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Woman bites dog

Filed under: Domestic Violence — JohnPotter @ 4:30 pm Wed 16th November 2005

The “Viewpoint” section of the November 2005 New Zealand Medical Journal has an article by Janice Giles: ‘Woman bites dog – making sense of media and research reports that claim women and men are equally violent’.

The title of this article makes clear that the writer considers abuse of men by women to be so rare and insignificant as to be considered humorous. She denies the reality that there are thousands of New Zealand men who find this attitude deeply offensive – for them female violence is no laughing matter!

Giles is concerned about the few rare occasions in recent times in the media has a dared to discuss the issue of violence by women – exposing the fact that medical workers, police, court personnel, and Woman’s Refuge workers are not seeing or addressing the needs of male victims. These reports, she claims, “may undermine policies designed to prevent and reduced male partner violence against woman”. She promises to explain “why study outcomes claiming equal violence must not be accepted at face value.”

“We hear and read about violent acts every day the media. Men are the perpetrators of the vast majority of these acts. That’s not news. Men’s violence is so commonplace as to be unremarkable.”

Except for “every day in the media”, in thousands of pseudo-academic papers like this one, and at hundreds of taxpayer-funded conferences like ‘Courageous Practice in Family Violence’ held recently at Waipuna Lodge where Giles was a presenter. Her presentation notes are scattered with quotations (presumably from her clients) like:

“I discovered heaps of things about myself that I didn’t know before.”
“Being myself is more important than the relationship.”
“I found my real self.”
“I’m a person. I’m not just this mum and this wife.”
“That experience… gave me the opportunity to find myself and be OK with me. Just with me.”

I’ve collected quite large proportion of NZ media articles about domestic violence over the last 10 years. As a result I have whole filing cabinets bulging with feminist articles about how all domestic violence and abuse is the fault of men, and the Patriarchy. I have just a few files of clippings which address the issue of violent woman – the ratio must be hundreds of male-blaming articles for every one that is gender neutral.

“Any suggestion of woman’s violence achieves media prominence, whenever it arises.”

The author cites just two examples: Mark Scott’s excellent documentary “Bad Girls” which screened on TV 3 on 11th Jul 2004, and a 2003 TV news report about a study which showed over 50 % of Pacific Island woman admitted to violent behaviour in the home, with nearly 20 percent saying they had attacked their partners by kicking, biting, strangling or using a weapon.

Increasing numbers of New Zealand women are beginning to demand that their sisters be held to the same standards of accountability regarding domestic violence as men. The time when feminists like Giles could claim to be speaking for all New Zealand woman is long past.

Giles’ problems with mainstream scientific studies boil down to:

  1. They measure ordinary couples — not biased populations such as refuge populations (which will produce a politically correct result)
  2. CTS is designed for the general population, not a special interest minority group (as social policy surely should be)
  3. “Reflect inadequate conceptualisations” (which I guess means that if you don’t agree with the author you are stupid)
  4. “Underestimate the potential for an accurate or biased reporting, particularly abusive relationships that may not yet been known as such.” (I agree with her in this regard — men notoriously under-report in the hostile environment this paper promotes).
  5. Finally, the studies seldom measure the outcomes of violence. (Again I accept this a fair criticism. It would be extremely constructive to monitor suicide rates following separation, as well as the rates at which parent-child relationships are destroyed, and the real consequences for children of growing up alienated from one parent.

Giles argues correctly that studies such as the CTS are not designed specifically for the small minority of families where domestic violence is extreme. Although I’ve never met one, I’m quite prepared to accept that there are some NZ men who believe they should be able to control their wives and who use violence to exert that power. I’m perfectly happy for them to be arrested, prosecuted and jailed if they are found guilty of committing a criminal assault.

However, to stereotype all men in this way, and to insist on basing social policy on the behaviour of a small, dysfunctional minority of the population, is abusive to the majority of men and and to woman who are prepared to take responsibility for their own abusiveness and who want to do something about it.

None of the current measures of domestic violence are perfect. Most of them focus on types of abuse which are more likely to be perpetrated by men, and generally fail to deal adequately with issues such as psychological, emotional, and verbal abuse, not to mention parental alienation, abuse-by-proxy (using organisations like the Family Court to do the dirty work), or the making of false accusations. Giles’ article fails to demonstrate any empathy or understanding of male experiences, in common with most feminist organisations claiming to be “against domestic violence”.

Some of the logic employed by Giles is hard to follow. In contrast to studies of random populations which count actual violent acts, and which usually show woman committing slightly higher rates and men, she says: “researchers who focus on violence against woman in a domestic context” find “men more likely to perpetrate violence than woman”. Any researcher who focused on violence against men in a domestic context would find exactly the opposite! Neither finding has any relevance to the incidence of violence in the general population.

All the old excuses and minimisations for female violence are rolled out: they are just defending themselves, they are just getting in a pre-emptive strike, women don’t hit as hard, men are less afraid, etc etc.

At the end of the paper Giles spells out her real concern about the implications of accepting that domestic violence is not gender issue. She says it may “influence public perceptions and subsequent responses towards woman who experienced violence and abuse from male partners” (or rather organisations such as Woman’s Refuge who raise millions of dollars each year, supposedly on behalf of such woman).

The author identifies herself only as a ‘Researcher’, from Auckland. Database searches failed to find any previous publications which might show what research she has done. Google, however, reveals that she is a long time feminist activist, employed at some time by almost every anti-male organisation in town: the Help Foundation, the NZ Drug Rape Trust and Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care.

She doesn’t mention her current employment, but her interest in promoting the radical feminist paradigm could possibly be related to the fact that the PO Box number she gives as her address is the same as The North Harbour Living Without Violent Collective, which receives government funding to provide stopping violence services to men on Auckland’s North Shore. At Men’s Centre we have met dozens of their clients, all of whom report feeling blamed and abused by the treatment they received.

The feminist paradigm that Giles promotes is outdated, and has become part of the problem rather than a contribution towards the solution.


  1. Thanks JP,
    It’s great to see your errudite rebuttal of Giles’ nonsense.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 16th November 2005 @ 6:16 pm

  2. *Sigh*

    Another high profile feminist waffling on about how all males are evil and violent, backed by warped, and most likely invented statistics.

    It is sad how a small proportion of society, being extremists, can have a huge influence on what people believe, imposing thier ideas and beliefs, and in doing so effectively creating more of thier ilk.

    It seems that any one of these feminists who have a high enough profile are able to freely publish thier sick and twisted ideas with erroneous statistics unchecked, which is of course is then read and consequently belived by a fair proportion of society, with no consideration against.

    So I ask you who read this :

    Why do we, as Men, not have representatives (in similar high profile positions, publishing content to rebut) to EQUALLY speak out and defend us against these pathetic, destructive and hateful women ?

    Would then logic and justice not prevail ?

    Comment by Moose — Thu 17th November 2005 @ 12:16 am

  3. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before, except I suppose I’ve been told over and over that it’s unPC to pathologise folks, and bought into such.
    However I’m seriously beginning to think that the thought processes of radical feminists as illustrated by many now in high office are as delusional as those of others that do indeed get psychiatric classification.
    Perhaps therefore it’s time to find apt titles for thier kind of thinking.

    Misandric Anxiety and Depression (MAD)

    Feminist Paranoid Complex (FemPC)

    Grere Anxiety Syndrome (GAS)

    Heterophobic Hate Syndrome (HHS)

    If nought else. It could serve as a convenient way to paraphrase through acronym what men are having to deal with.

    Comment by Stephen — Thu 17th November 2005 @ 1:19 pm

  4. namecalling? tendentiousness?

    Comment by dave — Fri 18th November 2005 @ 2:20 pm

  5. Namecalling. Sure. Discernment rocks. Being cowed into PC silence sucks.

    Tendentiousness – Not done an opinion survey to find out. And even if most people disagree with someone, it doesn’t necessarily make that person’s opinion wrong. Duh.

    Narcissism – Nah, just dealing with same old femmyNZm.

    Comment by Stephen — Sat 19th November 2005 @ 12:43 am

  6. Interesting, I read this in one of your recent posts.

    “Insulting namecalling by inference……is a very poor substitute for debating the issues.”

    Comment by dave — Sat 19th November 2005 @ 2:34 am

  7. Dave, it’s not an insult to call a spade a spade in my book. I still reckon there are more than a few feminists who’s thinking is so loopy when it comes to men that I need to call them as I see them. If that’s something you get pissed off about then so be it. I’m afraid it’s long past the time for me to be pussyfooting around misandrist bigots who try to silence men on the issue of domestic violence.
    There’s so much at stake, and so much information and research around these days which they filter out as it contradicts thier misandric worldview out that I can only deduce that they are indeed delusional.
    I don’t even think I’m being particularly judgemental about this, just using some common sense to state a fact. Of course due to ideology some will choose to see it differently and try to surpress my expression as recent MENZ threads will attest to.

    I suppose I’m just going to be a lightning rod for my outspokenness. That’s the price of taking some leadership and speaking up.

    Comment by Stephen — Sat 19th November 2005 @ 5:12 am

  8. Said my piece.

    Comment by dave — Sat 19th November 2005 @ 5:16 pm

  9. Stephens post classifying the radical feminists has got me pondering on what thier thought processes could possibly be.

    I go by the belief that fear gives rise to anger, and anger gives rise to hate. And hate is what these radical feminists do well. So, would this be akin to the proposed Heterophobic Hate Syndrome (HHS) ?

    Another thought – Women are increasingly filling the positions Men traditionally only filled, which is always going a good thing for equality, and EEO’s.

    But the fact remains, we as Men better at particular things than Women, and vice versa.

    So, we have women filling positions Men are usually better at performing. Now, to a Women, would she not have more difficulty performing her job than her Male counterpart ? This would obvoiusly lead someone on this position to anxiety and frustration.

    I know I hate it when someone finds a task easy, which I find difficult.

    But for our (sometimes) fairer counterparts this could fit the MAD, FemPC and GAS disorders as previously stated.

    Women are acting like Men, and expecting to be treated like Women. It can’t work.

    Comment by Moose — Sat 19th November 2005 @ 11:28 pm

  10. HHT – Heterophobic hate syndrome. I reckon I’ve seen this up close being incited on NZ campuses. Use of horrendously inflated derogatory anti-male stats and stories about NZ men used to devastating effect, not because the femhate is necessarily believed but because it can sew seeds of doubt in impressionable young minds. Worse still though I’ve lost count of the NZ women I’ve met over the years who have in turn blithely spouted the old 1 in 4 NZ women have been subject to DV and sexual assault myth radaradarada…….line.
    I’ve met alot of these women working in the NZ DV industry to right the percieved ‘wrongs’ of the ‘evil patriarchy’. Judging from reports eminating from the recent DV convention, thier parlance may have changed slightly (with a droppping of the more extreme references to ‘patriarchy’, but the basic deluded and filtered thinking socialist feminist ideological drive is still there.

    Comment by Stephen — Sun 20th November 2005 @ 6:08 am

  11. Moose,

    Your comments about EEO and women filling positions in place of Men raises a question in my mind. A short while ago, researchers were investigating women in senior roles in the private sector and found, almost without exception, that, while the women liked the pay packet and the power, they did not want the stress of their job.

    So, does this mean they want the job without the stress, but still with the same pay packet? And, if so, who is supposed to wear the stress?

    Comment by Ethos — Wed 23rd November 2005 @ 9:53 am

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