Toronto Domestic Violence Symposium, June 5, 6 and 7th, 2015.  Get your tickets here.

070By: RICH HAROLD – For decades women’s rights activists and feminists have taken to the streets and marched, lobbied legislators, and made their voices heard in the name of equality. Yet while women’s rights activists and feminists often talk about the struggles they endured, and the barriers they face, they still often enjoyed a sympathetic audience. Indeed, many involved in the feminist struggle were taken quite seriously when they raised issues.

Those who advocate for men, especially men who are victims of domestic violence, however, don’t have this experience. Attempting to bring attention to the plight of male domestic violence victims is a thankless task, but it is a task that organizers of the Toronto Domestic Violence Symposium (TDVS) are determined to see through.

The conference, now in its second year is the work of Attila Vinczer—a longtime equality advocate. For Vinczer, domestic violence is an issue that society doesn’t approach in an equitable fashion. While the needs of female domestic violence victims are taken seriously, there is a dearth of services available to men. The prevailing attitude is one of indifference, fuelled by a domestic violence industry that seems invested in denying the very idea of male suffering. It was this indifference that spurred Vinczer to work as an advocate, and to push for a broader social understanding of the true nature of domestic violence.

“In 2009 I went to a domestic violence conference put on by C.A.S. (Children’s Aid Services) of Ontario. I listened to the keynote speaker and I was astounded that there was no mention of the domestic violence that men and boys are subjected to;” Vinczer said. “There was this tremendous finger-pointing at how fathers and men were responsible for [all] domestic violence. How can we do anything about it when we’re only looking at half of the problem?”

Vinczer makes a good point; as numerous reports and studies have demonstrated, domestic violence is not a gendered issue—and the rates between male and female-perpetrated violence are largely similar. In certain instances men can be more abusive than women, but in others women are more abusive than men, something the TDVS organizer knows all too well. “My own family situation, while there was never any physical violence, I did experience psychological violence,” said Vinczer. “When I finally broke free from it it was clear to me what I was subjected to and so I began to do more research. But when I went to seek help, the authorities laughed at me. It blew me away that there was nothing out there for men.”

Dealing with authorities was an alarming experience for Vinczer who, perhaps naively, assumed that his queries would be taken seriously. “Now imagine that you’re a man who’s just been attacked by your wife or girlfriend,” says Vinczer. “Imagine that you’re trying to find a place where you can take your kids out of the violence. Imagine being laughed at.”

The ridiculing and shame that men are made feel when they seek help has serious consequences. Shame is a key driver in self-destructive behaviour, something that men are more prone to than women—especially when dealing with severe amounts of stress or depression. When men ask for assistance in escaping domestic violence situations, then, the absence of psychological resources, and the indifference displayed by authorities can exacerbate an already delicate situation. Some men, already mentally fragile from dealing with incredibly difficult situations, can be pushed over the edge.

According to Vinczer, part of the TDVS’s mission is to find a way to remove the stigma surrounding domestic violence victimhood and to create environments free of judgement where men can seek help for their problems. “Men are encouraged to believe the myth that only they can be abusers. So there is a stigma there. It’s incredible that in 2015 we’re still at this point, but it’s time to acknowledge that domestic violence against men and boys is very real. It exists.”

The Canadian government, at least in its official statistics, agrees with Vinczer. According to their 2009 General Social Survey, the numbers for male and female victims is roughly equal. “Of the 19 million Canadians who had a current or former spouse in 2009, 6% reported being physically or sexually victimized by their partner or spouse in the preceding five years. This proportion was lower
than that reported in 1999, but has remained stable since 2004 (Table 1.1). Overall, a similar proportion of males and females reported having experienced spousal violence in the previous 5 years (Table 1.2). (My emphasis.)

Where the Canadian government and the domestic violence industry differs with Vinczer, however, is on how resources should be allocated. The Canadian government is yet to make any significant policy decisions addressing the problem of domestic violence as experienced by men, while the major players like the YWCA, White Ribbon and others refuse point blank to acknowledge the reality of men’s suffering.

“It is very important that we have men who are able to admit that they’re victims of domestic violence. We need to tell males, whether through the media, social media or through educational programs that it’s okay to seek help. We need to teach police that when men call looking for help you don’t laugh at them. You treat them with the same degree of compassion and care that you do women.”

The fact that such foundational awareness raising is still necessary makes the problem’s extent shockingly apparent.


  1. There is such an enormous disparity on this issue that a woman can not only get away with attempted murder. But have the target of her rage served a restraining order while recovering in a hospital after surviving the murder attempt.

  2. there is some interesting stuff about these tables linked below and pls correct me if im wrong but they either stopped collecting this data or they stopped collecting gender specific data about this i cant remember which now. but anyways they own link above from the canadian gov doesnt kive with this old link either, for example on my link it says 48 women and 17 men were victims of spousal homicide i imagine the other years have inflated female statistics as well.

  3. Feminists disguise man-hate as equality, and this disgusting double standard is the predictable result.

  4. There is overwhelming evidence (over 200 studies) that have shown that DV against men is as big a problem as DV against women. It is ignored and denounced as real by feminists. There have also be cases where the facts have been left out of studies as the authors are afraid of the backlash and impact on future jobs. Following is a tiny subset of the information to prove this.

    This pdf contains over 160 pages of newspaper articles and Government of Canada statistics based on self reporting studies on family violence which state that men experience domestic violence nearly as much as women and when they complain to police, they are ignored. Men are socially conditioned “to take it like a man!” and not report domestic violence to police, many of whom are indoctrinated with the idea that women are always the victims, no matter what happened.

    Feminist lies about domestic violence and omission of violence against men published in the Guardian corrected

    Censoring violence against men by women because people don’t want to hear about it,
    Although at least 200 papers report research that found gender symmetry in perpetration, many studies with similar results were not submitted for publication because the authors thought a paper showing gender symmetry would not be accepted or because the authors FEARED ADVERS EFFECTS on their reputation and employability

    Here is a study that shows women are just as violent in domestic situations as men. Note the sample size (over 1/3 of a million people) and over 300

    CDC Study: More Men than Women Victims of Partner Abuse
    National Study: More Men than Women Victims of Intimate Partner Physical Violence, Psychological Aggression

    Women more aggressive to partners than men, The British Psychological Society

    On domestic violence, no one wants to hear the truth

    Woman As Aggressor: The Unspoken Truth Of Domestic Violence. There’s something very important that we’re not
    talking about when we talk about domestic violence.

    Women more aggressive to partners than men. Domestic Violence Against Men – Women More Likely To Be ‘Intimate
    Terrorists’ With Controlling Behavior In Relationships

    Women are more likely than men to be controlling and aggressive towards their partners, a study has found.
    University of Cumbria, Researchers questioned 1,104 young men and women about physical aggression and controlling behaviour

    More than 200 studies have found that women initiate at least as much violence against their male partners as vice versa. Men account for about a third of domestic-violence injuries and deaths. Research shows women often compensate for their lack of physical strength by employing weapons and the element of surprise

  5. It is important for law enforcement to realize the danger that children are in. This isn’t just about men and women fighting when children are in the home. Many times it is the mother who is the monster, yes, monster!

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