Gender and domestic violence: is domestic violence a ‘gendered issue’?

Viewing domestic violence through the lens of gender can be controversial. Some do not believe that men are more likely than women to perpetrate violence against their partners (called domestic violence, or intimate partner violence). Yet most researchers and experts in fact agree that while men can be victims of domestic violence (and women perpetrators), in most cases domestic violence occurs by men against women.

During a broadcast of the popular ABC show Q&A at the end of 2015, a panel of experts addressed the commonly quoted statistic that 1 in 3 men are victims of intimate partner violence.

On the show, an audience member asked the expert panel about this popular statistic. In response, Social Services Minister Christian Porter said domestic violence is actually ‘a problem that is perpetrated by men against women and girls, almost overwhelmingly, almost exclusively’. Commenting on cases in NSW, Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Fuller stated that ‘around 25 per cent of men present as victims of DV assaults...but of that 25 per cent, more than half of the offenders are still male’. Finally, Professor of Social Work Cathy Humphreys noted it is also important to talk about the frequency of violent incidents, citing data from the UK wherein women are more likely than men to be victims of ongoing abuse. From these responses we can see that there are many factors that should be considered when we are trying to understand domestic violence through the lens of gender.

For this week’s article series, we will be exploring the intersection between gender and intimate partner violence. The video shared today reaffirms domestic violence mostly happens at the hands of men against women, but what is domestic violence in the first place? What forms can it take? What does it mean for relations between genders? Let’s find out!

Noyes, J 2015, ‘One-in-three myth unanimously busted on ‘Hitting Home’ finale of Q&A’, Daily Life, 26 November, viewed 31 October 2016, http://www.dailylife.com.au/dl-people/oneinthree-myth-unanimously-busted-on-hitting-home-finale-of-qa-20151125-gl8dzp.html