ program. We do agree that there are a small number of women who use violence resulting in police action against their partners without themselves being abused. This is not a social problem requiring institutional organizing in the way that men’s violence against women is.” (Source)
A selection of sources that argue either in support of, or against, the notion that women only perpetrate domestic violence in self-defence and/or after experiencing sustained abuse:
‘Understanding domestic abusers’ (undated) from the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. See “responsive violence”. Sure women are violent but only in order to “attempt to forestall attack, defend self and others, or control the situation”
“Fact: Self defence is no more common a reason for female violence against a partner than it is for male violence against a partner
Sources: Follingstad, D. R., Wright, S., Lloyd, S., & Sebastian, J. A. (1991). Sex differences in motivations and effects in dating violence. Family Relations, 40(1), 51–57.
Medeiros, R. A., & Straus, M. A. (2006). Risk factors for physical violence between dating partners: Implications for gender-inclusive prevention and treatment of family violence. In J. C. Hamel & T. Nicholls (Eds.), Family approaches to domestic violence: A practitioners guide to gender-inclusive research and treatment (pp. 59–87). New York: Springer (also available at http://pubpages. unh.edu/∼mas2”
Firstly, what do I mean by the term “fudging” in the context of this blog post?
to present or deal with (something) in a vague or inadequate way, especially so as to conceal the truth or mislead and/or
to adjust or manipulate (facts or figures) so as to present a desired picture.
So how do feminists and their allies, go about fudging statistics? Well the most common technique used, so prevalent that it’s virtually a hallmark of feminist literature, is to report statistics in relation to female victimhood in the absence of comparative figures for men and boys.
And now, in a worrying trend, more and more research projects undertaken by pro-feminist organisations don’t bother to investigate impacts on males or attitudes towards men (examples here, here, here, here, here, and here). Clearly with corresponding data in relation to males unavailable then rapporteurs can easily deflect requests for contextual information. Information which would, in many cases, otherwise weaken their claims of gendered victimhood.
Thus biased researchers can represent a social problem as being gendered when it is not. And so the next researcher builds on existing incomplete research and concludes and/or implies in their report … this problem rarely affects men, or affects men in different & lesser ways, etc (but we can’t be sure because no data). And the cycle of gender bias in research, and subsequently in policy formulation, rolls on.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believe the reverse to be true, and that there is a ‘gender data gap’ with “male-biased surveys that fail to capture women’s perspectives, their needs and their economic value”. They provide a 3rd world example upon which I am not qualified to comment, but with regards to 1st world countries their proposition is laughable.
A paper by Dr. Murray Straus addressed the issue of feminists distorting domestic violence data. He identified the seven primary methods they used as being:
To suppress Evidence
To avoid obtaining data inconsistent with the Patriarchal Dominance Theory
To cite only studies that show Male Perpetration
To conclude that results support Feminist beliefs when they do not
To create “evidence” by citation
To obstruct publication of articles and obstruct funding research that might contradict the idea that male dominance is the cause of PV (see this post)
To harass, threaten, and penalize researchers who produce evidence that contradicts feminist beliefs (see this post)
I was studying the readers comments in relation to a rather biased article about domestic violence. One comment was from a respected spokesperson on men’s health issues, Adam Blanch. Adam was talking about the latest ‘Personal Safety Survey‘ undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This is what Adam had to say:
“Domestic violence is about people who are angry, jealous, distressed and mentally ill acting out their frustration. The motive for ‘control’ and ‘power’ is only present in a very small percentage of DV, and both sexes do it to the same extent.
The entire Duluth model, which assets that domestic violence is about ‘Gender power relations’, has been so extensively disproven by legitimate researchers that no fair minded person without a ‘gender agenda’ could possibly subscribe to it.
PS. the ABS personal safety survey has some serious methodological issues that appear to have been built in, twice, to bias the outcome in favour of a ‘Gendered’ view of DV.
The 2012 report sampled less than 20% the number of women than men, down from 25% in the 2005 survey. though overall they increased the numbers for both genders for 2012, the male sample size is so small that many of the findings are unreliable again.
They were criticised for only using female interviewers in 2005, so in 2012 they trained a few male interviewers to be available on request. However, they don’t appear to have told the interviewees that they were available. This was based don ‘expert advice’ that both men and women would be more comfortable with female interviewers, these experts are unnamed. Who are they. Are they male? have they worked with male victims of abuse? What qualifies them as experts. I’ve worked with thousands of men, and I can assure you that most men will not reveal the same information to a woman that they will to a man.
This lack of transparency and sample balance is unacceptable for research conducted at this level.”
The Bureau shrugged-off this criticism and in September 2016 successfully obtained AHRC approval to only employ female interviewers in relation to a survey that encompasses the issue of domestic violence.
“Professor Triggs granted the ABS the exemption, accepting their submission, which included studies from not-for-profit groups, stating men were more likely to be perpetrators of DV and women were more likely to tell their stories to other women” And so disregarding the flipside … that male victims would be more likely to tell THEIR story to other men.
This is hardly the first time I have encountered concerns raised by authoritative sources regarding the credibility of domestic violence research, and in fact it appears to be an ongoing issue.
Australia’s ABC has a reputation for pushing the feminist agenda, with one example being the article ‘Domestic violence of epidemic proportions a ‘national emergency’: campaign groups‘ by Ursula Malone and Juanita Phillips. Nothing like turning up the rhetoric to keep that government funding flowing through to feminists and their organisations during these difficult economic times. And all based on fudged statistics, in particular that “Domestic violence is the leading cause of death and injury in women under 45“.
“The vast majority of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Given for example that only 17 percent of women who experienced sexual assault by a male perpetrator (in their most recent incident of violence) reported it to the police (ABS 2012), the actual percentage of false cases is likely to be tiny. By one estimate, the actual percentage of false cases as a proportion of all rapes (reported and unreported) may be closer to 0.005 percent.” (Flood, M, 2014)
An Australian MRA by the name of Paul Rogers brought this error to their attention stating (in part) that:
“Even Wikipedia doesn’t suggest that false rape allegations are as low as you claim, which is saying something. I have provided an excerpt below from Wikipedia to highlight that your claim is many orders of magnitude lower than even the lowest value claimed by most authorities … I urge you to state the truth rather than continue to cherry-pick outlier claims because they support your misandry.”
I should also point out that it’s not only feminist groups that engage is this sort of misrepresentation. In this media release, the advocacy group SAVE denounces the use of misleading information on domestic violence by none other than (then) President Obama himself.
Demonstrating the remarkably one-sided manner in which feminists view the world, in the following article a feminist journo criticizes a men’s rights group on their use of statistics:
The references listed below alternately discuss or exemplify bias against men, as perpetrated by journalists and others (often working in the sphere of domestic violence, sexual violence and related fields):
‘Blatant spin’: SBS accused of sifting data to show ‘sexist’ Australia, and SBS’s ‘sexism’ doco is just blatant propaganda (21 November 2018) Both of these articles appeared in The Australian newspaper, and are behind a ‘paywall’. Watch this Bettina Arndt video for some good background on this issue.
La Trobe bans my talk on the fake rape crisis, by Bettina Arndt (2 August 2018) This article concerns the exaggeration of the incidence of sexual assault in Australian universities by the Australian Human Rights Commission and others.
When care becomes control – financial abuse cuts across cultures (17 January 2017) As I state in this post, most papers on financial abuse ignore the reality of male victimisation, and this is yet another example. In the absence of conclusive proof that only women were victimised one would expect a researcher to survey men and women. Failure to do so, as in this and many other cases, is evidence of gender bias to support a particular ideological narrative.
Cutting to numb the pain of sex abuse: interviews with young women in drug treatment (12 August 2016) Australia. Although this article focuses on the needs of young women, the underlying research surveyed both genders. Whilst I have yet to review the findings in detail, my default position is one of disquiet regarding the merit of applying different fixes to men and women. Without a very thorough understanding of all contributing factors, esp. in relation to cause/effect, there is a real danger that we may misinterpret the true situation. Also, from what has happened in the field of domestic violence for example, there is a real danger of a monopolisation of all available resources for the treatment of women.
Anti-abuse campaign targets university students (22 February 2016) Australia. Typical of Our Watch research this survey appears designed to deliver a pre-determined finding of gendered female victimhood. The article reports one part of the picture, but where are the responses to (for example) how many boys were pressured “to do sexual things”? Whether girls respect the ability to consent in relation to boys who are drunk, etc.
(I believe there to be a question mark over the extent to which the Australian Research Council is itself free of gender bias. I say this not in terms of funds provided to male versus female researchers, but in terms of social research projects with a feminist orientation being strongly favoured. Consider the examples provided of feminist research mentioned in this other blog post, as well as this article which will be discussed in a future post. The author of this article presenting a feminist-concordant perspective on the gender pay gap was also ARC-funded. These spreadsheets look at the nature of projects funded by the ARC)
“The Children’s Rights Report being released today found one in every 28 people had also experienced sexual abuse as a child, while a further 23 per cent of children have witnessed violence against their mother”. This conveniently neglects to mention that as many Aussie kids have seen their mum hit their dad as vice versa (See footnote 7)
The following collection of reddit discussion threads detail moderator bias and censorship in relation to threads/posts concerning domestic violence and child abuse – See example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5 and example 6 (27 October 2014) Includes the following quote from a moderator responding to a query as to why a post was removed: “It needs to be the right information from the right people. Here’s a shorthand guide: if you are an MRA or TRP, you need not bother posting. If your information may tend to make women look bad, same.”
Are domestic violence figures bogus? (22 February 2014) Includes discussion of the notorious ‘intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45’ statistic myth
I spoke to hundreds of men about rape and domestic violence (24 September 2014) Note that this is a different survey to that discussed by Adam Blanch earlier. It is certainly feasible that interviewers might influence survey respondents. It hardly fills one with confidence about the reliability of the results when interviewers are prepared to go on record with such strong views on the matter being investigated.
If manipulating and misrepresenting statistics to suit an agenda was a crime then the feminist authors of this “fact-sheet” should be in jail. Many of these so-called facts are debunked in papers listed in this other post about domestic violence, whilst others demand the smallest measure of common-sense to confirm just how misleading they are.
“A third of family murders involved a female as the killer. In sibling murders, females were 15% of killers, and in murders of parents, 18%. But in spouse murders, women represented 41% of killers. In murders of their offspring, women predominated, accounting for 55% of killers” (Source)
The paragraph above was extracted from a 1994 publication, not because patterns of gender perpetration have changed greatly but because the feminist filter has been imposed so completely now, that we only see articles like this one that present statistics in a manner suggesting that women are the perpetual victims of oppressive male malevolence. (Refer to Reddit discussion thread here)
Regarding the table below … hardly an ‘epidemic’. The only increase is in male victimisation. It’s no wonder that, in pushing its ‘epidemic’ barrow, the Domestic Violence Industry increasingly relies on statistics generated by help-line call centres instead. And of course we can trust the integrity of those sources.
“Advocacy research consists of collating available evidence or producing new information to support a pre-determined policy position. Advocacy research is commonly carried out by pressure groups, lobby groups and interest groups (such as trade unions) and, occasionally, by political parties, journalists and academics – especially those working in the social policy field.”
“It is difﬁcult to criticize advocacy research without giving an impression of caring less about the problem under consideration than do those who are engaged in magnifying its size. But one may be deeply concerned about problems such as rape, child abuse, and homelessness yet still wish to see a rigorous and objective analysis of their dimensions. Advocacy research that uncovers a problem, measures it with reasonable accuracy, and brings it to public attention performs a valuable service by raising public consciousness. The current trend in advocacy research is to inﬂate problems and redeﬁne them in line with the advocates’ ideological preferences. The few impose their deﬁnition of social ills on the many – seeking to incite moral panics. This type of advocacy research invites social policies that are likely to be neither effective nor fair.”
My initial post about domestic violence within this blog can be found here, whilst other DV-related posts can be located by clicking on the ‘domestic violence’ tag at the bottom of this page. It is suggested that this post also be read in conjunction with:
Domestic violence (DV), also referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or Family & Domestic Violence (FDV), is a shocking blight on the community. This is a scourge that inflicts substantial negative impacts on the lives of countless men, women and children. Whilst definitions have evolved and broadened, DV is loosely defined as “physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse“.
It is important to acknowledge that DV encompasses man on man, women on women, man on woman, and woman on man violence (both cis- and transgender). Further, in many instances violence is perpetrated by both partners as shown in the accompanying diagram. There is also a strong nexus between the incidence of child abuse/neglect and subsequent perpetration of domestic violence by affected individuals upon reaching adulthood.
The Wikipedia entry for ‘Epidemiology of domestic violence‘ provides readers with useful background information on this topic. For those willing to read something a little meatier, I would recommend this paper by esteemed DV researcher Malcolm George. Malcolm walks the reader through the historical context to the current debate about gender differences in violent behaviour and the way that society responds to the issue.
Many of those working within the DV sector, particularly here in Australia, only choose to acknowledge one element of the problem – that part involving male perpetrators and female victims. It is no coincidence that most staff within these government agencies, universities and NGO’s are strongly influenced by, and biased towards, feminist ideology. The feminist position is unequivocal, and it is that domestic violence = men’s violence towards women. Here is an example of that mindset, and here are many others.
This routine failure by feminists to recognise and discuss male victims, female perpetrators and bi-directional violence is no accident or coincidence. It is a deliberate strategy to build their brand, and in so doing demonise the overwhelming majority of men who have never, and would never, hurt or abuse their partner.
As a result, and in order to support the feminist narrative, a great deal of ‘cherry-picking’ and misrepresentation occurs in relation to the statistics provided in DV literature. In addition, the design and implementation of survey instruments is too often tainted with bias. This issue, that of feminist efforts to hide or discredit legitimate research and/or generate false or misleading statistics, is explored in this further blog post.
You will note, as you scroll down this page, that there are a multitude of sources of DV statistics, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States. Here in Australia, much less research has been undertaken – particularly in relation to male victimisation. One of the more significant sources is the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey 2012, which found that one in three victims of domestic abuse were male. The results of overseas studies generally found levels of male and female victimisation that were closer to parity, and in some instances even higher rates of victimisation for men that women.
Unfortunately many journalists display remarkable tunnel-vision when addressing the topic of IPV. Indeed some have suggested that the media is complicit in the same sort of systemic gender bias against males noted earlier amongst those working in the field of DV.
Turning to my first example, an article called ‘Til death do us part’ which appeared in The Australian newspaper. It consisted of five pages of heart-wrenching coverage of men’s violence towards female partners, but made no mention of any other form of domestic violence, i.e. m-m, f-f, or women on men. Similarly this February 2014 article from The Mail newspaper also neglected to mention that men can be victims too.
Fiona McCormack also ignores male victims and female abusers this item on Australian ABC TV … except in an aside where she implies that anyone who raises the issue of women abusers is only seeking to “excuse” the behaviour of male abusers. This is very much akin to the feminist predilection of labelling anyone who questions various aspects of sexual assault (e.g. false rape allegations) as being “rape apologists” “victim blamers” etc.
Now let’s turn to this article by Charlie Pickering (more about Charlie here). Charlie is concerned that more attention is paid to the issue of random one-punch attacks on men, than on the violence visited nightly on women people in their homes. He goes on to state:
“For a long time, the termdomestic violence has softened and normalised what is really going on. A more accurate term is ‘men’s violence against women’. Not ‘violence against women’, because that takes the responsibility for it away from those who need to be made responsible.”
This belief, that by acknowledging male victims and female perpetrators, we are somehow ignoring the validity and the pain of female victims is absurd, yet unfortunately commonplace in public discourse. The fact that there may be somewhat fewer male victims does not, nor should not, make domestic violence a gendered issue.
A precious few writers, like this one, suggest a more practical and unbiased approach to the issue:
“When it comes to the statistics about domestic abuse, it doesn’t matter to me how many men to how many women experience domestic violence. Domestic violence is a power issue more than a gender issue. Intimate Partner Violence affects men and women, and I really do not care in what proportion …
Within anti-domestic violence advocacy, there seems to be a trend to pit female victims against male victims and vice-versa. I do not know who is behind it, nor do I know if there is a “who” to blame. I do know that blame has no place in this fight against domestic abuse, especially when victim blames victim for any reason …
In a perfect society, men and women are equally protected under the law not because more laws were made to protect one sex but because in each mind and heart of all people, women and men are respected equally, and the individual contributions or crimes are our only measures of judgment. However, this ideal is as far away from our current reality as the idea that no person would seek power over another.”
Many others within the wider community have, however, embraced a biased and incomplete representation of DV, liberally salted with misinformation, at face value. Who could blame them, given that so many sources are bellowing out the same relentless message about male perpetrators and female victims, whilst studiously ignoring other elements of the issue.
Here in Australia, let’s look at this page within the web site of the Department of Social Services entitled ‘Women’s safety’, and the linked 28 page literature review prepared by ‘Urbis’ consultants at a cost of $220,000. One would have assumed, especially given the enormous cost, that the review would have encompassed all forms of abuse and perpetration. But, unfortunately, it did not.
In fact the review states that “Male perpetrators of domestic violence or sexual assault against men and female perpetrators of either offence against men have not been considered in this literature review. It is acknowledged that in practice the great majority of programs will be targeted towards men who commit domestic violence or sexual assault against women.”
Yes, that makes perfect sense … there are no programs for female offenders so let’s pretend they don’t exist. Such circular logic is (almost) unbelievable. And no, there is no corresponding ‘Mens Safety’ page within the DSS web site.
To be fair, the authors of some studies do admit that there are many female perpetrators and male victims, and that little research has been directed towards these groups. They also admit that there are probably many similarities between male and female perpetrators of IPV. They then invariably proceed, however, to offer a variety of justifications to continue their focus on the ‘domestic violence = Mens violence towards women’ model (example).
When misleading statistics are repeatedly exposed the feminist reaction is to move the goalposts by expanding the reach of the definition of domestic violence to encompass sexual violence, and less tangible forms of non-physical ‘violence’. This serves to both maximise the perceived magnitude of the problem, as well as support the anti-male narrative.
Naturally those areas where female perpetration is substantial, such as child abuse and elder abuse, are totally ‘out of bounds’. This theme is explored in this separate blog post. The same approach has been taken by feminists to prop up the notion of the existence of a ‘rape culture‘ in western societies.
Those of us concerned about men’s rights seek to have all aspects of domestic violence considered, as well as seeking remedies to specific issues such as:
the lack of resources to assist abused men and their children
laws and legal procedures that are based on the assumption that the male in the relationship is the abuser
negative and biased behaviour towards men who seek assistance, for example the screening of (only) male callers to abuse help-lines to determine if they are in fact perpetrators (example)
A selection of statistical sources that haven’t been doctored to support the feminist narrative
“Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In non-reciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.”
More than 125,000 women homeless because of domestic violence (15 February 2016). The only figures for male victimisation that were mentioned – because they appeared to support the feminist perspective – were drawn from this media release from a government agency. What’s not mentioned though is that the relatively low numbers of men seeking assistance are indicative of factors other than simply lower rates of male victimisation, incl.:
the rampant genderbias of ‘help-lines’, advocacy groups and even government agencies
the (widely-known) lack of resources available to help male victims (with or without children, and
the much greater incidence of non-reporting of DV by men (compared to women)
“The proportion of male victims who told police about their domestic abuse increased from 10.4% in 2014-15 to 14.7% this year as charities said more men were shaking off the stigma of talking about their suffering.“
For Nelson Women’s Refuge manager Katie O’Donnell, the solution to New Zealand’s domestic violence problem is more straightforward. “People say it’s a really complex issue. Well, it is a complex issue but also it isn’t – guys just have to stop doing it”
Telstra introduces domestic violence leave (13 January 2015) Australia. Article implies only women are victims of domestic violence and leaves us guessing as to whether the company policy is sexist/discriminatory – or just the journalism
In this article a feminist writer, Amanda Hess, attempts to rationalise why domestic violence by a female sports star should be addressed differently than in the case of a male sports star (22 September 2014) Most of the 600+ readers comments that followed disagreed and told her so in no uncertain terms.
‘Lollies at a childrens party and other myths: Violence, protection orders and fathers rights groups’ by Miranda Kaye and Julia Tomie (1998). Another detailed but flawed paper in support of the feminist position on DV. Its main line of attack is that available statistics don’t support claims made by men’s rights advocates. It conveniently ignores the fact that most Australian DV research is undertaken by feminists and biased towards finding ‘evidence’ to support a pre-determined conclusion. Thus the accuracy and impartiality of the research is the real issue, rather than the credibility of the whistle-blowers.
The paper also misinterprets and/or takes out of context, many of the comments it attributes to fathers groups in an attempt to portray them as irrational or unreasonable. Finally the authors attack specific statements put forward by fathers groups despite the same arguments having been used (at other times) by feminists in support of their own (feminist) perspective. The authors of this paper, for example, want to jump from one camp to the other (and back again) in relation to the issue of whether behaviour other than physical violence should be included in the definition of domestic violence.
We need to show it’s just not manly to hit out (9 July 2014) Nonsense article dripping with white knight bias … “The idea that the woman may be equally to blame, even if she is also violent and even the initiator of the violence, is simply not acceptable”
A reddit discussion thread about the anti-male bias evident in the web site of an American domestic violence centre’s web site. Unfortunately such bias (i.e. stating or implying that all men accessing the site are abusers and that all women are victims) is also common in domestic violence centres in Australia.