By Sarah Copeland
My last blog for my Race, Gender and the Media course discussed women’s misrepresentation in the media. Many women, including myself, can start heated arguments concerning the topic of gender equality and I won’t say that writing the previous blog wasn’t extremely easy. I have a lot to say, and many examples to bring up, when discussing sexism. However, for this blog, I’m on the other side. This time, I’ll be writing about domestic violence.
Did you know that the number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has more than quadrupled in the past ten years from 806 (2004/05) to 4,866 (2014/15)? And male victims are over twice as likely than women to keep their domestic suffering a secret? This is based on a March 2016 Mankind Initiative key facts document.
Here’s another wow-factor: There are only 18 organisations that offer refuge/safe house provision for male victims (in the UK) while there are nearly 400 specialist domestic violence organisations for women. (Stats provided by Male Initiative based in the UK). Why is this not more equal? According to more statistics, for every three victims of partner abuse, two will be women and one will be male. With that data, to be helpful to their customer population, there should be nearly 200 organisations equipt to help male victims. And they only have 18 available.
I stumbled across this video (linked/posted below) a while ago and still find it relevant. It was published in 2014, so the data may be slightly off. This video shows how people are more likely to believe that women are in an abusive relationship than they can believe a man is in an abusive relationship. Actors, plus hidden cameras, show that people will come to the woman’s defense if they see a man is abusive. However, people think it’s funny when the situation is reversed. You can see people on the sidelines smiling while the female actor beats up on the male actor.
I’m not at all saying that women do not get abused because I know that they do and that it is a terrible thing to endure. However, I do believe that not enough attention goes to men that experience the same violence. Bystanders could easily assume that a man is abusive based on his remarks and physical conduct with his partner. But, when the situation is reversed, bystanders have thoughts along the lines of “he probably deserves it.” But they would never say that about a woman being abused.
There is a difference between a person, male or female, standing up for themselves and a person causing mental and physical abuse. The Mankind Initiative makes a good point: violence is violence. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female. No one deserves to be the subject of domestic abuse.
ElRhoul, A. (2014, June 03). Domestic Violence Video Against Men Abuse advert Mankind Woman attacking man in street. Retrieved October, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzfLVyNHJgQ
Mankind Initiative. (2016, March). Male victims of domestic and partner abuse 30 key facts. Retrieved October, 2016, from http://new.mankind.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/30-Key-Facts-Male-Victims-Mar-2016.pdf