Thank you for permitting me the opportunity to contribute my thoughts in relation to the work of the Inquiry, and concerning the pressing issue of domestic violence generally.
I believe the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference to be ill-considered, inappropriate, and strongly indicative of ideological bias. In what appears to be akin to a ‘dorothy-dixer’ on the floor of parliament, the Terms of Reference appear to have been formulated with the intention of producing a report that simply justifies a continuation of the existing failed gender-biased approach to combatting domestic violence. In so doing it seems that remaining in lockstep with the feminist movement has been accorded a higher priority than actually addressing the problem via constructive debate about the full range of potential causes and solutions of/for DV.
I fully anticipate that the only new development to arise from the Inquiry will be leveraging the Committee’s ‘findings’ in order to be institute progressively higher levels of government funding for the Domestic Violence Industry. Funding for which there will likely continue to be few, if any, controls or oversight in relation to performance monitoring and accountability.
The Committee has opted to pursue a biased, parochial and blinkered approach to a complex social issue about which there are many views but few certainties. It is an approach which, based on nothing more than the cherished belief of one particular lobby group, pre-empts consideration of other, quite likely more relevant, factors.
A strong consensus exists – beyond the confines of the feminist encampment – that several factors jointly bring about patterns of domestic violence. Gender inequality is but one of these. Parental abuse and neglect of children who subsequently grow up to become perpetrators being another. I would join others in suggesting that gender inequality is, in itself, generally a relatively minor factor. Indeed, I believe that in many cases it bears little or no influence at all.
In what has become an established tactic, however, anyone proposing that gender equality is not a pivotal factor underpinning domestic violence is shamed and threatened.    The Terms of Reference of this Committee will clearly only strengthen the resolve of those who encourage and pursue such totalitarian and counter-productive behaviour.
Committee members, this is not the type of approach to adopt if you genuinely wish to identify and then win support for truly effective strategies to remedy complex social problems.
Might I suggest that the reference to ‘education’ (in the Terms of Reference) was intended to generate expressions of profuse support from the feminist faithful for further ‘public awareness campaigns’ and school programs. This despite the fact that I am yet to learn of any conclusive proof with regard to the value of either of these strategies. Excepting of course their value to those pro-feminist advocacy groups and consultancies who will find themselves in receipt of generous allocations of public funds. Additionally, in both cases I would suggest that a case could be made that such programs also have the potential to bring about certain negative outcomes.
As to diverting the discussion to examine the likely impact of toys and entertainment on the incidence of domestic violence? I feel that would likely constitute a poor investment of time and resources … these being inconsequential yet over-stated minutia in the overall scheme of things.
I reject the following positions in relation to gender equality and domestic violence:
That gender inequality is the primary contributing factor with respect to the incidence of domestic violence in Australia
That the overall picture of gender inequality in Australia is one that strongly favours men/boys
That in the overwhelming majority of cases, domestic violence manifests itself in the form of men abusing women
In contrast, individuals and organisations who ascribe to feminist ideology would count amongst the core supporters of those statements noted above. Bearing that in mind I would suggest that the Committee be mindful of the following:
- The term ‘feminist’ is not inter-changeable with ‘woman’ or ‘women’ given that only a small minority of women identify as feminists 
- Feminists do not hold any form of mandate to speak on behalf of Australian women
- Feminists have a strongly vested interest in painting domestic violence as a gendered issue involving male violence towards women, including a substantial and growing pecuniary interest 
- Feminists have a well-established ‘track record’ of engaging in biased and academically flawed research, and in misrepresenting research undertaken by others in order to support their position and/or to undermine the position of those holding alternate views. 
These last two dot points imply a need to subject the statements and conduct of feminists and feminist organisations to some reasonable standard of scrutiny, rather than simply accepting them at face value.
Gender inequality as the primary contributing factor with respect to the incidence of domestic violence in Australia
The theoretical cornerstone of the feminist approach is the ‘Duluth Model’ which is discussed in this rather illuminating email exchange, this academic paper, and in various posts in my blog. In a nutshell, applying this framework to most (let alone all) incidents of DV is highly misleading and inappropriate.
Further, if gender inequality is the single greatest determinant of domestic violence then:
Why is the incidence of domestic violence greater in lesbian couple than in heterosexual couples?
How might one explain the already high and growing levels of female-perpetrated violence generally?
How might one explain the significant geographical variations in the incidence of domestic violence? (refer chart which follows)
How might one explain the relatively high levels of child abuse and neglect involving single mothers? 
Why is the level of domestic violence so high in countries like Sweden that, even feminists would agree, have a higher than average level of gender equality?
These categories or situations of domestic violence are not the inconsequential anomalies that many propose them to be. On the contrary, they constitute very large and substantial pieces of the domestic violence jigsaw.
In an intimate partnership between two people of different genders, an unequal balance of power can be a factor contributing to DV. But what feminists refuse to concede is that the partner asserting most power need not be male, and often isn’t.
The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference are based on the premise that it is an established and undeniable fact that gender inequality is the predominant factor behind domestic violence. This is absolutely not the case. On the other hand, there are many others in the community who hold differing views – views similar to my own. In this submission I will introduce you to sources of information that very much counter the feminist position of domestic violence.
On the suggestion that the overall picture of gender inequality in Australia is one that strongly favours men/boys
Let’s assume for a moment that gender inequality is in fact the predominant trigger for the initiation of domestic violence. So just how much gender equality is present in Australian society? The feminist position is that there is a great deal of gender equality, and that it is strongly biased in favour of men/boys. I do not believe this to be the case. Feminists have a pronounced tendency to overstate or imagine disadvantages faced by women, whilst conveniently overlooking the many disadvantages faced by men/boys.
The indicator most commonly advanced by feminists to ‘prove’ the existence of gender equality is the gender wage gap. This use of the wage gap statistics for this purpose is misleading has been thoroughly debunked. 
The next most commonly cited statistics are those concerning the number of male vs female politicians and CEO’s. Yes there is obviously an imbalance but again this need not be indicative of gender discrimination nor inequality. Indeed if this were the case then surely there would be a Minister for Men’s Affairs, or at least men’s/boys divisions within government agencies – of which there are none. Not only is there no advocacy for men/boys whatsoever, there exists active discrimination against them in many agencies including for example the Australian Human Rights Commission. 
In terms of various other indicators of equality I would draw the Committee’s attention to the material contained in these two overseas sources:
On the suggestion that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, domestic violence manifests itself in the form of men abusing women
IF gender inequality was the primary cause of domestic violence, and IF there was rampant gender inequality in Australian, and IF that inequality favoured men/boys, then one would expect that almost all cases of domestic violence involved men abusing women. But is this the case? No, it is certainly not the case.
I would draw the Committee’s attention to the sources listed below, with many further sources available online. These all demonstrate that at least one third of the victims of domestic violence are males.
References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: An Annotated Bibliography by Martin S. Fiebert. This bibliography examines 286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. Here is a link to an updated June 2013 version of Fiebert’s bibliography.
Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project – Facts and Statistics on Domestic Violence at-a-Glance. Sponsored by the Journal Partner Abuse, November, 2012. This study is also discussed in this article:
Male Victims of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States: An Examination of the Review of Literature through the Critical Theoretical Perspective, by Caroletta A. Shuler (2010) and related reddit discussion thread
Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury between Relationships with Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence (2006), which includes this statement:
“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.”
The graphic that follows, for example, was sourced from a Canadian organisation (www.saveservices.org). Interestingly, broadly similar patterns of perpetration have been observed in the UK, USA, Australia and Canada (although Australian lags somewhat in terms of the information available on male victimisation/female perpetration).
In closing I would invite members of the Committee to take a few moments to also read my submission to the recently-released Victorian Royal Commission on Family Violence, given that that document provides further relevant background information concerning certain matters that will also likely be addressed in this current Inquiry.
I wish the members of the Committee well in their endeavours, and I sincerely hope that the concerns I have expressed in this submission prove to be unfounded.
 http://www.fighting4fair.com/#Domestic Violence