Doubts about assault percentage

Regarding the June 22 AP article “One-third of women worldwide have been assaulted by partner“: While I do not discount that domestic violence happens, “one-third” stretches the imagination.

If we walk down Aoyama-dori or go to Tokyo Disneyland and see couples being lovey-dovey, can we conclude that one-third of these relationships are destined to become so hateful that one partner will perpetrate violence and the other will be dealt it? That’s scary.

If it’s true, shouldn’t the entire institution of marriage and the sweet imagery of the wedding day be questioned as a farce?

And should not marriage counseling be made mandatory and addressed in a pre-marriage legal document? Not sexy, but practical. For if either one or both partners dismiss the 33-percent probability of violence, they are pretty naive and perhaps could be blamed for abdicating their adult responsibility.

That’s why I question the validity of the conclusions of the World Health Organization authors/researchers in the study.

calvin tong
ichikawa, chiba

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Paul Smith

    Several points need to be made here.

    1. The article did not say that the rate of violence against women is a uniform 33% throughout the the world. It specifically cites different rates in different regions, ranging from 23% to 37%.

    2. The article concedes that “accurate numbers on women and violence are notoriously hard to pin down,” and it clearly states that the figures cited by the WHO study are estimates derived by applying modeling techniques to data from 86 countries. In other words, no one claims that the 33% figure is a proven rate of violence against women, but it is a reasonable estimate that was derived by methods that have been disclosed and are subject to review by anyone who cares to do so.

    3. In contrast to the WHO study, which is based on the evidence available, Calvin Tong’s questioning of “the validity of the conclusions of the World Health Organization authors/researchers in the study” is based on no evidence at all. He just doesn’t want to believe that things could be so bad, because he sees no signs of it in the public behavior of couples.

    4. It is intrinsic to the nature of domestic violence that it seldom occurs in public and occurs overwhelmingly in private settings, where it can be hidden. That’s what makes it so hard to pin down accurate numbers.

    The WHO study is an attempt to get a handle on the scale of violence against women, a serious issue that cries out to be addressed more effectively than it has been to date.

    Calvin Tong’s objections amount to nothing more than wishful thinking of the sort that keeps the issue of domestic violence out of the public eye and ultimately enables the perpetrators of that violence.