It’s good to see a growing recognition that domestic abuse/violence (DA/DV) isn’t a gendered phenomenon. Over time we’re seeing more recognition of male victims, although pieces like the latest from the BBC (link at the end of this post) still leans strongly towards concern for female victims, with markedly less concern for male victims. We get the usual guff from Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, ending with:
Domestic violence and femicide is the far end of a spectrum of violence against women that begins with street harassment and online trolling. We won’t end domestic violence until we end sexism.
More encouragingly, below Neate’s lengthy piece, halfway down the link, there’s a piece by Mark Brooks of the charity ManKind Initiative:
While we welcome the broad thrust of the initiative and the concerns raised by the home secretary, on the basis of equality we still cannot understand why the focus and emphasis remains on female victims rather than all victims.
The Home Office’s own figures show that one in three victims of domestic abuse are male and over 4,000 women per year are prosecuted for domestic abuse yet the government narrative continues to be on men committing domestic abuse on women.
This often unacceptably relegates men (and by extension their children) to being a footnote in the debate on domestic abuse solutions. In an age of equality, and to ensure all victims receive the support and recognition they need, irrelevant of gender or sexuality, there has to be a sea change in attitude and that comes from the top.
Any of the initiatives the home secretary is promoting, such as improved training for police officers and better education within schools, has to continually explain and recognise on equal terms that domestic abuse against men is as awful as domestic abuse against women. Only then can we say any such initiatives are successful for all victims and achieve the change we need to see.