GENDER ISSUES FROM A MALE PERSPECTIVE

Gathered together are a number of articles related to how men and boys are treated by society and the media. The articles, for the most part, concentrate on misandry, domestic violence and female violence and reflect an anti-RADICAL FEMINIST viewpoint. Although articles are pro-male, they are not anti-female.

Name:
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

WHY ARE MOST MALE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ALLEGED TO BE HOMOSEXUAL?

As a participating member of my democratic society, a while back I attended a committee meeting of the Los Angeles Domestic Violence Council. At the meeting, the subject of male victims of domestic violence came up. After a few minutes of discussion one of the female shelter personnel adroitly inserted the term "gay men" into the conversation, and proceeded to infer that when male victims of domestic violence were being discussed we were talking about gay men only. I voiced my opinion that there was an abundance of heterosexual male victims who were battered by their female partners or wives, and that such a selective use of terms was erroneous. From the unfriendly, unresponsive looks of the committee, they appeared even less receptive to that fact, than the fact that any male could be a victim of domestic violence. My experience at the Los Angeles domestic violence council meeting was not unique. The attitude they had, about male victims of intimate partner violence, appears to be pervasive throughout California's domestic violence community as this author's experience further supports, "...then they paraded out the token gay guy. I had seen this trick before when I took a 40-hour volunteer course for the Family Justice Center, where, to offer up a victim and show gender inclusiveness, they paraded out a gay guy..." "...they had a gay guy who abused another gay guy, and a woman abused by many men, but no lesbian who abused another lesbian, or man abused by many women. No women who abused anyone? Now how did that happen?"

In some Internet blogs and chat rooms, we likewise find the expressed opinion, that most male victims of domestic violence are gay, repeated again and again. Are such statements accurate? Are most male victims of domestic violence homosexual?

There were 92,748,000 adult males and 100,697,000 adult females living in the United States, when the survey below was conducted. According to the United States Department of Justice, July 2000: Findings from the National Crime Victimization Survey - Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, approximately 834,732 men and 1,500,000 women are victims of intimate partner violence each year.

In other words, men are approximately 36% of annual Intimate Partner Violence victims and women comprise approximately 64%. For the purpose of satisfying the question raised in the title, I will be concentrating primarily on the statistics pertaining to gay and heterosexual men victims.

I need to point out at this juncture that the survey, in its own words, consisted of: "telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 8,000 U.S. women and 8,000 U.S. men about their experiences as victims of various forms of violence, including intimate partner violence."

A few sentences later this key extrapolation jumps forth from the page, "Analysis of the survey data produced the following results." It says, "1.5 percent of surveyed women (120 women) and 0.9 percent of surveyed men (72 men) said they were raped and or physically assaulted by a partner in the previous 12 months. According to these estimates approximately 1.5 million women and 834,732 men are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States."

At the beginning of the section Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence in Same Sex Couples, the report offers this critique of existing research, "Research on violence in same-sex relationships has been limited to studies of small, underrepresented samples of gay and lesbian couples. Results from these studies suggest that same-sex couples are about as violent as heterosexual couples. (1)"

The study went on to document that:

(A) One percent (1%) of surveyed women (79 women) and eight tenths of one percent (0.8%) of surveyed men (65 men) reported living with a same-sex intimate partner at least once in their lifetime. Of the 65 gay or bisexual men, 23.1% reported being raped, physically assaulted, or stalked. Of that twenty three point one percent (23.1 %), twenty one point five percent (21. 5%) were physical assaults alone.

(B) Ninety percent (90%) of surveyed women and eighty six percent (86%) of surveyed men reported marrying/living with an opposite-sex partner but never with a same sex partner.
According to the survey, "for brevity's sake," the former are referred to as same-sex cohabitants and the later are referred to as opposite-sex cohabitants."

If one does the extrapolation, which at this point the survey curiously does not, we see that 23.1% of eight tenths of one percent (.8%) of same-sex men cohabitants, out of the estimated 834,732 men victims of intimate partner violence, works out to about 1,543 same-sex men who were victims of intimate partner violence annually.

Without going one-step further, it is a simple mathematical proof to state that 1,543 same-sex men do not comprise "most" of the estimated 834,732 men who are annually male victims of intimate partner violence. In fact, for every one (1) "same-sex" male victim of intimate partner violence there are an estimated five hundred forty one (541) "opposite-sex" (heterosexual) male victims of intimate partner violence. Therefore, to say that most male victims of domestic violence are homosexual, bi-sexual, or gay is an egregiously gross misrepresentation of existing information. Even if every "same-sex" man in the survey reported being battered, that total number would still be only about 6,678. In light of all the anecdotal evidence, mathematical proof, and sound logic it is ridiculously fallacious to contend that heterosexual men are not the vast majority of male victims of intimate partner violence.

In no way is the above information intended to minimize the intimate violence that gay victims of domestic violence experience. They too deserve vital services to meet their needs. In addressing this topic I'm hopeful that all victims of domestic violence are put in a more accurate and honest focus so that grossly under represented male victims no longer go on being almost totally ignored by America's taxpayer funded domestic violence industry.

It's too bad this survey didn't spend some statistical effort on documenting the level of service and shelter provided to members of each group to show the gross under funding of services for all male victims of domestic violence, including same-sex men. If heterosexual men (intimate partner victims) received only the attention given gay men by the domestic violence industry, services for all male victims of intimate partner violence would be vastly improved. Why does this rampant discrimination through politicization of domestic violence resources exist? Why does the domestic violence industry so grossly misrepresent the number of heterosexual male victims of intimate partner abuse?

Even though I repeat an explanation from an earlier article, I believe it vitally important to do so. Perhaps if it is repeated often enough it will begin to be heard and understood by an ever-wider segment of American society, and lawmakers.

It is my opinion we find the reason for misleading statements about heterosexual and gay men victims in an explanation given by Linda Kelly.

Linda Kelly writes in her scholarly research paper, "Disabusing the Definition of Domestic Abuse: How Women Batter Men and the Role of the Feminist State,"

"Domestic violence represents the prized gemstone of feminist theory's fundamental message that our legal, social, cultural norms are fashioned in a manner which permit men to engage in a constant and pervasive effort to oppress women by any and every available means. A successful challenge to the Patriarchal definition of domestic violence may thus undermine feminism itself. To remain true to feminist theory, no aspect of male-female relations can be considered without first accepting the male as all powerful and the female as powerless. (119) The gender hierarchy is omnipresent. (120), Pp. 818"

The above mentioned methodology does appear to be present in quotations below from Paula Petrotta, Vice-Chair of the Los Angeles City Domestic Violence Task Force. Nowhere do we find mention of male victims of domestic violence "In one year alone, almost four million American women are physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends."

"...the epidemic of violence against women is not new. Unfortunately, the physical subordination of women, often with the convenience of the law, has been a tragic theme of our past."
"...if we truly want to eradicate domestic violence, we must eliminate the underlying beliefs and fears that allow the oppression of women to thrive."

It appears that the domestic violence industry views heterosexual male victims of domestic violence as a threat to funding it gets to further its gender feminist, domestic violence agenda. The agenda purports to serve the needs of women, but as I've elaborated in previous articles, it doesn't do that very well either. When the domestic violence industry intentionally ignores the needs of violent women, they don't get the batterers programs they desperately need to help them. However, let's not forget heterosexual male victims, who by now we could refer to as the most forsaken of all domestic violence victims.

I find it the height of cruelest irony to see that all other groups in need of domestic violence service are being politically used present the appearance that heterosexual male victims of intimate partner violence don't exist, or exist in numbers so small as to be insignificant. How many other major misrepresentations exist in America's domestic violence industry?

When heterosexual male victims are widely misrepresented, while same-sex male victims are widely misrepresented, while violent female batterers are also widely misrepresented, what does that say about the integrity of America's domestic violence industry? Should such an industry continue to receive the heavy funding it does under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? In my opinion, no social institution (heavily subsidized by taxpayer funding) should be allowed to misrepresent itself to the taxpayers. No social institution should operate on principles, where any misrepresentation is allowed to pass for truth, until the truth is revealed, thereby forcing misrepresentations into the light of day. The "catch me if you can" attitude of the domestic violence industry is responsible for many of the domestic violence myths existing today. The domestic violence industry should not receive one more penny to continue to foist the misrepresentations it has worked so hard to perpetuate.

To provide billions of dollars in funding for a whole industry that is based on misrepresentation of such critical needs is not only unethical, in my opinion it harms every member of our society. One can only wonder how much longer a system of laws, possessing laws flagrantly devoid of integrity, can continue to survive. In a country like America, where government is said to be "of the people, by the people, and for the people," with laws like VAWA on our books, our nation is already existing in a relative state of anarchy.

March 30, 2005, Ray Blumhorst

Source: http://www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2005/0330blumhorst.html

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