An open letter to the Chair, Board of Directors, White Ribbon Australia.

Following is a reproduction of an open letter sent to Nicholas Cowdery, Chair, Board of Directors, White Ribbon Australia by the President of the Australian Men’s Rights Association Inc (AMRA) two days ago. It’s fitting that we’re able to publish this letter on AVfM today, White Ribbon Day.

AMRA has made it clear that from this point on they will be directly contacting organisations and individuals pushing the gendered feminist narrative using open letters and asking them to justify their claims and actions. –Ed

_____________________________

Robert Brockway
President of Australian
Men’s Rights Association Inc.
Email: [Redacted]


Nicholas Cowdery AM QC
Chair, Board of Directors
White Ribbon Australia
Email: [Redacted]

Mr Cowdery,

White Ribbon Australia bills itself as “preventing men’s violence against women.” Within this context much of the activity of White Ribbon Australia is focused on domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). Taking this approach, while ignoring the larger picture of DV and IPV, disadvantages not just men who are victims of DV/IPV but women who are victims of DV/IPV as well.

Reciprocal IPV involves intimate partner violence in which each person in the relationship is both a perpetrator and victim of IPV. The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK) Project, the largest meta-analysis of DV/IPV research ever undertaken, shows that more than half of all IPV is reciprocal.[1]

The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study found high rates of reciprocal IPV among study participants. The document “Findings About Partner Violence From the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study” released by the US National Institute of Justice found:

When the data were analyzed, victimized women were 10 times more likely to be perpetrators than other women and male perpetrators also were 19 times more likely to be victims than other men.”[2]

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health also found that about half of all IPV is reciprocal IPV. The study examined differences in injury rates between reciprocal and non-reciprocal IPV and found that injury rates are higher in reciprocal IPV than non-reciprocal IPV.[3]

One of the key indicators of whether a woman will be a victim of IPV is whether she is a perpetrator of IPV.[3] It follows then that one important way that a woman can avoid being a victim of IPV is to not be a perpetrator of IPV. Research by Capaldi has found that this holds true.[4]

Models that ignore reciprocal IPV can inhibit violent women from receiving the support they need to stop their violence.[5]

White Ribbon Australia completely ignores reciprocal IPV as it advances a gendered narrative. By ignoring the prevalence of reciprocal IPV White Ribbon Australia is preventing effective interventions as its approach discounts the need to intervene with violent women. This will contribute to the continuation of reciprocal IPV and actually make it more likely that the women involved will be injured. By ignoring reciprocal IPV White Ribbon Australia is contributing to violence against women.

The evidence overwhelmingly shows that the approach taken by White Ribbon Australia is fundamentally flawed. I encourage White Ribbon Australia to respond, explaining whether the organisation intends to address the shortcomings in its approach to IPV and if so, how.

Please note that this is an open letter and will be published in various locations online. In the interests of transparency we strongly encourage White Ribbon Australia to publish a response. From time to time we will report to our readers as to whether a private response has been received or a public response published.

Robert Brockway
President, Australian Men’s Rights Association Inc.

References:

[1] PASK “Partner Abuse State of Knowledge” project, the largest meta-analysis of DV/IPV research ever undertaken. http://www.domesticviolenceresearch.org

[2] “Findings About Partner Violence From the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study” http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/170018.pdf

[3] “Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1854883/

[4] “Researcher Says Women’s Initiation of Domestic Violence Predicts Risk to Women”, discussing the work of Dr Deborah Capaldi. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glenn-sacks/researcher-says-womens-in_b_222746.html

[5] “Domestic violence is most commonly reciprocal” http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/35/1/33.1

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