This page contains a selection of recent news articles and commentary about male victims of violence and abuse plus related issues. These articles are presented as a community service, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the One in Three Campaign.

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Two Domestic Violence Updates (USA)

Here are a couple of domestic violence updates.

First, it seems that Amber Portwood has finally been charged with criminal misbehavior for her battery of boyfriend Gary Shirley on nationwide television back in September. Read about it here (Eonline, 11/18/10). Portwood is one of the featured mothers on the TV reality series “Teen Mom.”

Her slapping, hitting and kicking Shirley occurred in the spring, but the feature only aired six months later. But, faced with video-recorded evidence, the Anderson, Indiana police neither arrested nor charged Portwood until now. I’ve been trying to figure that one out and my best guess is that they wanted to look at the out takes of the filming to be certain that the event wasn’t staged.

Apparently they’ve satisfied themselves on that subject and have charged Portwood with two felony and one misdemeanor count of battery and domestic violence.

For her part, Portwood said,

“I didn’t hit Gary in front of Leah so there are no felony charges,” she told “None of this is true, there’s nothing against me. They can’t charge me if they don’t have proof.”

Uh, Amber, remember you were on television. The whole thing was recorded. Your assaults, your battery, your obscenities - they’re all on tape.

Well, as I’ve said before, since her conduct didn’t cause Shirley any apparent injury, what Portwood needs is therapy, not prison, and previous reports have said she’s getting it.

I’m glad to see that the police apparently aren’t giving her a break because she’s a woman, or for any other reason, but we need to take a more sensible approach to DV. It’s time we stopped pretending that all DV is “battering.” It’s not; the vast majority of it is either completely non-injurious, or results in very minor injury.

As such, it shouldn’t be a subject for the police and courts; it should be dealt with as the emotional disorder it is. American and Scottish statistics show that injury more serious than a “minor cut or bruise” is fairly rare. In the U.S. 61% of women and 75% of men said they had incurred no injury whatsoever in the DV incident asked about by researchers; in Scotland 80% of men and women said they had either not been injured at all or had received only a minor cut or bruise.

In those cases, the police are not the answer, mental health professionals are. And perpetrators and victims alike must get help. DV is overwhelmingly a “family affair” in which both partners play a role, so both partners need help; it does no good to treat just one.

In the second case here, Scotland has reported that three times the number of men are reporting being the victims of domestic violence as did so a decade ago (Scottish Sun, 11/18/10). That’s probably because of heightened awareness of domestic violence on the part of men and their greater willingness to report it rather than greater levels of violence among their partners.

The hard data are that, in the previous 12 months, there were 51,926 incidents of domestic violence reported, of which about 16.6%, 8,604 were reported by males.

Now, as I’ve said before, Scotland did a study last year that showed that men are about one-sixth as likely as women to view a particular DV incident as a crime and about six times as likely as women to say that an incident is “just something that happens.” My guess is that those figures correlate pretty closely with men’s tendency (or lack thereof) to report DV incidents to the police.

If so, that would mean that the 8,604 reports by men represent about 51,000 incidents which, if women had been the victims, would have been reported to the police. In other words, there’s rough parity in victimization between the sexes. And that of course is about what you’d expect since the same study recorded 5% of men and 5% of women saying they’d experienced DV victimization in the previous 12 months.

Thanks to John for the “Teen Mom” heads-up and thanks to Ed for the info on male DV victims in Scotland.

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Battered men toll trebled (UK)

The number of domestic abuse attacks on men has TRIPLED in ten years, new figures showed yesterday.

The total number of incidents of violence in the home has dropped for the first time in a decade to 51,926 - 1,000 a week.

But there were 8,604 cases against men - 16 per cent of all attacks - compared to 2,869 in the year 2000, when they made up 8 per cent of the total. Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil put the rise down to more males coming forward to report cases.

He said: "It is encouraging to see reported domestic abuse incidents are on the decrease. We're also pleased that more men are finding the courage to come forward." But Labour's justice spokesman Richard Baker said Holyrood's recent decision to scrap jail terms under three months could mean most abusers escape jail.

He said: "The figures are still worryingly high. There is no doubt detection rates are up but to give victims full confidence to come forward they must know the strongest penalty awaits their attackers."

Lib Dem justice spokesman Robert Brown said: "The downward trend in domestic abuse is certainly a move in the right direction. Advertisement

"However, the extent of domestic abuse in Scotland is still high. I want to see a zero tolerance approach for both men and women."

The total of 51,926 cases is a 4 per cent drop on the previous 12 months, down by 2,005 cases.

Only 15 per cent of abuse cases involved married couples with 44 per cent involving partners and 41 per cent involving exes.

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The gentler side of killer mom's estranged husband (Canada)

“Daddy, daddy!” cried little Serena Campione, her chubby little arms raised in the air, running with glee when she spotted her father.

Leo Campione quickly wiped the telltale tears from his eyes and smiled broadly as he raised his little daughter in the air and then hugged her tightly.

“My goodness, you’re getting bigger!” Leo is quoted as saying in family court records. “You’re so beautiful.”

It was the first time in over a month since the 33-year-old Toronto father had seen his children.

And it was the last time he would see them alive. Two weeks later they would be dead, drowned by their mother, Elaine Campione.

The jury is now deciding the mother’s fate on two charges of first-degree murder.

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Grenada passes Domestic Violence Act 2010 (Grenada)

On October 29th 2010, the Grenada House of Representatives approved the Domestic Violence Act, 2010 which provides protection for victims of domestic violence. The Act also seeks to protect everyone - including men.

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Obama’s domestic violence initiative neglects male victims of abuse (USA)

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, President Barack Obama introduced his administration’s new “government-wide” domestic violence initiative this week.

Missing from his words about a renewed focus on victims, however, was half of the population: men.

When looking at violence within intimate relationships, men are often viewed primarily as perpetrators, yet this is not always the case. Martin S. Feibert, psychology professor at the University of California, Long Beach, has highlighted more than 270 scholarly investigations, empirical studies and reviews, “which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.”

Equity feminist and Reason magazine contributing editor Cathy Young told The Daily Caller that while the cause was a good one, she was disappointed to see male victims excluded from the president’s equation, for just that reason.

“I was looking at the president’s comments today and one thing that really did leap out at me is that the discussion seemed to be framed entirely in terms of violence against women and children,” she said. “And I think that that leaves out a fairly sizable part of the population that is in danger of being abused. There are men who are abused both in gay relationships and in the heterosexual ones,” Young said.

According to a study, conducted by Daniel J. Whitaker and Linda S. Saltzman at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention, and published in 2007 by the American Journal of Public Health, nearly one in four relationships had some violence, and in 49.7 percent of those relationships, the violence was reciprocal. In relationships in which the violence was not reciprocal, women were the perpetrators in 70 percent of cases.

Despite the prevalence of female violence against their male partners, men were more likely to cause bodily harm.

“Regarding injury, men were more likely to inflict injury than were women, and reciprocal intimate partner violence was associated with greater injury than was nonreciprocal intimate partner violence regardless of the gender of the perpetrator,” the study reads.

Columnist Carey Roberts told TheDC that the reason for the focus on female victims in discussions of domestic violence is the fact that men rarely if ever report such incidents, making domestic violence a widely under-reported crime.

“The Department of Justice does what’s called a National Crime Victimization Survey, NCVS. The NCVS is exactly that, it’s a survey of perceived crime. When a girlfriend slaps a man, he doesn’t think of that as a crime,” Roberts said.

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