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Domestic Violence & Suicide

Summary
This page is focussed on Domestic Violence (DV; sometimes referred to as Domestic & Family Violence, or DFV), which is generally recognised as including psychological / emotional abuse as well as physical violence.  I also touch a little on other violence in the community, and include some observations on suicide - much of which appears to result from relationship problems (including DV), although the research on this seems to be extremely poor given the relative magnitude of the problem.
Unlike most other pages on my web site, my primary aim here is to present the existing evidence I've gathered, rather than any new ideas.  This evidence should in turn inform the design of publicly-funded "human services" for addressing these problems.  But despite the lack of originality, I consider it one of the most important pages on my site, because it's about confronting the facts on why so many of us are unhappy.
More than any other page on my web site, this one seems to be a constantly growing blog (sorry!), as I keep coming across more information that supports the analysis here, from which the following are the key conclusions:
  • Men & women are generally equally guilty of committing abuse in domestic relationships, although the nature of that abuse does have typical gender differences.
    • Women tend to be more psychologically abusive and men more physically aggressive, especially in extreme forms (but both genders are often guilty of either type of abuse).
    • DV in some form affects some 20-50% of relationships (depending on the type of abuse).  Men are typically half as likely as women to report abuse to authorities.
    • Contrary to feminist patriarchal doctrine, some studies indicate violence is most often caused by women's desire to control their partner and of the roughly half of DV cases involving uni-directional violence, women are more than twice as likely as men to be the sole aggressor (as men generally avoid retaliation).
    • Women are often as likely or more likely than men to commit abuse when children are involved, especially in the context of a relationship breakdown.
    • Self-serving & corrupt family courts and the so-called "Child Support" agency are complicit in enabling much abuse, especially alienation of children from a separated parent.  The justice system needs drastic reform.
  • Sexism still exists amongst some "western" men (& women), but there's no evidence that this is a material cause of violence against women (and discrimination is much reduced from past decades, especially in employment, as girls are increasingly outperforming boys at school & beyond).
  • 'Mild' harassment of women may still be quite common, but an estimated 1% or less of Australian women are ever raped (implying less than 1% of men are rapists).
  • Extreme cases of violence like murder are very rare (impacting about 0.01% of Australians), and do not provide useful evidence to inform actions to address the much more pervasive but milder forms of DV.
    • Whilst women killed by men are the single biggest category in DV murders, they are exceeded by the total of men, children & other women killed by women.
  • Suicide kills vastly more people than murders. Men comprise 3/4 of all suicides.
    • On average, over 40 Australian men suicide every week, whilst somewhat less than one woman a week is killed by her male partner.
    • Although suicide is commonly linked to "mental illness" & depression, which is a significant factor for women in particular, male suicides are more commonly linked to a range of distressing life events, with about 60% of male suicides related to relationship problems.
    • Unemployment, poverty (especially in Aboriginal communities) and gambling are also significant factors.
    • The media & governments should stop ignoring suicides (which have been rising in Australia, unlike many other causes of premature death) and give greater priority to better understanding, predicting & preventing its causes.
  • The dramatic increase in "Dad-deprived boys" over the last 50 years is having disastrous consequences for society, including greater substance abuse, school failure, inter-generational mental, behavioural & relationship problems, suicide and crime (such as rape and other violence including even school shootings & terrorism).
  • Many feminists are guilty of deliberately dishonest denial of these realities and of showing extreme intolerance & disrespect for alternative opinions and typical gender differences (especially inherently masculine traits), and no understanding or compassion for male problems.  The vast majority of men are naturally inclined to protect women, and Australia is the world’s safest country for women to live in, but fear-mongering has made them feel less safe than in any other OECD country.  Current feminist propaganda campaigns, including those in schools that instill fear in girls and teach boys to be ashamed of being boys, are inflaming gender wars and making things worse.  They need to be replaced with:
    • Universal programs that help people (children especially) better manage their emotions and develop respect for themselves (i.e. robust self-esteem) as well as the differences of others.
    • Community support systems with flexible, evidence-based (data-driven) & technology-enhanced "human services" that are tailored to individual person & family needs.
    • More efficient justice and mental health services to identify and intervene earlier in the more extreme (but less common) cases of abuse & violence affected by serious mental illness.

Introduction - rebalancing the narrative
Over the three years I've spent sporadically gathering evidence and updating this page, it's become apparent to me that current public DV debate is seriously misinformed by a dated and deeply-flawed feminist philosophy - the "Duluth model" - which claims DV is overwhelmingly caused by "patriarchal" men lacking respect for and aiming to control women victims - as suggested by the Western Australia government advert shown here, which includes a men's so-called "helpline" that presumes they are the perpetrator.  In researching this area, I've been well aware of the possibility of bias in my information sources, and so have tried to track down the evidence for the commonly-publicised, feminist DV narrative (e.g. via White Ribbon & Our Watch web sites), but have found that it leads to an unsubstantiated dead end.

The Duluth model has now even been rejected by one of its founders, Ellen Pence, who realised that the model was ultimately a product of confirmation bias & ideology rather than empirical research, saying,
by determining that the need or desire for power was the motivating force behind battering, we created a conceptual framework that, in fact, did not fit the lived experience of many of the men and women we were working with… Eventually we realized that we were finding what we had already predetermined to find” 
(Pence, 1999, “Some Thoughts On Philosophy”).



Yet this oversimplified narrative, which has dominated public discussion, fails to recognise the many different types & underlying causes of violence, and consequently is not helping to reduce its incidence.  The distortion in public debate leads to distorted public policy, such as the relatively high funding for women's DV shelters compared to suicide prevention (see below) or other types of violence that affect men more, or the introduction of paid DV leave, which, since different people suffer different misfortunes, would be better & more fairly addressed by ensuring adequate sick leave covers DV, mental health and a range of other potential misfortunes (some of which may lead to suicide).  A number of women writers & researchers have now disavowed feminism because of some extreme feminists' male-bashing (proudly tweeting & writing hatred for men, which is not OKand their alienation of men from the cause through dishonest & cruel rejection of men's concerns, including through campaigns to block the public viewing of material focussed on men's perspectives, like the very interesting film, The Red Pill (see box), and even to end Father's Day (with this nice advert supporting Dads declared political & consequently blocked in 2017).  In this May 2019 speech at Cambridge University (which of course feminists tried to block), former feminist Elizabeth Hobson recounts the history of feminism, from early, anti-family, overt terrorist days to its modern, more insidious form of misandry (man-hating).  Like most good causes, the feminist movement has been taken over by extreme fanatics.  Now, false feminist gender ideology is even being given priority over effective military operations.

The Red Pill

The Red Pill (see this TED talk intro or the full film on Google PlayYouTubeVimeo & iTunes) has won multiple awards and got positive reviews by some feminists but was unfairly attacked by others (causing some screenings to be blocked in Australia & Canada) including by mainstream Australian media, not least in an appallingly disrespectful interview on Channel 7's 'Sunrise', (see here) in which Andrew O'Keefe, an "ambassador" of the supposedly anti-DV organisation White Ribbon (that even staunch feminists have concluded stinks!), arrogantly and most ironically "mansplained" to the former-feminist filmmaker, Cassie Jayewith false accusations about her film that he didn't even bother to watch (despite being given the web link for it a month earlier, which he also lied about).  The self-serving White Ribbon (which hijacked International Men's Day to fund it's anti-male propaganda, despite having a 3/4 male board!) and similar Our Watch organisations have dominated DV debate in Australia for many years with highly-resourced but tokenistic publicity campaigns based on the false narrative of the Duluth model.

The disconnect between broader society and the messages promoted by modern feminism are evident from surveys showing only 19% of Australians identify as feminist (& less than 10% of women in the UK - see detailed report here - and even just 1-in-6 Danes), 45% feel feminism has gone too far and 76% think men also suffer from sexism (although this didn't stop SBS broadcasting its preferred, predetermined & one-sided views about sexism).

Of most concern, people who question the radical feminist view that DV is all caused by "the patriarchy", society-wide cultural sexism or "gender norms and inequality" get threatened, attacked, abused & silenced, with even Erin Pizzey, famous founder of modern DV shelters, getting disowned by feminists and receiving death threats for disputing that "men were the enemy" and for being committed to finding the root causes of DV (see her Honest-Ribbon web site, formerly also called White Ribbon, and watch this interview of Erin by Cassie Jaye for The Red Pill movie).  Most recently, a West Australian counsellor lost his job simply because he shared an article on Facebook about women committing DV against men (an article by Bettina Arndt, who is campaigning on this issue) - which matched his practical observations over many years of counselling experience.

It's ironic that such serious undermining of free society through intolerance of other's views shows a lack of empathy - which is often the underlying cause of domestic violence - and also ironic that the most extreme feminists show stereotypical "unempathetic, aggressive male" behaviour, which may well be driven by the "internalised misogyny" they accuse other women of ("When you point the finger, three fingers point back at yourself"), perhaps because they're angry about not fitting in as a stereotypical female.  It's also a betrayal of the left-of-politics commitment to equality, because how can you possibly say you support equality yet judge & label people and deny them that most basic equal right to express their opinion and be heard, because you don't like it? (as ironically but tactfully explained to members of The Project TV show, whose interview of Cassie Jaye showed a similar level of disrespect to Sunrise's).  Unfortunately it seems that the laudable left-wing concern for inequality seems to almost inevitably require the creation of groups representing rich & poor, or oppressed & oppressors, which then leads to tribal/identity politics, fighting and disrespect for others based only on their group association - much the same ugly end-point as some on the "right-wing" seem to reach through a different path of extreme individualism & lack of compassion for others.

Sadly, vile attacking responses to feminists from some Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) only inflame the gender wars and seem to have made the term "MRA" a dirty word - discouraging more balanced men & women from supporting the legitimate aspects of their cause.  We need to stop shooting at each other from trenches and show some balanced consideration of all perspectives.  I hope my thoughts & research here contribute to that.
And in adopting a focus here on men's issues, I should make it clear that whilst I oppose ideologies that systematically blame groups of other people for society's problems, I obviously support the most basic principle of feminism - equality of the sexes - as well as proactive measures to improve women's equality and to reduce sexism, discrimination and violence against women.  In the case of  employment, I think some proactive measures are still needed because organisations with a pre-existing non-diverse composition of people tend to develop a sub-conscious bias against any "outsiders", which results in biased recruitment processes and narrow-thinking organisations that reinforce 'group-think' (but targets should be used judiciously, not set as inflexible 50/50 expectations in all organisations).  Diversity is good for organisations as well as fair justice, but in many cases it needs to be pro-actively promoted to overcome this sub-conscious bias (because most people are narcissistic and prefer the company of others like themselves). I think this applies to all categories of people, whether based on gender, culture or whatever.

The Patriarchy - not quite what it seems

To the extent "the patriarchy" still exists, it shouldn't be viewed simplistically as men choosing to dominate over women for men's benefit.  It's a social structure which clearly derives from ancient times when a tribe's survival required young men to hunt & fight whilst women reared children at home.  Similarly, improvements in women's rights through the 20th century were fundamentally driven by broad technological & societal changes (rather than feminist campaigns alone); for example, women were only really able to go out to work once home appliances were available to reduce the home workload, whilst campaigns for universal suffrage were actually as much a battle against ruling & land-owning classes by lower-class men (especially to get votes for soldiers in the UK & USA), as they were a fight for women.  As both feminists & men's rights groups point out, men also lose from a patriarchy that considers killing boys is a lesser evil than killing girls (so the patriarchy's purpose was never to just benefit men).  Evolution is a ruthless force of nature that is concerned only with survival, not maximising equity or happiness, but whilst an aggressive patriarchy may have been a necessary evil in medieval times, it serves neither men nor women much good now.  I think modern humanity can do better than just survive, if we learn to understand, respect and love each other (and if we don't we may risk extinction through global war).
Even where they exist, traditional patriarchal households are often not quite what they appear.  In this interview of Dean Esmay for The Red Pill movieCassie Jaye quotes, "The man may be the (notional) head of the family, but the woman is the neck, and it can turn the head", on which Dean observes that most men are intuitively motivated to support their families and seem conditioned (by culture &/or genes) to protect women & give them what they want - largely because they care about "the group" (see my thoughts on masculinity near the end of this page), although I guess also because, like women, they want to be loved (& make love).
In turn, women instinctively exploit men's concern for them by using "soft power", or as @DrWarrenFarrell (bestselling author of "Why Men Are The Way They Are", "The Myth of Male Power" and "The Boy Crisis") says,
“Men’s greatest weakness is their facade of strength, and women’s greatest strength is their facade of weakness”.
Patriarchy is in decline, and doesn't explain everything
In recent years, women have been making major progress towards equality in many organisations and industries - driven ultimately by the fundamental economic forces of the modern, knowledge-network economy, which women are better suited to than participating in & command of mass labour forces typical in old production & commodity/ heavy industries.  And within only a few generations of this massive technological & economic change, the vast majority of young western men have discarded millennia of cultural expectations about women's roles in society, thus further facilitating women's rapid progress (as articulated so positively in this TEDx talk).  For example, Australian girls are outperforming boys at school, young Australian women (aged 25-29) are much more likely to have a degree than men (45% vs 32%), half of Australians with natural & physical science qualifications are women and overall median graduate starting salaries are basically equal, even in engineering, whilst in the UK, girls are now well ahead of boys in university entries & initial salaries (yet attempts to understand & tackle the growing under-performance of boys in education have been made “taboo” by feminists).

However, these relatively recent changes haven't yet flowed through to average salaries across all ages, so we need a more sophisticated discussion about the so-called 'gender pay-gap' than simply comparing raw average incomes, including accounting properly for different working hoursUsing ABS statistics of hours actually worked (which is more than contracted hours), and ABS average weekly cash wage data, I estimate Australian men earn about 10% more per hour than women (or this alternative calculation suggests men may actually earn 10% less than women on an hourly basis, but I don't think it's right as it relies on government pay-gap figures of unclear basis).  The higher paid working hours done by men is balanced by less housework, so in total men and women typically work about the same number of hours (even using a 7-hour difference in weekly housework hours rather than the 5-hours average difference reported by the ABS for 2018, which is more than offset by the extra 9 weekly hours of paid employment actually worked by men and suggests that in total men work about 10% more paid & unpaid hours than women, in line with the 10% pay difference I calculate).  Research reveals a very similar pattern in the USA and other countries, yet all too often housework statistics are manipulated and distorted in their isolated presentation by feminists beating up on men.  This is despite US surveys showing an overwhelming majority of women believe their employers treat & pay men and women equally, and are just as pleased with their employment situation as men are.  So if you're genuinely concerned about inequality, as I am, then it seems more important to focus on the fact that the difference in income between two randomly selected people of the same gender is most likely a lot bigger than the relatively small average difference between each gender group.

Average incomes also differ due to men & women tending to prefer different life & career choices, not least of course with respect to parenting - which is not simply determined by culture, because as the charts here show (contrary to the claims of neuro-feminazis, who use absurd strawmen to try and deny biologically-based neuro sex differences), men & women's brains, thinking behaviours & emotional psychology are biologically different (most obviously of course in relation to sexual attraction), and actually more so in the womb, before societal conditioning), albeit with significant overlap of their variations, and in fact these differences are often larger in more gender-equal societies.  Even so, women in the US who have never been married and are without children earn 17% more than their male counterparts (after controlling for education, hours worked & age).  Also, for women who typically make greater career sacrifices for unpaid child rearing & house duties, what matters is the shared family income (and an efficient justice system to ensure a fair split of assets if they separate).   But what's most important is that individuals of each gender have equal opportunity to deviate from these average statistics.  Undoubtedly there are still some areas of employment where women are unfairly disadvantaged (& some where men are), but whilst it may be concerning that white men still dominate the top of the corporate worldas well as government & other influential societal institutions (as summarised here, but note the "middle age" analysis is totally dodgy), and this seems likely to be determined more by "boys club" networks than by merit (and even this may not really be "patriarchal" in nature, because it seems there's also a girls club, which may be even more insular), the fortunes & (possibly narcissistic) characteristics of the top 0.002% of the corporate world (that's roughly the % of all employees who are on company boards) say very little about who, if anyone, enjoys privileges amongst the middle and lower-class masses of society (see inset box below about statistical extremes).

However, whilst there may still be plenty to do to promote this economic-gender transition (e.g. addressing women's legitimate needs for suitable safety equipment, even though other complaints such as the size of phones seem to overplay the victim card), in order to ensure equality & flexibility (& respect) for women in all areas of society, it's also true that the changing culture of society is bringing major challenges to men & boys (who are no longer "best"), as reflected in the alarming levels of male suicide (see below).  The problems that underpin these suicides, such as the negative economic impact on male working classes who are losing their "competitive advantage" (but are still expected to bear the cost of chivalry & protection, which most men are still happy to do if it's appreciated), may explain (not necessarily justify) a growing backlash (from men and women) to an increasingly intolerant & misandric feminism that seems to be magnifying gender conflict in society (in media, culture & reality, although from the highest perspective this may fundamentally reflect an uncertain & unstable societal transition period that is fostering a battle for control).  To some extent, feminist politics & arguments about inequality may now be lagging the rapid societal changes occurring.  For obvious reasons, most research on gender inequality has been biased (unintentionally or otherwise) towards measuring those aspects of life where women tend to be disadvantaged, but a new, more comprehensive approach actually finds that overall, men now get the short straw in many developed countries (unlike many developing countries, where this UN charity focuses, especially around Africa, India & the Middle East, where literacy levels for men are still often 20-30% higher than for women, for whom literacy rates may be as low as 35%).

I do think that we still have a patriarchal society in some respects, but as Julia Gillard said about the disgusting, misogynous attacks she was subjected to,
"It doesn't explain everything, it doesn't explain nothing, it explains some things. And it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey."  
And so too, like most things in life, the causes of violence are not as simple as "men are violent", the patriarchal society or other black-&-white false dichotomies (even though there may be some truth in those perspectives).  In this policy area, it's usually better to sit on the fence than rush to judge.
So with this context, my contributions on this page focus on the "men's perspective" that has, until most recently, been missing from a highly imbalanced mainstream public DV debate (because it's not what some vested interests want to hear or acknowledge).



DV is not 'gendered' - both men & women are guilty
The extent to which feminists deny the true facts of DV is apparent from how easy it is to find the balanced research in a quick internet search.  My first source of evidence was good-old Wikipedia, which reveals the following:
Consistent with this initial research, according to the world’s largest, rigorously evidence-based database from the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK), rates of female-perpetrated violence are actually higher than male-perpetrated (28.3% vs. 21.6%), (which measures physical violence according to this), 80% of people have perpetrated some kind of emotional abuse (roughly equal by gender), 58% of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) was bi-directional (i.e. provoking each other) and, contrary to common claimstwice as many females as males were responsible for uni-directional IPV (28% vs 14%).  These studies show mixed findings on motives (i.e. not dominated by the feminist narrative of patriarchal male control).

In the US, this article says, "Women comprise 56% of all abusers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And of the various kinds of abuse, which include physical and sexual, the most common form is psychological".
Peer-reviewed published research from 2006/7 (also referenced here & in full herefocussed on young US adults (aged 18-28) revealed almost a quarter of all relationships had some violence, with half of these being uni-directional (non-reciprocal) and over 70% of this uni-directional violence perpetrated by women (i.e. women are more than twice as likely as men to be a sole aggressor).  Also, reciprocal violence was associated with more frequent violence among women, but not men.  The same results were shown in further research on slightly older couples (up to age 35) with young children, which also found that women initiated severe aggression in 11.5% of cases (& minor aggression in a third of cases), which was 37% more common than it being male-initiated (& 45% more for minor aggression).  Male-initiated aggression was most commonly in reaction to female physical aggression, whilst female-initiated aggression typically responded to male verbal aggression.  This same article indicates that other studies show mutual (reciprocal) violence being initiated roughly equally by men & women, although the initiator couldn't be determined half the time.

Canada's 5-yearly General Social Survey, last done in 2014, found women were far more likely to threaten to or actually hit/thump/slap, kick or bite their partner, or throw something at him, and another American spousal violence survey found that while women were more often called names or prevented access to family income, they were more likely to try to control their male partner's movements and limit their contact with friends, family & children (see "parental alienation" below).

Coercive, controlling abuse by a woman (which led to her being the first UK woman to be convicted and jailed for such behaviour) is depicted in a BBC documentary, "Abused by my Girlfriend", with the aim of reducing barriers to the extreme under-reporting of DV suffered by men.

Similarly in Australia, this article reports that: "33.3% of men are experiencing violence by their current partner... (94% of these partners being female) & 37.3% of men have experienced emotional abuse", whilst the Australian Women's group ANROWS' analysis of  ABS 2012 survey data (see summary statistics in "DV & deaths & suicides.xlsattached below) shows women commit 23% of all physical & sexual assaults by known perpetrators (excluding threats & emotional/verbal abuse, which are perpetrated more by women) and 38% of all such assaults are against men (i.e. more than 1-in-3), of which 38% (=14.6/38) are by women.  Excluding sexual assaults (79% of which are men against women), 46% of all physical assaults are against men, of which 30% are by men & 16% by women.  Including the 10% of (non-sexual) assaults that are female-female, women commit 26% of all such physical assaults, which is 2.8 times less than those by men (as emphasised in the Victorian Royal Commission report discussed below).
Comprehensive analysis by the Australian Government, drawing from multiple data sources (including the ABS) to cover physical violence, emotional abuse and sexual assault, was released for the first time on 28 February 2019 (I haven't reviewed it in detail yet but the summary statistics seem to be broadly in line with what I present here).

Finally, this large meta study (combining the analysis of multiple studies, to give an aggregate sample size of 371,600) shows near gender symmetry in IPV perpetration - "demonstrat(ing) that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners" - with the highest incidence apparently occurring in lesbian relationships and the lowest between homosexual men.

More research references with similar findings to above can be found in this open letter to the CEO of WA Relationships Australia.

Conclusions
Overall, the research above indicates that DV is extremely common (occurring in 20-50% of relationships, depending on what is measured and the level of reporting) and both men & women are fairly equally guilty of some kind of emotional &/or physical abuse against their partners (at least in developed/Anglo countries).  Also, although the most severe physical assaults & injuries (including death) are more likely to be incurred by women, some studies indicate women are more likely than men to inflict some kind of physical attack, more likely to be controlling and more likely to initiate the emotional aggression that triggers most physical violenceThis video indicates that women are more often physically violent towards men, because being smaller & weaker, they can be so without being as likely to cause the serious harm a man would (NB. the video also has interesting thoughts on the evolutionary explanation for women having lower paid non-commander jobs).  Both culture and the relative severity of injury result in violence against women being much more likely to be reported & taken seriously by authorities (compared to lesser or equal injuries or emotional abuse incurred by men) - as discussed in the next section below.

Furthermore, the evidence on the motives & initiation of aggression, and especially of women being twice as likely as men to be a sole aggressor (in "uni-directional violence"), clearly doesn't support the argument sometimes made by feminists that women are generally only violent in self-defence.  Moreover, the attached chart from research on Men's Experience with Partner Aggression shows that in violence initiated by women, men generally avoid retaliation, yet like many abused women, some men will endure abuse for a long time without leaving, for reasons this therapist explains, with number one being that because of their prior experience (or lack of), they don’t realise the way they're being treated is abusive.

It's hardly surprising that there is clear alignment between this research and the stereotypes of physically weaker, 'emotional' women using manipulation & psychological weapons (e.g. see this video of honest women's confessions & apologies and this discussion of their aims) and perhaps milder physical violence (like pushing & slapping) vs stronger, "rational" men resorting to more physical violence (perhaps because they are less in touch with and able to manage intense feelings).  And as this article notes, psychological abuse can be more damaging than physical abuse, especially for children, because it is more confusing and prone to persist over a long time, especially when denied by the abuser.  Such abuse can be very insidious and hard to prove, such that denial of it by the abuser actually becomes the worst of the abuse - because this "gaslighting" or "crazy-making" behaviour causes the victim to question their own reality & sanity (e.g. by accusing the victim of thinking things they don't think and of saying or doing things they haven't done).  This kind of highly-conflictual abuse can become truly bizarre in the level of denial & contradictions by the abuser, and is well described in the book, "The Verbally Abusive Relationship", by Patricia Evans, although the author is categorically wrong to claim that the perpetrators are overwhelmingly male, and she fails to recognise the critical role of the abuser's mental illness (typically narcissistic or borderline personality disorder) and the victim's mental health and lack of self-confidence / naivety (e.g. due to autism), which could influence initial partner attraction and allow the abuse to continue for years.

Now, if there were no "like for like" self-selection of partners, the probability of any man being with a woman prone to emotionally abusing him would still be quite high, at 30-40% (according to the statistics above), but given people absolutely are attracted to others like themselves (or their parents), it is more likely than not that a man who is prone to committing physical violence will partner with a woman of similarly low emotional maturity (or "differentiation"), who is highly likely to commit the emotional abuse that will trigger his violence (just as children who have suffered frequent family violence commonly end up behaving similarly as adults &/or picking similar partners).  Tragically, this is sometimes truly "fatal attraction".

Lies, damn lies & feminist statistics
Contrary to many myths constantly propagated by the feminist narrative, the picture of domestic violence going both ways is also confirmed by a recent study of young British adults (reported herehere & here), which finds that violence is most often caused by women's desire to control their partner, rather than by patriarchal values.  Similar findings reported here conclude:

"for nearly four decades the best research indicates that men are also frequently the targets of domestic violence. And yet, the media and our political/judicial elite often frame domestic violence merely as violence against women...
Like men, women are frequently aggressive in intimate settings and the studies show not only that women stay in abusive relationships but also that they are intimately engaged in and part of the dynamic of abuse...
These findings have been confirmed by more than 200 studies... and found gender symmetry in the perpetration, the risk factors and the motives for physical violence in marital and dating relationships... despite the common assertion, most partner violence is actually mutual and .. self-defence explains only a small percentage of partner violence by either men or women. Rather ... the most usual motivations for violence ... are coercion, anger, and punishing misbehaviour...
...men are twice as likely as their female counterparts to keep abuse to themselves because of the cultural barriers of a system that does not effectively protect them. The ABS reveals ... non-physical abuse (for example, emotional abuse) against men have increased dramatically... those who deny the empirical research showing this considerable gender symmetry often resort to unacceptable tactics, including concealing those results, selective citation of research, stating conclusions that are the opposite of the data and intimidating researchers who produced results showing gender symmetry. This insidious and manipulative philosophy that women are always victims and men always oppressors can only continue this unspeakable cycle of violence. And it’s our children who will suffer.

Other research concludes that current batterer treatment programs are ineffective... likely because they are not based on well-conducted research”, and Since much IPV is mutual and women as well as men initiate IPV, prevention and treatment approaches should attempt to reduce women’s violence as well as men’s violence."

Unfortunately, the current popular domestic violence narrative in the public domain, which suggests that the problem is overwhelmingly one of men's violence against women, reinforces a culture that heavily discourages men reporting violence by women, as well as reducing the chances of getting any legal or support-service response to help such men Even the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (see below) found that men are less than half as likely as women to report being a victim, due to greater shame &/or likely failure of authorities to treat their reports seriously, or even to blame & arrest them rather than the female abuser.  Research published in 2006-07 by Dr. Murray Straus (saying, "it was painful for me as a feminist to write this commentary", and also referenced here), as well as this 2018 article and this excellent 2005 Australian presentation highlight how some feminists, researchers & even governments distort their presentation of data to suit their gendered narrative, with significant impacts on societal attitudes and injustice.  Straus' claim of bias also seems to be demonstrated in this review paper by Kimmel, which I critique here.  Similarly, this challenging video warns about selective use of statistics and reinforces my point above about emotionally immature women/men being more likely to select abusive partners (typically because of their childhood experience of their parents), including, it suggests, the apparently "flawed" & traumatised Rosie Batty (yes, this is rather confronting for victims to hear, but it doesn't have to be about "blaming" them, or their parents).  It also argues that governments are inherently oppressive and incompetent, which I am reluctantly starting to agree with and is consistent with the rationale for the competitive reforms I propose for human services and justice.

Research suggesting that sexist attitudes are the primary cause of violence against women seems to confuse correlation (or "association") with causation and erroneously (albeit understandably) translates differences between men and women's attitudes to violence as evidence that this difference is the sole cause of violence against women (whereas I suspect some men's disrespectful attitudes to women are at least partly a reflection of, or caused by their experience of psychologically aggressive women to whom they are “fatally attracted”).  In any case, 2013 study of US teenagers found more boys (5.8%) than girls (4.2%) had experienced dating violence, and other research in 2001 showed girls in Australia condone violence more than boys, but a repeat of this study no longer broke down these inconvenient results by gender, and shortly after, a program was started in some Australian schools in which boys were made to pledge an oath to never hit girls, but the girls weren't asked to do the same (see further comment on this in my suggested actions near the end of this page).

Too often statistics are ambiguously quoted along the lines of, "Women suffer the majority of violence" to somehow support a logical leap to a narrative and policy agenda based on all domestic violence being caused by men's sexist attitudes, when the reality is that the causes of DV & abuse (by both genders) are much more varied & complex, although not least of the factors is the stress caused by economic hardship (though not in a simple linear way), especially amongst Australia's indigenous populations - as Mark Latham correctly points out with his usual provocative commentary in response to distorted presentation of DV statistics, and is reaffirmed by NSW BOCSAR analysis, which also identifies that violence often follows controlling behaviour by people who block their partner's contact with family or friends (see discussion of parental alienation below).


Violence & sexism is pervasive in various forms & degrees, but it's not an escalating crisis
Women do suffer from more serious physical violence than men, especially sexual assault or threats, which are experienced by 19.4% of Australian women above the age of 15, vs 4.5% of men, although there is some evidence of ABS gender bias in these surveys, which could, for example, exaggerate measures of "threats", which are strongly affected by the recipient's subjective perception and may include what might be better described as merely clumsy, unwanted advances (see further discussion & links below).  The wording of surveys can significantly affect results; for example, US research has found that as many men as women have been subjected to "forced non-consensual sex" (rather than "rape").
Reported rape rates in Australia declined from about 0.1% of the population in 2003 to about 0.03% in 2010, so assuming only 10-15% of cases are reported (although 35% of sexual assaults may be reported in the US, where reported rates are similar to Australia) this implies a roughly 1% chance (or maybe less than 0.5%) of any woman being raped over a 30-year period (lower than I expected, which probably shows how much the media exaggerates risks & magnifies fears on this issue).  Given repeat offenders, this suggests less than 1% of men are rapists, although this is impossible to verify.  Australia has relatively high rates of reported sexual assault, but only about 10% of sexual assault reported to NSW police results in conviction, which is half of those actually charged (implying 80% of sexual assaults reported are either minor or lack enough evidence to justify laying charges).  In the UK, about a third of young men and half of older men tried for rape are convicted.

Low rates of reporting & conviction for rape reflect the high legal/evidentiary, financial & emotional obstacles in our dysfunctional justice systems to proving a crime "beyond reasonable doubt", especially as rape inherently tends to lack witnesses or other compelling evidence and, as Germaine Greer has recently writtenmany cases involve a former or even current loved partner whom the victim doesn't actually want to suffer a potentially hefty prison sentence.  So this raises the question of whether we should establish lower categories of rape crime that can be more easily convicted with less evidence, but incur a lesser punishment.  However, we mustn't convict people of anything based only on accusations, which are said to be false in some 2-10% of rape cases, although the lower bound of 2% is said to be "fraudulent" (see also here) and the true rate, though hard to determine with confidence, will obviously vary strongly with circumstances, culture, jurisdiction & over time, depending on how false allegations are looked down on and punished, or not, and may be over 40% (in the 1990s the FBI found 8% were dismissed as such by Police (before trial) and other studies have determined more than half of rape accusations to be false).  The policy conundrum is that high standards of evidence will inevitably result in a failure to prosecute or deter many guilty incidents, but low standards will inevitably convict some innocent people.

Nevertheless, given the obstacles to achieving justice for genuine cases (& deterring other assaults), we could consider having modest penalties (maybe just fines, that escalate for repeat offenders) for a judgment that no-consent was "clearly more likely than not" For clarity, I would define "clearly more likely than not" as a more than 3-in-4 (75%) chance of rape being true (not 51% vs 49%), although any judgement on this will clearly be subjective.  This is a materially lower threshold than "beyond reasonable doubt" (which I interpret as roughly over 95% confidence, even though lawyers seem to be statistical ignoramuses), but would still leave quite a high chance (up to 1 in 4) of someone being wrongly convicted, which reinforces the need for careful legal controls to ensure relatively light punishment (not the uncontrolled & unconstitutional "believe the accuser" kangaroo courts that have been established in some Australian and many American universities).  Accordingly, I suggest such cases would be heard in confidential proceedings (for the benefit of both parties, but with appeal rights & other mechanisms to protect against abuse of secret proceedings) and would preferably be preceded by less adversarial, more conciliatory efforts for restorative justice.  Even so, given the risks of wrong judgments, I am not sure about this proposal, but I think it's worth exploring further.

Of course it's important that we continually work on reducing sexual offences and other crimes, but it's not helpful when the media, politicians or other groups wage dishonest fear campaigns suggesting, for example, that community/gang violence is growing out of control, or that there's a "rape crisis" in Australian universities - based on questionable interpretations of survey results (which ironically, Bettina Arndt's efforts to critique were met with intolerant & aggressive attempts to deny free speech), despite over half of such cases judged by "kangaroo courts" in US universities now considered to be unfounded and "sexual assault" statistics being inflated by biased samples and broad definitions of "sexual assault" that include things like mutually-agreed sex when even mildly intoxicated, or unwanted attempts to kiss or touch someone, even on their clothes, whilst "sexual harassment" statistics are similarly magnified by including things like unwanted advances, staring or comments.

This is basically the work of terrorists - creating fear within a population that far exceeds the actual risks, supposedly in the name of a cause, but perhaps in reality out of self-interest.  In fact, most violence in society is actually reducing - from 2008 to 2016, NSW recorded a significant decline in ABS-surveyed domestic violence and Police-recorded assault (of which over 11% is against children), and also a reduction in murder rates to 50 in the year to March 2018, including 15 (30%) explicitly linked to DV (representing just 0.05% of DV reports to Police).  Also the ABS' recently-released 2016 Personal Safety Survey shows big drops in physical violence since the 2005 survey, with rates almost halved to 5.4% of men and down a quarter to 3.5% of women. This good news was reported appropriately by news.com.au, whilst astonishingly (or maybe not), ABC News managed to run totally opposite headlines with the same data, by leading with statistics for very broadly defined "sexual harassment" (that may well be impacted by increased reporting rather than increased incidence) and then reporting "increased DV" which includes (& is increased by) sexual harassment, and only finally at the end noting the fall in physical violence to men but completely failing to mention the same for women (or anything about emotional abuse, for which rates against men & women are more equal).

I haven't yet done much research on the underlying causes of rape, but it seems most implausible that inherent masculinity (which is more inclined to protect women - see end of this page) could be the cause of something that less than 1% of men are guilty of (& I'm quite sure that this sort of simplistic stuff will do nothing to help reduce it and rather, through shrieks of "victim blaming!" discourages the research needed to understand perpetrators and address the problem).  More likely, as for other types of abuse, sexual abuse is probably at least partly a consequence of a perpetrator's disturbed & abusive childhood and mental illness.  Nevertheless, an increasingly pervasive "raunch culture" seems likely to exacerbate risks, where slutty dressing & degrading behaviour by young women, which might be OK in restricted premises, has become so widespread across mainstream media and in public that it can be a constant taunt for susceptible men and also influence court judgements (to be clear, the noble reason for modest dressing is to avoid such unkind taunting, rather than because immodesty invites sexual assault).  Ironically, it seems the extremists that dominate feminism probably only reinforce this sexualised culture of brazen female nudity, and those feminist attempts to combat it are not helped by the rise of fatherless households (see "alienation" below) - losing the traditional source of caring paternal guidance from men with respected authority (besides the church, which has also lost influence), who girls otherwise subconsciously look to for affirmation that influences their dress & behaviour when competing with each other for boys (in contrast, young girls focussed on getting a boyfriend are less likely to take directions on modesty from women, and especially not from older & extreme feminists that they don't relate to because "feminism is perceived as something that is unfeminine, asexual and assigned to women who are aggressive, ugly and definitely single").

It's also true that there is a broader level of general sexism and discrimination in many ways (though it's improving in many areas), with some men showing an appalling lack of respect for women, especially through impersonal communication channels like social media, including violent &/or sexual abuse sent by 'trolls' (which I wouldn't call a "low level of emotional violence", nor "micro-aggression"!), or disrespectful behaviour even on Australian mainstream TValong with denial of the disrespect shown and the sexism experienced by women (notwithstanding that the feminist who experienced this can be pretty disrespectful herself on other occasions and unwilling to listen to alternative views or acknowledge men's issues either - as seen here & here).

Yet whilst there's been a lot of publicity lately through the #MeToo movement about men sexually or otherwise harassing women at work, there's also a lot of "toxic females" who bully other women.  But this is not a competition!  The point is that disrespectful & abusive behaviour is rife amongst both sexes and I don't think there's a simple, single-answer explanation for all abuse & violence, whether that be a feminist narrative of the sexist "patriarchy" or otherwise.  It seems to me that there are many people on both “sides” (there doesn’t have to be sides!) stuck in extreme attitudes that “the problem” is caused in almost all cases by the other sex (who are treated like an apparent enemy) - perhaps in reaction to their own experiences (extreme injustices lead to extreme judgments and positions)?  I think there is usually at least partial truth in all perspectives, but prominent commentators on these gender issues show a real lack of balance and critical thinking or willingness to acknowledge any validity in other perspectives.

On which, if you're feeling overwhelmed by too much text and numbers, here's an inappropriate video break as an introduction to the next section:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JTKyhJuyWo&t=28s
(& no this doesn't make me a right-wing, gun-supporting Trump fan!)

Or discover the truth about "mansplaining" from the deliberately offensive but very funny & often insightful Jonathon Pie.

Right, back to it...

Statistical extremes don't represent the masses

Whilst it is true that cases of extreme violence such as murders, terrorism and school shootings are overwhelmingly (though not exclusively) committed by males, these extremes do not provide a good representation of those responsible for the more moderate and highly prevalent conflict that occurs in many relationships.  The statistical reasons for this are demonstrated in "gender trait distributions.xls" attached below, showing typical overlapping frequency or probability distributions for a male & female characteristic - using height as an example (because the data for mean & standard deviation is readily available).  The difference in the mean height is 5.4 inches, but because of the significant overlap in distributions, there is a roughly 30% chance that a randomly chosen man & woman will be a similar height, give or take a few inches, and a 50/50 chance that they'll differ in height by no more than 5 inches.  Moreover, if there is correlation between the two people - which there is, because tall women prefer tall men - then the chances of a small height difference are even greater.  However, the difference is vastly increased at the extremes or "tails" of the distributions, so if a person is more than 5 inches higher than the average male (i.e. over 6' 2"), then they will almost certainly be male (as about 4% of men are, vs less than 0.01% of women).  Similarly, Dr Jordan Peterson points out that in personality tests, men, on average, score a lower measure of "agreeableness", but although the differences are not great at the midpoint of the distributions (so there's a sizeable 40% chance that a randomly selected woman will be less agreeable than a randomly drawn man), the effect of such differences are magnified at the tails, so the most disagreeable 1 or 2% of individuals (those at high risk for extreme violence and incarceration) are overwhelmingly male.  Conversely, the dominance of males in the distribution tails has little relevance to the likely difference in agreeableness of two men & women amongst the bulk of the population, especially as they will also show correlation in their traits (which is what often drives partner matching).
Counting dead women - time for men to step up?
Australia is actually the world’s safest country for women to live in (in 2018 & 2019 but thanks to all the fear-mongering, women feel less safe than in any other OECD country), and random killings by psychopathic strangers are quite rare - around 30 people p.a. (varying significantly by year), including about 20+/-10 women (see attached xls) or less & declining, which for an Australian population of over 26 million can be expected to directly affect less than 0.01% of men or women over their lives.  Around twice as many women (30-40 p.a.) are also killed by male partners (see analysis of this & suicides below), whilst research on Australian DV-murders indicates that a man is killed by a woman for every two women killed by men.  But even if perpetrators are more commonly men, this is not their statistically distinguishing characteristic (which is also shared by half the population!); it is their extreme mental dysfunction.  There seems to be no evidence that rare random rape & murders of women have anything to do with society-wide casual sexism in modern, wealthy democracies.  Most men love and care for women (or at least those women that don't attack them), and it is just as insulting to suggest that all or most men (& their supposed disrespectful attitudes towards women) should feel responsible for such dreadful crimes - as is repeatedly claimed with partial selected anecdotes & statistics by many misandric (or at least statistically ignorant - see inset boxmedia commentators (& weak-minded politicians on all sides of politics) - as it is to blame all Muslims for terrorist attacks by "Islamic extremists".  Likewise, the number of children killed by their parents is a similar magnitude (in the order of 10-20 p.a.), but just because a majority are killed by the mother (see below), we wouldn't blame all women for their disrespect towards children for this!

Violence & abuse in society is varied in its characteristics, and efforts to reduce it are not helped by overly-simplistic theories that just blame it all on men & masculinity.  On the contrary, the current dishonest demonisation of men in Australia & other Anglo countries, with relentless attacks and divisive demands to "take sides" coming from feminists, mainstream media, governments & virtue-signalling businesses is creating a "festering fury about the vilification of men and boys".  This gender war is not the way forward; it is only making things worse.

Violence within more common human interactions - where there is typically some background relationship/history - is still also varied, ranging from a relative minority of one-way aggression (which may be sustained &/or unprovoked in the moment) by men or by women suffering mental illness/trauma &/or inflamed by alcohol, through to violent responses that are highly provoked by (not necessarily justified by) verbal/emotional or physical aggression arising from mutual verbal conflict.  The sad reality (which has taken me about 40 years to really accept) is that there are large numbers of selfish, dishonest, insecure & aggressive men & women in society, and still more ordinarily-decent people who will snap & behave inappropriately if placed under enough pressure.  This diversity and complexity of violence in society needs to be confronted and better understood if we are to develop more effective policy measures to combat domestic violence.  If we want to make genuine progress in this enormously important area of humanity, we need balance, self-reflection, compassion and non-adversarial objectivity all round.

Let's be clear - violence is unacceptable, and all individuals have to take responsibility for their actions, no matter what the provocation.  
But as a society, we do have to look at the emotional dynamics between two people that often leads to domestic violence.  It's not about excusing or "victim blaming"; it's about understanding.  If we don't understand the causes, we won't solve the problem.


Women are generally as likely or more likely than men to commit abuse when children are involved
Just because both men & women are guilty of violence & abuse, doesn't mean gender issues should be ignored in DV research; but the aim should be to understand what's happening, and then why, rather than to blame one gender or the other.  For example, the attached analysis by the One-in-Three campaign group (submitted to the Federal Inquiry on family law & DVindicates little difference in the rates of abuse of/by men or women when the data is focussed on recently separated parents, which suggests parenting disputes are an underlying source of much conflict.  
Research in the UK & USA indicates that children are more than twice as likely to be abused &/or killed by their mothers than fathers (see also Figure 4-3 here, which estimates 1,770 children died from abuse and neglect in the USA during 2009).  Australia has less research on filicide, and relatively small numbers (about 8 x lower per capita than the USA), which makes statistics more variable (but the media seem to show a much more forgiving attitude to killer mothers than they do to fathers) From 1997-2008, the majority (60%) of the 176 (15 p.a.) children killed by one natural parent were killed by their mother, whilst the opposite balance existed in the prior decade to 2002 and updated data for the decade to 2012 shows an average of 20 p.a., with roughly 50/50 male/female perpetrators (but large annual variations).  The research to 2002 shows filicide is greatest in babies (declining rapidly to age 4) and also indicates significant causes or triggers are disputes & breakup between parents, along with mental illness.  It appears that biological mothers are much more likely to kill their children than biological fathers, but killings by step-Dads balance out the numbers.  Men seem more likely to kill through violent rage whereas women, who are more likely to have a diagnosed mental illness, most commonly kill their children by asphyxiation.
Overall, these variations don't seem to clearly support the notion that innate gender differences are a primary cause of filicide, but typical parenting roles might be an influencing factor, so one hypothesis to explore would be whether the stress of all-day parenting contributes to these cases, and whether changes in mother/father roles affect this.  The vastly higher rates of filicide in the USA compared to Australia point to material societal contributing factors, which may include poverty.

One relatively rare form of child abuse that is most often (85% of the time) perpetrated by a mother, is Munchausen-by-proxywhich involves the exaggeration, fabrication or causing of illnesses or symptoms in a child (as portrayed in The Sixth Sense movie).  Perpetrators are suffering from a psychiatric condition (sometimes brought on by their own abuse as a child), and typically have medical knowledge, which they exploit as they "Doctor shop/surf", in search of attention.

Child sex abuse does appear to be overwhelmingly committed by men, but it seems women are culprits more often than the 5% of cases that is commonly believed (in the order of 20% of all cases in the USA  - with just as much harm as sex abuse by menand similarly or more in the UK), partly because of under-reporting in a culture that often seems to almost celebrate (or be more lenient about) a boy "having an affair with" an older woman (i.e. being raped), and also because it is denied by a feminist doctrine that all abuse is driven by male power.

The politics of abortion
I'm including brief comment on abortion here, not to equate it to child abuse (although some may), but rather to highlight how, as with DV, media & political commentary seems to lack the balanced views held by the majority of the population.  Also abortion is often raised as an issue of concern by MRAs, quite understandably for prospective fathers (it can be so traumatic for some men that it leads to suicide), although ultimately I can't see how men could ever reasonably be allowed to veto decisions determined by a pregnant woman and doctors according to law.  Some MRAs, and perhaps surprisingly also, the strident, sweary feminist writer/comedian Catherine Deveny, argue that if women are to make all these decisions then men should in turn have the right to a "financial abortion" - relinquishing all parental responsibilities (like Child Support payments) as well as entitlements.  But despite the problems with current Child Support systems (see below), I can't say I'm comfortable with this proposition.
As for what abortion law should be, clearly the majority of opinion these days would not equate all acts of abortion to murder, but rather would accept legal abortion in certain limited circumstances (as is reflected in most countries' laws), so it's a sign of the false black-or-white divisions in society that zealots and the media like to create when debate about abortion is reduced to the extremes of "pro-choice" vs "pro-life".  Similarly unhelpful for reaching public consensus are campaigns to "decriminalise" abortion  without specifying under what circumstances it would or would not be allowed, and what, if any, non-criminal penalties would apply (or else if there are no penalties, simply assuming people will only procure late abortions for justifiably strong medical reasons, in which case there's no point having laws at all !).
I certainly don't have the medical expertise, let alone moral authority to judge when an embryo or fetus should be considered to have developed into a baby human, and where the legal line(s) should be drawn in this difficult area, but I do find it a strange view of "equality" when extremely slack abortion laws decriminalise it in all circumstances and effectively allow a woman to get "abortion on demand" literally minutes before birth if she can pay just one non-doctor "health care practitioner" (e.g. a physician assistant, midwife or nurse) to agree to kill the unborn child (without the father's agreement, of course) on the basis it will "protect her health" (including "mental health", which is so broad a criteria as to practically amount to as-wanted), and moreover, despite the very real scope for abuse (e.g. coercion of pregnant women into unwanted abortions), the passing of these laws in New York gets jubilantly celebrated with cheers & pink neon lights.  This is only one small step away from the "after birth abortion" that has been advocated by some, on the basis that the morality of killing a new-born infant is comparable to killing a foetus.  Interestingly though, New York's actions seem to have triggered a backlash in public & political opinion, with Democrats identifying as "pro-life" increasing from 20% to 34% over just one month, and changes in law at the opposite extreme being pushed in other States.  Yet these extremes seem to defy majority opinion, with a January 2019 poll indicating that despite 55% of Americans identifying as "pro choice", 75% of Americans still support some kind of restrictions (including 60% of Democrats and 60% of those who identify as "pro choice"), with 60% opposed to abortion after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, and more broadly, over 80% believing that it should be possible to have laws that protect the health & well-being of both the mother and unborn child (i.e. in line with the law & practice in most western countries).  But the extreme reactions continue, with Illinois now going further than New York by "effectively eliminating any regulations on abortion" - allowing them up to the moment of birth and then beyond via "partial-birth" abortions, "for any reason".  A key problem is that neither side of this extreme debate really wants a middle solution, so even incremental changes proposed may actually be disingenuous attempts to move outcomes towards the desired extreme.  For example, attempts to regulate the very small number of late-term abortions, which could provide important protections for a rare minority of inappropriate cases, are understandably seen as an attempt to control the vast majority of legitimate abortions by ordinary well-intentioned women.
In practice, abortion rates in the USA have halved since their peak around 1980, to about 22% of pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) or around 15 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, with about 90% occurring in the first 12 weeks and 95% conducted without any health reason.  Abortion rates are very similar in Britain, France and Australia.  If you can stomach it, you can see & hear about the reality of abortion here & here - confronting material of the kind that caused former abortion services director Abby Johnson to switch to being a "pro life" campaigner, as documented in her books & the just released film, "Unplanned".  Or if you want to get exasperated by the unnecessarily divisive debate driven by the extremes of American politics, watch "Reversing Roe" on Netflix.
But in Australia, whatever the community may collectively decide, it seems obvious that along with other basic human rights, access to abortion should be the same wherever you live, both in law and in practice.

Parental alienation
surprisingly common type of abuse ("responsible for around 80% of the most intransigent cases that come before the family courts") is "parental alienation", when the mother (commonly) obstructs the father's access to their child, or manipulates the child into "not wanting" to see their fatherPast research has suggested that most alienating parents are mothers, comprising around 80% of perpetrators, although apparently some recent research suggests men may be just as prone (as Alec Baldwin observes, this may be explained not so much by innate gender differences but rather because women have greater opportunity to alienate as they are more likely to have primary custody).
After much debate & accumulated research, parental alienation has finally been recognised as a mental health issue by the World Health Organisation (WHO), despite resistance from feminists who deny the scientific evidence of it being a reality.  Though the intent (if it is at all recognised) of the perpetrator may often seem to be to hurt the alienated parent, or to to financially gain from sole custody through divorce settlements & Child Support (see discussion below), ultimately the greatest abuse is of course the manipulation & control of the innocent child, making it a severe form of DV that can deeply damage them for life.  And given constrained access to children is a significant factor influencing male suicides (see below), it seems likely to also have a material impact on DV between adults. 
The increasing number of fatherless homes created by divorce without shared parenting is also creating "The Boy Crisis" that Dr Warren Farrell writes about, with disastrous consequences for society, as indicated by the statistics here (& in the graphics at the end of this page) and extending even to a link with ISIS terrorism and mass school shootings (as he discusses in this video & also mentions in this interview, along with an amazing story about his influence on John Lennon).  Similar patterns of crime & abuse amongst young, Dad-deprived males are seen in the UK.
Whilst of course some people may become single parents through little choice, and may do a better job than some couples, statistically, there is very high correlation between single parenting and poor outcomes for children, especially boys.  Conversely, some of the positive benefits of fathers for babies & children (such as better emotional regulation, greater empathy & higher self-esteem) are discussed here, whilst this article even provides biological evidence that it is devoted fathers - and especially their emphasis on active, rough & more risky play - that makes humans unique.
So Kids need Dads as well as Mums, and in court custody disputes after family separations (see below), equal parenting should be the default (see also herehere, here & here), even with  “high-conflict” parental relationships, according to recent research.
Expert information on parental alienation can be found at the following links:
  • Research papers listed by the Australian Government Institute of Family Studies
  • Essays by Australian researcher Amanda Sillars, founder of the Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation, which lists a large number of academic articles.
  • Videos from the 2017 Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG) 2017 International Conference and other material by Karen Woodall.
  • Books, media information and expert services on Parental Alienation Syndrome from Dr Amy Baker.
  • Information for professionals by Dr Sue Whitcombe.
  • The web site & blog of the aptly-named child psychologistDr Craig Childress, which provides information for identifying and managing/resolving parental alienation, including a diagnostic checklist and explanation of the parental pathology (cause of their mental illness, being their own childhood trauma).  Or see this video on three signs of this abuse and this on why kids need the love of both parents (& how the abusive parent often manipulates them).  My simple translation of his advice about stopping the abuse is:
    • Children are not emotionally mature & strong enough to accept that the alienating parent is lying to them, so they are in a constant state of confusion, denial and psychological torture.  To protect themselves they are forced to align with one parent - typically being the alienating mother with whom they reside.
    • The only way for the child to accept reality, "mourn" & then deal effectively with the situation is if the alienating parent faces up to their problems & confesses their lies to the child.  And if they won’t do that then the alienating parent must be removed from the children, to prevent further psychological abuse.
  • In this video, Dr Steve Miller explains why so many professionals fail to identify what's really going on (given the counter-intuitive superficial symptoms), and concludes similarly to Dr Childress about the need to separate extreme alienators from their children (for at least 90 days).
Links to various support groups for alienated parents are at the end of this page.

The courts and child-support agencies are part of the problem
As the film "Erasing Dads" illustrates, many Family Courts around the world are complicit in overlooking & facilitating parental alienation (although of course the industry claims otherwise- largely through a combination of ignorance, laziness/indifference and costly, protracted, self-serving inefficient processes (designed to generate work for lawyers).  But until recently there has been little interest from governments in the issue, as is highlighted by the minimal attendance at a first-ever "debate" on parental alienation in the UK parliament (15 March 2017), although CaFCAS in the UK is now finally starting to act on the problem, as is Italy.

In much of this policy debate, a key concern is the use of false DV allegations as a vindictive weapon against former partners, &/or as a means to gain an upper hand in financial/property divorce negotiations and to benefit from the Child-Support obligations that arise from custody arrangements.  On which, given former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, after being appointed as the new Chair of Beyond Blue in 2017, has given priority to the issue of suicide, I'm glad she admits she still has much to learn (although it still showed in a speech she made in mid 2018, in which she amazingly managed to talk about suicide without acknowledging the disproportionate impact on men).  A first step should be to understand the impact of her past policies whilst PM, particularly the 2011 Family Law amendments, which "effectively dismantled Australia’s popular and broadly successful shared parenting laws and replaced them with what is largely perceived to be anti-male, anti-fatherhood policies".  On the face of it, these law changes understandably prioritised DV considerations over equal parenting, but since protections against DV were already in law and the changes removed penalties for perjurous DV accusations, it is arguable that Gillard's changes were actually a malicious "Trojan horse" to attack father's rights.

Nevertheless, since the law can't ever possibly decree what's best in all the different circumstances of cases that come to court (which is why we have judges!), the problem is really these laws in combination with the courts' failure to demand sufficient evidence of DV allegations or to fully comprehend the psychological damage that parental alienation does to children & fathers.  All too often, second-rate (or corrupt) psychologists write reports for ignorant judges that rely on the views of manipulated children saying they don't want to see their Dad (or Mum), even though there's no apparent reason for this.  A child in this situation is totally dependent on a controlling and abusive parent and will be too scared and confused to hardly know what they think, let alone feel safe enough to speak freely, so if you ask them, all you get is the view of the abusive parent.  On the other hand, if there's no abuse, any child with two genuinely loving parents will always want to see them both, and asking them to choose is itself child abuse.

It may be a case of "unintended consequences" from well-intentioned reforms (noting that perjury had never been "prosecuted or even investigated" anyway), rather than the wilful misanthropy that some men assume, but whatever Gillard's intention, the result has been widespread misuse of Apprehended Violence Orders / Restraining Orders (AVOs/ROs) based on false accusations or trivial evidence (e.g. so-called "yelling AVOs", where the woman expresses fear just from being shouted at), which, as this policeman acknowledgesenable women to easily gain unwarranted, heavy restrictions on the father's access to his children, apparently because the police & courts seem to hold the view that her right to 'protection' outweighs the father & children's right to a fair process that would enable allegations to be contested in a timely & affordable manner (which is largely denied in practice).  Besides the lack of fair justice, this can provoke frustrated & desperate attempts by fathers to get around unjust rulings - leading all too often to spiraling tragedies of violence, imprisonment for breaking an AVO (sometimes for trivial transgressions like even sending a polite text message), unemployment and suicide, along with all the negative social & economic consequences that these outcomes have over the long-term for the affected children, their children & broader society.

Traditionally courts have been reluctant to imprison alienators (on the dubious basis that this wouldn't be in the "best interests of the child"), who therefore can disregard court orders and/or commit perjury with impunity.  In Italy, alienating parents can be fined, whereas in Mexico, guilty adults can be given a 15-year jail term.  Naturally, judges should apply penalties that fit each case, but they could start with a few nights in jail, then a week or two (if perpetrators fail to obey court orders), which would give the alienated parent some much-missed time with their children and give the alienator something to think about - because only if there are serious consequences will the perpetrators stop!  And of course it's also important for others to see that there are consequences for child abuse, in order for the law to effectively act as a wider deterrent.  But whilst the law needs to enable tough action when necessary, even more important is for courts to apply the law with efficiency, speed and good judgement (based on sound evidence), with strong court-system monitoring and accountability mechanisms to promote this.  With a rising epidemic of Australian suicides (see below) driven substantially by the continued trampling of men's legal rights (under pressure from well-funded feminist movements), there is now urgent need for drastic reform of our dysfunctional courts to achieve this.

The so-called "Child-Support" Agency (CSA) also encourages parental alienation.  Prescriptive regulation of Australian CSA operations shows a great example of grossly inefficient, process-driven bureaucracy & silo-ed operations trumping flexible, family-focused services (probably less flexible & certainly less efficient than this, and the opposite of current reform directions for human services).  It creates all the wrong incentives for those willing to exploit the system, especially mothers blocking children's access to Dads - contributing to an estimated 1-2 male suicides every week in Australia (possibly more, with about 10 more due to separation issues in general).  But the CSA washes its bloody hands of all responsibility for child welfare & men's suicide (contravening Australia's obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which should be legally enforced) with the wilful delusion that the dysfunctional Family Court will resolve disputes, which is especially ironic given that the original rationale for establishing the CSA, as stated in legislation, was to avoid the inefficiency of court proceedings.  And despite this rigid approach, it still incurs a staggering net administration cost of over $1.6bn p.a., which is one third of payments made!  So it's good to see the CSA is now being investigated!  Hopefully reform in Australia will then trigger the same worldwide for an industry that has become more concerned with money than child welfare - reflected so starkly (though not in isolation) when the system makes it a higher priority to consider a claim for "child support" from Angelina Jolie, who is worth $170 million, rather than stopping her from blocking her children's access to their Dad (a battle that extended for years before any meaningful court orders were made to ensure contact with the father, Brad Pitt).  And though this case may be extreme in financial magnitude, every year the US system is sending thousands of men into poverty and then jailing them for not paying child support they can't afford.

With an improved justice system that promotes shared parenting, the costs of raising children would be largely shared automatically and there should be no need for "child support" other than perhaps a standard basic/minimum level plus anything further determined by a single, efficient & family-focussed dispute-resolution body that also addresses custody issues, taking account of the specific circumstances in each case - which again requires a radically reformed court system.  In most cases, child-support payments could then be efficiently collected by the tax office and deposited into a trust account for the child, along with any eligible welfare payments, from which any spending would require an explanation (entered online) and agreement by both parents (with agreement taken by default unless objections are raised). 


Suicide is a much bigger problem, especially for men
Despite the above evidence, media and political attention is overwhelmingly focussed on women DV victims, and seems afraid to even mention "men's rights" or the much bigger problem of suicide, which affects men to a much greater extent.  Suicide is the leading cause of death for 15-44 year-old Australians, totalling 3,027 suicides in 2015 (8 every day, and an estimated 100,000 attempts p.a.), 75% of whom are men.  With each death costing at least $2.5 million, the annual cost to the nation is over $7.5 billion.  Worse, unlike the UK, where annual suicides have reduced by a third since 1985 (to 10 per 100,000 males), Australian suicides are increasing, to an alarming rate for men in 2017 that is nearly double that of the UK (per capita) and similar to rates in the USA.  The dominance of men amongst suicides indicates more attention is needed on male-oriented prevention responses and mental health services (athis challenging video argues).  Yet despite the potential for preventative investments to deliver social benefits of about $8 for every dollar invested, in 2016 the Australian Government invested only $18 million in suicide prevention, which is less than half what is spent addressing half the number of people killed on roads, and is dwarfed by the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent annually by Federal and State governments on measures to address domestic violence against women, which as the following chart shows is a much smaller problem in terms of the most extreme outcome of death.

The light bars in the following chart (from the xls attached below, using ABS suicide data and DV death estimates obtained from here & here) show that the life-years lost (assuming the deceased would otherwise live to a typical life expectancy) from suicide vastly exceeds that due to DV murders (note using life-years avoids distorting the comparison with the significant number of suicides by people over 80).  The red bars replot DV murders only (excluding suicides) against the bigger scale on the left and show that whilst women killed by men are the single biggest category in DV murders, the lost life-years for men, children & other women killed by women are still very significant and in total exceed that for women killed by men (and perhaps should be given even higher priority if we place greater importance on avoiding life-years lost by children).  On average, over 40 men suicide every week, whilst somewhat less than one woman a week is killed by her male partner.


Note that there is significant variation & statistical uncertainty in DV-related deaths, given the number of women killed by men (38) and men killed by women (19) in the graph above are relatively low numbers that rely on data for just one year (2016).  For comparison, the NSW Coroners Court Domestic Violence Review Team reports 280 homicide victims killed in a domestic violence context over the 12 years to 30 June 2012 in NSW, of which 164 (59%) were female.  Of this 280, 165 were killed by a current or former intimate partner, of which 129 (78%) were women, all killed by men, and 36 were men, including 31 killed by a woman.  Scaling this data according to NSW's share of Australia's population (32%) gives estimated national annual rates of about 34 women killed by men and 8 men killed by women in a "domestic" context over the 12 years to 2012 (compared to 38 & 19 used in the graph for 2016)which is (stop press, June 2018) broadly in line with data in the first national report by the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network, which reports 152 intimate partner homicides between 2010 and 2014 of which about 80 per cent (30 p.a. or roughly one a fortnight) involved a man killing his former or current female partner.  This typical level & variability of 30-40 p.a. women killed by male partners seems consistent with the data in the attached xls, which shows common variations in total annual femicides of +/-30 (from an average level of 96 over the 12 years to 2013-14), which if 40% are DV, suggests annual variations of around +/-10 in women murdered by partners (but note the data doesn't split the categories of domestic, acquaintance & stranger murders by the victim's gender).  Similarly, data for the three years 2014 to 2016 shows a total of 78 femicides p.a., which is within normal variations, and despite recent claims of an "epidemic", femicides for 2018, totalling 55 in October, seem on track to be below average for the year (the chances of 7 murders in a week are very small, so it seems like an epidemic when it happens, but - as I calculate in the attached xls - as the years go by it becomes more and more likely that such an unusually tragic week will unfold).

As further context, the annual rate of 20-40 women killed by male partners may be compared to an estimated 50-100 male suicides p.a. that can be attributed to child custody battles, including the many such cases caused by parental-alienation child abuse by the mother.  The following chart (of ABS/Australian Institute of Health & Welfare data, via here) shows the rapid rise in male suicides since the introduction of the Family Law Act in 1975 and the CSA in the late 1980s, and as court delays & dysfunction have increased dramatically in recent years, the suicide rate amongst men aged 45-49 jumped by a massive 44% in 2017 (with total male suicides increasing 10% on the prior year and all suicides reaching 3,128, which at 12.7 per 100,000 people was 15% higher per capita than a decade earlier):



Compared to NSW, Victoria and the ACT, other areas of Australia have suicide rates that are 30-50% higher, and 1.4 times higher for women in the Northern Territory (in 2017)These differences are likely to be strongly influenced by economic & cultural factors, and the relative number of Aboriginal people.  Aboriginal populations generally experience poorer social outcomes; for example, although homicide rates (as a proportion of population) have reduced by a factor of three over the last few decades, they still remain several times higher than for non-Aboriginals (see xls attached below).  Aboriginal suicide rates are similarly higher - comprising about 6% of all suicides despite indigenous people being only around 3% of Australia's population and, shockingly, 80% of child suicides aged 12 and below and nearly 30% of child suicides to age 17 are Aboriginal (constituting half of all First Nations deaths under 17), and appear to be increasing.  As might be expected, the highest rates of indigenous suicide per capita are in Australia’s "top end" and other remote areas, but 75% of all indigenous suicides are in Australia’s capital cities and large regional towns.  Primary factors contributing to indigenous suicides are incarceration, poor education and acute poverty (with 40% of First Nations Australians living below the poverty line, compared to 14% of all Australians).  In the first 5 months of 2019, 76 of the 79 indigenous people who suicided were living below the poverty line, with 73 living in social housing and three homeless.  These conditions combine with inter-generational trauma, so nearly two-thirds of indigenous suicides were victims of DV, whilst a third of ­indigenous children who suicided were victims of sexual abuse.

But despite these appalling levels of suicide, very little effort is put into suicide research and prevention.  There seems to be no data or research available at Australia's "peak body for suicide prevention", Suicide Prevention Australia, and the one research paper I found at "Living Is For Everyone.com.au" (LIFE - supposedly the "go-to" place for Australian suicide policy guidance & research) only has analysis of small data sets with a few hundred cases (see Figures A1 & A2 in Appendix A) and fails to distinguish between "symptoms" (such as depression or other "mental health" issues, or drug use) and causal factors - which appear to be overwhelmingly relationship/family/court matters, and to a lesser extent financial problems (90% of US white male suicides are in lower socioeconomic classes) and physical health issues (which probably relate to suicides of the eldest people, resulting in relatively few life-years lost).  I am particularly sceptical about attributing "mental health" as a cause of suicide, as it seems to me that depression and drug use - often labelled as separate "mental health" or "addiction" issues - seem to be society's way of saying, "You've got a problem (to be treated with drugs); it's not our problem", when actually these are symptoms of personal/relationship problems and an uncaring society that fails to help - which one could thus say is the cause of most suicides.  In fact, contrary to the notion of being "mentally ill", the motivation for suicide is often based on quite realistic beliefs and logic.  

Although mental illness & depression is indeed a significant factor in the high male suicide rates, it is less so than for women (who self-harm & attempt suicide at far greater rates than men, although new research suggests male suicide attempts could be much higher than previously thought and similar to that for women) and not the primary issue in the majority of cases.  Australian research indicates that male suicides are more commonly linked to a range of distressing life events such as relationship separation (28.3%); financial problems (17%); relationship conflict (15.7%); bereavement (12.3%); recent or pending unemployment (10.5%); familial conflict (9.5%) and pending legal matters (9.0%).  Given legal matters will include family court, this gives a total of some 60% related to relationship problems (and of course good relationships can also help you get through other problems) - an estimate that is supported by initial research reported here and by US research, which also found that only about a third of men who suicided had a history of mental illness.
Separate research indicates that an estimated 400 Australians with gambling-related problems commit suicide every year (more than one a day & 13% of total suicides), some of whom presumably turn to gambling in desperation because of other life problems.

Clearly an immediate priority should be gathering & analysing data on the background situation of all suicide cases (e.g. using advanced "machine-learning" techniques for identifying patterns in free-text fields), in order to better identify & help people at high risk of suicide (which latest AI systems can already do with an accuracy of over 90%).  Sadly it wouldn't take long to obtain quite a reasonable sized data set.  Also, although it's often said that suicide is higher amongst men because men don't open up to others (& there may be some partial truth in that), the important issue is that men need different suicide-prevention approaches to women that appeal to men's strengths and style.

But I think the bigger threshold issue is that society isn't willing to listen & show sympathy or acknowledge any validity in men's experience - not least in this sort of contemptible, extreme misandric response from mainstream media feminists when men do try to be heard If men keep quiet and stoic then they're told that their problems are basically their fault as a consequence of patriarchy & “toxic masculinity" making them reluctant to discuss emotions (i.e. not being more like women - see masculinity discussion below), yet if they do complain or show negative emotions about the injustices they're subjected to, or try to make a positive point about masculinity and highlight the distorted view of men that is being presented by the media (for profit), then they are labelled a “pathetic, petulant, whiny man-baby” (suffering "fragile masculinity").  And of course if men get angry at such responses, well that just proves masculinity is inherently toxic!  It seems some feminists only show sympathy for others if the issue fits their ideology.  Worse still, western feminist culture commonly seems to consider it fun to show contempt for men or be violent towards them.  The stark lack of compassion for male suicides from many feminists is also evident in a number of articles listed here.

But why does society more broadly seem not to care about this huge, hidden issue?  Simple - because it's deliberately treated as something we shouldn't talk about (or dramatise, as the fuss about "Thirteen Reasons Why" showed), with even NGOs working in this area telling the media not to report suicides (or at least, not the place & methods used), because analysis shows this triggers an increase in suicides (presumably by prompting those already considering it to go ahead).  But this is a big mistake.  Firstly it reinforces the unmentionable nature of the subject, which only adds to the shame that discourages suicidal people from talking to others.  But most importantly, by hiding it from public view, it falls out of political consciousness, which is precisely why the resources devoted to the problem are so low, relative to DV or road deaths.  So for the last few decades, the rate of homicides and road fatalities has been falling, whilst suicides have continued to climb.  I wish the media would present suicide news in a calm, objective way, that readers & voters would be most interested in such reports, and would respond logically rather than emotionally, and that governments would just do the right thing in terms of how they allocate resources - but they don't, and as Einstein supposedly said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results".  It's time we tried something else, and though it may sound brutally rational, I've no doubt that a good military commander faced with this problem would choose to accept short-term casualties in order to win the bigger war - so I say the media should start reporting suicides in whatever way they think will get most reader attention, as this seems the only way to ensure the issue gets the political attention and resourcing it needs


What else to do? - not (just) another Royal Commission!
Sadly, none of the above evidence or complexities regarding the causes of domestic violence are recognised in the recommendations of the recent Royal Commission report into Family Violence for the Victorian Government (released 30 March 2016, which is what prompted me to start researching this area).  Although Chapter 3 of the report includes data showing significant levels of abuse suffered by men (albeit lower than women), and strong under-reporting by men, the bulk of the report & its main recommendations fail to consider how this contributes to family violence.  Royal Commissions can be good for uncovering wrong-doing (& there's plenty to uncover in the family court!), but are not so good at developing solutions.  As The Guardian says, "If royal commissions worked, children and families would be safe by now", I predict that whatever the politicians promise, few of the misguided recommendations will be fully implemented (many are unaffordable) and there will be little if any resulting reduction in family violence.  Indeed, the report's calls for more (uncosted) funding for everything show a complete disregard for financial constraints or the need for greater efficiency and prioritisation (reflected also in the report's 1900 pages and 227 recommendations!).  If anything, the band-aid measures proposed for women's refuges and IT monitoring & tracking will only serve to increase fear, which is often the underlying driver of emotionally abusive & aggressive behaviour ("Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering").  This critique of women's refuges considers they have become part of the problem (comprising "hotbeds of misandry", with many of the women taking refuge being themselves abusive), and should be replaced with family counselling (except in extreme cases that are beyond this and need court intervention).

The Royal Commission (chapter 16 and recommendations 62 & 63) did at least recognise the need to move some other minor cases like traffic offences out of the inefficient courts (to free up court capacity for family violence) and to "move away from inefficient manual and paper-based processes towards electronic and online processes".  But not surprisingly for a judge's report, it fails to appreciate the need for drastic reform of court systems.  Most alarmingly:
  • Recommendation 22 seeks to curtail the presumption of innocence, making the system even more biased against men and harder for them to see their children (by worsening the existing problem of false allegations & unwarranted AVOs discussed above).
  • Recommendation 75 reinforces court inefficiency and injustice by allowing the court to immediately strike out an appeal if the alleged offender fails to attend a "mention" in court.
    (The vast majority of "mentions" are grossly inefficient procedural matters that involve the judge and entire court of officers scheduling a date for when the actual issues of a case will be considered in a "hearing".  They should be replaced by simple automated processes handled by IT and low-grade clerks.)
  • Recommendation 78 actually proposes to repeal imminent legislative changes that aim to move some cases out of the courts.
The justice system is failing in all respects and needs drastic reform.  It overly penalises a huge number of Dads seeking fair access to their children (or more importantly, trying to ensure their children can see their Dad), whilst failing to properly protect women (or men) from the genuinely serious perpetrators of abuse, not least due to the gross inefficiency and poor allocation of justice system resources.

Educating children
Nevertheless, the underlying problem of lack of compassion and empathy seems to be extremely widespread, in men and women.
I think our schools need to teach kids how to be more aware of and look after their emotional health and to care for and not judge others, with the help of methods such as mindfulness/meditation, self-hypnosis/relaxation recordings and (I highly recommend) the Landmark Forum.  That, I thought, was at least one other good recommendation (#189) in the Victorian Royal Commission report, for: "the introduction of respectful relationships education into every government school in Victoria from prep to year 12", which I would make a top priority, along with recommendations 62 & 63 on court reform.
But unfortunately, respectful relationships education seems to have been captured by extreme feminist ideology, with dishonest propaganda from the likes of White Ribbon that emphasises "toxic masculinity" as if it were an inherent trait (see my thoughts on masculinity below) - coaching girls to expect to be victims & fearful of boys, and boys to be ashamed of being male (with only boys made to pledge an oath against violence towards women).  Far from reducing abuse, this indoctrination & shaming borders on abuse itself (especially if combined with other questionable gender theories), and with divisive, negative messages like this damaging the self-esteem & confidence of both boys & girls, I can't think of a better way of encouraging future gender conflict and domestic violence! (Read and hear Bettina Arndt's reaction to this appalling program that, incredibly, the Victorian government then got Our Watch to review, which was never going to produce a robust, independent critique of the gendered narrative it uses, given they promote the same one-sided story, as you can see in this dishonest propaganda video that they foist on teachers & kids! 

Flexible, evidence-based human services & community parenting support
More generally, because so much insidious abuse occurs behind the closed doors of a "nuclear family", society needs to rediscover the collective/community approach to parenting & child-care (of our historic cave-living & hunter-gather days), of which schools may be just one part.  Such assistance may be provided with proactive support services for struggling families who are identified as "at risk", or those already affected by DV, delivered through broader reforms for more flexible and integrated person or family-centred "human services" (i.e. providing the best combination of services to address individual person & family needs through a contracting & purchasing framework that encourages improved social and economic outcomes).

It is pleasing to see that since I started writing this page in 2015-16, the NSW Government has recognised the existence of DV against men and provided initial funding to support them (unlike other States like Victoria & WA), as has the UK in March 2019, but there's still a long way to go before we have truly equitable and supportive attitudes & services for men (with the same even or appropriately-sceptical approach that's planned for male victims also applied to women reporting abuse, since the very narcissistic nature of abusers is such that a significant proportion of perpetrators deny their guilt and blame the victim, especially if there is no proof of physical violence, as is the case for the emotional abuse that is most commonly inflicted on men).

We need supporting services that are evidence-based, innovative and responsive to individual & local circumstances.  This is why the highly data-driven "public health" approach to tackling violent crime (recognising the influence of localised cultural, economic & other factors, rather than any inherent characteristics of certain groups of people) has been so much more successful than traditional punishment approaches or simplistic lecturing of whole groups of society (like all men).
Also look out soon for an A.I. app called "M.e.KA", which uses "Machine Empathy" (M.E.) to help people identify and deal with abuse (which will initially be provided to children, who especially need a "trusted, confidential friend" for advice that won't report the issues to others without the child's permission - which is a problem with current mandatory reporting laws that discourage children from seeking help).



Toxic or protective masculinity?
Watch this video, which starts with this: "Rape, murder, war: they all have one thing in common - men.  Aggression, violence, ambition unchecked by conscience are all the stuff of toxic masculinity, and the solution is obvious - make men less toxic; make men less masculine; make men more like women - right?"
The label "toxic masculinity" is often used by feminists in a way that suggests there is something inherently wrong with masculine traits, which are cultural rather than evolutionary, and need to be educated away and replaced with more feminine traits.  Although there are of course valid criticisms to make about some common aspects of masculinity & modern culture, it's ironic that a movement that claims to be about equality uses a false re-write of history & biology to deny & disrespect male characteristics that typically differ from females.  A more thoughtful and balanced view on gender archetypes can be found here.  But to the extent "masculinity" does embody stereotypical characteristics of courageous leadership, risk-taking and aggression, it seems these traits must have developed with a purpose, which is to support and protect the group and family, not least those women and children who are physically weaker (regardless of the group's formal organising power structures - whether patriarchal or otherwise) - as exemplified by the iconic shining knight saving the damsel in distress, or Superman saving Lois Lane & the whole world.  Of course human psychology - especially the drivers of deep feelings like love - has not had time to evolve since hunter-gatherer & earlier days, when a highly vulnerable pregnant women's survival depended on having (& thus being attracted to) a partner who would protect & provide for her, which is why men still instinctively want to do this and most women still appreciate chivalry (like men opening doors, buying dinner, walking her safely home and working to support the family), even though it may no longer be so essential.
So it's masculinity with a noble purpose, and this probably has deep-seated biological origins (as I think this video clip of a protective Silverback suggests, even though gorillas aren't humanity's closest relative, & can also display ugly as well as noble masculinity), which could explain why boys tend to prefer things like fighting-games, superheroes and aggressive team sports (being the hero winner for the group), compared to "typical" girls (whilst noting there are wide variations in these stereotypes).
These masculine traits can't be eliminated from the male psyche. The solution is not to deny, suppress or feminise masculinity, it's to encourage it and harness it for good.  Boys need to be guided and valued as they become men in society, not shamed for their masculinity.
This is not to say that all aspects of so-called feminisation are bad, such as helping men become more emotionally aware.  But rather than berating men for lacking such skills, it may help to recognise why this is so - because it's historically been a man's job to defend/fight and do other tough & unpleasant tasks, so stoic men developed barriers to keep going through distress (perhaps no more so than in the British wartime philosophy to "Keep Calm & Carry On"), by building internal psychological walls that block feelings/empathy, which may create a general reluctance to bring up feelings and talk about them (let's face it, when it's your job to attack a woolly mammoth whilst trying not to be eaten by sabre-tooth tigers, it's not exactly an evolutionary advantage to want to pause and share your feelings on the situation in a group chat!).  These characteristics still have their uses because, for example, men tend to be less repulsed than women by jobs like disposing of rubbish or working in a slaughterhouse, but unfortunately when an issue is so big that it breaks through a man's emotional barriers, the unaccustomed impacts can be devastating in their consequences.
Then what happens when you take away men's noble purpose? If boys have no Dad role-model for supporting the family, and when the role of men in a changing society is becoming less clear, with poor prospects for many young men for gaining secure employment and being able to have and support a family?  Then you have masculinity without a purpose, including pent-up aggression and frustration with no productive channel (perhaps without even knowing why).  Combine this with a culture and political-bureaucracy that tells these men they're privileged, shames them and refuses to listen to or act on their problems, and you have the conditions that lead to desperate and angry behaviours, or so-called "toxic masculinity".  So contrary to some feminist viewswhen you disparage masculinity and try to make men more like women, you don't get less toxic masculinity, you get moreConversely, it may be argued that what society needs is not less masculinity, but more (of the good, "traditional" kind).
We shouldn't condone or excuse aggressive & hateful reactions from some men to feminist attacks on masculinity, nor should we (and probably can't) stop the rise of women in modern society, but we can show compassion for struggling men.  Indeed, as MLK said:



More links for DV & parental alienation, plus men's health & issues, father's rights & their benefits for kids and Family Court/Law Reform groups
NB. I'm not necessarily endorsing everything that's posted on these sites!


www.parentalalienation.com.au
Parental Alienation World Wide Support Group (Facebook)
https://www.facebook.com/Thevoicesofparentalalienation/
https://www.facebook.com/ParentalAlienationDynamics/

Families for Children's Rights: https://www.ffcraustralia.com/
http://www.familyaccessfightingforchildrensrights.org/
Men and Women for Equal Parenting for Australia (Facebook)
https://www.facebook.com/Equal-Parenting-Australia-381908268589022/
Australian Non Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
http://familylawreformcoalition.org/ & https://www.facebook.com/familylawreformcoalition/
https://www.facebook.com/childsupportreformpetitionaustralia/

Australian Men's Health Forum: https://www.amhf.org.au/
http://www.fatherhood.org.au/ or http://www.dads4kids.org.au/ & https://www.facebook.com/Dads4Kids.Australia/    
https://www.facebook.com/Dads-News-719363448167582/
The Father's Rights Movementhttps://fathersrightsmovement.us/facts
http://www.fathers4equality-australia.org/


https://fathersrightsmovement.us/facts


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David Thorp,
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6 Jun 2019, 09:44
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10 Oct 2018, 17:03
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