Violence Against Men

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:43 pm on 10th June 2010.

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Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour 4:43 pm, 10th June 2010

I ask the member to let me finish the point.

Meanwhile, women who murdered their husbands and planned it because they were living in fear went to jail. I do not necessarily say that, in the individual circumstances, all those women should have gone free, but we have to accept that there is a serious argument around provocation.

Somebody mentioned that contact is sometimes abused by women, who use it against fathers. I absolutely accept that point. In my constituency, I have worked with fathers and fought for them to have access to their children. However, we also have to understand that there are men who abuse the contact system, according to women's organisations, to continue the abuse of the women. It is not a simple issue of men and women.

In none of the debate have I denied that violence is perpetrated in homes by men and by women, but when we are talking about domestic abuse, in order to move from the particular to the general, as Malcolm Chisholm said, we have to understand the context in which we live and the context of power. Individual power relationships will be different, but the pattern of power relationships is one of men having power over women. That is recognised in the United Nations declaration on the elimination of violence against women, which acknowledges and confirms the basic tenet

"that violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men".

To believe that is not to gainsay the experience of individual men.