85% of assaults against men by other men are committed outside private homes, 76% of assaults against women by men are committed inside private homes.
Despite this, police and media continue to warn women to be careful when they go out, but they never send out any similar warnings to men.
Yet another example of this yesterday as police yesterday warned women to “exercise a little bit of caution when they are out and about and be familiar with their surroundings”.
This was in response to a naked man assaulting a woman who was lying in a public park in the middle of the day, reading a book.
Detective Senior Constable Jason Shey said he wanted to ensure women remained aware of their surroundings when out and about.
Women can’t lie in the sun and read a book, lest they are implicitly chided for not taking care to avoid assault?
This is a timely reminder for women to exercise a little bit of caution when they are out and about and be familiar with their surroundings.
No. It isn’t.
And for all the people who are about to respond by saying it’s just common sense and women do need to be careful, stop for a moment and think of the last time you saw police or media warning men about being careful in public.
Then consider this data:
A recent ANROWS report found that men were nine and a half times more likely than women to be physically assaulted by a man in a place of entertainment.
Nine and a half times more likely.
The same report found that men are four times more likely than women to be physically assaulted by a man outside their own home.
The data in the ANROWS report comes from the ABS Personal Safety Survey (PSS). I have some issues with the data in the PSS, it’s a report on how people perceive and remember violence, not the factual summary is often cited as. However, it is robust enough that significant differences are probably reliable indication of reality.
So, when we dig into location data from the PSS (from Table 19), how significant are the differences in the data?
Over 80% of the most recent physical assaults against Australian men by male perpetrators occurred outside a private home
– 35% occurred at a place of entertainment
– 35% occurred at their workplace
– 27% occurred outside
– 8% occurred inside their own home
Less than 25% of the most recent physical assaults against Australian women by male perpetrators occurred outside a private home
– 5% occurred at a place of entertainment
– 6% occurred at their workplace
– 8% occurred outside
– 61% occurred inside their own home
More than 73% of the most recent sexual assaults against Australian women by male perpetrators occurred inside a private home
– 6% occurred at a place of entertainment
– 2% occurred at their workplace
– 7% occurred outside
– 45% occurred inside their own home
– 29 % inside someone elses home
There weren’t enough reports of sexual assaults against men to provide reliable data about locations.
Both men and women are more than three times more likely to be assaulted by a man than a woman.
Physical assaults against men by female perpetrators, inside their own home, were 6% of all most recent incidents of physical assaults against men.
The differences in this data between men’s and women’s experiences of violece are huge, it may not be an exact depiction of the facts, but it is certainly too significant to ignore. Particularly when it is supported by other credible data like police crime stats.
This is why women get so frustrated when a man attacks a woman in a public place and the media responds with sensationalist headlines, and then doubles down by finding a police officer willing to say something stupid about what women should do to keep themselves safe.
Women know that they are in the most danger at home; they know that men, who are actually more at risk in public places, are never told that they are responsible for guarding themselves against attack. They know this is a gendered distortion of risk and responsibility and they are sick of it.
This is not about rejecting common sense warnings, the woman in this particular article was doing nothing more than reading a book in public. No man who was attacked under those circumstances would ever be told to be more careful, nor would the attack against him be used as a warning to other men to be wary of being in public spaces.
Warning women to be careful when they are outside their homes is neither ethically nor statistically supported. And police, of all people, know this. They are the ones who are called to assaults and murders, they are the ones who walk into private homes where women are abused and public places where men are. It is reflected in their own crime statistics and in the experiences they have in their jobs every day. It’s well passed time they stopped they stopped saying things like this: