In April of 2018 I submitted a written question to the European Commission on the male victims of domestic abuse, in view of the scant attention that they arouse in the european programmes of help and prevention. In his response, the commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, recognized that "men and boys can also be victims of gender-based violence", but justified the bias current of european policies on the fact that "the vast majority of victims of gender-based violence are women and girls".
This explanation did not leave me satisfied. On the one hand, it seemed problematic that Jourová supporting the official position of the EU in a survey (1) that only addressed the violence against a sex. On the other, contrasted with much of the scientific evidence international, according to which men, and of course children and adolescents, in addition to the elderly, also suffer domestic abuse -including sexual abuse - in a way that is far from being trivial.
Since the seventies of the last century to accumulate studies and meta-analyses (studies of studies) which show that in the domestic sphere there are male victims and aggressors female. These works are based on surveys confidential and anonymous supplied by researchers to different groups of the population, which includes students, clinical samples and community. Are carried out in an attempt to alleviate the biases of the data on abuse from exclusively from police records, hospital and that experts tend to underestimate the victimization of men. This methodology, of course, is not without limitations (such as the danger of underestimating the prevalence of the attacks), but some basic conclusions are reinforced year after year and decade after decade: thus, in accordance with the summary of Medeiros and Straus (2016), women engaged in physical violence against their male partners at a similar rate to men, and they are not free of assault to severe, though the sex difference in injuries, harms women, and in the end lethal aggression, there are clearly more women than men killed by their partners.
These findings are consistent with a new international study that was presented in the European Parliament last week -and they will be published on the website of the Forum Euromind - about the impact of intimate partner violence in men and in children, developed by Joaquim Soares, professor emeritus of the University of Mid Sweden, and Nicola Graham-Kevan, psychologist, forensic the University of Central Lancashire, Uk. Both researchers possess a rich academic curriculum related to domestic abuse, including projects funded by the European Commission itself, such as DOVE. The results of their work, based on an assessment of 153 studies on victims of 54 countries and 151 studies from 44 countries on offenders (both men and women) support the previous evidence, and show only small sex differences in the average of perpetration and victimization related to intimate partner violence. This symmetry is general in the attacks is maintained, according to the same study, through the different "world regions" analyzed: Africa, Europe, Caucasus, Asia-Pacific, Latin america/Caribbean, Middle East, and the industrialized countries of the English-speaking. It will take more studies of this type, and better equipped, to achieve a clearer picture of the situation.
For what concerns the impact of partner violence on children, studied by Graham-Kevan from the results of 14 studies conducted between 2009 and 2018, the conclusion is that both boys and girls are adversely affected, through multiple dimensions of health, regardless of the abuse from the father or the mother. The picture formed by these results is inconsistent with the current approach of the EU and the UN, focused almost exclusively on "women and girls". Significantly, the same author highlights the lack of studies on abuses specifically committed by mothers against fathers, which would be hiding the real impact of this aggression could be causing to the children.
In the same presentation, held at the European Parliament in Brussels, also participated the young researcher Spanish Marta Churches Joules, an expert in aggression, female, phd student in Lisbon, and an active disseminator of scientific, in addition to the first author's Spanish publishing an article in the digital Quillette. Churches analyzed the foundations of evolutionary aggression female, underlining that this, although different to the male, is not "non-existent or harmless". The fact that a significant part of the violence against women committed by other women, from the bullying at work, should be the subject of further study and consideration, in the opinion of Churches.
it Is time to address the problem of domestic abuse and gender as a public health issue, based more on the scientific evidence, by listening to the researchers, recognizing the complex nature and multifactorial problem -as indeed is already being done in programs Spanish to detect the "risk murder" which flows in the crimes labeled as "gender violence"- but also by promoting the participation and dialogue of all the social partners concerned. In short, considering the true scope of your dimension sexist but without restricting the focus on gender to one sex.
it Is time, also, to extend empathy toward men and boys. Particularly in a world where the suffering male is more difficult to assess, and where traditionally the majority of the population tends to favour naturally "policy measures in favour of women" -as explained in a recent work by social psychologist Tania Reynolds. These predispositions, which could well be a "human universal" because they are maintained through different cultures, are based on our evolution, so that they can also come to constitute what psychologists evolutionists call a "mismatch" (mismatch) between a past with companies that are less complex and a reality of advanced societies that promote a new equality and cooperation between people.
Take more account of the aggression and female victimization male is not detrimental to the struggle for the rights of women, or question the equality between the sexes. On the contrary, strengthens due to the intimate intertwining of the violence of men and women in the domestic sphere. In addition it allows to know more precisely their unfortunate impact on the physical and emotional health of the children.
Urgent to promote a policy based on evidence and less on ideology. With an approach that is more compassionate, collaborative and effective, that protects our well-being, health and safety. We owe it to our families, friends, and fellow citizens.
(1). Survey at EU level on violence against women of the Fundamental Rights Agency.
Teresa Giménez Barbat is mep of the ALDE group and a member of the committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament.
According to the criteria ofLearn more Date Of Update: 15 December 2018, 08:01