Monday, November 19, 2007

Do we ignore violence against men?

The following media release is an excerpt from a larger paper at

This Sunday is White Ribbon Day (WRD) and the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence Against Women. However the 2005 Personal Safety Australia survey found that in the past 12 months almost twice as many men as women (808,300) were victims of all types of violence; twice as many men as women (485,400) were victims of physical assault; nearly a third of sexual assault victims were men; 864,300 men were harassed and 110,700 men were stalked.

The same study found that men were almost as likely as women to experience physical violence within the home (half from females, half from males) and were just as likely as women to experience physical violence from perpetrators who were known to them. Yet the WRD campaign focuses solely on the prevention of violence against women by men.

An international coalition of professionals and academics has come out in unequivocal support of anti-violence initiatives, but is concerned that this annual spotlight on violence against women tends to conceal the fact that males are far more likely than females to be assaulted or killed and make up a significant proportion of victims of domestic violence. They are calling on the media to be aware that crime statistics, based on reports to police, are an inaccurate reflection of the extent of domestic violence within the community, as men who are physically assaulted by women are less likely to report it than are women assaulted by men.

However, despite this underreporting, 29% of victims of notified domestic violence and 26% of intimate partner homicide victims are men – all of whom are absent in policy provisions. There is very little recognition of women’s violence, yet more than a quarter of physical assaults on women are committed by other women. There is also little acknowledgment that violence is most prevalent amongst young people, and is causally linked to social disadvantage, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues.

University of Western Sydney academic Micheal Woods explains that “White Ribbon Day tells us our Australian culture somehow approves of violence against women. I think many people would disagree with this assertion but would readily admit that our culture accepts violence against males.”

He quotes a 2001 national survey of 5,000 young people aged 12-20, in which the authors noted that “males hitting females was seen, virtually by everyone, to be unacceptable, however, it appeared to be quite acceptable for a girl to hit a boy”. They also found “there was no spontaneous recognition that verbal abuse or a female hitting her boyfriend could also constitute dating violence... however these were among the prevalent forms of violence occurring”.

Researcher Greg Andresen from suggests “international large population-based research shows women initiate domestic violence as often as men, use weapons more than men, that men suffer one-third of injuries, and that self-defence explains only a small portion of domestic violence by either sex.

We’re concerned that male victims have been unfairly ignored in these anti-violence campaigns and this contributes to the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence. When male victims are ignored, their kids suffer long-term damage by the exposure and are themselves more likely to commit violence as adults.”

The coalition of experts is asking Australians to set aside the next 16 days to consider all victims of violence, no matter what their gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality. They are seeking the involvement of the entire community, including government, NGOs, and men’s and women’s groups, in the establishment of a new national broad anti-violence campaign.

Media contacts:

Micheal Woods Mob: 0414 710 696
Greg Andresen Mob: 0403 813 925

This media release is an excerpt from a larger paper at

International coalition of professionals and academicswho are signatories to this media release
1 David Adair, Post-graduate Criminology Student, University of Tasmania, TAS
2 Greg Andresen, Media Liaison,, NSW
3 Luke Bain, Men's Health Coordinator, SA
4 Matilda Bawden, Manager, I CARE Human Service, SA
5 Steve Biddulph, Author, “Manhood” & “Raising Boys”, TAS
6 Peter Campbell, Counsellor (Men's Issues & Health), ACT
7 Philip Chapman, Male House, NZ
8 Harry Crouch, Director, California Men's Centers & President National Coalition of Free Men, USA
9 Keryn Eden, Clinical Nurse Specialist, SA
10 Joel Edson, Occupational Therapist, SA
11 Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Florida International University, USA
12 Thomas Golden, Author, “Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing”, USA
13 Phil Gouldson, President, Men’s Health & Wellbeing Association, ACT
14 Jim Herbert, Men's Health Program Manager, SA
15 David Hughes, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Men's Health, NSW
16 Kylie Innocente, CNWL Addictions Directorate, UK
17 Lindsay Jackel, Moderator, Nuance Exchange, VIC
18 Dr John Ashfield, Executive Member, South Australian Men’s Health Alliance, SA
19 Julian Krieg, Chairperson, Men’s Advisory Network, WA
20 George Mason, Fathers-4-Justice-US, Families-4-Justice, USA
21 Greg Millan, Men's Health Consultant, NSW
22 Sue Price, Director, Men’s Rights Agency, QLD
23 Ian Purdie, Presenter, Dads on the Air, 2GLF FM, NSW
24 Micheal Woods, Senior Lecturer, University of Western Sydney, NSW

The following ORGANISATIONS also support this media release:
1 California Men's Centers, USA
2 Dads on the Air, Australia
3 Fathers4Equality Australia
4 Men’s Rights Agency, Australia
5 National Coalition of Free Men (NCFM), USA
6 RADAR – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting, USA
7 Shared Parenting Council of Australia
8 Washington Civil Rights Council, USA

The following concerned citizens have contacted us and requested that their names be added to this media release:
1 Tony Burt, Business Owner, VIC
2 Stephen Caleo, SA
3 Ron de Mouilpied, QLD
4 Chris Dempsey, Manager, Coal Technology, Burton Coal / North Goonyella Coal Properties, QLD
5 Phillip Emery, Educational Consultant, NSW
6 Phil Ferrier, Data Communications Technician, TAS
7 Marco Giaroli, Architect, Aquatonic Pty Ltd, QLD
8 Aaron Hope, Collections Consultant, Dun & Bradstreet, VIC
9 Jeremy Horton, Chief Technical Architect, AiE Technology Pty Ltd, NSW
10 Michael Lynch, NZ
11 Jose Madrid, Union Organiser, Finance Sector Union, NSW
12 Mark Muirhead, Partner, Synergy Coaching Group, NSW
13 Jim Murdoch, Teacher, Queensland Education Department, QLD
14 Geoff Ogden, School Teacher, WA
15 Roy Price, NT
16 George Roth, VIC
17 Paul Smith, Programmer, Dept of Primary Industries and Water, TAS
18 Shaun Tiernan, National Software Helpdesk Team Leader, Leading Solutions, VIC
19 Peter Zazlan, QLD