Dear James Kirk
Regarding the interview this morning on Radio NZ’s Nine to Noon, we support the idea that that state provide housing for men thrown out of their homes through Police ‘Safety Orders’. However, many of those men need emotional, legal and practical support to deal with injustice towards them.
You and Ms Robinson failed to mention that many such men are ordered out of their homes only because they are males. The wording of the relevant Act allows police complete discretion over whom they give these Orders to, and many are based on police tendency to pick on the male in the hope of avoiding further call outs to the address regardless of who appeared to be the violent party or the most violent party. Police also tend to believe women’s false allegations even when the male is the only one with visible injuries and there is no sign of violence towards the woman. We agree with your emphasis on respect towards men who have been thrown out of their own homes but surely this includes acknowledging the true picture, that many of those men are the real victims of any family violence and/or the male-abusing system.
Of course, for those men and women who are the perpetrators of violence it’s important for them to be supported in changing their beliefs and behaviour. However, you made no mention of the need for violent women to change; why is this?
We are concerned that you and Ms Robinson would speak about family violence as though only men ever commit it and only women ever suffer from it. Ms Robinson made vague references to ‘the research’ but we would suggest the research base and objective statistics be represented honestly. For example, both of our world-renown longitudinal studies in Dunedin and Christchurch plus numerous international studies have shown clearly that women commit at least as many acts of violence towards their intimate partners as men do, but the men’s violence is, on average, more serious. Nevertheless, a significant albeit smaller proportion of serious violence is committed by women. For example, the most recent NZ family violence deaths statistics show that 24% of the intimate partner killers were women amd 27% of the victims of intimate partner homicides were men.
We hope that you become more honest about the area in which you both work. Condoning or colluding with sexist, anti-male laws, law enforcement and social attitudes is most unlikely to lead to more caring and responsible attitudes in either the men or women who would benefit from such change.
Ministry of Men’s Affairs (A community group because successive governments have neglected the voice and welfare of NZ men)