Once again we see an online article in a major national newspaper misrepresenting or, rather, partially representing, the nature of domestic violence in the UK. There is a comment in the Daily Telegraph today (24th April 2015) entitled “Domestic violence is on the political agenda like never before“, which portrays women as the only victims of domestic violence. Whilst there is nothing factually incorrect in this piece (that I know of, anyway), it falls into the trap of so many other such articles by completely ignoring the many male victims of domestic violence, and violence generally, in our country. The struggle to end violence against women and girls is, of course, enormously important and worthy of publicity, but in the whole of this rather lengthy article there is not a single word about male victims.
It is an interesting fact that these articles never give links back to the original source of data, which is the Office of National Statistics. For those with a genuine interest in the reality behind the gender-biased hype, this is the link to the real figures released on 12th February 2015 by the ONS. These figures are broadly in line with those published in previous years. Please don’t misunderstand me, it is true that greater numbers of women than men are the victims of domestic violence. However, it is equally true that men are the most likely by far to be victims of violence generally, and 68%, over two-thirds, of murder victims are men. Many, if not most, of these male victims, are no more likely to be able effectively to defend themselves than women, even if misplaced male pride prevents them from admitting it.
The actual split of domestic abuse victims by gender is women 1,400,000, men 700,000: the first figure you will see reported everywhere, the second will very rarely be quoted. To ignore it so completely is an insult to those 700,000 men who must feel that no-one is interested and nobody cares. It is highly probable that the figure for men is greatly understated as male victims are much less likely than women to report their abuse due to the fear of being mocked or disbelieved. The sheltered facilities provided for male victims are a very, very tiny fraction of those provided for women. I have neither the time nor the inclination to check the figures, but it is reputed that there are more spaces in sheltered accommodation for abused horses than for abused men, rather as fish are better represented in the Cabinet than men are.
Of course we should do everything possible to stop violence against women and girls, but please let us have just a little bit of even-handedness in the way we report the blight of domestic violence.
Although male victims are generally ignored by the media, politicians and feminists, it is recognised as a real problem by more sensible and less soundbite-conscious folk and advice is available if required. If you are affected by this you can get information from the Men’s Advice Line, The Mankind Initiative, and the NHS.