The Invisibility of Male Victims and Its Political Basis

Until the early 1970s domestic violence was a taboo subject. What went on behind closed doors between man and wife was regarded as their business alone. The women’s movement, and Erin Pizzey in particular, dragged the matter into the open – and rightly so. Unfortunately the feminist movement quickly turned partner violence into capital, both political and monetary. As a result, whilst partner abuse against women has had an ever increasing profile, that against male victims has been kept in its original obscurity. The history of these matters has been described by Erin Pizzey in This Way To The Revolution, Prone To Violence and Men Or Women – Who Are The Victims?.

The feminist movement has used partner violence as an emotional, and hence political, lever – the presentation of partner violence as being overwhelmingly one-way being central to this strategy. The suppression of the truth regarding male victims and female abusers has been a crucial element in this. The perspective on partner violence constantly reiterated on Women’s Aid and similar web sites is known to be false (as proved by the statistics on this site), for example,

  • The vast majority of the victims of domestic violence are women. The majority of abusers are men.
  • Domestic violence against women by men is caused by the misuse of power and control within a context of male privilege. Male privilege operates on an individual and societal level to maintain a situation of male dominance, where men have power over women and children….domestic violence by men against women can be seen as a consequence of the inequalities between men and women, rooted in patriarchal traditions that encourage men to believe they are entitled to power and control over their partners.

In truth there are almost as many women abusing men as the reverse, and perhaps more in some cases (as the statistics on this site show). The second bullet point above illustrates the feminist investment in the claim that PV is overwhelmingly male-on-female: it is cited as ‘proof’ of men’s more general position of power and dominance over women, the core feminist belief. But it is false. The fact that lesbian relationships suffer the greatest level of partner violence is sufficient to disprove the claim, not to mention the vast evidence regarding male victimisation by females.

But the feminists wish to inculcate the notion that all men are abusers. For example here is Vera Baird, PCC for Northumbria, speaking at the “feminism in London” conference in 2011,

It was essentially the Refuge Movement that first counted the figures and demonstrated that DV was not something that was done by a few cruel and unusual men.

As well as being a central plank in the feminist strategy to denigrate men, and hence to exercise control by wielding the shame weapon, the PV industry has financed much feminist politicking over the last 45 years. The UK PV industry has been estimated to receive an income of nearly £300M annually, of which two-thirds is publicly funded. Moreover, nearly £200M is expended on staff salaries and pensions. Less than 14% is spent on non-staff refuge costs.

The government sponsored bias in the handling of PV issues is so voluminous that no attempt will be made here to do justice to it. Instead see this lengthy review, and this.  Here we shall give just one example of the egregious misrepresentation of this matter which can be found in all public documents.

Barnish, 2004

The 2004 HM Inspectorate of Probation report Domestic Violence: A Literature Review by Mary Barnish is an example of the wicked misinformation which abounds on the subject of domestic violence. It repeats the same false perspective that can be found on the web sites of Refuge and Women’s Aid and in a myriad of other feminist controlled places. Let it stand for them all.

The report makes reference to the CSEW surveys between 1996 and 2002 and notes (in section 2.3) the near equality in the partner violence data against men and woman. However, this is noted only to discredit it. This is done by the simple expedient of claiming that female survey respondents are reliable but male respondents are not.

The report claims that women are more likely to suffer repeat incidents of abuse  which Repeat DV Incidents shows is untrue.

The statement in the Barnish report that “women experience more negative impact than men as a result of abuse” is just sexist. Incidence by Injury shows that serious injury, short of death, is as common amongst male victims as amongst female. The suggestion that men suffer less is an example of the empathy gap. It is a codified way of saying that women are precious and fragile whilst men are lumpen clods with no feelings who don’t matter. Being knifed or having a bottle smashed on your head is going to be a rather negative impact for anyone.

The report says that “many women who assault their male partners are themselves victims of ongoing abuse and use violence to try to escape or stop it“. Well, this will be true of some women abusers. But the statement is really conveying the impression that this applies to the majority of woman abusers. This simply does not align with the data or with Case Histories of Abused Men. The most common motive for the worst instances of female violence against a male partner is jealousy, rejection or the desire to exercise control.

The report then says that, “studies also point to other motivations for women’s violence such as perceived threat to children or other loved ones“. In truth, abusers of both sexes notoriously show an appalling disregard for the effect of their violence on children. And men are at a particular disadvantage in terms of protecting children from a violent mother. Whilst an abused mother would have the option of fleeing to a refuge, together with her children, there is nowhere a man can go with children. That is why many an abused man stays – for years – out of fear of what will happen to the children if he leaves.

The report then says, “In contrast, men’s motivations for killing female partners appear to revolve around jealousy and a need to control, especially during the imminent or actual termination of a relationship“. No, no contrast here at all. That’s exactly the most common motivation for female violence too: jealousy or rejection (see Case Histories of Abused Men).

Then we read,

The few women who had seriously assaulted their partners did so during a psychotic breakdown or after experiencing severe repeated beatings. Others attacked their partner in self-defence whilst they were being beaten up, or else struck only one or two blows, or occasionally slapped or pushed their partners, who easily defended themselves, were not intimidated and were frequently amused. Unlike the men who used severe violence, women rarely seemed intent on harming their partners and desisted immediately on the few occasions they got the upper hand“.

Oh dear, this is all just wishful thinking on Mary Barnish’s part. It is no good pretending that there are only “a few” women who seriously assault their partners. A small percentage of women, certainly. But a similar number to the number of violent men, which Mary Barnish would not describe as “a few”. Violent women may well claim in court that they had a psychotic breakdown or had suffered years of abuse themselves. You cannot blame them for that, it often works for them. But the truth, in the majority of cases (not all) is that they are simply violent or lack self-control – just like male abusers.

And the idea that a man, whilst he is being abused by his partner, is “frequently amused” surely undermines the credibility of this nonsense. Please, Mary Barnish, tell me which of the men in the Case Histories of Abused Men exhibit any signs of being amused? This is the most hateful sexist nonsense. It is clearly just made up, not the result of any research at all.

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