As the women’s movement developed in the late 70’s, the concept of Patriarchy emerged and was latched upon to influence the development of subsequent Domestic Violence programmes. Patriarchy is the idea that the male has special privilege holding supreme authority over all women and children in every aspect of society.
This heavily affected the work that was taking place around Domestic Violence. According to many programme providers, “women and children are vulnerable to violence because of their unequal social, economic and political status in society.”
This had led to millions of pounds being ploughed into funding support for women and children, but little support for men. To support the claims for funding, you will commonly hear that 1 in 4 women will experience Domestic Violence in their lifeline. An historic statistic from a limited sample is also often put forward : 95% of all domestic violence victims are female (see previous blog to see how this is discredited.)
However, the real picture has been suppressed. Many professionals have known the truth for decades but haven’t been allowed to speak out. Domestic Violence is not a result of Patriarchy and should not be a battleground for militant feminists.
Erin Pizzey, founder of the first Women’s Refuge is on record as saying that of the first 100 women to enter the Chiswick Refuge in 1971, 62 were as violent if not more so than the partners they were ‘escaping.’
Erin Pizzey was then ostracized by the feminist movement because her findings completely contradicted the ideology that they were wanting to promote. Along with Erin, others who tried to re-address the misinformation being spread received death threats and some even had their cars bombed.
Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK) 2012 reveals the following:
The majority of Domestic Violence incidents is mutual – that is where both parties fight each other.
Population Surveys : 57.9%
Community Samples 59.6%
School & College samples 51.9%
Female oriented clinical samples 72.3%
These figures, over 40 years after Chiswick refuge was founded are still fairly consistent with Erin Pizzey’s findings. Between 51.9% - 59.6% are mutual Domestic Violence situations. The big surprise is the figure of 72.3% which comes from clinical samples from Lesbian relationships. These fighting sisters can’t blame Patriarchy for the violence in their relationships. !!
So what about scenarios where there is no reciprocal violence? PASK also asks that question.
The figures for Male assaults against female (non-mutual IPV) are:
Population Surveys : 13.8%
Community Samples 17.5%
School & College samples 16.2%
Perhaps surprisingly the figures for Female assaults against male (non-mutual IPV) are:
Population Surveys : 28.3%
Community Samples 22.9%
School & College samples 31.9%
Notice how woman are twice as likely to attack a male partner, than a male assault a woman without any reciprocal action.
Domestic Violence is a complex issue but will never be addressed properly until there is acknowledge that women can be as aggressive ( in some cases even more so) than men.
The approaches to tackle Domestic Violence based on the ideas of patriarchy have and are still failing because they are flawed and not dealing with the real issues.