I spent yesterday in and near Nottingham with Ray Barry and Ian Young, the other two J4MB candidates at the next general election, and a professional photographer who’s generously agreed to work for us at no charge. We’ll be publishing some of his photographs in the next few days, but this blog piece is about two posters in the window of the constituency office of Gloria De Piero, Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities. Both posters are concerned with domestic violence, and both reflect a feminist view of the issue.
The evidence that men suffer domestic violence at the hands of female partners at a comparable rate – in terms of severity and frequency – as women suffer domestic violence at the hands of male partners is beyond doubt. We recently submitted a 150+ page report on the matter to a Home Office consultation – here.
The feminist ‘male control’ theory of domestic violence, the ‘Duluth model’ – which states that in a patriarchal society, domestic violence (and/or the threat of it) is used by men (as a class) to oppress women (as a class) – has been debunked in numerous reports and studies, most recently by Dr Elizabeth Bates and her colleagues at the University of Cumbria – here. The full Abstract of the study:
The aim of this study was to test predictions from the male control theory of intimate partner violence (IPV) and Johnson’s [Johnson, M.P. (1995). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 282–294] typology. A student sample (N = 1,104) reported on their use of physical aggression and controlling behavior, to partners and to same‐sex non‐intimates. Contrary to the male control theory, women were found to be more physically aggressive to their partners than men were, [our emphasis] and the reverse pattern was found for aggression to same‐sex non‐intimates. Furthermore, there were no substantial sex differences in controlling behavior, which signiﬁcantly predicted physical aggression in both sexes. IPV was found to be associated with physical aggression to same-sex non-intimates, thereby demonstrating a link with aggression outside the family. Using Johnson’s typology, women were more likely than men to be classed as “intimate terrorists,” which was counter to earlier ﬁndings. Overall, these results do not support the male control theory of IPV [our emphasis]. Instead, they ﬁt the view that IPV does not have a special etiology, and is better studied within the context of other forms of aggression.
So what do the two posters in GDP’s window show? The first is an advert for a helpline, and it features a crude drawing of a woman in a glass cage – here. If you call the helpline, you’ll find it supports only female victims. One of our candidates at the general election will be Ian Young, himself a victim of domestic violence. He didn’t think much of the poster – here.
GDP retained the Ashfield seat for Labour – historically, a safe Labour seat – in 2010, with a razor-thin majority of only 192 votes. Can she really afford to treat half her electorate in such a contemptuous manner, presenting domestic violence as a phenomenon where only women are victims, and only men are perpetrators? We’ll see. We publicly challenge her to place this poster in the window of her office until election day. Until and unless she does so – in which case, we’ll report it here – the citizens of the Ashfield constituency can safely assume she doesn’t care about male victims of domestic violence, nor the existence of female perpetrators.