Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Men's Issue... Women's Issue? Not the Point

Statistics. Sometimes they reveal the truth. Sometimes they obfuscate. Sometimes they're just confusing.  

Over the past few days I've blogged about male domestic violence victims and the unique challenges they face. I've also blogged about domestic homicide. For years domestic violence advocates have stated that domestic violence disproportionately affects women. Some people question that assertion... and cite valid data. In a landmark study, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, notes that 53% of persons who had experienced physical violence in an intimate relationship were men. Whoa… so is this a women’s issue or a men’s issue?  

The study cautions about making assumptions across groups based on one single data point, because “the contrasts between the experiences of men and women sharpen when we look at the specific forms of IPV, the severity of the physical violence experienced, and the impact of the violence:

·         While 92% of male victims experienced only physical violence, 36% of women experienced more than one form, including 12.5% of female victims who experienced all three (rape, physical violence, and stalking by an intimate partner). 

·         1 in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men have experienced the same.  

·         1in 6 women have been stalked during their lifetime, compared to 1 in 19 men.  

·         Over 80% of women who reported rape, physical violence, and/ or stalking by an intimate partner also reported one or more negative impacts (e.g., fear, injury, missed school/ work, etc), whereas, about 35% of men who experienced these forms of violence by an intimate reported an impact. 

So severity of abuse and the impact of the violence factor in. Are there gender differences when we look at the issue with these factors in mind? Or as the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services 2012 reports, of the:
104 female homicide victims 57.7% were domestic homicides, compared to
532 male homicide victims, only 2.6% were attributable to  domestic violence. 

Michael Virtanen of the Chronicle sums it up the report more succinctly, 

“ the person most likely to kill a woman in NYS is
 her partner or ex.” 

So is this a women’s or a men’s issue? That’s not the point.  It’s a social issue that affects us all. There too much relationship abuse, too many victims, and it's not about gender.
No one deserves to be abused.
All victims deserve access to support services.
Let’s work together toward a community free from relationship or sexual abuse... for all people.

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