When ‘Euronews’ is old news

by Robert Whiston

Euronews’ deception about domestic violence

‘Ricardo’, a Portuguese contact and member of PEF (Platform for European Fathers), sent some information for my attention. It concerned a news item about domestic abuse broadcast on the Euronews channel entitled “Sweden’s gender-violence shame”.  It was so factually wide of the mark that the channel deserves shaming by a larger audience.

Euronews television channel had aired a claim in a ‘public information’ interview – or program-ette, that:

  1. “Domestic violence and rape kills more women than cancer”
  2. “Domestic violence and rape is more dangerous than cancer”

Euronews was created to be a counter-weight to the television dominance of CNN in the 1980s. The blanket coverage of the First Gulf War (1990 – 91), provided by CNN prompted some in Europe to want their own version – a multilingual, rolling-news channel. The ambition  was that the world could see global events viewed through European eyes. [1]

Euronews’ corporate campaigning slogan is “The pure info” (and presumably nothing but pure information), but that is far what it provides if “Sweden’s gender-violence shame” is any guide.

To ensure the channel’s financial stability the European Union signed an agreement with Euronews worth £25 million on Feb 21st  2005. Euronews thereafter undertook to fulfill a mission of “European information” for the EU and to be their official mouth piece. [2]

The claim that; “Domestic violence and rape kills more women than cancer” is not only factually untrue but a reckless misuse of privileged, publicly funded mass communications. It is also a claim that was issued by the UK’s Dept of Health in 2009 and annihilated.

          Cancer Deaths (England & Wales).

Cancer_deathsTo be Britain’s biggest single killer DV would have to consistently claim over 10,889 lives per annum as this 1998 Table of cancer deaths demonstrates. Instead, what we get are repeat proclamations by Women’s Aid and similar types that 2 or 3 women are killed every week, i.e. hardly more than 120.  A more in-depth article on the topic can be found at “How true are Domestic Violence statistics ?” (https://robertwhiston.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/27/).

Same old same old

Sweden’s gender violence’ where this claim was made, is a short (8 minutes) ‘pubic information’ programme that opens with a supposedly elderly, lonely woman, Eva-Britt Svensson, reflecting on her married life.

She is said to be the victim in this DV tale but Eva-Britt Svensson, aged 66, is also known for her life-long left wing politics and has held senior office in many left wing parties including Sweden’s Vänsterpartiet (1995–2004).

She was – until 2011 – also an MEP at the European parliament having been elected there in 2004. She is thus not unfamiliar with utilising the media and doing what it takes to get the message or ideology across.

In the interview she mentions her husband of long-standing and her two grown up daughters. Apparently, when he died in 2009 she felt she could “come out” and publicise his brutality to her so we shall never be able to hear his side of the story.

Wild blue yonder

Her version is that out of the blue he began slapping her, although she concedes that he tirelessly supported her throughout her political career, and that he ‘controlled’ everything including her bank account (was it a joint one ?). She says she left him 15 years ago (i.e. 2013 – 15 = 1998) but never spoke of it until he had died.

Seasoned readers of the power struggle exercised through claims of DV will at once recognise the pattern. It was very fashionable for feminists Dwokinespecially feminists authors, to reluctantly concede (but very publicly) that they too had been victims of DV from their husbands (but had not wanted to talk about it) and thus show solidarity with their readership.

Right: radical feminist and lesbian author, Andrea Dworkin

  • NB. Betty Frieden (circa May 2000) was the first radical feminist to admit that she had made up allegations that her husband was violent.
  • This was followed by Andrea Dworkin’s confession in the Linda Grant interview that ‘only last year’ (i.e. 1999), and at the age 52, she has been raped – yes, all of her !! [3]

Eva-Britt Svensson is well known for opposing Europe-wide restrictions on Eva_Brittfreedom of speech and of preventing perceived gender stereotyping. [4] She therefore cannot object to an exposé of Euronews and Kerstin Weigl’s falsehoods.

Euronews went to Sweden and spoke not only with survivors of domestic violence but with one of the journalists (Kerstin Weigl) behind a project called “Cause of Death Woman.”

Hen house arithmetic

WeiglJournalist Kerstin Weigl then takes centre stage in the videoed news item. It is she that claims that; “DV and rape kills more women than Cancer” and demands to know, “Why this issue isn’t this discussed more worldwide ?” (We’ve heard exactly this before from the UK’s Dept of Health some years prior – see above).

Her next claim is that; “DV is a global epidemic and a big, big society problem.” This either refers to the 23 women killed per year in Sweden or the very much higher rates of abuse found in the developing world  – on this point she leaves the viewer confused.

This claim has an old and familiar ring to it. In 2009 the UK’s Dept of Health (no doubt in the full grip of radical feminism), issued a press release stating that “Domestic abuse kills more women than cancer” etc, and hoped no one would question it. The BBC’s 10 o’clock News on March 2009 carried the ‘unchecked’ story that: [5]

  • “The Gov’t says incidents of DV have fallen substantially but that it still affects 1 in 4 women. Indeed, for women aged between 15 to 44 it’s the biggest cause of mortality”
  • “DV kills more women aged between 15 to 44 than anything else ?”

But some were unconvinced and some listeners to BBC Radio 4 brought it to the attention of the “More or Less” team, a  programme specialising in quoted numbers in the media. The Radio 4 team spoke to Colin Mayor, the man in charge of statistic on death and the burden of disease [6]at the UN World Health Organisation (WHO). He was asked to comment on world mortality figures. He confirmed that UN data showed DV and rape (combined) was only in 6th place – not first  (see also Annex 1).  Malaria, cancers and various tropical illnesses killed far more women than DV can ever hope to achieve.

The More or Less programme found the dubious prestige of being the biggest killer of women aged between 15 and 44 went to HIV / AIDS. This is followed by TB and then suicide.

The number of women who die from breast cancer, in 2008, was 12,047. This total does not include vaginal, ovarian, throat, pancreatic, lung, or any other type of cancer. A glimpse of the lopsided expenditure on female cancers v male cancers is shown in the Table below. It took a long campaign by a single newspaper and £1 million donated by the same newspaper for Prostate cancer to prod government into matching the £1 million.

Cancer_spendCancer Research UK notes that 99% of the 12,116 UK breast cancer deaths were women but that did not stop them treating the 1% of men who were diagnosed and still died of breast cancer (see Table at Annex 1 below). [7]

In the days of its flirtation with New Labour the ‘Guardian’ remained unconvinced (unlike today when it is positively pro-David Cameron). In Nov 2008 it published an article headlined “Stop looking the other way.” [8] According to the Guardian’s world view, “Violence against women is a pandemic more extensive than HIV/Aids” and they claimed, ‘statistics’ proved their claim. Unfortunately, untainted statistics proved the very opposite.

The ‘More or Less’ programme makers in 2009 had gone directly to the ONS and found the quoted statistics were “completely wrong.”

  • It is quite common for a rogue statistics to spread mutate and keep circulating says the programme’s narrator.

To get perspective there were in fact 484,367 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2011, a fall of 1.8 per cent compared with 2010. There are many lists available from the NHS an ONS of causes of death and all are premised slightly differently.

Two examples are given in the Annexes below as Tables 5.1 and 5.3. However, so extensive are they that they have been place at the very end of the article and so are itemised as Annex 3 rather than Annex 2  (see “Deaths [1] underlying cause,  sex and age-group, 2011”, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/mortality-statistics–deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales–series-dr-/2011/stb-deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales-in-2011-by-cause.html ).

Tunnel vision

The ‘More or Less’ programme were left apologising for the BBC and the ‘10 o’clock News’ team staff by admitting that they should have checked the claims, but to paraphrase the narration, in mitigating the same oversight committed others:

  • It not just news outlets that don’t verify their data – Kent police made a similar claim that DV was the ‘leading cause of death for women aged between 19 and 44.
  • “The Guardian” says that globally violence against women, not just DV, was the leading cause of death among women aged between 15 and 44.”
  • This claim mutates as it circulates. A less virulent strain of deception play on the public claims that DV is the leading cause of morbidity (i.e. ill health) among women aged between 19 and 44.

And it is this last point of a “virulent strain mutating” that has led onto a situation where some years later (2013) a Swedish journalist perpetuates the disinformation (defined as information deliberately intended to mislead).

To paraphrase Swedish journalist Kerstin Weigl, she continues:

  • Until a few years ago, violence against women in Sweden was almost a hidden subject even in a country often rated number one when it comes to gender equality.
  • And violence is on the rise. Every three weeks a woman is Sweden is killed by a man close to her. Last year, the police said a total of 35 thousand cases of violence  [but not lethal -RW] were reported.

This is an “interesting” observation or assertion since statistics in all the developed worlds point to a marked decline in DV levels. Euronews went to Sweden – which they would have us believe is bucking the world trend – and spoke with survivors of domestic violence.

So what is the biggest killer ?

Dealing with the frequently cited statistic which states that “domestic violence is the leading cause of death or injury for women aged 15-44” official statistics do not confirm the assertion.

For instance, in the year 2007, nearly 6,000 women aged between 15 and 44 died.

  • Over 2,000 of those deaths were due to cancer and other tumour related illnesses (a perspective on cancer death statistics for 1998 see Appendix B).
  • Approx. 1,100 women died of “external causes”, which include DV but more importantly, assaults of all types, accidents, falls, car crashes, suicides etc etc.

This leaves approx 3,000 deaths to be divided up between all the other possible causes of death for women, including childbirth, kidney failure, alcoholism, drug addictions, heart attacks, pneumonia, hypoxia, meningitis, breast implants etc., etc.

Dealing with the ‘global’ claim, the programme then consulted Prof. Slivia Walby, of Lancaster University, who holds the UNESCO chair for gender issues and violence. When asked about levels of violence against women she clearly stated that UK statistics showed that DV amounted to only 4% of women per annum –  and if one was more restrictive, i.e. to purely physical violence against women, this would fall and represent 3.4%.

Prof. Slivia Walby, author of “The Future of Feminism”(see Appendix C), went on to explain that:

  • “There is not a ‘crime code’ for DV [*] and statistical researchers have to rely on interpretation by the police which could otherwise be an assault on a man by another man and not a woman at all.”

All crimes in England & Wales have an official Home Office ‘crime code’ [*], this means that often the figures published for DV are in effect filtered and approximated by researchers in the process of interpretation and are at best “best estimates.” An exception to this is HORS 191.

The 1 in 4 mantra

So where did these statistics – and the infamous 1 in 4 come from ?  More or Less contacted the Home Office as the most obvious source. The Home Office sheepishly replied that the figure was used only for “illustrative purposes”[what ! !  ? ? ], adding only that the  “ . . . more than cancer”  figure first appeared a World Development Bank (“World Development Report”) in 1993.

This is yet another attempt at disinformation. The infamous ‘1 in 4’ figure is over a whole life time and the actual yearly rate is a more sensible 2% – 4%. The “World Development Report”, published by WHO contains estimates from countries that have no reliable statistical service and in many instances no statistical service at all.

Undeterred a March 2005 Home Office document (“Domestic violence; a national review“) pin-pointed that: [9]

  • “For women aged 19-44, domestic violence is the leading cause of morbidity, greater  than cancer, war, and motor vehicle accidents. 89% of the victims who suffer sustained domestic violence are female, however we also know that domestic violence can affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and male victims.”- Page 2

Battling an alliance

From this 2005 national review the government’s action on domestic violence is led by an Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic chaired by Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland, QC (page 3) and again the claim is made that “over the last thirty years domestic violence in the UK has gone from being a largely unspoken subject” (see Kerstin Weigl above).

The government of the day had by this time formed a club, the Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence, whose members included, for example, representatives from AOL/Time Warner, BBC, KPMG, Vodafone, Department of Health and NHS Employers, together with The Body Shop International and the media industry (see http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/18868/1/Matczak-A-18868.pdf , 2011). [10]

By the time we reach page 7 we learn that £32 million has been provided for improvements to existing and new refuge places through the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s budget for the Homelessness & Housing Support Directorate and the Housing Corporation.

Compare those expenditures (on women’s needs) with that of cancer research:

  • “During 1997-98, the MRC (Medical Research Council) spent £691,000 on lung cancer; £18,000 on prostate cancer; £3,328,000 on breast cancer and £1,469,000 on bowel cancer. The MRC’s figures relate to research specifically into these named cancers, and research which has been classified as being undertaken in one of these sites may well have implications in another and vice versa. As a guide, the MRC spent £13.2 million on cancer in 1994-95.

As always ‘The Guardian’ remained unconvinced of the inconsequentiality of DV in the world scheme of things.

In Nov 2008 it published an article headlined “Stop looking the other way.” [11]  According to their world view “Violence against women is a pandemic more extensive than HIV/Aids” and they claimed, ‘statistics’ proved their claim:

  • “A small minority of victims of domestic violence and murder are men but in four out of five domestic murders it is women who are victimised. Just look at the statistics. Violence against women is a pandemic more extensive than HIV/Aids. It is the main cause of death and disability globally for women aged 15 to 44 – rape and gross bodily violence cause more death and permanent disability than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria combined.”

As demonstrated above, what the Guardian is pleased to call ‘ststicsics’ are anything but dependable.

In the above quote, death has been joined by disability as well as rape and DV as the measure to be used when assessing the lot of women, and allegedly “worse than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria combined.”

Women more important ?

The commonplace claim made by women’s groups in the UK is that approx. “2 women a week are killed in England and Wales by a current or former partner” in any given year.  This is entirely true, but it tells only half the story. What us not stated is that the figure for men killed by their partner is approx. more than 1 per week.

And just to underline how self-centred women can be (e.g. 10 per million), they want to ‘elbow out’ of consideration the number of children murdered every year (see graph below marked Figure 4.4).  This number is also at about 1 or 2 a week but as the table implies it is mostly mothers perpetrating the death (90 per million) in the first 12 months of life by external causes of their young children.

figure44england_wales_homicidesbyageofvictims2000-01

The Table also shows that males of whatever age, risk being a victim of homicide many time greater than do women.

E N D

References:

  • ‘Domestic violence’

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/more_or_less/8051629.stm  see also http://www.equalparentingalliance.org/2009/05/domestic-violence-the-true-picture.html

BBC Radio 4, Friday, 15 May 2009

“A frequently-cited statistic says domestic violence is the leading cause of death or injury for women aged 15-44. . . . . .  It has been widely reported and appears in government reports. We explain why it is completely wrong.  . . . . And we ask how we can get better data on domestic violence.”

  • “Stop looking the other way”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/25/domestic-violence-gender 

Guardian, Tuesday 25th November 2008

” . . ..  . A small minority of victims of domestic violence and murder are men but in four out of five domestic murders it is women who are victimised. Just look at the statistics. Violence against women is a pandemic more extensive than HIV/Aids. It is the main cause of death and disability globally for women aged 15 to 44 – rape and gross bodily violence cause more death and permanent disability than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria combined.”

  • Factoid – definition

A factoid is a questionable or spurious (unverified, false, or fabricated) statement presented as a fact, but without supporting evidence.

  • Euronews

Britain’s ITN effectively owns Euronews when it bought a 49% stake in the company.

Annex 1

 
Breast_cancer
 

Annex 2

Extract from ‘The Future of Feminism’, by Sylvia Walby (formerly of Leeds, Bristol, LSE and now Lancashire Uni).

  • “In The Future of Feminism, Sylvia Walby offers a provocative riposte to the notion that feminism is dead. Substantiating her arguments with evidence of the vibrancy of contemporary feminism in civil society and beyond, she provides a succinct yet comprehensive critical review of recent treatments of feminism explaining why they have got it wrong.
  • The book provides the definitive account of feminism’s new and varied projects, goals, alliances and organizational forms, including feminism as a global wave. It offers engaged accounts of feminist activities across a range of domains in the economy, polity, violence and civil society. Successful feminist projects are not always named as feminist, sometimes being mainstreamed into coalitions with social democratic and global human rights activists. Feminism is now global, though also taking local forms, and these new coalitions are the basis for the future of feminism.”

 Annex 3

 Deaths1: underlying cause,  sex and age-group, 2011: Chapter III

The following Tables are highly abridged since each of them run on for several pages and it is technically impossible to up-load them to this page.

Table_5.1

Cont’d

Again, the following Table is highly abridged since it  runs on for several pages and it is technically impossible to up-load them to the whole Table. page.

Table_5.3

Footnotes: 
 

[3] “Take no prisoners” The Guardian, 13th May 2000  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2000/may/13/politics1 And ‘She never hated men’ by Katharine Viner, The Guardian, Tuesday 12th  April 2005. “ . . ..  Then, in 1999, Dworkin was drugged and raped in a hotel room in Paris. It was an attack that was to devastate her.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/apr/12/gender.highereducation. Dworkin (b 1946 – d 2005).

[5] BBC More or Less Friday, 15 May 2009. UK

[6] Global burden of disease health topic http://www.who.int/topics/global_burden_of_disease/en/

[8] “Stop looking the other way” Tuesday 25 Nov 2008 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/25/domestic-violence-gender

[10] See Chp. ‘Domestic Violence Policy Development in England 1990 – 2004’ and ‘development 2005 – 2011’

[11] “Stop looking the other way” Tuesday 25 Nov 2008 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/25/domestic-violence-gender

Comments are closed.