Tim Lott: What about the violence men suffer?

We highlight one problem, while ignoring a much bigger one

Share
Related Topics

One would surely have to be a monster to take exception to the government measure suggesting that children should be compulsorily taught in schools that domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong.

So why do I have this sense of unease about the whole thing? Firstly, I just can't get with the idea that my seven-year-old daughter should be taught about sexual assault. She's too young. And does a five-year-old really need to be "taught" that violence is wrong? If she (or he) sees one parent hit the other, wouldn't the natural reaction be revulsion and fear, even if his teacher hadn't previously informed him or her that it was the proper response to a social evil?

Likewise for the older children. Domestic violence is so self-evidently improper that moral lectures to a 15-year-old on the subject are superfluous. If some stupid thug thinks that slapping his girlfriend is acceptable, than I doubt that the imprecations of his teacher is going to make much difference.

Beyond these largely practical points, my unease stretches into the area of what I think of "moral bullying." What are schools for? They are about teaching children how to think, and most importantly, to think for themselves. To deliver moral lectures reeks of distasteful Victorian nannying.

The most powerful argument in favour of this programme would be that there are clearly people who believe "a bit of a slap" is somehow a routine and justifiable method of settling an argument. This is obviously unacceptable, as is the idea that sexual assault is just a bit of "rough sex", but I doubt that a teacher is going to be able to do much to convince any party that thinks otherwise.

But without in any way diminishing the seriousness of the issue, it may be that a mosquito is being swatted while an elephant runs rampant. The British Crime Survey records that the rate of domestic violence is about 0.4 per cent in the female population as a whole. Victimisation from violence among adult women generally is 2.1 per cent. Which is nasty and without any possible justification.

However, the chance of being a victim of violence for a 16-24 year old male is far higher – an extraordinary 13.2 per cent. As a young man you have a terrifying one in eight chance of being a victim of violent assault in a given year, as opposed to the less than one in 200 chance a woman suffers from being the victim of domestic assault.

Well those young lads put themselves in the position didn't they? They were asking for it, weren't they? Their body language was provocative, wasn't it? Do those arguments sound familiar at all? I would not wish – dare? – to argue against these lessons to inform children that domestic violence and sexual assault are bad things.

But perhaps it might be worthwhile during the "Why It Is Bad for People to Hurt One Another" double period, to deliver a few doubtless ineffectual words about the continuing and disgraceful casualisation and normalisation of violence among and towards young men – which arguably is a phenomenon that overflows seamlessly and poisonously into male/female relationships.

The violence of men against men is not necessarily a more serious problem than the violence of men against women. But it is a far bigger one. If this project of men learning not to hit or assault women is to be addressed in our schools, then it is surely worth wasting an equal amount of time rehearsing the injunction that men should not hit other men either.

www.timlott.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
The Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, has been dubbed ‘Bibi’s brain’  

Patrick Cockburn: Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire

Patrick Cockburn
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on