Sacramento, CA–Research consistently shows that women are at least as likely as men to initiate and engage in domestic violence, and that a significant minority of the injuries sustained in domestic violence are suffered by heterosexual men. This research is increasingly coming to light, for a few reasons:
1) Dissident domestic violence experts have worked hard to stick to science and solid research methods in the face of tremendous pressure. Many of these attended the Sacramento Domestic Violence conference From Ideology to Inclusion: Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence in February. (Dr. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, one of the speakers from that conference, is pictured above. To learn more, click here. Photo by Kevin Graft.)
2) The feminists’ media stranglehold on gender issues has weakened somewhat.
3) Advocates for male victims of domestic violence have done fine and effective work.
4) As Shakespeare noted in The Merchant of Venice, “At the length truth will out.”
When confronted with the unwelcome news that women are as much a part of family violence as men are, feminists use several evasion tactics. One is to claim that the data is faulty, though that has largely worn thin and has been replaced with claims that female violence is somehow “different,” or more justified. That one is also starting to wear thin, too. (See Dr. Langhinrichsen-Rohling’s views in ‘Every time we tried to say that women’s intimate partner abuse is different than men’s, the evidence did not support it’)
Another one–not new, but increasingly prominent–is to say that evidence of women’s violence is being misused to promote a misogynist agenda. A subset of this latter argument is what I’ve described as the “Feminist Intentional Walk”–when feminists ignore credible men’s advocates and instead quote some obscure loony in order to discredit all of us.
One example of this can be found in Janice Kennedy’s recent Ottawa Citizen opinion column We can’t help victims of violence if hatemongers hijack the agenda (5/25/08). Kennedy grapples with the fact that a recent study found that a significant amount of men are victims of domestic violence.
Kennedy could have quoted or cited any one of dozens of credible advocates on the subject, but since her intent was to stigmatize rather than edify, she reached way, way down and came up with an individual named Kirby Inwood. No, I’d never heard of him either, but his website features gems like this:
“I have consistently found women lawyers to generally be the scum of the earth.”
“If you don’t like what I say, you must be a blind, feminist bigot or a male collaborating white ribbon wimp.”
Kennedy adds that Inwood was once convicted of “assault on his wife and infant son.” (I don’t know the details on the case, and it is possible it was one of those domestic violence railroad jobs.)
Anyway, in palming off Inwood’s comments as somehow representative of men’s activists, she writes, “There are many public purveyors of misogyny, but one colorfully venomous Canadian example sums them up. Kirby Inwood.” She adds, “The ‘men’s rights’ activists, are going to gobble [the new report] up and spit it out again in a malignancy of poisonous deceit.”
So instead of quoting the many, many experts who have researched and quantified women’s family violence, we’re instead supposed to focus on this obscure loony. That’s weak journalism on Kennedy’s part, to say the least.
[Note: If you or someone you love is being abused, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of domestic violence and their families.]