Violence against women – it’s a men’s issue

The somewhat ironic thing that continues to strike me is the absence of a focus on the gendered specificities of violence against women.  In certain parts of the Church and society we do recognise the problem of violence, but we talk about ‘domestic violence’, ‘family violence’ and seem reluctant to the point of being afraid to talk about this problem in the terms that declare its gendered reality: that is, male violence against women. The underlying assumption is that women’s violence against men is pervasive and equivalent to men’s violence against women.

The weight of all the evidence in Australia and globally is that women are disproportionately affected by violence and that the vast majority of violence against women is perpetrated by men. This is not to deny that a minority of men suffer violence and will need services, but to squarely assert that it mainly affects women.

Fundamentally the issue of violence against women is a blokes issue; a problem with some men’s attitudes to women and supported by certain cultures that either produce, perpetrate or condone sexisim, discrimination and violent behaviors. Any attempt to tackle violence against women that does not take into account the gendered nature of violence is not going to get us very far. Gender blindess will not contribute to any significant change in culture.