TMZ‘s scoop that police are investigating if Tiger Woods’ injuries were as a result of domestic violence will no doubt highlight the issue that men are also victims of domestic violence.
I wince at some of the “men are victims of domestic violence too” articles. Not because I don’t have sympathy for men who suffer it but because often there’s an underlying assumption that stories about violence against women are old hat and over-familiar while violence against men has shock factor or that the attention given to women is somehow unfair to me.
But there were some thoughtful articles about violence in this country like this one from Camilla Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company who called for “a more sophisticated narrative about violence” and for initiatives that get to the source of the problem.
Cultural permission for violence towards girls needs to be perceived as completely unacceptable, but let us not forget the boys. And let us not present the argument as “men do harm and women are victims”. Men and women can both be perpetrators of violence, and as no one is born a criminal or an abuser, then we need to understand that the origins of violence towards others are nearly always a by-product of violence survived.
Tim Lott in the Independent looks at figures from the British Crime Survey that show the rate of domestic violence is about 0.4 per cent in the female population while for 16-24 year old males the chance of being a victim of violence is 13.2 per cent.
…perhaps it might be worthwhile during the “Why It Is Bad for People to Hurt One Another” double period, to deliver a few doubtless ineffectual words about the continuing and disgraceful casualisation and normalisation of violence among and towards young men – which arguably is a phenomenon that overflows seamlessly and poisonously into male/female relationships.
The violence of men against men is not necessarily a more serious problem than the violence of men against women. But it is a far bigger one. If this project of men learning not to hit or assault women is to be addressed in our schools, then it is surely worth wasting an equal amount of time rehearsing the injunction that men should not hit other men either.