Violence Against Men

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:54 pm on 10th June 2010.

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Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour 3:54 pm, 10th June 2010

In supporting the amendment in the name of Johann Lamont, I agree that violence against anyone is deeply wrong and that the emotional and physical pain and trauma caused by domestic abuse blight the lives of men, women and children throughout Scotland and the United Kingdom. Services and support should be available to all victims of domestic abuse and, of course, the male victims may be in gay, as well as heterosexual, relationships. However, we need to recognise that the experiences and needs of men and women may be different.

That is why a gendered analysis of domestic abuse that seeks to understand the context, meaning and impact of violence and how it affects men and women differently is vital in ensuring that the right support is available to all who need it.

That is consistent with the gender equality duty, which requires that we recognise the different needs and experiences of men and women in all aspects of life. Therefore, a gender-neutral approach to domestic abuse would be to the detriment of all victims.

Crucially, as our amendment states, that means recognising that domestic abuse

"is rooted in gender inequality".

It is reflective of the unequal power relations that continue to exist between men and women, the unequal pay structures and working conditions that exist and the value, or lack of value, that we place on women's roles in every way in everyday life. Male violence against women is a profound societal and cultural problem that is rooted in social relations, rather than just the psychopathology of individual men. It is not possible to give a similar analysis of female violence against men.