Domestic violence against men – I never knew

by Lee Hopkins on September 22, 2008 · 26 comments

in academic research,ethics,miscellaneous,politics

outrageous knifeblock

I never realised how prevalent domestic violence against men is.

We all know stories of male-initiated violence against women, perhaps we even know the perpetrators or victims themselves, but violence against men? Being beaten up by your girlfriend or wife is certainly not something that the average Aussie bloke would own up to, I would have thought…

Cartoon on domestic violence - presenter makes the mistake of thinking that women are the only victims

A discussion this morning on SAFM’s breakfast show opened my eyes. Last week on-air personality Amber Petty (Princess Mary’s best friend – true!) announced in her weekly contribution for our city’s paper, The Advertiser, that she had been the victim of domestic violence and had stayed in that relationship for a while. She gave the reasons she stayed, which revolved around attempting to help heal the man and his inner pain and outer rage. It didn’t work out, the beatings continued and so she eventually left him.

What surprised Amber and the rest of the SAFM breakfast team was the number of emails she received from men who reported that they too were victims of domestic violence, including rape.

This morning the phone-in part of the show recounted story after story of men who had been abused by their partners, and one woman who had formerly been an abuser herself.

As with male-to-female violence, alcohol seems to figure large in the stories — a fuel that combusts easily when inserted in excessive quantities into a hot-tempered protagonist. So too does mental health (or ill-health): bi-polar disorders reportedly don’t mix well with alcohol either, creating a much shorter fuse and a far bigger ‘bang for your buck’.

But my eyes were opened when one male caller recounted his experience of being raped. He was fast asleep, recovering from back injuries that had him in a back slab. He was woken at 3am by a banging at his bedroom window. A very drunk woman was demanding to be let in (the caller never said whether the woman was his romantic/sexual partner at the time or not).

He let her in, wherein she repeatedly pushed him towards his bedroom. He was recovering from serious injuries and even though he was 6’4" tall and 110kg he was physically unable, mentally unprepared and morally unwilling to push her back. Despite him saying ‘No’ repeatedly, she went ahead with her intentions.

She pushed him down on the bed and ‘had her way’ on top of him, his underwear still on him. Satisfied, she got up and left.

He called the police and the forensic team came round to take swabs and, I guess, do what rape teams do. They asked if he had a photo of her, which he did. They saw a beautiful woman and told him to stop wasting their time, it couldn’t have been rape as she was far too good looking and he must have enjoyed it.

I have no doubt that in some parts of the world this caller’s story would be taken more seriously, but here in ‘blokey’ Australia the police’s reaction was totally unsurprising. A ‘real man’ (so our culture says) could never be raped, as all men want sex all the time, in whatever form it comes.

But there is a real ‘double standard’ here, plainly visible in how the media, the police, the legal system and the greater culture treat victims of violence, including the violence of rape.

Hear the word ‘rape’ and the very first scenario that pops into your mind is the violent male raping a female.

Hear the phrase ‘domestic violence’ and you (and I) no doubt instantly think of some male bastard taking to a woman with his fists or some hard and/or sharp object.

But then hear or read that the victim was male, the perpetrator female, and our brains don’t quite know what to do with that information. It is ‘out of the ordinary’, unprepared-for, and so our brains start free-wheeling while we try and figure out what our emotional response should be.

A quick search on Google comes up with surprising results:

From MensRights.com.au

Sydney Morning Herald

  • Jordan Baker Chief Police Reporter
    February 23, 2008

THE number of women accused of violence against partners has risen by almost 25 per cent in five years, and domestic violence workers blame the rise on police mistakenly arresting victims for trying to defend themselves.

In the 12 months to September 2003 police recorded 4918 women as persons of interest for perpetrating domestic violence. By 2006-07 that had risen to 6056, figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show.

Of the women arrested for domestic violence-related assault in the five years to last September only 32 per cent of the cases reached court, compared with 56 per cent of cases involving men, statistics show.

The bureau’s director, Don Weatherburn, said the increase was likely to have been driven by more than one factor. Others could include an increase in binge drinking, or more men who were willing to admit they are victims.

"It’s possible that people are becoming less tolerant of violence by females than they used to be," he said.

 From the same site:

Male abuse is not a laughing matter

Canberra Times – Monday, 27th October 2003

ADMIT IT. When you heard that Liza Minnelli had been accused by her husband, David Gest, of beating him up, you laughed.
He says the Cabaret star beat him in the head so hard she caused brain damage.

Even as I read this, I smirked.

When I reached the passage explaining that he now has to take 11 prescription medicines to deal with the pain, and that he has developed a phobia of loud noises, I – far too late – stopped chuckling.

Domestic violence targeted at men is one of our biggest taboos.
When it is forced into the public gaze, we react in a way that shames us.

In [British TV soap opera] EastEnders, Pauline Fowler reacted to the news that her husband was having an affair by beating him over the head with a frying pan.

The viewers cheered.

This is not a trivial issue that is confined to the more freakish Beverly Hills mansions or soapy TV dramas.

A BBC poll has found that 18 per cent of British men admit to being victims of domestic violence, compared with 13 per cent of women.

These figures seem improbably high, but even the much lower rate found by the British Crime Survey of 2001-2 records that one in five of all incidents of domestic violence is committed against a man.

Again, from the MensRights.com.au site:

Since 1975, approximately 100 both-sex prevalence studies, mainly in Britain and North America have shown that physical domestic violence rates are much more symmetrical between the sexes than women’s advocates suggest. These studies have ranged from random nation-wide surveys of many thousands of participants to smaller regional surveys, and included national crime surveys.

Case study interview data on men victims in Britain and in Canada, reveal remarkable similarities of physical do
mestic violence experiences between men in these two societies, and in those in my study that I will discuss in a second.

Two recent studies in Australia have confirmed the both-sex prevalence data I have just mentioned. Dr Sotirios Sarantakos has recently completed in-depth interviews of families with histories of violence. A major aim of the Sarantakos study was to investigate the validity of criticisms that studies showing symmetrical rates of intra-partner violence are relatively meaningless because they do not consider the contexts within which the violence occurred. The Sarantakos findings confirmed these studies showing symmetry between couples and also that self-defence as an argument for all women’s violence could not be sustained.

A recent representative survey by Dr Bruce Headey and Dr Dorothy Scott from the University of Melbourne, and Dr David de Vaus from Latrobe University, on approximately 800 men and 800 women, has again confirmed the accuracy of claims from other both-sex surveys that rates of violence between heterosexual couples are approximately equal, but interestingly, that men appeared to suffer more physical injuries.

A series of articles and papers by Dr Charles E. Corry counter-attacks some typical myths and stereotypes:

"As best we can tell domestic violence is quite a rare crime and the level of danger for the average person is extremely low. For example, citizens are greater than twenty times more likely to die from the flu than from an act of domestic violence."

"Mechem and others (1999) summarized in the following abstract:

""Objective: To establish the prevalence of domestic violence committed by women against male patients presenting to an urban ED [Emergency Department] for any reason.

Methods: This was a prospective survey in which male patients of legal age presenting to the ED over a 13-week period were interviewed. Patients answered a series of six questions adapted from the George Washington University Universal Violence Prevention Screening Protocol. Patients who could not speak English, those refusing to participate, those unable to give informed consent, and those meeting regional criteria for major trauma were excluded.

Results: Of 866 male patients interviewed, 109 (12.6%) had been the victims of domestic violence committed by a female intimate partner within the preceding year. Victims were more likely to be younger, single, African American, and uninsured. The most common forms of assault were slapping, grabbing, and shoving (60.6% of victims). These were followed by choking, kicking, biting, and punching (48.6%), or throwing an object at the victim (46.8%). Thirty-seven percent of cases involved a weapon. Seven percent of victims described being forced to have sex. Nineteen percent of victims contacted the police; 14% required medical attention; 11% pressed charges or sought a restraining order; and 6% pursued follow-up counseling.

Conclusions: Almost 13% of men in this sample population had been victims of domestic violence committed by a female intimate partner within the previous year. Further attention to the recognition and management of domestic violence committed by women against men may be warranted.""

"Or consider the following from the "Letters" section, Time Magazine, January 11, 1988, p. 12, referring to article in "Behavior" section, Time, December 21, 1987.

Dear Editor: Your article [Time] on domestic violence states that women are unlikely to inflict much damage on men because wives are generally smaller. Yet in my experience as an emergency-room physician, I treated more men than women for such injuries…. I have seen men cut with an ax, scalded with hot water, smashed with a fireplace poker, and knocked out by a brick, not to mention suffering the common gunshot wound. One incident involved a woman who walked into the hospital with a broken nose after being punched by her husband during an argument. We set the nasal bones and discharged her. Two hours later, her husband was wheeled in. He was admitted with a fractured spine. As soon as she got home, she had grabbed him by the lapels and thrown him against the kitchen stove."
Velimir Svoren, MD; Chatsworth, GA"

"The most widely reported figures, and probably the most reliable, on domestic violence and abuse are based on social studies by Straus and others supported by the National Institute of Mental Health. They report that roughly 6 million women a year are victims of some level of domestic violence in the United States. Of these 6 million women, 1.8 million are seriously assaulted every year. These estimates are based on surveys made in 1975, 1985, and 1992 (see Table 7).
[table 7 is reproduced below - Lee]

However, it is widely ignored that the same studies consistently found that an equal number of men were experiencing domestic violence and an even greater number, 2.2 million men per year, are being seriously assaulted by their female partners.

Note, however, that only a small fraction of these men and women think of the events social scientists label family, or domestic violence as a crime.

As of 2002 there have been over one-hundred-and-thirty scientific studies (Straus, 1999) supporting the pioneering work of Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz. Their results are among the most replicated of all studies in the social sciences. See, for example, the bibliography compiled by Fiebert.

"All available evidence, e.g., Table 7 based on the data of Straus and Gelles (1986, p. 470) and Straus and Kantor (1994), shows a clear trend toward decreasing levels of interpersonal violence. However, the decrease of male on female violence has been more marked and continuous than the drop in female on male assaults and killings. Also, in some categories female on male aggression may actually be increasing.


    Table 7: Rate of violence per 1,000 couples stated as a percentage for the years indicated from social studies .

Husband against wife

1975

1985

1992

As repor
ted by (for 1992 data)

Overall violence 12.1% 11.3% 11.5%
8.3%
wife
husband
Severe violence 3.8% 3.0% 2.3%
1.7%
wife
husband

Wife against husband

1975

1985

1992

As reported by (for 1992 data)

Overall violence 11.6% 12.1% 9.9%
9.1%
wife
husband
Severe violence 4.6% 4.4% 5.8%
3.3%
wife
husband

Severe violence: To kick, bite, or hit with a fist; burn; scald; to hit or try to hit with an object; to beat up the other; to threaten with a knife, gun, or other deadly weapon; to use a knife, gun, or other deadly weapon.

Aussies Greg Andresen and Michael Woods report some shocking statistics:

The most recent comprehensive survey of violence in Australia revealed that, in the past 12 months:

  • 808,300 men were victims of violence overall (almost two thirds of all victims)
  • 485,400 men were victims of physical assault (two thirds of all victims)
  • 392,800 men were victims of physical threat (71 per cent of all victims)
  • 42,300 men were victims of sexual assault (almost one third of all victims)
  • 27,900 men were victims of violence at the hands of their current or previous partner (one in five victims overall, however other studies have found that up to one in three such victims are male)
  • 864,300 men were victims of harassment (over one-third of all victims)
  • 110,700 men were victims of stalking (over one-third of all victims)
  • the risk of physical violence in the workplace was about equal for men and women
  • men were almost as likely as women to suffer physical violence within the home (half from females, half from males)
  • the rate of physical assault in public places was much higher for men than women
  • men and women experienced physical violence from perpetrators who were known to them at exactly the same rate.

Mark has some interesting views on domestic violence against men over on his site, including some videos, and YouTube has some eye-opening videos as well (look in the ‘Related Videos’ section).

Even the Australian Government is not playing fair; they ‘see’ ‘domestic violence’ as a male-to-female event or series of events.

And here’s another brilliant example of how society says it’s okay for women to beat men up, but a crime if men beat women:

SUPERDRUG WITHDRAW PUNCHBAG ENCOURAGING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN

Following a complaint from The ManKind Initiative (link), Superdrug have withdrawn from their stores an inflatable punch-bag that encouraged women to hit men. They have also pledged to donate any profits to the charity that helps male domestic violence victims.

From_supdrug_store_2The box and the punch bag encouraged the owner to insert a photograph of a man where the face is. In addition, the box and punch bag has an arrow pointing to the head stating ‘hit him here’ and an arrow pointing to the groin stating ‘kick him here’.

Mark Brooks, Chairman of The ManKind Initiative, said: “As a charity that receives hundreds of calls a year from distressed men suffering from domestic violence, it is disgraceful that a national retailer like Superdrug should be openly selling products encouraging such acts. We are demanding that they remove these offensive ‘Christmas gifts’ immediately.

“The fact that Superdrug rightly does not sell a similar product encouraging domestic violence against women or violence against animals suggests violence against a man is more acceptable. This is characteristic of the brick wall that male victims face in terms of lack of support, understanding and acceptance.”

punchbag encouraging domestic violence against men

Once again, Superdrug with a classic double standard:

THE DISGRACE OF THE ALL MEN ARE BASTARDS KNIFEBLOCK

Following on from the Superdrug punchbag and MFI stories (link), the site has been alerted to this sick product from the ‘I Want One of Those’ web-site (link). Entitled ‘All Men Are Bastards Knifeblock’, it is meant to be a joke product. It is no joke if you are man that has been stabbed by your female partner.

The site tries to justify its sale by passing off views from customers saying how it great it is.

It just shows how socially acceptable female violence on men is, whilst rightly male violence against female is not acceptable. Could you imagine the outcry if the roles were reversed on the knifeblock from the Fawcett Society, the Minister for Women etc? The double standard
s of the politically correct.

Kniblo_lg_2

 

Amber and the team have opened my eyes to something scandalous: the double standards we as Australia (and ‘the West’?) have between male and female violence, not just at the greater cultural level, but also when the issue is considered by the media, the police and state agencies, and the legal system.

A ‘No’ is a ‘No’ irrespective of whether you are male or female, and non-consensual sex is rape, no matter whether the rapist is a gorgeous looking woman or not. But how we treat those men courageous enough to report violence against them unfortunately shows just how far we have to go before we can call Australia a fair and just society.

—————————————————-

Currently listening to: Drive, The Cars

  • shivers

    No-one disputes that men can be victims of domestic violence, but overall, women are much more likely to be victims and suffer more serious consequences. Getting to the truth of this matter is important.

    The WHO say this, “Although women can be violent in relationships with men, and violence is also sometimes found in same-sex partnerships, the overwhelming burden of partner violence is borne by women at the hands of men.”

    You can look at it 2 ways.

    Men have been getting their own way by using violence for millenia, women are just copying the model that has proven to work.

    Or this way:

    The WHO recognises two patterns of abuse. The first is severe and escalates over time, the aggressor gets increasingly possessive and controlling. It may involve several forms of threats and abuse, this is referred to as battering, or more commonly in Aus as family violence.

    The second type is a more moderate form of violence, stemming from frustration and anger, it occasionally erupts into physical aggression. This is called “common couple violence.”

    Community based surveys, such as is quoted here are better suited at detecting the moderate levels of vioolence seen in common couple violence. It has been widely recognised by WHO and other organisations that community based surveys often find evidence of female aggression, even though most victims that use services such as shelters and police are females. There is little indication that women subject men to the same type of severe and escalating violence that is frequently seen in clinical examples of battered women.

    The community based surveys use a Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) which asks spouses if they’ve ever committed a range of violent acts in the past year. It does not include sexual abuse, stalking or homicide, it omits violence used after separation or divorce, and totally omits familicide where the usually separated husband kills his children then commits suicide. There are no recorded incidences of women committing this act for the same reasons that the men do.

    Researchers who use CTS reject the idea that women’s violence against men is as common or as harmful as men’s violence against women, however, many groups make selective use of this data and fail to point out it’s inadequacies.

    The use of violence between men and women tends to be distinct too. Women use violence to show anger, get attention, express frustration or retaliate for an emotional hurt or a history of physical abuse. Women will use violence in self-defense or to escape. Women tend to use violence to control a situation.

    Men tend to use violence to control a woman, thus this control is used on a continuous basis.

    Men tend to minimise or deny their violence, women more readily admit to their use of violence.

    Domestic violence is a major public health concern. Whether the victims are male or female, they deserve support. This article sites the example of the male who was raped by the woman and his pleas ignored, while this is sad and should not have happened, the truth is that incidences like this are rife within our history of women being raped by men. Women have been stoned to death for being raped if they were married to someone. It was not until 1976 that a woman was recognised being raped if the perpetrator was her husband. Convictions in court are still incredibly low and there is still much work to be done in this arena. As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been for millenia.”

    We do need to raise awareness that men can be victims so that they get the support they need, but it must be constructive and truthful in it’s approach. Selective use of date to further a group’s agenda is not constructive.

    This article says that Andresen and Woods report some shocking statistics, well, if you compared those stats with one’s perpetrated against women,it’s even worse. Also in that list is the statistic that more men than women are assaulted. Yes this is true, but not by women (so why is this figure in a gender based report?). The biggest threat to men out in public is other men. Approximately 50% of assaults on men are committed by male strangers, whereas assaults on women are committed by 19% of strangers, in 81% of the cases the offender was known to the victim. It is not women who pose threats to men, but other men.

    And the figures for sexual assaults are worse. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology for 2005/06 there were 550 sexual assaults of girls aged 10 – 14 per every 100,000 (the biggest sexual assault sector) and that 84% of sexual victims are females, of which 78% have some form of relationship with the perpetrator.

    The Men’s groups that this article refers back to would do well that instead of repeatedly claiming that domestic violence is 50-50 and seeking to erode the protections available to victims of domestic violence and to bolster the rights and freedoms of alleged perpetrators, that they project their energies and motivation into recognising the gender imbalance of violence that occurs within our society and using this to assist men to live more equal and violent free.

  • shivers

    No-one disputes that men can be victims of domestic violence, but overall, women are much more likely to be victims and suffer more serious consequences. Getting to the truth of this matter is important.

    The WHO say this, “Although women can be violent in relationships with men, and violence is also sometimes found in same-sex partnerships, the overwhelming burden of partner violence is borne by women at the hands of men.”

    You can look at it 2 ways.

    Men have been getting their own way by using violence for millenia, women are just copying the model that has proven to work.

    Or this way:

    The WHO recognises two patterns of abuse. The first is severe and escalates over time, the aggressor gets increasingly possessive and controlling. It may involve several forms of threats and abuse, this is referred to as battering, or more commonly in Aus as family violence.

    The second type is a more moderate form of violence, stemming from frustration and anger, it occasionally erupts into physical aggression. This is called “common couple violence.”

    Community based surveys, such as is quoted here are better suited at detecting the moderate levels of vioolence seen in common couple violence. It has been widely recognised by WHO and other organisations that community based surveys often find evidence of female aggression, even though most victims that use services such as shelters and police are females. There is little indication that women subject men to the same type of severe and escalating violence that is frequently seen in clinical examples of battered women.

    The community based surveys use a Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) which asks spouses if they’ve ever committed a range of violent acts in the past year. It does not include sexual abuse, stalking or homicide, it omits violence used after separation or divorce, and totally omits familicide where the usually separated husband kills his children then commits suicide. There are no recorded incidences of women committing this act for the same reasons that the men do.

    Researchers who use CTS reject the idea that women’s violence against men is as common or as harmful as men’s violence against women, however, many groups make selective use of this data and fail to point out it’s inadequacies.

    The use of violence between men and women tends to be distinct too. Women use violence to show anger, get attention, express frustration or retaliate for an emotional hurt or a history of physical abuse. Women will use violence in self-defense or to escape. Women tend to use violence to control a situation.

    Men tend to use violence to control a woman, thus this control is used on a continuous basis.

    Men tend to minimise or deny their violence, women more readily admit to their use of violence.

    Domestic violence is a major public health concern. Whether the victims are male or female, they deserve support. This article sites the example of the male who was raped by the woman and his pleas ignored, while this is sad and should not have happened, the truth is that incidences like this are rife within our history of women being raped by men. Women have been stoned to death for being raped if they were married to someone. It was not until 1976 that a woman was recognised being raped if the perpetrator was her husband. Convictions in court are still incredibly low and there is still much work to be done in this arena. As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been for millenia.”

    We do need to raise awareness that men can be victims so that they get the support they need, but it must be constructive and truthful in it’s approach. Selective use of date to further a group’s agenda is not constructive.

    This article says that Andresen and Woods report some shocking statistics, well, if you compared those stats with one’s perpetrated against women,it’s even worse. Also in that list is the statistic that more men than women are assaulted. Yes this is true, but not by women (so why is this figure in a gender based report?). The biggest threat to men out in public is other men. Approximately 50% of assaults on men are committed by male strangers, whereas assaults on women are committed by 19% of strangers, in 81% of the cases the offender was known to the victim. It is not women who pose threats to men, but other men.

    And the figures for sexual assaults are worse. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology for 2005/06 there were 550 sexual assaults of girls aged 10 – 14 per every 100,000 (the biggest sexual assault sector) and that 84% of sexual victims are females, of which 78% have some form of relationship with the perpetrator.

    The Men’s groups that this article refers back to would do well that instead of repeatedly claiming that domestic violence is 50-50 and seeking to erode the protections available to victims of domestic violence and to bolster the rights and freedoms of alleged perpetrators, that they project their energies and motivation into recognising the gender imbalance of violence that occurs within our society and using this to assist men to live more equal and violent free.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    G’day Shivers,

    Thanks for entering into this astonishing (to me at least) topic.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that gender imbalance occurs in a patriarchal society and that we men have collectively been guilty of over-stepping the boundaries of equality for millennia.

    However, I’m not sure that I agree with you that one of the men’s groups I mention is seeking to erode protections; rather I see it that they are seeking to ensure that protection is available to all, and that a full and proper debate is conducted, rather than just reliance on rhetoric.

    As to your point, “It has been widely recognised by WHO and other organisations that community based surveys often find evidence of female aggression, even though most victims that use services such as shelters and police are females. There is little indication that women subject men to the same type of severe and escalating violence that is frequently seen in clinical examples of battered women”, I would love to see the research evidence to back this up. I’m not denying that what you say may be true, please understand me, but as one of the researchers quoted in my article points out, there is much mythology and policy-making made on scant data. I am keen to see the rhetoric separated from the research evidence.

    Your sentence at the top of your comment deserves further consideration: “women are much more likely to be victims and suffer more serious consequences.” I would love to hear from all parties — male, female, academics, policy-makers — on whether males or females suffer more serious consequences in Australia. I don’t doubt that the consequences for BOTH genders are serious, but assertions of one party suffering more than another always raises “who says?” and “where’s the impartial evidence?” questions in my academically-shaped mind…

    Again, I am not trying to discount or devalue the impact of male to female aggression and violence, far from it, but now that this topic has been opened up to me, courtesy of SAFM, I am more than just a tad curious to see what the research shows versus what the rhetoric would have us believe is true.

    I remember reading Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’ many years ago and feeling disgusted at myself, merely for the crime of being a man. That view, that men are something of which to be ashamed, has never left me; I often despise some of the examples and supposed role models that are paraded before us in the media. It takes a lot for a male to impress me, but there are examples out there of which I am proud to be of the same gender. However, since I rarely if ever have heard of female to male violence, I am as a man naturally curious.

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    G’day Shivers,

    Thanks for entering into this astonishing (to me at least) topic.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that gender imbalance occurs in a patriarchal society and that we men have collectively been guilty of over-stepping the boundaries of equality for millennia.

    However, I’m not sure that I agree with you that one of the men’s groups I mention is seeking to erode protections; rather I see it that they are seeking to ensure that protection is available to all, and that a full and proper debate is conducted, rather than just reliance on rhetoric.

    As to your point, “It has been widely recognised by WHO and other organisations that community based surveys often find evidence of female aggression, even though most victims that use services such as shelters and police are females. There is little indication that women subject men to the same type of severe and escalating violence that is frequently seen in clinical examples of battered women”, I would love to see the research evidence to back this up. I’m not denying that what you say may be true, please understand me, but as one of the researchers quoted in my article points out, there is much mythology and policy-making made on scant data. I am keen to see the rhetoric separated from the research evidence.

    Your sentence at the top of your comment deserves further consideration: “women are much more likely to be victims and suffer more serious consequences.” I would love to hear from all parties — male, female, academics, policy-makers — on whether males or females suffer more serious consequences in Australia. I don’t doubt that the consequences for BOTH genders are serious, but assertions of one party suffering more than another always raises “who says?” and “where’s the impartial evidence?” questions in my academically-shaped mind…

    Again, I am not trying to discount or devalue the impact of male to female aggression and violence, far from it, but now that this topic has been opened up to me, courtesy of SAFM, I am more than just a tad curious to see what the research shows versus what the rhetoric would have us believe is true.

    I remember reading Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’ many years ago and feeling disgusted at myself, merely for the crime of being a man. That view, that men are something of which to be ashamed, has never left me; I often despise some of the examples and supposed role models that are paraded before us in the media. It takes a lot for a male to impress me, but there are examples out there of which I am proud to be of the same gender. However, since I rarely if ever have heard of female to male violence, I am as a man naturally curious.

  • shivers

    To answer your question there is a lot of data about gender based violence. I’ve been studying this for about 2 years now, and there’s still more to read.

    If you believe that there exists a patriarchial society with white males as the dominant group, and if you accept that males use violence amongst other reasons, to get what they want or want to keep, then it’s not a giant step to consider that some men will resort to verbal abuse, psychological and financial abuse, coercion, covert and overt aggression and outright violence (if all else fails) to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs. This dynamic plays itself out within intimate relationships, some statistics saying as much as 1 in 4 partnerships.

    Many men form relationships with a heightened sense of entitlement and expectations that they should be ‘given’ privileges but there is no acknowledgement or appreciation of reciprocity. They don’t let their beliefs known in the beginning they build the relationship on untruths and lies and when it’s secured, such as mortgages, children, financial dependency by the woman, then they exercise their full ‘rights’ without guilt. And if they don’t get what they think they deserve, which is control and ownership of their spouse and children they’ll resort to violence.

    The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse newsletters and Issue Papers are good references . Here are their contact details:

    Freecall: 1800 753 382

    Email: clearinghouse@unsw.edu.au

    There are some great books available, a good one is published in 2002 called Come With Daddy by Carolyn Harris Johnson. Gained from interviews with surviving mothers this book studies 7 cases of familicide, where the man committed the ultimate violence by murdering the children then committing suicide themselves.

    She states in her pages that while men commit familicide for revenge or to ‘get back’ at their partners for leaving, there is not one documented case that has evidence of a woman killing her children and herself for the same reasons to get back at her ex-partner. Yes, some mothers (very few) have killed their children, but this is overwhelmingly when they have a perception that their children’s lives are in danger, and she can see that death is the only way to save them from this on-going danger. So this is one of the reasons why WHO state there is little collaborating evidence to suggest that women are violent to men for the same reasons that men are violent to women and their children.

    However, there’s a stack of statistics in the back section of the book, they go for several pages so I can’t re-type them all here….but here’s a sample on page 113 titled Gender:

    “Research conducted in Australia and abroad indicates that the majority of homicide offenders are male. In most studies, the proportion of male to female offenders is approximately four to one (Curtis 1974, cited in Wallace 1986:29; Mouzos and Rushforth 2003:42-43).

    Wallace’s study of homicide in New South Wales between 1968 and 1981 showed that the proportion of male perpetrators there was higher, at five to six males for each female offender. She also refers to data from South Australia, where the Office of Crime Statistics Report for 1981 showed an even higher proportion of male offenders, at ten males to each female (1986:29). In 2000-01, Australian homicide statistics show the ratio was closer to eight males to one female offender (Mouzos 2002:35). It is not clear why more Australian men commit homicide, as compared to women, than in most other countries. It is likely that the explanation will be found in a complex inter-relationship of socio-cultural factors.

    In Australia in 1989-90 there were 215 male victims of homicide and 114 female victims (Strang 1991:23). In 2000-01 there were 192 male victims of homicide and 125 female victims (Mouzos 2002:28). This indicates that, in Australia men have a significantly higher risk than women of becoming a homicide victim.”

    Offender-Victim Groups
    Of all victims, whether adult or child, 83 per cent of male victims were killed by men, and 90 per cent of female victims were killed by men. Where the victim was an adult (aged over 16 years) the chance of the offender being male was greater: 86 per cent for male victims and 97 per cent for female victims (Wallace 1986:71). Furthermore, Mouzos 1999a:11) in her nine-year Australian study found that where men are most likely to be killed by a friend or acquaintance (45 per cent), women are more likely to be murdered by their intimate partner (60 per cent).

    Although most homicides in Wallace’s 1986 study were committed by males against males (53 per cent), the second most common category of homicide was committed by males against females (32.5 per cent). A total of 85 per cent of all homicide offenders in this study were males, leaving 15 per cent female offenders. More recent statistics show that this trend has not changed significantly, with 89 per cent of homicide offenders being male and only 11 per cent females (Mouzos 2002:15).”

    This is why I stated in my first post that the largest threat to men is other men, not women. And question why this statistic is quoted on the Mens’ Rights web-site. It’s stats like this, that make me question why Mens’ Rights Groups wouldn’t do well to direct their enthusiasm towards managing men’s violence, as opposed to denying the facts and insisting that women ‘are just as bad’. Because, well, clearly, they’re not.

    You can also get up-to-date information on crimes from the Australian Institute of Criminology :

    Australian Institute of Criminology, 2008, ‘Australian Crime: facts and figures 2007’, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra. http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/facts/2007/02_selected_crime_profiles.html#assault

    As for my comment about the Men’s groups and their purpse being to insist that domestic violence is 50/50 and to discount women’s claims of patriarchy, there is an excellent report on how they put forward their submissions in 2003-05 to parliament when the Family Law was reviewing the shared care arrangements for separated parents. And an excellent report done by Helen Rhoades called Yearning for Law: Fathers’ Groups and Family Law Reform in Australia. The Journal it’s printed in is Fathers’ Rights Activism and Law Reform in Comparative Perspective. Hart Publishing Ltd 10/10/2006. Collier, Richard; Sheldon, Sally.

    It details how the 2 mens’ rights group pushed for 50/50 shared care even stating that the majority of men would not be able to uptake of it anyway due to work commitments, and they did not put forward any substantial evidence that 50/50 shared care had the children’s best interests at heart. Their main criteria for insisting it was the best way to manage separated families was that it was obvious that 70% of kids wanted equal parenting, “You ask a 5 year old child and he will tell you, ‘I want mum and dad.’ They all will.”

    This statement was unsubstantiated. There were many studies that showed that 50/50 shared care, a one size fits all, is inappropriate and in fact not recommended, particularly in a large study undertaken in Canada. Despite this, the law got changed to 50/50 shared care and this new law has opened up children to continued abuse and there was a report a few months ago about it on the 7.30 report, which cited Barry Williams of the Lone Fathers Association as the catalyst for the 50/50 shared care. It says that a child psychologist was witnessing intense distress in some 100 or so children, forced into shared care. So that is why I make the comment about the men’s groups. The show was aired on 3rd June 2008, you should be able to access the transcript from the 7.30 Report archives.

    Secondly, you may wish to subscribe to this blog:

    http://australiandivorce.blogspot.com

    They have some articles on current family court rulings and related items of interest.

    UNICEF also do some publications that are helpful, for a worldwide perspective on how women are treated. Their 2007 State of the Worlds Children: The Double Dividend of Gender Equality is extensive. It can be purchased from major on-line bookstores. All publications are listed on the UNICEF web-site.

  • shivers

    To answer your question there is a lot of data about gender based violence. I’ve been studying this for about 2 years now, and there’s still more to read.

    If you believe that there exists a patriarchial society with white males as the dominant group, and if you accept that males use violence amongst other reasons, to get what they want or want to keep, then it’s not a giant step to consider that some men will resort to verbal abuse, psychological and financial abuse, coercion, covert and overt aggression and outright violence (if all else fails) to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs. This dynamic plays itself out within intimate relationships, some statistics saying as much as 1 in 4 partnerships.

    Many men form relationships with a heightened sense of entitlement and expectations that they should be ‘given’ privileges but there is no acknowledgement or appreciation of reciprocity. They don’t let their beliefs known in the beginning they build the relationship on untruths and lies and when it’s secured, such as mortgages, children, financial dependency by the woman, then they exercise their full ‘rights’ without guilt. And if they don’t get what they think they deserve, which is control and ownership of their spouse and children they’ll resort to violence.

    The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse newsletters and Issue Papers are good references . Here are their contact details:

    Freecall: 1800 753 382

    Email: clearinghouse@unsw.edu.au

    There are some great books available, a good one is published in 2002 called Come With Daddy by Carolyn Harris Johnson. Gained from interviews with surviving mothers this book studies 7 cases of familicide, where the man committed the ultimate violence by murdering the children then committing suicide themselves.

    She states in her pages that while men commit familicide for revenge or to ‘get back’ at their partners for leaving, there is not one documented case that has evidence of a woman killing her children and herself for the same reasons to get back at her ex-partner. Yes, some mothers (very few) have killed their children, but this is overwhelmingly when they have a perception that their children’s lives are in danger, and she can see that death is the only way to save them from this on-going danger. So this is one of the reasons why WHO state there is little collaborating evidence to suggest that women are violent to men for the same reasons that men are violent to women and their children.

    However, there’s a stack of statistics in the back section of the book, they go for several pages so I can’t re-type them all here….but here’s a sample on page 113 titled Gender:

    “Research conducted in Australia and abroad indicates that the majority of homicide offenders are male. In most studies, the proportion of male to female offenders is approximately four to one (Curtis 1974, cited in Wallace 1986:29; Mouzos and Rushforth 2003:42-43).

    Wallace’s study of homicide in New South Wales between 1968 and 1981 showed that the proportion of male perpetrators there was higher, at five to six males for each female offender. She also refers to data from South Australia, where the Office of Crime Statistics Report for 1981 showed an even higher proportion of male offenders, at ten males to each female (1986:29). In 2000-01, Australian homicide statistics show the ratio was closer to eight males to one female offender (Mouzos 2002:35). It is not clear why more Australian men commit homicide, as compared to women, than in most other countries. It is likely that the explanation will be found in a complex inter-relationship of socio-cultural factors.

    In Australia in 1989-90 there were 215 male victims of homicide and 114 female victims (Strang 1991:23). In 2000-01 there were 192 male victims of homicide and 125 female victims (Mouzos 2002:28). This indicates that, in Australia men have a significantly higher risk than women of becoming a homicide victim.”

    Offender-Victim Groups
    Of all victims, whether adult or child, 83 per cent of male victims were killed by men, and 90 per cent of female victims were killed by men. Where the victim was an adult (aged over 16 years) the chance of the offender being male was greater: 86 per cent for male victims and 97 per cent for female victims (Wallace 1986:71). Furthermore, Mouzos 1999a:11) in her nine-year Australian study found that where men are most likely to be killed by a friend or acquaintance (45 per cent), women are more likely to be murdered by their intimate partner (60 per cent).

    Although most homicides in Wallace’s 1986 study were committed by males against males (53 per cent), the second most common category of homicide was committed by males against females (32.5 per cent). A total of 85 per cent of all homicide offenders in this study were males, leaving 15 per cent female offenders. More recent statistics show that this trend has not changed significantly, with 89 per cent of homicide offenders being male and only 11 per cent females (Mouzos 2002:15).”

    This is why I stated in my first post that the largest threat to men is other men, not women. And question why this statistic is quoted on the Mens’ Rights web-site. It’s stats like this, that make me question why Mens’ Rights Groups wouldn’t do well to direct their enthusiasm towards managing men’s violence, as opposed to denying the facts and insisting that women ‘are just as bad’. Because, well, clearly, they’re not.

    You can also get up-to-date information on crimes from the Australian Institute of Criminology :

    Australian Institute of Criminology, 2008, ‘Australian Crime: facts and figures 2007’, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra. http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/facts/2007/02_selected_crime_profiles.html#assault

    As for my comment about the Men’s groups and their purpse being to insist that domestic violence is 50/50 and to discount women’s claims of patriarchy, there is an excellent report on how they put forward their submissions in 2003-05 to parliament when the Family Law was reviewing the shared care arrangements for separated parents. And an excellent report done by Helen Rhoades called Yearning for Law: Fathers’ Groups and Family Law Reform in Australia. The Journal it’s printed in is Fathers’ Rights Activism and Law Reform in Comparative Perspective. Hart Publishing Ltd 10/10/2006. Collier, Richard; Sheldon, Sally.

    It details how the 2 mens’ rights group pushed for 50/50 shared care even stating that the majority of men would not be able to uptake of it anyway due to work commitments, and they did not put forward any substantial evidence that 50/50 shared care had the children’s best interests at heart. Their main criteria for insisting it was the best way to manage separated families was that it was obvious that 70% of kids wanted equal parenting, “You ask a 5 year old child and he will tell you, ‘I want mum and dad.’ They all will.”

    This statement was unsubstantiated. There were many studies that showed that 50/50 shared care, a one size fits all, is inappropriate and in fact not recommended, particularly in a large study undertaken in Canada. Despite this, the law got changed to 50/50 shared care and this new law has opened up children to continued abuse and there was a report a few months ago about it on the 7.30 report, which cited Barry Williams of the Lone Fathers Association as the catalyst for the 50/50 shared care. It says that a child psychologist was witnessing intense distress in some 100 or so children, forced into shared care. So that is why I make the comment about the men’s groups. The show was aired on 3rd June 2008, you should be able to access the transcript from the 7.30 Report archives.

    Secondly, you may wish to subscribe to this blog:

    http://australiandivorce.blogspot.com

    They have some articles on current family court rulings and related items of interest.

    UNICEF also do some publications that are helpful, for a worldwide perspective on how women are treated. Their 2007 State of the Worlds Children: The Double Dividend of Gender Equality is extensive. It can be purchased from major on-line bookstores. All publications are listed on the UNICEF web-site.

  • phillip morgan

    Violence isn’t just physical. Australian sociaety incorrectly asserts that men can dend themselves against physically violent women, which will surely land them in jail if they tried. But what I have expereienced, as have many, many men, is the phsychological and emotion abuse, extortion and total control that many female partners engage in. Money grubbing, stalking, harrassment, and a complete lack of accountability is quite common for women. Even the CSA states that a man’s right to life is of lesser importance than a womans (Sharon, CSA, November 2008), in terms of financial needs and self support. We have a system predecated on the belief that “only men behave badly”, and a goverment being populated with ever more women hell bent on putting total control, power and ownership of children, money and material assets into the hands of violent women. What I have endured for the past 5 years has put me into therapy. I don’t sleep, I ive in fear constantly, I suffer 24×7 migraines and cant concentrate. There’s no doubt in my mind that a marriage break down is both people’s fault, but the abuse and violence I have endured have been swept aside by the family law system, centrelink, CSA and the police. Australia is still very much a third world country

  • phillip morgan

    Violence isn’t just physical. Australian sociaety incorrectly asserts that men can dend themselves against physically violent women, which will surely land them in jail if they tried. But what I have expereienced, as have many, many men, is the phsychological and emotion abuse, extortion and total control that many female partners engage in. Money grubbing, stalking, harrassment, and a complete lack of accountability is quite common for women. Even the CSA states that a man’s right to life is of lesser importance than a womans (Sharon, CSA, November 2008), in terms of financial needs and self support. We have a system predecated on the belief that “only men behave badly”, and a goverment being populated with ever more women hell bent on putting total control, power and ownership of children, money and material assets into the hands of violent women. What I have endured for the past 5 years has put me into therapy. I don’t sleep, I ive in fear constantly, I suffer 24×7 migraines and cant concentrate. There’s no doubt in my mind that a marriage break down is both people’s fault, but the abuse and violence I have endured have been swept aside by the family law system, centrelink, CSA and the police. Australia is still very much a third world country

  • Steven

    I think this is an important point, and domestic violence goes well beyond just physical violence. I have a few other things to add to this discussion as well .

    Firstly I’d like to say that this:

    “If you believe that there exists a patriarchial society with white males as the dominant group, and if you accept that males use violence amongst other reasons, to get what they want or want to keep, then it’s not a giant step to consider that some men will resort to verbal abuse, psychological and financial abuse, coercion, covert and overt aggression and outright violence (if all else fails) to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs.”

    is basically assuming your conclusion, which is a major issue affecting our understanding of domestic violence and sexual assult today. Since it is apprently taken to be from the outset that our society is “male-dominated” and that men are naturally opressive, then the conclusion to that effect is hardly surprising not very eventful.

    Many universities offer subjects in women’s studies, sociology and gender equity in which this system of beliefs [that men are oppressive] is taught, thus giving these attitudes credibility. In recent years these beliefs have also received endorsement from both Federal and State Government through the establishment of statutory bodies and enactment of various pieces of legislation related to the status of women.

    This belief that men are oppressive contributes to the significant information gap which limits our understanding of domestic violence and sexual assult as these issues relate to men. The assumption influences our information through the assumptions made by researchers in the collection of data and also through the behaviour of individuals within our society as a result of their holding this belief.

    For example, are the National Crime Statistics are biased by the perceptions of enforcement officials. That is, to take the example of the male victim of rape described earlier, do these attitudes artificially influence our understanding of the prevalence of violence against men? Australian Bureau of Statistics data releases, while not specifically reporting on domestic violence and sexual assult of men, do note that it is typically the second or third incident before men report the assult to police.

    Society tends to see what it thinks: whereas fifty years ago abuses of children within the church were unheard of, we now know that this did occur and was extremely damaging for the children involved.

    In my experience our society does not take the act of female violence against men at all seriously. Firstly, it is almost always seen as self defense or is rationalised in some other way, and secondly, it’s unashamedly promoted within out popular media (such as movies, television and books) which frequently depict or describe women slapping men, throwing objects at men or otherwise abusing men.

    Presumably the dominant group within a society is the group whose interests and oppinions we hear most about (since clearly, if this were not the case, the dominant group would stem further discussion over things which either do not concern them or relate to them is some negative way).

    I, for one, do not believe that we live in a patriarchal society in which white men are predisposed towards the use violence. I am a white man and I’m not a violent person, nor have I ever been a violent person, and I quite frankly take exception to having this asserted about me. Attitudes such as these are the essence of sexism which, as a society, we have spent so many years trying to distance ourselves from.

    A central point raised several times by one of your previous contributors is that there is not a single documented case of a woman killing her children in order to “get-back” at a partner, and that this indicates the natural violent tendencies of men.

    In response to this, I would firstly make note of the fact that, after a person is dead, it is no longer possible to ascertain their motives or state of mind. This is important since if the behaviour of these men was inferrred by somebody prescribing to the system of beliefs that our society is patriarchal, and that men are naturally violent, then the conclusion that that this behaviour was retributive in nature is to be expected. Yes, presumably these men had left suicide notes, or made other communication prior to their “familicide”, but the point remains that without an actual person it is fundamentally impossible to determine, without any doubt, what their motives were.

    Most importantly, though, the argument does not take into account the fact that women, on the whole, have not been placed under the same stresses as their male counterparts. That is to say, for at least as long as I can remember, the Family Legal system in this country has operated such that it has predominantly awarded custody to mothers. This means that it has not generally been necessary for women to go to extremes in order to use children to “get back” at their partners, since, for women, this facility has been helpfully accommodated within our justice system. Having seen the distress which my parents’ seperation put on my father, I have no problem in accepting that men are dealing with significant emotional pressure as direct result of our family justice system.

    I would like to make a final comment about statements such as this:

    “As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been f0r millenia.””

    Which are extremely offensive to men. A person’s gender does not in any way justify their rape. Nobody deserves to be raped, and I think that is a fairly central point in all of this (otherwise, how will we decide who “deserves” to be raped?).

    I was brought up in a feminist household and taught from a very early age that men were bad people and I had an obligation to respect women. I lived up to that expectation as best any person could, but I now believe that respect is a mutual obligation which is to be equally observed by both men and women, and until that can be the case, I don’t feel compelled to flagellate myself for the wellbeing of a group of people who clearly care very little for me.

  • Steven

    I think this is an important point, and domestic violence goes well beyond just physical violence. I have a few other things to add to this discussion as well .

    Firstly I’d like to say that this:

    “If you believe that there exists a patriarchial society with white males as the dominant group, and if you accept that males use violence amongst other reasons, to get what they want or want to keep, then it’s not a giant step to consider that some men will resort to verbal abuse, psychological and financial abuse, coercion, covert and overt aggression and outright violence (if all else fails) to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs.”

    is basically assuming your conclusion, which is a major issue affecting our understanding of domestic violence and sexual assult today. Since it is apprently taken to be from the outset that our society is “male-dominated” and that men are naturally opressive, then the conclusion to that effect is hardly surprising not very eventful.

    Many universities offer subjects in women’s studies, sociology and gender equity in which this system of beliefs [that men are oppressive] is taught, thus giving these attitudes credibility. In recent years these beliefs have also received endorsement from both Federal and State Government through the establishment of statutory bodies and enactment of various pieces of legislation related to the status of women.

    This belief that men are oppressive contributes to the significant information gap which limits our understanding of domestic violence and sexual assult as these issues relate to men. The assumption influences our information through the assumptions made by researchers in the collection of data and also through the behaviour of individuals within our society as a result of their holding this belief.

    For example, are the National Crime Statistics are biased by the perceptions of enforcement officials. That is, to take the example of the male victim of rape described earlier, do these attitudes artificially influence our understanding of the prevalence of violence against men? Australian Bureau of Statistics data releases, while not specifically reporting on domestic violence and sexual assult of men, do note that it is typically the second or third incident before men report the assult to police.

    Society tends to see what it thinks: whereas fifty years ago abuses of children within the church were unheard of, we now know that this did occur and was extremely damaging for the children involved.

    In my experience our society does not take the act of female violence against men at all seriously. Firstly, it is almost always seen as self defense or is rationalised in some other way, and secondly, it’s unashamedly promoted within out popular media (such as movies, television and books) which frequently depict or describe women slapping men, throwing objects at men or otherwise abusing men.

    Presumably the dominant group within a society is the group whose interests and oppinions we hear most about (since clearly, if this were not the case, the dominant group would stem further discussion over things which either do not concern them or relate to them is some negative way).

    I, for one, do not believe that we live in a patriarchal society in which white men are predisposed towards the use violence. I am a white man and I’m not a violent person, nor have I ever been a violent person, and I quite frankly take exception to having this asserted about me. Attitudes such as these are the essence of sexism which, as a society, we have spent so many years trying to distance ourselves from.

    A central point raised several times by one of your previous contributors is that there is not a single documented case of a woman killing her children in order to “get-back” at a partner, and that this indicates the natural violent tendencies of men.

    In response to this, I would firstly make note of the fact that, after a person is dead, it is no longer possible to ascertain their motives or state of mind. This is important since if the behaviour of these men was inferrred by somebody prescribing to the system of beliefs that our society is patriarchal, and that men are naturally violent, then the conclusion that that this behaviour was retributive in nature is to be expected. Yes, presumably these men had left suicide notes, or made other communication prior to their “familicide”, but the point remains that without an actual person it is fundamentally impossible to determine, without any doubt, what their motives were.

    Most importantly, though, the argument does not take into account the fact that women, on the whole, have not been placed under the same stresses as their male counterparts. That is to say, for at least as long as I can remember, the Family Legal system in this country has operated such that it has predominantly awarded custody to mothers. This means that it has not generally been necessary for women to go to extremes in order to use children to “get back” at their partners, since, for women, this facility has been helpfully accommodated within our justice system. Having seen the distress which my parents’ seperation put on my father, I have no problem in accepting that men are dealing with significant emotional pressure as direct result of our family justice system.

    I would like to make a final comment about statements such as this:

    “As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been f0r millenia.””

    Which are extremely offensive to men. A person’s gender does not in any way justify their rape. Nobody deserves to be raped, and I think that is a fairly central point in all of this (otherwise, how will we decide who “deserves” to be raped?).

    I was brought up in a feminist household and taught from a very early age that men were bad people and I had an obligation to respect women. I lived up to that expectation as best any person could, but I now believe that respect is a mutual obligation which is to be equally observed by both men and women, and until that can be the case, I don’t feel compelled to flagellate myself for the wellbeing of a group of people who clearly care very little for me.

  • shivers

    Steven said, “I, for one, do not believe that we live in a patriarchal society in which white men are predisposed towards the use violence. I am a white man and I’m not a violent person, nor have I ever been a violent person, and I quite frankly take exception to having this asserted about me. Attitudes such as these are the essence of sexism which, as a society, we have spent so many years trying to distance ourselves from.”

    It comes across that you’ve taken the comments I made as ‘blanket statements’, this is not the case at all. You’ve taken references of the patriarchy to mean ‘all men’. This is not the case at all. I concur with your observation that you are a white male and do not use violence, such as is the case with MOST white males. Nobody is disputing this fact. However, if you believe that it does not exist because you are not a part of it is in my opinion, a rather narrow view. One has to look past one’s own personal experiences and beliefs to be able to see the whole picture. Without personalising the comments, I for one, to quote how you started have witnessed the male patriarchy in operation within my own family walls. It is alive and it exists and it has been handed down as modelled behaviour to the sons of the family. A sense of entitlement is given to them simply because they are males and it’s their ‘lot’ in life. They have actively been encouraged to have ‘power’ over their wives, such as my father actively places himself as the head of the household. To some men, the term ‘head of household’ or the ‘breadwinner’ puts them on the top of the scale and the rest of the family is then under his command, with his sons this attitude has been infiltrated in a more modern context and while the father would never use violence himself, he is apt to excuse it away when it is evident in his son’s marriages. Denial plays a big part in the justification he uses to excuse the behaviour. The term ‘head of household’ to some men, means they can demand what they wish and their wives or daughters must comply without complaint. Adding that their decisions are the final decision and no correspondence will be entered into. For most men however, the term ‘head of houshold’ means being there for their family, being a role model in behaviour that reflects equality, respect for all members, and a right to an opinion even if it differs from the ‘head decision’ and being respectful of those opinions. But this attitude can be borderline when modelled for the male offspring, those of who have been shown that their word is the right decision. So, when conflict arises with the wives of the son’s they’ve been given no constructive way to resolve that conflict, and if the opinion of the wife is too ‘modern’ or liberal or dare I say, about equality within the household they hold no skills other than to lash out and use ‘brute force’ to resolve the ‘straying wife’ who will not comply with their wishes. I’ve seen the dynamic played out. I’ve watched it evolve. It exists.

    You also said in response to my comment, ““As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been f0r millenia.””

    Which are extremely offensive to men”

    Why is this offensive to men? Is it offensive because the ill-treatment of victims of rapes has occurred or because it occured to a man and he was treated as many rape victims have been treated before him. If you’re inclined may you elaborate on why it’s offensive to you.

    Another comment where you say that ‘patriarchy’ is ‘taught’ in Universities I have not experienced either. As a current University student, and one of sociology, it’s actually not taught, the research literature is made available to students and they are encouraged to come to their own conclusions (if they pick this particular topic). If they recognise patriarchy and can substantiate their opinions with citations then it’s a good essay, if they don’t recognise it, don’t believe in it, and again, can substantiate their view with citations, then it is still a good essay.

    Another thing you mention about the differences of men and women murdering their children as a way to ‘get back’ at their spouses, in that instance, I didn’t mention suicide. There is very little qualitative (Australian) research done on domestic murderers, but there is an excellent American book, that interviews 35 men who have murdered their spouses, some took their children with them, and overwhelmingly they report and some openly admit, they did it as ‘revenge’, retribution for being ‘wronged’, which may have simply been that their spouse decided to leave them. As for the Australian study of 7 murder-suicides in WA, no the person who suicided could not be interviewed, but the surviving spouses were, and although none of them know each other, there is a common theme of ‘retribution’ that runs throughout, and also one of possession. The conclusions often come to in cases such as this is that the perpetrator has difficulty separating himself as a separate entity from his children (and spouse) and information left behind points to the underlying dynamic that they wished to kill themselves, and that it was only natural that their children would come with them.

    I believe in the dynamics of how the patriarchy attitude plays out in the family dynamic because it is my history, but I also have witnessed much more of equality in relationships too. In our quest for our own personal truths and the truths within our society, one really does have to look beyond our own family walls with open eyes.

    Anyway, the new Domestic Homicide Review Team that is to be set up for NSW will be able to provide us with some interesting data and qualitative information, such as the Province of Ontario Domestic Homicide Review Team does.

    Also, as a BTW of interest, it has recently come to light that all the statistics from the Australian Insitute of Criminology on Australian domestic homicides does NOT include murder-suicides. They’ve been left out of the picture altogether, so in reality, we are quite severely under-reporting our domestic homicides, as it’s coined that 25% of domestic homicides are murder-suicides. So that would mean approximately 33 men are left off the stats each year, along with whoever they took with them, which would mean at minimum another 33 lives, or possibly another 66 if they average 2 other deaths at the time of their suicides. From that we may conclude that approximately 99 more victims on an annual basis. Food for thought.

  • shivers

    Steven said, “I, for one, do not believe that we live in a patriarchal society in which white men are predisposed towards the use violence. I am a white man and I’m not a violent person, nor have I ever been a violent person, and I quite frankly take exception to having this asserted about me. Attitudes such as these are the essence of sexism which, as a society, we have spent so many years trying to distance ourselves from.”

    It comes across that you’ve taken the comments I made as ‘blanket statements’, this is not the case at all. You’ve taken references of the patriarchy to mean ‘all men’. This is not the case at all. I concur with your observation that you are a white male and do not use violence, such as is the case with MOST white males. Nobody is disputing this fact. However, if you believe that it does not exist because you are not a part of it is in my opinion, a rather narrow view. One has to look past one’s own personal experiences and beliefs to be able to see the whole picture. Without personalising the comments, I for one, to quote how you started have witnessed the male patriarchy in operation within my own family walls. It is alive and it exists and it has been handed down as modelled behaviour to the sons of the family. A sense of entitlement is given to them simply because they are males and it’s their ‘lot’ in life. They have actively been encouraged to have ‘power’ over their wives, such as my father actively places himself as the head of the household. To some men, the term ‘head of household’ or the ‘breadwinner’ puts them on the top of the scale and the rest of the family is then under his command, with his sons this attitude has been infiltrated in a more modern context and while the father would never use violence himself, he is apt to excuse it away when it is evident in his son’s marriages. Denial plays a big part in the justification he uses to excuse the behaviour. The term ‘head of household’ to some men, means they can demand what they wish and their wives or daughters must comply without complaint. Adding that their decisions are the final decision and no correspondence will be entered into. For most men however, the term ‘head of houshold’ means being there for their family, being a role model in behaviour that reflects equality, respect for all members, and a right to an opinion even if it differs from the ‘head decision’ and being respectful of those opinions. But this attitude can be borderline when modelled for the male offspring, those of who have been shown that their word is the right decision. So, when conflict arises with the wives of the son’s they’ve been given no constructive way to resolve that conflict, and if the opinion of the wife is too ‘modern’ or liberal or dare I say, about equality within the household they hold no skills other than to lash out and use ‘brute force’ to resolve the ‘straying wife’ who will not comply with their wishes. I’ve seen the dynamic played out. I’ve watched it evolve. It exists.

    You also said in response to my comment, ““As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been f0r millenia.””

    Which are extremely offensive to men”

    Why is this offensive to men? Is it offensive because the ill-treatment of victims of rapes has occurred or because it occured to a man and he was treated as many rape victims have been treated before him. If you’re inclined may you elaborate on why it’s offensive to you.

    Another comment where you say that ‘patriarchy’ is ‘taught’ in Universities I have not experienced either. As a current University student, and one of sociology, it’s actually not taught, the research literature is made available to students and they are encouraged to come to their own conclusions (if they pick this particular topic). If they recognise patriarchy and can substantiate their opinions with citations then it’s a good essay, if they don’t recognise it, don’t believe in it, and again, can substantiate their view with citations, then it is still a good essay.

    Another thing you mention about the differences of men and women murdering their children as a way to ‘get back’ at their spouses, in that instance, I didn’t mention suicide. There is very little qualitative (Australian) research done on domestic murderers, but there is an excellent American book, that interviews 35 men who have murdered their spouses, some took their children with them, and overwhelmingly they report and some openly admit, they did it as ‘revenge’, retribution for being ‘wronged’, which may have simply been that their spouse decided to leave them. As for the Australian study of 7 murder-suicides in WA, no the person who suicided could not be interviewed, but the surviving spouses were, and although none of them know each other, there is a common theme of ‘retribution’ that runs throughout, and also one of possession. The conclusions often come to in cases such as this is that the perpetrator has difficulty separating himself as a separate entity from his children (and spouse) and information left behind points to the underlying dynamic that they wished to kill themselves, and that it was only natural that their children would come with them.

    I believe in the dynamics of how the patriarchy attitude plays out in the family dynamic because it is my history, but I also have witnessed much more of equality in relationships too. In our quest for our own personal truths and the truths within our society, one really does have to look beyond our own family walls with open eyes.

    Anyway, the new Domestic Homicide Review Team that is to be set up for NSW will be able to provide us with some interesting data and qualitative information, such as the Province of Ontario Domestic Homicide Review Team does.

    Also, as a BTW of interest, it has recently come to light that all the statistics from the Australian Insitute of Criminology on Australian domestic homicides does NOT include murder-suicides. They’ve been left out of the picture altogether, so in reality, we are quite severely under-reporting our domestic homicides, as it’s coined that 25% of domestic homicides are murder-suicides. So that would mean approximately 33 men are left off the stats each year, along with whoever they took with them, which would mean at minimum another 33 lives, or possibly another 66 if they average 2 other deaths at the time of their suicides. From that we may conclude that approximately 99 more victims on an annual basis. Food for thought.

  • phillip morgan

    In Response to Shivers Comments:
    If your male in your life has the “power” then you are one of a miniscule population. Have you heard the phrase “She wears the pants in that family”? Any man that tries to exert power over women is condemned in our society. They end up with a broken marriage, bereft of a relationship with their chilren, and suffer ongoing abuse even after separation and divorce. I and score of menu I have talked with are all victims of the abuse against males. Women have had powesr and control for many years. Any man who tries to gain equality is shut down, laughed at, and often destroyed through the family court systems. Women always get what they want. They make all the deicisions. I saw a documentary recently that said “All a woman has to do to keep her man happy is give him the impression he has some power in the relationship. As long as he believes this he will he happy”. There is no power in men’s hands. I was never the head of my household, nor did I want to be. I considered my marriage as an equal partnership where both parties calmly negotiated all outcomes, and sough win/win solutions to everything. My wife was never going to let that happen. There is no male I know that has ever had any power. If women feel they are not getting what they want, they dismisss the husband, and move on to some other male. And boy, do they make the X’s pay, both emotionally and financially. You’ve heard the saying “wrath of a woman scorned”, never has there been a truer saying.

  • phillip morgan

    In Response to Shivers Comments:
    If your male in your life has the “power” then you are one of a miniscule population. Have you heard the phrase “She wears the pants in that family”? Any man that tries to exert power over women is condemned in our society. They end up with a broken marriage, bereft of a relationship with their chilren, and suffer ongoing abuse even after separation and divorce. I and score of menu I have talked with are all victims of the abuse against males. Women have had powesr and control for many years. Any man who tries to gain equality is shut down, laughed at, and often destroyed through the family court systems. Women always get what they want. They make all the deicisions. I saw a documentary recently that said “All a woman has to do to keep her man happy is give him the impression he has some power in the relationship. As long as he believes this he will he happy”. There is no power in men’s hands. I was never the head of my household, nor did I want to be. I considered my marriage as an equal partnership where both parties calmly negotiated all outcomes, and sough win/win solutions to everything. My wife was never going to let that happen. There is no male I know that has ever had any power. If women feel they are not getting what they want, they dismisss the husband, and move on to some other male. And boy, do they make the X’s pay, both emotionally and financially. You’ve heard the saying “wrath of a woman scorned”, never has there been a truer saying.

  • shivers

    Phillip, you said, “If your male in your life has the “power” then you are one of a miniscule population. ” Can you provide research that suggests that this scenario would be miniscule in our society. Please try to do so, if you find some academic research that comes to this conclusion, would you be so kind as to pass it on. Please define “miniscule”, would that be 1 in 100, or 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 1million. Until I find or you can present research that denounces the now popular “1 in 4 women who experience DV or (IPV) at some points in their life, I’ll stick with that. It’s far from miniscule. The fact that you operate within a relationship framework that puts you in the 3 out of 4 of non DV relationship experiences does not invalidate the other statistic at all. But for some reason, people seem to think that their own personal experiences does so.

    You also said, “I was never the head of my household, nor did I want to be. I considered my marriage as an equal partnership where both parties calmly negotiated all outcomes, and sough win/win solutions to everything”. I shall re-iterate that one does need to look further than their own personal experiences to understand the broader society. May you never experience the partner who does not either have the ability to ‘negotiate and communicate for a win-win situation for both parties’ or they choose not to. But your final comment suggests that perhaps you have. You then allude to having experienced the ‘wrath’, which is what, precisely? I also do not subscribe to glib cliches (“she wears the pants”) that purport to describe the dynamics of society and the relationships that occur within it. During my research I have found they are all urban myths solidly and unequivocally denounced.

  • shivers

    Phillip, you said, “If your male in your life has the “power” then you are one of a miniscule population. ” Can you provide research that suggests that this scenario would be miniscule in our society. Please try to do so, if you find some academic research that comes to this conclusion, would you be so kind as to pass it on. Please define “miniscule”, would that be 1 in 100, or 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 1million. Until I find or you can present research that denounces the now popular “1 in 4 women who experience DV or (IPV) at some points in their life, I’ll stick with that. It’s far from miniscule. The fact that you operate within a relationship framework that puts you in the 3 out of 4 of non DV relationship experiences does not invalidate the other statistic at all. But for some reason, people seem to think that their own personal experiences does so.

    You also said, “I was never the head of my household, nor did I want to be. I considered my marriage as an equal partnership where both parties calmly negotiated all outcomes, and sough win/win solutions to everything”. I shall re-iterate that one does need to look further than their own personal experiences to understand the broader society. May you never experience the partner who does not either have the ability to ‘negotiate and communicate for a win-win situation for both parties’ or they choose not to. But your final comment suggests that perhaps you have. You then allude to having experienced the ‘wrath’, which is what, precisely? I also do not subscribe to glib cliches (“she wears the pants”) that purport to describe the dynamics of society and the relationships that occur within it. During my research I have found they are all urban myths solidly and unequivocally denounced.

  • Steven

    Hi Shivers,

    I don’t believe that statistic, and I don’t honestly think that many people do. As a set out in my previous posting, I think our underdstanding of domestic violence as it relates to men as victims is limited by the inability of our society to accept that there are many men who are disempowered in their relationships with women.

    I think your attitude to Philip goes more towards illustrating this point than rebuking it. To me, your comments apprear conceited and condescending. You suggest that he has no basis for his concern, and belittle his experiences as marginal and therefore unimportant. In short, it seems that you refuse to recognise Philip’s experience as legitimate. This is precisely the sort of treatment he has identified as being why he feels unable to talk about his experiences.

    If more men like Philip were bullied less, and allowed to speak more freely about their experiences, I think our society would develop a much more enlightened and accurate perspective on men’s relationships with women.

    In relation to your response to my previous posting (thankyou), I’m afraid that you can’t make a blanket statement about men in our society (i.e opressive, patriarchal, etc…) and then turn around and claim that, in actuality, you weren’t talking about ALL men. If this is the case, and the larger majority of men are good people as you suggest (and which I most certainly agree with), then you have implicitly accepted that we cannot live in a society which has the characteristics you describe (since presumably the behaviour of a society is, by definition, the dominant behaviour of individuals within the society).

    I am sorry to hear about your own personal experiences, but to be clear, many of the things you describe are similar domineering type behaviours that I, my brother and many other boys have or are growing up with today.

    To clarify my position on this comment:

    “As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been f0r millenia.”

    I’m not exactly sure why you can’t see that it is offensive to suggest that a male victim of rape is less important, and that he essentially deserves to be abused (“welcome to the world of women as it has been for millenia.”). The important thing is human rights, and those rights are explicitely denied by a person who suggests that a male rape victim is getting what he deserves. If only some people have human rights then I think it is almost by definition that the concept of those rights is being used to exact a kind of oppression.

    The history of men hasn’t been all roses either. The ancient Chinese, for example, were castrating (something like) 40 000 men per year at the peak of their civilisation. Because of the opportunities available to castrates in the Chinese administration, many parents would castrate their sons and send them to the capital (with no gaurantee of work) in the hope that they would be accepterd into the administration of the empire. Many of these people starved at the city gates.

  • Steven

    Hi Shivers,

    I don’t believe that statistic, and I don’t honestly think that many people do. As a set out in my previous posting, I think our underdstanding of domestic violence as it relates to men as victims is limited by the inability of our society to accept that there are many men who are disempowered in their relationships with women.

    I think your attitude to Philip goes more towards illustrating this point than rebuking it. To me, your comments apprear conceited and condescending. You suggest that he has no basis for his concern, and belittle his experiences as marginal and therefore unimportant. In short, it seems that you refuse to recognise Philip’s experience as legitimate. This is precisely the sort of treatment he has identified as being why he feels unable to talk about his experiences.

    If more men like Philip were bullied less, and allowed to speak more freely about their experiences, I think our society would develop a much more enlightened and accurate perspective on men’s relationships with women.

    In relation to your response to my previous posting (thankyou), I’m afraid that you can’t make a blanket statement about men in our society (i.e opressive, patriarchal, etc…) and then turn around and claim that, in actuality, you weren’t talking about ALL men. If this is the case, and the larger majority of men are good people as you suggest (and which I most certainly agree with), then you have implicitly accepted that we cannot live in a society which has the characteristics you describe (since presumably the behaviour of a society is, by definition, the dominant behaviour of individuals within the society).

    I am sorry to hear about your own personal experiences, but to be clear, many of the things you describe are similar domineering type behaviours that I, my brother and many other boys have or are growing up with today.

    To clarify my position on this comment:

    “As much as I empathise with that man’s predicament, one can’t help but think, “welcome to the world of women as it has been f0r millenia.”

    I’m not exactly sure why you can’t see that it is offensive to suggest that a male victim of rape is less important, and that he essentially deserves to be abused (“welcome to the world of women as it has been for millenia.”). The important thing is human rights, and those rights are explicitely denied by a person who suggests that a male rape victim is getting what he deserves. If only some people have human rights then I think it is almost by definition that the concept of those rights is being used to exact a kind of oppression.

    The history of men hasn’t been all roses either. The ancient Chinese, for example, were castrating (something like) 40 000 men per year at the peak of their civilisation. Because of the opportunities available to castrates in the Chinese administration, many parents would castrate their sons and send them to the capital (with no gaurantee of work) in the hope that they would be accepterd into the administration of the empire. Many of these people starved at the city gates.

  • Jay

    I have read all the above. Some people are so immersed in the politics of their gender that they simply cannot see imbalance and injustice. I am not interested in the ‘history of male dominance’, I am a human being who seeks protection for my innocence, protection from abuse and injustice. My story is probably not unique. I am intelligent enough to know that if this can happen to me then there must be others. I have no interest in the politics of gender which seems to sustain so many feminists.
    I was a feminist once. No more.
    I will keep this brief:
    My wife decided to remove me from the family because she had taken another man as her lover. She wanted him in and me out. For 5 months I endured the most horrible psychological, emotional, social and physical abuse. I responded by trying to love her more, give ground on every issue. I let her abuse me and I did not protest.
    For months she told me that she could kill me and get away with it because she was “a woman”. She told me that as the “woman she had the power to destroy” me. I thought this was nonsense. No one had the power to do such a thing. But I was wrong. She was right.
    My wife told me that she had the power, as the woman, to take everything from me. She would take the kids, the house, the assets and ‘whatever man she wanted’.
    After 5 months of this abuse she broke me. On that last night I told her that if she didnt leave with her boyfriend, I would tell the children about her and him.
    My wife got very very angry. Later that night as I was lying in bed sobbing she came to me and began to punch me repeatedly in the head. They were heavy, ugly punches. I did nothing to protect myself. I got out of bed and just stood there and let her destroy my face. she closed an eye and knocked out teeth. But I am proud that I stood there for so long without threatening her or using force. I was as passive as is humanly possible. But then after some time I got scared. I was scared because I remembered the times she had said she would kill or destroy me. So I hit her twice. It was the first time I had ever hit or harmed anyone. We were both injured.
    The police got involved. The female police that got involved immediately sided with my wife. I was the male and therefore the perpetrator, my wife was the female therefore the victim. With this support my wife had me charged with assault. They chose not to charge her with any offence. With this level of support my wife was able to throw in a few more accusations such as”he has threatened to kill the kids”. This ugly horrible lie grew wings on the back of unquestioned support from female police.
    When I was released from hospital (2 weeks after the assault) the female police detective was waiting for me. She took me away and had me charged. At no stage was she ever interested in anything I had to say.
    I was sent to jail on my wife’s statements. I was refused bail.
    I had never been to jail before, I had never committed a crime. I knew nothing of this violent world I was being sent to.
    I am still in shock about being sent to jail. i am still shocked that I could only be released by pleading guilty. What sort of system is this? it is a system where women act for women. Women in professional roles will act vindictively in unquestioned support of other women.
    Once I was imprisoned, my wife was able to openly bring her boyfriend out of the shadows and into the life of my family.
    I fought hard to survive in that dungeon. I wondered everyday how I ended up there. I wondered at the power of what my wifes could do through lies. I wondered at her ability to ‘destroy’ me. She was right, she could treat me in the most offensive way and then, if I acted to protect myself, I could be destroyed.
    I pleaded guilty to assault so I could be released. To plead not guilty was to rot in jail for another 12 mths waiting for a court date. I accept my responsibility in hitting her to stop being bashed, but what choice did I have?
    Upon my release she took out an AVO and included the kids. For 18 months now she has kept me from any contact with them. My family is permitted no contact. The kids dont know what happened to me. I disappeared, her boyfriend is now their new daddy.
    Whilst I was incarcerated my wife stripped all my/our assets. When I was released I did not have access to a single dollar. I lost my job and career as a result of imprisonment.
    I have lived on the streets.
    I have no resources to fight back.
    She refuses contact, she will not even release my personal items or clothing.
    She was right. I was wrong. As a woman, she had the power to take my life.
    She took it with such ease. All it required was a willingness to lie, a group of female detectives with jaundiced bias, and there you have it. My life over in a flash.
    Each day is a battle to keep the will to continue in a world so wretched with injustice. I miss my kids. I miss my life. I miss my innocence. A committed, loving, affectionate, adoring, involved parent is now missing from the lives of his children. My wife has her boyfriend, the house, the assets and the kids. All so easy because of the inbuilt injustice affecting our two genders.
    The greatest irony of all is that my ‘event’ is recorded as domestic violence against a woman. Officially she is the victim. She knows and I know how ridiculous this is. How many other stories are like mine? Even when we are abused and even seriously attacked there is a refusal to recognise, because of maleness, that we can be anything other than the perpetrator.
    Even though she was so abusive of me, so aggressive for so long, I never stood a chance in our present system. As the official ‘victim’ I am sure she has had a bevy of support services to turn to. The violent one gets that support!!! I am dumbfounded that this could happen. There is something rotten in eden when the aggressor is offered support on a basis of her gender. In hospital, and upon my release i was not offered any access to support services. I know I am a survivor of a prolonged and extreme form of domestic violence. i know my case is not recorded as such in statistics.
    After so many months of really significant abuse my trauma was very great. The trauma of jail was even greater. Being released and denied my family worse still. Ratchet that up even higher by leaving me destitute takes me beyond the scale of what I can endure.
    Being destitute means I cannot afford a decent legal defence. I cannot compete with her resources. I lose. I have lost at every level. I wonder how I will ever trust a woman as a partner again. I doubt that I can find that trust again.
    Once I was so ashamed to admit that I had been bashed and humiliated by my wife. It made me feel like such a failure. But slowly I am beginning to realise that my silence only enables the abuse to continue and go unmeasured. It allows people like ‘shivers’ to hide amongst figures and documentary support. The politics of gender and those who engage in it have missed the point entirely. Viciousness and violence is not gender based.

    What wisdom have I taken from this? I dont know yet. I have battered down the hatches. I am just trying to survive. I am trying so hard because if I let go of that tenuous hold, my children will never know the truth. I will have truly disappeared. The stories they hear of me will only be the ones my wife chooses to weave.
    I am trying to go on in this dreadful fight. I want my children to know that I never betrayed them. I never left them. My wife, their mother, had to virtually annihilate me to remove me.
    I keep trying to get up the strength to keep fighting.
    I know that I may not make it.

  • Jay

    I have read all the above. Some people are so immersed in the politics of their gender that they simply cannot see imbalance and injustice. I am not interested in the ‘history of male dominance’, I am a human being who seeks protection for my innocence, protection from abuse and injustice. My story is probably not unique. I am intelligent enough to know that if this can happen to me then there must be others. I have no interest in the politics of gender which seems to sustain so many feminists.
    I was a feminist once. No more.
    I will keep this brief:
    My wife decided to remove me from the family because she had taken another man as her lover. She wanted him in and me out. For 5 months I endured the most horrible psychological, emotional, social and physical abuse. I responded by trying to love her more, give ground on every issue. I let her abuse me and I did not protest.
    For months she told me that she could kill me and get away with it because she was “a woman”. She told me that as the “woman she had the power to destroy” me. I thought this was nonsense. No one had the power to do such a thing. But I was wrong. She was right.
    My wife told me that she had the power, as the woman, to take everything from me. She would take the kids, the house, the assets and ‘whatever man she wanted’.
    After 5 months of this abuse she broke me. On that last night I told her that if she didnt leave with her boyfriend, I would tell the children about her and him.
    My wife got very very angry. Later that night as I was lying in bed sobbing she came to me and began to punch me repeatedly in the head. They were heavy, ugly punches. I did nothing to protect myself. I got out of bed and just stood there and let her destroy my face. she closed an eye and knocked out teeth. But I am proud that I stood there for so long without threatening her or using force. I was as passive as is humanly possible. But then after some time I got scared. I was scared because I remembered the times she had said she would kill or destroy me. So I hit her twice. It was the first time I had ever hit or harmed anyone. We were both injured.
    The police got involved. The female police that got involved immediately sided with my wife. I was the male and therefore the perpetrator, my wife was the female therefore the victim. With this support my wife had me charged with assault. They chose not to charge her with any offence. With this level of support my wife was able to throw in a few more accusations such as”he has threatened to kill the kids”. This ugly horrible lie grew wings on the back of unquestioned support from female police.
    When I was released from hospital (2 weeks after the assault) the female police detective was waiting for me. She took me away and had me charged. At no stage was she ever interested in anything I had to say.
    I was sent to jail on my wife’s statements. I was refused bail.
    I had never been to jail before, I had never committed a crime. I knew nothing of this violent world I was being sent to.
    I am still in shock about being sent to jail. i am still shocked that I could only be released by pleading guilty. What sort of system is this? it is a system where women act for women. Women in professional roles will act vindictively in unquestioned support of other women.
    Once I was imprisoned, my wife was able to openly bring her boyfriend out of the shadows and into the life of my family.
    I fought hard to survive in that dungeon. I wondered everyday how I ended up there. I wondered at the power of what my wifes could do through lies. I wondered at her ability to ‘destroy’ me. She was right, she could treat me in the most offensive way and then, if I acted to protect myself, I could be destroyed.
    I pleaded guilty to assault so I could be released. To plead not guilty was to rot in jail for another 12 mths waiting for a court date. I accept my responsibility in hitting her to stop being bashed, but what choice did I have?
    Upon my release she took out an AVO and included the kids. For 18 months now she has kept me from any contact with them. My family is permitted no contact. The kids dont know what happened to me. I disappeared, her boyfriend is now their new daddy.
    Whilst I was incarcerated my wife stripped all my/our assets. When I was released I did not have access to a single dollar. I lost my job and career as a result of imprisonment.
    I have lived on the streets.
    I have no resources to fight back.
    She refuses contact, she will not even release my personal items or clothing.
    She was right. I was wrong. As a woman, she had the power to take my life.
    She took it with such ease. All it required was a willingness to lie, a group of female detectives with jaundiced bias, and there you have it. My life over in a flash.
    Each day is a battle to keep the will to continue in a world so wretched with injustice. I miss my kids. I miss my life. I miss my innocence. A committed, loving, affectionate, adoring, involved parent is now missing from the lives of his children. My wife has her boyfriend, the house, the assets and the kids. All so easy because of the inbuilt injustice affecting our two genders.
    The greatest irony of all is that my ‘event’ is recorded as domestic violence against a woman. Officially she is the victim. She knows and I know how ridiculous this is. How many other stories are like mine? Even when we are abused and even seriously attacked there is a refusal to recognise, because of maleness, that we can be anything other than the perpetrator.
    Even though she was so abusive of me, so aggressive for so long, I never stood a chance in our present system. As the official ‘victim’ I am sure she has had a bevy of support services to turn to. The violent one gets that support!!! I am dumbfounded that this could happen. There is something rotten in eden when the aggressor is offered support on a basis of her gender. In hospital, and upon my release i was not offered any access to support services. I know I am a survivor of a prolonged and extreme form of domestic violence. i know my case is not recorded as such in statistics.
    After so many months of really significant abuse my trauma was very great. The trauma of jail was even greater. Being released and denied my family worse still. Ratchet that up even higher by leaving me destitute takes me beyond the scale of what I can endure.
    Being destitute means I cannot afford a decent legal defence. I cannot compete with her resources. I lose. I have lost at every level. I wonder how I will ever trust a woman as a partner again. I doubt that I can find that trust again.
    Once I was so ashamed to admit that I had been bashed and humiliated by my wife. It made me feel like such a failure. But slowly I am beginning to realise that my silence only enables the abuse to continue and go unmeasured. It allows people like ‘shivers’ to hide amongst figures and documentary support. The politics of gender and those who engage in it have missed the point entirely. Viciousness and violence is not gender based.

    What wisdom have I taken from this? I dont know yet. I have battered down the hatches. I am just trying to survive. I am trying so hard because if I let go of that tenuous hold, my children will never know the truth. I will have truly disappeared. The stories they hear of me will only be the ones my wife chooses to weave.
    I am trying to go on in this dreadful fight. I want my children to know that I never betrayed them. I never left them. My wife, their mother, had to virtually annihilate me to remove me.
    I keep trying to get up the strength to keep fighting.
    I know that I may not make it.

  • shivers

    This will be my final comment on this blog. My comments were in no way meant to be condescending, belittling or invalidating of any persons experiences. I thought I had made that clear. Also being told of “hiding behind statistics”, there is no hiding, it’s called research and using statistics to uphold a point of view, as opposed to limiting one’s opinion to within one own’s experiences. No need to apologise for my experiences of the past, none are required. Steven said, “but to be clear, many of the things you describe are similar domineering type behaviours that I, my brother and many other boys have or are growing up with today.” I rest my case, and leave you with your minimisation explanation of your ‘domineering type behaviours’. To Jay, I respectfully say “thank you” for sharing your experience, yes, we do need to hear more of those stories and do the drill down that would provide credible study narrative and statistics, and just because your experience is of the male gender minority, in no way invalidates your experience as it happened to you.

  • shivers

    This will be my final comment on this blog. My comments were in no way meant to be condescending, belittling or invalidating of any persons experiences. I thought I had made that clear. Also being told of “hiding behind statistics”, there is no hiding, it’s called research and using statistics to uphold a point of view, as opposed to limiting one’s opinion to within one own’s experiences. No need to apologise for my experiences of the past, none are required. Steven said, “but to be clear, many of the things you describe are similar domineering type behaviours that I, my brother and many other boys have or are growing up with today.” I rest my case, and leave you with your minimisation explanation of your ‘domineering type behaviours’. To Jay, I respectfully say “thank you” for sharing your experience, yes, we do need to hear more of those stories and do the drill down that would provide credible study narrative and statistics, and just because your experience is of the male gender minority, in no way invalidates your experience as it happened to you.

  • Steven

    Shivers, I don’t see how you can claim that your attitudes do not belittle men, and then proceed to describe Jay’s experiences as placing him in a “male gender minority.” Surely this type of labelling does nothing BUT belittle the importance of his experience?

    I also think you’ve mis-interpreted the source of the “domineering” behaviours I refered to in my last post. If you believe that those behaviours are limited to men then you would be very wrong.

    As you now feel it is beneath you to continue contribution to this blog, I hope that your brief sojourn into reality has not too greatly shaken your belief in the victimisation of men as a “minority” experience.

    To Jay, I am very deeply sorry to hear of what you’ve been through. The injustice of your situation is almost unspeakable, and the fact that you have been able to recount it so clearly is a testament to the strength of your character. I think its extremely important for men like you to continue to speak out, and continue to tell people what has happened. Don’t let the insensitivities of feminists and people with “daddy” issues discourage you from making your point, because many people are listening.

  • Steven

    Shivers, I don’t see how you can claim that your attitudes do not belittle men, and then proceed to describe Jay’s experiences as placing him in a “male gender minority.” Surely this type of labelling does nothing BUT belittle the importance of his experience?

    I also think you’ve mis-interpreted the source of the “domineering” behaviours I refered to in my last post. If you believe that those behaviours are limited to men then you would be very wrong.

    As you now feel it is beneath you to continue contribution to this blog, I hope that your brief sojourn into reality has not too greatly shaken your belief in the victimisation of men as a “minority” experience.

    To Jay, I am very deeply sorry to hear of what you’ve been through. The injustice of your situation is almost unspeakable, and the fact that you have been able to recount it so clearly is a testament to the strength of your character. I think its extremely important for men like you to continue to speak out, and continue to tell people what has happened. Don’t let the insensitivities of feminists and people with “daddy” issues discourage you from making your point, because many people are listening.

  • Paula Milliard-Mudd

    I am with the support of others attempting to start a Hunter Domestic Violence Support and Advisory Services Inc, which would include both Women, Children and Men. Could you point me in a direction where I would be able to find brochures on male DV. As you would appreciate there is plenty of literature out there for women, but in this area cannot find any for men. Your assistance would be very appreciated.

    Cheers

    Paula Milliard-Mudd

  • Paula Milliard-Mudd

    I am with the support of others attempting to start a Hunter Domestic Violence Support and Advisory Services Inc, which would include both Women, Children and Men. Could you point me in a direction where I would be able to find brochures on male DV. As you would appreciate there is plenty of literature out there for women, but in this area cannot find any for men. Your assistance would be very appreciated.

    Cheers

    Paula Milliard-Mudd

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