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19 February 2010
A Cause for Debate...

As a campaigner for the White Ribbon Campaign one is routinely asked ‘what about men who experience violence at the hands of their partner?’ Recently there has been increased debate on this topic and a petition has been lodged in Parliament which calls on the Scottish Government ‘to ensure that all publicly funded action on domestic abuse fully address the needs of male victims and their children’.

White Ribbon Scotland’s view is that violence is wrong in all its forms and absolutely agree that men have the same right to be free from abuse. We do not refute that many men who suffer in abusive relationships would benefit from support services nor do we believe that abuse of men by female or male partners is not a problem. Yet we do focus on violence committed by men (in the same way that other organisations focus on violence against children, without denying that violence exists against adults) because we see an important role for non-perpetrating men in challenging problematic gender stereotypes and gender inequality. Through encouraging men and boys to speak out against violence against women and by promoting positive masculinity we hope that culture will change so that violence against women is no longer legitimised, or seen as something for women to sort out.

Violence against women exists in societies with patriarchal structures that legitimise gender inequality. The vast majority of victims of domestic abuse are women and in terms of repeat victimisation and severity of violence women are also the biggest victims. This gendered analysis provides us with a framework to direct resources proportionately to appropriate support services and also to study and understand the root causes of violence against women. Through tackling inequality and challenging stereotypes we stand a much greater chance of addressing gender violence.

If you have any views, comments or questions on the issue then please get in touch at www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk - we would be happy to hear from you.

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26% of Scots surveyed in 2007 thought that a woman bore some responsibility for being raped if she wore revealing clothing

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