Breaking News: Bob McCroskie won’t be wearing a white ribbon this year. Why? Because it’s not a gender issue. And you ladies should stop telling lies.
If we’re serious about reducing family violence, we need to open both eyes – and tell the truth. The website says “Violence is endemic within New Zealand. One in three women are victims of violence from a partner”. The first part is right – the second misrepresents the facts….But will the researchers ask men to what level they have been victims of intimate partner violence? How many men would say they, too, have been physically assaulted, or made to feel bad, humiliated in front of others or intimidated by their partner?
Now. I’m not going to negate that there is certainly violence against men, nor that women can also commit family violence. (And that your analysis completely – and shockingly – ignores anyone who isn’t cis and hetero.) But if we’re going to have this conversation, wouldn’t it be good to do it without some hand-picked statistics selected to prove Bob’s point?
Here’s one I found, simply by googling “crime stats NZ”:
There were 1,696 fewer family violence offences recorded in 2010/11 than in 2009/10 – a 3.1% reduction. A total of 52,408 family violence offences were recorded compared with 54,104 during the same time last year. This 3.1% drop marks a strong reversal in the steady upward trend of recent years.
Within this figure there were 555 fewer family violence assaults – down -2.1% from 25,935 to 25,380 family violence assault offences. Most of these assaults were male assaults female which decreased by 904 from 8768 to 7864 offences.
Here’s something else I found with a really quick Google:
In 2005 the New Zealand Police recorded 62,470 offence and non-offence family violence incidents; 62,615 children and young people aged under 17 years were involved (TAVF 2006). Between 2000 and 2004 54 women were murdered by men through family violence, and three men were murdered by women (TAVF 2006). Although the overall murder rate is declining, murders that are domestically related are not (TAVF 2006); in fact the number of deaths of women due to domestic violence has increased from an average of nine per year in the 10 years to 1987 (Fanslow et al. 1991) to an average of 15 in the years 2000 to 2004, suggesting a real increase (see TAVF 2006). In 2007, 25 of 53 murders were recorded as family violence-related (TAVF 2007). In 2005 Women’s Refuge supported 17,212 women and 9,904 children (TAVF 2006). Between 90 and 95% of all applicants for protection orders in New Zealand are women, and most respondents are men (Bartlett 2006, Law Commission 2003).
Want more? (if you can stomach it).
- In 2005/6 NZ Police apprehended 25,356 male family violence offenders compared to 4,135 female offenders.17
- Researchers have found that some men who have experienced abuse by their female partner find the violence humorous, suggesting that they are not afraid of the abuser, whereas women routinely report experiencing distress or intense fear (for themselves and their children) as a result of abuse.
- The psychological effects of family violence upon women and children have been found to be far more severe. Twice as many women as men report being significantly affected by partner violence. However, in one New Zealand study both men and women reported depression and alcohol problems linked with experiencing partner abuse. It is not known to what extent the problems identified by the participants preceded the violence.
- Research suggests that most women’s violence towards men is self-defensive or retaliatory, whereas much of men’s violence towards women is used instrumentally to dominate and control their partner.
I’m sure, if I had the time and the inclination, I could find as many statistics as I wanted. And I am fairly certain that LGBT people would be over-represented therein. But frankly, I don’t feel like spending my afternoon trawling through facts and figures about women being assaulted, smacked around, intimidated or murdered.
But no, Bob, it’s not a gendered issue, is it? And in fact, you’re right, it’s not. But not for the reasons you have. Not because your self-righteous, holier-than-thou, indignant sensibilities are offended by an ad campaign that happens to be aimed at people like you. (Which, as the White Ribbon campaign points out works, because more men respond to messages aimed directly at them.) It’s also not because WOMEN DO IT TOO, no matter how loudly you try to scream that.
It’s not, because stopping family violence is incumbent on us all, regardless of our gender. It’s because standing up and saying “this isn’t OK”, stepping in where we can, helping out where we can, doing what we can do – that’s for all of us. And for you, Bob, to say that you won’t support the campaign because “the statistics lie”, is disingenuous at best, and downright fucking disgraceful at worst. And I know which I believe it is.