Although I live in the United States, I keep a look out for organizations that service male victims abroad. While the US lacks sufficient services for male victims, the situation is much worse in other countries, particularly those where feminist politics have a much stronger hold. To my knowledge, this appears to be true in Australia. The One in Three Campaign is the first I have heard of any overt attempt to address physical, emotional and sexual violence against males.
From the website:
WHAT IS FAMILY VIOLENCE?
Family violence and abuse is a serious and deeply entrenched problem in Australia. It has significant impacts upon the lives of men, women and children. It knows no boundaries of gender, geography, socio-economic status, age, ability, sexual preference, culture, race or religion. Domestic violence (also known as intimate partner violence or IPV), and most elder abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse are all different forms of family violence. Thankfully reducing family violence against women and children has been firmly on the agendas of government for many years. Now is the time to move to the next, more sophisticated stage of tackling the problem: recognising men as victims as well.
AT LEAST ONE IN THREE VICTIMS ARE MALE
Contrary to common beliefs, up to One in Three victims of sexual assault and at least One in Three victims of family violence and abuse is male1 (perhaps as many as one in two – see our overview of research page). While many services have quite rightly been established over the past three decades to support female victims of family violence, the needs of male victims remain largely unmet. Historically government policies have been based on the assumption that the vast majority of perpetrators are male and the vast majority of victims are female, and the policies of current governments are still based on this erroneous position. Indeed, regretfully, the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children did not include male victims in their otherwise laudable March 2009 recommendations which have been enthusiastically supported by the federal government. Now is the time for action by politicians and community leaders to recognise that a comprehensive approach is required to combat the scourge of family violence.
REDUCING FAMILY VIOLENCE
Family violence and abuse can never be excused or justified, however, in order to reduce the levels of violence in the family, we must seek to understand the causes and contexts that give rise to it. We need to address the complexities of violence. All victims need compassionate and highly responsive support, and all perpetrators need services to help them stop their use of violence and abuse. Dysfunctional relationships in which both partners use violence need to be supported to change, as it is these environments which are clearly the most harmful to children.
THE ONE IN THREE CAMPAIGN
The One in Three Campaign aims to raise public awareness of the existence and needs of male victims of family violence and abuse; to work with government and non-government services alike to provide assistance to male victims; and to reduce the incidence and impacts of family violence on Australian men, women and children.
It is good to see this sort of campaign happening. There is no valid reason for ignoring male victims of violence, especially when there is much research demonstrating that males make up a significant, if not equal, portion of the victims. What is particularly refreshing about the One in Three campaign’s approach is that it tackles some of the misinformation that has been presented to the Australian public.
Another interesting things about the campaign is its supporters. There are quite a few well-known people backing this campaign, and hopefully their support will help the campaign be more successful. Considering that the campaign made news around the same time as Australia plans to enact compulsory feminist programs “in a major push to prevent violence against females,” it is great to see something that might prompt some changes in that plan.