What is the sound of one hand clapping?

I recently posted the following comment in response to my article on gender equality at Mercatornet.

I’m reposting it here because the substance is generic: you can’t have a dialogue where only one person is willing to do the heavy lifting.


It’s unfortunate that an article on gender equality, violence against women, and the need for intelligent critique that doesn’t degrade into prejudice has met with comments arguing that the theme of ‘violence against women’ is some kind of bigoted campaign to stigmatise men, that the best available sources of information and methodologies can simply be disregarded as ‘lies’ in favour of ‘common sense’ and personal experience, or that violence against women is merely a subset of violence in general, for which women are somehow largely to blame.

I have spent some hours searching for valid sources of information and statistics in the hope that we could engage in rational discussion; I have even provided evidence such as statistics on the numbers of children in single-parent households, which my interlocutor claimed was being censored as some kind of conspiracy or plot by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Demonstration of concrete evidence such as the disparity in intimate partner homicide for men versus women was met with silence. To recap for other readers, the National Homicide Monitoring Program annual report states:
“Consistent with previous NHMP annual reports, females were overrepresented as victims in intimate partner homicide (n=89; 73% of intimate partner homicides),”

Page 11 of the VicHealth report linked to in the first line of my article shows that in general, men and women are almost equally likely to suffer violence, yet the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are men:

“In 2012, 42% of persons (aged 18 years and over) had experienced
violence since the age of 15 years by a male perpetrator, compared with
12% who had experienced violence by a female perpetrator (ABS 2013b).
men are also more likely to be the victims of violence than are women
(ABS 2013b), the difference is not large. In 2012, 49% of men aged 18
years and over reported that they had experienced violence since the age
of 15, compared with 41% of women. Most of the violence experienced by
men is accounted for by physical assault, with men being less likely
than women to be subject to sexual violence. Since the age of 15, 4.5%
of men reported experiencing sexual violence, compared with 19% of women
(ABS 2013b).”

If your response to such data is to fear that this is part of some plot to stigmatise men, and hence you denigrate the integrity of the survey, the methodology, and the institutions behind them without valid evidence or a rationale on which to base such accusations, then there is little hope of rational dialogue.

If, on the other hand, you humbly submit to follow the evidence wherever it leads with a critical but inquiring mind, then you can say with some integrity “veritas lux mea”, which is a much more noble path.

Readers will have to forgive me for not following up with further research to engage with the various claims being made in comments. But the fact is that if people are genuinely looking for the truth they shouldn’t need me to do all the heavy lifting for them.

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