jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2016

MercatorNet: Is domestic violence all about gender inequality?

MercatorNet: Is domestic violence all about gender inequality?
Is domestic violence all about gender inequality?

Is domestic violence all about gender inequality?

If we are really concerned about violence against women and children we cannot be silent about family structure.
David Quinn | Nov 24 2016 | comment 

November 25th is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. From then until December 10, International Human Rights Day, UN Women runs a 16-day campaign against gender-based violence, which this year focuses on raising money for that purpose.
Although women often perpetrate violence, especially in the domestic sphere, the culprits in this campaign are implicitly men. But which men? What makes it more likely that a man will inflict violence on a woman or child? This is a question that is seldom addressed in an objective, scientific way, as David Quinn of the Iona Institute notes in the following comment.

conference was held in Dublin last week called Safe Ireland. The intention was to draw attention to, and find ways of reducing, violence against women and children. One issue it appears not to have gone near is whether there is a link to family structure. That was a big oversight.
Broadcaster Olivia O’Leary warned that “traditional family values hide a great deal of cruelty”. This is true if by “traditional family values” she means a tendency to regard the family as “sacrosanct” and pretend nothing bad can ever happen when a child is being raised by its married biological mother and father.  Apart from that it is not a very useful thing to say anymore as it seems to completely overlook the issue of whether or not  domestic abuse is more or less likely to occur within certain family structures.
This is a very delicate subject. No-one wants to appear ‘judgemental’, and therefore almost no-one goes near the topic. But this is the same attitude that caused the authorities in English towns like Rotherham and Rochdale to cover up sexual assault and rape of white girls, often underage, by mainly Pakistani men because of a fear of inciting racism. So perhaps politically correct sensitivities can “hide a great deal of cruelty” every bit as much as “traditional family values” can.
The fact is that there does appear to be a link between family structure and domestic violence. The table published with this article would seem to demonstrate as much. It is based on a 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, conducted by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, which surveyed no fewer 95,677 parents of children aged 17 and under.
Those parents were asked whether their child had ever seen or heard “any parents, guardians, or any other adults in the home slap, hit, kick, punch, or beat each other up.”
As this article published by the Institute for Family Studies in the US points out, the findings were absolutely stark. Children living with a divorced or separated mother were seven times more likely to witness domestic violence than children living with their two married biological parents.
Researchers often attempt to explain away this kind of finding by reference to other factors like poverty, education or mental ill-health. But the above finding comes after controlling for other factors.
If the mother never married, as distinct from being separated or divorced, the child was still six times more likely to witness domestic violence compared with children living with their married, biological parents. It’s a minority of children to be sure – 116 per thousand – but that is still a lot of children.
In other words, if we are really concerned about domestic violence we have to look at the issue of family structure and not try to explain it all away out of a desire not to offend. That desire not to offend, while good in itself, must not prevent us looking at the facts and the fact seems to be that family structure matters. Will next year’s summit look at this squarely or continue to avoid it, or if not avoid it, seek to explain it away?
At a minimum, the summit ought to invite a speaker who can look at this issue fairly and objectively and lead a proper discussion about it. It needs to be brought out into the open and not hidden away in the same way that traditional Ireland used to hide away topics it found inconvenient.
* See here and here for the link between family structure and child abuse. The finding is worryingly similar.
David Quinn is Director of the Iona Institute in Ireland. 

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States and time for the rest of us to say thank you to the US for being the world leader in gratitude. Is there any other nation that sets aside a day of national Thanksgiving? Could any country, including America, agree today on what to give thanks for, let alone whom to thank?
So, thank God for a tradition that goes back more than 200 years, when the answer to those questions was obvious. Thus George Washington, at the behest of Congress, proclaimed the 26th of November 1789
A day of public thanksgiving and prayer devoted to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be,  including the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness,and for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed.
(BTW Shannon Roberts has posted George Washington’s “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” – all 110 of them – to enhance your Thanksgiving experience.)
Even more famously, Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, listed everything from fruitful fields and healthful skies, through the orderly conduct of the civil war and the growth of production and population, to the nation’s augmented strength and vigoramong the bounties of divine providence:
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
Lincoln's acknowledgement of civil strife and prayer for healing the wounds of the nation will strike a chord with many today:
And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
President Obama's 2016 proclamation, though quite nice, never achieves the resonance of his predecessors' proclamations, perhaps  because he never manages to mention God, without whom a national act of thanksgiving loses its point somewhat:
On this holiday, we count our blessings and renew our commitment to giving back. We give thanks for our troops and our veterans -- and their families -- who give of themselves to protect the values we cherish; for the first responders, teachers, and engaged Americans who serve their communities; and for the chance to live in a country founded on the belief that all of us are created equal. But on this day of gratitude, we are also reminded that securing these freedoms and opportunities for all our people is an unfinished task. We must reflect on all we have been afforded while continuing the work of ensuring no one is left out or left behind because of who they are or where they come from.
We know some Americans are not feeling very grateful about the election results. That’s tough for the unbelievers among them. The rest, though, can be thankful that what the Lord has given, he can also take away.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers!

Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,

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