One Woman, Every Week.

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On average, one woman per week dies as a result of domestic violence. So when I saw this post on the NSW Police Facebook page, I saw it as an appeal to women to come forward with the assurance that they would be listened to and helped. Made sense to me- after all, women make up the vast majority of domestic violence victims. With highly publicised campaigns like White Ribbon, I guess I thought everyone probably knew that.
And then I read the comments underneath the picture.
I had a whole list of examples and dozens of screenshots, but you know what? I’m not going to use that material here. It’s already had more than enough oxygen, so to speak.
There were some positive comments, personal stories and even some gripes about police action and court results. All valid topics of discussion, for sure.
What bothered me was the number of comments saying, essentially,
“But what about men? Men are victims too. How sexist!”
You want sexist? Have a look at these graphs. Please note, these stats are for NSW alone.
Proportion of homicides that were DV-related, by sex of victim, NSW, Oct 2009 to Sept 2012
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Note: ‘Homicide’ refers to murder and manslaughter.
Population: Victims of homicide where the offender and victim are in a domestic relationship, as defined at Indicator 1.3.
Source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics, unpublished (BOCSAR ref: Dg12/10965, nm1311039).
Proportion of attempted murders that were DV-related, by sex of victim, NSW, Oct 2009 to Sept 2012
imagePopulation: Victims of attempted murder where the offender and victim are in a domestic relationship, as defined at Indicator 1.3. The total number of female victims of attempted murder for each year in this graph was: 16, 13 and 9 respectively. For male victims, the total number of incidents for each year in this graph was: 7, 6 and 6 respectively.

Source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics, unpublished (BOCSAR ref: Dg12/10965, nm1311039).
These graphs and this info sourced here.
See anything sexist there?
Let’s break it down. In the measured period, 35 women were homicide victims. Of these 35, 27 were killed by a person with whom they had a domestic relationship. In the same period, 57 men were murdered, 11 by a person with whom they had a domestic relationship. These figures show that a NSW woman is 2.5 times more likely than male victims to be killed by someone they have a domestic relationship with.
Let’s look at it from a broader angle. This is the Australian Institute of Criminology’s findings on Homicide between 2008 and 2010. Here are a few key points I discovered reading this:
  • In this period, 194 people were killed by someone they had a domestic relationship with.
  • 122 of these deaths were a result of “Intimate Partner Homicide”.
  • Of those 122 people, 89 were women.

This year, in Australia, Destroy the Joint has been counting women as they die in an effort to show the government that the issue of violence against women is at epidemic proportions. The same government that recently refused to classify such violence as torture to the UN- who, incidentally, acknowledge that globally, the most common form of violence experienced by women is Intimate Partner violence.

What I’m getting at is pretty simple. Male violence against women, especially domestic violence, is a huge problem. Certain men’s groups will tell you that the problem is not gender related. They will tell you that it is a much more equal equation and that women are just as likely to be the aggressor and that men do not report it for fear of ridicule.

I have no doubt some women are aggressors- statistics prove it. I have no doubt some men do not report such violence. What I also know is this: The numbers aren’t lying. Women are dying at a far greater rate than men are from domestic violence. And experts in this field will also tell you how under reported this type of violence is from female victims- one article I read had the figure as high as 80%.

This does not make male victims less worthy of help and support. This simply shows women are at greater risk of violence and death.

Attacking the NSW Police for encouraging women to come forward for help with a “but what about men” is simply derailing the conversation and ignoring the issue they are trying to address.

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Campaigners are saying Domestic Violence is at epidemic proportions in Australia and the numbers I’ve posted here are horrifying. But sometimes, people glaze over numbers. They are just characters on a screen. They are harder to connect with.

In my family, I have 3 female members that I know of who are battling PTSD as a direct result of domestic violence. I know of at least two more who have survived years of violence in a marriage. Another family member who is no longer with us suffered many years in a violent, abusive marriage. Six women, right there. That’s not counting friends and acquaintances.

If you think about it, you probably know a few, as well. Because it is that common.

It’s time to break the cycle.

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