Suffer In Silence

don't suffer alone….

Domestic Violence

All serious studies into domestic violence show a roughly equal balance between the genders. Some studies have shown that there is a higher rate of domestic violence amongst lesbian than heterosexual couples. A poll undertaken by MORI and commissioned by Here and Now had these main findings:

One in five (18 percent) of men have been victims of domestic violence by a wife or female partner as opposed to 13 percent of women by a man.
One in nine women admit to having used physical aggression against a husband or male partner (compared to one in ten men)
14 percent of men say that they have been slapped by a partner (compared to 9 percent of women)
11 percent of men have had a partner threaten to throw something heavy at them (compared to 8 percent of women)
Only 4 percent of women explained that their behavior (either verbal or physical) was because of drink or drugs (compared to ten percent of men)
Nearly half (47 percent) of women say that their behaviour (physical or verbal aggression or verbal reasoning) was because “it was the only way I could get through to him”
Working class men (20 percent) are more likely to have been subjected to physical agression by a wife or female partner than upper or middle class men (15 percent)
Here and Now’s survey reveals that fifteen percent (6.3 million people) of the population say that they have been subjected to physical agression by a husband/wife or hetrosexual partner.
MORI interviewed a representitive quota sample of 1,978 adults in Great Britain. 1,865 of whom had ever been in a personal relationship with the opposite sex.
Field work was conducted from 17-21 November 1994 in 150 constituencies. All interviews were conducted face to face in home employing a self completion technique. Data have been weighted to the known profile of the British population.
Erin Pitzey
Following is a quote from Erin Pitzey (received in a personal email) who as the founder of the world’s first women refuge should be qualified to comment. She said:

“…it saddens me that we even have to have a women’s movement and a men’s movement but really there was no choice. I couldn’t stop the feminist movement from hi-jacking my work in London at my refuge in Chiswick. They wanted funding and my work, twenty-five years ago – as the first refuge in the world seemed heaven sent for them. No matter that I told them that out of the first hundred women that came into Chiswick sixty-two were as violent as the men they left. I couldn’t get any coverage for the truth. ‘All men are bastards and rapists’ is the only truth that the women’s movement were prepared to hear….Now, with the help of this evil movement father’s role in family life seems to be irrelevant…..”
These seem to be very wise words but Erin received death threats from women just for standing up and speaking out against anti-male hatred propaganda.

Social Work 1987
This work from:
The truth about Domestic Violence: A Falsely Framed Issue by R.L. McNeely and G. Robinson-Simpson
Social Work 32(6)485-490 1987

“Yet, while studies consistently show that men are victims of domestic violence as often as are women, both the lay public and many professionals regard a finding of no sex difference in rates of physical aggression among intimates as ‘suprising, if not unreliable, the sterotype being that men are agressive and women are exclusively victims.'”
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
This work from:
Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses: a longtitudinal analysis by K. O’Leary, J. Barling, Arias, Ilena, A. Rosenbaum, J. Malone and A. Tyree
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 57(2):263-268, 1989.

This report notes that 31% of men and 44% of women in a study reported that they aggressed against their partner in the year before marriage. Eighteen months after marriage, 27% of the men and 36% of the women reported being violent towards their partner.

Washington Post by Armin A. Brott 1994
This information is a precis taken from an article that appeared in the Washington Post July 1994 by Armin A. Brott. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that more than half of US married women (over 27 million) will experience violence during their marriage. Asked where these figures came from Rita Smith the group’s coordinator, told me the figures were only “estimates”. From where? “Based on what we hear out there”. Out where? Battered women’s shelters and other advocacy groups. When there is a sensational story to run, common sense and intellectual honesty are rarely taken into consideration.

Even those who have a public responsibility to be accurate on these issues sometimes falter. According to Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, for example, 4 million women are ‘battered’ each year by their male partners. But where did she get her figure? From a 1993 Harris poll commissioned by the Commonwealth Fund. Two percent of the 2,500 women interviewed said they had been “kicked, bit, hit with a fist or some other object”. Apply that to the approximately 55 million women married or living with a man and you get a total of 1.1 million. So where did the other 2.9 million come from? They were women who said they had been “pushed, grabbed, shoved, or slapped”. That’s a form of abuse, to be sure, but is it what most people would call battering?

By far the worst distortion of the numbers of battered women comes from Miami talk show host Pat Stevens, who appeared on a CNN show called “OJ on the Air” in June. She estimated the true number of battered women is 60 million. No one bothered to tell Stevens that 60 million is more than 100% of all the women in the entire country who are currently in relationships with a man.

Probably one off the best studies on domestic violence has been in the US. Murray A. Straus, head of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire and Richard A. Gelles, a sociologist at the University of Rhode Island, who have been tracking spousal abuse for over 20 years, have come up with what are widely believed to be the most accurate estimates available – the National Family Violence Survey (NFVS) sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. This survey found that 84% of American families are not violent. In 16% of families that do experience violence, the vast majority takes the form of slapping, shoving, and grabbing. Only 3-4% of all families (a total of about 1.8 million) engage in severe violence: kicking, punching, or using a weapon. Straus and Gelles estimate that about 188,000 women are injured severely enough to require medical attention. That is a horrifying number of victims, but it’s a far cry from 4 million, or 18 million, or 60 million.

Another common myth about domestic violence is that 95% of the time, women are the victims and men the perpetrators. Straus ad Gelles found that among couples reporting violence, the man struck the first blow in 27% of cases; the women in 24%. The rest of the time, the violence was mutual, with both partners brawling. Straus’ latest findings , released earlier this month, that men’s violence against women – even as reported by women- has dropped 43% between 1985 and 1992. Over this same period, in contrast, reported assaults by women against men increased by about 28%. The 95% figure comes from the US department of Justice, which collects data on the number of reports of domestic violence. Department studies have shown that men report all kinds of violent victimization 32% less frequently than women.

A Justice Department study released earlier this month showed that 41 percent of spousal murder victims were male. Battered women’s advocates claim that those women who kill their husbands do so only out of self-defense. But in an extensive study of women imprisoned for murder, Coramae Richely Mann, a researcher at the Department of Criminal Justice, Indiana University/Bloomington found that only 59% claimed self-defense and that 30% had previously been arrested for violent crimes. A recent Los Angeles Times article quoted Justice Department sources, reported that women who kill their husbands were acquitted in 12.9% of the cases, while husbands who kill their wives were acquitted only 1.4% of the time. In addition women convicted of killing their husbands receive an average sentence of only six years, while male spousal killers got 17 years.

So why are these statistics being battered? Not everyone who manipulates data does so for personal gain. Some are simple trying to get people to sit up and pay attention to the plight of battered women – a truely important goal. Is it OK to lie shamelessly if your cause is a noble one?

On the one hand Congress is about to pass the $1.8 billion Violence Against Women Act which, among other things, will fund toll-free hotlines, battered women’s shelters, and education and training programs. It’s certainly possible that none of this would be happening if advocacy groups stuck strictly to facts.

On the other hand Members of Congress, seeing a golden opportunity to appease a large block of voters, have chosen a quick solution rather that attempting to correct their constituents’ misapprehensions. The violence Against Women Act, for example, doesn’t devote a nickel to the same kind of special protection for men. Women too, are being hurt by the lies. Having fought so hard to be taken seriously and treated as equals, women are again finding themselves portrayed as weak and helpless. Worst of all, the inflation of domestic violence statistics produces a kind of ratchet effect. The same people complain that no one listens if they don’t exaggerate only find it that much more difficult to get people’s attention the next time around – which in turn seems to justify another round of exaggeration. Eventually, the public either stops listening altogether, or finds the statistics too absurd to believe.

Professor John Archer

A psychologist at University of Central Lancashire and president-elect of the International Society for Research on Aggression. As Archer has shown in a recent analysis of data from almost 100 American and British studies, women are more likely than men to initiate violence against their spouses or companions and are more likely to be aggressive more frequently. Most violence is tit-for-tat. Nor is it the case that women attack men only in self-defence. Among female college students, for example, 29% admitted initiating assaults on a male companion.

3 thoughts on “Domestic Violence

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