Women's Issues Minister responds
It's important to address Barbara Kay's assertions that were raised on such a significant and solemn occasion, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. In response to her statement that "emotion, not reason or facts, drives the domestic violence industry," there are facts to support that domestic violence is not gender-neutral.
According to Statistics Canada, women experience more severe forms of violence, more often, than men. Women are twice as likely as men to be injured as a result of spousal violence, six times more likely to seek medical attention and three times more likely to fear for their lives.
And according to the Chief Coroner's Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, females were the victims in 95% of domestic violence fatality cases. That means women were victims in 19 of every 20 domestic violence deaths. That's not gender-neutral.
Our response must, and does, recognize this reality. With our community partners, we support women and their children escaping violent situations. Each year, our government invests more than $208-million in services that support and protect women from violence, including our $87-million Domestic Violence Action Plan.
Stopping domestic violence is everyone's business. And its existence is not to be trivialized and distorted.
Deb Matthews, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Toronto.
Barbara Kay responds In Canada, in 2006, out of 605 murders, 78 were spousal homicides, a trifling figure in a country of 35 million people. The total for the women, 56, is six fewer than in 2005 and represents the fifth consecutive annual decline in numbers of women killed. But spousal homicides were up altogether in 2006, because more men were killed by women. Killings of male partners by women increased from 12 in 2005 to 21 in 2006.
Hon. Deb Matthews Minister Responsible For Women's Issues 14th Floor 56 Wellesley St W Toronto ON M5S 2S3
My Dear Minister Matthews:
Re: Comments to National Post, December 11
“And according to the Chief Coroner's Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, females were the victims in 95% of domestic violence fatality cases. That means women were victims in 19 of every 20 domestic violence deaths.”
You are obviously an intelligent person based on your educational qualifications. What happens, however, when intelligent people become politicians? The above comments are without merit and patently untrue in the context of real DV. They are used frequently by feminist organizations to vilify men in the media who fall for it hook, line and sinker (sorry about the male oriented cliché) and obtain tax dollars from gullible politicians and charities.
My letter to you is rather long but it is full of the real facts with respect to DV and its relative equality between genders. But further than that it also explains below the most dangerous place to put a child caught in a custody war is in the hands of a single parent female home. You talk about the safety of children but yet don’t understand what that means. Did you know that Mark Lepine, AKA Gamil Gharbi, his birth name, the man now used to vilify all other men in Canada on December 6 each year, as evil, violent, degenerates was the son of a Muslim who had certain views with respect to the place of women, and was raised by a single mother and then went out to do his evil deed.
These are the Five Year rates of spousal Assault 1993, 1999, 2004 the most recent Stats Canada data from a broad social survey.
Keep in mind as well that this information is from a survey not only those reported by a subset of police services across Canada and is far more comprehensive. The iceberg is visible and not pretty but it is what is not reported to police that is the real eye opener and I will show you more of that below. I will also point out your comments and your government are displaying gender bias through the use of propaganda which I find intolerable abuse of government offices.
Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2005, a comprehensive report from Stats Can shows an estimated 7% of women and 6% of men representing 653,000 women and 546,000 men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004. You can find the report at this link. Http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/
The above chart shows in 2004, the most recent year for which data is available, that 6% of men are assaulted by their female spouses compared to 7% of females.
For every 6 battered women there are 5 battered men in Canada Men form more than 65% of the victims of violence in Canada For every 1 murdered woman there are 3 butchered men, For every 1 woman who ends her life, 3 men do the same – (many of these because of family court decisions based on laws your government supports.) William Levy-FRA-Montreal, Quebec
In 2006 there were 78 spousal homicides out of a total of 605 murders in Canada. Not all spousal homicides are reported as such. Women are devilishly clever at killing their spouses and sometimes these killings are reported as something other than DV. If a new boyfriend is coerced into killing the husband, if a contractor is used, if undetectable methods are employed, or if it just plain appears as accidental it will not appear as a spousal killing. The trend for females being killed is downward showing a total of 56 while male killings went up to 21 from 12. I would further want you to understand that there could be as many as 2,000 deaths of men by suicide per year due to family court and false accusations. That is a serious number. All deaths are tragic but I believe the pendulum has swung way too far to the left giving your government a truly feminist oriented agenda at the expense of males.
In addition, as charted below, US Government federal data indicate 27.4 percent of child fatalities were perpetrated by the mother acting alone and an additional 11.5% acting with another who is not the biological father. That is a 38.9% of all fatalities in 2006. This is where you are very wrong in terms of child safety. Fathers were responsible for 13.1 % alone and 1.5% with another not the biological mother for a total of 14.6%. That is a significant difference. The trend is the same in Canada.
In the same year 39.9 percent of child victims were maltreated by their mothers acting alone; 6.1% by the mother and another not the biological father for a total 46% rate of abuse. 17.6 percent were maltreated by their fathers acting alone and 1% by the father and another for a total of 18.6%. Abuse rates by mothers are significantly higher than for a father. Do you still think children are at greater risk from fathers?
The data for year’s prior show similar patterns and are available for viewing at this link. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/
It is necessary for you to understand the big picture not a one sided, one dimensional, single gender viewpoint, especially because of the pivotal role you play as a law maker.
Dr Don Dutton, Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia is quoted "Domestic violence 'research' has been misleading, in that data has been extracted from crime reports and/or 'crime victim surveys – in which men under report more than women – and have been publicized as indicating domestic violence is a gender issue (male-perpetrator/female-
Dr. Dutton is a well known and credible Canadian professional with great expertise in the study and analysis of DV. He is, in fact, Canada’s foremost expert on the scientific analysis of DV.
Out of the more than 577 shelters in Canada not one provides support for battered men that I have been able to discern from my involvement in the National Fathers Rights movement. As a battered man and father I can attest there are no services for me in our community despite what your web site says about services for men in this province. That is unconstitutional discrimination. Not only that but I have encountered blatant bias by support services in this community. They frankly do not believe men can be abused.
Why the differences between police reported DV incidents and the survey reports? Men, and I can speak to this with experience, are socialized to internalize and "suck up" abuse. We do not want to demonstrate to others we are in pain or weak, when in fact, the pain may be overwhelming. We do not, for similar reasons, want to let others know we are fearful even in a life threatening situation, as witnessed by those police officers and firefighters, very likely all men, entering the twin towers of the World Trade Centre before they collapsed. Men often resort to black humour to shrug off the danger. Men do not want to have to face their colleagues for a perceived lack of manliness. In simple terms pride plays a lead role in most men not reporting DV from their female spouse. I also include emotional and financial abuse as areas that can be very debilitating. My ex committed theft, fraud, and forgery against my former employer caused me the greatest humiliation in my life, ruining my career and reputation. That is psychological and emotional DV and is only the tip of the iceberg. When those two plus physical abuse are added it is nothing short of torture for any spouse, male or female, and the impacts on children are intolerable.
Another one which I pondered greatly as I was a stay-at-home dad due to the abuse I received was the issue of loss of the children. A dad in an abusive situation knows if he leaves his children they may be exposed to DV or other forms of emotional abuse and if he takes them with him - where could he go! He will have fear the tables will be turned and he could be accused of kidnapping or falsely accused of abuse, which is very common. You have all read in the paper or seen on TV the Amber alerts issued. Some may well be related to a dad fleeing a DV situation but it is not painted that way by the media. When you see them cancelled with little further explanation suspect the latter. He is in a lose-lose situation as most contested and uncontested custody cases go to the female partner. The ratio of this is over 9-1 in favour of the mom and as shown above the most dangerous place for children. As I feared I lost custody of my children due to false allegations of abuse. The family court system and its support services including the local DV shelter clearly think men are inherently violent and are highly biased toward females. Part of the indoctrination process at this shelter and others tends toward misandry as part of the so called “healing” process.
How many women are actually in these shelters because of DV; how many are in them for addictions; how many are either planning or being instructed on how to get an ex parte order to nail hubby while he sleeps based on false allegations; with the new legislation by your government it will be even easier to falsely accuse men of DV and get restraining orders criminalizing innocent men for the rest of their lives; will women be further coached on how to do this in these shelters; how many are in there because they are hiding from legal pursuits of them; how many are "passing through" while traveling. The addicts, whether chemical or alcoholic, are some of the most abusive sometimes going to these shelters for a time-out before heading back home to continue the abuse. If a woman walks in ands says she is there because of abuse she is believed. That is just the way the system is set up everywhere even in your agency. It need not be true. I think an accounting and operational audit of these facilities should be part and parcel of their ability to obtain tax funds. Do you now perform this kind of verification and oversight of our tax dollars? There is no doubt many women are there because they have no recourse and are subject to abuse but it casts a pall over them if many are there for other reasons. They are emergency shelters - so called - for Domestic Violence - at least in terms of the marketing of them to get tax funding. They are currently discriminating against men and their children.
Until DV is treated as a family problem rather than a female victim/male perpetrator we cannot expect much to change. It has been going on for a very long time with no end in site. Resources need to be spent on trying to salvage a family caught in the trauma of disputes holistically rather than all women are victims. I often wonder if that had been available to my family whether things would have worked out differently. How about a court process requiring all family members into counselling and if the alleged perpetrator does not respond in a timely manner then the criminal process kicks in? We know the downstream impacts of the current process with destroyed families, criminal records, loss of jobs, poverty, and increased social problems of children in single family homes. In fact children learn from their parents and the cycle becomes multi-generational. If such a system existed early warnings, as part of an education process, would allow the victimized spouse or child to seek counsel and have the family brought into a healthy counselling process before things got out of hand. It would be far more proactive and preventative. Before it becomes a police action we should look for other alternatives which will decrease the current stresses on police services to deal with the problems. Note I say family not a single gender. A process involving the family that is non-threatening may reduce the fear factor of a non-working spouse, male or female (recall I was the stay-at-home dad in my case) and have them make the move earlier with a chance to salvage the relationship and family.
The trends are in favour of men never marrying and having children to avoid the consequences of a failed marriage which in 90% of cases means loss of his children, loss of a great deal of his income, probable loss of the family home, intense emotional grief, and a much higher suicide rate within 3 years of separation. A colleague, Gregory Eisenhauer of Alpharetta, Georgia in the father’s rights movement killed himself on November 30, 2008 after having access to his children reduced to visitor status of 15%, amongst other penalties in family court based on false allegations of abuse. There could be as many as 2,000 male suicides in Canada a year for similar reasons. The judge in this case was also his executioner. This trend to marrying is decreasing and was born out in the 2006 census where for the first time married status is in the minority.
That is a very unhealthy prospect for our nation as marriage and families are the bedrock of our civilization. All studies point to the fact that marriage, with a mother and a father is the very best environment for our children. It’s not working currently and more and more appears to be spent on direct and indirect help for females only. I find it absolutely astonishing you are spending $208,000,000.00 a year on a problem where the violence is relatively equal and in the case of Lesbian violence greater than male/female.
It is gross gender discrimination as none of this is spent on helping men and in the next week or so I will be filing a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal over the blatant gender discrimination promulgated and promoted and defended by the Liberal government. You, unfortunately, are not the only Minister doing this. Your colleague Chris Bentley recently announced the restraining order system changes targeted solely at men.
We need a new approach for both genders given that men and women are almost equal initiators of DV and it would appear the only way to get that is to draw attention to the clear human rights violations against men and fathers. Your defence, in the National Post, of this massive spending on women at the expense of men will be used as a part of the complaint. You will then have a clear opportunity to defend your use of the statistics you quote.
Michael Murphy Fri 12th December 2008