Montag, Januar 19, 2009

Leserpost (Gewaltforschung in Neuseeland)

Herzlichen Dank an Genderama-Leser M.K., der mir folgendes mailt:

Weil Sie doch Tageszeitungen kleiner Inseln lieben, wenn sie wahrhaftiger sind als die Presse großer Länder, hier ein Beispiel von Down Under. Es macht Mut zu sehen, daß die Inseln und die Zeitungen langsam größer werden. Das steht heute im New Zealand Herald, der auflagenstärksten Tageszeitung von Neuseeland, immerhin rund 190.000 Exemplare jeden Tag:

For years, Professor David Fergusson from the University of Otago, Christchurch, has been responsible for a longitudinal study of 1265 children born in Canterbury in mid-1977. As part of that research, he studied the issue of violence, ranging from psychological abuse to serious physical attack between partners.

Professor Fergusson found that, among young adults, men and women are equally violent towards each other.

The research also showed the range of violence committed by men and women is similar and the consequences, in injury and psychological effects, are also much the same for both sexes. This is no oddball piece of academic research. It is backed by the findings of similar international studies.

Fergusson concludes the root cause of domestic violence is not solely bullying men.

He reckons violent partnerships are more likely to be associated with childhood adversity, mental health disorders and other life traumas.

In other words, violent partnerships are more likely to spring up where people have experienced serious difficulties and disadvantages in life.

In 2006 he advised government agencies that his study "suggests the need for a broadening of analysis of domestic violence away from focusing on male perpetrators and female victims to examining violent couples who use aggression in their relationship". Fergusson was ignored.

Multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns stressing male aggressors and female victims continued and intensified even though the Fergusson study would suggest this approach was ineffective and a waste of money.

The only rational explanation is that Fergusson's advice was politically unacceptable to Labour. They were cemented into a blindly feminist position of "women good, men bad".

The truth is, both sexes can be bad and trying to attribute blame to just one sex is senseless and futile.

If the huge budget currently being spent on targeting violent males and trying to convince them to change their nasty ways was, instead, used to treat the real cause - social disadvantage, deprivation and mental illness - we might start seeing some results. The cost to taxpayers from domestic violence might reduce.

A change of government is a chance to reappraise not just the approach to combating domestic violence but an opportunity to challenge the accepted methods of doing things all across the board in social policy.

Ministers should learn to question every long-accepted philosophical approach in their departments.

Not only might it reduce costs, it could mean that the taxpayer starts seeing some real value for money for a pleasant change.

Die Labour-Regierung ist übrigens mittlerweile abgewählt.

Der Autor des Kommentars ist Bill Ralston, bis 2007 Nachrichtenchef des öffentlich-rechtlichen Fernsehens in Neuseeland, also eine prominente Stimme.

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