Violence against women has received government attention in Australia and elsewhere for some time. It is not, the government tells us, just an ordinary crime.
The Australian Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (The Plan) informs us “These crimes are gendered[sic] crimes – that is they have an unequal impact on women. (Australian Government, 2012).”
Emotionally, The Plan describes the plight of women caught up in domestic violence:
“While a small proportion of men are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, the majority of people who experience this kind of violence are women, in a home, at the hands of men they know.”
That small proportion of male domestic violence victims is 28.9% from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005 Personal Safety Study (ABS, 2006). No educated person would honestly call this a “small proportion”. It is almost 1 in 3.
The 2005 survey is quoted in the Plan with the following information:
“In 2005, over 350,000 women experienced physical violence and over 125,000 women experienced sexual violence.” By the way, in case you don’t notice the sleight of hand, this is all kinds of violence. It is not just domestic violence.
The number of women experience domestic violence for that year “at the hands of men they know,” is 195,300. What is the reason for the government uses the bigger, all violence, number? Well, it’s bigger, of course.
In the same report, it was found that 779,800 men experienced physical violence (that’s more than double) and over 46,700 men suffered sexual violence. These figures are a direct comparison to the ones for women above.
The Plan declares “No form of violence in our community is acceptable.” Yet, the Plan states:
“Men are more likely to be the victims of violence from strangers and in public, so different strategies are required to address these different types of violence.”
And what are those different strategies to address violence against men?
There are none.
There is no Plan to Reduce Violence against Men.
In other words, when violence has an “unequal impact on women”, it is “gendered[sic]”, and when it has an unequal impact on men it is simply “different”.
So, is the lack of “genderedness” because the violence on men is by men? Let’s again look at the same study.
On domestic violence between the sexes, the survey tells us that 195,300 women experienced assault by a male; 79,500 men experienced assault by a female. This is the 28.9% of assaults on males by females that the Plan completely ignores.
Do females attack other females? 66,600 females said “Yes” for 2005.
The 2005 survey also tells us 641,100 males and 389,300 females reported violence at the hands of females since the age of 15. That’s 1,030,000 separate individuals reporting instances of violence carried out by females in their lifetime. While the total for male perpetrated violence is higher at 3,641,400, this still means that almost 1 in 4 perpetrators were female.
Another question that springs to mind: is it getting worse?
The 1996 Women’s Safety Study, done by the ABS, was the first study of its kind. This study examined the plight of women only. No male victims of violence were sought, because the study was funded by the Office for the Status of Women (ABS, 1996).
Is that “gendered” or what?
The 2005 Personal Safety Study was similarly funded by the Office for Women, but the ABS insisted in including men and so funded that part of the survey.
The later study showed that violence against women decreased from 490,400 in 1996 to 443,800 in 2005, even though the population of women increased by some 12%. Not only that, but the number of reports to police also increased by almost 30% from 54,400 to 70,400 for the same period.
So, according to the ABS figures, the problem for women definitely declined between 1996 and 2005.
Why then, when “No form of violence in our community is acceptable,” are male victims of violence being declared “different” enough to be ignored?
The male experience of violence should not be lightly discounted. It is not simply a fact that men experienced double the levels of violence. The ABS’s 2009 Causes of Death report shows that twice as many men were murdered than women (ABS, 2011). So, more men suffer at the extreme end of violence than women.
Not only do male victims go unvalued, but the female perpetrators simply evaporate as well. Even when they attack females, the Australian government is prepared to ignore their existence.
So while “No form of violence in our community is acceptable,” and “Reducing all violence in our community is a priority,” according to The Plan, there are clearly some forms of violence more equal than others.
This lack of concern from society for the violence that men face, and the demonising them as always being the perpetrator, may also be factors in the suicide rate for men. The ABS’s 2009 Causes of Death report informs us that the men are the victims of suicide on a ratio of more than 3 to 1.
It certainly won’t help men’s self-esteem.
This figure is not to be ignored. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in males, and the first in the order that is not disease related. There were ten times more suicides than murders in 2009.
The conclusion has to be that the discussion on domestic violence is indeed “gendered” in Australia. This is not because of the impact violence has on women.
The complete denial of female perpetrators is clearly a bigoted attempt to cover-up female violence. This is not done as a deliberate act to help violent females, but more a price to be paid in order to follow the feminist agenda of demonizing men. That it also implicitly condones violence by females shows how bad this bigotry has become.
The total disregard of male victims in domestic violence is similarly bigoted and completely heartless.
But what does this bigoted approach actually do for domestic violence?
Professor Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire, tells us that the feminists’ ideological approach to Domestic Violence “has crippled prevention and treatment programs (Straus, 2010).”
He states that almost all domestic violence, which he calls intimate partner violence, is “gender[sic] symmetrical”. In other words, both men and women can be equally violent. This is not to say that one is being the aggressor and the other is hitting back in self-defense.
What he is really saying is that the world of domestic violence is not the feminist approved version where the big, strong man beats his poor, defenceless wife because patriarchy demands it.
In the real world, the aggressor is just as likely to be a woman as a man. For many couples, the answer is both. This is not a question of “who started it?” Both partners in the relationship can have violent tendencies. The issues, however, are as complex and varied as the people in the relationships. Professor Straus says:
“[It] is more likely to be traceable to risk factors such as antisocial personality traits, chronic excessive drinking, social disadvantage, a propensity to crime, and psychopathology of varying degrees of severity.”
These are clearly “gender-free” terms.
The main reason for following feminist ideology rather than the facts, according to Straus, is it attracts sympathy, funding and government support. There are more votes in being “Defenders of Women” than there is in trying to explain what “psychopathology of varying degrees of severity” actually means.
Certainly, the Australian government seems to be motivated in this way. It sanctimoniously distorts the picture of domestic violence by focussing on women as victim; and men as aggressor.
The plan repeatedly makes emotive statements like, “The emotional and personal costs of violence against women cannot be measured: the effects reach all levels of society,” and “[The Plan] will allow women who have experienced violence to rebuild their lives.”
This brings an image of knuckles on face violence, yet the figures quoted in the 2005 study are not incidents of crime. The study was conducted by calling random individuals at home and asking them if they had experienced any violence. Violence was defined as “any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of either physical or sexual assault.”
In 1996, 52% of assaults did not result in any physical injury. Minor cuts and bruises were the majority of actual injuries (85%). In all, 0.4% of the female population reported violence which resulted in serious harm. In 2005, presumably due to their lack of emotional impact, the injury figures were not reported.
Similarly, in 1996 almost 70% of so called assaults did not report the event to the police because, in the mind of the women reporting the event, it was not serious enough to report or she could handle the matter herself.
So if the 1996 and 2005 figures describe all kinds of all violence, the vast majority of this would constitute petty violence.
And let us not forget the biggest numbers of all. In 1996, 93% of all women did not experience any kind of violence whatsoever. In 2005, that figure rose to 95%. The number of men who did not experience any violence was 89%.
No matter how you look at these figures, the Australian government is clearly trying to create a moral panic by exaggerating and distorting the problem. Ultimately, male victims of violence are simply being ignored while the declining problems of violence against fewer women are being tackled as a priority.
And the serious harm that was inflicted upon men as a result of violence in 1996, 2005 or any other year?
ABS. (1996, December 11). 1996 Women’s Safety Study. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from Australian Bureau of Statistics: http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/F16680629C465E03CA256980007C4A81/$File/41280_1996.pdf
ABS. (2011, May 3). 2009 Causes of Death. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from Australian Bureau of Statistics: http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/83A6580246688CEBCA2578840012A073/$File/33030_2009.pdf
ABS. (2006, August 21). Personal Safety Study 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from Australian Bureau of Statistics: http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/056A404DAA576AE6CA2571D00080E985/$File/49060_2005%20(reissue).pdf
Australian Government. (2012, June 20). National Plan. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs: http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/national_plan.pdf
Straus, M. (2010). Thirty Years of Denying the Evidence of Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence: Implications for Prevention and Treatment. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from University of New Hampshire: http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V71-Straus_Thirty-Years-Denying-Evidence-PV_10.pdf