IoS letters, emails & online postings (21 April 2013)

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The Independent Online

I am concerned that your article "As a man, it's very difficult to say I've been beaten up" (14 April), provided a distorted view of domestic violence. Research shows that the vast majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women. The Crime Survey for England and Wales 2011-12, which indicated that more married men than married women reported experiencing partner abuse in the past year, also found that women made up a much higher percentage of victims across all relationship categories... single, cohabiting, separated or divorced.

Women's violence towards male perpetrators is frequently defensive or retaliatory. The survey found that female victims of homicide were more likely than male victims to have been killed by a partner or ex-partner. All domestic violence is abhorrent, but we must show the whole picture if we are to have any hope of bringing this crime to an end.

Sandra Horley CBE

Chief executive, Refuge

Possibly one in six men (rather than one in three) experience violence from a partner at least once. This tends to be different from violence against women and many male victims are in same-sex relationships. Male victims also experience different challenges in accessing services, as shown by Dave, the man who bravely agreed to be interviewed for your piece. We work with the organisation Respect, which runs a men's advice line for male victims of domestic violence, and our online database lists services for men.

Domestic violence is characterised by an ongoing pattern of abusive behaviour, and women constitute 89 per cent of all victims who experience four or more incidents. Most such violence is a result of an abuse of power and control, which is rooted in the historical status of women in the family and in society.

Polly Neate

Chief Executive, Women's Aid

Rose Prince raises important points about our approach to food ("Poverty food is the diet of choice...", 14 April). Can you imagine how a Cuban would react to British middle-class foodies conned into paying £4 for an "artisanal" loaf of bread, thinking it brings them closer to the simple life?

Miranda Wright

London W12

That much of the council housing sold off by Margaret Thatcher ended up in the hands of private landlords or property companies illustrates a theme of her legacy (i on Sunday, 14 April). As with the sell-off of various national assets, she believed she was creating a nation of shareholders, but individual investors amount to only 11.5 per cent of UK shares now; in the mid-1970s it was 37.5 per cent. She alone is not responsible for the concentration of wealth at the top of society – her successors have supported this process – but the Britain I grew up in the 1960s and 70s was one of the more equal societies in Western Europe. Today it is the most unequal. With the slashing of Legal Aid, even equal representation before the law is at risk.

Alan J Fisher

Finstock, Oxfordshire

The UK's chief scientist says we should let GM crops grow here; supermarkets abandon a pledge to sell chicken fed a GM-free diet; and this Friday the US food and drug administration's public consultation over a GM fish ends. The AquAdvantage Salmon is an Atlantic salmon with a growth gene from the Chinook salmon, plus a "switch" from the eel-like ocean pout, to make it grow twice as fast. If the FDA approves the supersalmon, will it be fed GM food? How long before the law of unintended consequences raises its mutated head?

Pippa Driver

London E17

Janet Street-Porter makes a strong case for the manufacturers of pop music being good business men – or is it the other way round (14 April)? I prefer music made and performed by musicians. Since 1997, Chumbawamba, as Boff Whalley implied, did indeed go through a range of varying but interesting musical styles. In 10 or 20 years, Psy and his successors will still attract millions of hits on YouTube by generating instant crazes. But some of us will still be listening to Chumbawamba's near sublime album The Boy Bands Have Won. I suppose that title does say it all.

Philip Brindle


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