[Note added 11.5.14: This piece has just been published on AVfM:
Tony Stott has long been a valued supporter of J4MB and its associated campaigns. He has a particular interest in the issue of domestic violence (‘DV’). For some time he’s been leading an initiative challenging the DV legislation which the Welsh government plans to implement shortly. The rest of this piece was written by Tony, and a link to his recent interview on ITV Wales is at the end:
“DV is about intimate relationships and can be instigated by men, women, or both. It is gender-neutral as both men and women can suffer from and be responsible for DV in broadly equal measure.
This simple humanity is supported by a huge body of international research and practical experience i.e. just two meta studies covering some 400,000 international subjects over many years demonstrate that women are as violent or more violent than men:
Prof. Fiebert http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
The NSPCC revealed Childline receives 14% more calls complaining of physical abuse by mothers compared with fathers
Erin Pizzey founded the first ever women’s refuge in Chiswick, London, in the early 1970s, and noted that some two-thirds of the first 100 women seeking refuge were as violent, or more violent, than the men from whom they were seeking refuge, and to whom they would likely return.
These findings contradict the Welsh government’s (WG’s) old-fashioned “radical” ideology that says only men use violence to exert control over women and that women only ever act in self-defence. New (but unbelievably old-fashioned!) legislation is due to be introduced to the Welsh Assembly in May 2014.
Healing Men created a petition to urge the WG to take a more modern, evidence-based, proven and humane approach to DV:
The ITV flagship “Coronation Street” featured a male victim of DV and a journalist with ITV became aware of our petition. He asked if I would contribute to a news item on male victims of DV which was to address some very important issues and, crucially, raises a challenge to the radical policies adopted by the WG and shows our determination to oppose it.
The points raised by Simon Borja from Safer Wales/Dyn Project are good points and well made. We must make men more aware and attuned to the nature of DV and how violent women can be. However, be aware that “Safer Wales” is Radical and calls from men are “assessed” to see if that man is a victim and also an instigator. Given the inter-relational nature of DV it is unsurprising that some 47% of men are classified in this radical way and similar results may be expected from women, but women are never assessed – never have been, and probably never will be. Yet this radical bias and prejudice is being used as a key element in new legislation on DV within the WG.
The Radical Safer Wales / Dyn Project for men was set up by and operated from Welsh Women’s Aid premises in Cardiff.
The WG’s stated position is “masculinity is associated with violence in many cultures and Wales is no exception… all interventions must address men’s violent behaviour” (original emphasis). This incendiary position has led to considerable outrage and opposition from psychotherapists, academics, practitioners and charities involved in the sector. The position as well as the new title of the bill is clearly sexist, discriminatory, abusive, and lays the WG open to legal challenge. A solicitor and human rights barrister as well as two leading charities have pledged to support a man or men disadvantaged by this new legislation.
We also need to consider the effect of this government policy on how boys, as men in waiting, view men and masculinity – and their emerging place in Welsh society – when their government openly holds and expresses such views about men and masculinity. Suicide is the leading cause of death of young men across the UK.
The Minister responsible, Leslie Griffiths AM, asserts the new legislation based on the above position and entitled “Ending Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill” is not sexist. The Minister’s use of language is curious.
Coming to a Legislature near YOU! This position and legislation are to be used as a trail-blazer for similar policies in the English, Scottish, Northern Irish and European legislatures as well as elsewhere.
This is a very grave issue for men’s and boys’ human rights.