A billboard in Canada that called for better support for male domestic abuse victims has been heavily criticised for its use of statistics, amid claims it is “anti-woman”.
The billboard, paid for by the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), reads: “HALF of domestic victims are men. NO domestic violence shelters are dedicated to us, #LetsTalkMen”.
The Toronto billboard, a rebuttal to an advert sponsored by the Canadian government drawing attention to sexual and domestic violence as part of a multi-million three-year initiative, has drawn criticism for its use of statistics.
Penny Krowitz, the executive director of Canadian organisation Act to End Violence Against Women, said: “If we had enough men coming forward saying, ‘I need shelter from this abusive woman’ or ‘I need shelter from this situation,’ do you not think that we would have provided those services to men?”
“If service providers were finding that there was such a need for men’s shelters, there would be men’s shelters,” she told Canadian newspaper The National Post.
Online many users expressed anger towards the billboard and it’s message.
#LetsTalkMen about your claim half of domestic abuse victims are men? You understand if 95% of victims are women, 5% isn't half right?— Andrew Tumilty (@AndrewTumilty) March 9, 2015
Most women's orgs I know were built by women. So this "no shelters are dedicated to us" narrative is just...I don't even know. #LetsTalkMen— Laura Tilley (@elleveetee) March 9, 2015
It should be possible to talk about men's abuse without devaluing women's experience. CAFE's #letstalkmen campaign does not facilitate that.— Matthew Kofsky (@MKofsky) March 9, 2015
But CAFE founder Justin Trottier insisted to The Independent that the number of male domestic abuse victims shown on the billboard were correct – and that men were not being adequately cared for.
“Even if it is just 10 per cent, which our figures do not show, there are zero shelters to go to for men there is a gap in our services,” he claimed.
Mr Trottier said he had been “shocked” by the reaction to the billboard and what he perceived as attacks on his organisations: “I’m less concerned about what they name our group and more concerned about the people who are slipping through cracks.”
He felt many of the men were not seeking help because they did not fit the “stereotypical” image of a victim of abuse.
Online, many appeared less than impressed at the campaign groups attempt for publicity.
“#LetsTalkMen Help male victims by HELPING male victims. Insulting women online does not help male victims.”
“The #LetsTalkMen tag for the guy who sees a woman pummeled and bruised and thinks to himself "men have it just as bad," wrote one Twitter user.
Another posted: “So #LetsTalkMen! Please explain why y'all responsible for almost 90% of violent crimes. I'll wait.”
However, some Twitter users appeared to support the campaign and billboard.
Derek Miller posted: “I welcome all the guys who feel the country is sleeping on them to reach out! #LetsTalkMen”.Reuse content