Domestic violence and the demonization of men

It has been an interesting exercise challenging the current witch hunt on domestic violence. As my article, silent victims, in the Weekend Australian points out, the zealots controlling debate on this issue are successfully demonizing men and white-washing women’s role in family violence.

The reality is very different from the picture constantly presented of dangerous men terrorizing their families. Over 1700 articles in peer-reviewed journals conclude show domestic violence is not a gender issue, both women and men are actively involved in most violence in the home, women often initiate violence, and it isn’t simply self-defence. Even though physical violence by women causes fewer injuries, it is by no means harmless with women more likely to use weapons and men sustaining a third of the injuries from partner violence.

Most children growing up in violent homes are cowering not just from their fathers but their mothers as well – all available Australian data clearly shows women are the major abusers of children. So what are these children to conclude from current public discussion of this issue –that only Dad’s violence matters? That only Dad can be held responsible for the terror these children experience? Surely this does nothing to break the cycle of violence putting future generations at risk.

What’s scary is the constant stream of lies and misinformation being promoted in the current cultural dialogue, deliberate use of wrong statistics designed to promote men as the only villains. There are men working very hard to try to correct this misinformation, attempting to correct the record by contacting the politicians, bureaucrats and media commentators who persist in using deliberately inaccurate statistics. It is horrifying to see how often these efforts are totally ignored.

Amongst the main offenders is the ABC where most journalists, broadcasters and producers skew debate over true nature of violence in the home. I’ve seen correspondence with the culprits, who continue to use misleading statistics despite being presented with evidence from our key data collection bodies, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showing they are using wrong information. Many make their personal prejudices on this issue abundantly clear – in her ABC breakfast show Virginia Trioli recently sneered at the possibility that men could be victims of domestic violence.

In the last week I have appeared on commercial radio programmes across the country discussing this issue – but almost all the key ABC programmes refused to touch it. The exception was Steve Austin, Brisbane’s morning presenter, who gave the issue his customary intelligent, open-minded consideration. See this link to listen to his interview.

When Mark Scott was appointed to his current position, I wrote to him pointing out that the real bias in the ABC has nothing to do with giving equal time to politicians from opposing parties but rather the refusal of most of the organization to touch topics which challenge the ABC’s current orthodoxy on any number of social issues. Domestic violence is a classic example and the ABC is true to form, showing total allegiance to the views promoted by the domestic violence lobby groups.