Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Anne Else: It Sounds Better If You Call It IPV

Letter from Elsewhere with Anne Else

It Sounds Much Better If You Call It IPV

I put my winter woollies away last week, so I should have known that trouble was bound to follow. By Friday, the weather and the news had both turned nasty.

We’re much more impressed by sudden disasters than by everyday common or garden misery. The media can’t portray stuff that goes on and on for years, like caring for a disabled child. Nor can it show stuff that just keeps happening, day after day, all over the country, like the socalled road toll, or violence against women. It’s just not news, is it?

So I wasn’t very surprised when the finding (by the largest study of violence against women ever undertaken in New Zealand) that one in three New Zealand women have experienced “intimate partner violence”, otherwise known as IPV, made only a brief ripple in the media. But I was taken aback by the despair I felt when I heard the reports.

I’m one of the lucky two out of three women who have never experienced violence, sexual or otherwise, from a male partner. But I know too many other women who have experienced it to believe that it could never have happened to me, or that they were somehow responsible for it happening to them.

This latest study, the largest ever undertaken in New Zealand, is part of a 10-country study for the World Health Organisation on violence against women. Its findings are consistent with past surveys. What’s new is the comparison with similar countries – New Zealand rates worse than the USA or Australia – and the association between past episodes of intimate partner violence (even just one) and current ill-health effects.

Let’s spell out what the results mean. One out of three is a lot of women. While there may be a small group of female partners involved, women are suffering this “intimate partner violence” overwhelmingly at the hands of men – and a very large proportion of men. A fair estimate would be that at least one in four men have at some point been violent to their female partners.

Yet the Ministry of Health responded to the study by saying it “serves as a reminder that family violence continues to be a major health issue within New Zealand”. It went on to talk about its Family Violence Prevention Strategy and the importance of reducing interpersonal violence. Not once did it refer to men, or even to women – though there were a few clues, like the fact that the first consequence of “partner violence” it noted was “low birth weight babies”.

Having a look at what Scoop has posted in the past about this issue, I went to the very first site listed for “domestic violence”, www.endabuse.com. It went straight to great stuff for fathers, giving them advice on teaching their boys about non-violent behaviour and how to relate to girls and women, and inviting them to join an organisation for fathers who want to help end abuse against women. But it’s an American site.

I’m sure everything that’s already being done here is helpful and worthwhile. But the strange reluctance to mention the “m” word feels a bit like trying to prevent “drink driving” without mentioning alcohol.

The majority of men are never violent. As long as there’s a careful avoidance of the facts about the others, it will be impossible to get them to take a strong, consistent, public and private stand against what their fathers, sons, brothers and mates are doing.

And until that happens, nothing will change. Because it should be obvious by now that women can’t stop the violence coming from the men they are close to. Only men can do that.

**********

- Anne Else is a Wellington writer and social commentator. Her occasional column will typically appear on a Monday. You can subscribe to receive Letter From Elsewhere by email when it appears via the Free My Scoop News-By-Email Service

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>