WHAT a fascinating time to be alive. In the internet age, you can find all sorts of "facts" and tribe to back up your own point of view.
Last week I wrote here on the number women who have fallen victim to homicide in Australia, both inside and outside the home, predominantly at the hands of men. My challenge; that ALL men can and should do more to curb the tragedy and, it starts with respect.
The response on social media; a whole bunch of WHOA! #NotAllMen!
Accurately, some pointed out the murder rate for men is close to double that of women, suggesting my concerns were misplaced.
Most, however, came back with a lot of equally concerning (though frankly unrelated) facts surrounding the how and why men die in Australia.
Everything from, "What about men taking their own life" through to, "Men are over-represented in workplace fatalities".
Yes, absolutely. These are incredibly sad and serious issues. However, please, rather than deflecting, please please stay with me. Going off on tangents like that is like dismissing the high road toll figures by talking instead about the amount of men who drown while fishing.
Yes, these are sad issues, but they're not this issue. One does not cancel out the other.
There's no denying the variety of tragic and avoidable ways Australians are losing their lives every day, and the pain that affects those left behind. Just allow me to stay here for now. Because as the Twitterverse is welcome to point out:
2151 men committed suicide in 2016 at 7.85 per day and at 3 times the rate of women. Statistics show us more men die at the hands of men than women do. The issue of male violence is far greater and more complex than your article makes out.— Grant Hyam (@Hymie000) July 8, 2018
Yes, complex. Are we ready for a fatality fact fest?
Enter Katherine Benson, a researcher for the Red Heart Campaign. Red Heart research delves deep into the issue of violence in Australia. It notes women, men and children who die at the hands of another. Where possible, its data tracks if the death was an instance of family violence.
At the time of writing, here's the 2018 homicide stats broken down by Red Heart.
• 38 women have been killed this year. 34 of these deaths were allegedly at the hands of men. • Three of the dead women were allegedly killed by another woman. One situation remains unknown.
• Out of these 38 deaths, 28 women allegedly lost their lives in family violence. And out of these 28, at least 23 of them are believed to have died at the hands of a man.
• 69 men have been murdered so far in 2018. It is alleged most of these deaths were caused by another man.
• Of those 69 men who have died, 11 of those are allegedly the result of family violence. It is alleged that out of those 10 deaths, five men were killed by another male, and six were killed by a female.
Red Heart points out that family violence doesn't always mean one partner killing another.
While all stats and facts are open to twists, interpretation and rejection, any reasonable person can see a clear pattern here. For me, the concern remains; women and men are in danger in their homes.
"We are not at risk of terrorism, we are at risk of each other", Ms Benson concludes. "Growing up in the '80s I was taught about stranger danger. Nobody taught me to be cautious of the people that I loved."
Ms Benson's work for the Red Heart Campaign has resulted in her being labelled a "man-hater" by some "men's rights activists" (MRAs).
"I don't know anyone who works in this field who actually hates men, we just don't want you to die", she recently told the @AllMenCanAU Podcast.
"Men are killing men. Men (MRAs) are lying about male violence. Men are lying about statistics around male suicide, and we should all be outraged by that".
Men's rights are not under threat by the reporting of these facts. All Australians are under threat of violence - and the statistics show that most of that violence is dished out by men.
Be alert and alarmed. What can we do to turn the tide? Take some advice from this father:
If you or someone you know needs help in regards to family violence, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Hear Katherine's full discussion surrounding the research of the Red Heart Campaign on the #ALLMenCanAU podcast
Damien Willoughby is the co-host of the @AllMenCanAU podcast now available on iTunes and Soundcloud.