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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Beliefs on violence 

Letter to the editor, Adelaide Advertiser, 1st September 2010:

Your article "Domestic abuse shame" (The Advertiser, 20/8) claimed that "the poor attitude of Australian men to violence against women is evidenced by a 2006 Victorian survey which found one in 20 believed women who were raped often 'ask for it'." This survey actually found that 6 per cent (about one in 20) people (not men) agreed with the statement "Women who are raped often ask for it". So, yes, there are still a few people who hold unacceptable beliefs about sexual violence against women.

However, there are far more who hold unacceptable beliefs about violence against men. The National Crime Prevention survey found that young people are more likely to say a woman is right to, or has good reason to, respond to a situation by hitting, than a man in the same situation.

Overall, for situations where men might hit their female partners, 49 per cent of young people said that he would be right to, or have a good reason to hit her, in at least one of the situations presented. In situations where women might hit their male partners, 68 per cent of young people said that she would be right to, or have a good reason to, hit him in at least one of the situations presented.

And while males hitting females was seen, by virtually all young people surveyed, to be unacceptable, it appeared to be quite acceptable for a girl to hit a boy (25 per cent of young people agreed with the statement "When girl hits a guy, it's really not a big deal").

The Advertiser, however, failed to publish the following letter to the editor:

Miles Kemp's article "'One in three' domestic abuse victims" (20/8) contained the following errors of fact:

1. "'One in three' domestic abuse victims / One in three women at risk" The correct statistic is just less than one in six (16.8% of) women have experienced violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15. This is HALF the rate reported by Mr O'Connell. Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) Personal Safety Survey Australia, p16. The article also contained the following unnecessarily gender-biased statistic:

2. "A quarter of Australian children had witnessed violence against their mother." The correct statistic is 23.4 per cent of young people have witnessed physical domestic violence against their mothers/stepmothers and 22.1 per cent have witnessed physical domestic violence against their fathers/stepfathers. Source: National Crime Prevention (2001). Young people and domestic violence, pages 96-7.

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Judges 'treat violent women differently' (NZ)

A woman's eight-year jail term for murdering her partner reflects the judiciary's lack of understanding towards male victims of domestic violence, a men's rights spokesman says.

Hastings GP Viv Roberts was commenting on Monday's sentencing of Jacqueline Wihongi, 33, in the High Court at Napier.

The mother of six stabbed her partner of 17 years, Vivian Hirini, in the chest with a kitchen knife in June last year.

In sentencing, Justice John Wild said Wihongi had a tragic "history of victimhood" and it would have been "manifestly unjust" to have given her life imprisonment.

The couple had a violent relationship and frequently assaulted each other. Mr Hirini had been stabbed previously by Wihongi and had lost an eye when she hit him with a bottle. The court was shown a ringbinder containing about 500 pages of police reports on domestic callouts involving the couple.

Women's Refuge spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin praised the judge for considering the "appalling violence" Wihongi had suffered.

But Dr Roberts said this was "clearly a case where there has been a lot of violence both ways", which the system had failed to address.

"Men are frequently the victims in domestic violence and, even when they end up dead, the perpetrator of the violence is treated differently if they happen to be female.

"Mr Hirini is not available to tell his side of the story but, if he were, the story he would tell may well paint a different picture to that painted by Ms Wihongi's defence team."

A 2006 report by the Dunedin Multi-Disciplinary Health and Development Study (The Dunedin Study) said there was "a tendency to discount the harm attributed to violence carried out by women ... but the argument of the relative benignity of female violence does not match our data on distress, nor our informal data on severity".

Dr Roberts said police figures on reported incidents were not an accurate picture of the perpetrators as studies had shown men victims reported less than 5 per cent of violence and women about 30 per cent.

A quote from American author Patricia Pearson's book When She Was Bad: How and Why Women Get Away with Murder best summed up his thoughts. "She wrote, 'the denial of women's aggression profoundly undermines our attempt as a culture to understand violence, to trace its causes and quell them'.

"I believe that is the number one reason that a couple like this can have 500 pages of incidents with the police and the violence continues to escalate to the point where someone ends up dead.

"The responsibility for this lack of understanding lies primarily with the judiciary and the law makers, and to me this sentence reflects that lack of understanding," Dr Roberts said.

Wellington police family violence intervention co-ordinator Detective Sergeant Penny Gifford says "it's certainly not unusual" for her unit to deal with male victims of domestic violence.

In the past week the unit had received 30 new files, of which four were male victims of female perpetrators. This might be a little higher than normal, she said.

"We certainly don't treat male victims any differently and it frustrates me when we are accused of that ... We arrest regardless of gender."

The male victims were either partners or the fathers of female perpetrators. "There are not the number of support agencies available to men that there are for women. This is something we would love for someone to take the lead on. It would provide an option for males who wanted to talk to someone, if they did not want to come to police."

At present, men have to find short-term accommodation in hotels or motels. There is no male equivalent to a women's refuge.

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Male Abuse Awareness Website and Week

The site is a complete resource guide for male victims & survivors of abuse and is here to provide all the information and resources you may need if you are thinking of getting help and healing your life in order to move forward in a positive direction.

We also wish to inspire people and organizations that provide help services to female victims and survivors to start offering specialized services for abused males, if they do not already. If you are a service provider, we offer information here to help you start to understand some basics of how to deal with the special needs of male victims and survivors of all forms of abuse.

The site is one of the organisers of Male Abuse Awareness Week, held every December 1st through 8th.

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New US study: Men suffering 'intimate terrorism' by women partners

The first findings of the largest study to date focusing on male victims of female-perpetrated domestic violence were recently released, showing the existence of severe, controlling abusive behaviour by women toward their male partners, on a level that many would describe as “intimate terrorism.”

Study results will be published as “Intimate terrorism by women towards men: Does it exist?” (Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research) and “A closer look at men who sustain intimate terrorism by women” (Partner Abuse).

Clark University research assistant professor of psychology Denise A. Hines is the lead author/researcher on the Men's Experiences with Partner Aggression Project, a study at Clark University funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The co-investigator is Emily M. Douglas, of Bridgewater State College’s Department of Social Work.

The research team analysed data collected from 302 men who sustained physical violence from a female partner within the past year and sought help. The overarching goal of this study is to better understand the experiences of men who are in relationships with women who use violence.

“Extensive research has shown that men are at risk for sustaining partner violence in their relationships, yet few studies have investigated their experiences, and there are few resources available to such men,” Hines notes. “This is an under-recognised problem in the United States, and by conducting this research project, we hope to provide much needed information on these men, their relationships, and their needs.”

Fact sheets about the research and final drafts of the articles can be found online at

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The World Cup Abuse Nightmare (UK/USA)

Myths about domestic violence not only libel the vast majority of men; they also put truly at-risk women at greater risk.

Do brutal attacks on women by their husbands or boyfriends surge during the World Cup? According to a May 25 press release by England’s Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), “cases of domestic abuse increase by nearly 30% on England match days.” The shocking 30 percent figure was from a study prepared and publicized by the British Home Office. Determined to stem the assaults, officials flooded pubs and the airwaves with graphic warnings. “Don’t let the World Cup leave its mark on you,” warned a poster distributed by the West Yorkshire Police. It showed the bare back of a cowering woman marked by bruises, cuts, and the imprint of a man’s shoe. News stories with titles such as “Women’s World Cup Abuse Nightmare” informed women that the games could uncover, “for the first time, a darker side to their partner.”

Many Americans will recall a similar scare surrounding Super Bowl Sunday in January 1993. Newspapers and television networks reported that the incidence of domestic violence increased by 40 percent during the annual football classic. Journalists were soon talking of a “day of dread” and referring to the game as the “abuse bowl.” Experts held forth on how male viewers, intoxicated and pumped up with testosterone, could “explode like mad linemen, leaving girlfriends, wives, and children beaten.” During its telecast, NBC ran a public-service announcement urging men to remain calm during the game and reminding them they could go to jail if they attacked their wives.

In that roiling sea of media credulity, Ken Ringle, a reporter at the Washington Post, did something no other reporter thought to do: He checked the facts. He quickly discovered that there was no evidence linking football and domestic violence. The source for the 40 percent factoid was a mistaken remark by an activist at a press conference in Pasadena, Calif. Today, what has come to be known as the Super Bull Sunday hoax, is a staple in discussions of urban legends. Could the World Cup Abuse Nightmare be a copycat fraud?

“A stunt based on misleading figures,” is the verdict of BBC legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg and producer Wesley Stephenson. They recently investigated the alleged link between the televised World Cup games and violence in the home for their weekly program Law in Action. On June 22 — day twelve of the 2010 World Cup — they aired the story. It included an interview with a prominent Cambridge University statistician, Sheila Bird, whom they had asked to review the Home Office study and its finding of a 30 percent increase in domestic abuse. She found it to be so amateurish and riddled with flaws that it could not be taken seriously. The 30 percent claim was based on a cherry-picked sample of police districts; it failed to correct for seasonal differences and essentially ignored match days that showed little or no increase in domestic violence. Professor Bird also noted that improved police practices can lead to increased reports of violence but do not necessarily indicate more violence. A telltale sign that something is amiss in the Home Office is that it also disseminates the claim that “one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence.” That impossibly high figure may be the result of a rather expansive definition of “domestic violence” — which includes not only physical and sexual violence but also emotional and “financial” abuse.

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