The New South Wales (Australia) Police Force recently posted on their facebook page that men are victims of domestic violence too. They quoted figures that 1 in every 5 domestic violence incidents the police respond to are where men are victims of domestic violence.
As Jenna Price pointed out in her article in Daily Life these figures are not explained in the post by the NSW police. There is no information about the perpetrators of such violence and the possibility of male-on-male violence in same-sex relationships. The implication was that all of the perpetrators were women.
This disappears all of the hard work and activism that feminists have done to highlight the social basis of domestic violence as being reflective of sexism and patriarchy in Australian society.
The Police then allowed hundreds of posts to the site blaming women for violence against men
and citing dodgy statistics – statistics which Men’s Rights Activists have consistently been using falsely, and which have been debunked
“In 2012, Michael Flood delivered a speech to the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research. In it, he debunked the concept of one in five men as victims of partner violence – a product, he said, of an inaccurate analysis of the ABS Personal Safety Survey” as cited by Jenna Price.
But what is most interesting to me is the context of this and what has been happening in NSW over the last year.
I wrote about the closure of women’s services in NSW in a previous article on women’s services.
“SOSWomen’s Services have highlighted the plight of women-only refuges in NSW.
Under the ‘Going Home Staying Home’ program, the NSW government is failing to support women-only domestic violence services.
“336 individual services have been consolidated into 149 packages operated by 69 non-government organizations.” Sydney Morning Herald”
So I ask myself – is this a conspiracy?
Is the closure of women-only services in NSW related to the Police highlighting male victims of domestic violence?
Is this an attempt to disappear women’s experience of male violence?
But there is more.
According to the Queensland government, male violence against women isn’t even an issue for the criminal system. Doesn’t really exist, one would think.
Destroy the Joint posted on this:
“The Newman government in Queensland pretended crime had gone down in the state by ignoring a dramatic increase in these domestic violence figures.”
As commented on this blog by Bettsie:
“In Queensland over the past twelve months, there has been considerable focus on legislation and interventions to reduce both bikie crimes and public acts of alcohol related violence with claims they are making a difference in reducing crime and improving community safety, At the same time, there is a shroud of silence over the increased reported incidence of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.”
So is this a deliberate policy by neo-liberal governments to silence women’s voices; to disappear male violence against women?
As I have written before:
“A considerable advantage of the women’s services sector is that it was developed from feminist advocacy and that a major role of such services was to challenge the social constructs that perpetuate disadvantage for women. Part of the empowering aspect of their work is to join with women using the services to advocate and lobby for changes to systems which create barriers to women’s safety and well-being.”
The closure of women-only services and focusing attention on male victims of violence is one way to ensure that advocacy and activism which challenge the patriarchal system are silenced.
The fact is that this is just the norm for patriarchal capitalism. When you are in a position of power and control, why upset the apple cart by listening to women or by involving them in decision-making or by even acknowledging their existence. After all, patriarchal capitalism has done very well thank you without women.
In fact, for hundreds of years men have made a point of ensuring that they do not share their power and control with women.
And it might be quite dangerous for them if they acknowledged the hatred, the misogyny, the violence that men inflict on women.
It might even Destroy the Joint.
It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just the same old patriarchy.