To great fanfare, the Centers for Disease Control last week trotted out its latest survey of intimate partner violence. Given its definitions, its findings were pretty much what we’d expect. For example, any woman who decides to have sex, gets drunk or high and then has sex with a man has been raped, or so says the survey. So it’s no surprise that the statistics on rape are greatly inflated. Considering the definition, I was shocked that there weren’t more.
And what’s true of sexual assault is true of domestic violence as well. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘violence’ as “the exercise of physical force so as to inflict injury on, or cause damage to, persons or property.” The CDC study is nowhere near as scrupulous. As we’ve come to expect, domestic violence there can be anything from unpleasant remarks to murder. So, as with rape, the figures are greatly inflated.
But the survey does, for the most part, apply the same definitions to men’s and women’s behavior. Usually, it compares apples and apples. So however inflated the figures may be, at least they’re equally inflated for men and women. (That’s not altogether true. In more than one category of sexual assault, in order to qualify as a victim the element of intent on the part of the perpetrator was required of men but not of women. The obvious result was to diminish the number of male victims.)
And those figures are interesting, particularly in certain categories. For example, within the past year, 6.5% of men and 6.3% of women said they were victims of violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Another 18% of men and only 14% of women reported themselves the victims of “psychological aggression.” And when it came to being a victim of “coercive control” by an intimate partner, males outnumbered females by almost a 3:2 margin, 15.2% to 10.7%.
That last is significant of course because the entire DV industry has for years told us that DV is all about power and control. So isn’t it interesting that women do that far more than do men.
When it comes to lifetime violence (as defined by the survey), women do indeed report greater victimization, but the gap between men and women isn’t great. For example, lifetime figures for physical violence victimization by an intimate partner are 32.9% for women and 28.2% for men.
Again, there’s not a lot new here other than the fact that the survey itself has just come out.
What’s also not new is the fact that the news media reporting on the survey completely ignored male victims. In tried-and-true fashion, they reported only the statistics on women. Indeed, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (S.A.V.E.) analyzed the papers reporting on the survey and found none reporting the data that show more male than female victims.
Barbara Kay noticed the same thing here (National Post, 12/20/11). As usual, she nails the culprits in the international organized crime of reporting on domestic violence.
One of first-wave feminism’s great achievements in the 1970s was to end the denial surrounding wife abuse in even the “best” homes. Resources for abused women proliferated. Traditional social, judicial and political attitudes toward violence against women were cleansed and reconstructed along feminist-designed lines.True, but domestic violence is perhaps the most misrepresented phenomenon in American society. Essentially everything said in the mainstream media on the subject is either outright false or misleading. That’s because the journalists writing on the subject get their “information” not from reputable studies, but from the DV establishment that has a vested interest in exclusively male perpetrators and exclusively female victims. They’ve been making the same false claims for almost 40 years now, so it’d be embarrassing for them to all of a sudden say “never mind.” More importantly, they’ve been on the gravy train operated by the federal government and numberless non-profit organizations for too long to admit the truth - that what they’re saying is wrong and what they’re doing makes the problem worse not better.
But then a funny thing happened. The closet from which abuse victims were emerging had, everyone assumed, been filled with women. But honest researchers were surprised by the results of their own objective inquiries. They were all finding, independently, that intimate partner violence (IPV) is mostly bidirectional.
But by then the IPV domain was awash in heavily politicized stakeholders. Even peer-reviewed community-based studies providing politically incorrect conclusions were cut off at the pass, their researchers’ names passed over for task force appointments and the writing of training manuals for the judiciary…
The most extreme IPV is certainly male-on-female, but hard-core batterers and outright killers are rare. In violence of the mild to moderately severe variety that constitutes most of IPV — shoving, slapping, hitting, punching, throwing objects, even stabbing and burning — both genders initiate and cause harm in equal measure.
Every major survey has borne out this truth. In fact, the most reliable, like Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey, found not only that most male and female violence is reciprocal, but also that the younger the sample, the more violent the women relative to men. A meta-analysis of mor than 80 large-scale surveys notes a widening, and concerning, spread — less male and more female IPV — in the dating cohort…
By now there is no excuse for the failure of governments at all levels to follow through on — or at least acknowledge — the settled science of bilateral violence.
How else to explain the behavior of the Liz Claiborne Institute that commissioned a serious and large study of teen dating violence and, when girls turned out to be somewhat more likely than boys to commit an act of dating violence, simply buried the fact? To this day, the LCI cries long and loudly about female victims of dating violence and completely ignores the boys.
By contrast, Kay cites the exellent work of Dr. Donald Dutton who rightly says that family violence is a product of individual psychology and family dynamics coupled with a history of family violence in childhood. In short, gender has essentially nothing to do with it. But if we were to listen to Dutton and the many others who are doing good, constructive work in the area of domestic violence, we’d have to refigure everything we’re currently doing to supposedly address the problem. To date, there is nothing whatsoever to indicate that we’re contemplating any such thing.
Meanwhile, Kay’s last words are a fair summary.
Ironically, and unjustly, abused men today are where women were 60 years ago: their ill-treatment is ignored, trivialized or mocked; there are virtually no funded resources for them; and they are expected to suffer partner violence in silence. Which most of them do.Thanks to Edward and Paulette for the heads-up.
Who will have the courage to bell this politically correct cat? When will revenge end and fairness begin?