Over at DWR, there is a post about domestic violence, and as usual it paints men as the monsters and women as the oppressed.
But it struck a nerve, partially because I’ve been hit in relationships, and because I find it incredibly sexist when people pretend that domestic violence is a male only issue – as in men are the only ones engaged in verbal, emotional or physical abuse against their partners.
Domestic violence is a human problem and it can happen to anyone, no matter whether you’re male or female.
So let’s hit some statistics:
Yet in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey — and one of the most shocking statistics wasn’t just the sheer total of victims of physical violence but also how those numbers broke down by gender.
According to the CDC’s statistics — estimates based on more than 18,000 telephone-survey responses in the United States — roughly 5,365,000 men had been victims of intimate partner physical violence in the previous 12 months, compared with 4,741,000 women. By the study’s definition, physical violence includes slapping, pushing, and shoving.
More severe threats like being beaten, burned, choked, kicked, slammed with a heavy object, or hit with a fist were also tracked. Roughly 40 percent of the victims of severe physical violence were men. The CDC repeated the survey in 2011, the results of which were published in 2014, and found almost identical numbers — with the percentage of male severe physical violence victims slightly rising.
“Reports are also showing a decline of the number of women and an increase in the number of men reporting” abuse, says counselor and psychologist Karla Ivankovich, PhD, an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Springfield.
That’s a whole lot of men and women being abused.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.1
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.1
1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
And according to a Guardian article:
Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.
Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.
At DWR, he had this to (quote) say:
If the problem is that men simply cannot control their tempers, then the solution is to start building anger management skills into school curricula, starting in kindergarten.
I guess you could say the same for women. Maybe a good go round of anger management for everyone.
But if the problem is men’s learned need to exercise power and control over women, then the solution is much more difficult. It requires that all of us take a look in the mirror and ask: Why do so many men in our society feel the need to control and dominate women?
Or maybe we could look in the mirror and ask ourselves, why do so many people want to control and dominate other people?
At what age do boys begin to learn that having power over women is part of being a man? What steps can we take in order to change that, both on an individual and an institutional level?”
At no stage was I taught that having power over a woman is part of being a man. In fact, I was taught to respect women by my father, who role-modeled that behavior to me until the day he died. He treated my mother with respect, and taught me that violence wasn’t a solution.
Imagine for a second that someone took a knife and cut off a woman’s breast, put it in a blender and turned it on. Then a group of males went on national television and had a good laugh about it, and said that they’d put it in the dog bowl.
Think the audience would be laughing about it?
That’s what they did on The Talk, when a man suffered genital mutilation.
That clip makes me want to puke in my mouth. Jesus.
Ask yourself if women’s domestic violence shelters (who do good work by the way) have a terrible time of finding funding?
Well in England and Wales, women’s refuge’s get a pile more funding than men’s:
“Their plight is largely overlooked by the media, in official reports and in government policy, for example in the provision of refuge places – 7,500 for females in England and Wales but only 60 for men.”
And in Canada, one man completed suicide after he tried to get funding for a male shelter, after he was abused himself:
Mr. Silverman closed his shelter last month, saying he could no longer afford its upkeep. He long sought funding from provincial and federal governments to help run his hybrid shelter and home, but believed he was always refused because the space was dedicated to helping male victims and their children. He said he was unable to pay for heat and grocery bills.
Steven Howitt purchased Mr. Silverman’s house and said he helped the advocate move his belongings on Thursday.
“I couldn’t have predicted this. I got the sense that he was pretty frustrated that the shelter didn’t work out. He was frustrated with the government that he didn’t get any help,” Mr. Howitt said on Saturday.
Mr. Silverman’s shelter was the only one of its kind in Canada.
So I hope the next time you hear the words ‘domestic violence’ you take a moment to acknowledge that DV is a human problem, and it’s a serious one. No matter what gender the victim, we should be offering services and help.