white ribbon

Domestic violence and White Ribbon day – help change the debate

Nice to know there are plenty of people who have not been hoodwinked by the biased campaign presenting women as the only victims of domestic violence. Since my recent article, Silent Victims, was published in the Weekend Australian I have been flooded with emails from people who know this is far from the truth. I have heard from many men and women who grew up in homes with violent mothers and many males who suffered appalling physical and emotional abuse from their partners.

The lack of resources for male victims is just extraordinary. I was particularly struck by news that $100,000 was awarded to support pets of female victims in Victoria but not a cent for men suffering abuse.

It’s heartening to hear from so many people who are keen to help in some way to try to change the debate around this issue in Australia. I have an idea which might get this moving and hope you might find time in the next few days to get involved. Timing is crucial!

Every year I grind my teeth on White Ribbon Day listening to listening to their spokespeople misrepresent this issue, fudging the statistics and totally denying any responsibility for women in family violence. Next week across the country many hundreds of people are running White Ribbon events, over 500 people are now Ambassadors, pushing the party line. See this White Ribbon link

Many of the sportsmen and other eminent people who are involved in this are well-meaning, assuming they are simply helping our society overcome a critical social problem. It is very likely they have never been presented with the facts included in my article, the 40 years of research showing most family violence involves both men and women and mothers are the major abusers of children.

I feel we need to respectfully approach these people and inform them that we are not denying the importance of the work they are doing in addressing the issue of violent men but unfortunately they are also being drawn into a divisive campaign which distorts the truth about family violence and denies many victims the chance to be heard and supported.

So for anyone who would like to turn this issue around, I suggest you urgently investigate the White Ribbon events in your local area, find out who are the local ambassadors and contact them, presenting the true facts in a calm, polite way. If you need help in putting together emails to send them, send a blank email to domesticviolencetruth@gmail.com and you will automatically receive in response another email containing information you can use in your letters.

We should also send emails to members of the White Ribbon Board. Many of these are respected members of the business community who will have no desire to be caught up in ideological campaigns. They may not be aware that the organization is now attracting such critical examination.

The media will also be giving White Ribbon representatives a huge run next week so be alert to when these interviews are playing and participate where possible in talk-backs, or write comments following online articles. Use social media to draw attention to wrong statistics and other misrepresentations. The One in Three Website has a huge data set of proper statistics you can use to correct misinformation.  Contact producers of the relevant programmes and ask for more balanced reporting of the issue. Report unbalanced reporting on the ABC to their complaints department and CEO, Mark Scott.

For instance there’s Sarah Ferguson’s TV special: http://in-films.com/no-excuses-with-sarah-ferguson/. to be shown on Tuesday November 24th and Wednesday the 25th. This is clearly aimed at perpetuating the distorted debate on this issue. You can already make complaints based on the promotion for this programme.

Virginia Trioli is holding a Q&A on Wednesday November 25 following Ferguson’s show. She’s one of the worst offenders when it comes to dismissing women’s violence against men. Do try to get involved in this programme. See here for information: http://tv.press.abc.net.au/qa-hitting-home-special-episode-hosted-by-virginia-trioli#attachment37455. Perhaps you can think of questions you can put to the Q&A panel which would highlight the issues. Make them short and lively or you won’t get on. Also clever tweets would be worth trying.

It will really help if we can encourage more women to be involved in this way. It’s just a little harder for the campaigners to ignore our arguments if they come from women, particularly those with direct experience with this issue.

If you have any other ideas which can help, please post comments below.We’d like to hear about any response you get from people associated with White Ribbon. Please email Bettina if you get any interesting feedback.

The domestic violence lobby groups have got away with their distorted campaign for far too long because they have silenced their critics. I am shocked by how many people have written to me saying I was ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’ to speak out on this issue. Come on! We live in a free, democratic society and none of us should be nervous about being heard on this important issue. But nothing will change unless we all start making sure we get our message across.

29 Responses to Domestic violence and White Ribbon day – help change the debate

  1. Greg Canning November 21, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    Thank you Bettina, your suggestions for bringing some balance to this debate are great and I will encourage as many as I am able, to be involved. Thanks you for the outstanding article in the Australian and your commitment to fair treatment and support for all victims of family violence regardless of gender, sexuality or other differences.

  2. John Ashfield November 21, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    How does it serve the best interests of women who experience domestic/intimate partner violence for data on this issue to be used selectively and for the more complex picture and better understanding such data reveal to be censored? Yet this is what has been happening shamelessly for the last several decades since my first involvement as a practitioner working with women experiencing such violence.

    That males experience domestic/intimate partner violence in disturbingly significant numbers, cannot and must not be ignored if we care at all about women, because this fact modifies significantly many of the former assumptions that have shaped our response to this issue; a response that has unsurprisingly been largely ineffectual despite the expenditure of countless millions of dollars.

    Quite obviously, in this area evidence and intellectual rigor have been sidelined by a gender ideology that is less concerned about women than its own self-serving fundamentalist agenda. And sadly, because of lazy (and arguably unethical) journalism, misinformed social and pseudo-academic commentary, and self-serving ideology, many good and genuine people have unwittingly been caught up in a very skewed and counter-productive ideological agenda.

    If we care about women (and men) who are daily abused and harmed by domestic violence, we have to transcend popular gender ideology and seek out the very best evidence to understand and address this problem. No other approach has intellectual or moral legitimacy, nor will finally provide us with truly useful and constructive solutions.

  3. Giles Watson November 21, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    As a male former victim of domestic violence who recovered from his ordeal not through any assistance from “male rights” lunatics but through the support of other compassionate, caring women, I support the White Ribbon Campaign, and always will. If the “activists” who disapprove of the White Ribbon Campaign were really intending to combat violence, then you would not be able to write a sentence such as “The lack of resources for male victims is just extraordinary”. The reason why there are resources (still clearly quite insufficient given that there were eleven women who died at the hands of men this year in my region alone) for dealing with male violence against women, is because women have worked tirelessly over decades to provide some measure of protection and support for each other. Men haven’t done the same.

    Meanwhile, the so-called “men’s rights groups” that you support spend their time whining and undermining this important work, and now you advise them to waste the time of anti-dv campaigners by ringing them and hampering them in the lead-up to this week’s campaign. If men’s rights groups had campaigned instead against domestic abuse in all its forms, taking practical measures to spread compassion and mercy rather than sniping at those people who have already created such measures for women, we might now be at the stage where everyone who is concerned about violence could present a united front against it.

    Many of my friends who are active in the White Ribbon Campaign and other anti-dv campaigns are themselves the former victims of domestic violence. Others have fought tirelessly for years to rescue both women and men from hideous male violence. These people have the courage to combat violence at its roots, and they often do so at considerable personal and psychological cost. It is very difficult indeed to see why anyone would wish to seek to undermine this work, unless they were themselves abusers, or seeking to please those who perpetuate an abusive system – but that is what you appear to be doing.

    • Mark November 21, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

      What a very disappointing comment from someone who should know better. How dare you suggest that this campaign is undermining the work being done for female victims of abuse. How does the extension of your compassion to ALL victims of abuse in the home in any way detract from our care and support of females? I am so sick of this puerile response to the very reasonable request that we care about all people harmed in domestic situations.

      I notice that you make no reference to the facts regarding the murder and abuse of our children, the majority of which is perpetrated by women. You refer to the passionate attempts by people to give voice to the voiceless victims as ” whining and undermining”. What a disgraceful statement.

      You refer to” hideous male violence” as if the abuse carried out by males is somehow more disgusting simply because it was perpetrated by a man. Perhaps if you had been with the police as they counted the bodies of eight children who were hacked to death by a mother in Cairns last year you would revise your opinion. Murder and abuse by any person is hideous-yet you, like your beloved White Ribbon Campaign, make it all about the male gender.

      I am so glad the truth is finally beginning to emerge and I give thanks to wonderful people like Bettina Arndt who tell the truth knowing the flak and abuse it will attract.

      Thanks for not disappointing me, Giles. I’m sure there is much more to come. Anyone who advocates concern and compassion for men is surely a sick and twisted individual.

    • Toby Hadron November 22, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

      “If men’s rights groups had campaigned instead against domestic abuse in all its forms” – this is precisely what these “male rights lunatics” are trying to do. In order to address domestic abuse in all its forms one has to actually acknowledge all its forms. Put simply this means we have to acknowledge all genders can be perpetrators and all genders can be victims. The problem is that as soon as anyone tries to do this people get upset and claim that it is trying to minimise female victims.

      You criticise people for not addressing the whole issue but also criticise those same people for wasting “the time of anti-dv campaigners by ringing them and hampering them” with the very information necessary to address the whole issue.

      White Ribbon recently removed an ambassador from their organisation simply because he pointed out that men can be victims too. How is that working against domestic abuse in all its forms?

      I have two sons. How can I possibly support an organisation that asks them to admit they are potential abusers but denies that they can ever be a victim?
      How can I support an organisation that works to deny funding to victims based on their gender?
      How can I support an organisation that will not even allow one of its ambassadors to talk about the problem being faced by half of population?

      A group that advocates for victims of violence except Aborigines would be pilloried as racist.
      A group that advocates for victims of violence except Muslims would be pilloried as Islamophobic.
      A group that advocated for victims of violence except women would be pilloried as misogynistic.
      A group that advocates for victims of violence except men is lauded as nobel and gets government funding.

      I simply cannot see how this is just. Nor can I see how it will really address the problem of domestic violence.

    • Ian W November 24, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

      Think about it Giles. We have more shelter for pets fleeing domestic violence than we do for men. I for one will never support the White Ribbon campaign until it advocates for all victims of domestic violence, and not just women.

      Your subordination to women is plainly evident in the post you have made here. I hope that a day will come when you actually start seeing men as full human beings.

  4. Bettina November 21, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    You are deliberately misunderstanding what we are trying to do. We are not proposing to undermine the important efforts of White Ribbon to address the issue of men’s violence. I support that work totally. What I don’t understand is why White Ribbon is so determined to deny the truth about violence in the home. What we want them to do is to, as you put it, is campaign against domestic abuse in all its forms, taking practical measures to spread compassion and mercy. Surely that is not such a big ask?

  5. James Plevick (@norsaint) November 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    For all you DV rubes out there, this is a subject mired in intellectual dishonesty and is little more than a political hoax. When men are dragged into Family Violence courst and arbitrarily jailed without trial for sending their love to stolen children, (victims of judicial kidnapping courtesty of the involuntary divorce regime) watching them at play, walking down the street, sending them birthday cards etc al, then it quickly becomes apparent that were talking about things that aren’t very violent at all.
    Bogus statistics and ideologically driven reports are the basis of the hysteria, driven of course by feminist ideology. Reported crimes are not proven crimes and the one thing we’re not talking about in this welter of misniformation, is jury convictions, surely the only arbiter of guilt in a free society. This laughable nonsense has got Police State written all over it.

    Get your peepers around this,. http://archive.lewrockwell.com/baskerville/baskerville10.html

  6. pete xi November 21, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    Thank you for your courage to speak out the truth in a sea of fears and persecutions, in a nation caught by fascism.

  7. I hate violence November 22, 2015 at 7:44 am #

    I was at a suicide workshop last year and spoke to a gentleman that was working for Melbourne City Council as a tourist assistant (working the street corners helping the tourists look at maps. Two ladies asked him what he did apart from this activity. He also helped men that were victims of domestic violence was part of his reply. They went straight to the Melbourne town hall – complained that he could not be involved in that activity as council policy was to help woman and children and somehow got him sacked. Do you really think this is a free and democratic society? These people are using similar tactics of fear and terrorism to silence anyone that speaks out just like terrorist groups. While they perpetuate a myth and distort the truth for ideological grounds to increase their self importance and profit (to fund their efforts) then they represent a subversive part of our society that should be treated as aggressively as a cancer.

    White Ribbon Australia are right insofar as violence is wrong. But denying there are perpetrators and victims is taking a very blinkered approach preventing the issue being addressed from a factual base. Problems are never resolved when not looking at what is the root cause.

    Bettina, I can only hope that truth, love and understanding will win out. I will not be radicalised like those of White Ribbon.

    • Toby Hadron November 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

      “Helping women and children” is a comparatively generous goal. The Labour party in the UK recently refocused their policy from “preventing violence against women and children” to “preventing violence against women and girls”. Apparently even boys are undeserving of protection or sympathy in the UK.

      My mind boggles at the seething hatred that must exist in people that such a policy would even cross their minds. The fact that it passes review and becomes party policy is nothing short of disgrace. Yet these very people strut and posture as the conscience of the community and as paint themselves as our moral superiors.

  8. Jack November 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Maybe the White Ribbon people should give us their comments re the sickening UFC bout between Holly and Ronda and the image of aggressive female violence this event blatantly puts out there for public consumption !
    “Death Kick” Herald Sun Sunday November 22.
    It made me (a mere male” turn away from watching it!
    I think it has done a lot of harm to the feminist run family violence industry !
    Thank you Bettina for standing up for our men, particularly those who have not got the academic capability to defend themselves against the System !

  9. Wendy Gray November 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    Wendy Gray

    This campaign challenges us to question common assumptions about the issue of domestic violence, to examine the evidence, and to consider the embedded politics. Bettina Arndt reminds us of the care we must take in considering such a sensitive issue as domestic violence. Whilst, culturally, men are portrayed as the main perpetrators of domestic violence, Bettina Arndt helps us to understand that this is part of a bigger picture. If we are genuine in trying to address the bigger issues around domestic violence, it is important that we consider all of the evidence.

    It’s crucial that we don’t see perpetrators (male or female) as just “bad” but as often the result of their own familial histories, where people need help, not punishment. Services need to be geared towards examining the risk factors and providing support services for all affected. Punishment might make the public feel better about this issue, but services need to be geared towards the broader societal problem, as evidenced by a considerable body of research. Bettina Arndt has broadened the discussion on this serious issue.

  10. Tim Bakker November 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    yes it’s about time there was a outing on White Ribbon as part of the social engineering against men in our society to demonise men for their own gains. Men looked upon the predator in all domestic violence this is a disgrace and if it keeps going it will make young men growing up to be just whipping boys.

  11. Tim Bakker November 22, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    I for one will not wear a Whit ribbon, I for one will not march with White Ribbon I find there structure a disgrace and a threat to our over all social structure.

  12. DVAMA November 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    Sadly there are those who will excuse female violence either completely or who are of the opinion that is is somehow less ‘violent’ when perpetrated by a woman. One of the commentators here spoke of ”hideous male violence” as if male perpetrated violence was somehow worse.

    On the http://www.facebook.com/DVAMAustralia/ page a contributor made a similar comment when she spoke about the experience of men and said “but it cannot be compared to the terror women experience when they are at the mercy of a violent man who can and will kill them”.

    A knife is still a knife no matter who wields it and the women and men who have died at the hands of women are no less dead because of the gender of the perpetrator.

    I have no idea why there are those with so little compassion that they dismiss the men and women who have either died or suffered terrible injury at the hands of a woman. But they exist in our society. Comments such as these reveal that is so.

    No one is diminishing anyone’s suffering by being inclusive of all and it is time in Australia that we matured to the point where we treated everyone equally. No matter their gender.

  13. Clem Blake November 22, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    Bettina you are a breath of fresh air when It comes to the Issue on domestic violence.

    • Tim Bakker November 23, 2015 at 10:47 am #

      Erin Pizzey who has been involved in DV all her life who has seen it all states the worst violence she has seen is between 2 women not a man to a woman. I know of two cases in lesbian relationships where they did horrific violence to each other. White Ribbon won’t go there as it’s all about demonising men.

  14. Simon November 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    Good on you Tina, I will certainly do all you suggest.
    I must say it saddens me that the true cost to children of this campaign is usually ignored, that is the damage to lives that happens when fathers are excluded from their kids. I truly believe there that the people behind this campaign are unable to defend the reality that children suffer awfully when their fathers are removed from their lives, typically with allegations of violence, allegations that don’t even have to be proved for the father to be cut off completely from his children. Fathers who have been excluded like this have to find somewhere else to live and are even jailed on the basis that any breach of the imposed restraining order, no matter how trivial (sending a Birthday card, being in the Library thats just inside the exclusion zone, driving pass he oval where his children were having their sports day, telling the mother of a friend of his daughter’s to “give her my love”) . Make no mistake women are routinely persuaded by practitioners – social workers and lawyers and psychologists who work together that abuse allegations are their only way out of the trauma of the litigation the father conducts to gain access to his children. Its what greases the wheels of the system. Everybody benefits financially.

    The ultimate sadness that this campaign will deliver is the polarisaton of men and women against each other, in an escalating battle for power and resources. God help our children, God help the human race!

  15. Marilyn November 23, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

    I am so angry right now due to the treatment of my son and his son by his former wife and the colluding system that is called the family court. Thank you Betina for bringing the injustices towards men to the fore. Children are missing out by not having quality and plenty of time with their fathers because of of the biased system towards women. Go and listen to the many menwho are fighting for their children. It is so sad and so unnecessary if only we had a family court that is not log jammed with false accusations and liars who make men the enemy.

  16. Graham McColl November 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    It is true that these Feminist organizations such as White Ribbon have a good head start on anything men have so far done in their own defence – and more’s the pity. Ironic indeed, that it has taken the forthright thinking of a woman to be the first to come to their defence. That being said isn’t it now time for men to articulate and bolster a rugged Media campaign in defence of themselves? Some of the male replies ( above ) would suggest there is a budding interest to do just that.
    Thank you Bettina, for providing the impetus for a levelling of the playing field on this issue.

    • s hunt November 24, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

      Trouble is most blokes adopt a men verses women line of argument. No prizes for guesses who wins that one. They should focus on the harm done to the children.

  17. Ian W November 25, 2015 at 12:18 am #

    We are told by #Destroythejoint and the media that 78 women (as of 25/11/2015) have died at the hands of their male partners. It turns out though that of these 78, 8 were killed by other women, 9 were killed by an unknown assailant, one was a suicide, and at least 2 were elderly couples were most likely both partners had mutually agreed to end their lives. This means that actual number of women killed by their partners in DV incidents (so far this year) is 58. Of course, it should go without saying that this is a terrible statistic.

    This compares with 15 men who have been killed by their partners (as of 25/11/2015). However, these only include the ones that the media has reluctantly agreed to cover. Given that women are much more likely to kill their male partners by getting someone else to do it for them and that they are much more likely to use poison or other difficult to detect means to carry out their domestic murders, it is very likely the number of men who are killed by their partners is actually closer to 20.

    This means that percentage of men who are killed by their female partners is most likely to be 20/78 = 25.6 % for 2015. This is slightly lower compared to previous years. On average 43 women a year were murdered by their male partner in Australia between 2008 and 2012. That is 0.83 women a week, not 2. Over the same period, roughly 21 men a year [once you correct for women using others to murder the male partners] were murdered by their female partner. That is 0.40 men a week. This means that the ratio female:male intimate partner homicides is 2:1.

    Of course, this does not include the 70 or more men a year who commit suicide because they are denied access to their children by their vindictive former partners in cahoots with the anti-male Family Court.

    • Bettina November 25, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      While I agree with the main point you are making I am concerned about fiddling with the statistics. Given that the domestic violence lobby groups constantly fudge and distort statistics it is extremely important that we only report the proper available statistics and don’t then alter them by rounding them up to make a stronger case about female violence. (Although you are probably right about the reasons why murders of men might be underreported.) I strongly suggest that anyone quoting statistics about this issue should first consult the One in Three Website. See this link :http://www.oneinthree.com.au/misinformation. Greg Andresen, who manages the site, has done an amazing job collecting all the proper statistics regarding these issues. It is critical that these are quoted accurately as they make the case very strongly about the way this issue is being misrepresented.

      • Ian W November 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm #


        I am not fiddling with the statistics. I am trying to give a reasonable and fair estimate of the situation were as the feminist led establishment is doing its level best to suppress and hide what is actually happening. For example:

        The 70 men between the ages of 30 and 45 who commit suicide every year is based upon published ABS statistics which anyone can access that show that:

        a) more than 700 Australian males between the ages of 30 and 45 commit suicide each year. You can calculate this yourself using a suicide death rate of 28 per 100,000 males and a population of approximately 2.5 million men in this age bracket. Many of these men commit suicide because of divorce and family break up.

        b) if even 10 % [this is very likely an underestimate] of these men kill themselves because they were denied access to their children by vindictive ex-wives then this means that 70 men die each year from this cause i.e. one man every 5 days.

        The figures that I quote for the average number of men and women killed by their intimate partners between 2008 and 2012 i.e. 43 women per year and 15 men per year can be found at the Australian Institute of Criminology:


        You might be able to criticize my correction to the total number of males being killed from 15 to 21 but there is no doubting that a correction upwards from 15 has to be made. And given the high level of obfuscation and misinformation that is being undertaken by the authorities, it almost impossible to accurately determine what this correction should be.

        Finally, the correction that need to made to Destroy the Joint’s false claim that 78 women have been killed by the intimate partners so far this year, is based upon a detailed investigation into all of the 78 women that are put forward at their site. This can be done by anyone who willing to spend the time checking the validity of their claims.


        For example, you can see that they included the tragic death of a school teacher who was murdered by a co-work at her school in their total for 2015:

        April 05: Stephanie Scott (26) killed after visiting her workplace at Leeton….Vincent Stanford (24), a cleaner at her workplace, is charged with her murder.

        • Bettina November 26, 2015 at 9:45 am #

          I still don’t think it is appropriate or helpful to “correct upwards” when we are arguing about the proper use of available statistics. But your analysis of the 78 women killed is very interesting and useful.

  18. No white ribbon for me November 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    Today is White Ribbon Day, I was just wondering in the next 24 hrs if you could reflect on the victims that nobody mentions, maybe just take 5 minutes out of your day to think about those that the government & so many others don’t want to talk about.
    The Children of domestic violence, the fathers, the sons, the brothers.
    This year the Victorian Government granted funding for pets in DV situations. Male victims and their stories aren’t even seen or heard in the media, let alone specific funding set aside for them.
    I am not against White Ribbon, but recently events in my life made me do some research and I have realised the issue of domestic violence is not being addressed properly, and the statistics have all been wrong.
    I do not like any form of violence, or people abusing their power. The new woman’s lib movements have gone too far, they are abusing their power, THE WAR HAS BEEN WON ladies, stop the fight; work together.
    I will not let the men in my life take the blame for the terrible behaviour of others, they do respect woman.Understand that this is a big issue, but blaming good men for this is not the answer, everything that has been done to change men’s attitudes will implode due to the new generation of Feminism causing hatred.
    I am not a Men’s rights activist, I am not an activist period, and I think equality is a must but this will never happen if you let these people brainwash the country into believing it is all men’s fault.
    So on the 25th November 2015 please take the time to thank your brother, your father, your son; other males for being great men; for not being violent, thank them instead of blaming them.
    No White Ribbon for me, maybe a different colour, with the words “Stop violence against everybody”, especially our children, who are not exclusively raised by Woman, but also fathers and other family members who also need protection from violence.

    A Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother & Grandmother

  19. EJH November 26, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    I so enjoyed your article Silent Victims. I can’t help but feel this current wave of attention on domestic violence & government support feels a little like a Utopia episode. Surely money needs to be spent at the root of the problem, which is protecting children growing up in violent homes and believing it is normal or acceptable behaviour. I just question what a $300M campaign will achieve – aimed at adults who are already very damaged.

  20. Tony Nicholl November 27, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    I find age and gender discrimination is endemic and frustrating. I find that many times a scoffing response to the male perspective of domestic violence is common. The fact that there is no reference to males in the terms of reference for the family violence commission assumes males do not suffer from effects of family breakdown. The problem of male suicide ( 200 per month) seems to be thrust aside. I appreciate your commitment to gender equity.Tony