Mark Charalambous, Nov. 9, 2003
Another Domestic Violence Month has come and gone, and the public has once again been reminded of the horrific amount of domestic violence committed by men. Remarkably, domestic violence accounts for 20–45% of all women’s injuries seen in hospital emergency rooms, we are told.
This is truly a staggering statistic, and raises a crucially important question that demands an answer. This question is not, however, “Why do men treat women with such violence,” because like most domestic violence factoids, this one evaporates under close scrutiny.
|Is there really any qualitative difference between saying: “The primary cause of injury to women in the US is domestic violence,” and “We live in an epidemic of male violence against women"?|
The problem with debunking these factoids is that no matter how often the truth squad answers the bell, the lies continue to propagate. Fueled by a plethora of taxpayer-funded grants for domestic violence education programs, they have a life of their own.
Variants of the factoid can be found in numerous places. An Internet search turned up hundreds of hits, typically on domestic violence “fact sheets” from such sources as the Ohio Dept. of Health, the Murray, UT police department, and various battered women’s shelters such as Safe Horizon (NY) and the Family Refuge Center (WV).
A legitimate analysis of women’s injuries treated in hospital emergency departments comes from the CDC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) which tracks a representative sample of hospitals nationwide. The Dept. of Justice released a report in 1997, “Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments,” based on 1994 NEISS data. According to the report, 1.4 million people were treated “for injuries from confirmed or suspected interpersonal violence.” The report notes in the first paragraph: “These patients represented about 1.5% of all visits to hospital ED’s and 3.6% of the injury-related ED visits in 1994.”
So, right off the bat, 96.4% of injuries treated in emergency rooms are not due to assaults, domestic or otherwise. As anyone with a modicum of common sense should realize, most injuries come from accidents in the home and car crashes.
|If in actuality 2% of women’s injuries are due to domestic violence − not “half” or “a third” or “most” as claimed − how is it that we accept without question, let alone with no indignation, the horrific portrayal of men that this lie implies, an inflation of the truth by up to a staggering 2,250%?|
The percentages that follow are, therefore, percentages of a percent (3.6%). The percentage of female patients whose injury was caused by a spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend is 36.8%. Additionally, 19.3% of female victims would not report the identity of the assailant. If we take the worst case scenario and assume that all unreported assailants were of the spouse/ex-spouse/boyfriend variety, the percentage rises to 56.1%.
But these are percentages of the small percentage (3.6%) of hospital emergency room visits that are attributed to assaults. To find the actual percentage of women’s injuries due to domestic violence, we need to take 56.1% of 3.6%, which is approximately 2%.
This 2% represents the maximum percentage of women’s injury-related emergency room visits that can be attributed to domestic violence. The comparable figure for men, by the way, is 1.4%.
Now we get to the crucially important question raised by the factoid. If in actuality 2% of women’s injuries are due to domestic violence − not “half” or “a third” or “most” as claimed − how is it that we accept without question, let alone with no indignation, the horrific portrayal of men that this lie implies, an inflation of the truth by up to a staggering 2,250%?
It is a testament to the successful campaign of male demonization that feminism has been waging for three decades and counting. Victim-feminism preaches that control of women through violence is built into the very fabric of masculinity by the “patriarchy.” But this is the exact opposite of the truth. The “patriarchy” teaches men that it is fundamentally wrong − and even worse, unmanly − to hit women. Men are socialized to protect women, not to harm them. All boys are taught by their fathers not to hit girls.
There is no more poignant picture of the goodness of men than that of the NYC firefighter gazing up the staircase of the World Trade Center into his imminent death. Men everywhere routinely put themselves in harm’s way for women, seeking no recognition or reward − while feminists denigrate men from the safety and comfort of their offices and classrooms. From the Y chromosome to the institution of fatherhood itself, no aspect of masculinity escapes their attack.
|There is no more poignant picture of the goodness of men than that of the NYC firefighter gazing up the staircase of the World Trade Center into his imminent death. Men everywhere routinely put themselves in harm’s way for women, seeking no recognition or reward − while feminists denigrate men from the safety and comfort of their offices and classrooms.|
Is there really any qualitative difference between saying: “The primary cause of injury to women in the US is domestic violence,” and “We live in an epidemic of male violence against women” (author/columnist Katha Pollitt)?
Pop quiz: How would you react to a news story that exaggerated black-on-white violent crime by a factor of 22.5?
Trick question. Such a news item would never get past the editor’s desk. The claim might or might not get fact-checked, but most likely the author would be categorized as a racist, and the story would be terminated by the Delete key.
But we not only provide forums and sympathetic ears to these sexists, we give them literally billions of dollars of taxpayer money (VAWA funding) to spread their twisted worldview of male-female relations.
A second generation of women is now being poisoned from this well. Isn’t it time we just said “No.”?
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The author is a Leominster, MA resident. He is the Spokesman for CPF/The Fatherhood Coalition and an instructor in the Massachusetts state college system.