Public turns blind eye to domestic violence as Euro 2012 kicks-off
Fewer than three in five people (58%) polled say they would be likely to intervene if they suspected their male friend or neighbour was beating his wife, according to a new YouGov poll.
The survey shows that domestic abuse is still a taboo subject in UK society and reveals a disturbing difference in attitudes among men and women towards the issue.
The poll of 2,111 respondents, published today by Stonham - the UK’s second largest provider of domestic violence support services – showed that almost 1 in 4 (24%) men think it is acceptable to joke about giving a woman “a good slap”. Just over 1 in 5 men (23%) would be likely to speak up if they heard another man make a light-hearted comment about abusing their partner.
The figures are particularly pertinent as they are released on the day of the UEFA Euro Championship 2012 kick-off. Major football tournaments are shown to be the greatest cause of spikes in domestic abuse.
Stonham commissioned the YouGov poll to highlight issues around attitudes to domestic abuse, and to spotlight how the male view of women needs to be re-programmed to cut the number of violent crimes committed towards female spouses and partners.
Stonham is hosting the UK’s first national conference – The Survivors’ Solution: A Call to Men – today that will focus on providing a solution to the issue and will treat the cause of domestic violence as well as helping victims.
One of the conference’s keynote speakers will be Tony Porter, co-founder of the A Call to Men charity in America, which runs programmes that teach men of all ages to respect women. The courses include training scenarios that encourage fathers not to use phrases such as “don’t be a girl” when a boy cries and husbands not to joke about hitting their wives.
Rachael Byrne, Stonham Executive Director, said: “Domestic violence destroys lives and devastates families and we see a significant spike in these crimes around the times of major football tournaments such as the Euros. The data polled for Stonham today shows the worrying truth though that a significant amount of people would turn a blind eye if one of their neighbours left the house with dark glasses covering a bruised eye or worse over the next month.
“Regrettably, we have become desensitised to language that undermines women in men’s eyes. There is no such thing as ‘a good slap’, and we have to seriously question why it seems okay to denigrate girls by making them the emotional stick to beat young boys with. The conference today will explore how we train more men to challenge these societal norms, giving them the skills to pass onto other men who are willing to speak up and help pass on more positive attitudes.”