Equality means equality for everyone.
I recently came across a Global News article, “Edmonton Wildcats speak out against gender-based violence.” Reading it, I realized I would have agreed with the article until a couple years ago (when I started researching Domestic Abuse). This article states that Domestic Abuse is a gendered-issue. Considering how Domestic Abuse stereotypes are so ubiquitous in our everyday lives (from billboards, to Facebook memes), I wanted to share what I have learned recently. Admittedly, I have a rather pedantic personality, and I can’t stand when “people are wrong on the Internet”. The article irked me, and others who are just like me (including the female counselor who sent me this article; this counselor has treated damaged and abused men for the past ten years).
In the article, Jan Reimer, the executive director of the Council of Women’s Shelters (and a former Edmonton Mayor), asserts that Domestic Abuse is gendered. As I said myself, this used to be my view. My view shifted when I was open-minded enough to review the cold, hard, unemotional data. If you want to be completely objective, many would be as surprised as me to see that evidence-based researchers have debunked the gendered domestic abuse myth countless times. These studies are collected for public viewing on the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge website.
Click here for the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK) Website
Jan Reimer (to paraphrase) says she is against the harmful messages that come from gender stereotypes, even as she inadvertently plays up the same old cliché that domestic abuse (as a gendered crime) is a uniquely male crime perpetrated against female victims. According to the Duluth Model, Domestic Abuse is a political act caused by a patriarchal need of men to control and subdue women through physical and emotional terror (and I admit that I am just as prone to unconsciously believe gendered stereotypes).
In fact, the entire Western world funds a Domestic Abuse model based on the Duluth Model. After reviewing the cold, hard facts about domestic abuse, we discover that men are also victims of domestic abuse. In reality, battered men, lesbians, etc.. are excluded from services and are left in the cold; we only have shelters dedicated to women battered by men in Canada. In my work at CAFE, I have realized it’s not just women who play up stereotypes. Many men are ashamed and believe it would be too awkward to show up to an emergency room with severe burns from having boiling water poured on them, or a knife in the leg (with kids in tow). Many men are too afraid to the call the cops when the violence starts, because our current model will arrest the man automatically. It is assumed that he is the perpetrator, since Domestic Abuse is “gendered”. Often a violent woman will be left with kids, and the woman will remain untreated as a perpetrator.
As an aside, I would like to see less punitive treatments for perpetrators, and focus on the underlying issues. Finger pointing won’t change anybody’s behavior. Men treated under Duluth model are more likely to re-offend than untreated controls.
Dr. Donald Dutton, a psychology professor at UBC, and a respected Domestic Abuse expert on the West coast, has written several books on the subject, including one titled “Rethinking Domestic Violence” and another titled “The Domestic Assault of Women”. He research has reached the same conclusion as other objective research; domestic abuse in not a gendered crime.
On April 21st, 2016, Canadian Senator Anne Cools arranged for Dr. Donald Dutton to present the facts on Domestic Abuse in a presentation to the Canadian Senate. I reviewed this presentation, and then also interviewed Dr. Dutton myself on September 1st, 2017, via Google Hangouts. We discussed the politically incorrect facts on Domestic Abuse, and how to implement better social policy.
Some key points to take away from Dr. Donald’s research:
A common problem with ideological, advocacy research concerns their use of a crime filter. They measure “crimes,” but ignore that men are more often arrested due to ideological reasons. Men are not arrested because they’ve committed an actual crime. In many places with the Duluth Model, men are subject to mandatory arrest during any domestic disturbance and they appear to commit more “crimes.” They are arrested even if they’re the victim. To illustrate the absurdity of this, Dr. Don Dutton recalled one case where a man’s drunken wife had stabbed him. When the police arrived, with the knife still sticking out of his stomach, he was arrested.
In response to the mainstream narrative, associates of CAFE Edmonton are putting together a petition called “Women Against Duluth”. This petition will be a careful essay outlining inconsistencies of Duluth Model, and challenge the current model with more inclusive solutions. Canadian Women will endorse the petition, although anybody can sign it. Together, we will submit it to the Status of Women’s Minister. Canadian Women, Lesbians, etc. will demand that policy makers stop using women as defense against a non-scientific model. Women will no longer stand idly by as battered men, lesbians, children, are excluded by the Duluth model.
If you are a man, or anybody else excluded by the Duluth Model, you can contact the *Virtual* Canadian Centre for Men and Families in Edmonton. Volunteers are standing by to help you with your Domestic Abuse situation, and will take your complaints seriously. Email firstname.lastname@example.org