Social media posts about domestic abuse, create a lot of heated debate. These debates usually end up with at least one person, crossing the line and becoming verbally abusive, attacking the post author, who is usually of the opposite sex. I've now blocked four people on LinkedIn, three women and a man, for their aggressive language, towards myself and others.
As many of you will know by now, I don’t like to concentrate on what I perceive to be the negatives (only my opinion) within people's posts or articles as I believe that the majority of people have good hearts and are posting about or highlighting subjects that they are passionate about and post with the very best intentions. However, occasionally an article or post comes along that is so outrageously out of kilter, it deserves to be responded to in detail.
This is one such article. (https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2019/02/government-failing-victims-domestic-violence)
Before I go any further, I want to highlight my complete support for women, especially those that have or are, suffering domestic abuse. I’m a father of two girls and I want to see them protected by the law. I also want to acknowledge that so far as U.K. statistics go, women are the majority victims at the hands of men. However, feminists, police and government agencies would do well to remember that men are three times less likely than women to report their abuse, so the statistics don’t give a true reflection of what’s really going on behind closed doors.
I WANT TO SEE ALL DOMESTIC ABUSE SUFERERS PROTECTED AND OFFERED THE SAME SUPPORT, REGARDLESS OF THEIR GENDER OR ETHNICITY.
BACK TO THE ARTICLE
The opening paragraph starts well, raising awareness of government failings when dealing with Domestic "violence." But if you look at the photo that heads the page, it hints at the direction this article will take.
NOTE: I DON’T LIKE THE PHRASE DOMESTIC “VIOLENCE.” I BELIEVE THAT IT’S TIME TO REMOVE THIS FROM THE NARRATIVE, AS TO USE THE WORD VIOLENCE, EXCLUDES PEOPLE THAT HAVE SUFFERED OTHER FORMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE.
We only get as far as the last line of the second paragraph before the mask slips and the article starts to regurgitate the same old, domestic abuse party lines, talking only about “women’s lives” being blighted. At the stroke of a pen, yet again, another person who is responsible for helping to protect ALL domestic abuse survivors, completely ignores the millions of men that have been deeply affected by their abuse at the hands of women.
I find it repugnant, that the author of this article,The Rt Hon. the Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top, whose title is, “The chair for the national commission on domestic and sexual violence and multiple disadvantage,” fails to even acknowledge men in her article.
We see phrases such as, “burning injustice,” in relation to the way that women are supported but without mentioning male survivors, this leaves the article stinking of hypocrisy. Especially when we know that support for men is woefully inadequate, even when compared to the support that women receive.
In paragraph eleven, the “women and equalities minister” is introduced to the article. Am I the only person that finds the ministers title, an oxymoron?
Equality is defined as:
The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.
If you’re the equality minister, shouldn’t your speech, articles and campaigning be inclusive of all sufferers and survivors of domestic abuse, treating everyone as equals? Why is there a constant need to single out women for special treatment and surely, by doing so, you are no longer offering equality!
As we're discussing ministers, let's mention the number of articles in the press recently, calling for a minister for men. I want to say here and now, that I am completely opposed to this idea. We do not need another overpaid minister in government.
Where would it end? It would be like a Monty Python comedy and we would end up with a minister for everybody and everything, including a minister for “silly walks.” (If you’ve not seen the Monty Python sketch, you should :https://youtu.be/F3UGk9QhoIw) All of these ministers and departments would end up fighting each other, for what little money was available, and nothing would get done.
What we need is for the “equalities” minister and those in government, entrusted with the role to protect sufferers and survivors of domestic abuse, to do their job and start to support ALL domestic abuse sufferers and survivors EQUALLY.
Baroness Armstrong's article further states that: “Mothers are particularly let down, with the fear of losing their children preventing them from accessing help, and so they carry on trying their best until they reach crisis.”
Did you know:
“In UK law, a mother is automatically given parental responsibility for her child from birth. A father can only be a father if the mother approves him. She can do this in two ways – marry him or invite him to sign the birth certificate. If neither of these happens, he is not the father until the family court approves him. In affect, a man has to be vetted by the mother or the state before he is allowed to be a father."
Is it any wonder that many men, including myself, continued to endure their abuse, for fear of never seeing their children again?
Baroness Armstrong further states that;
"Without support, they (women) can develop mental health problems or turn to drugs and alcohol to cope, which can precipitate a downward spiral. Chronic poverty and a punitive benefits system often compounds their problems – one in five has been homeless.
As part of the Commission, women with experience of these issues told me how difficult it was for them to get help, of all the missed opportunities when they had been desperate and no-one listened, of all the times they were forced to go back home to danger and violence.
"It is a damning indictment of the system in this country that for so many the legacy of sexual violence and domestic abuse is mental ill health, substance use, homelessness or a criminal record, not to mention thousands of children taken into care."
Of course, this is an issue that needs to be dealt with. As I've said already, I fully support women and their rights to be protected.
However, let's look at the male statistics:
Suicide: In 2017, 4,382 men took their own lives, an average of 12 per day. In comparison, 1,439 women died by suicide in the same time frame: about four per day.
Crime: Men are twice as likely to be a victim of violent crime. Two thirds of murder victims are men.
Drugs: 73pc of drug misuse deaths are men. (Government website)
Alcohol: According to the Institute of Alcohol Studies, men are twice as likely as women to die from alcohol related causes.
Domestic abuse: One in three victims are men but men are three times less likely to report their abuse.
Safe House/Refuge: In the UK there are a total of 93 spaces offering refuge or safe houses for male victims of domestic abuse, and only 22 of these are male only. For women, there are around 4,000 of these refuges. There is no refuge for men in London.
Rape: According to a 2017 crime survey by the ONS, in 2017 alone there were around 138,000 reports of sexual assaults against men that year. It's also likely this could be an underestimation due to men not coming forward about their assaults. The charity Rape Crisis found that every year, an average of around 1,000 men are raped every month in England and Wales alone.
Revenge Porn: According to the Government's revenge porn helpline, around a quarter of victims of revenge porn (the sharing of explicit photos and images by an ex or current partner) are men.
Forced marriage: One in every five victims of forced marriage is a man, according to a report from ONS statistics.
Child separation: 96pc parents fighting in court for access to their children are fathers.
Homelessness: 86pc of rough sleepers are men. 84pc of hidden homeless people (people who are at risk of eviction, sofa-surfing at friends and family, or living in unsatisfactory conditions) are men. Figures compiled earlier this year (2018) found that between 2013 and 2017 the amount of homeless people who've died on the streets or in temporary accommodation has doubled and around 90pc of those deaths were men.
Health: Men are 14pc more likely to get cancer than women and they're 37pc more likely to die from the disease. Every year, almost 100,000 men are dying prematurely (before 75), compared to about 66,000 women, according to figures from the charity Men’s Health Forum. In addition, 22 per cent of men in England and Wales die before the age of 65 (compared to 13 per cent of women); and 42 per cent die before 75 (compared to 26 per cent of women).
Education: Girls are 20pc more likely to finish secondary school with five C grades or higher at GCSE, according to the Department for Education and Statistics. In addition, boys are less likely to be high achievers in school. The stats show that 52.5pc of boys achieve a minimum of five A*-C grades at GCSE compared to 61.8pc of girls. A 2014 report also showed that boys are three times more likely than girls to be excluded or expelled from school. The educational attainment gap begins at school but continues to echo through men's lives. According to data from UCAS, in 2017 over 71,000 less men were accepted to UK universities than women.
Unless otherwise stated, all of the above figures were taken from The Telegraph article: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/international-mens-day-2018-shocking-statistics-need-know/
Baroness Armstrong, please tell us again about the struggle that women endure and why men, who make up the clear majority in almost every negative statistic, are not receiving the support that they need?
Finally, Baroness Armstrong states:
“It was a privilege as Chair of the Commission to listen to these women’s stories and understand what help and support would have worked best for them. It does not make sense – on a human level and on a policy level – to ignore what they tell us and abandon them to lives of horrific violence and disadvantage.
Let me ask you this, Baroness Armstrong, does it make sense on a human level and on a policy level – to ignore men that are being abused? And when will you be willing to listen to what we have to tell you?
Or perhaps you’re happy to abandon men to lives of horrific violence and disadvantage?
Are "the highest echelons of government," listening to men as well as women? Clearly not!
I would like to openly invite Baroness Armstrong, to meet me, so that she can hear my story and try to understand what help and support would have worked best for me. And to ask her, why men are being deliberately ignored. If you're a woman that's experienced domestic abuse, I would ask you to reach out and help to support men that are, or have been, through the hell that you have endured by challenging articles like this. It's time for domestic abuse survivors, both men and women, to come together and demand to be treated equally.
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