The domestic violence double standard

The domestic violence double standard, by Bettina Arndt, via email from

Across Australia, we reeled when we heard news that former Rugby League player, Rowan Baxter had set fire to his car, killing his ex-wife and three young children, and then stabbed himself to death. Unthinkable acts that chilled everyone to the bone.

Turned into a teaching moment for political correctness, but maybe at the expense of the truth:

Then came the press conference from the Queensland police, a very strange event where the police spokesman, Detective Inspector Mark Thompson, suggested it was important to keep an open mind and compile proper information about what had happened. “Is this an issue of a woman suffering significant domestic violence and her and her children perishing at the hands of the husband, or is it an instance of a husband being driven too far by issues he’s suffered by certain circumstances into committing acts of this form,” he said.

It was an extraordinary statement, given the pressure the police are under to simply promote the violent man narrative, ignoring any inconvenient truths that muddy the waters. Thompson looked most uncomfortable, suggesting he was privy to much more information. …

Immediately our media fell into line, using this tragic case to promote the need to protect women from violent men. And slamming Detective Inspector Thompson for daring to suggest that men can ever be “driven” into acting this way.

Then, out of the blue, I heard from a woman who was close to the Baxter family, telling me that many in the community were alarmed that the truth of what happened was being so distorted. I had a long phone call with her where she explained the background to Baxter’s actions — information I hope will be revealed in the coroner’s inquiry. The people with real knowledge of the case are naturally nervous now of speaking publicly, although I hope they will eventually be willing to give media interviews. …

The bigger picture of discrimination and propaganda:

We treat women who commit similarly horrible acts [very differently], immediately searching for reasons, asking what drove them to it. I posted this blog, which outlines some of the cases where women have committed violent acts, murdering their partners and children.

We’ve seen many cases of women committing homicide or filicide, where the press coverage is entirely focussed on explanations for her behaviour. See this article about a Cairns woman who killed 8 children.

I’ve also posted research showing both men and women commit such crimes such as this comprehensive study published in 2009 by Nielsen et al in the Medical Journal of Australia, looking at all cases of child homicide in NSW between 1991 and 2005. It found that, in cases of family homicide/revenge/homicide-suicide like the Rowan Baxter case, men were the perpetrators of child homicide in 10 cases, while women were the perpetrators in seven cases. Yes, tiny numbers. …

The filicide evidence shows children are killed by mothers and fathers at roughly similar rates. The most recent figures covering 2000 – 2012 show 76% of the 284 victims were killed by a custodial parent — 46% by a custodial mother and 29% by a custodial father. …

It is just amazing that the media is so united in constructing a careful narrative of a battered woman and controlling man, with violence orders failing to protect a vulnerable family from his murderous rage. This video of Baxter rough-housing with his children is being used to demonstrate his dangerous toxic masculinity – despite the obvious delight of his children and the fact they keep coming back for more.

How come not a single journalist has the courage to investigate what drove police officer, Mark Thompson, to risk his career by voicing concerns about the complexity of the case? Now Thompson has been forced to step down from the investigation, apologising for his “ill-chosen” words.

This is Stasiland in action. Police across the country must be shuddering at the fate of this brave colleague who paid the price for doing his job with professionalism and honesty.

The politically correct response: Senate votes to condemn Bettina Arndt over Hannah Clarke comments, by Elias Visontay.

Coalition, Labor and crossbench senators overwhelmingly voted to condemn controversial men’s rights activist Bettina Arndt, supporting a motion that comments she made about the murder of Brisbane mother Hannah Clarke and her children were not consistent with her retaining her recent Member of the Order of Australia honour. …

Arndt had drawn fierce backlash online after tweeting it was important to be “keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence” about the incident where a Brisbane father set on fire a car with his estranged wife and children last week, saying he “might have been driven too far”.

Led by the usual suspects:

Speaking on the motion she moved with Penny Wong, Kristina Keneally said “Bettina Arndt’s comments are not reflective of the values that underpin the Order of Australia”.

But our “conservative” party went along with it! Truth, men, and fair play took another beating in Federal Parliament.