Quick escape (ESC)

Who is a victim?

Gender has everything to do with domestic violence as inequality and sexism are key drivers of violence against women.

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Content warning This page involves descriptions and discussion of the experiences and impacts of domestic and family violence. Some survivors might find its content troubling.

A victim is anyone who is having abuse perpetrated against them, and includes children who witness violence by seeing or hearing the violence or experiencing its aftereffects. Victims may be male, female, old, young, and come from all cultures and socioeconomic groups. 1 Statistics are clear though – domestic violence is most likely to be perpetrated by a male partner against a female partner.

What does gender have to do with violence?

To say that “gender has nothing to do with violence” is just plain wrong. Overwhelming research and evidence from organisations such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, World Health Organisation and the United Nations clearly tell us that gender inequality is the number one driver of domestic and family violence.

There is abundant data showing that ideas of gender in which men are viewed as superior to women, and where men have power to control women, are predictors of increased levels of domestic violence. 2

Unhealthy harmful gender models are certainly found in the Christian church as they are found in the broader community. Churches are not always safer for women than the secular world.

What about men?

Regardless of gender, violence against anyone is unacceptable and devastating for everyone who is subjected to it. For men who are living in fear and experiencing violence from a partner, it is vital that they are supported to access the help that they need.

However, women and children are overwhelmingly the victims of family violence, and the evidence that almost all violent crimes are committed by men is irrefutable. 3

Whilst domestic violence is experienced by both men and women, it is clear that violence committed by men

  • is far more common
  • has much worse impacts
  • and is far less likely to be in self-defence.

While men remain the primary victims of overall violence, ABS statistics show they're not being murdered by women. 4 The violence against men is being perpetrated overwhelmingly by other men.

Although women sometimes do use violence, it is unusual for a woman to use the same pattern of domineering control and terrifying intimidation over a man that abusive men typically exert over their victims – usually women and children. Studies show that the majority of women’s violence against men is in public while the majority of men’s violence against women is in private. Research also shows that the majority of female perpetrators of domestic violence have at some time been a victim of their partner’s violence.

Where violence is committed by women against men, these are anomalies and not part of a systemic culture of gendered physical and sexual violence committed by some men against women, children and other men.

Women’s violence against men is rarely a mirror image of men’s violence against women.

Asking ‘which violence is worse?’ or ‘what about men?’ is derailing as it distracts people from enacting solutions, and downplays the seriousness of the current national crisis that is violence against women. 5

  1. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1415/ViolenceAust
  2. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(15)00013-3/fulltext and http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/50/50-3/JETS_50-3_573-594_Tracy.pdf
  3. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/news-and-views/social/no-women-arent-as-likely-to-commit-violence-as-men-20141118-3km9x.html
  4. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/4906.0
  5. http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/challenging-the-mra-claim-of-a-domestic-violence-conspiracy/8632190 and https://victimfocus.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/stop-asking-me-what-about-men/amp/?__twitter_impression=true