Following on from White Ribbon day on 25 November 2017, we have noticed an uptake in traffic on our website particularly in relation to our article 'Do men get killed in domestic violence'. While we support any advocacy aimed at raising awareness of domestic violence so that you can get increased funding from the government, White Ribbon only focuses on women as victims. Many are apparently asking themselves, is this just a female problem.
Categories of Domestic Violence
It is important to remember that domestic violence shows itself in many different forms. Briefly, the common categories are physical, sexual, emotional, financial and psychological. What makes domestic violence dangerous is the level of control, not the form of violence. While there are no statistics kept on it, anecdotally the danger experienced by a person leaving a relationship has little to do with the category of violence but rather the level of control.
In the worst and most controlling relationships that we have seen, we are instructed there was no physical element to the violence. Statistically in a third to a half of cases where the victim is killed there was no physical element to the domestic violence prior to leaving. It is the loss of control that inflames the abuser and puts the victim at risk.
You can read about the types of domestic violence in greater details by clicking on the blue button to the right, which will take you to our previous article.
Why does that matter?
When we talk about domestic violence we tend to focus on men doing it to women, and physical or sometimes sexual domestic violence. If we are concerned about the physical safety of the victims or their children there is actually no reason to focus on these categories. Women certainly have an equal ability to behave in a controlling manner, the way that they control their victim may look different but the fear and the risk remain the same.
One in Three is an organisation that tries to raise awareness regarding male victims of domestic violence. They are called one in three because, statistically, one in three victims of domestic violence is a male, this includes one in three victims of domestic violence. Just as the statistics collected from organisations like White Ribbon or Destroy the Joint are higher than ABS or government statistics because they are not based on Court findings or government findings, the statistics from One in Three paint an even grimmer picture for men. You can have a look at those by following this link.
Attorney General's Report
In 2009 the Attorney General commissioned research into family violence and its impact on the family law system. The report researched experiences after changes to the law in 1995, and after changes to the law in 2006. That report can be read by following this link.
In that report the respondents were asked to give a reason, or reasons, for their relationship break down. In that report 1.3% of men admitted being violent towards their female ex partner, and 0.8% of men admitted to being violent towards their children.
Of the women surveyed, 60% stated their male ex was violent towards them, and 27.5% stated the male ex was violent to the children. Those statistics, the reporting from women, are closer to the accepted percentages than the men self reporting.
When the question is reversed, 1.5% of women admitted being violent towards their male ex and 1.2% admitted being violent towards their children, while the men reported that 25.8% of the female ex's were violent to them, and 11.4% of their female ex's were violent to the children.
These were not taken from court statistics where a person might think they could win some argument or gain sympathy, these were anonymous surveys. The level of self reporting (I was violent) is very similar in males and females, so there is no reason on the face of it not to believe that men are any more likely to lie when they say that nearly 26% of their female ex's were violent towards them.
The report also found that being a victim of violence and being too afraid to tell anyone was a problem for around two in five women and one in three men.
So who is responsible for the violence?
It is true that men are more likely to use physical violence, but women are certainly capable of it. According to statistics from the Australian Bureau of Stastics, in NSW in 2014 there were twice as many female domestic violence-related assault victims as there were men, you can read that report by following this link. There were 19,488 females who were the victim of male DV assault, and 9,261 males who were the victim of female DV assalut in New South Wales. If the Court believed that the women were acting in self defence then the charges would have been dismissed.
So again, women are more at risk, but it is simply not true that women are not physically aggressive, that men are always the attacker, or that men cannot be the victim.
If you would like to read more about Domestic Violence then click on the blue link to the left to read some more of our articles on this topic.