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.