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Domestic violence reality check for the 'manosphere'


Woman with black eye weeps as a male hand covers her mouthDomestic violence is a crime in which, overwhelmingly, the victims are women and the perpetrators are men. A recent 11-year summary of domestic violence trends in Victoria by the Department of Justice found that nearly 80 per cent of victims were female and over 90 per cent of perpetrators were male.

Yet lately it seems that there has been a subtle shift in community perception. Whenever the topic of domestic violence is raised in the media, talkback radio, online comments and letters to the editor are suddenly flooded with demands that we acknowledge that men, too, are victims. According to a VicHealth report, one fifth of the community now believes that men and women are equal perpetrators of violence in the home.

The 'battered husband' claim has flourished within the online space known as the 'manosphere' where aggressive men's rights groups blame women, and more specifically feminism, for everything from high unemployment rates and shorter male lifespans, to false rape allegations and poor family court outcomes. The time has come, they say, to knock women off their pedestal.

Groups such as One in Three claim that as many as 50 per cent of domestic violence victims are male, and that women are as physically aggressive — if not more so — than men. According to one men's rights group website, feminists (or femo-nazis, to use the term preferred by many) 'invent fake domestic violence' so that they can continue to control, dominate, destroy and extort from men. Males, says another site, are facing increased hostility and being portrayed as the perpetrators of 'evil'.

There is no doubt that some victims of domestic violence are men. No one disagrees that this abuse is unacceptable and unforgiveable, and that these men are equally deserving of resources and support. But to suggest that domestic violence is a gender-equal crime is plainly incorrect, and dangerous.

These groups cherry pick studies with dubious methodology. The studies they cite have been repeatedly refuted for an approach that does not differentiate between the type and context of violent acts (for example, between a push in self-defence and a push down the stairs, or between a single act of retaliation and years of ongoing abuse). The research has also been criticised for interviewing only one partner in the relationship, and for ignoring post-separation abuse, which accounts for a very large percentage of intimate partner violence.

And of course it blatantly contradicts the vast majority of studies on the topic, such as the ABS report that showed that less than five per cent of men who experienced violence in a 12-month period were assaulted by a female partner or ex-partner.

Men's rights groups claim that such statistics are meaningless because males are less likely to report domestic violence. A study by the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse directly addressed this concern, stating that 'the evidence is that men tend to over-estimate their partner's violence while women under-estimate their partner's violence by normalising or excusing it ... men upgraded women's violent behaviour while women discounted or downplayed their male partner's violence'.

Furthermore, research consistently shows that 'men's violence is six times more likely to inflict severe injury and is more humiliating, coercive and controlling. Women's violence is more likely to be expressive in response to frustration and stress rather than purposeful with the intention to control and dominate.'

Danny Blay, executive director of No to Violence, explains that the arguments used by men's rights groups 'seem appealing and credible because they simplify something that is actually quite complex. But they've fudged the numbers dramatically. The thing about this issue is that it is quite personally affecting. When you hear figures like one in three women will experience family violence at some in their lives, you immediately start reflecting on your mother, your sister, your relationships and it's a hard place to be.

'It's much easier to say, 'it's not men's responsibility, it's equally women's fault'.'

The misrepresentation of domestic violence as gender-neutral is dangerous for a number of reasons. Firstly, this 'what about men?' campaign wastes precious air time and column space that Blay believes would be better spent 'having real conversations about family violence — examining the figures, exposing the myths and getting the stories out from behind closed doors'. Secondly, it raises suspicion about all domestic violence claims by suggesting that women routinely exaggerate or invent abuse.

But finally, and perhaps most dangerously of all, the claims of men's rights groups downplay the amount and impact of domestic violence on women. By characterising violence as mutual or a two-way street, they trivialise the ongoing, severe and sometimes fatal nature of domestic violence.

A compelling reminder of its devastating effects can be seen in the recent report of the Victorian Systemic Review of Family Violence Deaths. It found that over half of all homicides in the state occurred within the context of family violence. Of intimate partner homicides, females accounted for more than three quarters of the fatalities; in just under half of the cases where the deceased was male, a history of family violence was established which identified the deceased as the perpetrator of that violence.

Men's rights groups are using domestic violence victims as pawns in a larger game that seems to be less about protecting males or females from abuse and more about discrediting women and promoting other ideological ideas.

Statistics show that men are at most risk of violence not from women, but at the hands of other men. If men's rights groups cared about male victims, they'd be addressing male-male violence. If they cared about all men, they'd be advocating for the most marginalised in our society, including gay men, Indigenous men and refugees. And if they really cared about putting an end to domestic violence, they'd advocate for egalitarian relationships and examine concepts of manhood in which violence is seen as acceptable and seeking help as shameful.

Sarah McKenzieSarah McKenzie is a Melbourne-based freelance writer. She has published articles in The Age, Herald Sun, The National Times, Canberra Times, The Drum, The Punch, Crikey and more, with a particular focus on science, the environment, social justice and feminist issues.

Domestic violence image from Shutterstock

Topic tags: Sarah McKenzie, domestic violence, violence against women, manosphere



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Existing comments

You have misrepresented the ABS study, presumably to support an ideological position. The data show that for assault by an intimate partner, of five assaults, two are perpetrated by women and three by men. The data quoted by you is simply because men are the major victims of violence in our society, at much greater rates than suffered by women. I can assure you from personal experience that domestic violence from women does occur, and the impact on male victims is every bit as significant as the impact of domestic violence on female victims.

johnno | 12 September 2013  

Great article. Encapsulates the type of arguments we hear constantly, and refutes them, brilliantly. With cites. Fantastic!

Helen | 12 September 2013  

Right. So when a man hits a woman it's because he's 'violent and controlling', but when a woman hits a man it's because she's expressing 'frustration and stress'. Men, of course, don't experience stress. The feminist rationalisation wheel's on full spin here isn't it?

Sasha | 12 September 2013  

interesting that we hear the catch phrase "Violence is patriarchy", but the reality is that 85% of repeat violent offenders currently in American prisons come from the segment of society with no fathers. so it seems to me the the more correct catch phrase should be "violence is the absence of patriarchy".

Scott | 12 September 2013  

"A recent 11-year summary of domestic violence trends in Victoria by the Department of Justice found that nearly 80 per cent of victims were female and over 90 per cent of perpetrators were male." The link is broken. I assume it's one of the study that based their statistic off police reports, which is inaccurate due to underreporting by men. "where aggressive men's rights groups blame women, and more specifically feminism" This is incorrect. Some issues were caused by social standards, some were in fact caused by feminism, and others were either only perpetuated by feminism or ignored by them, which as a movement claimed to be for gender equality was their responsibility to deal with. We do not blame women, and "women" isn't synonymous with "feminism". "These groups cherry pick studies with dubious methodology. " Here's a study by the CDC that found 53% of DV victims were men. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf "Men's rights groups claim that such statistics are meaningless because males are less likely to report domestic violence. A study ... directly addressed this concern, stating that 'the evidence is that men tend to over-estimate their partner's violence" Reporting a crime is not the same thing as overestimating how much damage it caused.

Richard Johnson | 12 September 2013  

The most comprehensive review of the scholarly domestic violence research literature ever conducted concludes, among other things, that women perpetrate physical and emotional abuse, and engage in control behaviors, at comparable rates to men. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10741752.htm The academic study was peer reviewed and published in 2013.

ZimbaZumba | 12 September 2013  

Funny... Most boys are trained from a very early age to not hit women. It is engrained. I have yet to hit a woman, but have been punched in the face on three separate occasions by two different women I was dating. Neither were reported, nor did I hit them back. Which, I should have. Man enough to hit, man enough to be hit back.

Louie Foster | 12 September 2013  

The largest review of domestic violence research ever summarised the findings of 1700 studies on domestic violence and found that it was in deed gender symmetrical. Youare doing the twisting of research you claim others are doing: http://www.avoiceformen.com/updates/news-updates/news-release-dv-is-not-men-only/

charles | 12 September 2013  

We need a gender neutral approach to domestic violence because our goal as a society is gender equality. You use as an example the fact 90% of those reporting violence are women while insisting we maintain a advocacy structure that discourages men from reporting by failing to raise awareness about their victimization. Culturally men feel insecure about presenting themselves as victims, let alone victims of violence at the hand of their spouse or girlfriend. When we choose to ignore female on male abuse we end up enabling female abusers. To this day a women could beat a man bloody on the street and nobody would tell her to stop. That's the position we put men in whom we have told to never hit women under any circumstances. Self defense is not an option for men doing what we tell them to do so the least we could do is spend equal time discouraging women from hitting men.

Ed | 12 September 2013  

This article perpetuates false and sexist stereotypes of violence. In reality, men and women are equally likely to engage in domestic violence. This has been shown by hundreds of studies around the world. Some of them are summarised here: http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

EvilPundit | 12 September 2013  

This article will do little to generate a much needed and informed conversation on family violence, the associated trauma and resulting personal and social impact. Unfortunately it will most likely add more fuel to the fire of divided views. It tries (unsuccessfully) to pull too many loose threads together. At the end of the day this attempt at a coherent argument will count for little. The lived experience of those who have been subjected to violence in the family home is where the real story lies.

Rob | 12 September 2013  

Fascinating. As a daily reader of Eureka Street and a sometimes commentator, I suddenly see a whole new group of men making "comments" who have never commented before. I can't help wondering why that is.

ErikH | 12 September 2013  

To share a personal experience. My wife was quite violent - I have gone to work with black eyes and attended casualty for stitches. I found it increasingly difficult not to respond to being struck and went and saw a (female) counsellor regarding my concerns for my wife's safety if I retaliated. She asked me about my own safety which was an eye opener for my - I had never thought to consider her behaviour socially unacceptable or domestic violence - it was just the way she behaved but as I said to her, if I behaved like that she would be down at the women's shelter the next day. So, certainly for me, it was important to label something as what it was, and more importantly, by not calling it what it was was tacit acceptance of violence as legitimate behaviour.

johnno | 12 September 2013  

Not wanting to flog this much further, but the true violence problem in our society is that against young males as evidenced by the study cited in the article. If our concern is the reduction of violence, then surely this area requires more resources? In our society, all interest groups seek a privileging discourse to underpin their claims for disproportionate access to societal resources. With respect, I am of the view that more than enough resources are devoted to domestic violence against women and that there are other groups that should be of concern. Allocation of resources to these groups does NOT delegitimise concerns of violence about women; violence is a human problem, not a gender problem.

johnno | 12 September 2013  

I can see for many of the commenters that Sarah's first paragraph in this article didn't really impact. Violence is about power and I think most people would agree that strength is an issue in the perpetration of violence and that men are overwhelmingly physically stronger than women. Psychological violence is another issue altogether. Men also. on average, earn more than women, so women generally have fewer options in leaving a violent marriage. I think the solution to violence in male/female relationships is, as Sarah has indicated, more egalitarian relationships. A long journey still to go for women.

Pam | 12 September 2013  

In most partnerships there is usually some degree of attempt to be in control. In the domestic area this usually finds expression by males in physical ways, because this is linked to masculinity. With females it is more likely to be expressed verbally or in a non-physical way, because most women cannot match the physical power of their male partner. Many men cannot match the verbal dexterity of their female partner, and can be driven to frustration by verbal abuse and lash out. This is no excuse for resorting to physical violence, but women need to be aware of pushing their grievance too far. On more than one occasion I have witnessed a man attempt to walk away from a conflict, and heard the woman demand, “Don’t you walk away from me! “ The most successful reply or ploy seems to be, “I have to go to the toilet.” At least this gives for tensions to ease.

Robert Liddy | 12 September 2013  

Thanks Sarah, your item is factual and evidence based. Most of the feedback comments actually underscore the danger of the 'what about men' campaign you discuss. I believe two women in Australia are killed every week through domestic violence - a recent article I read pointed out that if two people died every week on railway stations (for example) there'd be an outcry.

annamack | 12 September 2013  

I suggest the author examine the detailed conclusions of the Partner Violence State of Knowledge project which is the largest available database of IPV research, with conclusions drawn by a group of world leading researchers. with summaries of 1,700 peer-reviewed studies. http://www.domesticviolenceresearch.org/ Then you will understand who is cherry picking. And for every false allegation of DV used as a tactic in separation or divorce you take one from the female count and add it to the male count and female perpetrated child abuse account.

Greg Canning | 12 September 2013  

Great article Sarah. Reading the reader comments for this article it never ceases to surprise me that people get more wrapped up in arguing the stats rather than actually address the issue. Having worked in the prevention of violence against women area for a number of years now I can say that unless we address the determinants of violence by promoting equal and respectful relationships and non-violent social norms reducing the effect and exposure to violence at an individual, community and societal level these rates will continue to rise.

Nic | 13 September 2013  

Dear Nic I think the point is not that the focus should be on violence protection, but rather that violence has been treated as a gender issue rather than as a person issue, that is female perpetrators of domestic violence are invisible despite strong evidence of their existence.

johnno | 13 September 2013  

Data from the National Homicide Monitoring Program 20 February 2013 Total male homicide victims 366 (one per day) Total female homicide victims 175 (one per two days) Total male homicide victims where in domestic relationship with perpetrator 75 (6 per month) Total female homicide victims where in domestic relationship with perpetrator 116 (10 per month) Total male homicide victims where in intimate domestic relationship with perpetrator 33 (3 per month) Total female homicide victims where in intimate domestic relationship with perpetrator 89(7.5 per month) The data do not reflect a view that violence has a gender.

johnno | 13 September 2013  

My brother is a victim of domestic violence - not just physical violence, but emotional and economic abuse also. It's heart-breaking for me and my family. Family violence is awful - whether the victim is male or female. However given the evidence (and there is plenty of it!) it is ludicrous to suggest that violence against women is anything but a gender issue. Men in this country are amongst the most privileged cohort globally, and girls/women are taught through cultural norms to accept this from a very young age - I see this in my daughters and their friends every day! Yet, despite their privileged status, male partners and ex-partners are responsible for the death of 1 woman every week. You can (wrongly) claim under-reporting or false reporting to support the argument that men and women are equally victims of family violence, however I would suggest that falsely reporting a murder could be tricky.

Kate | 13 September 2013  

"And of course it blatantly contradicts the vast majority of studies on the topic, such as the ABS report that showed that less than five per cent of men who experienced violence in a 12-month period were assaulted by a female partner or ex-partner." You do realize that you could domestic violence being 0.01% of all violence against men and still have equal levels of domestic violence between genders if the rate of violence on the whole is far far higher than against women? 0.01% is just a madeup number to point out that it doesn't matter what % of violence total is DV for men WHEN comparing to women's DV violence, all it means is that men get heaps more violence to deal with on TOP of the DV. Studies routinely show DV by women against men is roughly 1/4 to 1/3 and sometimes close to 1/2 of all DV in hetero relationships but there is no where near that amount of support for men in ANTI-DV campaigns and awareness. Isn't that a huge failure?

Archy | 13 September 2013  

The term 'domestic violence' itself is an obfuscation. Let's call it for what it is - men's violence against women! If you include sexual assault in this discussion suddenly the gender symmetry line peters out! Of all violent crimes, why would 'domestic violence' be the only one where females equal males?

Brian | 13 September 2013  

65% of women and 55% of men reported that they had experienced assaults against them by their former partner either during the relationship or after separation. [Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies, Grania Sheehan and Bruce Smyth, ‘Spousal Violence and Post-separation Financial Outcomes’ (2000) 14 Australian Journal of Family Law 102]

Nick Woodall | 13 September 2013  

I am a medical professional, and I am a victim of domestic violence (DV) by my wife of 39 years. I don't have to allow my victimhood color my readings of the official medical studies that are showing more and more that DV is an equal opportunity sin and crime. If as an investigative reporter you would do your due diligence in reading the sociological and medical studies, you'd find that there is ample evidence to support the equal opportunity theory.

John Castle | 13 September 2013  

<blockquote> Fascinating. As a daily reader of Eureka Street and a sometimes commentator, I suddenly see a whole new group of men making "comments" who have never commented before. I can't help wondering why that is. </blockquote> Absolutely, the MRAs are well organised and this pile-on is completely expected. I've studied this issue for years and know the pattern. I also know the evidence and the "evidence" they concoct. It's a bit odd that after a decade of MRAism they are still complaining that DV against men goes unreported and that they don't have equal support (meaning, shelters.) Since MRA organisations are so well organised you'd think these things would have been fixed by now. After all, women didn't wait for men to build them women's shelters. People like Anne Summers went off and did it themselves. With a greater % of wealth and property, surely men could get it together, and surely the MRAs could raise awareness so that these men who are "too ashamed" to report their DV, do so? At the moment intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age, and that's just not the case for men. And the increased risk of death by violence for men is due to violence by other men.

Name | 13 September 2013  

I would like to point out that women who exhibit sociopathic tendencies can be psychologically abusive of men, particularly a man who has witnessed similar experiences with his parents in his family of origin. Too often these experiences are downplayed. I recommend a book by M. E. Thomas: Confessions of a Sociopath. I look forward to a time when the Church starts to speak of psychological abuse and advises the right of the victim to stand up for himself and leave a relationship which demeans the man.

Judy Lawson | 14 September 2013  

Your opening statement is extensively disproven by over 40 years of research. The Justice dept report only regards arrest figures, and feminist influence over policies have made sure that it is almost only ever men who get arrested despite the fact that women perpetrate equal amounts of violence. The 'manosphere' you have invented is just another way of trying to demonise and marginalise the voices of human beings standing up for their rights. The impact of domestic violence on men is no less real or substantial than it is on women, and it is their children being affected, fathers are no less concerned for their children than mothers. The feminist misrepresenatation of domestic violence as a gender issue instead of a human one has paralysed our society and prevented us from responding to this crisis effectively for 30 years. They are far more concerned for their political power than they are for victims of DV. You are either a silly naive girl parroting the standard sexist feminist propaganda or you have no regard for the truth and no shame in manipulating it for your own purposes. Either way, this is just another deceitful sermon from the pulpit of Feminarchy.

Adam Blanch | 14 September 2013  

where did all these men come from?

Anne | 15 September 2013  

"Name" states "At the moment intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age, and that's just not the case for men." Sorry "Name" its not the case for women either, no matter how often "Name" or others repeat the lie. Those who spend this lie ( eg Vic Health) usually base it on an Australian study by Vos et al ( methodologically flawed mind you) that estimated the contribution of IPV to burden of disease ( both mortality and morbidity) they found and I quote "For women of all ages IPV accounted for 2.9% (95% uncertainty interval 2.4–3.4%) of the total disease and injury burden. Among women 18–44 years of age, IPV was associated with 7.9% (95% uncertainty interval 6.4–9.5%) of the overall disease burden and was a larger risk to health than risk factors traditionally included in burden of disease studies, such as raised blood pressure, tobacco use and increased body weight. Poor mental health contributed 73% and substance abuse 22% to the disease burden attributed to IPV." If Name is referring to some other data source please share! If not then it will be clear who knows and who "concocts" evidence.

Greg Canning | 15 September 2013  

"By characterising violence as mutual or a two-way street, they trivialise the ongoing, severe and sometimes fatal nature of domestic violence." Uh, I'm sorry but... how? A "two way street" would imply that they were characterizing the violence as mutual in EACH case. I have never seen this to be the argument made. What I have seen, is the argument that males are the VICTIM more often than is reported. That then, is STILL a situation where there is a perpetrator, and a victim, and the recognition that the victim is in danger. How, exactly, does a change in the gender of the victim "trivialise the ongoing, severe and sometimes fatal nature of domestic violence" in any way?

boor | 15 September 2013  

Yes, domestic violence does happen to men and it does impact on them significantly. It may be even more prevalent than we think - it's harder for men to speak up for fear of what other men think of them. Women perpetrators play on the men that have respect enough not to hit a woman - I am a woman and what I know about what women do to men - disgusts me.

Denise | 15 September 2013  

Isn't it interesting that whenever an issue of women's rights is discussed anywhere, the same blokes appear in the comments. As a few people asked: Where did all these men come from? So many of these men promote the same biased 'studies' or misinterpret the data to prop up their arguments. Like Johnno, suggesting that the data on people killed by those with whom they have an intimate relationship shows that gender is not a particular issue. Of course what he omits to say is that many of the 'intimate relationships' which cause male deaths are by other males - fathers, sons, brothers and lovers. Take these deaths from the data (ie male on male) and the gender discrepancy is very obvious. You only need look at who claims the provocation defence to gain some idea of the predominance of male violence in the community.

Carole | 15 September 2013  

I feel sorry for all these poor men. If I was abused by a women, I think I would at least have the decency to realise that I was part of a very small minority. I would hope that it gave me more sympathy for the countless female victims out there, not less. What an angry bunch of keyboard warriors.

Michael | 15 September 2013  

Some analysis: Supportive comments quoting data: 0 (0% of all comments) Supportive comments quoting opinion: 12 (34%) Negative comments quoting data: 14 (40%) Negative comments quoting opinion: 9 (26%)

johnno | 15 September 2013  

Come on... are you guys for real?? A big thankyou for so beautifully demonstrating the writers point! An even bigger thankyou to the men and women who have worked respectfully together to bring this issue to the forefront of our political and public conversations here in Australia. It is an absolute credit to our leaders that we are now leading the world in regard to preventing violence against women and promoting gender equity. What a reassuring thought that as a legacy from this political era we may give our daughters, mothers, sisters and their counterparts the right to equitable and respectful relationships at home, in the workplace and in the community. In addition to this, what a reassuring thought that our sons, fathers, brothers and their counterparts will enjoy the satisfaction and joy that comes from engaging in respectful relationships with women who no longer need to expend their energy on fighting for equality.

Kate | 15 September 2013  

What a nonsense, sexist and blinkered article. Shame on Ms McKensie for dismissing and trivialising male victims, disregarding *numerous* peer reviewed studies that show DV to be gender neutral or close to it, which can easily be found on the Wikipedia DV page. Anyone still unconvinced, I invite you to take a read of Jezebel's (one of the most well known popular feminism sites) survey on the subject. Read the confessions in the comments and tell us DV against males is a marginal issue. http://jezebel.com/294383/have-you-ever-beat-up-a-boyfriend-cause-uh-we-have Again - shame on Sarah for disregarding all objectivity to push an anti-male ideological agenda in this article. Feminist speakers talk of the need to bring on board more male supporters - misandric propaganda like this is exactly why that men are put off doing so.

NetFreeUK | 15 September 2013  

I'm sorry you've had some of the comments you've had, Sarah, but I guess you probably expected them. It is nigh impossible these days to even comment on stories about women who have experienced male violence without howls of "what about the poor men?" The mansophere can whine all it likes that DV is "equal opportunity" but we do not see men fearing for their lives, being forced to drop out of school, and being sexually assaulted by female partners in nearly the same numbers. There is no gender parity in domestic violence; nothing like it. They can keep saying it but it won't make it true. They want to strip feminists of the gains made for women, and if domestic violence is nobody's fault, the real problem becomes obfuscated. Thanks for this article. Some more reading for the interested: http://www.xyonline.net/content/domestic-violence-and-gender-xy-collection

Louise | 16 September 2013  

I am staggered that so many men have actually tried defend the male case. We never learn from history and one does not have to be a great scholar to know that men and the justice system have a lot to answer for the violence and abuse that women have had to endure through the ages.. and in some cultures including Australia still do to a far greater extent than what men have had to endure.

Ron Cortis | 16 September 2013  

It is the qualitative aspects of the study which are more revealing and more important than the quantitative statistics. e.g. the number of females who were killed as a consequence of domestic violence and that the majority of male deaths were as a consequence of initiating the violence. Further qualitative data from the treatment of victims of domestic violence by hospitals would reveal the vast majority of such injured victims are female. Further qualitative data would be the number of victims who escaped the violence (usually with their children) to temporarily seek refuge or to live with relatives and friends, or in cars. Males would not figure significantly in such qualitative data in fact their presence would be negligible. Other qualitative data could be added regarding the numbers of AVOs, of criminal charges of assault, and of imprisonment for offences of violence. I'm sure that males would figure most highly in this group, if not exclusively. Studies on male victims of domestic violence tend to examine incidents where men are hit, slapped, and pushed whereas violence on females examines punching, kicking (often during pregnancy) and threatening with guns and knives.

Charles Bellis | 16 September 2013  

This doesn't surprise me in the least. Most male abusers are gutless, control freaks. The fact that they blame women for all the wrongs in their life just makes them Narcissists as well. They are the ones responsible for the huge gender gaps that exist right throughout most societies... adn the very same males who insist that women are just as abusive as men in relationships are the greatest supporters of prostitution, pornography and all forms of gender based violence. Any male who tells me that women are just as bad as men with regard to violence gets evicted and blocked from ever communicating with me again... shit can not be turned into anything useful except compost... but it is still shit even then!

Liz Liddell | 16 September 2013  

Denial and Other Common Narcissistic Defenses Science-fiction writer Frank Hubert, the author of Dune, said, "How often the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him." The defenses of denial and getting angry when challenged about harmful behavior function to maintain a self-image of feeling good about themselves even though others can see through the facade." http://nardar.com/defenses.htm

Charles Bellis | 16 September 2013  

Throughout much of Australia male victims and victims of female perpetrators who try to access services - often taxpayer funded - experience laughter or accusations of dishonesty. It's quite clear from this article and much of the following commentary that there are many folk who wish to see this continue. For any given victim our willingness to acknowledge them seems to be based on who all the other victims are rather than that individual victim's circumstances. We discriminate against victims based on their sex and, even more pitifully, the sex of the abuser involved. I have a message for those intent on exclusion rather than inclusion... When you marginalise victims this contributes to the harm their experience of abuse causes them. Consequently you may as well be a participating abuser. There is a cost to the discrimination in which you wish to indulge and it's a cost borne by all those victims. Shame on you all.

Greg Allan | 16 September 2013  

The howls of "misandry" and "sexism" whenever the topic of male violence to women comes up are boringly predictable. Perhaps MRAs kid themselves that their obnoxious (and transparent) misogyny will be drowned out.

Ken | 16 September 2013  

Fantastic article, well done. Can't wait to read the comments that accuse you of leftist liberal feminist propaganda!

Kim | 16 September 2013  

A very important article, thank you for making the statistics clear and highlighting the issue. However, I couldn't read it very easily because of the graphic image. I am not shying away from the issue but prefer not to look at close-ups of abuse. Hannah O'Keefe

Hannah O'Keefe | 16 September 2013  

It is unfortunate that ideological and financial interests want so desperately to deny the true symmetrical nature of domestic abuse. This is not a gendered issue. Hiding the truth hurts us all and hinders real solutions including appropriate prevention education.

Anne | 16 September 2013  

Good read and well done. I think the majority of comments here prove the point you were making-but they somehow failed to hear it.

Amy | 16 September 2013  

Haha this article is going to attract the MRAs types. No doubt there will be some guy who will cry "but the impact on male victims is every bit as significant as the impact of domestic violence on female victims!!" even though the author did not suggest that DV doesn't happen to men, nor did she suggest it doesn't impact them. That's what they do; they come in swarms to muddy the comment section and try to misrepresent the article, even though it is right above us.

REJ | 16 September 2013  

Why the sexist desire to see women are perpetual victims while at the same time disregarding scientifically verified facts? Is the status of women so weak that you must continually throw out science in order to forward your own agenda. Quote from below: “Over the years, research on partner abuse has become unnecessarily fragmented and politicized,” commented John Hamel, Editor-in-Chief of [the peer-reviewed academic journal] Partner Abuse and PASK Director. “The purpose of this project is to bring together, in a rigorously evidence-based, transparent and methodical manner, existing knowledge about partner abuse, with reliable, up-to- date research that can easily be accessed by anyone. PASK is grounded in the premises that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not to their own facts; that these facts should be available to everyone, and that domestic violence intervention and policy ought to be based upon these facts rather than ideology and special interests.” You should take special heed of the statement: you are entitled to your own option but not your own facts. You are peddling myths because you are scared of the facts and because these facts go against your myopic world view. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10741752.htm?PID=4003003

LanceSmith | 16 September 2013  

"...seems to be less about protecting males or females from abuse and more about discrediting women and promoting other ideological ideas." THERE is your logical fallacy. You grouped two items. MRAs do not want to discredit the pain of women. They only want their pain recognized. You grouped two causes and dismissed both. Why must you be such a witch? Men are only now trying to say it hurts. Is it so beneath you to recognize our pain?

tom | 16 September 2013  

I've been reading these comments and I hardly know where to start. Hospitals and morgues are full of women who've been beaten, shot, and stabbed to death. By men. Not to often do you see the reverse. Perhaps that's only an anecdotal observation, but one that I think is true. Most men have a much greater upper body strength than the women around them, so when we hit, we hurt. Badly. As to causes, I tend to look equally to socialization/culture as well as biology. Meaning it's both Testosterone and Patriarchy. And they are mutually reinforcing. As far as female violence is concerned, if the oppressed strike back from time to time that hardly seems surprising.

RogerG | 16 September 2013  

The study you have shown by the vic government used police data, of which the studies show police are unlikely to follow up claims of assault made by a man. As well as things like tenancy assistance under the Family Violence Protection Act which specifically references women and their children. This is part of the problem with domestic violence towards men. It is hidden. I agree that there are men's groups which abuse the information, just like there are women's groups which abuse data but as a male victim of domestic violence can I just ask. How can you say "These groups cherry pick studies with dubious methodology." when the study you are using, the single study, picks biased data? My point is the same, the violence against women campaign hides victims, try and get support as a male victim of domestic violence and you will see how hard it is. Funding is considerably different with thousands of dollars being available in aid to female victims and a fraction being available to male victims..

Michael | 16 September 2013  

RE: "Domestic violence is a crime in which, overwhelmingly, the victims are women and the perpetrators are men." This is simply not true the latest vast peer reviewed meta study shows that men and women have roughly equal propensity. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10741752.htm You are publishing untruths, that is wrong and you should not be doing that. You article is horrible and terribly unfair.

ZimbaZumba | 16 September 2013  

The comments here seem to come from a complete different planet. I have worked in the domestic violence sector for 10 years and men are usually the perpetrators and women and children the victims and men use violence to maintain power and control in the relationship. To deny it is simply wrong; maybe the result of ignorance maybe the result of bad intentions. Good article!

Anita | 17 September 2013  

I'm amazed at the men and others who want us to be "ashamed" of the truth that women are far more often the recipients of male violence than vice -versa. It is not "feminist propaganda", it is simply a fact. Women also understand "marginalisation" as this is what men have been doing to women in one form or another for years. Shame on YOU for coming in here to obfuscate the size of this problem. I echo other writers who have said that there was NO suggestion that men are never victims and men are never perpetrators. The "What about the Men" brigade characteristically become a bit dyslexic when anyone dares to open their mouth about male violence to women. Why don't you spend the energy you use up railing against those who provide services for women, and generate services for men instead of begrudging already strained services for abused women? Contrary to what another poster rote, MRAs have a long history and investment in denying that violence towards women exists while actually encouraging it. Silence women, don't confront the violence, and men are in control again - angry men telling women what they can and can't say, as of old. And they can go to hell. This, on the violent tactics of Father's Rights groups, may be of interest: http://www.xyonline.net/content/use-violence-fathers%E2%80%99-rights-activists-compilation-news-reports

Marianne | 17 September 2013  

Interesting. The comments by "LanceSmith" and "ZimbaZumba" each claim to disprove the easily verifiable fact that death and injury by intimate partner violence is *usually* perpetrated by men against women. "They" (?) both link to the same website, PRWeb, which as the name implies is a PR website and not a scientific or academic source. It might be instructive for the admin to look at the IP addresses and see if there are any commenters using multiple sockpuppets. Either that, or there is a coordinated response from MRA groups.

Helen | 21 September 2013  

He doesnt have to hit you for it to be abuse. He can degrade, humiliate, blame, curse, manipulate, or try to control you. Its still Domestic Violence.

karen | 22 September 2013  

Hooray, finally an article that refutes this vile rhetoric by mens groups. and for those on this comment thread that keep disputing the facts, this is not an us agains them thing, it is fact.

mandy | 23 September 2013  

Thank you Sarah, the comments you have received demonstrate how important and necessary this article is.

Sharon | 24 September 2013  

dispute this, violence in any form is simply wrong the main perpetrator of most violent acts are men . The rest frankly is irreverent men should understand that violence to solve any issue is wrong whether it be at home with children or partners or ex partners or at the pub on the weekends. That the starting point for change dispute it if you like

tod Stokes | 24 September 2013  

Annamack, whilst I am in no way negating your main point, or supporting the men's rights arguments, I would point out that far more than two people a week in Victoria alone die on railways and railway stations. They are suicides and they are overwhelmingly men.

Vanda | 30 September 2013  

Sarah, very bad article. Ideology. Misandry.

Mike | 30 September 2013  

Fabulous, well researched article Sarah! Thank you for taking the time to write on this issue. And I agree with the observations below that many of the comments clearly outline your point of SOME men caring very little about the lives of men and far more about defending strange and outdated ideas of masculinity which ultimately serve no-one.

Vanessa | 01 October 2013  

While there is no doubt most D.V. victims are women (I am ashamed for my birth gender) the small percentage of male victims are just as much victims. What is the difference between a woman who can't hit back and a man who WONT hit back? Imagine telling the police you where assaulted by you wife, only to hear them laugh at you and say "That can't have happened. You are bigger than she is!". Or ". While much of what you say is true, It sounds like you have no sympathy at all for battered men. You seem to be painting them as whining panty-waists unworthy of consideration. A victim is a victim, and NO ONE should have to suffer that kind of abuse regardless of gender. I know most men are assaulted my other men, but that's apples and oranges. While a applaud your efforts to defend women's rights, I don't believe turning this issue into a he versus she contest is at all constructive , nor does it further the goals of this very worthy cause. Stacy in California.U.S.A.

stacy woods | 04 October 2013  

The Government of the United Kingdom recognises Domestic Violence as a Gender Neutral Crime. 7% of women 5% of men. 800,000 male victims a year!

Steven Allan | 05 October 2013  

"At the moment intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age" Completely false. In the US at least top causes are unintentional injuries, cancer, suicide and heart disease. I can't imagine it would be different in AU.

Garth | 05 October 2013  

Fascinating how when the author presents statistics her supporters cheer her for a job well done. Then, when commenters present hard statistics that disprove the author's arguments, they are personally attacked and their arguments are ignored.

Garth | 05 October 2013  

This article is deeply disturbing because it mirrors what used to be said in justifying the mistreatment of blacks ie blacks are violent savages by nature so they do not deserve to be protected by the state. The Victorian report is based on a similar stereotype of men that is dehumanizing. All men are not the same and all women are not the same. Far from it. The justice dept report was driven by a small number of people in the justice dept who have almost fanatical views on the matter. The results do not correspond to what has been found all over the world and not even in other aus states about DV. All victims of violence need to be protected and treated with sympathy, not just one gender out of sentimentality.

Factsseeker | 06 October 2013  

The gender feminist run domestic violence industry has been lying about domestic violence for more than a decade. I'm glad to see the truth getting out as told in "Witch-Hunting Males" at Youtube. http://tinyurl.com/65dpzwu And as shown in "Los Misandry" at Youtube. http://tinyurl.com/27oh7cp

Ray | 06 October 2013  

From ManAmongOaks dot com: According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and DOJ statistics, more kids are killed by neglect and abuse in a year (1,460 in 2005), than all the female intimate partner homicides in in a year (1,181 in 2005). And mothers are the single largest group of kid killers. How's that for gender based violence? They have a rate twice that of fathers, yet the taxpayer funded (gender feminist run) domestic violence industry would have us believe that women don't egregiously batter men too. They're lying!

Name | 06 October 2013  

If you have a serious argument against the one-eyed claims in this DV report, don't waste your time submitting comments because they will be censored by the editor. Genuine debate on this blog is not tolerated.

Factsseeker | 06 October 2013  

"less than five per cent of men who experienced violence in a 12-month period were assaulted by a female partner or ex-partner." But what's the base numbers? I believe the respective number is 30% of women who experience violence do so from a male partner (but you didn't provide this number ether.)... but if, for every ten women who experience violence, 100 men experience violence, you would actually have 5 men abused by their partners for every 3 women abused by theirs, despite men only having 5% and women 30%. This is why it's important to present the base numbers. You were mentioning something about cherry picking data and misrepresenting studies?

Mark Neil | 06 October 2013  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Knight Katherine Mary Knight (born 24 October 1955) is the first Australian woman to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. She had stabbed Price with a butcher's knife while he was sleeping. According to the blood evidence...while Knight chased him through the house, he managed to open the front door and get outside but stumbled back inside, or was dragged back into the hallway, where he finally died after bleeding out. Later, Knight went into Aberdeen and withdrew $1,000 from Price's ATM account. Price's autopsy revealed that he had been stabbed at least 37 times, in both the front and back of his body, with many of the wounds extending into vital organs. Several hours after Price had died, Knight skinned him and hung the skin from a meat hook on the architrave of a door to the lounge room.[4] She then decapitated him and cooked parts of his body, serving up the meat with baked potato, pumpkin, zucchini, cabbage, yellow squash and gravy in two settings at the dinner table, along with notes beside each plate, each having the name of one of Price's children on it; she was preparing to serve his body parts to his children.

Pjay | 06 October 2013  

Yes domestic violence does tragically affect men, and indeed probably a larger number of men than those who give it the name or take steps to protect themselves, let alone talk about or report it... but, and here is thee important part, the same is very much true for women. While yes in general men conditioned by our culture not to realise these things or take steps, the same downplaying, denial, shame and refusal to talk report very much affects many of the women who suffer abuse. It is absolutely true that the statistics we have almost certainly underplay the rate of domestic violence by women on men, but the same can be said of all abuse - this under recognition and reporting is inherent in the nature of domestic violence and its effects (or else every perpetrator would be dealt with, every case resolved and every victim supported). in short, to use the under-reporting of female on male abuse as an argument to claim that men suffer equally is not only exaggerating the failure of men to report (the rate would have to be enormous), but ignoring that failure to report also applies very much to women.

Llywellyn O'Brien | 20 October 2013  

To use the quote, "campaign wastes precious air time and column space", would seem to clearly suggest the writer and the reiterate are attempting to exact a measure of control over the those advocate groups who are standing up for men's rights. Men's rights movements like any group, are seeking to represent the interests of their followers or members. These groups no doubt have to have their motivations and assessments of the issues put into perspective relative to the state of play of the issues in question. Whilst this is the case, it in no way detracts from their right to express their opinions and desire to express such opinions. The fact that media outlets are choosing to illuminate the positions of these groups, suggests if nothing else there is reasonable interest in the position these groups are taking. Where there is interest from the community in issues raised, it would seem appropriate to encourage debate on the issues, rather than suggest silencing the issues and positions of the groups, through suggesting publications of such are a waste. Simply because a reader or listener does not share the view of the body issuing the statement, opinion or position on a matter, does not suggest it does not hold overall value to the community in debating said issue or raising awareness. The source issues pertaining to the article are many and varied, with no doubt parties on both sides on the arguments willing to pervert the matters to their own causes. This again does not suggest that one groups opinions should be silenced over another’s. It in fact reinforces the position that each perspective should be thoroughly expressed and explored to be sure that the true facts of such matters are not glossed over in favour only the more vocal group, or more to the point for the advocate group that was not silenced.

Jason Ryan | 09 November 2013  

To those talking of why men comment on these types of articles...maybe it's because the author has cherry picked statistics which minimize the violence against men.

You don't have to minimize male victimization to get violence against women taken seriously. It's not a zero sum game, you can advocate for both genders and still have women protected adequately. New stats are showing DV is experience by both genders at around 33% to 50% male to female (with females being the majority victim of DV).

Yes men are most at risk by other men, but their risk from women being violent towards them is also significantly high hence why so many men comment on these types of articles. Focusing on the majority victim only is a fools game, if we did that for violence in general then we'd only address male victims.

Archy | 15 December 2013  

My concern here is that this has become a debate and men are not participating. Whenever a man attempts to make a point he is attacked with all sorts of statistics and examples of domestic violence. There is no doubt what-so-ever that women are being abused, and that should not be excused in any way. However, there is no evidence of provocation or even prior assault or threats by women towards men being produced. This is not because it is not happening. It is because men are not reporting it - no-one wants to hear that, especially the female accademics supporting the feminest view. It is now too easy for women to take revenge on partners simply by making an accusation of domestic violence. To say, without supporting evidence, that she has been verbally or physically abused, or both. In Victoria, the 'Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence', supports this view. A woman wishing to make a false allegation need only to read it. Anyone who has sons or grandsons should be very worried. They might end up with a partner who develops a serious grudge or attempts to gain an advantage in a property settlement.

Rod Drysdale | 18 January 2014  

On a hot summers night, on the Gold Coast in 2013, a young women is at home with a male friend and her sleeping daughter. Her son is having a sleep over with his grandparents. Suddenly the door to the unit is kicked down and her ex-partner rushes in. He stabs the other male to death then stabs the women (the mother of his children) to death and takes his daughter. He then drives back to NSW (from where the woman had escaped his violence). He kills his daughter then kills himself. The only reason that the son is alive today is because he was not home. That woman was a real person so was her daughter. Her male friend had helped her move from his mate's violence. He was a good man trying to do the right thing. This arguing over numbers is repulsive and disgusting because these statistics are real. Men are murdering their partners or ex-partners at the rate of one per week in Australia (two a week in UK). The above case is not the exception it is the rule. Women are not murdering their ex/partners at this rate.

LYN MC GROW | 23 March 2014  

Yes! This is an excellent, beautifully argued answer to a very disturbing new trend that threatens to push back advances in women and girls' rights decades.

Carl Wick | 29 March 2014  

This article is clearly focusing on mens' groups with an anti women agenda. Such groups may present a bias, yet are they any different from some of the stronger feminist models? Working as a counsellor with a focus on relationships, my experience has found nearly every woman has opened up about committing DV. The acts cover the entire range of DV behaviours and the women have nearly all been well aware of the behaviour and how unacceptable it is. Further, there is a growing number of peer reviewed academic research articles available suggesting a strong increase in women DV perpetrators. Amazing what the cloak of confidentiality will expose. Perhaps deeper research should have been completed prior to the writing of this article. On a personal note, I am someone that has experienced male DV at the hands of a violent partner. The relationship ended a number of years ago, I have relocated and I continue to experience threats from this woman, yet, even though I have not provoked any reason for the actions, I am the one the authorities hold in suspicion. It is beyond time to realise what is really going on out there.

Steve | 07 May 2014  

Perhaps the commentators asking "where did all the men come from" needs to ask, are the men here because what is being stated here is very real? Or perhaps we are just delusional with our experiences?

Steve | 07 May 2014  

As a woman, I find it kinda annoying the way feminists tend to minimize domestic violence against men, based on statistics only. Whatever happened to equality? If we expect violence against women to stop, but don't acknowledge that women can also cause a lot of damage and can be violent, then we are saying that violence against women is not ok but violence against men is, which is enabling. The men I've met who were beaten by their wives minimized the impact it had on them, and just because the stats aren't reported to be the same, violence is violence. It's not acceptable whoever is throwing the punches...or the frypans. Household utensils can easily be utilized as weapons and put a large man in hospital. I'm tired of hearing feminists make excuses for the bad behaviour of women, but throw the hammer at men who do the same. Equality means both parties being treated equally, or have you forgotten that?

Philippa Lucinda Bloom | 25 May 2014  

Domestic Violence laws are just a tool for lawyers to extort cash. 3 minute hearings, no notice, first to file, no explanations the women is hitting the kids at all. Its sad that people like the author who care about real domestic violence do nothing about the lawyer shysters who have made AVO Land a complete fraud.

simon | 11 July 2014  

It pains me to see that one faction of our society sees their pain as more relevant than another's and the Feminist views like this are still getting air. What are you so afraid of? Men around the globe are victims of DV in large numbers - 30-40% roughly in America and Australia and higher in other countries. Women's rights controls the funding and research for the most part - yet you blame Men's Rights for being angry because they can't get recognition. I recently approached some universities in the US to talk about Male Sexual Assault. They wanted us to stick to the feminist dogma that men are just a token of victims - yet we know statistically that they are not. Stats that they refuse to acknowledge because it takes from women's victim mentality. As a victim of a violent assault by 3 women and a child raised by a loveless mother - I can tell you now - you have it very very wrong. Where is your humanity? l it's time for the world to wake up.

Jasmin Newman | 07 December 2014  

Wow, so many people below saying sexist attack in the home is symmetrical. Its as if violently sexist media such as porn and women being deprived of human rights in deeply sexist countries like Saudi, which is where we were in the west before feminism, really isnt a thing. Next the MRA vote will be saying that children are responsible for male violence against them and women make up half of all bank robbers and mercenaries. And they call feminists the liars.

Derrington | 28 February 2015  

"These groups cherry pick studies with dubious methodology. The studies they cite have been repeatedly refuted for an approach that does not differentiate between the type and context of violent acts (for example, between a push in self-defence and a push down the stairs, or between a single act of retaliation and years of ongoing abuse). The research has also been criticised for interviewing only one partner in the relationship, and for ignoring post-separation abuse, which accounts for a very large percentage of intimate partner violence." The ABS study only interviews one person in a household. It doesn't discriminate for severity of the attack. Have you actually read the ABS report?

saynotocrazy | 04 March 2015  

Domestic violence is not a gendered issue, it is generational learned behavior. Most people who commit domestic violence (men and women) have themselves witnessed their parents violence when they were children. Feminists who ignore or even hide the large proportion of female domestic violence perpetrators are helping to perpetuate the problem instead of solving it. Just exactly as the author has done here. I suggest the author and indeed anyone else interested in the truth do some research on a woman called Erin Pizzey. Here is a good place to start http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Pizzey

Terry | 15 April 2015  

While I appreciate the growing problem of violence against women, there's an ignored problem of violence against men in society too. Growing up, I too suffered with a violent father. He was intimidating. At this time though, my best friend had a violent mother also. My father hit us. Her mother hit her, dragged her around by the hair and chased her with knives. She once saved herself from a serious wound by slamming a door and holding it as a knife came through, splitting the wood. My father probably delivered more blows that hurt, but that was only because of his strength. More recently my son choked by a partner and felt in danger of fainting. He finally left the relationship as this wasn't her first violent outburst. There was a pattern of control and abuse from the beginning. I have 4 children (2 boys & 2 girls) and only one of them - my son - has experienced domestic violence. One last point - in social settings I've rarely, if ever, seen a man hit a woman, but I've seen many women hit men. People usually respond by ignoring it, or saying he deserved it

Ellen | 07 May 2015  

Domestic Violence of any kind from a man or woman is cowardice, ugly and vile. It must be Stopped. You will never win the argument as to who hit who and what gender they are. Stop the feminist propaganda and ignoring the male victims. If one woman is the perpetrator she should receive the same punishment as a man, end of. That is not to say that men who hit and kill women should be let off either. Clearly the stats are much higher for female victims but do not belittle the male ones. This article seems to want to poo poo the male victims which is clearly dangerous and damaging and wrong. ALL domestic violence is horrific. Also check on the massive woman on woman domestic abuse it will clearly open your eyes as to how violence is not only the realm of men.

Gerry | 18 June 2015  

All that's being asked for, really, is that the issue of DV stops being treated as a uniquely man-on-woman phenomenon. If male, gay and lesbian victims were acknowledged, the 'floods of emails and online comments' would stop.

Will | 18 September 2015  

Male domestic violence sufferer from my ex-girlfriend. Not reported as left relationship. There's one account not included in the statistics, as many other men wouldn't report their abuse either.

Patrick | 11 November 2015  

I have a question please, I respect that men are the perpetrators in vast majority of cases re physical violence. Have there ever been statistics done on the percentage of men who perform this violence against women. The reason I ask, is that I have always been very sceptical of statistics, more the information that isn't provided. For example, if the stats were 1 in 3 women have experienced violence does that imply 1 in 3 men are perpetrators, or could it be that 1 man has performed an act of violence on anywhere between 1 and 20 women. Regards Peter

PeterG | 08 December 2015  

I enjoyed this article. Would love a proper dialogue between male and female victims and a study into male & female perpetrators. I believe the propensity of the macho culture does perpetuate the belittling and violence towards women more so than the other way around, however I do not discount the male victims. What we need is truth. And the acknowledgement that women are angry, over it, from the centuries of abuse and power mongering and inequality, so the responses and concentration on female victims might be disproportionate and go further than people are comfortable with, but have to be put in context. It's a pendulum swing.

Naomi | 17 June 2018  

Might I suggest some better studies to look at. CTS and CTS2, cdc 2010. I'm one of the statistics. I respect your journey and wish you well.

doug | 19 July 2018  

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