#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.

16 Days Of Action On Violence Against Women: A Bloghop

#WomanHating101: “Oh No, I’m Turning Into My Mother…”

I’ve had a few health problems of late. At present, I’m awaiting the results of a blood test which will tell me whether or not the consistent dull ache in my knees is arthiritis. Sadly, in my family, early onset arthiritis isn’t uncommon – my mother, for one, was suffering by the ripe old age of 35. At the ripe old age of 27, I found myself, last week, on the phone to my mother, talking of the pain in my knee, whilst simultaneously arguing with Mini-Dragon about whether he needed a scar, hat and gloves on to play outside. It was around then that I uttered the immortal words… “Oh my god, Mum, I sound just like you!”. Luckily, this was greeted with a laugh from her end. But it got me thinking… Why do we dread turning into our mothers?

See, my mother has never been perfect; I’ve made no secret of it. But then, is anyone? But it seems, once you reach motherhood, that fear of turning into your own mother approaches. I’ve yet to hear any male friend of mine express fear over turning into his  father. Yet it’s a fear I’ve heard expressed by many a female friend. Anyone remember our childhood fairy tales, in which mothers were someone to be feared; someone you didn’t want to become? Although the fairy tales use the guise of the Wicked Stepmother, it’s telling that initially, the Grimm’s villain in Snow White was Snow’s own mother. In various versions of Sleeping Beauty that predate the Grimm’s retelling, the villain is not the King, a rapist (Disney kinda left that point out, didn’t they?). Instead, the villain is (depending on the version of the tale you read) his Stepmother, or his wife. It’s quite clever, isn’t it? From childhood, we set our children up to fear women, and to fear becoming like those women.

But in the fear of becoming like our mothers, our mothers’ positive traits are forgotten. See, my mother shaped who I became. She’s flawed, yes, but in 20 years time, Mini-Dragon will be saying the same about me. But forget the flaws. There’s a woman who’s stood behind me every time I start a campaign. There’s a woman who taught me that there’s always a Plan B, Plan C, and one you’re done with the alphabet, you can just start numbering the plans instead. And I’ve by no means been the perfect daughter, and she hasn’t always had the right answer for my problems, but hell, she’s tried.

Perhaps it’s time we began celebrating our mothers. I don’t mean once a year, but instead, daily. Next time I find myself drawing parallels between myself and my mother, there’ll be a cheer about it. After all, she’s not perfect. But she’s close enough.