Spousal abuse falls as definition broadens to avoid funding problems
and job losses for activists
Richard Barnes, GLA
I thought you might appreciate this information.
It appears that DV is declining in numbers and frequency in Canada.
This can only mean more funding problems for its activists.
We have already seen the definition of DV broaden in this country as the
incidence of DV has fallen.
If I haven't sent you the information on falling DV in England then please excuse
me. I'll send it after the holiday period. From the 2001 BCS it appears that
DV is now down to its 1987 levels.
This begs the question "Should the GLA be contemplating such a comprehensive
strategy and so large a budget for a declining problem ?
The Report Newsmagazine, [April 1, 2002, p. 26 ]
The violent wife
An Ottawa couple goes public to focus attention on spousal violence against men
By LYNNE COHEN
According to a July 2000 Statistics Canada report, spousal abuse in
country is on the decline. Furthermore, what abuse is taking place is
divided almost equally between men and women. In fact, StatCan found
just 8% of women and 7% of men had experienced a "violent" incident
preceding five years. And that is when violence is defined as anything from
shoving to stabbing. [see endnote --WHS]
>Nevertheless, most Canadians continue to labour under the impression that
one type of spousal abuse--of women by their male partners--is a runaway
problem in this country. That myth was supported last month in a coroners
report into the murder two years ago of a Pickering, Ont., woman by her
estranged husband, who then killed himself. Recommended actions
spending more public money on women fleeing abusive men, and directing
police and the justice system to be more aggressive towards violent men. Not
>[Picture here: "The Kinsellas: Had nowhere to turn for help"]
Ontario Women's Justice Network called for the immediate implementation of
But Ottawa's Linda and Kevin Kinsella are among the growing numbers of
Canadians who think the time has come for government and the media to look
at the parallel, yet largely unacknowledged issue of women's abuse of men.
And they should know because, in the Kinsella home, it was Linda, 30, who
did the battering. Besides punching, kicking and scratching her
she would also tip Kevin, a 56-year-old cerebral palsy victim, out of his
>Mrs. Kinsella admits the abuse was severe. "It was the same as if I
>hammer to an able-bodied person's knees," she says of her penchant
>dumping her husband out of his wheelchair. "I would trap Kevin
>Thankfully, he does not bruise easily."
>More often than not, they fought about how to spend what little money
>received from their disability pensions. (Mrs. Kinsella suffers
>fibromyalgia.) Linda recalls the time about seven years ago when
>the police to allege abuse against him during one of their weekly fights.
>Today, such a call by a woman in Ontario would automatically result in
>husband's arrest. At that time, the police still had discretion,
>knew she could have had Kevin charged with assault if she wanted to.
>By the time police arrived, she had come to her senses. "You
>arresting me, not him," she told them. Kevin agreed, and the
>down. "I am very thankful they did not put Kevin through the
>Linda says. "I do not know if our relationship could have
>Although her violence against her husband did not stop with the incident,
>"it was the start of my realization that I had a problem and I
>I did not stop abusing Kevin immediately, but I began to think about what
>was doing." She finally reformed four years ago, mainly
>self-restraint, counselling and by becoming active as a political
>in the NDP.
>But in her efforts to seek help, she found it nearly impossible to find
>anyone to take her seriously--even her counsellor. "Instead of
>validation that I, indeed, had a problem, I was asked what Kevin did to
>provoke me," she recalls. "This confused and frustrated
me. Here I am
>being told because I am a woman my problem didn't exist. I was not
>offered anger-management courses or any other type of
>had nowhere to go for help either. Told by a friend that he should
>Linda, he discovered there were no shelters or resources available for
>fleeing domestic violence.
>The Kinsellas went public with their problem last December in the 'Ottawa
>Citizen'. They say it was one of the hardest decisions they had
>getting married at centre-ice before the start of an Ottawa Senators game
>1992. "Yes, we took a risk," says Linda of last year's
article. "Kevin is
>on the provincial executive for the Ontario NDP, and I am an activist for
>disability issues. So far, [our going public] has not had any
>for us politically."
>But neither has it opened the public's eyes to the country's
>husband-battering problem or to the overstating of male-against-female
>violence. That much was evident at the inquest into the Pickering
>murder-suicide. During the proceedings, London, Ont., psychologist
>Jaffe presented jurors with a four-hour lecture and slide show that he
>usually saves for training judges, police, doctors, teachers and clergy
>family violence against women. Mr. Jaffe has written eight books on
>subject, and is widely considered an expert. However, contrary to
>StatCan findings, he claims 29% of Canadian women are abused. A
>Citizen investigation revealed that his statistics are not even remotely
>supported by Ontario hospital emergency-room records.
>On the other hand, there is a growing body of evidence that men are
>vulnerable to attacks by their wives and girlfriends. According to
>U.S. sources, the reason this contradictory information is rarely
>is that women's groups have the ear of government and are not afraid to
>that power to suppress the truth.
>For example, author Susan Steinmetz said that following the publication
>1978 of her book 'The Battered Husband Syndrome,' she received verbal
>threats and anonymous phone calls from radical women's groups. They
>threatened to harm her children. She said she found it "ironic
>same people who claim that women-initiated violence is purely
>are so quick to threaten violence against people who do nothing more than
>publish a scientific study."
>Murray A. Straus, a sociologist and co-director for the Family Research
>Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, has blamed "women in
>battered [women's] shelter movement for denying that women physically
>their spouses, or for playing down such abuse. Mr. Straus also said
>least 50 studies of domestic violence--including some he himself
>conducted--show both men and women are equally culpable.
>The Kinsellas have no trouble believing such numbers. They simply
>how long it will take for governments to acknowledge that domestic
>is an equal-opportunity activity.
>The Report, April l, 2002
> The Report
>Write to The Report at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
>1.) My note: The StatCan report is Statistics Canada pub. "Family
>in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2000" Cat. no. 85-224
># # #
>Walter H. Schneider
>Fathers for Life