P.Z.: I have read with interest your paper "The scale and nature of family
violence in New Zealand." It is admirable in some respects, and deserving
of criticism in others.
R.M.: I reply to your message of 15 July 2008 addressed to Denise Lievore and Pat Mayhew on the report on the scale and nature of family violence in New Zealand published on the MSD website in 2007.
P.Z.: I am writing with a question, which I would be grateful if you could please
Where do you state your evidence or citations (or what is your evidence, if
you do not state it) for the statement: "there is rather more consensus that
more physically serious and psychologically threatening assaults are more
likely to be perpetrated by male partners...." (page 34), as regards
"physically serious" assaults ?
As far as New Zealand is concerned, you do not give any evidence as regards
"physically serious" assaults, although you do refer to the 2001 NSCV --
apparently in relation to "psychologically threatening" assaults only.
R.M.: You raised a question about evidence for the statement on page 34 of the report that "there is rather more consensus that more physically serious and psychologically threatening assaults are more likely to be perpetrated by male partners".
As you will be aware, the question of gender symmetry or asymmetry in couples' violence is a highly contested issue.
P.Z.: I am appalled at Ross Mackay's reference to the contested nature of the debate about domestic violence, because my email was directed to two academics about theoretical issues. What I wanted was a consideration of the theoretical points I raised -- not a reference to the politics of the debate.
He is supposed to be an apolitical civil servant.
I know that the Ministry of Social Development is biased against men, because the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the National Collective of Women's Refuges both sit on the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families, where no Men's representative is allowed to sit. This taskforce is organised by the Ministry of Social Development -- see http://www.msd.govt.nz/work-areas/families-whanau/action-family-violence/taskforce-info.html However, I am not naive, and I know from plenty of first-hand experience that Feminist academics are more interested in politics than truth.
The point here is that for Ross Mackay to turn a scientific question of mine into a political answer means (in the context of the anti-male bias of his Ministry) that he is biased towards commissioning research findings that will please the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the National Collectiv of Women's Refuges, which is a discriminatory, anti-male organisation.
Undoubtedly, it was the Feminist Movement which initially made a big issue of Domestic Violence, but they were (and are) only interested in it insofar as they could use it as a stick to beat men with.
R.M.: As one of the officials who commissioned this report, I should say that I am fully satisfied with the way the authors treated this question. The statement you point to constitutes a judgment by the authors based on their considerable experience in this field and a wide knowledge of the literature. In my view, this was a well-founded judgement.
P.Z.: Ross Mackay's reply, at this point, is unprofessional. It is not credible, in an academic context, to rely on someone's judgment -- especially when I had asked for evidence and, in fact, had provided some of my own: the page http://equality.netfirms.com/dvsumary.html (see below), which Ross Mackay completely ignores.
R.M.: The statement was backed by a range of evidence (indeed, in the same sentence the authors point to evidence relating to domestic homicides, which is a highly significant indicator).
P.Z.: This is grossly unprofessional. I asked for evidence, and all I got was a vague statement about "a range of evidence." It is not competent to refer to data on homicides, when that is not what I was asking about.
P.Z.: There are serious methodological problems with the NSCV (and probably with
its overseas counterparts, as well), as you would know if you had read the
relevant chapter of my book at http://equality.netfirms.com/4dvlies.html#2002
R.M.: In addition, they cite other sources including the 2001 NSCV, which (despite your reservations) uses measures which are now well-established,
P.Z.: The term "well-established" is meaningless hand-waving. All it means is that people who like its conclusions ignore its defects and keep quoting it, in order to make it "well-established." Ross Mackay ignores the criticism of the NSCV which I make at http://equality.netfirms.com/4dvlies.html#2002 , which is that the NSCV questionnaire does not ask the survey participantsnts straightforward questions about their experience of violence, but adds in the biasing issue of the participants' emotional response to the violence (which will differ as between men and women).
R.M.: and the British Crime Survey. They also note that the New Zealand cohorts have not generally contradicted this conclusion.
P.Z.: The point here is that the report I was writing about made it clear it was concentrating on New Zealand research evidence. But then it mentioned the British Crime Survey. My point is that it is unprofessional to pick and choose overseas studies that support your point of view, if you choose to mention any overseas studies at all.
P.Z.: You mention the 1996 British Crime Survey, so I think you should have
surveyed the international literature systematically, rather than citing one
study in isolation. I refer you to my systematic analysis at
http://equality.netfirms.com/dvsumary.html where you will see that (as at
2005) there is almost an equal number of studies showing that women suffer
more injuries than men in domestic violence as show that men suffer more
injuries than women do.
R.M.: On the use of the British Crime Survey and your suggestion that the authors should have surveyed the international literature more widely, I would simply note that their brief did not extend to the international literature. As the authors noted in their introduction to the report, they drew on the international literature sparingly and primarily "to contextualise debates or point to robust overseas findings that could be applied to local gaps in knowledge."
P.Z.: As I said above, there is no apparent justification for selecting just the few overseas studies which support their point of view.
R.M.: By way of further evidence, Dr Lievore has provided me with another reference: The World Report on Violence and Health, published by the World Health Organisation in 2002. This is an authoritative source
P.Z.: In religion, it is appropriate to rely on authoritative sources. In Law, it is also appropriate to rely on authoritative decisions. However, in science -- even in the social sciences -- there is no such thing as an "authoritative source." The World Health Organisation is, in many respects, just a collection of Feminists and incompetents, selected on the basis of what part of the world they come from. Green Party MP Sue Kedgley, for example, has worked for the United Nations. She has recently been working hard to prove that she is not just a pretty face, but no one would consider her to be an authority on anything much. For more on the World Health Organisation, see International Pro-Male Association letter to the World Health Organization.
R.M.: that brings together a range of information from around the world. The chapter on intimate partner violence identifies two distinct patterns of such violence:
a severe and escalating form of violence characterised by multiple forms of abuse, terrorization and threats and increasingly possessive and controlling behaviour on the part of the abuser; and
a more moderate form of relationship violence, where continuing frustration and anger occasionally erupt into physical aggression.
The report notes that researchers hypothesise
P.Z.: The operative word here is "hypothesise." The opening sentence of this chapter, which Ross Mackay refers us to states:
"One of the most common forms of violence against women is that performed by a husband or an intimate male partner." http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/global_campaign/en/chap4.pdf
It is clear that the WHO is only interested in violence against women, and anything that is "hypothesised" by the WHO, or its preferred sources, will be dreamed up in order to shore up the myth that women's violence is somehow less important than men's violence. This is also the myth that Ross Mackay is supporting. This is called predetermination -- not research!
R.M.: that community-based surveys are better-suited to detecting to the second, more moderate form of violence than the more severe type of abuse and that this may help to explain why community-based surveys of violence in industrialised countries frequently find substantial evidence of physical aggression by women, even though the vast majority of victims that come to the attention of service providers and the police are women.
P.Z.: Ross Mackay has no proof of this. Surveys which contain objective questions throw up objective facts. Anyone who has studied Social Science research methods (as I have) knows that the sample of the population that so-called "service providers" and the police come across is not representative of the relevant population. What publicly funded organisation ever encourages men to report violence by women?
R.M.: The report goes on to note that:
"Although there is evidence from industrialized countries that women engage in common couple violence, there are few indications that women subject men to the same type of severe and escalating violence frequently seen in clinical samples of battered women (32, 33).
P.Z.: The two works referred to by the nubers 32 and 33 are surveys of research. This surveying would necessarily have treated Feminist research on the same basis as objective research. Feminist research routinely involves interviewing just women, and taking their account of events as being true (See the review of "The Battered Woman" by Lenore E. Walker). This approach is contrary to common sense -- let alone natural justice.
If you actually want to know what happened, you have to interview both parties and compare their accounts of the same events. Since Feminist reseaarchers are intent on using research as a stick to beat men with, whereas the objective researchers are merely interested in finding out the truth, the almost total lack of any research that is only interested in the emotional response of men to female domestic violence will obviously skew the picture thrown up by such surveys of research.
R.M.: "Similarly, research suggests that the consequences of partner violence differ between men and women,
P.Z.: This ignores the page http://equality.netfirms.com/dvsumary.html , which I had already referred him to (see above).
R.M.: and so do the motivations for perpetrating it.
P.Z.: This is merely sexist, discriminatory, Feminist theorising, as discussed above. See also the article: There is No such Thing as Battering .
R.M.: Studies in Canada and the United States have shown that women are far more likely to be injured during assaults by intimate partners than are men, and that women suffer more severe forms of violence (5, 34–36).
P.Z.: Item 5 is yet another study which is only about violence against women, and therefore cannot be taken seriously as regards violence against men. I have not read items 34-36, but these are overseas studies, and Ross Mackay keeps emphasising that the study which he commissioned is only about New Zealand.
R.M.: In Canada, female victims of partner violence are three times more likely to suffer injury, five times more likely to receive medical attention and five times more likely to fear for their lives than are male victims (36).
P.Z.: Fearing for your life is a psychological state, and has little to do with reality. Men are socially not permitted to be afraid, whereas women's every little fancy is taken as a national emergency by the Feminist media. To receive medical attention, you have to ask for it. Women receive tons of sympathy at the drop of a hat, whereas men are expected to be stoical, and are ashamed to admit that they have been injured by their wives. Therefore, men are less likely to ask for medical attention, as a glance around any doctor's waiting-room will show you. If the statistics about injury quoted above come from medical sources, then they are biased against men, for the reasons just mentioned. The above comment by Ross Mackay also ignores the page http://equality.netfirms.com/dvsumary.html , which I had already referred him to (see above).
R.M.: Where violence by women occurs it is more likely to be in the form of self-defence (32, 37, 38). (WHO, 2002, p. 94)"
P.Z.: Professor Martin Fiebert's annotated domestic violence bibliography at the webpage http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm has this entry:
"Sarantakos, S. (2004). Deconstructing self-defense in wife-to-husband violence. Journal of Men's Studies, 12 (3), 277-296. (Members of 68 families with violent wives in Australia were studied. In 78% of cases wives' violence was reported to be moderate to severe and in 38% of cases husbands needed medical attention. Using information from husbands, wives, children and wives' mothers study provides compelling data challenging self defense as a motive for female-to-male violence.)"
Ross Mackay is demonstrating gross hypocrisy by ignoring my objective data on these matters, stating that the research he commissioned was on New Zealand research, and then citing overseas research which, from its opening sentence, is clearly biased against men.
R.M.: On the question you raise, then, the WHO report confirms the judgment in our 2007 report.
[Note: You will find the full citation details for the various sources cited in this passage at the following address:
P.Z.: It is completely hypocritical of Ross Mackay to cite this one-sided WHO Feminist propaganda report, when I had criticised the New Zealand report for selectively citing overseas reports. Here he is selectively citing a single overseas report.
P.Z.: I would be grateful if you could please answer the question above.
R.M.: In summary, in publishing this report, both the authors and I were aware that this aspect of the topic was highly contested terrain. In my view, the authors got it exactly right, using their judgement to come to a judicious conclusion based on a careful reading of the evidence.
P.Z.: The Ministry of Social Development has no credibility on domestic violence, and Ross Mackay should be sacked for bias and incompetence.