One in three women do not live in fear

Women’s Refuge do a great job supporting female victims (and their children) of domestic violence. I always donate to them, and it is a disgrace how many women get beaten, and often killed, by their partners. Of course domestic violence is not all one way, but far far more women are hospitalised and killed then men.

However they sometimes let themselves down with their advocacy, and the Advertising Standards Authority has just upheld complaints over their recent advertisements. The Herald reports:

The Advertising Standards Authority has labelled Women’s Refuge claims that a third of women live in fear as “exaggerated”.

The body upheld two complaints about fundraising print and television advertisements that ran in July. In the newspaper version the Saatchi & Saatchi ads said: “One in three New Zealand women need your help. Because living in fear isn’t living.”

The television version repeated the statistic and asked viewers to “stop the abuse before it starts”. …

In its response, Women’s Refuge said the statistic came from sources including 2004 research which found 33 to 39 per cent of women experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

Further, a World Health Organisation study in Auckland and Waikato found one in three women experience physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime. …

“While the majority of the complaints board acknowledged the veracity of the statistics, it was concerned that a study restricted to women living in Waikato and Auckland was used as the basis for national statistics.”

Similarly, it was concerned with the 2004 lifetime violence finding, which was based on an episode of violence becoming the “basis for fear”.

“In the majority view, it was inappropriate to extrapolate the claim ‘one in three women … are living in fear …’ from the research.

It is a good decision. If WR had said one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, then they would have been on solid grounds. But to interpret that as one in three women live in fear was painting a false picture of NZ and NZ women. Thankfully, many women don’t live in fear. The moment a partner whacks them, they throw the bum out, and move on with their lives. I wish more women would do this – few things are sadder than seeing women continue in abusive relationships because they think “something” is better than “nothing” when it comes to relationships.

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