Policy and Politics / News

National Post report of Lysova et al paper on Stats Can incidence data for IPV

We need shelters for male survivors of abuse

We need shelters for male survivors of abuse
Barbara Kay
Ask any feminist—no, wait, ask any woman—no, wait, ask just about anyone you know, male or female, young or old, dumb as a brick or a Brainiac—whether men or women are the victims of intimate partner violence (IPV: what used to be called “domestic violence”), and I promise you, almost everyone you ask will respond without pause, “women.” It’s just one of those things people “know.”
After all, how could it be otherwise? Men are bigger and stronger than women, men are way more aggressive to other men than women are to women, and men are responsible for most other criminal acts. Besides, you never see public service announcements raising awareness about male victimization. And there are hundreds of women shelters, but almost none for men. Case closed, eh? It makes sense to conclude that men perpetrate IPV, and women suffer from it.
That conclusion is wrong, and demonstrably wrong. Both men and women are victims of IPV, and both men and women are perpetrators of IPV. A new study, “Prevalence and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence in Canada as Measured by the National Victimization Survey,” published April 15 in the journal, Partner Abuse, confirms a great deal of previously documented bilateral epidemiology of IPV according to gender. The lead author is Alexandra Lysova of Simon Fraser University, with contributing authors graduate student Emeka Dim of the University of Saskatoon and the University of British Columbia’s Donald Dutton, amongst the international scholarly doyens on the subject of intimate partner violence, and Canada’s foremost expert in this domain. I will refer to it as the Lysova study.
The study “examined the prevalence of victimization [that] resulted from physical and/or sexual IPV, controlling behaviors and also consequences of IPV for both men and women in a sample representative of the Canadian population.” The data came from a random sample of 33,000 Canadians surveyed in the 2014 General Social Survey of Victimization, so ideologues should not even think about trashing the source, which, sociologically speaking, doesn’t get more echt than this. The study was particularly interested in examining IPV with regard to male victims, an under-researched element in this field, to say the least.
The results showed that in the last five years, 2.9% of men and 1.7% of women reported experiencing physical and/or sexual IPV in their current relationships. Yes, you read that right: more men than women reported being abused. Almost equal numbers—35% of men and 34% of women—reported experiencing what is known as “intimate terrorism”—extreme controlling behaviour in a relationship. Furthermore, 22% of male victims and 19% of female victims of IPV reported experiencing severe physical violence accompanying the controlling behaviour.
Women were far more likely to report these behaviours and experience short-term effects of IPV, such as anger or depression than male victims, whose under-reportage is linked to a tendency to feel shame at exhibiting weakness and being considered a victim of a woman’s violence. But the long-term effects—PTSD-related symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation—were experienced bilaterally. The paper argues for more reporting of IPV victimization among men as compared to women.
But those are not the kind of studies that are bruited in the media. What the media sees are studies by feminist researchers, whose study participants are women, because they choose violence against women as their subject. They choose violence against women as their subject because they subscribe to a binary belief system in which males are the perpetrators of violence and women are the victims. As one researcher cited in this study, observes, “[M]uch victimological work implicitly leaves us with the impression that victims are not likely to be male. It renders female victimization visible and male victimization invisible.”
In 2000, Stats Canada stopped “filtering” the message by presenting their survey as a study of violence against women. After assuming a stance of neutrality, they found 7% victimization for males and 8% victimization for women. That extra percentage point reflects the fact that men are responsible for violence at the extreme end. That kind of violence is what makes the news, and gives the false impression that men are responsible for all partner violence.
But in actual numbers—that is, epidemiologically speaking—extreme IPV is not significant when placed alongside the figures for other acts of criminal male violence, in which men are far more likely to be the victims than women. This is not to diminish the gravity of male violence against women partners, and intervention programs should prioritize women’s safety. It is only to say that any public policy around IPV should regard extreme violence against women by men as a fairly narrow subset of IPV in general, which affects both men and women virtually equally.
Stats Can doesn’t give an IPV detailed breakdown of specific physical and sexual behaviours, while this Lysova study does, including other forms of abusive controlling behaviours, such as possessiveness and intimidation. One of the more interesting aspects of this study is that StatsCan restructured their methodology to include “sexual assault” (very loosely defined) together with physical assault, doubtless expecting an outcome of higher numbers of female victims. That was not the case.
When women flee an abusive relationship, they can take their children with them to a shelter. When men flee an abusive relationship, they have nowhere to take their children who may also be at risk. This is one of the main reasons why abused men stay in the home: to protect their children. As I noted, there are many shelters for abused women—627 in Canada—and almost none for men. Shelter numbers do not reflect need, they reflect public perception of where the need lies, a perception formed not through objective observation or attention to epidemiology, but through deference paid to ideologues and a lazy media all too willing to promote feminist narratives and to ignore male suffering.
The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), on whose board I sit, is front and centre on this file. CAFE supports equality of attention and response to both men and women in principle, but focuses on providing services for men in crisis, and raising awareness of the huge disparity in resources for men’s evident, but ignored needs. You may have noticed, for example, that the overwhelming number of homeless people on the streets are male. A number of those men are victims of abuse. According to Justin Trottier, executive director of CAFE, his organization receives calls from over 400 men each year desperately seeking a safe haven and counselling. CAFE has been successful in receiving federal funds for a research project, “Male Homelessness as a Consequence of Domestic Abuse.” Stay tuned for a report.
Changing public perception to reflect the reality of IPV has been a Sisyphean task for many years. IPV policies needn’t be a zero-sum game, where women lose if men make gains. We have to alter our way of thinking about IPV, to understand that victims of violence can also be perpetrators of violence. The most common form of IPV is mutual violence toward each other in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. This is an established fact. I get that it’s hard to believe. But “hard to believe” doesn’t mean it’s untrue.
It is the duty of governments to look beyond ideology and narrative in all matters regarding social health. Resource allocation must be based on firm epidemiological grounds. On IPV, the evidence is in.

Workshop – Family Violence Coordinating Council (FVCC) in Fort McMurray Alberta

On May 23, 2019 I will be doing a one-day workshop for the Family Violence Coordinating Council (FVCC) in Fort McMurray, Alberta entitled Getting Connected: The Therapeutic Engagement and Treatment of Couples with Interpersonal Violence. I will be demonstrating how my Needs ABC Model is used in working with difficult couples.

Caplan, T. (2010). The Needs ABC Therapeutic Model for Couples and Families: A Guide for Practitioners. New York: Routledge.

Early Origins of Male Violence-Santa Fe Conference May 1-3, 2018

With regard to the conference in Santa Fe, May 1-3, 2018, we are offering opportunities for individuals who might wish to present a 50 minute workshop or symposium in addition to the presentations of plenary presenters.   An incentive to present is that the $275 price of the conference is halved for workshop/symposium presenters.

The description of the application process is described at the santafeboys.org website. The deadline is December 15.

Updates on the UK

September 2018.  A very recent article in the Times highlighted the sheer lack of progress with the perpetrator programmes, Duluth and hybrids of course. Linked here is the article and my comments in blue!

Cafcass – the Children an Family Court Advisory Service – has been working up a programme to tackle the child abuse involved in “Parental Alienation”.  This is due to be put before parliament very soon and a pre-view of the changes is to be presented in October.

My working partner, Mrs Denise Knowles and I, are due to go to pre-view next week of  a film commissioned by the BBC into our work with domestic abusers. Our fingers are crossed that it is a “fair” representation of our work.  It is due to be broadcast before Xmas.

There was a very hard-hitting 2-day Parental Alienation conference in London 2 weeks ago, attended by more than 200 people each day. There were many contributors from the USA. The link to the programme is here and to the speakers is here. We are awaiting the link to the various presentations.

I attended a NIA conference earlier in the year where two speakers from Duluth were still advocating their “power and control wheel” – despite the recognition in 1999 of their guru, the late Ellen Pence, that “power and control” was not an issue in the vast majority of men with whom she worked but that she and her colleagues had nevertheless taken every opportunity to point out to the men that they were so motivated and merely minimising and denying their behaviours. Eventually she realised that they were only finding what they set out to find!  The link to the book and quotes is here.

Domestic Violence Awareness Video

The majority of our victims and offenders report that they wish schools educated students in the areas of emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, and the red flags of abuse. Most victims of domestic violence report that they were not aware they were entering an abusive relationship. We’ve created this prevention video geared toward high school students to increase awareness of the early warning signs. We use the BELIEVE model to heighten awareness of the red flags that are often missed early in the relationship. Please feel free to share this video and encourage high schools to share with students. The best way to prevent domestic violence is through education.

BIP Counselor Opportunity

Looking for a new opportunity to work in an innovative competency based domestic violence program? We use a modified version of Steven Stosny’s Core Value Workshop Model in a Virginia State certified 18-week county based program for adult men and women who have been verbally, emotionally or physically abusive with partners, parents, children or siblings. We are looking for a counselor who is able to offer services in the English and Spanish Languages.

https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/fairfaxcounty/jobs/2064156/domestic-sexual-violence-counselor-social-services-specialist-iii?page=3&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs

National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan

My colleague, Shelly Wagers, has reminded me about the recently-completed report from the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan.  I have read it and I plan on endorsing it.  Here is the link to the web location to see the National plan and endorse it:
https://www.npeiv.org/a-national-plan

Here is the link to NPEIV’s home page to learn more about our organization.  https://www.npeiv.org/

John Hamel, Ph.D., LCSW