No Funny Side to Domestic Abuse

The number of women convicted of domestic violence in England and Wales has more than doubled in the last five years.

Nearly 4,000 women were successfully prosecuted last year, compared with fewer than 1,500 in 2005. This is according to figures from the Crown Prosecution Service and men’s domestic abuse charity ManKind.

The figures may also suggest that women are becoming more violent, as the number of females as a proportion of all men and women convicted rose from five per cent to seven per cent. Although women are still twice as likely as men to be victims of domestic abuse, men are less likely to come forward. In addition, men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by police and have fewer refuges (60 places in England and Wales compared to 7,500 for women) or sources of outside help to which they can turn.

Domestic violence against men is often dismissed or even ridiculed – particularly by the media. When a woman slaps a man on TV, it’s often portrayed as comic or a response that he ‘deserved’. This would be unthinkable, were the roles reversed. Think for example of the press response to John Wayne Bobbitt, whose wife (also a victim of abuse) cut off his penis. Whilst Bobbitt’s behaviour was disgusting and inexcusable, his wife’s actions were excused and even applauded.

In many quarters,  women are encouraged to express aggression as a way of asserting their ‘equality’.  Yet for the men who have been  educated not to harm women, even self-defense can seem almost impossible. Rightly so –  in part because men tend to be physically stronger than women.  But no-one, male or female, deserves to be abused.

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