May 25, 2024

Why does domestic violence increase when England lose?

The World Cup is just around the corner, and after the Lionesses bought the European Trophy home, we have high expectations for the men’s side. After reaching the finals of the European Championships in 2021 – and following a series of lacklustre international breaks – tension is mounting as to whether the England men’s squad are up to the challenge.

Sadly, the tension won’t be limited to the pitch. By now, you may have heard the oft-repeated statistic that domestic violence increases by 38% when the England team lose, peaking around 10 hours after kick-off. For many people in abusive relationships, major footballing competitions, such as the World Cup, signal the start of intense periods of fear and anxiety at the hands of their partner.

This statistic is based on a relatively small study from 2014, which reported instances of intimate partner violence across three World Cup tournaments. Due to the nature of domestic abuse, which is often considered a “hidden crime”, it’s feasible that this statistic is merely the tip of the iceberg regarding domestic abuse incidents during major football tournaments.

It’s also estimated that one in five women experience unwanted physical attention during men’s football matches, according to a Football Supporters’ Association survey. The same survey found that 24% of women at men’s football matches reported hearing sexist chanting; 44% had been told they knew a lot about football “for a girl”; and 26% had been told they only liked football because they fancied the players.

The Home Office has launched a campaign with GOAL as part of the ‘Enough. ’ campaign – developed with Women’s Aid – to “raise awareness of football-related abuse towards women in England and Wales” and to promote the idea that “the responsibility to end domestic violence and sexual harassment against women and girls lies amongst our men and boys. ”

The campaign is fronted by Josh Denzel, who spoke to GLAMOUR about why football has become such a hotbed for misogyny and – more importantly – how men can intervene to ensure that sexist attitudes have no place within the so-called beautiful game.

Let’s get one thing straight: perpetrators are solely responsible for the violence they choose to inflict on their partners, regardless of what sport they enjoy watching. However, the culture of misogyny that appears to be rife within men’s football warrants further investigation.

Speaking to GLAMOUR, Denzel highlighted that football has long been considered a “boy’s club” where people just aren’t being called out for sexist behaviours. Ten years ago, he adds, «if there was a song or a chant or some banter going around in a group chat … no one has been really standing up and saying, ‘Do you know what mate? I think that’s a bit out of line. ‘ It really can spill over from the football life into your personal life and your home life as well. »

“A culture that ridicules women will inevitably foster an environment which endangers them. ”

Sure, chants and the like could be considered “banter,” but a culture that ridicules women will inevitably foster an environment which endangers them. Speaking to the Financial Times about banter in the workplace, Laura Bates – the founder of Everyday Sexism – said, “If you have a culture where the low-level stuff is brushed off and accepted, that normalises and smooths the way for more serious abuses not to be taken seriously. ”

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