Sunday, November 26, 2006

Putting another feminist statistic to rest

Over at Iain Hall's site there's been some discussion on the domestic violence issue. A Miss P, who is both a practising witch and a student union president, wrote indignantly in the comments thread:

This is about men. It's about men because the overwhelming amount of violence against women is undertaken by men. Domestic violence is the highest killer of women in Australia between the ages of 15 to 44! There is no excuse for this and trying to make one quite frankly is pathetic. Please note that this post does not allude that I hate men in fact I love them very much.

She loves us so much she is willing to believe the most damning statistics against us! A pity she hasn't learned yet to be a bit more sceptical about feminist statistics which rarely prove to be accurate.

Take the claim that the overwhelming amount of violence against women is undertaken by men. According to the two most recent ABS surveys, about 25% of assaults against women are actually committed by women. So whilst it's true that a majority of assaults are committed by men, the percentage of female perpetrators is significant enough to deserve attention.

The next claim by Miss P is even more off the mark. Any reasonable person ought to be immediately sceptical of a claim that most young women are killed by domestic violence.

So I checked out the causes of death of women in this age group in Australia for 2004 (see Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia, 2004).

The basic information is clear enough and is found on pages 11 and 12. The main cause of death for women in this age group is cancer, not domestic violence. 673 Australian women aged 15 to 44 died of cancer in 2004.

Deaths by external causes, the category in which deaths from domestic violence would be included, caused 743 deaths. However, if we subtract deaths by car accidents the number falls to 528, which is already less than deaths by cancer. If we further subtract suicide, we get 290 deaths by external causes.

How many of these 290 deaths were due to domestic violence? It's not possible from the ABS data to give an exact answer. There is a further breakdown of the data on pages 51 and 52, but only by female deaths and not by age group. However, the statistics do indicate that injuries by assault leading to fatality were a small percentage of total injuries. For all women there were 77 such injuries out of a total of 6056 for all causes (both intentional and accidental).

Another way to get a further breakdown is to note that about 40% of the fatalities to all women were from accidental causes (once we subtract car accidents and suicides). If we apply this percentage to our 290 deaths for women in the 15-44 age group, we are left with only 174 deaths from intentional injuries.

So we are now at 673 deaths from cancer and a maximum of 174 deaths from domestic violence. And of these 174 deaths? It's difficult to break down the figures any further. I'll only point out that injuries from assault totalled only 77 out of 3000 left in this intentional category - so I expect that most of these deaths were not related to domestic violence.

At any rate, I just don't see from the ABS data how the feminist claim could possibly be correct. Even if we simply take the original figure of 673 cancer deaths compared to 528 deaths from external causes (minus car accidents), the claim that domestic violence is the leading cause of death in the 15-44 age bracket simply can't be right.

So can I implore readers to always be cautious before accepting feminist statistics - they are all too often demonstrably inaccurate.


  1. Yep,

    Them Feminazis sure know how to twist the facts around.

    What annoys me though, is that they think they have a monoply on certain debates, their supporting ethosos, and any other stuff that the Leftists assuage.

    Even worse, the loose cannons use stats and research materail from all over from all over the world to bend their brains, make rabid their converts, and beat Australia over the head with.

    For what its worth, i think there is a large amount of shame that follows thase psuedo-intellectuals.

  2. Miss Potitics is very sadly Missinformed but then she is a Greens voter :o)

    And thanks for the link and inclusion in your blog roll:o)

  3. You have not done your homework very well. In fact there have been three specific surveys undertaken in relation to domestic violence in Australia. One in 1996 and 2006 by the ABS and one by the Australian Institute on Criminology in 2004.

    Some very startling facts have arisen from these surveys. Here is some food for thought:

    2006 - over 4440,000 Australian women have been subjected to domestic violence in the previous twelve months. Each and every case was violence of men against women.

    You can read more statistics at the following links:

    White Ribbon Day Statistics

    Violence Against Women
    I cannot fathom why you would deny this is a major issue. I would think that it is YOU that needs to get your facts straight.

  4. Each and every case was violence of men against women.

    Miss Politics, here you go again. Both the 1996 and 2005 ABS surveys showed that 25% of cases of physical assault against women were committed by women.

    Why do you wish to ignore this and instead focus on male violence alone?

    Similarly when you quote statistics like 440,000 women being subject to domestic violence, the first thing you have to do is to look at how domestic violence has been defined.

    When I looked at the 1996 survey I found that 2.6% of women were subject to any form of violence from their partners, including threats, in a 12 month period. The percentage falls to no more than 1.3% of women if you remove less severe cases of violence such as threats or grabbing.

    1.3% of an entire population of women will still generate significant numbers. But it's not the 30%, 40%, 50% of women frequently bandied about by feminists.

  5. The statistics that feminists definitely don't want you to see are those relating to domestic violence against men by women. See the following study and its fascinating history:
    Institution (1)Simon Fraser University
    (2)University of British Columbia.
    Title Gender Differences in Patterns of Relationship Violence in Alberta.[Article]
    Source Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. 31(3):150-160, July 1999.
    Abstract Gender differences in patterns of relationship violence were investigated in a representative sample of adult men (N = 356) and women (N = 351) from the province of Alberta. Respondents reported on their receipt and perpetration of violent acts in the year prior to the survey. Men and women, respectively, reported similar one-year prevalence rates of husband-to-wife violence (12.9% and 9.6%) and wife-to-husband violence (12.3% and 12.5%). However, differential gender patterns of reporting were identified. On average, men reported that they and their female partners were equally likely to engage in violent acts and to initiate violent conflicts. In contrast, women reported lower levels of victimization than perpetration of violence, and they reported less male-only and male-initiated violence than did men. The majority of respondents in violent relationships reported a pattern of violence that was bidirectional, minor, infrequent, and not physically injurious. The discussion focuses upon the meaning of gender differences in reports of relationship violence, and the existence of distinct patterns of violence within intimate relationships.

  6. I would like to point out that there are many different strands of feminism, and not all feminists think men are intrisically violent and evil. I would call myself a feminist, but I read blog posts such as this one with interest. I welcome different opinions.

    I accept that the dynamics behind domestic violence is complex, and that those who say that our society is filled with violent men abusing victimised women are painting an over-simplistic and incorrect picture.

    Nevertheless, I'm still a supporter of White Ribbon Day. Let's look at the big picture. Surely no one could say that it is a bad thing to support women who have been victims of violence? I think it's important to make sure that the issue of domestic violence is not brushed under the carpet, and that any people (female or male) who have suffered as a result of domestic violence get support.

  7. I must say, I am a little taken aback at your vitriol! I was trying to be a "gentlewoman" and talk rationally and fairly on these issues.

    Although I would call myself a feminist, I don't think everything feminism has produced is good. Sometimes women can be their own worst enemies. After I had my child, I was told by another woman that I should just put my 3 month old child in care and "get back to work" like she had, because that's what women have to do these days, otherwise they are "weak". Seems to me that's a bad kind of feminist attitude. The men in the workplace were actually much more understanding and told me to enjoy my new baby.

    I'm glad that Mark raised these statistics. If Miss P and others are quoting incorrect and misleading statistics, I want to know about it. I think it is really important that government and other decisions be made based on accurate facts.

    I'm not sure what you want or what your point is. Do you want the government to stop spending money altogether on domestic violence? Or do you want the goverment to ensure that all victims of domestic violence (male, female and children) are supported?

    What do you suggest women do? Just shut up and stop "whinging" altogether? What if a woman is really abused badly (beaten or raped and the like)? Do she have a right to speak out then? Can she form a support group with other women who have similar experiences?

    It seems that at least we both agree that society is full of mixed and confusing messages for both men and women. Should a man open a door for a woman? What if she then shouts at him for "patronising" her? That doesn't seem fair. I don't know what the answer is to resolving these mixed messages.

    You mock me for saying that this is a complex issue: but I stand by that assertion. Let's take your Woman A and Woman B example. Let's say Woman A and her partner have a robust relationship where they regularly have loud arguments in which they both shout at each other. Woman A is fine with that. However, what if Woman B's partner regularly makes loud threats to hurt or kill her? That puts a entirely different complexion on the "shouting", and may explain why Woman B is scared and Woman A is not.

    If you have an easy answer as to how to deal with domestic violence in society, let me know. But please treat my opinion with the same respect with which I have tried to treat yours.

  8. heh heh, I'm amazed. apparently there are people who actually think statistics cited by feminists might have some validity. I mean c'mon people - how many times does the emperor have to parade up and down starkers with his ol' fella swinging in the breeze before it dawns on ya there's something a little unconventional about the cut of his suit?

  9. BobbyN,

    Thank you for clarifying your position. I'm glad it was nothing personal.

    The points you raise are interesting.

    1. BobbyN: "You can’t lay down a ‘blanket’ rule of violence for everything from shouting-to-punching and expect everyone to treat them as equal offenses. Physical abuse (ie. hitting, bruising, etc) can reasonably be defined as such, but to lump shouting and emotion as ‘violence’ is ridiculous. That’s my point."

    I think your problem is actually with the way in which the law works. It is the law which lumps shouting and emotion in with violence. So when feminists do so, they are just following the way in which the law works.

    It is well established in the common law that "assault" does not only include physical assault and may include an apprehension in the mind of the victim that violence is immediately about to occur. Assault may even include conduct such as shining a torch in someone's eyes.

    I had a look on Halsbury's Laws of Australia to find cases where an apprehension of immediate violence was found by the court. Yep, I'm not just a feminist and a lawyer, I'm a nerd too - three strikes against me! ;-) Anyway, here's those cases: R v Lewis [1970] Crim LR 647 (protagonist in another room); R v Beech [1911-13] All ER Rep 530 (protagonist on other side of locked door apparently about to break it down); Logdon v DPP [1976] Crim LR 121 (accused opened a drawer and showed victim gun declaring he would hold her hostage); Smith v Chief Superintendent Woking Police Station (1983) 76 Cr App R 234; [1983] Crim LR 323, QB (accused peered in through window, victim in night clothing); R v Everingham (1949) 66 WN (NSW) 122 (pointing a toy pistol at a taxi driver); Rozsa v Samuels [1969] SASR 205 (conditional threat); R v Dale [1969] QWN 30 (pretending to have a gun); R v Ireland [1998] AC 147 (a series of silent telephone calls).

    You'll note that some of those cases are quite early (prior to a time where feminism could influence judges).

    You may be relieved to know that the apprehension of violence in the victim is determined by an objective evaluation of the facts rather than the reaction of the victim.

    So, let's take your Woman A and Woman B example again and assume that the shouting was exactly the same. If Woman B was timid, and her fears were unjustifiable, the court would find that there was no assault. However, if Woman A was brave, and a Court found that an ordinary person would have been afraid, but Woman A was not, assault would be established. Courts try to make sure that these things are taken into account.

    The Court would also take into account the gravity of the conduct in sentencing. So if someone merely shouted at a victim, they would get a lesser sentence than a person who beat a victim black and blue.

    2. BobbyN: It’s the same as making ‘rape’ vague in its legal definition. Rape should lean more towards “to force to have sexual intercourse.” – instead of ‘broadening’ its definition to encapsulate a girl changing her mind the morning after sex, or being ‘looked’ at a certain way by someone. It’s a disservice to victims of ‘forced’ rape.

    Again, I think your problem is with the law not feminism. The legal definition of rape is "non consensual sex". In law, there is no rape if if can be proven that the woman changed her mind the day afterwards, and I agree with that conclusion. I do not support the broadening of rape to a mere look, or to situations where there's a change of mind. I agree with you that people who say this should constitute rape are doing a disservice to real rape victims.

    There must be a lack of consent at the time. But the issue in this case is proving that there was a lack of consent. What if you are a juror and you are listening to evidence at a rape trial? The victim says "I didn't consent" and the perpetrator says "She did consent, she has just changed her mind."

    I think you should look at these questions objectively (and any feminist who "presumes" the woman is telling the truth and "presumes" the man is guilty is highly unjust!) I take each person as I find them. To me, it's really a question of whose word you prefer: his word against hers. I have worked in a couple of different Courts before (although not in the criminal jurisdiction), and my observation is that it's very difficult coming to a decision on these things when you actually have to assess the truth of the matter.

    Although I am a feminist, I certainly don't think I am an expert in relationships or that this gives me an entitlement to presume men are bad.

    Perhaps it will help you understand where I am coming from when I tell you that someone I know and love dearly was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her boss. She was young, insecure and naive. She didn't actually want his advances, but because it was coming from her boss, she was too scared to speak out, and thought maybe this was normal workplace behaviour. Eventually, she confronted her boss, and was told that she was "asking for it". The boss seemed to think that because she was young, vulnerable and attractive, that meant she wanted his attention and indeed was asking for it.

    That's why I feel so passionately about these issues: I want to stop conduct like that happening, and raise awareness in people like that girl's boss that his conduct is really wrong.

    And no: I'm not the girl. If it was me, I would have told the guy to get his hands off me (politely, but firmly) and if he didn't, I would have slapped him (proving that sometimes, yes, women are violent towards men...! But justifiable?)

  10. Bobby N,

    I am not convinced by affirmative action myself. I do not like it when people are promoted because they are a particular "race", gender or anything else. A person should be promoted because they are the best person for the job (and gender or race is immaterial). To do otherwise smacks of "tokenism". I would hate to be appointed to a particular position just because someone thought it was time for a woman to be appointed. I would want to be promoted because I was the BEST! :-D

    I agree with you that there is a very weird dichotomy in feminism: on the one hand "We're strong, clever and empowered and we can do whatever we want" and on the other hand "We're victims and we're oppressed by the patriarchy". I think this kind of dichotomy is common to any group who perceives that it has been treated unjustly. Men's rights groups have that same dichotomy, except they see themselves as disadvantaged by changes created by feminists, the family law system and the like.

    Personally, I don't see myself as a victim 99% of the time, and I tend towards the view that I'm pretty darn lucky (I'm educated and empowered).

    It does give me the irrits, however, when someone tries to write me off or assumes that I am not competent just because I am a woman. For example, I once appeared in court for a client. The barrister for the other side was an unpleasant fellow. He stood over me, and said "I'll handle this case, don't worry your pretty little head about it." He was presuming that just because I was female, I was not competent and he could bully me. Of course, I stood up for myself, stood my ground. And I won the argument that day. But I hate that attitude.

    In terms of your point about assault: I agree with you that if a man hits a woman and a woman hits a man and each inflects equal damage on the victim, they should get equal penalties. Anything else is unfair. I also agree that you can't convict a man of rape just because you feel sorry for the female victim! That would also be unfair. It has to be proven (beyond reasonable doubt) that the man committed the crime. I think that it is very important that a defendant is presumed innocent by the legal system unless found guilty by a jury.

    I'm guessing from your use of the word "Mom" that you're from North America - in any case, I think feminism must have reached your courts well before it reached ours! There were still a number of cases in the 1980s where judges in Australia said it was fine for a husband to subject his wife to "rougher than usual handling" or that a woman who dressed skimpily was "asking for it".

    I don't really want to disclose too many details of what happened to my friend (as it's her story to tell). Just imagine a married fellow the age of this girl's Dad grabbing and playfully slapping her in inappropriate places, while making comments about how good she'd be in bed and the like. Yuk. Anyway, she left that workplace and is now fine, working elsewhere: just a little older, sadder and wiser.

    I wonder what you'd think of my recent post on a recent High Court case, in which a husband sued his wife for damages when he discovered that two of "his" children were not his? Personally, I didn't think it was appropriate for a court to get involved in private matters of this nature.

  11. Bobby N,

    I thought the analogy you drew between the Magill case and hospitals who give a family the wrong child being liable to compensate was a really interesting one.

    I agree that Mrs Magill should definitely be liable to pay back all the child support in relation to the two children back to Mr Magill (with interest added!). The reports said that she agreed to do so, although I don't think the Department of Family Services has given him the money yet. But I still don't think she should have to pay him damages for mental suffering caused as a result. I think the hospital situation can be distinguished because it has a professional duty to make sure it gives you the right child. Whereas, from my point of view, Mrs Magill just has a moral duty. I think we both agree that her conduct was immoral, selfish and just plain contemptible!

    Sometimes I wonder if disputes like this could be sorted out with a simple and heartfelt apology rather than damages. Perhaps it's naive of me. But when I was a girl, my sister was run over by a car and badly injured. I was devestated - as the big sister, I had been given responsibility for "looking after her" at high school. Fortunately, after a few months in hospital, she recovered fully. However, the driver never apologised to my sister or our family, and didn't even send my sister a bunch of flowers or ask how she was. Presumably this was because he was worried that to do so was to admit legal liability. We didn't want any money from him. How could money compensate for the anguish we'd gone through? But it would have been really nice if he'd just genuinely said sorry to us.


  12. I think they've recently made some changes to family law here so that there's a presumption that Dads get equal contact with their children.

    Children are "made" by both parents, so it seems fair to me that both parents should get equal access to the children (where practicable). I'm sure it would make many Dads feel a lot better about paying maintenance if they got to spend equal time with their kids. I can only imagine how heart-breaking it is to see your kids occasionally.

    However, I suppose you've got to think about what the child wants too. One of my friends decided when she was about 13 that she no longer wanted to spend every second weekend with her Dad. I've never asked her why, but I'm guessing it was very dislocating and disruptive to be moving around all the time. Luckily, her Dad was okay with that and respected her choice. I guess that it helped that her parents were amicable, and if her Dad had wanted to come to her Mum's to visit her, that would have been fine.