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Table of Contents for Eeva Sodhi's Web pages at Fathers for Life
Eeva Sodhi's Website (Archived)
 
 

Family Violence in Canada 2000 — An Alternative Approach, Part. 3

Spousal Homicide and Research

The comments by Eeva Sodhi contain excerpts from comparable studies and sources that differ widely in quality from the deplorable quality of the information produced by Statistics Canada in their report.

This page contains the third part of comments provided by Eeva Sodhi in three parts.

Parts of Critique
  1. Child Abuse and Murder
  2. Spousal Violence
  3. Spousal Homicide and Research

Family Violence in Canada 2000 — An Alternative Approach, Part. 3 

Spousal Homicide and Research

A persistent drop in violent crime rates is all but ignored as the media and politicians respond to the horror of the individual case. Especially tough measures in response to violence against women and children overlook that there is also a serious problem of violence, mostly by men but also by women, against male victims. Statistics over a long period of time have, for example, indicated that there are twice as many male murder victims. (Alan Gold, Criminal Lawyers Association Newsletter, Volume 18, Number 6, December 1997)

What the statistics continuously ignore is that a substantial number of homicides remains unsolved. Almost all of the unsolved cases have male victims. [1]

The other chapters follow the same principle of personal innuendoes and speculations. The captions for tables and figures are revealing of the leading bias in the publication. Just to give you two examples of the trend: 

P. 12, figure 2.2: “Women more likely than men to experience spousal violence in most provinces, past five years”, rather than: “Spousal violence rates in the provinces, past five years” The sex-specific headings are standard whenever women are perceived to be the victims. [2]

However, the heading for table 2.13 on p. 24 is: “Incident clearance status by sex of victims in police reported spousal violence, 1999”, rather than: “Police were more likely to lay charges when the victim was female” This anomaly is consistent throughout the publication. However, in the final analysis, this report is almost revolutionary. 

Another obvious shortcoming is the subjectivity of self- reported incidents.[3]

Researchers

What can Statistics Canada do in future to remedy the situation? First and foremost, it is responsible for the selection of valid research material. A cursory look at the titles on the list of research references to this document, as well as to its previous editions, which are also found on the list of references, rely entirely on feminist literature. The only exception is the British Crime Survey by Catriona Mirrlees-Black, which I assume to be the one published as the Home Office Research Study 191. That a publication with such biased sources as the FVC is allowed to be distributed, unchecked and unopposed, as a bona fide research report, financed by the Canadian taxpayer, is a national shame. It is used as a justification for the most horrendous excesses in the family law. Situation in the family courts is such that a legal counsel usually tells his male client: “forget about litigation, you are most likely going to lose anyway because of your biology, plead guilty and save some money for a holiday”. Only a very na´ve man dares to defend himself.

Some examples of the clear advocacy comments by researchers:

Large-scale survey data have played an important role in sensitizing the media, government officials, and members of the general public to the shocking extent of woman abuse in intimate, heterosexual relationships. (DeKeseredy)

Men perpetrate familicidal massacres, killing spouse and children together, women do not. Men commonly hunt down and kill wives who have left them; women hardly ever behave similarly. Men kill wives as part of planned murder-suicides; analogous acts by women are almost unheard of (Dobash et al., 1992) [This also quoted by DeKeseredy]

The above reference to murder-suicide is a glaring example of feminist bias. Yet, not only one but two works by this research team are on the list of references. Statistics Canada has been an agent in propagating the perception that suicide, or murder-suicide, when committed by a man is to be condemned as the final act of trying to exercise power over his family. However, when a woman is the perpetrator, it is seen what it is: an act of despair beyond relief other than death.  For example, see the contrast in reporting the two recent incidents in Ontario: The Luft and Killinger-Johnson cases. [4]

Children exposed to woman abuse see, hear, and are aware of violence against their mother by their father or their mother's partner. (Jaffe)

Social scientists have been ‘remarkably unsuccessful’ in understanding why so many men have either removed themselves or allowed themselves to be excluded from their children’s lives, despite the adverse effects which such absence has on child development (Peters)

The following (and preceding) examples, and others similar to them, are to be found across the publications issued and/or distributed by the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence (Health Canada). These publications in turn rely heavily on data provided by Statistics Canada.

“…study showed that battering was the most common way North American women were injured. More women visited the emergency room for battering than for auto accidents, rapes, and muggings combined.”

One innovative author even used the dreaded “cancer” as a scare tactic: 

“… report revealed that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15-44, more common than muggings, car accidents and cancer deaths combined.”[5]

A researcher of a document that begins with, or includes, the above type of material  should be automatically disqualified. There is absolutely no room for advocacy in serious scientific research. Code of Professional Ethics of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association states: "The researcher should not falsify or distort his or her findings or omit data which might significantly alter conclusions."  One can promote false beliefs by the selective omission of information without ever literally telling a falsehood. This same standard of professional ethics should apply to the researchers and writers at Statistics Canada as well.

_______________________
Notes:

  1.  
    1. U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics "Spouse Murder Defendants in Large Urban Counties" (NCJ-153256) In a sample of homicide cases in 75 of the nation's most populous counties, state court judges or juries during 1988 acquitted 6% of the husband defendants, compared to 31% of the wife defendants. Jury trials ended in acquittal for 27% of wives, but none of the husbands. 

      Three percent of the husbands and 6% of the wives were charged with contract killings.

      Considering the number of the unsolved cases, and considering that murders committed by a contract killer would be most likely to remain unsolved, the numbers of women and men killing their spouses also remain unknown.

      Thirty percent of the wives and 13% of the husbands either were not prosecuted or were found not guilty after being tried. 

    1. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Homicide Trends in the U.S. Clearances. 69% were cleared in 1998; 63% in 1993; 79% in 1976 (Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States 1976-1998

      Males were 3.2 times more likely to be murdered than females. 

      Considering the high number of unsolved cases and women’s propensity to use proxies, we may never know the real gender division.

      Though the report says that wives, more often than husbands, were acting in self defence there is no corroborative evidence to support that claim.).
    1. NCJ 143498 Murder in Families 12pp, 7/94, 14 tables This BJS Special Report, a survey of murder cases disposed in 1988 in the courts of large urban counties, found that 16% of murder victims were members of the defendant's family: 6.5% were killed by their spouses, 3.5% by their parents, 1.9% by their own children, 1.5% by their siblings, and 2.6% by other relatives. Women were 45% of the victims in murders involving family members but 18% of victims in other murders [i.e. most victims of domestic homicides are not female]. Among family murder defendants, 35% were female versus 7% among non-family defendants. Women were over half of the defendants (55%) in only one category of family murder: parents killing their offspring. 
    2. Correctional Service of Canada. Women Convicted of Homicide Serving a Federal Sentence. http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/prgrm/fsw/homicide/toc_e.shtml
      Note: For quite a few hours in formatting these pages I've been reading the atrocious twisting of facts and reality that Eeva Sodhi illustrates so excellently, and I can't resist any longer.  (B. t. w.: The victims mentioned in the excerpts from the report shown here appear to have been all men, or boys).  There are many interesting turns of speech in the cited report by Correction Services Canada, but there were two that are especially intriguing. 

      The women offenders involved in the homicides were responsible for killing the victims in over half of the cases (63.3%). [in the section "Perpetrators of the Homicide"]

      Just aside from the fact that it would be more precise (in relation to 63.3%) to state "slightly less than two thirds of the offenders," let's not forget that all of the women studied were convicted of murder.  That is because all of them were responsible for killing their victims.  How can it be possible that some of the women who languish in Canadian federal prisons are in reality innocent, that some of  them were not responsible for the crimes that they committed?  Maybe, just maybe, but more than a third of them?  What in the world can possibly be wrong with our judges?  However, the following statement in the report  boggles the mind: 

      Out of 181 women serving a federal sentence for homicide (December 1996), 91 women were incarcerated. [in opening chapter]

      Homicide is a federal offence, but it appears there are some women who committed homicide and received a sentence for a lesser crime.  That stands to reason, because women who murder are routinely convicted of only manslaughter and receive no more than a conditional sentence of two-years-less-one-day.  That keeps them out of prison. Nevertheless, there is still the circumstance that the number of these women in federal prisons includes some who were "temporarily detained for parole violations."  Those women should have know better!  We all know that women can generally murder with impunity, but they've got to learn that they should never, ever tick off the judges.  Violating parole does it every time, even though judges routinely forgive women for killing someone.  However, that is not the least of it.  How does one "serve" a prison sentence when not incarcerated?  —WHS.

      Contract killer was used in 4% of the known cases. The use of a contract killer was more frequent in spousal homicides than in other typologies.

      History of abuse and conflict with the victim: “An attempt was made in this study to determine if there had been a history of abuse or conflict between the offender and the victim prior to the homicide. Of the 175 cases where information was available, 44% of the offenders had experienced some sort of prior conflict with their victim while 55.4% had not ...”

      Victim’s activity at the time the homicide occurred: “... overall, it would appear that most victims (69.4%) were not behaving aggressively towards the victim [sic, should be "perpetrator"] at the time of the homicide. These victims were lying down, sitting down, sitting in the car, sleeping, or passed out when the homicide occurred....”

      Nine percent of the women committed homicide as an act of self-defense. These homicides occurred because the offender, working as a prostitute, had to protect herself against assault or unwanted sexual advances perpetrated by a customer. Spousal homicides are included in this category, but only when the spouse is attacking the offender at the time when the homicide occurs.*

      *That is a baffling comment. One cannot kill in self-defence unless one is being attacked or held captive. The number of spousal murder cases in this category is not specified. Once more the real statistics about women who perpetrate intimate homicide as an act of self defence is hidden behind the general statistic, which shows that most homicidal acts of self defence were committed while engaged in the sex trade.
         The wording “some sort of prior conflict” is revealing. It does not specify the nature of conflict nor who was responsible for the conflict. As all humans experience “some sort of” conflict with those that they interact with on daily basis, that statement can hardly be considered to be of any value. The editorial comments by the writers of the “Family Violence in Canada” all fall into the same category.
  2. On a personal note re P.E.I. statistics: While I was in Charlottetown in the early seventies, a psychologist established her practice there with the explicit goal of counseling abused women. She found that there were no takers. She then began a media blitz claiming that though many farm women were not aware of it, they were being abused. I did see a lot of women who were working hard alongside their husbands. Furthermore, one can only wonder how you can be abused without knowing it, unless, of course, one reads the handbooks on training social workers in feminist approach to conjugal violence, which tell that women have to be taught to view violence as a social, rather than personal, phenomenon. Judging by the statistics, she must have been quite successful in her efforts to convince women.
  3. Michelle Carrado, et al. Aggression in British Heterosexual Relationships: Of 285 men and women reporting sustained victimization and 191 reporting inflicting victimization across all relationships, 127 reported having been both a victim and a perpetrator, although this does not necessarily mean that sustained and inflicted victimization occurred in the same relationship.
  4. Bill Luft, profile: chronically unemployed, immigrant, biological father of three children, step-father to one. Lived in his parents’ home while parents slept in a trailer parked in the driveway. Parents were contemplating selling the house. Wife left him, had a child by another man, and returned back, had another child by Luft. This infant had spina bifida. Luft was known to suffer from bouts of depression. He stabbed his wife to death, then shot his children and himself. Contrary to media reports, there was no record of prior violence. A typical media report:

    “Every year, two or three men do what Bill Luft did.

    Noreen Stuckless, a research scientist at Women's College Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, is convinced that "if vengeance is a man's motivation, if he feels he should be able to control his wife, if he's stalked her or repeatedly threatened to kill her, if police have been called, he should be locked up.

    "When such a man is bent on getting back at his wife for daring to disobey or leave him, he won't worry about consequences," she adds. "He just wants to punish her."  [Source: Canoe (Sun Media) Aug.1, 2000]

    Suzanne Killinger-Johnson MD and a wealthy psychotherapist. She  jumped on the tracks in front of a subway train cradling her infant son who was killed by the impact, she herself survived for several days. She reportedly was distraught with the prospect of returning back to work and finding a suitable caregiver to her son.

    Media: “Suicidal parents who take their children with them often do so for love, says the director of a national crisis support group. 

    Joan Wright of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: "It's often done as an act of love, not any sort of revenge … When someone does complete a suicide, they feel there's no other way to end their pain. You can't understand how powerful that is." [Source:  Alan Findlay -- Sun News Aug. 12, 2000]

    There can be little doubt which one of these two fits the profile of a parent who sees death as the only way out of despair. Yet, based on the public education campaigns aided and abetted by such publications as the annual “Family Violence in Canada” the wealthy mother, who, as a physician, had all the means to do her deed in the quiet of her own home, but who chose to act in an exhibitionist manner, maybe hoping that she would be stopped before she did the deed, is the one whom we see as deserving sympathy. The condemnation is reserved to the desperate father. Not only was he tried and found guilty in the media. His plight was also used as an advocacy tool to broadcast the “woman and children victims of murderous and power hungry men”. Yet, if we look at the two perpetrators, would it not be more accurate to say that the mother was obsessed with the desire to wield power over her child. She preferred to kill him and herself rather than leave him in the care of others, maybe only for a few hours a day. She also was not prepared to give up her professional career.  Bill Luft, on the other hand, knew that his children would be homeless and hungry, either if he lived or died once his parents sold the house. 
  5.  
  1. This statement has been attributed to: Evan D. Stark and A. Flitcraft. "Violence Among Intimates: An Epidemiological Review." In Handbook of Family Violence, Van Hasselt, ed., (New York, NY: 1989), 293-318.
  2. Canadian Health Network. What some studies have shown: In 1993 Statistics Canada did a National Survey on Violence Against Women. They found out that a male partner has abused almost one out of three women in Canada. This included both physical and sexual abuse. Over half of these women were badly hurt.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for health Statistics. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 1992. Emergency Department Summary. (Vital and Health Statistics Series. Series 13, no. 125) (PHS) 97-1786. GPO stock no. 017-122-01369-0  [No longer available on the Internet]

Visits were considered to be injury related irrespective whether they were the first or a subsequent follow-up visit. Therefore, the same injury could have been recorded more than once.

In 1992, total of 3,983,000 women visited the emergency departments due to accidental falls; 1,984,000 visits were related to motor vehicle accidents. The total number of known violence related visits was 1,147,000. The number of motor vehicle accidents alone is greater than that of all injuries due to all violence. As injuries received during intimate violence are a subgroup of other intentional injuries, the statement is clearly false.

Women’s injury related visits to emergency departments: 

Nature of Injury Unintentional Intentional Unknown Total
Accidental Falls 3,983,000     3,983,000
Motor Vehicle Accidents  1,984,000     1,984,000
Other Accidents  3,403,000     3,403,000
Homicide and Other Intentional Injury   602,000   602,000
Assault by Unspecified Means    292,000   292,000
Fight, Brawl, Rape   253,000   253,000
Accidents Due to Natural and Environmental Factors 739,000     739,000
Other Injury Caused by Animals 459,000     459,000
Venomous Animals and Plants 238,000     238,000
Accidental Poisoning by Drugs, Medicinal Substances, etc. 204,000     204,000
Surgical or Medical Procedures -- Abnormal Reaction To 454,000     454,000
Accidents Caused by Submersion, Suffocation and Foreign Bodies 413,000     413,000
Unknown and “Other”     2,305,000 2,305,000
Total:  11,877,000 1,147,000 2,305,000 15,329,000
  1. During 1994 men experienced almost 6.6 million violent victimizations; women experienced 5 million. For every 3 violent victimizations of males, there were 2 of females. 

    During 1994 U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced 11.6 million violent victimizations -- murders, rapes, sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated assaults, and simple assaults (Criminal Victimization 1994 (NCJ -158022, April 1996) reported 10.9 million violent victimizations. Series crimes, excluded in that report, are included in this report.) Men experienced more of these crimes than women: 6.6 million versus 5 million. Strangers to the victims committed most of the violence against males (3.9 million), while persons whom the victims knew committed most of the violence against females (3 million). 

    Women age 12 or older experienced 5 million violent victimizations: about 432,000 rapes and sexual assaults, 472,000 robberies, over 940,000 aggravated assaults, and over 3 million simple assaults. In addition, 4,489 females age 12 or older were victims of homicide. 

    Friends or acquaintances committed 34% of violent victimizations of females; intimates (current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend), 21%; and other relatives, 7%. Although males were predominately victimized by strangers, friends or acquaintances accounted for 30% of their victimizations. 

    Females and males were victims of specific types of crimes in varying degrees. Among female victims, friends or acquaintances committed 40% of the rapes and sexual assaults; strangers, 32%; and intimates, 24%. The intimate offender was more likely a boy/girlfriend or ex-boy/girlfriend (14.3%) than a spouse (7.3%), a difference that may be due in part to spouses' reluctance to disclose violence by their partners (This report does not distinguish between heterosexual and same-sex intimate violence.) [in: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report Sex Differences in Violent Victimization, 1994 September 1997, NCJ-164508] http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/sdvv.txt

To Part 1: Child Abuse and Murder
To Part 2: Spousal Violence

__________________
Posted 2000 09 04
Updates:
2000 09 05 (added note about women who serve prison sentences while not in prison)
2001 01 21 (removed links to MS Word version of critique)
2001 03 26 (format changes)