“There’s a lot of men suffering the same Abraham, men are less likely to report it though. Its a two way street. I found it degrading after having my bipolar partner restrained by police to be put in an ambulance, that the literature given to me and having called the help line, that it was all geared towards women. Even the men’s help line, when called and told of being involved in domestic abuse, being questioned about what I’d done to abuse her.
You know when she’s off tap and I’m being pushed to the limits, I could just knock her block off, I can handle myself, if it was a bloke doing it, it wouldn’t even be an issue, but its a woman and mother of my children, I’m better than that. My kids have had to witness it for years, they even ask how i endure it without retaliating. But its my job to be their role model, not sport stars or entertainers. I stay composed, controlled. I was safer in Afghanistan or Iraq. It’s time for men to stand up and be more vocal. I’ll start it off.”
“Its not the violence although she has slashed my car tyres to stop me from leaving and has threatened me with a knife on many occasions. It’s the threats to kill herself, or ringing my work, or on many occasions showing up at work because I won’t do exactly what she asks. Several suicide attempts, what am i to tell my kids if I stay at work and she rings and tells me she’s taken an overdose and i keep working. The ambulance wont come on their own anymore when she loses it, the police have to come, because she is violent to the ambulance driver. I’d post videos, but I don’t want her identified on the internet. My kids have been embarrassed enough, they don’t need all their friends knowing.
I said I would start this off, all my friends on here know now, but no-ones going to use it to try get to me, most are smart enough to know better. Like I said if it was a male that was threatening me it wouldn’t be an issue, I did my time in conflict zones, I can handle myself. My pay goes into an account she controls, I get an allowance. I got my pay put into my own account awhile back and she went to our head office and made a scene, nearly got me sacked. So I changed it back to stop her going back. My boss has said to me how I manage to be early every day, get through my day and churn out a high standard work is beyond him. Never late, never take a day off, always try to be upbeat. I do what i do because i am my kids role model, not some sports star or celebrity, I set a standard, I tell them not to react, stay calm and I practice what I preach. (Source)
“I have encountered similar violence by a wife towards her husband and I can promise you, it’s no laughing matter. Especially when men are often brought up to never lift a hand up against a woman. Thankfully, they are no longer together, but she still has most custody of their beautiful little boy. She has gone out of her way to use the son to hurt him, but thankfully family, friends and even a judge has seen through her and have provided him with much needed support. He is a lovely dad who was snared by a vicious, vindictive woman” (Source)
“Predictably the top comment is from a woman ridiculing the incident. He doesn’t sound a particularly great husband but would you have found it as amusing if a man had ripped off his wife’s breast because she wasn’t a good wife? Nope, didn’t think so. The comments here just show the gulf in society’s attitudes towards violence to men and women from the opposite sex.”
“The number of women convicted for domestic violence rose by 30% in the year to April 2015, from 3,735 to 4,866. It marks an upward trend – the number of convictions involving female perpetrators is now six times higher than it was ten years ago”
In a comment he contributed to this article, Chad Tindale wrote:
“Police were once called because my girlfriend, at the time, was stabbing the bathroom door (behind which I was locked) with a knife. When the police arrived, she was still drunk, and still holding the knife. They told us to keep it down so that they didn’t have to come back… then they left me there… with her… with the knife. You’re not a hero when you rescue a man from a woman, so it’s often just easier to leave them there… leave them with her… with the knife.”
Queensland’s discrimination law is thirty years old. In May 2021, the Attorney-General asked the Queensland Human Rights Commission to undertake a review of the Anti-Discrimination Act. The review presented a valuable opportunity to make sure the law is keeping up to date with the changing needs of our society.
The Commission was asked to look at whether our anti-discrimination law protects and promotes equality and non-discrimination to the greatest extent possible.
‘One in Three‘ is a diverse group of male and female professionals – academics, researchers, social workers, psychologists, counsellors, lawyers, health promotion workers, trainers and survivor/advocates.
One in Three aims to raise public awareness of the existence and needs of male victims of family violence and abuse; to work with government and non-government services alike to provide assistance to everyone affected by family violence; and to reduce the incidence and impacts of family violence on Australian men, women and children. One in Three believes our society has the capacity to support all victims of family violence, whether male or female, young or old, gay or straight, rich or poor, wherever they live.
In their submission, the One in Three Campaign identifies five different ways in which male victims of family violence are discriminated against in Queensland:
Discrimination in service provision – not available to male victims or female perpetrators
Discrimination in service provision – access allowed, but service provided is harmful or poor
Discrimination in funding
Discrimination within research
Discrimination in public health campaigns.
One in Three’s proposed solution would be to establish a competent triage system based upon severity of violence, risk and need (not sex/gender), that would ensure the limited services available would go to those who need them the most. In order to do this, Section 104 of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (“The Act”) would require amendments to remove the Example, “It is not unlawful to restrict special accommodation to women who have been victims of domestic violence.”
Here is a link to One in Three’s submission to the Queensland Government (March 2022)
This joint select committee was established on 21 October 2020 to inquire into and report on coercive control in domestic relationships. In conducting the inquiry, the committee will consider the NSW Government discussion paper on coercive control and answer the questions posed in the paper.
Submissions closed on the 29 January 2021, and hearings were held in February and March 2021.
“The consultation process will involve an online survey, targeted roundtable discussions and further advice from an Advisory Group made up of victim-survivors, family and domestic violence experts, and representatives of people at increased risk of coercive control.
You can contribute to a shared national understanding of coercive control by providing your feedback on the Consultation Draft using the survey link” (which can be found on the linked page above).
This project is scheduled to close on 11 November 2022.
I haven’t written anything more about the topic. Yet at the same time, it is something which is put in our face every time the media (TV) runs an item on domestic violence and finishes with the advice to call (such and such agency) if “you are troubled by violent or abusive behaviour from your partner”. Which leaves everyone thinking that at least some help is available for (all) victims of domestic behaviour. But it’s not so.
Most agencies in the domestic violence sector will either turn male callers away or will (officially) cater for them, but on the (wink/nudge) understanding that they are either abusers trying to locate their partners, or are simply abusers in denial.
But now the topic of whether domestic violence help-lines actually do assist male callers has been raised again by an English researcher, Deborah Powney (Twitter id = @Firebird_psych). On 14 April 2020 Deborah began sending daily tweets as per the following:
Simple question. Shouldn’t take long to answer. And she waited. And while she did, she asked one or two further questions, for example:
“Could you provide the numbers of female perpetrators you have helped in the past 12 month? Could also provide the number of female perpetrator programmes that Respect have accredited in the same time period?” (To @RespectUK on 29 April 2020)
It took until 15 May 2020 before Deborah received an initial response.
“Hi, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is branded as a women’s helpline, however if we do receive calls from men the Helpline our staff will always listen, risk assess, address any safeguarding issues and validate the experience. They will then refer them to the Men’s Advice Line which provides specialist support for men.”
Deborah responded the same day, as follows: “Thank you for your response. Just to clarify – you do not help male victims at all – other than ‘immediate’ referal to the @RespectUK men’s helpline. Is that correct?”
@RefugeCharity further responded (also 15 May 2020)
“Hi, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is branded as a women’s helpline, however if we do receive calls from men the Helpline our staff will always listen, risk assess, address any safeguarding issues and validate the experience. The national domestic abuse helpline, which Refuge runs, is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days week. If male callers contact us, we refer them immediately to the men’s advice line, which is a specialist service for male victims of domestic abuse. They will then refer them to the Men’s Advice Line which provides specialist support for men.”
On 15 May 2020 Deborah then asked:
“Can @RefugeCharity@ukhomeoffice be clear what support the 24 hour National DA Helpline gives to male victims of domestic abuse when the @RespectUK taxpayer- funded “Men’s Advice Line” is closed (from either 5pm or 8pm weekdays to 9am & weekends) @nicolejacobsST@pritipatel”
@martintandc @RespectUK @JoTodd4 Could you clearly explain why you make specific reference to male terrorists in your Toolkit for working with Male Victims of domestic abuse for the Men’s Advice Line? @nicolejacobsST @pritipatel @ukhomeoffice @mankind @MartinDaubney @PhilipDaviesUK
“For instance, the biggest denominator in acts of terrorism and mass killings is that almost all of the perpetrators are men. Women suffer mental illness at roughly the same rate as men, but almost none commit large-scale violence. Similarly, the levels of suicide for men are much greater then for women, because of social pressure on men not to seek help to deal with their emotional problems”. (Source)
From reading this material it seems obvious to me that staff in the relevant agencies had not considered how male callers were being dealt with, let alone how they should be dealt with. The topic was not even ‘on the radar’ as it was seemingly seen to be unimportant, and offering to assist men at all was seen as merely a token gesture.
You might wish to now refer to Deborah’s Twitter account to see if any further responses have been received from government, domestic violence industry, or readers.
(Some information about Deborah’s current research project regarding the experience of male victims of domestic violence can be found here.)
Readers may also find these papers to be of interest:
“The Men’s Referral Service provides telephone counselling and referrals for Australian men impacted by family violence.” (Source)
The Men’s Referral Service (‘MRS’) web site does not provide any information about the management of MRS nor its legal or financial details. Readers are informed that:
“The Men’s Referral Service is a service of No To Violence, Male Family Violence Prevention Association (NTV). Find out more about NTV.”
Further details regarding MRS can however be accessed in their ACNC register entry, including their constitution, list of directors, and financial returns. The most recent financial report (year ending 30 June 2015) showed annual income of just over $2 million, of which just under $1.7 million was received in the form of government grant/s. The biggest single expense, just over $1.7 million, was listed as “staffing costs”.
Whilst the material provided in the MRS web site provides some pretence about their interest and involvement in supporting male victims of domestic violence, they are very much a pro-feminist organisation whose primary interest is the isolation and treatment of abusive men.
The MRS was recently thrust into the limelight as a result of a decision by feminist NSW Minister, Pru Goward, to award them an extremely lucrative grant ($13 million over 4 years) to ostensibly provide support services for male victims of domestic violence.
That ill-judged decision was discussed in some detail in this Nov 2016 article by Bettina Arndt, and also in this media release from the One in Three advocacy group – which I would recommend that you now take a moment to read.
This news came some time after the original media release announcing the availability of funding for male victims of domestic violence. This was much- applauded at the time by individuals opposed to the gender-biased nature in which government grants had been dispensed up to that point in time:
“For the first time in NSW, male victims of domestic and family violence will receive dedicated support, NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward announced today.
“As part of a record investment in domestic and family violence prevention, the 2016-17 Budget included $13.3 million over four years to make it easier and faster for men and boys to get help when they need it,” Ms Upton said.” (Source)
Thus this has been very much a case of two steps forward and one step back in terms of achieving a reasonable and equitable level of support for male victims of domestic violence.
*To learn the meaning of the term Clayton’s see here
Ginger’s article began with a detailed personal account by Nick of the abuse that he had suffered at the hands of his wife. Nick also recounted the extreme difficulty he had accessing professional support.
The author noted that this was a common theme amongst the men who volunteered to tell their story, but failed to provide statistics on the number of services catering to male versus female victims of domestic violence.
But then Ginger wheeled in outspoken male feminist and misandrist Dr Michael Flood who pushed the predictable feminist line on domestic violence:
Ginger then told the story of Mereana who had experienced relationships involving two-way verbal and physical abuse. Mereana had suffered extensive abuse as a child as a result of which she suffered possible brain damage as well as emotional problems. Mereana did a stint in jail, and since then had sought help for her issues (although still exhibited violent tendencies).
The next part was interesting:
““I had to go looking and digging to find someone to help me confront and dismantle my issues and work out my triggers. There’s no support for female perpetrators,” she says.
In part, she blames white middle class feminists for this, who she says have “protected the conversation” about domestic violence to the exclusion of “all those other voices.” Finally, Mareana convinced a violent offenders’ counsellor at a local men’s support service to take her on as a client.”
If only Ginger had seized on this point, and done some digging, for e.g. how many states/regions actually do offer programs for violent women? As far as I know, almost none. Why is this issue not raised in the many costly inquiries that have taken place in recent times?
Michael Flood then re-appears to disparage the ‘One in Three‘ group, which advocates for the welfare of male victims of domestic violence. This is a task with which Michael already has considerable experience. This particular comment was unfair, inaccurate and more than a little ironic:
“[One in Three] has spent “at least as much effort trying to undermine campaigns to address violence against women.””
Actually Michael, ‘One in Three‘ take pains to point out (in their submissions to government, for example) that they are NOT seeking to undermine support for female victims. I think what Michael is referring to are instances where ‘One in Three‘ provide alternative data sources that debunk misrepresentations put forward by feminist groups (often in the form of attacks on One in Three).
I would suggest that One in Three believes there to be a strong case to support all victims of domestic violence, and that this does not require or benefit from the gender bias and misrepresentation that pervades the Domestic Violence Industry.
The article concludes with the suggestion that any blokes out there who need help with this issue, can call Mensline. Sadly that’s all there is, but the feedback about that service is anything but complimentary, with many male callers reportedly being treated as abusers in denial only to then be signed up for anger management classes and/or passed on to groups offering crisis accommodation for the homeless.
The American political philosopher Thomas Sowell observed “We should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.” (Source)
Ah, but not all awareness campaigns are the same. Campaigns concerning issues that are pivotal to the feminist cause are beyond reproach. Mild criticism is however tolerated in the case of campaigns on less ideologically revered topics.
A very different reaction to two public awareness campaigns
It’s May 2015 and the Australian federal government has released its annual budget. It proposes substantial allocations to two separate public awareness campaigns. One relates to drug use, specifically crystal methamphetamine – or ‘ice’ ($9 million). The other relates to domestic violence ($7 million).
Plenty of people have lined up to criticise the first campaign on the basis, for example, that it’s unoriginal, focuses too much on scare mongering, is unlikely to be cost-effective, and might even be counter-productive.
On that last point, one article included the statement that “When an ad is on television for a particular illicit drug, we know afterwards young people think it must be really, really common and so therefore it can increase their perception of how normal it is.”
In contrast the only public criticism that the domestic violence campaign has been subject to, is that not enough money has been provided. It is probably no coincidence that the feminist lobby is heavily invested in the DV campaign, but not the other.
So just how many parallels, if any, are there between the two campaigns?
“International evidence suggests such “awareness” campaigns are not the most appropriate way to address harmful methamphetamine use. In fact, fear-based approaches can increase stigma which possibly drives people away from, rather than towards, treatment.”
The article proceeds:
“Australian media outlets and politicians claim we’re facing a nationwide “ice epidemic” … the most up-to-date research estimates that the proportion of Australians who have used any type of methamphetamine (ice, “speed” powder) in the previous year has remained relatively stable for at least the last decade.
Nevertheless, the government and media’s continued use of hyperbolic language – in addition to a tendency to ignore and sometimes dismiss public health experts’ advice on ice – has the potential to incite unnecessary fear and misinform the public about this supposed “menace”.”
So there’s our first parallels, for neither campaign will be targeted and in both cases Australian media outlets and politicians are making exaggerated claims about an emerging epidemic.
The article then goes on to question whether the personal and public threat posed by drug use (as compared to the extent of drug use) has also been exaggerated.
The article states: “We need to accurately define the issue, including the nature and extent of methamphetamine use and related harms in rural and regional areas, to allow the development and implementation of cost-effective, evidence-based and timely responses.”
A further parallel is that the debate about domestic violence likewise does not accurately define the issue, focussing as it does wholly on uni-directional violence by men against women. I would also argue that the policy response is not evidence-based but rather driven by the ideology of those most heavily invested in the issue.
The article then goes on to talk about the success of health-related public awareness campaigns, noting that some “are costly, ineffective and possibly even counterproductive”.
In one example cited “The findings of one study suggest that the Montana Meth Project might actually increase acceptability and decrease perceptions of risk relating to using methamphetamine.” Elsewhere it noted that “fear-based approaches can lead to stigma and poor health outcomes, such as from reduced treatment-seeking.”
The article concludes with a discussion of the value of an alternative or supplementary strategy, that of “harm minimisation”. It notes:
“Because people will choose to engage in drug use (both licit and illicit) regardless of the policies and programs in place, we need to encourage them to do so as safely as possible. We also must continue to inform the public about options for managing drug-related consequences and appropriate and available means for professional support, such as telephone and internet counselling”.
The concept of ‘harm minimisation’ also applies to domestic violence when we consider the prevalence of bi-directional violence, as shown in the diagram below, and the fact that domestic violence may persist from one generation to the next. Perhaps we need to resign ourselves, that in some situations it may be more effective to focus more on the provision of short-term shelter accommodation, the removal of children into care, etc.
Assuming there are parallels between awareness campaigns for drug use and domestic violence, then why have the same criticisms not been raised in relation to the latter?
Indeed, why has no criticism at all been directed at those spending large amounts of taxpayer funds on domestic violence awareness campaigns? Doubly so, given that there have been many previous awareness campaigns undertaken, and that these all appear to have achieved little in terms of effecting a remedy for the problem.
Is this lack of criticism because those in positions of influence truly believe in the value of such campaigns, or is it simply a reflection of wishful thinking and/or the very real fear of feminist backlash against dissenting voices?
Do public awareness campaigns even work?
Many public organisations love awareness campaigns because for minimal work they provide maximum profile (i.e. ‘hey, look at us doing something about the problem!’). Just engage a marketing consultant, agree on a logo, and begin advertising.
The jury is out, however, on their effectiveness – in part because many public awareness campaigns are not subject to proper evaluation. This is probably, in part, because of the factor noted above – they are often created at short notice for reasons of political expediency.
It is known however that some types of awareness campaigns are more likely to be successful than others:
“Some police agencies participate in domestic violence awareness campaigns and school programming, such as classroom instruction to teens about dating violence and ways to handle conflict. Domestic violence prevention messages may target the general population or specific populations. For example, campaigns may be designed to encourage victim reporting, deter potential offenders, or raise the consciousness of potential witnesses of abuse (neighbours, friends, relatives).† However, the effect of these prevention strategies is unknown.
For instance, few of the programs developed to reduce teen dating violence have been evaluated, and of those that have, there have been mixed results. Although some report an increase in knowledge in the targeted population and greater familiarity with available resources to help victims, this does not necessarily translate into a reduction in the incidence level of dating violence.
† The Lancashire (United Kingdom) Police Constabulary placed messages about domestic violence on police vehicles, beer glass coasters in bars, utility bills, and lampposts, and used radio advertising to increase awareness of domestic violence.
As a rule, prevention is more likely to work if highly targeted. General campaigns are not typically effective. Highly targeted campaigns that focus on a specific target group or geographic area can have some impact. Offender-oriented campaigns, which are designed to raise potential offenders’ perceptions that there will be meaningful consequences to battering, are more likely to be effective than campaigns that appeal to potential offenders’ morals.” (Source)
Marriage vote: how advocacy ads exploit our emotions in divisive debates (13 September 2017) Now transpose the views expressed here across to domestic violence awareness campaigns, with the ‘yes’ lobby being those challenging the status quo by seeking a non-gendered approach to the issue. Again, “the ‘no’ campaign has many unfair advantages”. Though I suspect, most likely, not in the eyes of the typical reader of ‘The Conversation‘.
It is highly likely that the campaign that eventually emerges will focus solely, or almost solely, on men’s violence towards women. Issues like bi-directional violence, domestic violence in same-sex couples (especially women), and female on male violence will be ignored or minimised. The focus on gender and control will mean that other factors like social disadvantage and substance abuse will be played down. Political correctness will also rule out consideration of race, ethnicity or religion as potentially relevant factors.
What messages will this send? What biases and stereotyping will this reinforce?
Fear-based health information makes new mothers anxious (23 July 2015) Australia. Now consider DV campaigns that demonise all men despite them having no control over the small minority of men who abuse. The community seemingly sees no problem with making men feel “anxious” in that situation, even despite the fact that four times as many men commit suicide as do women.
But more than that, Jane did exactly what feminists have long accused the MRM of doing, she sought to discredit the reality of substantial numbers of victims of domestic abuse on the basis of their gender. She sought to elevate the importance of the feminist-driven domestic violence industry by climbing on the backs of male victims.
Jane claimed that her action was necessary because “there’s a serious risk it [acknowledging significant numbers of male victims of DV] will alter the way governments approach the issue“. This is certainly one of the more absurd claims I have heard emerge from Australian feminists in recent times. And that’s saying something.
And the evidence in support of Jane’s fear is what exactly? None of the recent inquiries into domestic violence stepped outside the strict parameters of the DV debate as determined by the feminist lobby. Male victims of domestic violence are scarcely a faint blip on the political radar screen either federally, or in any of the state or territories. In fact, sadly, I see little evidence of politicians paying any attention to the ‘One in Three‘ organisation, or to the data it disseminates, or indeed to the MRM generally.
The relevant post in the Facebook page of publisher ‘Daily Life‘ attracted a substantial number of responses from readers, fairly evenly balanced between supporters and critics of Ms Gilmore’s article. This surprised me given that Daily Life is generally avoided by those who aren’t ardent feminists, thanks to a combination of biased content and hostile moderation. Many of those writing in support of Jane’s article came across as extremely ill-informed and sexist, but don’t take my word for it – click on the link above and see for yourself.
Ms. Gilmore herself added a comment on 1 May 2015 stating:
“I’m not going to get into any pointless arguments here, but I’d like to remind everyone that I said more than once in the article that anyone who needs help should get it, and quoted Karen Willis on the topic as well. This is not about denying services for men or the fact that male victims exist, it’s about understanding the facts and directing services where they are genuinely needed. And most importantly, gender is relevant in prevention and must be considered if primary prevention programs are going to be effective in keeping both men and women safer.”
But of course Jane’s article does, and can only, undermine efforts to address the ongoing denial of recognition and support for male victims of domestic violence. Such efforts are underway not only in Australia but also, for example, in Canada, the U.K and the United States.
And indeed, within days of Jane’s article being published, the One in Three organisation was uninvited from presenting at a Forum on Family Violence hosted by Strathfield Council, and there will now be no voice for male victims of domestic violence. Although they do not provide front-line services to victims, the reason given for excluding One in Three, the pro-feminist White Ribbon Campaign will still be presenting. This course of events can only be seen as a further sad indictment of the misguided priorities of the feminist lobby.
The degree of impartiality of Strathfield Council was further called into question when they removed a comment I made on 8 May from the timeline of their Facebook page (before and after screen-saves provided below)
One in Three published a rebuttal to Jane Gilmore’s article here, and which I recommend that you read. Jim Muldoon, an Australian MRA, also published a critique of the Daily Life article here. (Jim also wrote an earlier article about Gilmore’s biased position on domestic violence, entitled ‘Jane Gilmore should stop with the rubbish domestic violence games‘, in December 2014)
One in Three subsequently published a disturbing account of the bias and antagonism that they encountered whilst contributing to the Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence.
This August 2016 article describes how Clementine Ford attacked Erin Pizzey, the founder of the Women’s Shelter movement (but now campaigns for better recognition/support for male victims of DV. See related Reddit discussion thread here.
Mildred Daley Pagelow is a feminist who claims that male victims of domestic violence violence are essentially an overstated farce that erodes finding available for female victims of domestic violence (Source 1) (Source 2) (Source 3)
Elsewhere in this blog you might also be interested in:
Whilst Tim Watt’s heart is probably in the right place, a combination of immaturity, male self-loathing, and a compulsion to play the role of ‘white knight‘, seems to have blinded him to reality. And that reality is that many women are abusive, that many men are victims of abuse, and that acknowledging this in no way diminishes ones ability to recognise and empathise the suffering experienced by female victims.
So, OK, how many men are we talking about here? The answer depends on a number of variables, particularly the issue of how domestic violence is defined. As a consequence the ratio of male to female victims has been found to range all the way from one in four up to three in four. Even if one only accepted the lower end of that range, that still amounts to a considerable number of male victims – and certainly far too many to simply disregard as a statistical aberration.
Detailed data and analysis in relation to domestic violence can be found in this other blog post, but I’ll provide a few snippets of information below.
One Australian survey found for example that “the rate of men reporting current partner violence almost doubled (a rise of 175%) since 2005 (an estimated 119,600 men reported such violence in 2012)” (Source)
A survey in the U.S.A reported that “We analyzed data on young US adults aged 18 to 28 years from the 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which contained information about partner violence and injury reported by 11,370 respondents on 18,761 heterosexual relationships. Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.”
A survey in the U.K found that:
(And, for comparision purposes, click here to see the Canadian results for victimisation from violence generally)
**Male victims of domestic violence who are seeking assistance, and who live in Australia, should read this information**
On the level of support provided for male victims of domestic violence
“On the societal level, women’s violence against men has a trivial effect on men compared to the devastating effect of men’s violence against women” (Source).
“Shelley Serdahely, executive director of Men Stopping Violence, in Decatur, Ga., questions the validity of studies showing women are more violent. “Women might be more likely to get frustrated because men are not taught how to be active listeners and women feel like they are not being heard,” she said. “Often women are more emotional because the relationship matters a lot to them, and while that may come out in a push or a shove or a grab, all of which are considered dating violence, it doesn’t have the effect of intimidating the man.”” (Source)
This is the mistaken belief of many within the pro-feminist domestic violence sector whose philosophical approach is proscribed by the so-called Duluth Model. An attitude that underpins the chronic under-resourcing of services for male victims of DV.
“There are thousands of shelters in the U.S. for women and even thousands for our pets, but not a single independent shelter just for men (and no federal funding). The Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware Country, PA (where I grew up) was the first to campaign to assist victims of both genders but that only meant they were one of the first to allow mothers with teenage boys to find assistance as most still see 12-18 year old teenage boys as members of the “almost clinically and psychologically dead” (as per Dr. Helen Caldicott) “foreign male element.” Many states claim to help men somehow but not a one can provide any data on the number served.
England built their first men’s shelter in 2003 after 423 shelters (now 7,500) had been built for women (forced to open in secret due to fear of violent protests). All public funding for men’s shelters in England (like most countries), however, have since been pulled as men are now told to go to women’s shelters (a 2008 House of Commons report claimed there was no need or desire for male-only shelters with the issue only being distorted by a deep-seated contempt for women). Battered men around the world are routinely told to go to homeless shelters (what, no possibility of ingrained contempt for men?).
A few countries like Holland, Serbia, and Switzerland have set aside funds for battered men shelters but they are scarce and underfunded compared to homes for battered women. Most men are still waiting for their country’s first governmentally supported refuge. We must identify the violence done by women against men, see it as a serious social problem, and face the reality domestic violence is more likely mutual or female-initiated and so our public service announcements and federal service funding urgently need to be de-gendered.
The 1975 National Family Violence Survey (Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family, Straus et al.) found men and women equally abusive. The myth of subjugated women (Gelles, 1988; Kaufman, 1990; Straus, 1991) has but “crippled prevention and treatment efforts” (Scott, 2006). In 2008, Drs. Douglas and Hines conducted the first-ever national survey of men who sought help for heterosexual partner violence. It regrettably showed a large proportion of men who seek help from American domestic violence agencies (49.9%) or hotlines (63.9%) are specifically told, “We only help women.”
Many men seeking assistance from DV agencies (40.2%) or DV hotlines (32.2%) end up accused of being the batterer, a third of male victims who call the police end up arrested, and less than a third of those who consult with any mental health professionals are offered details on how to get help from a DV program. The investigation concluded the worst places for men to get help were “those that are the core of the DV service system: DV agencies, DV hotlines, and the police. The qualitative accounts in our research tell a story of male help seekers who are often doubted, ridiculed, and given false information.”
“I vividly remember accidentally walking into a “safe room” for victims of domestic violence at the court house and being pounced on by a bunch of quite militant women and told in no uncertain terms to get out of the room, for no other reason than I was male and they assumed I was the guilty party. It didn’t even occur to them that I , a male, was the VICTIM of domestic violence. The irony is that my extremely violent wife would have been welcomed with open arms in the same situation and been showered with empathy by them.” (Source: Readers comment)
“I’m not suggesting that violence against men doesn’t happen, of course it does, but it is actually really rare.” Karen Willis, Executive Officer for Rape and Domestic Violence Services in Australia (Source)
Prioritising women’s safety in Australian perpetrator interventions: The purpose and practices of partner contact (April 2020). An example of the work of ANROWS, brimful of gender bias but substantive enough to the naïve, or biased, eye to have a significant influence on the manner in which DV-related funds are dispensed.
“According to study author Brenda Russell, a psychology professor at Pennsylvania State University, the officers surveyed rated male perpetrators of IPV as more “dangerous” to others than any other gender or sexual orientation.
In contrast, male victims of female perpetrators were considered “responsible” in some way for the abuse they suffered. Victims of lesbian and gay male violence were also considered more culpable and more likely to demonstrate thoughts and behaviors indicative of mental illness.”
“Forty years of feminist campaigning and the influence of gender stereotypes have had a major impact on how society views IPV.” “Gender biases are highly influential in affecting people’s perceptions of the severity of IPV.”
Here in Australia, to get an idea of the level of resistance to acknowledging male victims of DV, one only has to observe the response from feminists on the few occasions when some agency or individual (e.g. Tanveer Ahmed) publicly discusses male victims. The most recent example was when the NSW Police service featured male DV victims in a campaign in early 2015:
“Across almost every study, gender came out as a significant factor: the male participants were more tolerant and more willing to stay in relationships that involved aggressions. This was unexpected, but may reflect a reluctance within men to define their partners as aggressors and themselves in some sense as victims, as seen in low reporting rates of domestic violence against men.”
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.