Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Domestic Violence that dare not speak its name

I listened to a piece on this mornings Today program on Radio 4. The plan is to build safe "panic rooms" for women so that they can be safe from domestic abuse should their male ex become a problem.

You can read the BBC's article on their website here.

Neither it, nor the government seem to mention domestic violence perpetrated by women on men. Not Once!

However I did note this article, prompted by Surrey Police which does make it clear that domestic violence is both man on woman and woman on man. You can read that article here. It is also the first time I have seen a domestic abuse poster featuring a battered male.

Whilst I am at it, in recent years I can only recall ONE NSPCC advert that did not feature a man as the abuser of his children, and that was recently. Most violence against children according to one study I heard about was a woman beating a child. (To be fair they get more contact time).

So let us stop this misandry, domestic violence is perpetrated by men and women against men women and children. It is clear that when a government has a Minister for Women who does not acknowledge women on men domestic violence in the language used, that government is dominated by misandrists.

Update 13:34

I forgot to mention also the women on women, and men on men domestic violence and sexual assault which also occurs in same sex households, which does not even get a look in to the point that even I forgot about it whilst writing the main article.


Ellee said...

I suppose the cases involving men as victims are miniscule compared to women, or maybe there are more and they don't own up to it. But I agree, any domestic violence is horrific and women can be bullies too.

Benedict White said...

From the BBC article in the Surrey area reported abuse on men by women seems to run at just over 20%, and that is those men who feel they can take the shame.

Timothy said...

Having been in a relationship that was somewhat... fraught at times I have to make the following observations from my own experience.

Whilst I am all for equality between the sexes there is a very obvious difference in average size and strength between men and women.

This meant that I never felt in any physical danger from my wife, even when, for example, she was whacking me about the head with a pole whilst I was trying to change the baby's nappy.

The reverse, however, is obviously not the case, and my wife became extremely scared when I overpowered her to prevent her from continuing to hit herself with the aforementioned pole.

Combine this with the continuing economic imbalance, which sees more women financially dependent on men than vice versa, and I think it would not be fair in any way to equate domestic violence by women against men with domestic violence by men against women.

Whilst any individual case is obviously to be deplored and dealt with in an appropriate manner, I think that the fact of the situation is that the bulk of the abuse is borne by women at the hands of men, and it would be dishonest of us, particularly men, to pretend that this wasn't the case.

Consequently, I disagree with the general tenor of the original post.

Benedict White said...

Timothy, I am glad you have posted, and I suspect that is how domestic violence towards men is viewed. I would however make the following observation. A home, particularly a family home is a place of safety. A great deal of shit happens outside of the home that a lot of us have to face everyday. When you walk through the family homes door, you expect to be safe.

It may well be the case that you can best your other half in a fight, but does any of us need that shit? and is it acceptable for a woman to try to beat a man because he is bigger than her?

The only response the man can give is self defence which may cause injury to the woman, leaving the man open to accusations of domestic violence and having his kids taken away!

Timothy said...

Benedict - I feel the idea that the threshold to the family home can act as some sort of barrier, to keep the shit that happens in the wider world out, somewhat naive. [Incidentally I find it very strange, as a lefty, to be telling a righty that he's being naive!]

People are inevitably damaged by their experiences "out there" and cannot prevent bringing some of that home. My naivety, then, stems from a belief that it is possible to tackle the shit out there, as a way of making society as a whole healthier, and domestic violence rarer.

Finally, to reiterate my main point. In terms of domestic violence the very worst that women have to suffer at the hands of men is worse than vice versa. My worst fears were much more for the harm that my wife was doing to herself, than for what she would do to me if I upset her.

Of course, such a situation is neither acceptable or sustainable, but it is a far cry from the situation that some women sadly still find themselves in of being regularly beaten and completely dominated by their abusive male partners. The two are not equivalent.

Benedict White said...

Timothy. Firstly a man I knew hanged himself as a result of domestic violence, and other things. Woman on man violence can be fatal in a number of ways.

Secondly my "The shit stops at the door" attitude is built from the idea that a couple should be building a family on the basis of being on the same team.

Lastly, you should see some women fight. The only way to stop some could result in a charge of assault or worse.

The issue I have is the lack of government recognition of woman on man or child abuse. (after all if you are out earning a living, you do expect to some home to live children surely?)

Ellee said...

These comments are so illuminating, it really is a terribly tragic situation, well done for raising it.
Have a very happy, and peaceful, Christmas.

dexey said...

I notice that Crime Watch had a men battering women theme tonight. To be fair they did mention that it happens the other way round and there was some nasty men battering men as well.

Is this a Christmas campaign instead of drink driving? Are we all to be aware? Is there a ribbon or a wrist band?

Benedict White said...

Yes Dexey, I noticed that as well. I watched the tail end of the program and only saw the violence towards strangers but ho hum.

Domestic violence is wrong, no matter who does it, and we won't tackle the problem until its true nature is recognised.

dexey said...

I believe that all violence is wrong but I am not a turn the cheek type and believe in a strong response. One of my daughters was in a 'fraught' relationship and I told the fellow what would happen to him if it continued. He left and she has settled with a nice bloke. I don't like the characterisation of these issues as problems. For me it isn't, and realistically violence has always been with us. My friends Grandma used to get regular beaten by her husband, early 1900's, after he'd stopped off at the pub on payday. One Friday night, after many years of marriage, she got up in the night and smashed the frying pan on his face as he lay drunkenly sleeping. He never touched her again.
Is there evidence to show that it is getting it worse because I don't believe that it will ever get better. It is as it is and needs a strong response to stop it within a relationship.

Benedict White said...

Dexey, I agree that a strong response can work. It is the only way to deal with a bully.

I don't know whether the issue is getting worse or not, but if it gets highlighted and out in the open it can be dealt with. The main purpose of my article was to highlight the fact that it is not a woman only issue.

Dexey said...

Just what do you mean by "dealt with", Benedict.

Benedict White said...

Well, Dexey, good question. I suppose I mean that society as a whole is prepared to look after those who are vunerable and not tolerate domestic violence no matter who does it.

dexey said...

Benedict, as a society we don't tolerate domestic violence, there are laws against it and punishments for it, but it still happens.
My daughter runs this cities domestic violence forum and organises secure accomodation, counselling and support through the court process to the victims. It all costs lots of money and what happens? Most of the victims return to the abuser. Many of them invite their abuser to their new secure flats because they 'love' them. So that's alright then.
It's in the open, it hasn't ever been a secret and although the media has apparently only just 'discovered' it, it's been around a long while. A lot of money is spent in an effort to help but a lot is wasted on those who won't help themselves.

Benedict White said...

Dexey, The purpose of my article was to highlight domestic abuse by women, because as a society we do not recognise or deal with that enough.

On your other points, yes it must be heart breaking for your daughter to have done so much to get someone away from an abusive partner only for them to invite them back.

You have to wonder if this is not some cycle of abuse, perhaps the person being abused had abusive parents and so expects it, as indeed is probably the case with the abusers. We need more imaginative ways of breaking this cycle of abuse.

Anonymous said...

Violence of any type is always unacceptable. I had a brother whose GF was a nut case. She would beat on him and he would just sit there and take it "like a man". He would have scratches and bruises from these encounters. Occasionally, he would attempt to restrain her. Since she put up a fight, she ended up with a red mark on her arm from his attempt. She threatened to call the police and report him for DV. He eventually told her that if it happened again, it would be the last time. He set up recording equipment just in case. Needless to say, she did it again and we helped him pack her bags and change the locks. (he owned the house). Upon learning of the eviction, she went to the police and attempted to accuse him of DV. Luckily, he had a video to prove she lied. The nut actually tried to sue him for taping her illegally and causing her embarassment by using the tape to prove she filed a false report. She said that is caused her emotional distress and violated her rights to privacy.