Myths of domestic violence

To inaugurate a Domestic Violence Awareness Day conference in London, Ont., this coming Saturday, a vigil and commemorative ceremony will be held for Dave Lucio.

Dave Lucio’s life was cut tragically short three years ago this Sunday by a .40-calibre Glock pistol bullet to his head. The lethal shot was fired by Kelly Johnson, a woman he had broken up with the previous day after a three-year intimate relationship. When she pulled the trigger, Lucio was driving a van with Johnson sitting beside him. Johnson then turned the gun on herself. The circumstances therefore left no room for doubt about who perpetrated the crime.

Although by no means the first time a Canadian man had been killed by a present or former intimate partner — one-third of Canada’s approximately 70 annual intimate partner homicides are men killed by women — the case made waves because both the killer and the victim were police officers (Lucio a retired superintendent).

The story gathered wider cultural significance because then-London police chief Murray Faulkner (he has since retired) treated the case as a bilateral tragedy rather than a homicide. According to contemporary news reports, he went in person to comfort the family of Johnson — the killer — but didn’t even bother to call the parents of Lucio, the victim.

To longtime observers, Faulkner’s default sympathy for the woman in the case dovetailed with his much-publicized professional commitment to a feminism-conceived “gender paradigm” in the area of domestic violence (DV). Feminists insist DV is always the fault of controlling men, whether they dish it out or receive it, with women always the victims.

More than just a supporter, really, Faulkner was something of an activist (he and his men once marched in the street wearing red high heels. Rather than mouth the official platitude that the DV laws are gender-neutral, Chief Faulkner openly embraced the discriminatory training programs and gender profiling that feminist theory calls for, publicly stating that DV is a “gender problem … Men, and what it is to be a man in our society, [are] the problem.”

A man’s entitled to his opinions. But a statistic implies a fact. The London Police Service’s definition of domestic violence is “any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship.” Couples don’t have to be living together according to the definition, and the Lucio-Johnson affair fit the police DV profile to a T.

And yet for 2007, Faulkner’s departmental records show that there was one DV homicide of a woman by a man, but zero homicides of a man by a woman. Put another way, London’s 2007 police stats show that DV-related violence was 100% male on female and 0% female on male, when in fact, if the Lucio-Johnson case had been entered in the appropriate category, the ratio would be 50:50.

“A bad statistic is harder to kill than a vampire,” according to a recent book on data manipulation, and no truer words were ever spoken when it comes to the DV industry. In the case of the London police statistics, the troublesome failure to designate the Lucio murder as DV calls their whole archive into question.

But it also calls into question statistics all over the country. Chief Faulkner may have been the most outspoken of police chiefs in his zeal to ingratiate himself with feminist theorists, but all police chiefs, family court judges and social service agencies are schooled in bias-selection or fabricated DV statistics. The Quebec DV mill is particularly notorious in this regard, and any number of DV police stats in other jurisdictions may be equally skewed to support myths.

Here are the facts. Nearly 250 scholarly studies (including studies by Statistics Canada) show women are at least as likely to initiate or engage with equal vigour in DV as men. Only 5.5% of all DV conforms to the gender paradigm of violent males who gratuitously batter non-violent females, and almost all of those men are extremely psychologically damaged (or culturally driven, a whole other ball game from normative DV). Self-defence accounts for only 10%-20% of female partner aggression. Fewer than 1% — not 22%, as often claimed — of emergency room visits by women are for DV assaults. False allegations of abuse, rarely punished, are at least as ruinous to men’s lives as actual abuse is to women’s.

But the DV myths go on and on. We owe it to Dave Lucio’s memory to see that they stop. The London police force should begin that process by investigating its own history of DV statistics — with objectivity, not ideology, as its guide.
National Post