Market Research designed to change attitudes

Over the past few weeks conversations have been reignited online and in the press around the experiences of women of violence perpetrated by men. It has been reported that Australia is facing an epidemic in the numbers of deaths of women at the hands of men, with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describing domestic violence as a “national crisis” at rally in Canberra on Sunday, April 9.

Speaking to Channel 9, the PM said, “Quite clearly, we need to do more. It’s not enough to just have empathy.”

“The fact that … a woman dies every four days on average at the hand of a partner is just a national crisis,” he added.

According to the Counting Dead Women Australia project, run by researchers from Destroy the Joint, 28 women have died as a result of violence this year – 27 of them alleged to be at the hands of men. This number has almost doubled since 2023, with 15 lives lost at this same stage of the year.

In alarming statistics featured in the ‘National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032‘ one in 3 women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and one in 5 has experienced sexual violence. On average, a woman is killed by an intimate partner every 10 days.

Of course those rates of violence are even higher for certain groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. And in 2021, girls aged 10 to 17 made up 42% of female sexual assault victims.

The rising anger from women around the world at growing gender violence accumulated into a social media meme that demonstrated that many women feel that would have better chances of survival coming across a bear in the woods than a man.

Of course this expression of personal experience was met with anger on the part of many (male) online commenters, prompting lawyer and law professor @dillionmichaelwhite to do some basic analysis and explanation of the core methodologies behind market research.

In his first video, Dillion breaks down the statistics around bear attacks on women vs male attacks on women in the USA to dispel some commenters arguments against the statement. However he points out it is an impossible equation to work out correctly as attacks on women by men are chronically underreported (only one fifth of incidents are reported and less than one fifth lead to an arrest) and also bears are controlled as a population by the state.

However he still gives it a red hot go, stating that even if there were equal numbers of bears to men in the US, “You’re still greater than two times more likely to be killed by a man than a bear if you are a woman in the United States and about 220 times more likely to be involved in a non fatal attack by a man than a bear.”

In a second follow up video, Dillion gives the internet a quick lesson on the strength of qualitative data in an instance like this and argues that what people just need to do it listen to women.

“Telling women they’re wrong in a literal opinion question is kind of the reason why we’re in this situation to begin with… it’s an opinion question and opinion questions are based on both perceived and lived experiences.”

While statistics aren’t going to solve the problem of violence against women in the country and around the world, they do help to build a picture of the epidemic proportions faced by women. Those same statistics can be used to look at the root cause of this epidemic and start to build new systems and start to work on deep seated cultural change in mens attitudes and relationships to women.

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