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Violence Against Men

Lets bring this billboard to cities across Canada.
Join the conversation. #LetsTalkMen

Domestic Violence Billboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the Public Service Announcement Radio Advertisement:
Men Don’t Cry: Violence Comes in All Shapes, Sizes… And Genders.
Radio Version
Full Length Version

“HALF of domestic violence victims are men, but NO domestic violence shelters are dedicated to us.”
That’s where you come in. Here’s what you can do:

1. Donate so we can extend this ad beyond 1 month or get these billboard ads up across Canadian cities. Please donate at this link and not through the option above.
Currently we are committed to a single billboard for a 1 month period. Donate through the link top right, then email us if you wish to direct your donation to a particular city.
2.  Participate in our forum
3. Tweet or join the conversation on social media using #LetsTalkMen @EqualityCanada

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4. Download our briefing document and share with your friends and colleagues. If you’re a student, do a class presentation on violence against men. CAFE spokespeople are available to assist.

 

Update: New Information from the 2014 General Social Survey on Family Violence


In 2014 there were more male victims of spousal violence than female victims:

In 2014, equal proportions of men and women reported being victims of spousal violence during the preceding 5 years (4%, respectively). This translated into about 342,000 women and 418,000 men across the provinces.

Significantly more men then women were dissatisfied with the police response

A ‘very high’ level of satisfaction with police action was reported by 37% of victims, especially among women (48%) when compared to men (25%)… Men were more likely than women to report being ‘very dissatisfied’ with how the police handled their situation (25% versus 11%, respectively).

Very few men have support services available. This is what we need to solve.
chart1.4

In 2014, female victims were more likely to report using these services (56% of female victims) than males (20%)… Women were much more likely than men to report visiting these types of professionals (49% compared to 17%, respectively).Chart 1.4).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though men experience family violence at the same rate as women, the much higher rate of “police-reported data” is being pointed to as if to indicate there are significantly more female victims suggests that the police do not log cases of male victimization accurately and are more likely to consider a man to be the aggressor even when he contacts the police for support. This double standard probably explains why men deem the police response far less satisfying than do women.

 

Why are we hosting this campaign?
CAFE is dedicated to advancing evidence-based public policies and bringing services to all those who need support. Policies and services should be built on facts rather than beholden to ideologies. Our billboard advertising campaign will highlight a variety of areas in which our gender dialogue needs to evolve. When we are concerned with the health and welfare of both men and women, our families are stronger and our communities healthier.

 

Terms used in this brief:
Domestic Violence (DV),
Family Violence (FV),
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) 

 

Link directly to a topic:
Facts and Figures on Domestic Violence
How Does Canadian Data Compare to Global Findings?
What about Emotional Abuse and Control?
How come so many people think the vast majority of domestic violence victims are women?
What are the resources available to men who are abused by their partners?
Myths and Facts
Myth: Men are far less likely to be victims of female-perpetrated violence than the reverse
Myth: Violence is overwhelmingly uni-directional, that is a stronger partner commits violence against a weaker partner.
Myth: Men and women abuse their partners for different reasons
Myth: When women do commit violence against men it is always in self defense
Myth: Violence against men is less severe than violence against women?
Myth: We don’t need to take male victimization seriously because men are stronger and can just leave their female partners
Myth: The high gender asymmetry in the rates of police-reported or hospital-reported domestic abuse implies that male victimization is a marginal issue
Myth: Violence against men is less of a problem than violence against women because it isn’t part of a patriarchal effort to hold women down. As evidence, there’s little violence in same-sex relationships.
Myth: Since all public awareness campaigns tell me that all violence is perpetrated by men against women, this campaign exaggerates male victimization.
Myth: I read somewhere that few if any victims of domestic violence are men so male victimization can be safely dismissed.

 

Facts and Figures on Domestic Violence

The Basic Facts on Gender and Violence in Canada
– Of the nearly 19 million Canadians who had a current or former spouse in 2009, 6.2% or 1.2 million reported they had been victimized physically or sexually by their partner or spouse during the previous 5 years.
– A similar proportion of men and women reported experiencing spousal violence during the five years prior to the survey. Among men, 6.0% or about 585,000, encountered spousal violence during this period, compared with 6.4% or 601,000 women.
– The latest numbers have changed slightly since the previous General Social Survey with a decrease in the number of women reporting spousal violence and an increase in the number of men reporting spousal violence.
– In Canada more women than men report being pushed, shoved or slapped while more men than women report being kicked, bit, or hit with something.

Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile (Statistics Canada) 
StatsCan1

 

 

In the full document, equal or more men report having been in an abusive relationship
See the full report, pg 16-17, tables 1.2 and 1.3
Table 1.2 Victims of self-reported spousal violence within the past 5 years, by sex, 2009
4.4% of men and 3.2% of women indicate having been in a violent relationship within the past 5 years
StatsCan1

Table 1.3 Victims of self-reported spousal violence within the past 12 months, by sex, 2009
1.3% of men and 1.3% of women report having been in a violent relationship with the past 12 months

StatsCan1

 

The largest study on domestic violence ever completed (The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge project, or PASK) concluded: “The most comprehensive review of the scholarly domestic violence research literature ever conducted concludes, among other things, that women perpetrate physical and emotional abuse, and engage in control behaviors, at comparable rates to men”

StatsCan1

 

 

 

 

 


Statistics about Spousal Violence from Statistics Canada
StatsCan 2005 Family Violence Highlighted
Juristat 2013 Financial impact Highlighted
Partner Abuse: largest study on domestic violence
Emergency room male victims survey Highlighted
Martin Fiebert 2014 Domestic Violence study abstracts

 

How Does Canadian Data Compare to Global Findings?
– The rates of spousal abuse in Canada are consistent with global rates.
– Lifetime rates somewhat higher among women than men. High school student victimization rates somewhat higher for males than females
– Past year rates somewhat higher among men.
– Higher rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) among younger, dating populations.
Source: The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK), the world’s largest domestic violence research database, which summarizes 1,700 peer-reviewed studies.

 

What about Emotional Abuse and Control?
– 80% of individuals have perpetrated emotional abuse.
– Emotional abuse categorized as either expressive (in response to a provocation) or coercive (intended to monitor, control and/or threaten).
– Across studies, 40% of women and 32% of men reported expressive abuse; 41% of women and 43% of men reported coercive abuse.
– Within studies of stalking and obsessive behaviours, gender differences are much less when all types of obsessive pursuit behaviours are considered, but more skewed toward female victims when the focus is on physical stalking.
Source: Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project, based on Domestic Violence Research, from the Editorial Board of the Peer-Reviewed Journal, Partner Abuse www.springerpub.com/pa

 

How come so many people think the vast majority of domestic violence victims are women?
There are many reasons for the misconceptions surrounding domestic violence against men.  These reasons include the increased media attention that is given to cases of male on female domestic violence, stereotypical ideas about gender that view men as strong and women as weak, and the views of some gender advocates that see the genders as in conflict with women being in the oppressed position.
Source: Current Controversies and Prevalence Concerning Female Offenders of Intimate Partner Violence: Why the Overwhelming Evidence on Partner Physical Violence by Women Has Not Been Perceived and Is Often Denied

 

What are the resources available to men who are abused by their partners?
Not much. After extensive research we found not a single agency in Toronto dedicated to male victims of domestic violence. Across Canada we found exactly one agency – the Men’s Resource Centre in Winnipeg – which offers four beds for battered men. When it comes to men attempting to escape domestic abuse situations along with their children, we found zero facilities dedicated to these families in trouble.

The most comprehensive study of domestic abuse shelters in Canada was conducted by the Government of Canada’s Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, which concluded in 2006 that as to “Facilities that exclusively serve male victims of spousal violence… only one such facility was known to be in operation.” We attempted to determine the identify of this agency and whether it was still in operation, but the author of this report was unable to provide this information. The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, an established authority on the subject, indicated to our researchers that they were aware of zero domestic abuse shelters dedicated to men in the GTA, while acknowledging that this was a serious gap.
While there are shelters for homeless men, these are not equipped with the broad range of social support that women’s domestic abuse shelters often provide.
A small percentage (6-8%) of abuse shelters dedicated to women do accept a small number of male victims. This both proves that such male victims do in fact exist while highlighting the serious gap in services dedicated to men.

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics had this to say:

The THS asks shelters to indicate whether or not they permit adult males to be admitted to their facility. About 9 out of 10 shelters prohibit the admission of men, while approximately 8% have policies that permit men to be admitted.

However, even within this small number, the majority of these shelters were classified as emergency shelters, which tend not to provide the counselling and psychological services domestic victims require. 

Many domestic abuse shelters are publicly funded. Public funds should be assigned based on need and not on gender.
Source:
Statistics Canada – Catalogue no. 85-002-XIE, Vol. 27, no. 4 Canada’s shelters for abused women, 2005/2006 by Andrea Taylor-Butts
Transition Home Survey
Shelters for abused women in Canada, 2012

 

Myths and Facts

Myth: Men are far less likely to be victims of female-perpetrated violence than the reverse
Fact: Men are as likely to have been hit by their female partners as women are to have been hit by their male partners.
Source: Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review.

 

Myth: Violence is overwhelmingly uni-directional, that is a stronger partner commits violence against a weaker partner.
Fact: Among large population samples, 57.9% of IPV reported was bi-directional, that is committed mutually by both partners, whereas only 42% was unidirectional. Of the unidirectional violence, 13.8% was male to female (MFPV), 28.3% was female to male (FMPV). In other words, a significant majority of violence in which women are victims is actually mutual violence. Erin Pizzey, a pioneering advocate for women’s domestic abuse shelters, has described her experience in opening the first such safe space for women. “Of the first 100 women who came through our doors, 62 were as violent as the men they had left behind,” she wrote in her memoir, This Way to the Revolution, “I had to face the fact that the males were always going to be blamed for violence within a family and that.. false claims would be made against them and that the women would always be believed.” (p.82) She was ostracized by her community and has received death threats ever since.

 

Myth: Men and women abuse their partners for different reasons
Fact: The reasons that men and women abuse their partners are the same between the genders.  The most common reasons that people of both genders hit their partners are coercion, anger, and attempts to punish a partner for misbehaviour, especially sexual infidelity.
Source: Current Controversies and Prevalence Concerning Female Offenders of Intimate Partner Violence: Why the Overwhelming Evidence on Partner Physical Violence by Women Has Not Been Perceived and Is Often Denied

 

Myth: When women do commit violence against men it is always in self defense
Fact: Self defence is no more common a reason for female violence against a partner than it is for male violence against a partner

Source:
Follingstad, D. R., Wright, S., Lloyd, S., & Sebastian, J. A. (1991). Sex differences in motivations and effects in dating violence. Family Relations, 40(1), 51–57.
Medeiros, R. A., & Straus, M. A. (2006). Risk factors for physical violence between dating partners: Implications for gender-inclusive prevention and treatment of family violence. In J. C. Hamel & T. Nicholls (Eds.), Family approaches to domestic violence: A practitioners guide to gender-inclusive research and treatment (pp. 59–87). New York: Springer (also available at http://pubpages. unh.edu/∼mas2

 

Myth: Violence against men is less severe than violence against women?
Fact: There is a raging debate on this very question. The Canadian Department of Justice published a study in 2009 on the impact of spousal violence in Canada. They found some studies showing the severity of violence against women was more severe, while others found it was more severe against men. For example, a study by sociologists Richard B. Felson and Alison C. Cares found that male victims sustained worse injuries than did females. The risk of injury to either partner is also highest when both partners are violent so addressing domestic violence perpetrated by women will increase safety for both genders.
Sources:
An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Spousal Violence in Canada, 2009. Department of Justice Canada
Richard B. Felson and Alison C. Cares, Gender and the Seriousness of Assaults on Intimate Partners and Other Victims. Article first published online: 21 NOV 2005. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00209.x

The psychological effects of domestic violence are severe and similar for both genders.
Source: Physical and mental health effects of intimate partner violence for men and women

 

Myth: We don’t need to take male victimization seriously because men are stronger and can just leave their female partners
Fact: An important study on male victims of female-perpetrated violence debunks the common sexist excuses for trivializing male victimization. The following is quoted at length.

“One well-noted assumption about women who use IPV against their men partners is that they are acting solely in self-defense or retaliation against their presumably violent men partners. This assumption, held by a few researchers, has been refuted by studies assessing women’s motives for IPV, which show that, although some women report self-defense or retaliation as a motive, most do not.

“Another assumption concerning woman-to-man violence held by some researchers focuses on the relative size difference between most men and women. Because, on average, men are physically bigger and stronger than their women partners, some authors have argued that men would strike back or restrain a woman partner who becomes violent and that men presumably also have the ability to leave the premises without being forcibly restrained by their women partners. Some researchers who forward this assumption conclude that, because men can easily fight back, restrain their partners, and/or leave the premises, women’s violence against men is trivial, humorous, or annoying , and violence by women toward men has no social or psychological effects on the men who sustain it.

“A related assumption is that men who sustain IPV from their women partners can leave their partners. Some researchers argue that men are not economically trapped in marriage or romantic relationships like women, because their incomes and occupational statuses tend to be higher; they are not physically or economically constrained from leaving, nor are they as psychologically invested in the children or household. Researchers who support this line of reasoning focus on concrete resources that are often available to men such as physical strength, employment, and transportation. Nonetheless, case studies show that men who sustain IPV often focus on these and other barriers to leaving an abusive relationship, including a commitment to marriage, lack of financial resources, and concern for their children. In such circumstances, men often worry that their women partners will obtain custody of their children.”

Source: “A Closer Look at Men Who Sustain Intimate Terrorism by Women.” The U.S. Library of Medicine

 

Myth: The high gender asymmetry in the rates of police-reported or hospital-reported domestic abuse implies that male victimization is a marginal issue
Fact: Domestic violence reported to the police is less than 5% of all domestic violence incidents.
Source: Kaufman Kantor, G., & Straus, M. A. (1990). Response of victims and the police to assaults on wives. In M. A. Straus & R. J. Gelles (Eds.), Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families (pp. 473–487). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Men are less likely to view the IPV as a crime or to report it to police.  This affects not just the number of domestic assaults reported to the police but also surveys which ask men and women about criminal acts committed against them.
Source: Male Victims of Domestic Violence Donal, D G. Dutton Katherine R. White

Police stats on domestic violence are unreliable because protocols police are required to follow are bound by an ideological commitment which dismiss women as possible perpetrators of violence. This endangers victims in same-sex relationships, and children of abusive mothers. “Domestic violence” language is often replaced with “violence against women,” as though no other violence exists. In many cases men who report victimization are removed from their house instead of their violent spouse. The following manual is used by both the Ontario Provincial Police and the Toronto police.

A Handbook for Police Responding to Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence: What is it?
Domestic violence is any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship. Although both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, the overwhelming majority of this violence involves men abusing women. (pg. 5)

Police are actually encouraged not to treat female perpetrators as real perpetrators (p.8):

Over the past decade, police services have begun to fine tune their arrest policies to account for the fact that a significant minority of the incidents to which they respond involve the use of violence by both parties. Examination of these cases shows that the use of violence by women can differ dramatically from that used by men. For example, many women use violence against their abusers in attempts to protect themselves from their attackers. Mutual arrests are common in many jurisdictions and the results are problematic for the following reasons

Children of abused women are placed in foster care even though their mothers have histories of strong parenting and loving, supportive relationships with their children. In these cases seperation from the mother may heighten children’s sense of insecurity and worry following the violent incident.

Abused women refrain from seeking police protection because they fear that they, themselves, might end up being arrested and, when children are present, being seperated from them.

As another example, the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General requires police “apply a gender lens” in cases of domestic violence:
Domestic Violence Response A Community Framework for Maximizing Women’s Safety

“A gender lens should be applied to all responses to domestic violence in order to ensure the safety of women and their children. Responses to domestic violence should acknowledge that domestic violence is a power-based crime in which generally, the male in an intimate relationship exercises power and control over the female.”

 

Myth: Violence against men is less of a problem than violence against women because it isn’t part of a patriarchal effort to hold women down. As evidence, there’s little violence in same-sex relationships.
Fact: The view of domestic violence as part of a societal wide program to hold women down is not supported by the data, especially the fact that violence within same-sex relationships consisting either of two men or two women is at least as severe as violence within heterosexual relationships. “The National Violence Against Women survey found that 21.5 percent of men and 35.4 percent of women living with a same-sex partner experienced intimate-partner physical violence in their lifetimes.”
Sources:
http://www.sascwr.org/files/www/resources_pdfs/abuse/Abuse_in_Same_Sex_Relationships.pdf
http://www.advocate.com/crime/2014/09/04/2-studies-prove-domestic-violence-lgbt-issue

In fact, two sources suggest violence is twice as high in lesbian relationships which is entirely inconsistent with this theory.
Source:
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/nearly-4-million-californians-155413
http://pathssk.org/about-abuse/information-for-lgbtq/
A majority of family violence is in fact mutual in that in these dysfunctional relationships both partners tend to commit violence against each other. We need to accept objective data and allow ourselves to be led by the evidence. This is the only method by which we can formulate solutions that will help keep everyone safe.

 

Myth: Since all public awareness campaigns tell me that all violence is perpetrated by men against women, this campaign exaggerates male victimization.
Fact: Often older statistics are used in brochures, pamphlets and online resources. These statistics are often taken from studies when men were not the target of data collection efforts. Canadian Juristat Articles that refer to “Intimate Partner Violence” or “Spousal Violence” use the term “Violence against Women” when measuring trends that cover all aspects of these instances in many cases, conflating the meaning of these terms.

Special interest advocacy organizations may use ambiguous language and misleading statistics in an effort to advance their cause. One such example from the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women:

“Violence in lesbian relationships: A small study found that 20% of lesbians had experienced some form of emotional/psychological or physical violence in a relationship with a woman. Eleven percent had experienced physical violence, and 2% had been sexually assaulted in the relationship. The statistics are much lower than in male-female relationships, but it nevertheless remains an important issue, particularly because lesbians may not feel they can seek help from social services, police or the courts because of the stigma and discrimination around sexual orientation.”

This interpretation is patently untrue. 20% is more than 3 times higher than the rate of abuse in heterosexual relationships.

Another example is from the Canadian Women’s Foundation:

“Some self-reported research shows women are almost as likely to use violence against their partner as men.30 Although some people claim that men are too embarrassed to admit a woman has abused them, the reverse is actually true: in self-reported research, men tend to over-estimate their partner’s violence while under-estimating their own. At the same time, women over-estimate their own violence, and under-estimate their partner’s.”

This is false, there is no study that makes this conclusion.

Newspapers also misreport facts, and whether intentional or not will take statistics out of context. An example of this being “Violence against women is a global scourge” from the Whig Standard.

“More specifically, men committed 98% of intimate partner violence and 74% of attacks against women committed by strangers.”

This is quite often misinterpreted as “men commit 98% of ALL intimate partner violence” instead of “men commit 98% of intimate partner violence against women.” This naturally leads the public to believe that women only commit 2% of intimate partner violence.

Whether intentional or not, the wording of many articles on the subject is often ambiguous and allows reasonable people to easily conflate “all Intimate partner violence” with “intimate partner violence against women.” How much Intimate Partner Violence is committed against men by women?, rarely seems to get asked.

 

Myth: I read somewhere that few if any victims of domestic violence are men so male victimization can be safely dismissed.
Fact: There are a number of ways in which the evidence for gender symmetry in domestic violence is ignored by people who insist on seeing domestic violence as part of a program by society to oppress women. These include just not mentioning the facts on male victimization, not asking questions about male victimization, not citing studies that show male victimization, and citing studies as supporting ideas that women are not violent when the studies in fact contradict that claim. It is important to check for to make sure a study is not using one of the preceding techniques before taking it at face value.
Source: Processes Explaining the Concealment and Distortion of Evidence on Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence