Monday, November 25, 2013

16 male victims don't count?

The Melbourne Herald Sun ran a feature on domestic violence today. The good thing about the report is that it includes statistics from Victoria Police showing not only violence of men against women, but violence of women against men (and also violence in same sex relationships).

According to Victoria Police records, in the last financial year there were 44 homicide offences "in a family violence context." These offences include murder, attempted murder and manslaughter.

So what is the breakdown by gender? Of the 44 homicide offences, 28 victims were women or girls and 16 were men or boys.

Now that does show that women were the victims in the majority of cases. However, 37% of the victims were male, i.e. a significant proportion.

It's therefore disappointing that, having given these statistics, the rest of the report assumes that domestic violence is something that men do to women. The reporter is stuck on the idea that men are to be always thought of as oppressors and women as victims. Here is the type of language used in the report:
[the data] is being revealed raise awareness of, and prevent, men's violence against women.

...CEO of the peak body Domestic Violence Victoria, Fiona McCormack, said it wasn't good enough that women were still not safe in their own homes.

...Det-Acting Supt Binyon said the statistics showed "women face a number of significant risks of violence from people that they know".

So the 16 male victims don't count? Why not, if you're against domestic violence, seek to tackle all domestic violence, rather than just a part of it? The answer, I'm afraid, is that there are people with an ideological view of domestic violence, who believe that men as an entire class benefit from domestic violence as a means to suppress women and that masculinity was created to enforce male privilege over women.

People who hold this view will then argue that violence against women by men is widespread and systemic; that it is supported within a traditional male culture; that it benefits all men; and that it is enacted by all social classes of men. What then becomes the solution to domestic violence? If all this is true, then the solution is to deconstruct masculinity and male "privilege" and to hold all men responsible for the problem.

That is currently the view of the people in charge. It ignores the fact that historically men have made considerable sacrifices to keep the women in their families safe from harm; that violence against women was always very strongly rejected within traditional masculine culture; and that domestic violence is not spread evenly throughout the community but is concentrated amongst those who are unemployed and who have drug, alcohol and mental health issues.

One final point. The report also included figures on the total number of domestic violence "attacks" (which include assaults, harassment, property damage and so on). It is true that a large majority of these attacks had a female victim (29,064 were male on female, 6,122 were female on male).

However, it's interesting to note the statistics for same sex assaults. There were 341 attacks within lesbian relationships. The percentage of lesbians as part of the population is usually given as below 1%, which would mean that there is a somewhat higher incidence of violence in these relationships. But how could that be if domestic violence is about upholding male "privilege"?

Similarly, there were 460 attacks within male homosexual relationships. Again, what would the point of these attacks be, if domestic violence is to be explained in terms of male oppression of women?


  1. This jumped out at me as well...

    He said that there were over 60,000 family violence reports last year and on 25,000 of those occasions police laid criminal charges.

    Less than half of the reports of "family violence" had enough evidence to lay charges. I would be interested to know who is making these false claims and why. Can you imagine the outcry if this was the same statistic for say armed robbery or car theft?

  2. Didn't you write somewhere that homosexuality was a 'learnt' thing that has derived from the liberal world we live in? And by implication, that if we lived in a truly conservative world, there would be NO homosexuality?

    If so, then your last comment is not very genuine.

    Savvas Tzionis

    1. No, I've never written that. It wouldn't make sense as homosexual practices predate liberal society. My own view is that homosexuality is likely to be partly a biological thing and partly something connected to the way that our identity as males and females is formed early in life. But nobody knows for sure.

      And, regardless, if there is domestic violence within homosexual relationships, then it suggests that domestic violence must be caused by something other than men seeking to uphold privilege at the expense of women.