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Calgary Herald - Monday, November 6, 2000

Researcher claims men, women equal abusers

By LINDA SLOBODIAN

Data supported by Statistics Canada study

Research proves men in Canada and the U.S. are victims of domestic violence almost as much as women are, says a sociologist who has written extensively on the subject.

But data is “covered up” by those with sinister agendas, said Murray Straus; co-director of the New Hampshire based Family Research Laboratory.

Photo: Murray Straus

Those responsible for the cover up “are from the ‘all men are bastards’ branch of feminism,” said Straus, who spoke Sunday at the Men’s Educational Support Association family violence seminar, held at MacEwan Student Centre.

“I find it very awkward because I think of myself as a feminist in the sense that I want to see equality between men and women,” said Straus, who has published five books and written 75 articles for scientific journals on the topic of family violence.

“We have all over the United States and Canada people who have gathered data on assaults by women and have not published it, including one person in my own lab,” said Straus.

“They’ll be accused of anti-women bias. And the repercussions can be very severe. I’ve had one of my colleagues, for example, there was a campaign to keep her from being promoted and receiving tenure because she published this sort of data,” he said.

Straus cited a study released by Statistics Canada in July.

“The rate in the Stats Canada study is seven per cent of men and eight per cent of women are assaulted by their partner. So it’s practically the same,” said Straus.

The report surveyed 25,874 Canadians in 1999. Victims were married or in common-law relationships and experienced at least one incident of violence ranging from threats to beatings and assault with weapons.

“I believe that’s true. That’s what we have found in repeated surveys starting in 1975. In the U.S. we get about 10 per cent of men severely assaulting a partner and about 10 per cent of women. It’s within one per cent. For both minor and severe assaults the rates are approximately the same.”

Straus plotted the rates of men assaulting their partners between 1985 and 1992, and said because of awareness campaigns and support services there has been a decrease in female victims.

“Assaults by women have stayed the same. Women are not getting the message because there is no message that it’s morally wrong and criminal for women to hit their husbands.”

He said it also places women at risk. “When she slaps, she sets the stage for him to hit her. The safety of women alone demands we make a big deal of women hitting men.”

Straus acknowledged women generally suffer greater fear and injuries.

“Men are three inches taller, 30 pounds heavier, and better developed muscularly,” he said. That is precisely why they don’t report being victims of domestic assault.

“There’s added embarrassment, the myth that a real man should be able to not let this happen.”

© Copyright 2000 Calgary Herald