The same study found that men were almost as likely as women to experience physical violence within the home (half from females, half from males) and were just as likely as women to experience physical violence from perpetrators who were known to them. Yet the WRD campaign focuses solely on the prevention of violence against women by men.
An international coalition of professionals and academics has come out in unequivocal support of anti-violence initiatives, but is concerned that this annual spotlight on violence against women tends to conceal the fact that males are far more likely than females to be assaulted or killed and make up a significant proportion of victims of domestic violence.
They are calling on the media to be aware that crime statistics, based on reports to police, are an inaccurate reflection of the extent of domestic violence within the community, as men who are physically assaulted by women are less likely to report it than are women assaulted by men.
However, despite this underreporting, 29% of victims of notified domestic violence and 26% of intimate partner homicide victims are men - all of whom are absent in policy provisions. There is very little recognition of women's violence, yet more than a quarter of physical assaults on women are committed by other women. There is also little acknowledgment that violence is most prevalent amongst young people, and is causally linked to social disadvantage, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues.
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The White Ribbon Day campaign tells us that "violence against women is the product of learned attitudes and norms." University of Western Sydney academic Micheal Woods explains, "I think many people would disagree that Australian cultural norms support violence against women, but would readily admit that our culture accepts violence against males." He quotes a 2001 national survey of 5,000 young people aged 12-20, in which the authors noted that "males hitting females was seen, virtually by everyone, to be unacceptable, however, it appeared to be quite acceptable for a girl to hit a boy". They also found "there was no spontaneous recognition that verbal abuse or a female hitting her boyfriend could also constitute dating violence… however these were among the prevalent forms of violence occurring".
Researcher Greg Andresen from menshealthaustralia.net suggests "international large population-based research shows women initiate domestic violence as often as men, use weapons more than men, that men suffer one-third of injuries, and that self-defence explains only a small portion of domestic violence by either sex. We're concerned that male victims have been unfairly ignored in these anti-violence campaigns and this contributes to the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence. When male victims are ignored, their kids suffer long-term damage by the exposure and are themselves more likely to commit violence as adults."
The coalition of experts is asking Australians to set aside the next 16 days to consider all victims of violence, no matter what their gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality. They are seeking the involvement of the entire community, including government, NGOs, and men's and women's groups, in the establishment of a new national broad anti-violence campaign.
The Queensland Government makes some extrodinary findings in this news report
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