Monday, 4 February 2008


About fucking time...

The link above is to a story about the government THINKING OF (but not actually doing, something which Labour gobshites are awfully talented at) setting up at least one men's refuge for male victims of forced marriage. In this case they would be of mostly Pakistani origin.

Meg Mann - a humourous name, at the time of writing before a cup of tea - states:

"Generally people expect men to be able to look after themselves, to manage situations, so men subject to domestic violence, men subject to forced marriage are likely to find it much, much more difficult."

This is debatable, but as a broad brush generalisation it could be more right than wrong. She then goes on to say, because of this, "there could be" a need for a male shelter. Only could?

That's a mean word. A word to spoil a party.

Surely if she's describing it as a problem for the citizens of this fair country then, as the government of this country, she should be acting to solve this problem. Call me an old romantic, but I thought that's what we paid them for.

The issue of forced marriage is a horrid one for anyone, and I'm glad the plight of some men is at least being mentioned in the media as most of the few cases I ever see portrayed by the media are that of women being forced.

The whole story, however, isn't really enough publicity for the seldom touched upon subject of abuse of men within relationships. Despite the fact that the 01/02 Crime Survey reported 19% of domestic violence incidents were reported to have male victims and latest statistics report this trend to have at least continued. And even this source, the British Crime Survey, reports that a large slice of domestic violence incidents go unreported. Tie this in with Meg Mann's view and the problem could be a whole lot larger than it seems.

And, to me, the worst part is probably the lack of publicity and apparent support. The Refuge organisation homepage contains five mentions of the term 'woman/women' but not one mention of the term man. Oh no - wait. One. In a none too helpful fashion.

Refuge do a very important job on strained resources. But I can't help but worry that if men under threat went to the website of Refuge, one of the most published anti-domestic violence groups in the country, and found no sign of help (or even acknowledgement that domestic violence committed against men is a problem) they may lose confidence in their search for much needed help.

On the other side of the coin, Mankind also do a difficult job using a small amount of resources, but it doesn't help that their website is, firstly, not as swish as the Refuge one, and secondly, half inoperative due to a refit. Not a great message to send out.

Domestic violence is an issue the government needs to do more on, on all fronts. The majority of victims of domestic violence are women. But I don't think this justifies a lack of information for the almost one fifth of men who are victims of domestic violence.

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