“The available data suggest that 40 percent of women are abusive towards their partners, with an even higher rate likely to initiate violence.
“This is why the other frequently cited statistic ‘that one in three women are victims of domestic violence’ is meaningless, since it does not take account of mutual violence—which, by the way, applies to a mere eight percent of couples in T&T according to a UNDP report.”
The following Letter to the Editor on domestic violence against women was submitted by Kevin Baldeosingh of Freeport:
In war, the first casualty is truth, and it seems the same applies to domestic violence. So, as happens every year on the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, gender feminists present to a non-sceptical media a set of specious ‘facts’ which make it seem as though there is a war against women and girls—waged, logically, by men.
So the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy yesterday said the police had recorded 845 incidents of domestic violence for January-October 2018 and, unlike most such claims, the Minister noted that 27% of these reports were made by men.
However, while gender activists invariably say that reports are always underestimates when it comes to women, this logic is never applied to the 25 percent of DV reports made by men, even though the stigma here would make under-reporting even greater. And, in fact, the available data suggest that 40 percent of women are abusive towards their partners, with an even higher rate likely to initiate violence.
This is why the other frequently cited statistic ‘that one in three women are victims of domestic violence’ is meaningless, since it does not take account of mutual violence—which, by the way, applies to a mere eight percent of couples in T&T according to a UNDP report.
Indeed, in a recent letter to the editor, Catherine Ali, a lecturer at UWI’s Institute of Gender and Development Studies, went even further to assert that “One in every two women, locally and globally, experiences domestic violence.”
But even the one in three statistic needs to be hedged by loose definitions of domestic violence and flawed methodologies. Ms Ali goes on to claim “men trace their right to beat women to patriarchal power over women.”
This implies that her 50 percent of women are being beaten by men, which is simply false. Moreover, every opinion survey on this issue shows that the majority of men do not think it acceptable to hit women. In fact, the 2017 IADB report referenced by activists also found that just six percent of women were experiencing abuse and even that report had a fundamental methodological flaw in that it surveyed only women.
Meanwhile, one Sunday newspaper cited a UN statistic that “38 percent of women are murdered by their partners”, implying that one in three women are killed by their spouses, when the statistic really means that, of all women murdered, one-third are killed by their partners.
Minister Webster-Roy went on to assert that “gender-based violence has no boundaries, regardless of women’s educational, economic or professional status.” This is true only to the extent that DV happens in all cohorts. However, the rate of violence is drastically different according to the women’s status—that is the women least likely to experience domestic violence are upper- and middle-class, married, and educated.
Finally, there is the statistic that an average of 25 women are murdered every year in DV incidents, described as a “crisis” by Sabrina Mowlah-Baksh from the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. But such incidents comprise five percent of all murders—although there was an eight percent spike in 2017.
If this is a crisis, what term can we apply to the remaining 95 percent of murders of men, of which 85 percent involve young black males? Doesn’t the concentration of violence among this cohort relate to the fact that unmarried Afro-Trinidadian women are more likely to be victims of DV murder as well?
It is a fundamental principle that anyone who is really interested in solving a social problem—as distinct from pushing an ideological agenda—will stick to the facts. Gender feminists routinely fail to meet this basic standard.