CBC runs a story on male spousal violence victims...
Wow...has the world turned???
In the almost 40 years since the first shelter for battered women opened its doors, we have made noticeable progress in dealing with and denouncing domestic violence.
Nevertheless, much still needs to be done and the biggest challenge, in my view, is what to do about men.
Not men as perpetrators — there we seem to have a handle on things. Rather, I'm talking about the hundred thousand or so confirmed male victims who are, often violently, abused by their female partners every year.
Domestic violence is not a gender-specific reality. Women are capable of hitting, beating, abusing and killing their male partners.
Just how prevalent these attacks are depends on what statistical study you choose to highlight.
But based on what we know, there should be no argument that female violence against men is at least a problem worthy of much greater consideration than we have given it so far.
According to a large-scale Statistics Canada study in 2005, the likelihood of a man being the victim of violent abuse by his female partner is almost the same as it is for a woman.
In this study, an estimated seven per cent of women and six per cent of men surveyed had encountered some form of spousal violence over the previous five years.
This means, StatsCan said, that roughly 653,000 women and 546,000 men considered themselves the victims of violence at the hands of a current or previous spouse or common-law partner, an estimate that was unchanged from an earlier study.
However, if you look simply at cases that are reported to police, the victim profile changes significantly.
In 83 per cent of these cases, women are the victims, according to a different Statistics Canada survey.
There may be a simple reason for this. "Men are less likely to report domestic violence to police than women are, and police are less likely to take male complaints seriously," says Don Dutton, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.
As a result, he says, we end up with a reporting system on the subject in which "men are selected out" and then "government agencies say 'look, it is only women who are the victims,' which of course is a self-fulfilling prophesy."