|Thursday, 14 February 2002
Re: Week Without
YWCA of Canada
590 Jarvis Street, 5th floor
Toronto, On, M4Y 2J4
Dear Ms. Jaffer,
As the purpose of the YWCAs "Week Without Violence" (WWV)
booklet is to distribute public information, I wish to draw your attention to some
inaccuracies that are presented in the 2001 edition.
Though it is beyond the scope of this letter to touch every erroneous statement in the
above mentioned document, I will attempt to update the most pertinent information to the
currently available official Canadian data that are correlated by research findings from
The first two noteworthy anomalies in the above publication are the headings:
"Confronting Violence Against Women" (p. 19) and
Violence Among Men" (p. 21).
In its "Gender-based Analysis Policy" Health Canada describes double
standard to be: "Assessing the same or essentially the same situation, trait or
behaviour differently on the basis of sex" (Source: "Moving Toward
Equality: Improving the Health of Canada's People, Recognising and Eliminating Gender Bias
in Health") [in Health
Canada's Gender-based Analysis Policy, p. 16]
Further misleading and/or false pronouncements:
"90,000 women and children used shelter services in Canada in 1999". (p. 14)
Alberta Family And Social Service Office For The Prevention Of Family Violence in its
"Statistical Summary Provincial Total - Shelter & Satellite 1995 &
1997" acknowledges that: "
these are the number of admissions and not
the number of "unique" women and children served in the year, as some clients
return for safe accommodation more than once."
Furthermore, for perceived safety reasons clients are at times moved between different
shelters and each admission to a new shelter counts as a new admission for statistical
Statistics Canada data: "There were 96,359 admissions (note: not
individuals) of women and dependent children reported from April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2000
81% (2,281) of women residing in shelters on April 17, 2000 were victims of abuse
and the remainder were admitted for reasons other than abuse, such as housing
problems.(In: 1999-2000 "Transition Home Survey
" by Statistics Canada)
The report also documents that one of the main services offered by the homes is
Children ... living in poverty, poor housing ... are more likely to become involved in
youth delinquency and adult criminal activity" [p. 15]
The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth documents that in low-income
families, 34% of children with a single mother had behavioural problems, compared with 21%
of children with two parents. In non-low-income families, there was a comparable
difference: 28% for children with a single mother and 18% for those with two parents. ("Growing
up in Canada, 1994/95") Therefore, poverty per se is not the problem.
Children in poor immigrant families do not fit the picture either. "
than 30 percent of new immigrant families were poor in comparison with 13.2 percent of
native-born Canadian families. Nevertheless, new immigrant children had lower rates of
mental health problems than children in the national population." (In: "Growing
Up Canadian - A Study of New Immigrant Children" by Morton Beiser, Feng Hou,
Ilene Hyman and Michel Tousignant. W-98-24E, Human Resources Development Canada, October
As there are no relevant Canadian data, I use The U.S. Department of
Justice for the following:. In its paper "What Can the Federal
Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities. Trend Four:
There is an Increase in the Number of Fatherless
Children, Who Are More Prone to Delinquency and Other Social Pathologies"
(January 5-7, 1998), there is a warning: "Unless community
revitalization and crime reduction programs begin to address the need for father
engagement programs and services, the cycle of poverty and crime could continue virtually
"At least two million children witnessed violence against their mothers in
1993" (p. 16)
That figure is debatable and anecdotal. The GSS and the VAWS are victimization surveys
that ask a random sample of adults (men and women in the case of the GSS and women only in
the case of the VAWS) about their experiences of spousal violence and whether their
children witnessed the violence. In the NLSCY, a random sample of children are selected
and the person most knowledgeable about the child responds to a wide range of questions
about the child and the household, including whether the child sees adults or teenagers in
the home physically fighting, hitting or otherwise trying to hurt others. (In: "Children
witnessing family violence" (Juristat) Stats Can.
catalogue number 85-002-XPE, vol.21 no.6). Thus, the data are not bias free as they are
based on subjective reports by an adult who may have a personal agenda in mind.
Based on the mothers' responses, the researchers
determined the probability that any particular child had been physically abused... Studies
often involve convenience or opportunity samples of mothers and children recruited from
women's shelters or social service agencies." (In: "Comparing violent
and non-violent female offenders on risk and need" by Kelley Blanchette.
Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada) The above finding is as valid for child
witnesses as well.
See also: "Children's
Eyewitness Reports After Exposure to Misinformation From Parents" Debra
Ann Poole, Central Michigan University
"In 1999 it was reported that family members victimized girls more frequently than
boys. In 1999 girls represented four-fifths (79) of victims of sexual assault cases and
over one-half (55%) victims of physical assaults" (p. 16)
Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect" documents that boys
rather than girls are the main victims by a large margin in all categories except in
sexual abuse. More cases involving boys than girls were investigated, and more of these
cases were substantiated in all age groups, the greatest difference being in the 12-15
year category: 818,150 cases involving boys and 775,220 involving girls were investigated,
51% and 46% (respectively) were substantiated. Only in the sexual abuse category were
girls the predominant victims. This finding is correlated by official U.S. government
At least 51% of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or
sexual violence as defined under the Criminal Code, since the age of 16." (p. 19)
"Violence" as defined in the one time survey called "Violence Against Women Survey"
is so broad that almost any human interaction that the respondent feels uncomfortable
about can be interpreted to constitute "violence". This survey was conducted by
Statistics Canada from February 1993 to the end of June 1993 by using the Random Digit
Dialing method of contacting households. All interviewing took place using centralized
telephone facilities in Regional Headquarters office. From the approximately 19,000
eligible households contacted, 12,300 interviews were obtained, a response rate of 54%.
Due to the low response rate, the sample can not be seen to be representative of the
population, as those who took the survey could be seen to be motivated for personal
According to the year 2000 edition of "Family
Violence in Canada", 3% of women reported violence by current spouse in
1993 (no data available for men), in 1999 3% of women and 2% of men reported violence by
the current spouse (p. 52). In 1993, reporting on the past five years, 21% of the 3% of
women reported having received medical attention and 26% reported not having received
medical attention. 81% of the violence by a current spouse, and 86% by a former spouse,
was minor: "pushed, grabbed, shoved" (p. 52), 53% of the alleged female victims
reported that there was no physical injury (p. 53) Since there is hardly a person who has
not been "pushed, grabbed or shoved" for what ever reason, all Canadians, men,
women and children, could be seen to be victimized. When the father of
Randal Dooley was heard to yell at his wife to stop abusing the
child or she would end in jail, he could be seen to have abused her verbally as well as
having threatened her. To quote Justice Canada in its "Abuse is Wrong in any
Language": "Nothing that you say or do gives the other person a
right to abuse you". This phrase, as well as "there is no excuse for abuse"
and "The victim [meaning "woman"] never causes the violence. A man's
violence is a matter of personal choice", is a standard sentence seen in all of the
literature that is distributed by the advocacy services provided by transition homes and
YWCA, as well as other similar organizations. A womans violence is also a matter of
personal choice. Countless children suffer horrible abuse, often fatal, just like
Randal Dooley because we perceive that only men can be abusive.
YWCA would be far better off starting a PACT: "Parents Against Child Torture."
An ideology that turns a blind eye to its own shortcomings is an embarrassment to its
members. Just like the death of Jordan Heikamp. Or
Matthew Vaudreuil. Or
According the Statistics Canada publication called "Family
Violence in Canada: a statistical profile 2000" Cat. no. 85-224, 7% of
men and 8% of women reported that they had experienced some sort of violence by a
current or former intimate partner during the previous five years. Though the claim is
that "those in current unions reported equal (4%) rates of violence" a
subsequent table indicates that more men (303,000) than women (259,000) reported having
been victimized by a current spouse during past five years.
"Open House/Information Displays- Have displays at local malls with information
about services in your community for women in abusive relationships." (p. 19)
Considering the extent of public advocacy by various community and womens groups,
such as the United Ways "Education Wife Assault",
most women are familiar with the feminist concept of "woman abuse". No similar
service is provided to men.
Anger Focus Workshop -- allow women to direct the anger that often comes with being the
victim/survivor of abuse" (p. 19)
Mens anger is described as "aggression" for which they are accountable.
Women, on the other hand, are told that anger is a positive feeling as it reduces tension.
On July 5-7, 1995, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) held a brainstorming session on
womens anger. As a result, a detailed program manual, called "Pathways",
was written and completed in March 1996 by five of the community experts who participated
in the brainstorming session. The recommendations, however, were not accepted: "As
CSC continued to learn more about the behaviour and needs of women who use aggression
instrumentally [i.e. without provocation] and persistently, it became clear that this
program could not meet their needs, as it required women to be ready to assume
responsibility for their actions". Unless we can assume responsibility, we cannot
demand any rights.
"Increasing number of men are realizing that they have to take responsibility for
what they do. There are currently over 2,000 programs for men who have assaulted their
partners". (p. 21)
Men have always realized that they have to take responsibility. How else could we
interpret the fact that they work long hours, often in dangerous and dirty conditions, in
order to provide for their wives and children, without whom the need would not be there?
In order to access those services after they have been accused, men have to first
"acknowledge the ownership of violence" and plead guilty, based on biology
alone, even if they are the victims.
The following document by Tammy Landau (March 1998) "Synthesis of Department
of Justice Canada Research Findings on Spousal Assault". Working Document (WD
1998-5e), Department of Justice Canada. Research and Statistics Division. Policy,
gives us a glimpse into the scope of false allegations. The Manitoba Tracking Study
indicates that 21% of police dispatches resulted in charges. There was lack of physical
evidence in 54% of the cases and the alleged victim was unwilling to proceed in 18%. 12%
of the charges resulted in convictions and 4% resulted in incarceration. Almost 30% of the
cases were stayed. In 30% of cases where women were subpoenaed they did not appear in
court (Prairie Research Associates, 1994), "there was encouraging evidence that
Emergency Intervention Orders are being issued in cases where there were no criminal
charges and no evidence of assault". According to Ursel (1995) "innovative
testimony bargaining enables the Crown Attorney to meet the dual and potentially
conflicting mandates of rigorous prosecution and sensitivity to the victim"
Innovations have no place in the courts of law. Even Kafka would not have been able to
dream a more contrived plot.
Considering the "zero tolerance" policies and relevant judicial training, the
data as presented by Ms. Landau would indicate that most of the allegations are false. It
is beyond belief that the issuing of "Emergency Intervention Orders" in cases
where there was no evidence of assault would be viewed as "encouraging", a far
better word would be "frightening". The wrongful issuing of these orders might
well backfire causing the very violence that was falsely alleged. At least it will lead to
fear, as the accuser will be afraid of possible revenge.
Another document, this one by the Ministry of the Attorney General (Ontario), called "Ontario
Government Business Plans 1998-1999" makes a brief reference to statistics in
Ottawa for February 1998. These show that of the 74 domestic assault cases scheduled, 49
were resolved by way of "guilty" plea. Three trials were held, resulting in one
conviction and two acquittals. The remaining 22 charges were withdrawn.
As men are persuaded to plead guilty, often by questionable methods, the guilty pleas
cannot be considered to be a proof of guilt, rather men will choose to plead guilty in
order to avoid lengthy and costly litigation and potential criminal record. (see the "Domestic
Violence Courts Project"by Vivian
Green, Metro Woman Abuse Council in the EWA Newsletter V.8 #1 - Spring 1997: The Impact of
Funding Cutbacks on assaulted Women: "If an individual before the court on abuse
charges agrees to plead guilty, and assuming his partner is agreeable, the court will
the guilty plea.
The orders will be Bail Conditions which will include mandated
attendance at an intervention program for batterers. His Bail orders will also be changed
to allow him to reside with his partner [the carrot to plead guilty though
may be innocent] It is specified that if his partner feels threatened or afraid she should
contact Police immediately and the Bail condition can be changed to get him out of the
house. Once all of the women have had an opportunity to identify what they
want, the full court reconvenes. At this point those charged who are willing to
plead guilty and enter the program appear before the judge and are mandated to attend the
already identified intervention program."). Absolute power and control through fear
of losing everything. Innovative, indeed. And we wonder why some men crack under the
stress and take justice into their own hands. That so few do it is a miracle.
Few men have the means, either financial or psychological, to defend themselves against
nebulous allegations which need not be proven. Considering that two out three trials in
Ottawa ended in acquittals one could say that two thirds of the accusations were false, if
we use the habit of giving percentages rather than real numbers. As described above, the
courts use "innovative" methods in order to secure a conviction. Thus, it is
extremely rare to withdraw this type of a charge unless it had become apparent that the
accuser was the perpetrator. Anecdotal evidence shows that in many instances where the man
agreed to plead guilty, his female partner was actually the instigator or the sole
perpetrator. There is a real need to compile statistics in this regard.
In 1993 Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Women's Bar
Association wrote a column in the association newsletter titled "Speaking the
In many [divorce] cases, allegations of abuse are
now used for tactical advantage."
There are no programs for men who have been assaulted by their intimate female
partners. Nor are there any programs for women who have assaulted their partners or
children, though all reputable research show that women are more likely to instigate
spousal assault and are the main perpetrators of child abuse, often fatal.
The "Canadian Incidence Study of
Reported Child Abuse and Neglect" documents that biological mothers are
the main perpetrators of all types of abuse and neglect, except sexual abuse.
The statistics about perpetrators of child homicide are somewhat murky, as many deaths
due to abuse and neglect are not recorded as homicides. Furthermore, a vast number of
infant deaths are due to "unknown" causes. In 1997 there were 206 such deaths,
in 1991 the number was 382 (FVC 2000, p. 44) Therefore, the official perpetrator
statistics are anything but reliable.
Alberta Family and Social Service Office for the Prevention of Family Violence "Statistical
summary provincial total - shelter & satellite 01/01/1997 to 31/12/1997" (print
date: 13/03/1998) gives the following statistics about child abuse: Abused by mother: 300
(4.8%), by father 226 (3.7%), gender of abusers defined: 36.41% male, 5.60% female,
Wakefield and Underwager, in their research project called "Techniques for
Interviewing Children in Sexual Abuse Cases" found that allegations about
child sexual abuse during divorce and custody proceedings are false in 77% of the cases.
They further documented in their "Personality characteristics of parents
making false accusations of sexual abuse in custody disputes" that
mothers formed the majority of the false accusers.
Prof. Nicholas Bala in a paper presented in January 2002, called: "Sexual
Abuse Allegation When Parents Have Separated:Social Context & Evidentiary Issues",
provides the following data:
"Bala and Schuman identified 196 reported judicial
decisions on the Quicklaw databases in Canada in the 1990 - 1998 period that dealt with
sexual and physical abuse allegations in the context of parental separation.
(Source: Bala & Schuman, "Allegations of Sexual Abuse When Parents Have
Separated" (2000), 17 Can. Fam. L.Q. 191- 241.) In 89 cases
(45%) the judge made a finding that the allegation was unfounded. In 45 of the 150 cases
(30% of the unfounded cases) where abuse was not proven, the judge believed that it was an
intentionally false allegation."
"Based on 1998 Canada wide child protection agency data, 11% (1,
568) of all child sexual abuse investigations arose in the context of a parental custody
or access disputes. N. Trocmé et al, "Canadian
Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, Final Report" Health
Canada, 2001. Only 9% of these cases were considered substantiated by the protection
workers involved, while 22% were classified as "suspected", and 69% were
"The 1993 Ontario Incidence of Study of Child Abuse revealed that
9% of the 42,000 physical and sexual abuse and neglect allegations involved separated
parents. Mothers made two thirds of those allegations, while fathers made a third of the
allegations. Trocmé, "Ontario Incidence
Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect" (Toronto, Ont: Institute for
the Prevention of Child Abuse, 1994) Of the allegations made by custodial mothers
against noncustodial fathers, 23% were considered substantiated by the child protection
workers, 27% suspected and 50% unfounded. However, even where the allegation is
considered unfounded, the incidence of deliberate fabrication or lying is relatively low,
in the range of 3% to 30% [too wide a rage to have any statistical value] of unfounded
"Violent men are three times as likely to have
witnessed spousal violence in childhood" [p. 21]
- Walker (1984 In her study of over 400 battered wives, 29% of the
wives and 35% of the battering husbands had witnessed their mother
violence upon their father during childhood.
- Sommer, R. (1994)
female partner abuse: Testing a diathesis-stress model. (Unpublished).
34.8% of men and 40.1% of women reported observing their mothers
- Marshall & Rose (1988) surveyed a sample of 330 undergraduate
witnesses and victims of violence in childhood using a modified version of the Conflict
Tactics Scale. 40% reported that they saw their fathers hit their mothers, 40.6%
reported seeing mothers hit fathers. (Fact:
"One in five men living with a woman admits assaulting her" [p. 21])
The following study by Kwong, Bartholomew, & Dutton. (1999). "Gender
Differences in Patterns of Relationship Violence in Alberta". Canadian Journal of
Behavioural Science, Vol. 31, No. 3, July 1999. pp. 150-160) presents the other side of
the coin: A smaller proportion of women reported male only violence (13%) compared to
female only violence (35%), and fewer women reported male initiation of violence (26%)
than female initiation of violence (67%). With these data, the use of severe violence by
females was not in reaction to male violence or as a preemptive strike, since the female
partner in each couple reported only minor violence from her male partner despite using
severe violence herself. Similarly, couples where only the female was violent were
significantly more common (39.4% of dating couples, 26.9% of cohabiting couples, 28.6% of
married couples) than couples where only the male was violent (10.5% of dating couples,
20.7% of cohabiting couples, 23.2% of married couples). What is experienced, especially in
intimate relationships, is the power advantage women appear to have in their
ability to introspect, analyze and describe feelings and process. Hence,
males report feeling powerless in respect to their intimate partners. The above
findings are correlated by several international studies.
"Fathers were the majority of reported offenders in cases of assaults against male
and female children and youth, regardless of the type of abuse or the childrens age.
In 1997, in incidents involving parents, fathers were accused in 97% of sexual assault and
71% of physical assault" [p. 21]
An article in vol., 17, no. 11 of the Juristat by Canadian Centre for Justice
Statistics, Statistics Canada, November 1997, called "Assaults Against Children
and Youth in the Family" states that: "Girls are more often the victims of
both physical and sexual assaults by family members than boys and are the victims in 80%
of sexual assaults. Fathers represent 80% of parents accused of assaulting their children,
accounting for 98% of sexual assault complaints and 73% of physical assault complaints to
police. Girls were the victims in 88% of incidents in which fathers were accused of sexual
An accusation does not make a finding. Until the first "Canadian Incidence Study
of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect", published by Health Canada in 2001
and compiled under the tutelage of Dr. Nico Trocmé, there were no national statistics
about child abuse in Canada. The national study and its precursor, the "Ontario Incidence
Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect", also compiled by Dr. Trocmé
and issued in 1994, do not support the above claim. Both of these studies document that
biological mothers (66% investigated, 59% were substantiated, 25% remained suspected and
16% were unsubstantiated) are the main perpetrators of child abuse and neglect, including
physical abuse, but excluding sexual abuse. Biological mothers were investigated in 5%
(681) of sexual assault cases, with the substantiation rate of 21% (143), 27% (183.87)
remained suspected, 52% (354.12) were unsubstantiated. natural fathers were
investigated in 36% of all categories, with 60% substantiated, 21% suspected, 19% were
unsubstantiated. In the sexual assault category natural fathers were investigated in
15% (2,101) of the cases, with 20% (420.2%) substantiation rate, 20% (420.2) remained
suspected, 60% (1,260.6) were unsubstantiated. Thus, considering that the incidences are
so few, percentages make the difference appear greater than what the actual numerical
difference between fathers (420.2) and mothers (143) is.
See also above data presented by Prof. Bala.
"Discrimination is often a hidden thing .. such as
sexism" [p. 23]
There is a need for a proper understanding as to what constitutes domestic violence and
who are the "victims". In a booklet called "Do You Know a Woman Who
Is Being Abused? : A Legal Rights Handbook" the Community Legal Education,
Ontario. defines it as (p. 5): " If your partner does any of the following
things, you may be a victim of abuse. He may:
read your mail
Quick now, which one of us, especially women, does not read our partners mail???
The above example is not an isolated one of the many non-violent behaviours which are
included in the public "gender education" campaigns. These information booklets
are distributed to schools, health centres and social service organizations. As a rule
they are inflammatory and induce fear: "Know that emotional abuse can lead to
physical violence or death." [In: Education Wife Assault questionnaire "Are
You Emotionally Abused? Questions for Women in Heterosexual Relationships"]
As an equality seeking woman, I find it troubling that the YWCA would allow itself to
be used as an advocacy tool for a certain destructive ideology by distributing such
falsehoods as is presented in this publication.
The "WWV" fits the definition of sexism, just like all ideological material
which present only one side of the mutually destructive behaviour of intimate violence.
The tragic reality of child abuse in the hands of their mothers or other female caregivers
is ignored, or if that is not possible, somehow justified like in the Matthew Vaudreuil
case. The following callous comment by Jill Hightower is beyond human understanding:
It failed to consider the kind of person Matthew might have become had he
After an accusation has been made, the accuser, who, if
female, is immediately referred to as "victim", no matter how false and ill
thought her allegation. Having made the allegation, she no longer is allowed to recant,
she has lost her right to act according to her conscience. She has also become a victim of
the system which self perpetuates its own prophesies by suppressing the truth and failing
to see women as equal partners to men, capable of good and bad.
It is a sad testament to feminism that we women now have to be ashamed of our sex.
The YWCA would serve the young women and girls of Canada far better if it abandoned
such programs as WWV and began PACT (Parents Against Child Torture). Else we will also
find ourselves caught in the web of deceit. We cannot demand respect unless we earn it.
For Male College Students — A Short Guide to the Truth, by Angry
Video on violent women