The Footy Frenzy Friday Open Thread »« Tackling the facts about the World Cup and domestic abuse

Can we finally nail down those male victim statistics?

Dear Anna

I’m genuinely grateful for this post on your blog Economista Dentata which delves into the ONS statistics on domestic abuse. After the week I’ve had, I really hope this gives me the opportunity to establish some recognised consensus as to the best available knowledge on some controversial questions, and the fact that you identify the sources of your claims and ‘show your workings’ (forgive the cliché) gives me hope that this could be a really constructive exchange. I hope you would be willing to consider this an ongoing dialogue, so I will make no apologies for asking you some questions and I’ll very much look forward to your answers.

I will go through what I take to be your main points, if you think I have missed anything significant or misrepresented your points, please correct me, I assure you it will be inadvertent.

Before diving headlong into some data, let us clearly define our terms. In theONS definition, domestic violence has a narrower definition than domestic abuse….

The two terms are not interchangeable – domestic abuse covers the entire x- axis: domestic violence excludes non-physical abuse. As the title suggests, Mankind’s video focuses on the physical, but over and over, the statistics Ally cites refer to all abuse. The effect is to muddle the eye of the reader.

 

I willingly accept that the ONS draws a distinction between ‘domestic abuse’ and ‘domestic violence’ – the latter being a narrower category which excludes non-physical abuse. You make a valid criticism that I use the two terms interchangeably without clarification, which could cause confusion.

However as you know, I was addressing points made by Polly Neate from Women’s Aid. Women’s Aid, and indeed the Home Office, define domestic violence as:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

psychological

physical

sexual

financial

emotional

That was also the definition I was using (for the record, it is one I accept and agree with.) You will notice that this definition of domestic violence is wider than the ONS one, indeed it is pretty much identical to the ONS definition of domestic abuse.

So I hope you would agree that by the definition quoted above, the claim made by Mankind Initiative about the percentage of victims of domestic violence who are male is not categorically inaccurate.

Are we agreed so far?

That said, it is fair to point out that we now have two operating definitions of domestic violence, one which includes non-physical abuse, and one which doesn’t.

It is important to note that victims can experience more than one type of abuse. Unless I’m missing a trick, it is therefore impossible to know from the figures on your graph (and here) exactly how many men and women were subjected to domestic violence by the strict ONS definition.

Your graph is partnered by this ONS table (click to enlarge)

Table 4.11

There were 700,000 male victims of domestic abuse and 1.2 million female victims of domestic abuse last year. We do therefore know how many men and women were subjected to each of the subcategories of abuse.

If we’re to be exact with our sums, I make it 37% of victims of domestic abuse are men, not 40%. I’ll accept those corrections.

From Table 4.11 we can also say that:

Men make up only small percentages of sexual violence and stalking victims. No argument from me there, although they are much, much smaller groups than the non-sexual abuse category.

There were 392,000 male victims of non-physical (emotional and financial) abuse (56% of 700,000) and 612,000 women (51% of 1.2m). That means 39% of victims of this type of abuse were male.

We can repeat this calculation to find that 329,000 men and were subjected to threats or force compared to 588,000 women, so 36% of victims of this type of domestic abuse were male.

Within that category:

17% of those subjected to threats were male.

31% of those subjected to minor force (‘pushed you, held you down or slapped you’) were male.

41% of those subjected to severe force (‘kicked, hit, bitten, choked, strangled, threatened with a weapon, threats to kill, use of a weapon or some other kind of force’) were male.

Looking at those statistics, especially the last one, while we can probably agree that it is never possible to capture a complex phenomenon like intimate partner abuse in a single statistic, would you not agree it is reasonable for a campaigning charity like the Mankind Initiative to tell a general, public audience that 40% of victims of domestic violence are male?

If not, can I ask you directly, what do you think would be a reasonable calculation, from all available evidence, of the proportion of victims of domestic abuse / violence who are male?

 

–—————–

 

We might all want to take a breather here, before I move on to your next point!

 

–—————-

So, to the data: there are several sources for this, which rather unhelpfully from our viewpoint have different methodologies. This notwithstanding, the ONS is pellucidly clear in its Summary and throughout: “Women were more likely than men to have experienced intimate violence across all headline types of abuse asked about.” Note: they do not say the likelihoods are of a comparable magnitude.

Yet this is the argument, that over and over again, Ally, in his defence of Mankind Initiative’s video, tries with more or less subtlety, to push.

I have very little to say about this beyond the fact that it is not true. I’ve said (and continue to say) that men make up a significant minority of victims of abuse but nowhere, in my recent blog or anywhere else, have I ever said that men were equally likely to face abuse. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has the Mankind Initiative. 40% versus 60% is not “comparable magnitude” of likelihood. I simply do not know where you have got that from and I would respectfully ask you to withdraw it, or at least explain what it is I’ve said to give you the wrong idea, so I can be careful not to say it again.

–———–

Ally says: “If you go to the Women’s Aid page of statistics, the very first fact stated there is that one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. This statistic comes from the exact same ONS data set from where we get 40% of victims being male.” (Ally’s blog)

But, seeing as 40% of domestic violence victims in the UK are men…”(HuffPo)

Not only is that NOT the first fact stated on the Women’s Aid page

Whoops, my fault. It is the first statistic quoted on the domestic violence page of the Women’s Aid website. I hold my hand up and apologise for the error.

but he has compared a statistic about domestic violence to one about domestic abuse, in order, it seems, to minimise the violence women suffer and exaggerate that suffered by men.

See above. I maintain that according to the definition of domestic violence used by both the Home Office and Women’s Aid, it is not inaccurate to say that around 40% of domestic violence victims are male.

The time frames are also different: Ally cites Women’s Aid ‘in her lifetime’ – but the ONS data refers to reported incidents in the last year; the sample sizes are not the same: Women’s Aid’s statistic refers ALL women in the adult female population not the percentage of victims referred to by the ONS.

This is a fair point, in that I did switch between annual and lifetime figures, which is sloppy. However the Women’s Aid statistic of lifetime prevalence does indeed come from the BCS/CSEW – the exact same data that provide annual figures. To be accurate, the latest CSEW gives the figures of “30% of women and 16.3% of men had experienced any domestic abuse since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 4.9 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.7 million male victims” – which is slightly more than one in four women. But the key point is that this estimate refers to victims experiencing any one incident, not a repeated pattern.

As this page demonstrates, Women’s Aid themselves acknowledge that the “one in four women” figure (like the “one in six men” figure) is indeed based on single incidents, not repeated and prolonged patterns. So while I didn’t make my case very carefully in the original blog, the point very much still stands. Women’s Aid use single incident statistics when they want to demonstrate how commonplace domestic violence against women is, then discount single incident statistics when they want to claim domestic violence against men is rare.

–———-

Ally and Mankind also leave unaddressed that men will be perpetrators of violence against men in relationships, as well as being victims (it’s worth noting that of all incidents of all kinds of violence in society, the majority are committed by men); domestic violence and abuse against men will not take place solely in heterosexual relationships (the same caveat, of course, applies to women).

It is true that some partner violence against men can occur in same sex relationships, as of course can some partner violence against women.

Thankfully, the ONS have also considered this so we do have the data (albeit the most recent is from 2008/9) It is here, on Page 76. I appreciate the table is sideways on the pdf, so to save you some contortionism, the main points are that partner abuse victimisation among:

  • Heterosexual men = 4.1%
  • Heterosexual women = 5.9%
  • Gay/ bisexual men = 8.9%
  • Lesbian/bisexual women = 17.3%

I would advise not reading too much into the gay / lesbian / bi categories which can be complicated by all sorts of factors (not least margins of error with small groups). The key statistics are the first two. Among purely heterosexual populations, there are (very slightly more than) four male victims for every six female victims. Another way to put that is that about 40% of heterosexual victims of partner abuse are male. If we include same sex relationships in the analysis the proportion of victims who are male does not go up, it falls.

–———–

His attempt to redefine domestic violence by volume of incidents a victim suffers is puzzling at best: to quote Mankind’s own slogan ‘ViolenceisViolence’ whether it’s once or a thousand times.

Forgive me if I’m being dense here, I don’t understand this point. I think you may be referring to my responses to Polly Neate’s attempts to redefine domestic violence by volume of incidents. It was her doing that, not me. She appeared to be suggesting that domestic violence is only real domestic violence if it happens repeatedly, as a pattern.

If you’re puzzled by that, hey, join the club. I quite agree, #ViolenceIsViolence whether it happens once or a thousand times.

–—

In order to end male violence in society against women, we need to understand and name the problem.

 

I don’t disagree with that. At no point have I denied male violence, and I am on a lifelong mission to attempt to understand it. I’m also quite happy to name male violence as male violence.

However male violence is not the only type of violence in society and I have spent much of the last week fielding angry attacks from those who would appear to demand that I accept it is, against all evidence to the contrary.

 

Ally Fogg calls himself an ally to feminists.

 

Actually he doesn’t. I am sometimes called that by others, but believe me, I’m called a lot of worse things too.

 

 

Comments

  1. Archy says

    I really have to wonder why some people are SO invested in dismissing and minimizing violence against men, to reframe it back to violence against women.

    “No serious advance made by feminism has been without a push-back from men unable to accept what is staring them in the face. In order to end male violence in society against women, we need to understand and name the problem. Male violence is still far too prevalent, it is still under-reported, it is still not regarded as the epidemic it is.”

    Acknowledging violence against men does NOTHING to minimize or harm the fight against violence against women, if anything it actually helps to support the fight by allowing more people to be supported. There is this extremely selfish gynocentric focus on treating it like a zero sum game, with some women wanting to hold on to the entire spotlight of the DV issue. WHY? Why is it so “Me me me” (or better yet women women women)? I just can’t grasp why so many people do not want men’s issues to be supported?

    Violence against anyone is bad, if you only help women then you will still have a lot of men who need support. Hell helping men actually prevents violence to women since some men whom are abused, go on to abuse other women (same for women abused by men, and any combo of genders really). Prevention is the best cure…

  2. says

    The salient point is that in 2009, c. 95% of the UK adult population did not suffer DV/DA. Coupled with the fact that DV/DA was perpetrated by males vs. females at a 3:2 ratio, it is preposterous to suggest that either some endemic, all-encompassing social malaise exists; or that men, by nature or indoctrination, are predisposed toward domestic violence.

  3. says

    Ally Fogg

    and ‘show your workings’ (forgive the cliché)

    So even when you’re trying to be a serious journalist / researcher, you can’t resist resorting to smutty playground humour.

    Says it all.

  4. says

    Archy writes:

    I really have to wonder why some people are SO invested in dismissing and minimizing violence against men, to reframe it back to violence against women.

    Maybe because this illustrates the violence that men inflict against women.

    And when you can provide an equivalent example of women regularly and significantly committing “honour” crimes like this – eyes gouged out with a dagger) maybe Ally Fogg’s plea for the men, will have some credence.
    .

  5. Enkidum says

    “Show your workings” is smutty playground humour? I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

  6. leni says

    I really have to wonder why some people are SO invested in dismissing and minimizing violence against men, to reframe it back to violence against women.

    I don’t know about other people, but I know what problem I have. Minimal aggression is met with murderous rage and the two things are treated as equal when they probably shouldn’t, and guess who suffers?

    Once, I shook a boyfriend’s collar. Super violent, I know. For that infraction I had my head repeatedly slammed into marble steps, was punched in the *head* not the face, except the one probably mistakenly placed black eye. Hair hides bruises, who knew! People who like to beat other people and hide it, turns out.

    And I was hit in the head with a bookbag so hard I saw the proverbial stars.

    And then given a shitty two dollar ankh necklace as an apology, apparently because vaginae live on cheap jewelry and lazy apologies or something?

    I don’t feel mistrust about men being abused because I don’t think they can be or are abused. I know they can and are and I have met the victims. I feel mistrust because I thought I was going die that day

  7. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg: “You will notice that this [Home Office] definition of domestic violence is wider than the ONS one”

    According to you it isn’t. You said right above it that is the Home Office definition of “violence AND abuse”

    “indeed it is pretty much identical to the ONS definition of domestic abuse.”

    Is that because it’s the definition of violence AND abuse?

  8. Lucy says

    “I don’t disagree with that. At no point have I denied male violence, and I am on a lifelong mission to attempt to understand it. I’m also quite happy to name male violence as male violence.”

    You continuously implicate women in it. Rather than looking at it as a specific phenomenon, you continuously want to compare it or rather liken it to female violence (much of the time on spurious interpretations of statistics or anecdote), which has a diluting and misleading effect.

  9. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg, on 14th Feb you wrote re. The ONS figure of 30% of women suffering domestic violence/abuse that:

    “It is true, after a fashion, if one chooses to define domestic violence as any one single adult lifetime incident of emotional or financial abuse, threat or ‘minor force’ by any partner or family member. That is not, however, how most people (including most agencies and academics) would choose to define domestic violence. ”

    Concluding that things weren’t so dramatic afterall.

    Why the change of heart when it comes to abuse of men?

  10. Darren Ball says

    @bitethehand #5

    Religion brings a whole new dimension to domestic violence which needs to be treated differently. We are stuck with us as a species – we can’t do anything about that. What we can do something about is the way we raise children – to ensure that they’re raised in families and a society in which violence (including DV) is unacceptable.

    So-called “honour killings” come from a sub-culture within our society in which children are raised to believe that extreme and even lethal violence against one’s own children can be honourable. You do not get to this belief simply by being born male. To hold such monstrous views requires years of indoctrination. What you have identified is not a problem with men, but a problem with religion and/or a very small sub-culture here in the UK. You then extrapolate that across a discussion on DV generally within the UK. In fact it is so unrepresentative as to be meaningless in any discussion other than one specifically dealing with religious/culture-based violence.

    I should also point out that mothers are also often complicit in “honour killings/violence” and sons are often victims. This is because both sexes buy into their religion/culture. Although I don’t have statistics, such stories are quite often in the press.

  11. Sans-sanity says

    @Enkidum,

    Eh, it can be used that way, if you’re like, 10… (the ‘workings’ in question would, in the context, be ones’ genitals – if you are curious). But it is very frequently used (by adults) for people outlining, step by step, their mathematical process (you probably already know that, but I have had difficulty more than once due to differing cultures resulting in the misunderstanding of ‘sayings’, and I do not know where you are from). Given that Ally says “cliche” rather than “pun”, I am quite sure he meant only the latter.

  12. Darren Ball says

    Ally,

    It was very magnanimous of you to keep apologising, but it was very clear to anybody who read your article properly that it’s WA who conflate and flip-flop between headline-grabbing statistics of high life-time prevalence (1 in 4, etc) with high-magnitude assaults. What you were doing was calling them on that, in effect: if were talking about 1 in 4, then men are 1 in 6. If we’re talking murder, then men are a much lower proportion but then the life-time prevalence for women is about 1 in 4000, not 1 in 4.

  13. says

    Enkidum

    “Show your workings” is smutty playground humour? I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

    Young boys and sadly many men every day, all over the world, shout at woman – from a distance, or close up when they feel safe, as Ally Fogg feels here, “show us your tits”.

    To labour a point, Ally is engaging in the kind of juvenile sexist humour that made him so popular with the male chauvinists that congregate on his blog.

    Let Ally Fogg deny he meant anything other than him seeking an answer to a difference to complex statistical calculation, and I’ll post an apology.

  14. Darren Ball says

    @bitethehand #14

    If Ally did indeed mean the term “show us your workings” in the manner you suggest it would be an euphemism, not a cliché. I would be disappointed if Ally made such a schoolboy error.

  15. says

    Darren Ball you write:

    What you have identified is not a problem with men, but a problem with religion and/or a very small sub-culture here in the UK.

    I wish you were right but sadly religious violence, of which honour killing is a small but important part, only exists because men are stronger than women. As such when they are violent, men do far more damage to women, and other smaller and weaker men than women.

    Ally Fogg consistently refuses to accept this because to do so would mean he would have to agree that his feminists critics are correct.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    Oh for heavens sake Bitethehand.

    “Show your workings” is what teachers say to kids in maths classes. Even when I was a smutty schoolboy I didn’t think there was anything remotely smutty about the phrase.

    Now, I can only conclude that you have quite a twisted mind. But then anyone who knows you knew that anyway.

  17. thetalkingstove says

    Wow, there are some regulars here whose posts I find pretty objectionable, but even they don’t twist words quite as ridiculously as this Bitethehand character. Bizarre.

  18. palaeodave says

    I went to school in Scotland, like Ally. I have never, ever heard anyone use the phrase ‘show your working’ for anything other than an instruction in mathematics to write out in full the steps used to get to your answer. This is the phrase used by teachers and on exam papers. I’ve never heard it used in any other way. It’s a cliché because it’s such an overused phrase.

  19. Ally Fogg says

    Bitethehand (17)

    Right, that’s it. You’ve officially crossed the line.

    I’ve put up with your shit for (literally) years, but that’s enough. Welcome to Banville.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    Lucy (10)

    Ally Fogg, on 14th Feb you wrote re. The ONS figure of 30% of women suffering domestic violence/abuse that

    “It is true, after a fashion, if one chooses to define domestic violence as any one single adult lifetime incident of emotional or financial abuse, threat or ‘minor force’ by any partner or family member. That is not, however, how most people (including most agencies and academics) would choose to define domestic violence. ”

    Concluding that things weren’t so dramatic afterall.

    Why the change of heart when it comes to abuse of men?

    It’s not a change of heart when it comes to men.

    I choose not to volunteer the statistics that ‘one in four women’ / ‘one in four men’ will be a victim etc, because I do think it is quite misleading.

    It’s an entirely different statistic to the one that says “40% of victims are male” which is a much more meaningful one.

    But the bottom line in this context is that if you are going to use the statistic “one in four women” you HAVE to accept the statistic “one in six men” because they are directly comparable.

  21. says

    leni

    I don’t know about other people, but I know what problem I have. Minimal aggression is met with murderous rage and the two things are treated as equal when they probably shouldn’t, and guess who suffers?

    Once, I shook a boyfriend’s collar. Super violent, I know. For that infraction I had my head repeatedly slammed into marble steps, was punched in the *head* not the face, except the one probably mistakenly placed black eye. Hair hides bruises, who knew! People who like to beat other people and hide it, turns out.

    And I was hit in the head with a bookbag so hard I saw the proverbial stars.

    And then given a shitty two dollar ankh necklace as an apology, apparently because vaginae live on cheap jewelry and lazy apologies or something?

    I don’t feel mistrust about men being abused because I don’t think they can be or are abused. I know they can and are and I have met the victims. I feel mistrust because I thought I was going die that day

    the abuse some men faced was described by researchers as “genuinely harrowing”. I think at least some them suffered extreme hardship in abusive relationships. I do not think this is generally a case of comparing uncompareable stuff.

  22. mildlymagnificent says

    Religion brings a whole new dimension to domestic violence which needs to be treated differently. We are stuck with us as a species – we can’t do anything about that. What we can do something about is the way we raise children – to ensure that they’re raised in families and a society in which violence (including DV) is unacceptable.

    I don’t think it needs to be treated differently at all. afaik, the ‘honour’ violence purportedly based on religion has much the same sex difference/disparity in victims and severity of injuries/consequences as other family based violence. The difference is in how many women are involved in, or support the men of the family in, attacking their daughters, in-laws, sisters and mothers.

    I’m pretty sure that all those men, like my former husband, who act or act out on the basis of imagined, entirely baseless suspicions and accusations are using very similar brainwork and thinking patterns.

    The same mechanisms are at work. Being constantly on edge about the possibility that a woman/family member might behave in some way that’s been designated as unacceptable means that too many people constantly envisage these things actually happening. Before long, any behaviour that isn’t restricted or confined to the household and/or under the eye of the suspicious person is incontrovertible evidence that this imaginary line has been crossed.

    The behaviour is common in individuals and in communities. Think about the practice of ‘shunning’ and ‘sending to Coventry’ for people who transgress community and/or religiously based boundaries on behaviour. The house I used to live in was originally built for and given to a couple who were disinherited and, forever after, banished from his family because they dared to marry across the Catholic-Protestant divide. Those grandparents never met the children who were raised in that household.

    If we’re serious about reducing family and religious/community violence, we have to go deeper than prohibiting the violent expression of certain attitudes – after all murder’s been against our laws since forever and that’s not been effective. We have to get people to avoid the authoritarian, controlling mindset that lets them think that it’s right to demand compliance with ludicrously restrictive rules for others’ behaviour and action and that violence can ever be an appropriate response to any “provocation” perceived by failure to comply with any rule, ludicrous or otherwise.

  23. Maria Hughes says

    “The two terms are not interchangeable – domestic abuse covers the entire x- axis: domestic violence excludes non-physical abuse.”

    Where on earth does this idea come from? In the entire 11 years I spent working in the domestic violence field, I never came across anyone who used the terms “domestic violence” and “domestic abuse” when they wanted to mean different things. Every professional I met, from practitioners to academics, used the terms interchangeably, or used the term “domestic violence and abuse (DVA)” to clear up the confusion.

  24. Ally Fogg says

    Maria

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    To give a boring and technical answer, I think the ONS draw a distinction because they have got themselves tied in knots defining different types of ‘violent’ crime and they wanted to differentiate between coercive-controlling behaviour (emotional / psychological / financial abuse) and physical force / assault.

    But I entirely agree with you. Until yesterday I’d never encountered anyone who placed any value on the distinction.

    Indeed I’d go so far as to argue it is actually quite dangerous to construct an argument that says coercive-controlling abuse is not ‘real’ domestic violence. I thought we’d settled that one years ago.

  25. Ally Fogg says

    leni (7)

    Apologies for not addressing your important post earlier, I allowed myself to be distracted by the nonsense which followed your comment.

    First of all, I am so sad to read about what happened to you. I hope you are now as well and as safe as you can be.

    I don’t feel mistrust about men being abused because I don’t think they can be or are abused. I know they can and are and I have met the victims. I feel mistrust because I thought I was going die that day

    That mistrust is something no one can deny you or take away. I’m sure you also understand that any one person’s experience cannot be assumed to be everyone’s experience.

  26. David S says

    “Show your workings” is what teachers say to kids in maths classes. Even when I was a smutty schoolboy I didn’t think there was anything remotely smutty about the phrase.

    I’ve been helping son number 2 to revise for his maths GCSEs this week. The Edexcel examiners are always asking candidates to show their workings. Filthy basterds

  27. Paul says

    Ally

    The contentious issue of the extent to which men are also victims of domestic violence and abuse clearly opens up a can of worms.And no matter how reasonable you are in trying to address it there are those who will never have a ‘Road To Damascus” moment and recognize that male victimisation is a problem which needs to be taken much more seriously.

    No-one in their right mind would ever seek to play down the fact that women are more likely to be either killed or seriously injured as a result of dv.But as i’ve said before any attempt to try and address the problem in its entirety puts you bang smack in the middle of the equivalent of a minefield .

    Hope you haven’t become too disheartened by the events of the last few days.

  28. mildlymagnificent says

    No-one in their right mind would ever seek to play down the fact that women are more likely to be either killed or seriously injured as a result of dv.

    You think?

    I’m coming round to the view that many of the people who emphasise the frequency of domestic abuse of men are obscuring, and sometimes openly denying, the severity of physical abuse of women. Women are far more likely to be killed or permanently maimed by the abuse they’re subjected to. I tend to have a “never mind the quality, feel the width” reaction to these protestations.

    Such people are certainly very dismissive of women reporting that they’ve been seriously attacked and injured. And positively sneering and scornful if a woman openly states that a husband or other partner/family member raped her.

    And I don’t think any of these people have any mental illness. Maybe some cognitive dissonance that forces them to be even more emphatic about their preferred interpretation of statistics.

  29. Copyleft says

    For many feminists, Ally, the main problem–indeed, the ONLY problem–is that your discussions take the spotlight away from women. Your discussion of male victims is not talking about the effects of violence or abuse on women; it’s not discussing how to help women and serve their needs; and it’s not proposing anything that benefits women.

    That alone makes it wrong. ALL gender-related discussions must revolve around women at all times, or else you’re a misogynist (or worse, an MRA).

  30. JT says

    Women are far more likely to be killed or permanently maimed by the abuse they’re subjected to. I tend to have a “never mind the quality, feel the width” reaction to these protestations.(mildly)

    Im wondering if you think we as a society should be more considered with DV violence because its usually more severe for women than men? Are you equally appalled or concerned that the majority of lethal violence in our society has men as the overwhelming majority of its victims?

  31. Jacob Schmidt says

    40% versus 60% is not “comparable magnitude” of likelihood.

    How is “comparable magnitude” defined? 40% and 60% are within an order of magnitude of each other. In fact, they are within every order of magnitude of each other, no matter what base you use.

  32. says

    33, Schmidt

    Depends on wheter non integers can be used as “bases” – in the case of estimating size surjective mappings of integer sequences onto the reals are probably not as important. But in the most common usage of order of magnitude, namely powers of ten, I can only agree.

  33. says

    JT,

    Im wondering if you think we as a society should be more considered with DV violence because its usually more severe for women than men? Are you equally appalled or concerned that the majority of lethal violence in our society has men as the overwhelming majority of its victims?

    It seems to me that causal relationships in general violence are probably different and this violence should be discussed in a different context than the problem of domestic violence.

  34. mildlymagnificent says

    Are you equally appalled or concerned that the majority of lethal violence in our society has men as the overwhelming majority of its victims?

    Yeah. My heart sinks every time someone puts up total murder/violence statistics, parses out the IPV fraction then reports that most murdered women are murdered by someone close to them while most men murder victims are not, but both men and women victims are mostly murdered by men.

    I want to stamp my feet and shout something out about can’t you see that you should be talking about social acceptance/ approval/ encouragement of men’s violence to men outside the home. Violence within homes or relationships by either/both men or women is a specific or niche or (? anyone have a better word) aspect of the larger picture of violence throughout society generally.

    It makes little difference to anti-violence campaigns though. We’ve only had rape within marriage laws for less than half a century in most countries, while there are still a few which don’t recognise the concept. Violence against intimate partners hasn’t been taken seriously – still isn’t in too many police stations – until fairly recently. In Australia we’ve just started, in a couple of states, to have specific offences/penalties designated for death or serious injury caused by a single king-hit on the street or in the pub. Along with public service advertisements – by a boxer – warning people not to do that. I presume other countries are making similar advances in relation to issue of specific concern to them.

    I think that’s the right approach. As with IPV and anti-rape campaigns, identify a particular kind of event and concentrate on that for a few years/decades and let all such programs run in parallel for as long as is needed. Some will come more to the fore at various times when there are designated days, weeks or months, others at other times. Eventually, they should become part of a larger, integrated anti-violence campaign.

  35. redpesto says

    mildly magnificent:

    And I don’t think any of these people have any mental illness. Maybe some cognitive dissonance that forces them to be even more emphatic about their preferred interpretation of statistics.

    That’s just plan ol’ confirmation bias. Feminists are just as prone to it as everyone else – hence the reaction to Ally’s articles.

  36. Jacob Schmidt says

    Depends on wheter non integers can be used as “bases” – in the case of estimating size surjective mappings of integer sequences onto the reals are probably not as important. But in the most common usage of order of magnitude, namely powers of ten, I can only agree.

    I thought about mentioning that, but a) I’m not too sure how common non-integer bases are and b) even if it is common, it’s almost certainly only common within esoteric fields; I don’t think the distinction is useful here.

  37. dsquared says

    As I said to Anna on twitter, there is clearly something going on here, because datasets have to cross check with one another. And given that we definitely know that in all other contexts and generally, men are much more violent than women, it’s quite unlikely that this wouldn’t be the case in the domestic context too.

    My guess is that what’s happening is a) that it’s on a per-person basis rather than a per-event basis and b) lots of times, the reason that person A hits person B is that person B hit person A. If we remember those things, then the thing to do is start thinking about box diagrams.

    Consider the 2×2 matrix with (Man hits woman Yes/No) on one axis and (Woman hits man Yes/No) on the other (I’m ignoring gay relationships to keep it simple).

    The easiest box to fill is (No, No) – this has to be 100 minus the total incidence of domestic violence/abuse. So about 50, if I’ve read the ONS data right.

    Now let’s think about (Yes, Yes). One thing we know is that a lot of domestic violence/abuse happens in the context of couples who physically attack each other, often because they have alcohol, drugs or mental health problems. We can’t break anything out from the reported statistics, because they don’t ask “Have you been the perpetrator”. But give me the benefit of a hypothesis here – I’m going to put 15 in this box.

    Since the boxes have to add up to 100, and I want to preserve the 60/40 ratio that Ally finds, I now have two equations and two unknowns, so I solve for – “Yes/No” (ie man attacks woman but woman does not attack man) = 15 and “No/Yes” (vice versa) = 5.

    *short pause to allow everyone to draw the box on a piece of scrap paper and confirm my numbers*

    You can see from this that

    a) the total number of male victims is 15+5 = 20 and the total number of female victims is 15+15=30. So 40% of total victims are men, in line with the statistics.

    b) but that three quarters of the male victims are also perpetrators – they’re in the doubly-abusive relationships – compared to only half the female victims

    c) so in terms of the cases that everyone thinks about – one-way abusive relationships – women are three times as likely to be victims than men.

    if you also add that:

    d) a lot of these “doubly-abusive” relationships are not necessarily at all symmetrical – a single act of retaliation would be enough to move it into that category, and

    e) the severity of the attacks is also clearly not symmetrical, as we can tell from the fact that the 60/40 ratio doesn’t cross-check with the murder statistics either.

    then I think that the 40% statistic, while broad brush valid (although to be honest most of the envelope calculations I make seem to give answers that I’d prefer to round to 35%), is not really load-bearing for any sort of public policy work.

  38. Darren Ball says

    dsquared #39
    “And given that we definitely know that in all other contexts and generally, men are much more violent than women, it’s quite unlikely that this wouldn’t be the case in the domestic context too.”

    Sorry dsquared but your logic is flawed from the start. We know that men are more violent than women towards other men. It doesn’t follow that they are more violent towards women than women are towards men.

    It has been known for many years that women in same sex relationships are at about three-times greater risk than women in heterosexual relationships, and that men in same sex relationships are at double the risk of women in heterosexual relationships.

    At face value we might conclude that men exert more restraint around women than they do around men, and that women are naturally more violent in relationships given half a chance. There might be other explanations too, but we certainly can’t assume that, just because men are violent towards other men, that they will be violent towards women.

  39. says

    dssquared,

    If I read your post correctly, your hypothesis is that 15% of relationships are mutually abusive? But every other possible start value also satisfies all possible non question begging ways to pose this problem. A priori you have

    The sum of relationships sums to hundred:
    yy+yn+ny+nn=100

    From the ONS (assuming arguendo your reading to be correct)

    nn=50

    And from Ally’s post 40/60 ratio translates to
    yy+yn=1.5(yy+ny)

    These are three equations for four variables, the problem is under determined. Many values of yy is a possbile solution. Starting with yy=15 does not get us anywhere, since this simply assuming what we want to prove.

  40. says

    Corection to 41:

    “But every other possible start value” should read “but every ther sufficiently constrained start value”

  41. says

    Schmidt, 38

    On the contrary, powers of e.g. e are central in many fields, because the exponential function is an eigenvalue of the differential operator. In your own field you encounter this (hidden as it might be) in decay series. But this digression is probably not helpful to the discussion.

  42. Ally Fogg says

    dsquared (30)

    Hi Dan. Interesting points.

    And given that we definitely know that in all other contexts and generally, men are much more violent than women, it’s quite unlikely that this wouldn’t be the case in the domestic context too.

    I’d also be wary of making too many assumptions like that.

    All types of violence are very context and situation specific. Very little of it happens when people are at work, for example, even when people are under stress and being shouted at by a boss or customer they are very unlikely to get into a physical fight. In a pub it is a different matter (even allowing for effects of alcohol). People’s behaviour – including their use of violence – is very different in public and private. And bear in mind that we are not talking about a large proportion of women using violence against partners. We are talking something like one woman in 25 being at all violent or abusive to her partner each year in order to get the types of stats we are talking about, and one woman in 75 using severe force at least once. Does that seem excessively unlikely to you? It doesn’t to me.

    Even with homicide figures, which are the hardest to obscure with non-reporting etc, consistently about 20% of domestic homicide victims are men killed by women. Last year it was 76 women and 13 men, as i recall. Which is not vastly out of step with the 35-40% of all domestic abuse. I would however be wary of extrapolating too much from homicide figures, because out of well over a million violent relationships, only about 100 (so less than 1 in 10,000) is fatal each year, and the criminological circumstances of those can be very particular – for example, they include assisted suicides within elderly, terminally ill couples.

    As to your hypothetical sums, I don’t think you need to play such games, because the research is there if you look. Here is a massive literature review of all studies which have looked for evidence of mutual / bi-directional and uni-directional violence, whether male to female or female to male.

    http://www.domesticviolenceresearch.org/pdf/PASK.Tables3.Revised.pdf

    I’m a little bit wary of drawing singular conclusions from such diverse research, but there are some broadly consistent findings there if you look through the tables.

    They include a broad consensus that the proportion of violent relationships where the violence is bi-directional is not about 15% as you imagine, it is, without exception, 50% or more.

    Of the uni-directional violent relationships, slightly more women than men are the sole perpetrators.

    Of the bi-directional relationships, more women than men initiate the violence.

    Now that doesn’t tell the whole story. Within studies like that, it is very difficult to pick out individual circumstances. So a couple where the woman slaps the man and the man retaliates by battering seven shades out of her would be classed as unidirectional, initiated by the woman, but she may still be – by any decent standard – the real victim there.

    What the research does do is give plenty of reasons to believe that violent relationships take many forms, with many circumstances, and any assumptions that the overwhelming majority follow a predictable and stereotyped pattern is almost certainly false.

  43. says

    Ally

    o a couple where the woman slaps the man and the man retaliates by battering seven shades out of her would be classed as unidirectional, initiated by the woman, but she may still be – by any decent standard – the real victim there.

    Wouldn’t that be classified as bidirectional?

  44. dsquared says

    This kind of underlines the problems with the statistics. The number 15 I put in that box is a percentage of all relationships, not abusive relationships. If I were to assume that 50% of abusive relationships were bidirectional, I’d need to put a 25 in that box and the balances would be even more extreme.

    In fact, that gives four equations and four unknowns, and it’s clear that something doesn’t as up; it’s just not possible to have the 60/40 ratio, 50% bidirectional and>50% unidirectional with the woman as aggressor. Something’s got to give, and I think it’s probably the error bars on these statistics.

  45. Paul says

    @30

    I’m coming round to the view that many of the people who emphasise the frequency of domestic abuse of men are obscuring, and sometimes openly denying, the severity of physical abuse of women. Women are far more likely to be killed or permanently maimed by the abuse they’re subjected to. I tend to have a “never mind the quality, feel the width” reaction to these protestations.

    Such people are certainly very dismissive of women reporting that they’ve been seriously attacked and injured. And positively sneering and scornful if a woman openly states that a husband or other partner/family member raped her.

    The narrative about dv is dominated by those who not only view women as being primarily victims but who’re increasingly linking the safety of children with the safety of women.Hence the rhetoric is often about women and children being abused by men.

    Yes there are those who play down the extent to which straight women,gay men and children can be victimised byabusive men just as there’re those who refuse to acknowledge the extent to which straight men ,lesbian women and children can be victimised by abusive women.However you must surely be aware that those who view women primarily as being victims of dv holds sway.And those who are scornful of women who’ve suffered from dv are at best marginal figures who have no input into the actual policies that are put together to address the problem.

    I’m not sure whether your comment was actually a smokescreen to disguise the fact that you can’t or won’t view the problem from the perspective of straight men,lesbian women and children who’re victims.90 women on average die from dv every year in this country but so do 20 men and 50-60 children.And a third of those most seriously injured from dv every year are men.And women are certainly well represented in those who subject children to non-sexual dv defined as physical violence .emotional cruelty,neglect and verbal abuse.Some women are guilty of encouraging their children to be violent.Some women have an expectation that their menfolk should beat up anyone who upsets them.Some women are quite happy to be with violent men provided they themselves don’t become victims of their violence.And as i said they may actively encourage these violent men they choose to be with to attack others.

    I repeat no-one in their right mind should seek to detract from the fact that women are more likely to be killed or seriously injured by men than vice versa.And no-one should seek to take away funding from those services for female victims of dv and their children.However the role of women as perpetrators and instigators of violence and abuse needs to be recognised .And their victims need much more in the way of support and understanding than is currently the case.The problem however is there’s clearly a reluctance in some quarters to recognized the extent to which women can be abusers.And that needs to change.

  46. gjenganger says

    @Dsquared.
    Another reason to be wary of the sums is that they do not add up. Yours do not add up to 100% (50+15+15+5 is not 100), but that could be fixed. More importantly, the stats do not add up either. The PASK figures say that at least 50% of violent relationships are mutual, and that women are more common as sole perpetrators. The number-of-victims data say that female victims outnumber male ones by a factor of 60:40. If you just add percentages those data are not consistent. That is OK, they are from different data sets measuring different things, but we clearly need better data and better analysis than just percentage arithmetic.

    Any way you look at it, you get that mutually violent relationships come out as the largest single group, and that the number of male victims is smaller, but not wildly smaller, than the number if female ones. On the face of it that rather does disprove the model that domestic abuse can be described as an epidemic of male-on-female violence. The only way out of this is by assuming that those mutually violent relationships are wildly asymmetric, so that It is really the man’s fault almost every time. That is a hypothesis that might well prove true some day when we know more, but it is still all to prove, and the most likely conclusion from the data we are looking at, is surely that women give at least half as good as they get. Worse, these survey data are what has been used to prove that men are that much more violent. If you now discount new survey data because it ‘we know’ that men are more violent, you are getting into circular arguments.

  47. gjenganger says

    @Jacob Schmidt. 39
    The maths are not the real point. I layman’s terms I would argue that 60:40 are of ‘comparable magnitude’. Well, 55:45 definitely is, 66:33 is not, and 60:40 is at least borderline.

    But Ally did not say that, and he (and we) are much better off admitting clearly that male victims are clearly fewer. First because it is true on the numbers, particularly for the most severe cases apparently. Second because it might get a few more feminists to listen to the arguments instead of dismissing the whole thing as an enemy propaganda stunt. The important argument remains that seeing DV as only something that men do to women is incorrect and misleading.

  48. says

    dsquared 48,

    In fact, that gives four equations and four unknowns

    Wrong again. It would be 5 equations (the only way for this to have no solution), but it is not the case, read on.

    , and it’s clear that something doesn’t as up; it’s just not possible to have the 60/40 ratio, 50% bidirectional and>50% unidirectional with the woman as aggressor.

    Oh it is perfectly possible if certain men and women have more relationships than others. Suppose violent women only date a certain sub population of men (maybe they are unsuccessful due to an assertive personality whle the same trait is valued in males) whereas violent men get around. Suppose arguendo there is an equal number of violent males and females. The violent males have relationships with a broader range of people and therefore more women are affected by their violence, whereas the violent women are constrained to a subsection. The number of relationships the two groups have would be equal and assuming equal probability of them initiating violence.

  49. says

    Gjenganger,51

    66/33 is the same order of magnitude. The phrase has special meaning when comparing sizes, meaing that they do not differ by a factor of ten.

  50. dsquared says

    My numbers do add up. The 15 relationships in the box (yes, yes) have to be counted twice, as they consist of one male plus one female victim, which is what the statistics count.

  51. marduk says

    We should realise these different issues that some are trying to play off against each other are actually descriptions of the same incidents involving the same people.

    The most dangerous relationship a woman can be in is one where she herself has been violent.

    Unfortunately this is considered the worst form of ‘victim blaming’ and like so much data regarding DV, must be kept on the dusty library shelves and just not mentioned.

    The truth about bidrectional violence and hence much of all domestic violence is that it is mainly to do with dysfunctional relationships, chaotic domestic settings, poor mental health and substance abuse on the part of both parties. The scenario being imagined where some people are just naturally violent and somehow find each other is somewhat different from what MPV actually presents as. Its the couple the police are called to several nights a week, both of them are drunk, both of them have incoherent explanations for what happened surrounding who spent the giro on fags, who is having a suspect affair with whoever else, who is smoking too much weed and ignoring the other etc etc. They get taken in and in the morning we see a refusal to press charges, an emotional reunion, they both have some verbal abuse for the cops and off they go together, to the off license. Until the next time.

    Unfortunately he is probably bigger and stronger and sooner or later when everyone is drunk and fists and plates are flying on a regular basis, someone is going to get more seriously hurt and usually it is going to be her. True, she is also more likely to eventually have friends who tell her to leave as well.

    What that isn’t about is patriarchal hegemony but somehow we have to find a way to say it is or someone getting a fat third sector paycheque will get upset.

    @sheaf, did you really just claim that society needs to celebrate violent abusive women more?

  52. mildlymagnificent says

    paul

    The narrative about dv is dominated by those who not only view women as being primarily victims but who’re increasingly linking the safety of children with the safety of women.Hence the rhetoric is often about women and children being abused by men.

    It’s not just the safety of children, it’s the effect on them of experiencing or witnessing extreme violence. One little kid stands out in my mind. The poor little man was only 5 years old, he’d been at school for only a few months and had already been excluded from school – because of violence – for a total of about six weeks. When his mother brought him to us she was trying to get him to learn stuff at home. Not much chance of that, because he was destroying the home around himself, her and his little sister – using furniture to smash windows and other stuff you’d not normally expect from such a small child.

    Why was he like this? My husband was engaged in doing a basic educational assessment with him while I talked to mum at their first visit. They both told us separately all about how when he was less than three years old, he had tried to stop his father from strangling his mother to death during a fight on the floor by jumping on his back. He’d also later seen his father throw his mother through the glass shower screen and seen the bloody mess he made of her at the time as well as the injuries taking several days/weeks to heal afterwards. And a whole heap of other less spectacular incidents. (It’s worth noting that her own family blamed her for this violence. She should have kept him happy. It’s wrong to raise children without a father. All the rest of it, so she was getting no support or encouragement from them in dealing with these consequences.)

    We took him on and gave him some not-very-successful reading tuition for a few sessions during school hours, he certainly wasn’t fit to be in a session with our other students after school hours. He couldn’t concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time, so one of us would take him for a walk as a break from trying to get him to work, but that was too dangerous. He was strongly inclined to run away and if we, especially my husband, tried to pursue him he’d start yelling about child abuse. We couldn’t keep him safe even from running under a car.

    In the end we more or less gave up. Mum had a horror of the idea of “mental illness” and she really couldn’t understand why we were recommending that she get him into therapy. That boy would now be 15+ years old. Heaven alone knows how many months of school exclusion he’d have accumulated by now and what effect that would have had on his chances of educational success. If he’d had ongoing therapy and other support for several of his primary school years, he might have become the fairly clever, quite nice young man we could see lurking in the background, overwhelmed by the horror of his short life when he was in junior primary. I fear that he could now be an out of control, violent danger to most people he comes into contact with. Even if his mother has managed to keep him reasonably in bounds for his school years, his chances of being a loving, peaceful partner to any woman he teams up with as an adult are not too flash. The first time he has a disagreement of any kind with a partner, I’d say that all bets were off.

    Given that too many children witness or are subjected to violence, sometimes extreme violence, at home by parents or other relatives, my view is that programs targeting domestic and intimate partner violence, including non-violent child-raising methods (as well as better detection and separation from the family of sexually abusive adult family members), should remain at the heart of all anti-violence campaigns. Those children will grow up somehow. It’s a better thing for everyone to reduce the number of people, men and women alike, who grow up emotionally distraught or stunted and liable to lash out at anything and everything.

  53. mildlymagnificent says

    Unfortunately he is probably bigger and stronger and sooner or later when everyone is drunk and fists and plates are flying on a regular basis, someone is going to get more seriously hurt and usually it is going to be her. True, she is also more likely to eventually have friends who tell her to leave as well.

    I’m sure there are people like that.

    But it wasn’t true of me being beaten up by my husband of the time, it wasn’t true of my friend whose husband went so far as to kick her in the stomach when she was pregnant, it wasn’t true of a couple of devout, teetotal Xtian women I knew whose husbands beat them up, it certainly wasn’t true of the bloke I knew (who I thought was single) killing his ex-wife at work in a department store the day after he was served with final divorce papers (they’d been separated for many years), it wasn’t true of the sleeping woman whose husband came home and strangled her in her sleep then went back to the pub and told his friends what he’d done (though I’d only met them once at a neighbour’s house). And they’re just a few of the women I know/knew who had physically abusive husbands. Not one of them fitted into your stereotype.

    And speaking of those devout Xtian women, one of them made an observation about being habituated to violence. She was at a friend’s house and her husband and other workmates turned up from work for the BBQ, and everyone’s kids were there as well. Her husband had a few drinks and started the usual routine that always ended up with her being punched. She tried to calm him down by quietly suggesting that he shouldn’t do that in front of all those children … when it dawned on her that her own son was constantly seeing this sort of thing and she had more, not less, responsibility to protect her own child than other people’s children. She left the too-free-with-his-fists husband that week.

    It’s all very well to point out that there are some couples and families where violence is a kind of family sport. It’s not true of all. It may not even be most.

    (I was going to give a reference/quote fromLundy Bancroft’s book – but it’s much, much longer than I thought. I’ll get back with it later.)

  54. JT says

    @mildly

    Do you think mothers who return to abusers time and time again should be accountable for the effects on the children?

  55. marduk says

    mildlymagnificent

    Possibly a bit redundant to point out the uni-directional abuse isn’t the same as bi-directional MPV?
    But you are wrong, the dyadic pattern is by far the most common. Ask a cop what they attend and in what volume.

    I’m sorry you’ve had some unpleasant experiences but harrowing anecdotes are no substitute for data. I have read Lundy Bancroft’s book, I wasn’t very impressed.

    While I’m happy to chat, the truth is that there is probably not much point debating this further, what you have to understand is that this one has rumbling on for quite a while now. We are on different sides of a now well-established debate. At least on the academic side, the gender paradigm view is beginning to lose ground as better and more comprehensive data is being generated (“gender paradigm” is probably preferable to talking about the “feminist” view because the “feminist” view in DV has little to do with feminism or feminists outside it, just like when you say you prefer B to “H” you are actually being anti-German but only in the sense of a debate about music notation approaches, it doesn’t make you a raving xenophobe… this doesn’t stop some people wilfully conflating these things of course but that is just rhetoric)

    What happened to Ally recently was just a replay of what happened to Dutton and Hamel and lots of other people who have said things like that in the past. When you question anything about the gender paradigm, you get attacked.

    Speaking of whom:

    http://www.responsiblerecovery.org/PDF/PartnerAbuse.pdf

    As Hamel says, “Do We Want to Be Politically Correct, or Do We Want to Reduce Domestic Violence in Our Communities?” That is what it comes down to for me. I challenge you to read the Dutton and Hamel pieces alongside Bancroft.

  56. Jacob Schmidt says

    On the contrary, powers of e.g. e are central in many fields, because the exponential function is an eigenvalue of the differential operator. In your own field you encounter this (hidden as it might be) in decay series. But this digression is probably not helpful to the discussion.

    sheaf

    The maths are not the real point. I layman’s terms I would argue that 60:40 are of ‘comparable magnitude’. Well, 55:45 definitely is, 66:33 is not, and 60:40 is at least borderline.

    But Ally did not say that, and he (and we) are much better off admitting clearly that male victims are clearly fewer. First because it is true on the numbers, particularly for the most severe cases apparently. Second because it might get a few more feminists to listen to the arguments instead of dismissing the whole thing as an enemy propaganda stunt. The important argument remains that seeing DV as only something that men do to women is incorrect and misleading.

    gjenganger

    Ah, I’ve been unclear. First, the minutia: I didn’t mean an exponential base.* I meant the base of a numeral system (binary being base 2, decimal being base 10 etc. To my understanding, a non-integer numeral system base is impossible, but I’ve been wrong before, and math isn’t my field, so I didn’t want to say anything definitive.

    More importantly, I’m not asking for a mathematical test/heuristic/whatever to determine whether or not a pairing of statistics is “comparable.” I’m noting that my usual off the cuff tests and, I think, pretty much every entirely math based test would require saying that 60% and 40% are comparable, if significantly different. Since both Ally and Anna are in agreement here (and it doesn’t look to me like Ally is just being pragmatic in his phrasing) it seems like some kind of test/heuristic/whatever is being applied here. I’m at a loss as to what it is.

    *Believe me, I’m well aware of the prevalence of non-integer exponential bases. I’m pretty sure they are far, far more common than integer exponential bases.

  57. says

    @ Leni #7

    I can empathize with you, because I’ve had similar experiences. True, you suffered a protracted assault you were unable to defend against, whereas I could have quickly & easily put my female abuser into the hospital. But then I would have just as quickly found myself in jail.

    What we share in common is, we both got involved with, and fell victim to, people of a violent disposition.

    Now, are you interested in working together to combat domestic violence perpetrated by this abusive minority, or shall we continue to play ‘my victimization is worser than yours’?

  58. says

    mildlymaginficent @30 wrote:

    …many of the people who emphasise the frequency of domestic abuse of men are obscuring, and sometimes openly denying, the severity of physical abuse of women. Women are far more likely to be killed or permanently maimed by the abuse they’re subjected to. I tend to have a “never mind the quality, feel the width” reaction to these protestations.

    Studies in the US & UK find that in mutually-abusive (het) relationships, women are slightly more prone to initiating a violent confrontation. Then it escalates, and men, tending to be physically stronger, tend to inflict greater injury. Until the woman picks up an heavy object or a weapon, then men are slightly more likely to end up in the hospital overnight.

    Why are we quibbling over net damage, when it’s clear that both these women and these men are caught up in a subculture or learned behavioral patterns that predispose them to violence in response to conflict? Let us focus on those cultural objects & behaviors, root them out, and everyone benefits.

  59. says

    mildymagnificent wrote:

    I want to stamp my feet and shout something out about can’t you see that you should be talking about social acceptance/ approval/ encouragement of men’s violence to men outside the home. Violence within homes or relationships by either/both men or women is a specific or niche or (? anyone have a better word) aspect of the larger picture of violence throughout society generally.

    How do you reconcile that assertion with the fact that the vast majority of men are not violent? That the vast majority of domestic relationships are not abusive?

  60. says

    Schmidt

    Ah, I’ve been unclear. First, the minutia: I didn’t mean an exponential base.* I meant the base of a numeral system (binary being base 2, decimal being base 10 etc. To my understanding, a non-integer numeral system base is impossible, but I’ve been wrong before, and math isn’t my field, so I didn’t want to say anything definitive

    Bases for number systems have their name from exponential bases afaik. After all they are nothing but sums of multiples of exponentials of specific natural number.

    Marduk

    did you really just claim that society needs to celebrate violent abusive women more?

    What? Where?

  61. mildlymagnificent says

    How do you reconcile that assertion with the fact that the vast majority of men are not violent? That the vast majority of domestic relationships are not abusive?

    This gets us back to the problem of what do you do when “only 10% of the M&Ms are poisoned”. That’s bad enough in itself.

    The big issue with a small minority of men and an even smaller minority of women being violent is the huge swathe of consequences they leave in their wake affecting far more people than just those in a household. Even if they have only one relationship in their life where that violence is expressed, it washes over onto the children, schools, the neighbours, friends and extended families. But we know that such people are much more likely to have multiple relationships, most of them failures, so the effect is multiplied several times over. The sons of violent fathers are much more likely than others to be violent as adults – towards other men – which means the wake of that one man’s violence can wash far beyond the original family group over larger society 15 or 20 years later. And if he is involved with 2 or 3 families over a period of years, he can do a lot more of that kind of damage depending on how many boys were in those families. And, to add nasty to violent, we also know that violent men are many times more likely to perpetrate incest against children in the families they’re involved with, and the consequences of those actions can also reverberate down the years and into other families for decades. I don’t know of any equivalent incestuous behaviour with violent women, but it’d be foolish to believe that there aren’t some long-term consequences regardless of whether they do or don’t include sexually abuse children.

    As for dealing with family violence – regardless of whether a man or a woman is responsible – the biggest challenge is to get police, schools, doctors, counsellors, courts, other legal personnel like probation officers and notice servers, to take complainants seriously even if they have doubts or reservations about their truthfulness or the seriousness of their concerns. (The woman I referred to earlier who was killed at work by her ex had specifically requested that the legal notices in question not be served until the following week when she planned to be away from her home and her workplace because she feared his reaction. Her request was ignored/ dismissed/ lost in the bureaucracy or in some other way not taken seriously and she finished up shot dead in front of hundreds of people.)

    And I don’t understand why you emphasise that most marriages and families are peaceful. Nowhere near as many people are violent nowadays, unlike the old days of stepping outside the pub to settle differences with fists or all-in brawls on football fields or fights behind the bike sheds at schools. A very small proportion of the population is involved in murder or other criminal violence and the numbers of those offences are steadily declining over the last few decades in most advanced industrial countries. But we should still pay proper attention to the violence that does occur and prevent as much as we can.

  62. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ MildlyMagnificet (66)

    It seems fairly obvious to me that the post you’re quoting from Matt wasn’t suggesting that due to the fact that most relationships are violent that it’s not a big problem. Actually, if you look at the posts he made it is abundantly clear that his position is that it’s a big problem. It seems plainly obvious to me that he was questioning your assertion that there is, not only social approval of male violence violence, but social encouragement by pointing out that the vast majority of men are not violence.

    So I would like to try to get things back on track and return to your original assertion because I think it’s an interesting one but a lot turns on how we interpret it.

    It largely depends on what you mean by social approval/encouragement. If it means that some people within whatever society we’re talking about (are we defining a society here as a nation state?) encourage violence then this is undoubtedly true. “How many do it?” and “in what ways?” would be questions worth asking. But I think it would be more interesting to look at this notion of society because considering a whole country as a society can obscure quite a lot in many situations. Instead we could ask “which groups are more active in condoning and encouraging violence?”, “how are we defining these groups?”, “are there patterns of methods of encouragement?” etc.

    Or the word “social” could be taken more as referring to society as a whole so something along the lines of “societal approval”. We could look at the glorification of male violence in war, the acceptance of male violence in films and computer games or the promotion of violence through sport (this last one might be slightly contentious to some because in some ways it seems very different from other forms of violence). It could open up questions about the fact that enforcing rules created by the powerful through the violence of a largely male police force is considered completely legitimate by most people. In this case it would be hard to deny that male (and a smaller amount of female) violence is seen as beneficial by the vast majority of society. Most people in England see it as completely proper that if I see a starving person next to a big pile of food, me taking the food and giving it to the starving person will result in a man with a stick who has been trained to know just how hard he can hit me with it to come and hit me with it.

    I realise I’ve gone on a bit but it would be possible to go deeper and deeper on this question. I think a lot of negative reactions to statements of “social encouragement of male violence” come from a certain interpretation. I often see people interpret things like this as “most people think it’s good for men to be violent” or involving some sort of reified abstract called “society” that actively promotes male violence when the person making the original statement may well have had something far more nuanced and subtle in mind that may well be completely valid.

  63. JT says

    And, to add nasty to violent, we also know that violent men are many times more likely to perpetrate incest against children in the families they’re involved with, and the consequences of those actions can also reverberate down the years and into other families for decades. I don’t know of any equivalent incestuous behaviour with violent women, but it’d be foolish to believe that there aren’t some long-term consequences regardless of whether they do or don’t include sexually abuse children.(Mildly)

    Really, are there any actual stats showing that violent men(Domestic) are many times more likely to be pedophiles and violent women(Domestic) are not?

  64. gjenganger says

    @sheaf, Schmidt
    Yes, scientists compare factors of ten, (‘orders of magnitude’) and consider anything within the same factor of ten sort of similar. I know, I am a scientist too. But ordinary people in normal debate (which I think includes Ally here) would not call, say, an 8:1 difference in murder rates ‘comparable order of magnitude’, whatever the technical description. The point here is the rules of thumb, as Jacob says: should we consider the 3:2 victim ratio 1) ‘sort of similar’, 2) ‘different’, or 3) ‘vastly, incomparably different’. I could make a good case for 1), but I think we are better off accepting 2) to avoid giving the impression that we are trying to wriggle out of something. After all the big point is that It is not 3), which is what various feminist debaters wants it to be.

  65. gjenganger says

    @Dsquared 54
    You are right. I apologise. And your calculation is instructive, but precise number are still a bit of a mugs game when the starting data are inconsistent. The big point remains that female sole perpetrators are not uncommon (you give male:female 3:1), and that reciprocal violence is the biggest single group (also according to other data Ally cites). Unless you can explain away most of the reciprocal DV as ‘really’ due to men, I suggest you have to accept that DV is a problem with people, not just with men.

  66. JT says

    “Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamp post: for support, not illumination.” Vin Scully

  67. dsquared says

    I think the message I take away from this whole exercise is that the statistics aren’t load bearing. I wouldn’t want to make any claims at all with any degree of confidence about perpetrators because the chain of valid inference doesn’t work from victim statistics to perpetrator statistics.

  68. marduk says

    @H. E. Pennypacker

    Notions of societal approval of violence come from the ‘gender paradigm’, this is also why we are to evaluate what we should do for individuals on the basis of population-level statistics. The predictions of the gender paradigm have at this point been largely falsified and it would be smarter to consider other explanations (psychological, attachment, deprivation, ‘rational’ or addiction models for example) the lead to more effective interventions.

    Incongruities in the population-level data are really more a problem for the Polly Neates of this world to address. She has a clear causal mechanism she believes produces all domestic violence, for that to be substantiated it would need to be manifest clearly and overwhelmingly in all population-level datasets. Unfortunately this is far from the case. I have no problem with accepting IPV is a complex phenomenon that is not the property of a single gender but rather a property of people with certain weaknesses and problems in certain situations. As such I would predict the data to be noisy and at times contradictory precisely because it describes complexity.

  69. gjenganger says

    @sheaf 73
    Yes, but physicists and (bio)chemists routinely work with data that span many orders of magnitude. It is not too salient whether a drug candidate binds at 1uM or 8uM, when it is being compared to the original lead compound that bound at 1mM (1000 times weaker) and to the ultimate target value of 10nM (100 times stronger) – and the assay is approximative anyway But for the things we consider in everyday decisions, from crime risk to car prices, we do not really think outside a range of about a factor 100. Beyond that, we group everything as either ‘too small to worry about’, or ‘too large, why distinguish’. If car B costs eight times as much as car A we do not think that the prices are roughly comparable. Nor should we. If you use scientists conventions in non-scientist contexts, you are likely to spread more confusion than enlightenment.

  70. gjenganger says

    @Dsquared 72
    That is too pessimistic. Statistics may be neither complete not precise, but they are not useless, and anyway they are all we have. We may need more data before we can be anywhere near certain, but we do not have the luxury of waiting thirty years before we consider formulating a policy on domestic violence. One prominent model is that violence is always serious, violence is extremely common (25% of women are raped in their lifetime – I know that is a misreading of statistics, but it is the figure that sort of seeps in), and violence is done by men to women. You do hear people talking about the raging epidemic of man-on-woman violence that we ought to be dealing with as a matter of urgency. Would you not agree that the current data – jncomplete as they are – do suggest something about whether this way of looking at things is justified?

  71. marduk says

    …to clarify 74, perhaps I come across a bit handwaving in my adoption of a sort of ‘doctrine of despair’ null hypothesis. It would be more correct to say that I believe the data should be very sensitive to the exact terms of reference used in their collection and analysis and incongruities would be produced across datasets for that reason. If DV were as unnuanced as Polly Neate claims, patterns would be far more robust.

  72. gjenganger says

    @Pennypacker 67

    It could open up questions about the fact that enforcing rules created by the powerful through the violence of a largely male police force is considered completely legitimate by most people. In this case it would be hard to deny that male (and a smaller amount of female) violence is seen as beneficial by the vast majority of society. Most people in England see it as completely proper that if I see a starving person next to a big pile of food, me taking the food and giving it to the starving person will result in a man with a stick who has been trained to know just how hard he can hit me with it to come and hit me with it.

    Sounds like a bit of a cheap shot to me. It is certainly not clear what you think might be an improvement on the current model:

    - Replace parliamentary democracy (which produces ‘rules created by the powerful’) with some unknown and untested alternative?
    - Change over to an all-female police force, so that at least the beatings were done by women?
    - Find some way of exercising power that does not involve violence? Hard to imagine either how it could work, or why it would be much better for those subject to that power if it did.
    - Stop enforcing rules of property, so that anybody could take what they felt they needed? That would leave the interesting question of how to deal with cases where different people made claims on the same things. In the absence of laws and police I would predict the spontaneous formation of gangs and militias to do their own enforcing.
    - Or are you just saying that if people would only be good and selfless there would be no need for power? Undoubtedly, but until we go back to Eden, where the lion shall lie down with the lamb, I wonder how you intend to bring that about.

  73. says

    76 gjenganger

    It is obvious from the conversations that were going on e.g. twitter that the empirical question under dispute is whether the number of dv victims are approximately the same order of magnitude or about ten to one when separated by gender. I think the scientific conception of magnitude, namely order of ten is perfectly apt to describe this qualitative difference of opinion, even though common usage of magnitude is muddy.

  74. susans says

    I was watching something on TV the other day. In the story, a women was hitting her husband and I realized that before reading this blog I would not have recognized it as domestic violence and had I seen this in someone’s house or on the street, I would never have thought to call the police and it would not be a reported incident.

  75. 123454321 says

    susans, you learn something new every day. It clearly IS domestic violence. It could be your Son one day.

  76. mildlymagnificent says

    And, to add nasty to violent, we also know that violent men are many times more likely to perpetrate incest against children in the families they’re involved with, and the consequences of those actions can also reverberate down the years and into other families for decades. I don’t know of any equivalent incestuous behaviour with violent women, but it’d be foolish to believe that there aren’t some long-term consequences regardless of whether they do or don’t include sexually abuse children.(Mildly)

    Really, are there any actual stats showing that violent men(Domestic) are many times more likely to be pedophiles and violent women(Domestic) are not?

    Really, I have no idea about whether violent women are also inclined to sexually abuse children. I’ve never seen anything about it. I’m being a bit presumptuous here, but I doubt I’d lose anything valuable if I was prepared to bet that women who are violent towards men are much more likely to be violent towards children than other women. But, as I said, I’ve never seen anything about any link between physical violence and sexual abuse by by women.

    This extract from the wiki on David Lisak talks entirely about how much different sexual offences are linked

    “Multiple studies,” he has written, “have now documented that between 33% and 66% of rapists have also sexually attacked children; that up to 82% of child molesters have also sexually attacked adults; and that between 50% and 66% of incest offenders have also sexually attacked children outside their families.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lisak

    Finally found what I was really looking for, the link between general violence and sexual violence …

    In the realm of being partner- and child-beating monsters, the repeat rapists really stood out. These 76 men, just 4% of the sample, were responsible for 28% of the reported violence. The whole sample of almost 1900 men reported just under 4000 violent acts, but this 4% of recidivist rapists results in over 1000 of those violent acts.

    If we could eliminate the men who rape again and again and again, a quarter of the violence against women and children would disappear. That’s the public policy implication.

    My emphasis.
    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    And these research results have been confirmed by other studies now that researchers know what they’re really dealing with. And the public policy implications are profound. If we take both domestic violence and rape appropriately seriously and get as many of these perpetrators into jails as we can, there will be a disproportionate reduction in the number of those offences committed. Because the repeat offenders are often diverse offenders.

  77. says

    MildlyM,

    Not sure there’s all that much we disagree on. You’ve pointed out how a very small number of individuals can do a great deal of harm, and I agree that this is a serious problem, and that the best first response is to remove these individuals from society, then to look into what creates such types.

    I responded to your reference to “the larger picture of violence throughout society generally”, and questioned how, if incidence of violent crimes like DV are relatively infrequent, and but a small fraction of the population are responsible for nearly all the crimes, how ‘society in general’ could be promulgating such violence.

    In light of your subsequent comments, it seems what you had in mind were the persistent pockets of violent subcultures, and the failure of society to address them or to deal effectively with repeat offenders. Is that a fair summation?

    If so, then we are pretty much on the same page, and I apologize for mistakenly confusing your position with that of those who claim society as a whole promotes violence, and that men as a whole are innately violent.

  78. marduk says

    http://www.responsiblerecovery.org/PDF/PartnerAbuse.pdf

    Linked to this already but as well as the more critical Dutton and Hamel pieces, the Rooney article is deeply humane and inspiring and describes Rooney’s journey with WEAVE (a DV charity in Sacramento) to offer appropriate services to men and the LGBT community.

    Nice to read about solutions as well as problems?

  79. Ally Fogg says

    marduk

    Have you read Linda G. Mills’ books? Violent Partners especially is really good on that score.

  80. marduk says

    No I haven’t, I will check it out.

    I’m very influenced by Dutton’s “Rethinking domestic violence” (2006) although I should point out it isn’t well reviewed everywhere:

    http://www.cjsonline.ca/pdf/domesticviol.pdf

    Although the substance of that complaint seems to be mainly a confusion between The Feminist Model (aka the Gender Paradigm, Duluth, a degree of RadFem entryism via DV charities that I don’t think you have to be barkingly paranoid to admit exists) and feminism (aka the social justice movement and what most decent thinking people believe in).

  81. funknjunk says

    i don’t “necessarily” doubt the statistics. Being open-minded, I’m, well, open-minded. But I also know that when my partner was 16 or so, she was called by her neighbor to come home because her mother hadn’t been home for days, and her brothers were not being fed, cleaned, taken care of, etc. So she goes to the house, the neighbor tells her which bar the mother is visiting. She feeds and cleans the kids, goes out to bring the mom home, cuz it’s time to ramp down the partying. She brings the mom home, and the guy she was with follows few minutes later. When they get home, the guy starts to beat her – my partner (you know, for interrupting the party with child-rearing). The neighbor calls the police and steps in to stop the bleeding, literally. The police get there, and the mom and the guy say that she attacked them. Because of the conflicting stories and the fact that it was easier both Administratively and physically, they take away my partner, who stayed in Juvi for a few days before getting things stratightened out. How did that report read? How would those stats bear out? My partner as the offender? These statistics in the above article? They reek of this kind of stuff to me. Why? @7 Leni – that’s why. Minimal agression vs. murderous rage, yet the definition of violence remains the same. A woman pokes a man in the chest and gets punched in the face in response … the same violence? This conversation makes me ill as a man. I try to read this blog to get a sense for the “side” i’m not used to hearing…. and I just shake my head. This is smoke and mirrors as far as i’m concerned. Reminds me of the Margaret Atwood quote: she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women. “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed.” That rings true to me.

  82. mildlymagnificent says

    I responded to your reference to “the larger picture of violence throughout society generally”, and questioned how, if incidence of violent crimes like DV are relatively infrequent, and but a small fraction of the population are responsible for nearly all the crimes, how ‘society in general’ could be promulgating such violence.

    It’s true that a small fraction of people are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence. I don’t think it’s true that the incidence is relatively “infrequent”. But it is the reason why so many people have uncomfortable reactions to reports of the prevalence of violence. It shouldn’t. The reality is that the leading cause of death and injury for women aged 15-44 in Australia is violence by men. And it’s very similar in other advanced industrial countries.

    When people hear that the lifetime risk of rape for a woman is (depending on the source) 1 in 4, and that the lifetime risk for a woman for IPV or family violence is much the same, people instinctively reject it because they know perfectly well that not a quarter of men are violent towards women nor is 1 in 4 men a rapist. If we presume (for argument’s sake only) that the portion of the population of repeatedly or extremely violent men would be much the same as the recidivist rapist portion, then if we removed that 4% of the male population we could remove 28% of the violence to women and children that still leaves us with 72% of the current incidents to deal with. That 70+% is perpetrated by much more than 4% of the men in the population.

    If the lifetime victimisation rate is 20-25% for a woman, the lifetime likelihood of a man being violent towards a woman is obviously less than that, but more than 10% would be a reasonable working figure. For most mature men, of course, that means that their likelihood of being violent in the future is pretty low, certainly below 10%. Most violence, including rape, is perpetrated by younger men, so it’s entirely likely that men who are now non-violent may have one or two incidents from their youth that they recall with shame or embarrassment but it has little to no bearing on how they think or behave now.

    As for “how ‘society in general’ could be promulgating such violence” it’s in the attitudes to particular victims. Why did she stay with him? She should have stood up for herself. Various other verbal detritus comes up over and over again. Especially by police and the legal system generally. Far too many of the women who are murdered by partners or ex-partners have tried desperately to get police and court officials to take their concerns seriously. They do. They look very solemn and sombre and “concerned” in front of the cameras after the event.

    It’s also in what too many people think is funny. The joke about “What do you tell a woman who has two black eyes? Nothing. You’ve already told her twice.” That was circulating among some online friends of one of my daughters only a couple of years ago. Strangely enough, I’m in two minds about this sort of thing. I see it as an opportunity for my children’s generation to take up the educator role with their peers. But that’s because I’ve resigned myself to the fact that a great deal of the stuff I thought we’d “achieved” in the 70s and the following decade has basically to be done all over again. But the fact that this is online and not part of a newspaper comic like the stupid Potts cartoons that ran here for 60 years is a marginal improvement. One of the recurring themes was Mrs Potts standing in the kitchen with a saucepan or a rolling pin waiting for Mr Potts to come creeping through the back door.

  83. says

    Mildly

    The reality is that the leading cause of death and injury for women aged 15-44 in Australia is violence by men. And it’s very similar in other advanced industrial countries.

    You can see the cdc data on death by age groups and geder visualized here:
    http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa-cause-of-death-by-age-and-gender

    While in males homicide rates between 15 and 44 are comparatively high in females i this age groups road traffic accidents for example have more that twice as many fatalities.

  84. mildlymagnificent says

    I couldn’t see a similar chart for injury. I’d expect that death rates for traffic incidents in the USA should be higher than Australia’s because our road safety laws are 1) the same in every state 2) stricter on the essentials like seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

  85. says

    91,

    at least your claim about this being very similar in other industrial countries is wrong/misleading. But tbh I am quite shocked how high the rates of homicides in general are.

  86. says

    MildyM,

    * Your claim that “the leading cause of death and injury for women aged 15-44 in Australia is violence by men” is bullshit (h/t sheaf & Ian);

    * Your claim that “the lifetime risk of rape for a woman is 1 in 4″ is bullshit. RAINN cites a 1998 NCVS estimate that 14.8% of US women will fall victim to rape, and that’s considered by many as an overestimate;

    https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

    * Your claim that “70+% [of DV] is perpetrated by much more than 4% of the men in the population”, based on extrapolating the distribution of rapists among the general population, is also bullshit. RAINN, for example, estimates “three percent of college men are responsible for more than 90% of rapes” that all campus rapes are committed by no more than 7%, and that the other 93% would never even consider rape;

    https://rainn.org/images/03-2014/WH-Task-Force-RAINN-Recommendations.pdf

    * Especially disconcerting is your speculation that “it’s entirely likely that men who are now non-violent may have one or two incidents from their youth that they recall with shame or embarrassment but it has little to no bearing on how they think or behave now.” I’d be curious to know what exactly led you to this unsupportable conclusion.

    The remainder of your comment @ 89 is a ‘just so’ story cobbled together from clichés, a joke or two, and how you imagine people must talk. I won’t even bother to demand evidence for any of it, as we both know you simply pulled it out of your ass.

    Now, I could cut you some slack, had the egregious lies and bullshit statistics of the radfems led you to conclude that all men are prone to violence and rapine, and that society as a whole nurtures that. But every fact (sic) & figure you’ve cited has been shown to be false, yet you still cling to your twisted view of men. I must therefore infer that yours is an a priori conclusion (based on what I can only wonder), in support of which you’ve cherry-picked factoids, hackneyed clichés, and random cultural artifacts.

    Not only is your depiction of men & society grossly distorted, it hinders serious efforts to address the very crimes & behaviors you express such concern over. From RAINN’s 2013 recommendations to the White House on campus sexual assault (linked above):

    [I]t is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.

    While that may seem an obvious point, it has tended to get lost in recent debates. This has
    led to an inclination to focus on particular segments of the student population (e.g.,
    athletes), particular aspects of campus culture (e.g., the Greek system), or traits that are
    common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., “masculinity”), rather than on the
    subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape. This trend has the paradoxical
    effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the
    individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions

  87. Pitchguest says

    mildlymagnificent,

    I’m not going to be passive aggressive in my response. You’re full of it, you’ve been proven to be full of it and we know you’re not going to substantiate your points or provide evidence for your wild claims so just fuck off to wherever your bullshit is appreciated, you radical feminist troll.

  88. mildlymagnificent says

    * Especially disconcerting is your speculation that “it’s entirely likely that men who are now non-violent may have one or two incidents from their youth that they recall with shame or embarrassment but it has little to no bearing on how they think or behave now.” I’d be curious to know what exactly led you to this unsupportable conclusion.

    Curious? Because I’m pretty old – 66. Growing up and getting married in the 60s and early 70s I’m all too familiar with the gangbang/ gang rape culture of the surfing and football worlds of the time – without ever being part of it, thank goodness. Most of the blokes I knew who were part of that got married, had kids and lived perfectly respectable suburban lives afterwards. Some of them didn’t, they got nastier.

    What I’ve observed is that most of the women I’ve known who were physically abused by a partner at some time (no one has ever talked to me about sexual abuse) put up with it for a while and had left by the time they were 30ish. Some of them were a bit peeved that their abusive partners seemed to grow up and get their act together – maybe because she left – and had subsequent relationships that were entirely or mostly free of abuse thereafter.

    Those two women I referred to earlier who were murdered? They stayed much longer and were killed in their 40s. Abusive, physically violent people can just as easily get worse as time goes on as get better. The problem for the victim side of the partnership is working out whether this particular abuser will be one or the other. Get it wrong, stay too long, and you’re dead or severely injured.

    And we have to remember, a lot of women who have been physically or sexually abused had their first such experience before they were 18. Sometimes by older family members, but more often by young men near their own age. Many of these young men learn from experience that this behaviour really is unacceptable and they don’t behave the same way when they’re mature. (Just as they don’t do a lot of other stupid, dangerous or violent stuff when they’re mature that they mindlessly engaged in as teenagers.)

    I’ve also had a lot of dealings with middle and high school aged boys. The concept of civilised, let alone civil, behaviour seems like a foreign country to many of them. Others engage in a bit of second-hand braggadocio – where their boasting consists of reporting the behaviour of “friends”. (Usually it is someone they know. Sometimes they’re using the “friend” format to test out what you think of behaviour they’re not ready to admit to openly.) What comes across with these kids is not whether they do or don’t do the things they consider fun or noteworthy, but the mindset and the content of these possibly exaggerated, possibly bowdlerised adventures. A lot of it is deeply nasty and potentially criminal. I’m fairly certain that most of them who try out some of these dangerous/ violent/ criminal behaviours a few times for themselves never do it again.

    We tend to see men who are now violent who have always been violent from childhood onwards (many of them reacting against the violence they’ve already experienced at home) and make the mistake of thinking that all young men who behave badly will continue to do so and maybe get worse. They don’t. They grow up and most of them as adults are indistinguishable from those who never did anything of the kind. Trying to pick which is which when they’re still young is the problem.

    My own feelings about this haven’t changed in a long while. Bring up children using non-violent methods but firm, preferably strict, discipline in a household where man, woman, boy, girl are equally respected and listened to and a lot of these problems never arise. That applies equally to men and women. When you look at the poisonous behaviour of some women, even if they are never physically violent they make life totally unbearable for others. (I should know. My in-laws dysfunctional family has cost us quite a lot in therapy for my poor long-suffering husband. He might have to be careful about triggering my fears of physical violence, I have to be just as careful about not provoking paranoid responses in him. His weird, nasty family has made him hyperalert to all sorts of things that never occur to people like me who were raised in a happy family.)

    The social issue is choosing when, where, how often and how to intervene in families that are getting it wrong – and whether we’re prepared to pay now for early intervention at the same time as we’re paying for the medical, police and prison costs of not having done it decades before.

  89. says

    The theme throughout this discussion has been that: 1) one cannot extrapolate general trends from isolated personal anecdotes; 2) the facts & figures put forth by radfems as evidence of ‘toxic masculinity’, Rape Culture, etc., are bogus. So when all the stats cited by MildyM are shown to be total bullshit, she reverts back to anecdotes & personal musings.

    Facts are irrelevant — our Jane Goodall of Bondi Beach will ‘splain how it really is ,,, err, was … err… how she thinks it must’ve been, having observed from afar … with the surfer & footie crowd half a century ago. Oh, and, she’s encountered real life teenage boys in the flesh! Feral little monsters, the lot of them, raised by wolves/ lousy parents who failed to create the type of idyllic home environment Mr. & Mrs. Magnificent did.

    Indeed, Mildly: your views haven’t changed in a long time, and I doubt are even capable of changing, regardless of what evidence is presented. A lot of people feel that way about religion, too.

    This isn’t an MRA vs. radfem issue. This about keeping an open mind & applying evidence-based reasoning, vs. reaching conclusions based on emotion, wishful thinking, or blind adherence to dogma.

  90. Sigil says

    leni @ 7

    “I don’t know about other people, but I know what problem I have. Minimal aggression is met with murderous rage and the two things are treated as equal when they probably shouldn’t,”

    That’s not how the stats. are tabulated. That’s just what feminists tend to think is being said because of their gender essentialist and misandrist views.

    That claim was also circulated by as one of the attempts by feminists to cover up female abusers and discredit the honest data.

  91. mildlymagnificent says

    Feral little monsters, the lot of them, raised by wolves/ lousy parents who failed to create the type of idyllic home environment Mr. & Mrs. Magnificent did.

    No they’re not. Most of them are pretty nice, fun, funny, good to work with – even those in the almost universally feared year 9. I think our unusual relationship with these kids in our business, not part of either school or home life but being approachable and of parent/grandparent age and teachers-but-respected-not-hated-like-those-at-school made such disclosures fairly easy. Of course, the stuff my husband reported from the schools he taught at added to the pile.

    The very worst, the most heartbreaking thing, happens when one of these kids or their families or their school finally tell you what’s really been going on in their lives. Worst of all is not feeling the tears come, just the dead thud in your gut when you recognise yet another rejected or abused child who you’re not really able to help very much.

  92. Holms says

    Ally, I see the author has not made a reply through his/her blog; has there perhaps been a reply via email?

  93. Kestrel68 says

    I’m less interested in the statistics of victims of abuse/violence than the perpetrators. Once again I’m reading another article which removes the person/people committing the crime.

    40% of men might indeed be victims of violence. But who hurt them?

    Is it 100% women who perpetrated the violence against the men who reported the domestic violence?

  94. Darren Ball says

    Kestrel68

    If you go to the Home Office statistics you will find the following:

    Homosexual men are at about double the risk of heterosexual men.
    Homosexual women are at about triple the risk of heterosexual women.

    If we knew the proportion of men who live intimately with another man we would have the answer to your question (at least approximately). If, for instance, the proportion of men in same-sex relationships is five per cent then circa 10 per cent of male victims will have a male perpetrator. Using the same assumption, 15 per cent of women would have a female perpetrator.

    I don’t know the proportion of couples who are same-sex, but I doubt it’s much more than five per cent.

    I’m sure that there are some nuances I’ve ignored in this method, but it will be about right.

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