Sunday, December 9, 2007

Campaigns target domestic violence by men and women




Report from Women's Health Council, book by Amen founder

Some years ago I met a group of people with physical disabilities and, in the course of conversation, I asked if all of them had been born with their disabilities.

All had except one, a woman who had been so badly beaten by her husband that he had left her disabled for life and unable, ever again, to live independently.

I thought of her when I read, in a new report from the Women’s Health Council, that in Europe more women die or are seriously injured every year through domestic violence than through cancer or road accidents.

The report acknowledges that men suffer violence at the hands of women– but all the evidence, I’m afraid, suggests that men carry out most of the violence that occurs between the genders.

What’s going on with men who are violent towards their female partners? A few, I suspect, don’t know any better. It’s what they grew up with. Most people who see violence at home avoid repeating it in their own relationships later on. Some, however, may think it’s the thing to do.

Others, though, seem to have a pathological need to control their partners. Everything: what she wears, who she sees, how much make-up she puts on, who she talks to at work, who she telephones, when and how she does housework, has to be controlled in detail.

I suspect that behind this pathological need for control is a dread of losing the other person, a certainly that she will leave unless she is put on the very tightest of reins. The irony, of course, is that these control freaks generally end up losing their partners anyhow – by holding on to them so oppressively they drive them away.

New book by Mary T Cleary
Women who are violent and abusive to their male partners may have similar motivations. A new book, That Bitch – protect yourself against women with malicious intent, written by Mary T Cleary, founder of Amen, and journalist Roy Sheppard, describes instance after instance of such behaviour.

I don’t like the title, which was chosen to shock, because I think it creates an unnecessary barrier between men and women on this issue. That said, the book does a good job of highlighting one big problem concerning violence by women towards men. This is the reluctance of men to speak out because they have a realistic fear of not being believed or of being sneered at.

No slap, just tickle
An interesting campaign to bring together both of these aspects of domestic violence – men as perpetrators and men as victims – has been launched in the UK. The No slap, just tickle campaign aims to help men speak out against, and overcome, domestic violence, whether they are victims, perpetrators or bystanders.

The inclusion of perpetrators may seem odd but many violent men go through periods of remorse and this is something that can be built on by a campaign like this. The campaign urges men who perpetrate violence to have the courage to seek help and to understand that domestic violence is never acceptable. There are programmes to help such men, run by MOVE Ireland in ten locations around the country and contact numbers are given on the website.

The No slap, just tickle campaign encourages men who are victims of domestic violence to “have the courage to seek help – even if you have the impression that it will make matters worse. As a man you are no different to the countless women who have spoken out about domestic violence and freed themselves from it.” Amen can be a helpful resource to men in this situation.

And the campaign encourages men who are aware of situations of domestic violence to “urge the person in question to seek help – whether as a victim or as a perpetrator.”

Domestic violence is a choice. The men and women who perpetrate it do not, for example, have uncontrollable urges to beat up their bosses at work. Therefore if they beat up or torment one person and not another they are exercising a choice. That is a fact we need to bear in mind at all times.

4 comments:

slim jim said...

Padraic, although you say that “The report acknowledges that men suffer violence at the hands of women” you go on to claim “but all the evidence, I’m afraid, suggests that men carry out most of the violence that occurs between the genders.”
However, the following was posted on Sarah Caries blog (http://www.sarahcarey.ie/2007/12/03/waters-on-womens-aid/)
The Experience of Domestic Violence: Findings from the 2005 Northern Ireland Crime Survey Research and Statistical Bulletin 5/2007 Page 7, published on 5 July 2007 by the Northern Ireland Office, reveals that 35% of respondents, who claimed to be victims of domestic abuse, were men. It also points to other research findings which suggest that the number of male victims may be as high as 50% ie that just as many women abuse men as men abuse women.
The July 2005 Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland report published by the National Crime Council in Dublin, on page 75, quotes 1 in 4 women reporting to the Guards where the figure for men was only 1 in 20.
You might read these reports before making such claims.

patrick mcginnity said...

The comment "a new report from the Women’s Health Council, that in Europe more women die or are seriously injured every year through domestic violence than through cancer or road accidents", must qualify as one of the most ridiculous comments ever written on a blog since Bill Gates invented this whole internet lark.

More women dying from domestic violence than from cancer and road accidents? Really? In Northern Ireland, for example, approximately three women die due to domestic violence annually. Are you really saying Padraig that less than three women die from cancer and road traffic accidents combined annually in Northern Ireland? I think somebody has been leading you up the garden path Padraig.

slim jim said...

I read the Comment from Patrick and it made me think. I then wrote the following e-mail to the Women's Health Council:

I recently came across the report "Violence Against Women & Health". I was amazed by the statement on page 12 that “In Europe, the Council of Europe estimated that more women die or are seriously injured every year through domestic violence than through cancer or road accidents (Reid, 2003)”.

I find this hard to believe due to the fact that, in Ireland, we have approximately 400 deaths a year on our roads. I am aware that this approximate figure sadly contains around 50 children annually. I am also aware of the fact that young male drivers figure predominately in road traffic accidents, generally late at night in single vehicle incidents. A rough estimate would indicate that of the 400 annual fatalities, 250 are adult male, 50 are children and 100 are adult female, equating to 2 adult females a week.

This is in startling contrast to the 51 females murdered in Ireland (Womens Aid) over a 4 year period, of which, according to your own report, “It has been established that for over 50% of all women murdered internationally, the perpetrator was a male intimate partner (WHO, 2005)”. This would imply that, of the 51 females murdered in Ireland over a 4 year period, approximately 26 or 27 were murdered by a male intimate partner.

All of this would indicate that, annually in Ireland, approximately 6 or 7 women meet there death at the hands of their male partner whereas the statement “In Europe, the Council of Europe estimated that more women die or are seriously injured every year through domestic violence than through cancer or road accidents” would imply that approximately 100 women die at the hands of their male partner each year. Either Irish fatalities among road traffic victims is 10 times worse than Europe or 10 times better among the female victims of domestic violence.

I notice that the Council of Europe estimated this figure.

Could you now please verify this matter for me? END

If I get a reply, I will let you know.

ministeroftruth said...

Yeah, Slim. Like if you read the statement properly you will realise that it states "more women die, or are seriously injured". The quantifier here being "or are seriously injured" as opposed to "die".

A broken bone or extensive bruising would be considered as serious injuries and I would expect that more than a hundred women a year receive such injuries as a result of male violence. Thus the statement cannot be described as untrue.

Not that I believe for one second that men are more abusive than women. Women,in my opinion, are equally as abusive as men but are not physically strong enough to be able to relsort to violence as a form of abuse. Women, in my experience, rely on more subtle forms of abuse in order to inflict damage on males. Things like threatening to take a man's children away from him, verbal abuse intended to ridicule and humiliate and of course getting a sympathetic male accomplice to inflict the physical damage that the woman is incapaple of inflicting herself.

Of course men do these things as well. It's not just women who resort to psychological and verbal abuse, but on the other hand it's not just men who resort to violence.

Perhaps one day we will be presented with a report that is not biased in favour of one sex against the other, and will scientifically reveal the true nature and extent of abuse between the sexes. I doubt that we ever will as long as the misandrist bigots in the Feminist movement refuse to acknowledge that women are capable of instigating abuse and are not all victims by virtue of their sex.