I’ve been stewing on this for a few days now, since reading your recent comments. I’m wondering if you can actually define “frivolous”. And while you’re at it, I’d love you to provide evidence that women are making “frivolous domestic violence complaints”. Because, as far as I know, domestic violence saw 79 women in Australia killed in 2015. Another 32 so far in 2016. Doesn’t seem like a “frivolous” issue to me. Many people are granted protection orders these days and I find it hard to believe that the police and the courts follow through with them if the complaints are so minor or petty. Did you know that between September 2013 and September 2014, just for a snapshot of the numbers, there were more than 26,000 domestic apprehended violence orders issued in NSW alone and approximately 80% of them were issued to women? Would you like to give an estimate of how many of these orders were made by the courts because a man said he didn’t like the colour of a woman’s dress? Because that is the example you gave of a woman making a “frivolous” complaint.
Pauline Hanson says that 27 men commit suicide each week due to domestic violence.
“Please explain” this one, because the only correlations like this that I can see are lifted straight off a dodgy MRA website. We know men commit suicide at a higher rate than women; we also know the causes are varied. We know that those at highest risk of suicide are those who have previously attempted it, those with mental illness and/or substance abuse problems and those experiencing financial issues and relationship breakdowns. I can’t find any reputable source that states men are committing suicide at such an alarming rate due to domestic violence. That’s not to say that male suicide rates are not an important issue because of course they are. There just no evidence that suggests we should conflate the two issues. Imagine if everyone listened to you on this one, Pauline! Should we stop treating mental illness in men? Stop offering help for substance abuse? Tell depressed and potentially suicidal men that their problems stem from domestic violence, even though statistics suggest this is unlikely to be the case?
Pauline, you feel that male-focused groups are not being given a voice and you want them to feel heard. I’m wondering how you have thus managed not to hear these pervasive voices. They are in every single comments section on articles about violence against women. They demand to be heard by those who advocate for female victims; often to the point of harassment. They even show up in newspaper columns and other areas of the media. You’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard them thus far.
You are concerned that male victims have nowhere to turn? That’s valid, sure. Male domestic violence victims are in the minority, but that doesn’t mean they should be left without resources. That’s a terrible state of affairs. Just look at what happens to female victims right now. Far too many female victims are turned away from refuges because they don’t have the room or the funding to help them. Domestic violence is actually a very common cause of female homelessness.
Perhaps men who are concerned for the welfare of men in domestic violence situations could spend less time trolling women’s advocates online and instead channel their energies into helping; volunteering for Mensline perhaps, or even working on establishing refuges for these men to go to? After all, that’s how Australia’s first refuge for battered women began. Anne Summers got it up and running just over 40 years ago because there was literally nowhere for women and children to go to escape domestic violence permanently.
Male Victims of Violence.
Many would argue that male victims are reluctant to come forward, they may feel ashamed or embarrassed. For this reason, the statistics on male victims are quite likely to be inaccurate. That’s probably true. Domestic violence is, after all, a highly under reported crime. However, we also know for a fact that men are not being killed by female partners at anywhere near the same rate as women. The ABS says that men kill women in 4 out of 5 domestic homicides but we also know that of those women who do kill male partners, the majority have survived a history of domestic violence at the hands of that male partner. In general, men and women both are most likely to experience violence at the hands of men, with 95% of victims of violence reporting a male perpetrator.
You’d think that epidemic-level violence against men would be widely reported and acted on. Oh, wait… One-punch attacks.
Far more male victims than female and almost all perpetrated by men. These attacks resulted in sweeping changes to licensing legislation that changed the entire face of Sydney night life. I’m not debating whether or not these attacks were worthy of bringing about such changes but it is interesting to note that there were 20 deaths from such attacks between 2005 and 2012 (2006 was a peak year for such attacks). The number of women killed this year alone by acts of domestic violence already surpasses that number. You say that men are “the real victims” of domestic violence but that just doesn’t add up!
Pauline Hanson, you’re a public figure. I know you’ve never really been terribly concerned with the accurate presentation of facts, but these comments really take the biscuit. As a public figure, you have some responsibility to at least check your facts. By all means, if you feel strongly that you should help men at risk of suicide, do so. If you think that male victims of domestic violence also need your help, go for it. Help them. Just remember it’s possible, even preferable, to help male victims without relying on dodgy, inaccurate statistics. You can actually support male victims of domestic violence without trivialising or minimising the impact of domestic violence on women. You could even try supporting all victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender, by believing them and by not spreading misinformation. There’s an idea.