Is Domestic Violence a male centred issue? Are acts of Domestic Violence typically carried out by men, or is this an old narrative used to squeeze the last drop of funding by organisations who’s relevance fades with changing statistics?
If you’ve been here before, the answer might not surprise you…
Another day, another opportunity to make friends on Twitter. Still awaiting any sort of targeted response whatsoever to the challenges laid out in our previous article toward Sarah Phillimore , we were swiftly provided a new dose of talking points from everyone’s favourite gender issues expert, Coercive Control:
If you’re not familiar with our friend(s) over at CC, they’re responsible for past hits such as claiming that fathers encounter issues in family court because they fail to make an effort with their children before separation, you know, your usual textbook, rational opinions.
Maintaining the standard, they’ve now turned their attention to the complicated and delicate issue of Domestic Violence where they have decided that most of it is committed by men and we should thus turn to education to teach men how not to be violent.
I’ll repeat that in case you missed it – The claim here is that men need to be taught how not to be violent. The event is actually called “Making respectful men”. Making them. Like in a factory.
Before we go on it’s important to clarify here what qualifies as “most” when speaking of things like who commits the “most” violence. In essence if you find that 49% of women and 51% of men commit an act of violence, you can still quite comfortably claim without objection that most of the violence is carried out by men, because they have the larger percentage.
What the word “most” doesn’t convey however is that in some cases it merely means “slightly more” and not “an overwhelming majority of the time”. When it comes to the reality of situations where statistical differences are very close, either percentage can sway dramatically when you consider factors that couldn’t be measured – Things like under reporting, for example.
So what’s the reality?
Since it’s been recognised that men can be victims and women can be perpetrators, many studies have materialised which demonstrate that men can account for up to 40% of overall victims of Domestic Violence, this is without considering how increasingly unlikely men are to report at all. In case you missed it, 40% is almost half – And with the stigma and how reluctant society (and male victims) is/are to recognise men as vulnerable to this sort of abuse, that percentage is considered modest.
So officially do men commit the “most” violence? It sure looks like it, but not in the staggering landslide fashion that an event to manufacture ‘respectful’ men might imply, it’s at the very least a 60/40 split.
In response, our co-founder Peter Morris challenged the perception created by such an event and claim and highlighted that a staggeringly high percentage of DV actually occurred within lesbian relationships (which in case you didn’t know, typically don’t have men involved), as reported by the CDC.
As you can see, old friends CC, rather than backing the views they shared with their own opinions called for the help of A Call To Men UK, and quite hilariously retorted that the latter ‘isn’t looking at lesbian women’. Absolutely rib tickling.
But really this is the problem, isn’t it? Of course A Call To Men (and the majority of other people and groups focusing on DV) don’t want to look anywhere else, that would’t be quite as comfortable. Even in the face of conflicting evidence, groups like these will plain refuse to change the narrative they build their services upon, and that decision is no accident.
Fast forward slightly and we get the cavalry! According to the eagerly awaited A Call To Men UK, there’s “reams” of evidence and a real lack of any “serious” dispute.
Above you can see one such “ream”, which is actually a gathering of statistics from only one police force, dated almost 10 years ago. Isn’t it strange how these statistics change greatly when you don’t focus just on reporting and ask individuals privately of their experiences? Something to do with aforementioned stigma perhaps?
Or maybe men don’t report because when they do, they’re more likely to be arrested themselves when the police arrive to investigate the offence. In 17% of cases the offending female perpetrator was arrested, and in 26% of cases the male victim was arrested instead. I think that might be the equality we hear so much about?
As for there being no “serious” dispute on the matter, well that depends what you count as “serious”, if you don’t think 22,700,000 articles on the topic are serious then you’re probably right in your claim:
So to recap, one police force in England focusing only on reports of a highly stigmatised issue is sufficient to be considered part of a “ream” of evidence, and further to that
22,700,000 results on Google have nothing “serious” to say. Gotcha.
Next up in the Twittersphere was Chris Hemmings, who really just doesn’t care who does it more and thinks we should focus on men anyway. I mean, why bother trying to work the damn issue out? God, why be such a drag? Let’s just focus on what Chris would prefer to and more importantly, whether men are huge numbers of victims or not, lets just end male violence specifically.
Chris – Journalist, producer and all around expert in how to ‘Be a Man’ while simultaneously not giving a shit about men when they’re in need because it’s not quite as fashionable as the alternative, is here to sort this whole thing out. Thank Christ!
Having checked out the conflicting viewpoints we’ve provided, Chris has worked out that studies by places like the CDC (huge centre of information in America which leads the way in research of all kinds) is actually wrong and he is right.
He (quite rightly) asserts that the percentages provided for lesbian violence represent a smaller community, and therefore the whole numbers will be smaller than the smaller percentage of the heterosexual community.
Which is perfectly fine and logical. Except the point here never was about the whole numbers, which Peter understood (and apparently Chris didn’t, despite getting all excited and calling Peter ‘inept’ for missing the exact thing he cocked up himself in his understanding). The point is about prevalence and likelihood.
You see, this entire thing began because of the promotion of the tired, forced narrative of male violence needing correction, the dire implication that men are so inherently violent a large portion of the time because they’re not educated enough to behave properly – Whether people like Chris or the CC like to admit it, that is exactly what’s being claimed, and they’re allowed to make those claims because they hang onto the vague use of words like “most” when pretending to demonstrate where and how the vast majority of violence occurs – And in all reality they’re also allowed to make such claims because no one really cares when the media or individuals collectively or separately berate men.
What Chris has missed is that, whole numbers or not, the stats from the CDC show perfectly the ratio and likelihood of lesbian relationship violence as it would apply to the wider population. In their study the CDC used 1.3% lesbian women and 2% gay men within their survey sample – In terms of the actual population you find this is almost exactly right, as (using the US as an example) 1.5% of people are confirmed as identifying as lesbian, and 1.8% of men have confirmed identifying as gay. Meaning the figures demonstrated in as close to real proportions as possible, where a high prevalence of relationship violence occurred.
And guess what? It wasn’t with men.