Are you a man? Would you mind being DNA tested if a woman was murdered in your city?
DNA samples from every man in Bristol should be screened as police continue to hunt for the murderer of Joanna Yeates, one of the city’s MPs has urged according to newspaper reports (click this link to read)
Is this a sexist request?
Most men would understand why they were being asked, said Kerry McCarthy, the Labour MP for Bristol East.
She added that DNA testing had proved critical in other murder cases.”Rather than taking DNA just from men in the Clifton area [where Ms Yeates was abducted], where the population is somewhat transient, the operation should be widened to include the whole of the city,” she added.
However, the former Labour junior whip conceded: “Quite how the police would organise this I don’t know.”Ms Yeates, 25, was last seen alive on 17 December. Her frozen, snow-covered body was found at the roadside by dog walkers on Christmas Day.Avon and Somerset Police previously used mass DNA screening in the 1995 investigation into the disappearance of 18-year-old Louise Smith. Officers collected 4,500 DNA samples from local men.
Is it sexist to make such a request? There are certainly sexist assumptions about victims and perpetrators that affect men and boys adversely.
We know, for example, that male victims of domestic violence are twice as likely to suffer in silence and tell no-one about the abuse they are experiencing.
Furthermore, female rape victims are twice as likely to report the crime to the police as male rape victims are.
All the evidence suggests that if you don’t fit within the sexist assumptions of who is a perpetrator and who is a victim it is far more difficult to get help and support.
And just because most murderers are men, it doesn’t mean that all men are murderers or that all murderers are men.
And what’s nearly always overlooked is the fact that the majority of violence and murder victims are also men. Globally, men account for two-thirds of the 1.6 people million people who die a violent death every year and in 2008/2009 in the UK 71% of murder victims were male.
More significantly, MEN ARE THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE MURDERED BY A STRANGER than women.
So even if you don’t think that DNA testing 50% of the adult population in this case would be excessive, you are left with the question, why are there no calls to DNA test all men in a city every time a man is murdered by a stranger?
Men are, after all, THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE MURDERED BY A STRANGER than women.
Maybe the people making the call to DNA test all men in this case are being a little bit sexist in that they think that the lives of the 71% murder victims who are male are less valuable than the 29% of victims who are female.
Whether this is the case or not, it is vital for people who care about men and boys to keep putting out the message that the majority of the world’s victims of violence are men and boys which is why we need a global campaign to STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN AND BOYS and not just campaigns to stop violence against women and girls