Fake Statistics Used to Claim that Wife-Beating is Men's "Birthright"
Throughout the world women in dating relationships are twice as likely as men to be perpetrators of serious domestic violence. In India, for example, 23.0% of severe aggression was instigated by women, 15.3% was male-initiated, and 61.5% was mutual – see http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID41E2.pdf, Table 3.
But those facts didn't stop The Washington Times (TWT) from publishing an article that completely ignored the problem of women who physically abuse men: http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20061113-120817-8603r.htm.
It's not just that the article is one-sided – it also makes inflammatory and derisive statements about men. The story quotes Brinda Karat of the All-India Democratic Women's Association who claims that men "want to hold on to their birthright to beat up women."
How can any responsible journalist include such a derogatory claim about any group in society?
The TWT article does mention the problem of false allegations by women. But that does not compensate for the fact that the article doesn't give the exact source of a key statistic.
The article claims, "A 2005 U.N. Population Fund report found that 70 percent of married women in India were victims of beatings or rape." Somehow that number seems a little hard to believe.
So RADAR did an extensive search of the UN Population Fund's website. Nothing there.
Then a Google search. No luck.
So RADAR finally contacted the UNDP Information Office. The UNDP employee was unable to find a statement in any UNDP publication that even resembled that statistic.
Conclusion: The phony 70% figure was concocted by someone whose agenda was something other than reporting the truth.
Folks, we can't let this inflammatory story pass unnoticed. The editors at the Washington Times need to hear from a boatload of upset readers. Please tell them this message:
"The 'Abused Wives in India' article is biased, laced with anti-male rhetoric, and uses make-believe statistics. It ignores the well-documented fact that in India, women are twice as likely as men to engage in partner violence: http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID41E2.pdf. The story is so systematically flawed that it resembles a propaganda piece. The Washington Times should promptly retract this article and do a follow-up article that tells the truth about domestic violence."
Mr. Francis Coombs, Washington Times Managing Editor
Telephone: 202-636-3000, then ask to speak with Francis Coombs
Or send a letter to the editor at:
Date of RADAR Release: November 13, 2006
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R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org