Derby News Comment

The ‘1 in 4’: Men! Why are we not angry about the shocking reality of violence towards women?


If 1 in 4 dog-owners abused their pets there would be an outcry, if 1 in 4 car owners had their cars indiscriminately damaged on a routine basis, there would be major questions asked of the Police, so why are we not angry that 1 in 4 women are abused by men during their lifetime?!

Every minute, of every day, of every year, an incident of domestic abuse is reported to the Police….totalling 635,000 cases per year.

2 women are killed each week, by men, in the UK – that is the work of a serial killer.

1 in 4 of all recorded Violent crime is Domestic violence.

Domestic Violence
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

• psychological
• physical
• sexual
• financial
• emotional

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”*

*This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

750,000 young people in the UK witness Domestic violence in their homes every year.

1 in 4 of all women have experienced stalking since the age of 16.

There are 400,000 incidences of sexual assault each year, of which 190,000 are considered serious sexual violence, including 85,000 rapes

1 in 4 women have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime

“Sexual assault is an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation, in the form of a sexual act, which is inflicted on someone without consent. It can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual acts, apart from penetration of the mouth with the penis, the penetration of the anus or vagina (however slight) with any object or the penis, which is rape.”

1 in 4 women are raped by their partner, or husband, and 1 in 4 never report it.

“A person commits rape if they intentionally penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with their penis without consent.”

1 in 4 rape victims are children

The root causes of domestic violence , sexual assault and rape are broadly the same. It has nothing to do with provocative clothing, misunderstood flirtatious behaviour, or a simple male desire to have sex with a woman; it has nothing to do with straightforward sex.

It is all about the need for a man to Dominate, Violate and Control a woman…or a child.

The starting point for understanding rape is accepting that it is an act of violence and not sex. When rape is used as a “weapon” of war, it tells us all, how women are perceived in the world. A violent act of penetration against the enemy’s women relates to their perspectives on “territory” , “property” , and “male rights over women”. The aim of raping a woman during war is to insult and deprive the men. That is the harsh contorted reality!

But surely that is not relevant to UK society, today …except that a woman is raped every 6 minutes, and it’s nothing to do with short skirts, and misunderstood advances.

The epidemic levels of abuse against women provides a chilling insight into how men perceive their role, relative to that of women. How they believe that they have “rights” over the woman, how they believe that they must “dominate”, to be in “control”, to be responded to positively, how they believe that in actual terms, and at a deep sub-conscious level, women do not have the right to say “no”, to challenge, to be independent, to have true equality. The law may be clear, and men may espouse views on equality, publicly, but, privately, their fragile egos, pained characters, and ancient notions of gender roles and need for on-tap, undivided, female attention drives this warped behaviour. There is something truly unsettling lurking in the undergrowth of our communities. To deny it is to accept it.

The achievement of an erection for a man is the result of a complex psychological and physical process usually driven by genuine mutual sexual attraction. Where it occurs in the absence of this, but fuelled by the action of violence, then something has become completely unhinged and been replaced with a depraved connection. But this has happened through years of socialisation, gender stereotyping, and a bombardment of words, and images that re-inforce this dangerous societal norm.

How does this level of violence seem to be “acceptable”, why are there not people on the streets campaigning against it every week. Is it a conspiracy of indifference, or is it, itself, an indication of the belittlement of the crimes by the whole of society. An insidious patriarchy where most cannot see how it is threatening to a large proportion of the population.

To quote from an Australian Q&A programme which applies perfectly to the UK –  “absolutely, misogyny is entrenched in society”. The quote continues:

I hope our Minister for Women stopped to listen to the articulate and heartfelt words of Natasha Stott Despoja, Ambassador for Women and Girls, as she stressed that along with a change in attitudes in the community to eradicate the inextricable link between gender inequality and violence against women, “We need to ensure the courts and the judiciary understand this is a national emergency and we need to enforce legislation and policing as it exists, and change it where it is failing”. I hope he heard her stress the importance of education, of “men holding other men accountable, facing their actions, seeing the damage they’ve done and how many they’ve affected”.

This should not be just about women fighting the cause because it just affects women; this is about our society, and what we jointly find acceptable. Men do have a major role to play in changing the future.  Fortunately, the vast majority of men are not perpetrators of violence towards women. And the one action that men can do, to make a difference is not to sit in silence, and let it happen, but to be principled, take a stand, and be vocal, and to hold other men totally accountable for their actions… and not to allow them to blame the 1 in 4.

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