Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Women should be hit for wearing sexy clothing in public, one in seven believe

Another awful article that uses sleight of hand and rhetorics to turn data, that isn´t even that bad, into a call for action. But let us start dissect the article:

We start with the headline, which is probably one of the "facts" people will keep in mind:
Women should be hit for wearing sexy clothing in public, one in seven believe
This is the shocker. Reading the study we find out that that is actually a lie. The Times article corrects itself in the first sentence.
One in seven people believe it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend if she is dressed in “sexy or revealing clothes in public”
Which is far closer to the truth. But let me continue before I focus on the actual data, because there is another lie presented in a similar way than the headline:
A similar number believed that it was all right for a man to slap his wife or girlfriend if she is “nagging or constantly moaning at him”.
Which is again wrong as the headline. What does the data say:

Acceptable is something only a very small minority agree with in (1-6%). The 14% (or 1 in 7) said "it is acceptable in some circumstances but not in other". Which is a big difference to saying it is (always) acceptable. The overwhelming majority (79-90%) agreed that it is not acceptable to hit women at all in those cases. But let us illustrate the data in another way. Imagine you are asking 10 people, 5 men and 5 women. Eight will answer it is never acceptable and 1 man and 1 woman will say, "Well I can think of some circumstances where it would be okay to hit a woman". The minority that says it is acceptable doesn´t even fit in my definition. Shocking data?

We continue with the lies:
The findings of the poll, conducted for the Home Office [...] 1,065 people over 18 questioned last month [...]
I guess this tidbits should help convice us that we are talking about rock solid data. Reading the study that the article linked as well makes us wonder if the author read that piece:
- Please note that this research is not part of the Home Office National Statistics programme but is exploratory work. Results should be seen as indicative and directional rather than absoulte. It is not recommended that exact percentages are used outside the context of this document
- Telephon survey in Wales and England asking 915 people age 18+
- Please note that statisitcal reliability tests work on the basis of a pure random sample. This survey uses quotas to obtain a sample that is closely represantative to the population so our survey does not use a completely random sample. Statistical differences should be used only as a guide.
Adjusting the numbers a bit (I guess 1.000 is a magic line that makes surveys more reliable), fantasizing a connection to the Home Office Statistics programme and worst of all presenting us numbers as absolutes that should be seen as directional in a survey that does not even use a completely random sample. And do we see a direction? Yes, an overwhelming majority say violence against women is never acceptable with some men and women saying, well maybe in such a case.

So what follows is a call for action, there should be something done about the violence some people may find acceptable:

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: “Violence against women and girls is unacceptable in any form no matter what the circumstances are.”

Ms Smith said that more needed to be done to challenge attitudes that condoned violence against women and girls.

She was speaking as she launched a police lead review of whether new laws are needed to tackle serial domestic violence abuses and whether there is a link between the early sexualisation of young girls and violent abuse.

One idea being considered is to allow women to ask police if a new partner has a record of domestic violence. A pilot scheme that allows women to request information on whether a new partner has a history of child sex abuse is currently underway in four police force areas of England and Wales.

But Ms Smith was confronted at a working breakfast at which she launched the campaign by a veteran domestic violence campaigner.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, accused Ms Smith over breakfast at the Cinnamon Club in Westminster of using “gimmicks” and “spin”.

She said that government action so far had been “piecemeal” and condemned plans for a database of serial domestic abusers.

Ms Horley said: “We have had enough talking – we need action. As for the perpetrators’ register, it is a gimmick and doesn’t address the root problem.

“The majority of violent men don’t come to the attention of police and it won’t keep women safe.

“Police can’t be expected to monitor relationships and love lives of offenders.”

She went on: ”The Government is hoping to get away with useless initiatives like this register and it is hypocritical to sound tough and do little.”

She said that the cases of Sabina Akhtar and Katie Summers showed that not enough was being done.

Ms Smith tried to interrupt the tirade but was shouted down before Vera Baird, the solicitor general, stepped in to argue the Government’s case.

Well it seems both don´t seem to agree what should been done, but agree that something has to been done.

As someone who is against all kinds of violence, not just violence against women, let us see what another poll tells us about the acceptance of violence against men:


Survey finds male abuse approval

Morethan half of women questioned at a Glasgow university said they approved of wives hitting their husbands.

The Glasgow Caledonian students were among 6,500 women surveyed from 36 universities for an international study into attitudes on domestic violence.
Of the 200 women, 60% said it was acceptable for women to hit their husbands while 35% admitted assaulting their partner.

A total of 8% admitted injuring them - the highest rate in the study.
The injured men suffered bruises, cuts or broken bones.

Among European students, only English women were more likely to have carried out assaults, with 41% admitting that they had punched or kicked their partners.
However, those inflicting injury was less than in Scotland, at 5%.

Just under a quarter of those in Scotland admitted there were occasions when it would be acceptable for a husband to slap his wife.

Worldwide, more than 4,800 female students approved of assaulting their partner and 2,000 admitted to pushing, shoving, slapping, throwing objects and twisting their partner's arms or hair.

The findings, printed in the Sunday Times, will be published next month in the European Journal of Criminology.

'Bottom line'
Professor Murray Straus, co-author of the study, told the paper there was a need for better rehabilitation programmes for women with violent tendencies.

"This study raises questions about why there's so much violence between partners whether they're married, cohabiting or dating," he said.
"The bottom line is that we need make the same 'big deal' about violence by women as we do about men who behave violently."

In recent years, the Scottish Executive has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on raising awareness of domestic abuse, including a helpline for victims which received more than 20,000 calls in 2005 -- an increase of 38% on the previous year.
David Smith, honorary professor of criminology at Edinburgh university and editor of the European Journal of Criminology, said he found the results "surprising".
"The number of women who admit to assaulting men is interesting as it's well known that men are more violent than woman." - from here
Nothing more to say.

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