Eventually research has emerged which sweeps away the bias as easily as cobwebs are swept away from a hidden passage. Rarely taken seriously, or discussed, female perpetrated domestic violence has been described or portrayed in popular media as trivial, insignificant, and even a funny phenomena – worthy of cheap gags on TV and Big Screen entertainment. Domestic violence against men has a detachment about it that never causes a ‘second thought.’ Work needs to be focused around a political objective to force professionals to recognize violence by women against men as an issue in its own right and indeed as representing equal frequency among both partners. The term ‘domestic violence’ effectively conceals the reality that men are victims of domestic assault by their partners over 43% of the time in Britain, as high as 50% in America, and almost as equally high (47% of the time) in Canada.
According to 2010 research by Dr. Denise A. Hines, in America, women used all types of intimate personal violence significantly more than men. The categories were: minor psychological, major psychological, controlling behaviors, insisting on sex, minor physical, severe physical, total physical (minor and severe).
A society that views men as exclusive perpetrators of domestic violence ignores and exacerbates the myth of one party perpetration. The myth is so entrenched in all levels of society – so much so, that if a man calls police as a result of being assaulted by his wife, the police take it for granted, like a reflex reaction, that he’s the one to be arrested. Take for instance one BC man who was assaulted by his wife during an argument, “[…]she punched me in the face, […] So, I phoned the cops. A woman and a man cop showed up at the door. I walked outside and they were ready to cuff me. I said, hang on a second, I called you guys.” Confused, the officer said, “What?” At which point the male victim said, “I showed them the bruise on my face and she [the female officer] goes, Oh, now what do we do?” As it turned out, the police talked the male victim out of having his wife charged and taken away for the night. That is an example of a ‘investigated’ crime in which there was no evidence available to eventually be presented in court, the victims word does not matter in court unless there is supporting documentation.
If it had been him that struck his wife in a fit of anger, the police would have had no option under Canadian law but to arrest, charge, and detain him. He would find himself tangled in the binding twine of a legal system that mimics some discordant scene from the pages of Franz Kafka’s The Trial; about a man who desperately wants a chance to explain himself in a language that’s spoken by the system, but unrecognized because protocols don’t support his experience. It is clear that we need to advance the struggle for definitional legal control and action – to make the professional discourse accommodate the inequality of men’s experience – especially before the courts on the domestic violence myth.