#WomanHating101: Dissecting the 1 in 7 Men Are Abused Statistic… The Myth Of Female Brutality In Violent Relationships

October 2007. Dom had just come in drunk, again, after a night at the pub. I’d had a quiet evening in, and was silently dreading his return. Drunk Dom was even more volatile than sober Dom. This evening, in particular, he’d started an argument with a friend, and as I found myself pinned up against the wall, I was feeling the brunt of his anger. I was never one for defending myself. But, at seven months pregnant, as his fist came heading towards my stomach, something snapped. I not only blocked his blow, but I also struck back, slapping him across the face. As he stepped back in shock, I ran to the bathroom, bolting the door, and called the police. The next day, I dropped the charges against Dom. Although the first officer I’d dealt with had been brilliant, flawless, the second officer had phoned in the morning to tell me of Dom’s remorse. “He was drunk, and he’s sobered up. He really regrets it…” he’d said. Ninety minutes later, Dom was back in the living room. “You hit me too… You’re just as bad as me,” he’d claimed. “You’re abusing me, too. You just got to the phone first.” It wasn’t until a few months later that someone else pointed out that it was self defence.

Sadly, I’ve heard a lot of people talking of women being just as bad as men, lately. Yet the people who claim this forget the simple fact that two women a week are killed by their partners. So far this year, it’s believed that one man in the UK has been killed by a former or current partner. This is compared to the 95 women killed by current or former partners, or male relatives this year. As I read a stat claiming that 1 in 7 men were victims of domestic abuse, I remembered a blog post by another rad fem, that used an 87% stat in relation to abuse. I’ve been unable to locate the blog post in question, and have forgotten the author. However, I stumbled across a report on Education.gov.uk, “Children’s Needs – Parenting Capacity” in which I found the citation:

A US study involving 1,517 incidents of  domestic violence where a child was present found 87% of victims were female and 86% of perpetrators were male (Fantuzzo and Fusco 2007).

It’s around here that my mind went into overdrive. I compared this to the “Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment On The CPS Violence Against Women Strategy And Action Plan“, which stated that “5.8.2 The gender breakdown of victims between April and September 2006 indicated that only 33% of cases had gender recorded; [Note 17] of those 86% of victims were women. The December snapshot indicated that 89% of victims were women.” It was time to turn to my trusted Maths student friend; By this point, my head was hurting, and things weren’t making sense. Now, if 1 in 7 men were the victims of domestic violence, compared to 1 in 4 women, then surely the number of male victims recorded would be higher? That would mean 1 male victim for every 2 – 3 female victims. Yes?

Funnily enough, the first thing my friend said upon viewing the stats was “Are you sure the stats aren’t 1 in 7 victims are male?”. I checked. Nope, 1 in 7 men are victims. That’s what I’d read over and over (Some sources state 1 in 6 males) The following is his message to me:

“Well, the way those ratios would go is, for every 25 women abused, about 14.3 men are
which would make a sample size of 39.3
The female percentage would be 25/39.2= about 64%
males would be 14.3/39.3, or about 36-37%”

Which, needless to say, didn’t tally with the research so far… He immediately suggested the statistics had been skewed somewhere down the line, as 86% worked out to be around 6/7. So, here we have 6/7 domestic violence victims are female, and the remaining 1/7 were male. So, to work out the number of males that are victims of domestic abuse, based on a 50/50 gender split, I’ll borrow this friend’s words again.

“6x as many abuse victims female
1/4 of the females abused
so divide 1/4 by 6, gives 1/24″

So, that statistic gives us 1 in 24 men are the victim of domestic violence at any point in their lifetime. Which gives us a very different statistic to the 1 in 7 suggested before. I do not currently have statistics into the gender breakdown of who is abusing men, but needless to say, as the CPS tells us 95% of Domestic Violence defendants are male, it stands to reason, a large number of abusers of men are men themselves.

I’d like to thank my friend, who shall not be named for confidentiality reasons, for his help.

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11 thoughts on “#WomanHating101: Dissecting the 1 in 7 Men Are Abused Statistic… The Myth Of Female Brutality In Violent Relationships

  1. I don’t get this. The figure I always see cited by MRA’s and their handmaidens, is 1 in 6, even higher than your 1 in 7 figure.

    Surely the home office and the British Crime Survey has competent statisticians? There’s a hell of a difference between 1 in 6 (or 7) and 1 in 24.

    How do we get this investigated?

    I am so sick of whingey men saying that 1 in 6 proves women are nearly as bad as them – even if you believe the 1 in 6 figure, the nature and pattern of the violence inflicted by women on men is so different from that inflicted by men on women that you’re not comparing like with like anyway; but if the actual figure is not 1 in 6/7, but actually 1 in 24, then that is something that Women’s Aid, the Home Office etc., ought to be quoting.

    • It’s concerning. Because, we’ve heard it so long.

      At this rate, I’m going to start a campaign to have above mentioned friend hired as the official statistician for the Gov’t…

  2. It’s the same daftness applied to the rape and sexual abuse statistics. Yes, men are victims too ; but the perpetrator (in sexual assault) is male 99% of the time, whichever sex the victim is. Women are 92% of victims. Violence is gendered. The perpetrators are in their overwhelming majority male. We need to concentrate on that, I think. When we talk about the victims, it becomes a “what about the men” argument too quickly.

    And I am not advocating forgetting about the victims at all. I know it probably sounds like it. What is am trying to say is that when presenting domestic and sexual violence figures it should be emphasised that the perpetrator is 99% male. Always.

  3. I’d say (as someone who works with vulnerable families including domestic abuse victims) that some relationships can be mutually violent whereby BOTH parties are equally victim. I would still question the 1 in 7 statistic however as we know historically that men are less likely to report being a victim but perhaps the fact that both parties may be reporting themselves as the victim and not the perpetrator may have some impact on the findings.

    • I’m not sure I buy that. Lundy Bancroft, who is considered a leading expert on domestic violence, certainly doesn’t believe that relationships can be “mutually violent”. He talks about gaslighting where psychologically abusive men bully their partners into lashing out to make the women look abusive when it is the men. He is also very clear that male victims of domestic violence tend to be victims of male partners. Bancroft also argues that women take up to 30 incidents to report DV where men are actually more likely to report the first time.

  4. Dublin Rape Crisis Centre reported the following: ‘Eight out of ten callers were women, almost 19 per cent men and 0.4 per cent – 36 people – transsexual/transgender.’ But if 8 out of ten callers to the Dublin Rape Crisis helpline were women then clearly the remaining 2 cannot be 19% males.

    When reporting statistics it should either be x% were female and x% were male or x out 10 were female and x out of ten were male not ‘eight out ten callers were women; almost 19% male and 0.4% transsexual etc. There is also this excuse/claim wherein Ellen O’Malley Dunlop Chief Executive of Dublin Rape Crisis made the ludicrous claim that ‘easy access to hard core pornography further fuels of objectification of both men and women and leads to unimaginable dehumanisation of both victims and perpetrators.’ In other words the males who commit sexual violence against women, girls and boys are not really perpetrators but ‘victims’ so therefore men are not accountable for their choice in committing sexual violence against women and girls. Hey presto total erasure of male accountability!
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0905/breaking36.html

  5. Much as I dispute the 1 in 6 (or 7) men statistic – you’re muddling several different sources of data to make your point. CPS data necessarily only includes those cases reported to the police – and men under-report at a far higher rate than women under report (not – as many assume – because of embarrassment – but because men generally think it was ‘no big deal’
    The 1 in 7 statistic comes from the British Crime Survey and thus includes unreported incidents.
    My issue with the 1 in 7 statistic is that 48% of men experience a single incident and I believe domestic violence to be a pattern of behaviour. That would make it 1 in 13 men.
    By the way – your information about the number of men killed this year is also wrong. I know of at least 7 so far and – on average – there’s two a month.

  6. But isn’t her point that the different sources of data don’t all add up, and yet one of them tends to be trotted out in every context? That’s how I understood it anyhow.

  7. Pingback: | #WomanHating101: Dissecting the 1 in 7 Men Are Abused Statistic… The Myth Of Female Brutality In Violent Relationships by @FrothyDragon

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