SOME people might think that reducing the alcohol guidance limit for men would be a positive factor in reducing instances of violence against women.

That would certainly fit nicely in with the myth that alcohol itself acts as a personality-altering substance that turns otherwise normal men into violent abusers.

It doesn’t, and we need to stop that myth being peddled if we are to see any real progress.

There is a certain double standard when it comes to how we view alcohol use between the sexes. For men, it is the eternal saving grace and bad behaviour get out clause.

“He’s fine when he’s not got a drink in him.” For women, alcohol is the stuff that we are told to avoid while pregnant. It’s the thing that we really should steer clear of if we care about our looks.

It’s what we must avoid if we don’t want to be raped or killed. It’s what we definitely must not consume if we want the court of public opinion to treat us fairly when we are attacked.

This perception that when men drink they didn’t mean it and when women drink they should have known better is counter-productive and inherently unfair.

Scotland’s relationship with alcohol isn’t a healthy one. It hasn’t been for a long time.

Reducing our collective alcohol intake can only ever be a good thing. However, If we really are serious about tackling violence against women then we have to accept that no arbitrary limit recommended by the Department of Health is going to stop violent men being violent. Women at risk would be much better served by the country coming to terms with the reality that it is always the abuser’s choice to be abusive. Violence against women is gender-based and about asserting dominance & control.

These are traits of misogynist abusers, not otherwise upstanding people who just don’t know their limits. Understanding the difference between the two will help clear out some of the victim blaming that is still all too prevalent in today’s society.

Police Scotland spent one fifth of their total operational time in 2014 dealing with the instances and aftermath of domestic violence cases. We’ve got a lot more to do to improve that statistic and certainly a lot more than asking men to have a few less units a week.

Women's groups treat new guidelines on men's alcohol consumption with caution