In another post in this blog I mention the fact that there are scarcely any individual politicians in Australia, let alone political parties, that are prepared to move out of lockstep with the feminist lobby.
Also in another blog post I briefly discuss the position of the major parties on feminism and men’s rights, in the context of the 2016 Australian federal election.
In this current blog post I thought it might be interesting to put this question to some of the smaller parties. First up we hear from Senator Bob Day of the Family First Party:
“Subject: Your party’s position on feminism vs mens issues
Good morning. I would be interested to learn about the position of family first concerning the influence of feminist ideology in Australia, and
particularly in the political sphere and public service. I would also be interested to learn if FF has a position in relation to one or more of the men’s issues as nominated and discussed in my blog at www.fighting4fair.com.
Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you in due course”
Response received on 10 June 2015:
“Thank you for your email to Senator Day regarding Family First’s position on feminism. Feminism has brought about social change, improved treatment & representation of women and improved productivity. These gains are now considered commonplace factors in everyday Australian life. Our focus as a modern political party is on the question of family and how that basic foundational institution in society can be encouraged, supported and protected from harm and government excesses of power.
Family First supports the role of the family as the foundation for Australian society, and acknowledges that male and female are complimentary, each able to make valuable contributions to the community. We encourage you to visit Senator Day’s website: www.senatorbobday.com.au or Family First’s website www.familyfirst.org.au for further information.
Your blog www.fighting4fair.com discusses many different issues with a common theme being the role of male and female within the family sphere (domestic violence, legal custody battles, or matters pertaining to parenting in general). Regarding this matter, Family First supports the traditional family and whatever can be done to ensure that families with children stay together. The sad reality today is that many relationships fail, and then there are public policy questions about dealing with the breakdown. Thankfully, throughout the Australian community there are in the majority of cases accepted norms about how child access and support is resolved after separation.
A great many families resolve their post-breakdown arrangements without resort to lawyers, violence or alienation of a parent from their child or children. Often they do so to put the children first, and the parents’ disputes second. Regrettably, in some cases the breakdown is so acrimonious that violence and/or alienation of a parent occurs. Moves in recent times to exclude lawyers and prefer mediation at the first opportunity have been welcome shifts away from adversarial resolution of post-breakdown child support and access questions, towards an approach that focusses on what is agreed between the parents.
Family First supports a child having the involvement of a father and mother in their life. Studies show this is vital to their healthy development. However, it must be stressed that there are exemptions to this position. Modern society now has a myriad of social problems, from drug, alcohol and other substance abuse; to domestic violence; to child physical and/or sexual abuse. Mental health of children and/or parents is also a major factor in family breakdown. Children must be protected from situations that might expose them to harm. The court system is so overwhelmed with allegations of this behaviour that it is rare that it gets to the bottom of those allegations.
The handling of family breakdown is further complicated by yet another example of state and federal jurisdictional ambiguity. States and territories are responsible for laws concerning child protection and domestic violence, whereas federal law regulates child support and family law concerning post-breakdown child access and distribution of property. At times the two areas do not connect properly with one another, at times – for instance – seeing at-risk children ordered by a federal court to go to a parent who may place those children at risk of harm.
Senator Day appreciates that you have written to him about a current issue that concerns you. The Senator has been elected as a Family First Senator for South Australia on a platform of “Every family, a job and a house”. This is a massive task which promotes independence and self-reliance, reducing the need for government intervention. This leads to smaller government, lower taxes and therefore more money in the pockets of families. Senator Day therefore has a limited capacity to advocate for (a) issues outside of his State or (b) policy priorities beyond that focus. Having said that, Senator Day has indicated above what he has to say about the issues that you have raised.”
Next I sought to profile the Liberal Democratic Party, but they did not reply to my emailed invitation to put forward their views on the issues discussed in this blog. I did however note this reddit discussion thread regarding their platform, and this article in which Bill Shorten attacks Senator David Leyonhjelm regarding his views in relation to broadasting women’s sport.
It is encouraging that Senator Leyonhjelm has since written some articles in support of a gender-neutral approach to domestic violence, such as this one. He has also done some good work in committees – see this video in particular. In this video he discusses domestic violence and diversity.
Another federal parliamentarian, Bob Katter (Katter’s Australian Party) has previously expressed concern regarding anti-male bias within the family court system.
I also approached the Glenn Lazarus Team for comment (also nil response). The Team appears to have just one gender-related policy, which relates to removing the GST on women’s sanitary products:
“The Glenn Lazarus Team believes women should not be penalised financially for the need to purchase essential items such as tampons and sanitary napkins, and all women should have access to these basic sanitary items during times of difficulty and hardship. Sanitary items are essential products for women and must be GST free.” (Source)
Immediately following the election we were treated to two click-bait article attacking both Pauline and advocates for men’s issues generally. In both cases the majority of readers comments were at odds with the biased views of the writers.
The first was entitled ‘How ‘angry man’ vote resurrected Pauline Hanson‘ (news.com.au). Apparently from this journalist’s perspective, when the major parties focus exclusively on women’s issues, that’s gender equality. In contrast, when One Nation proposes to address men’s issues, that’s indicative of a “blokes’ show“. Psst, Malcolm Farr, your white-knightery is showing.
A subsequent article, ‘Even for Pauline Hanson, doing the bidding of mean men is risky’, was from feminist journalist Wendy Tuohy. This very negative and scare-mongering offering paints Pauline as a foolish ingénue toying with drooling sociopaths (otherwise known as people seeking to have men’s issues properly acknowledged and addressed).
I had to laugh when I read this article in The Conversation where the academic author states – presumably not tongue-in-cheek – that for Pauline Hanson and the “paranoid right“, “the normal rules of political engagement – coherence, consistency, fact, logic, proportion – do not apply“. That which is “normal” for feminists and the regressive left? I’m thinking D-e-l-u-s-i-o-n-a-l
Domestic violence (DV), also referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or Family & Domestic Violence (FDV), is a shocking blight on the community. This is a scourge that inflicts substantial negative impacts on the lives of countless men, women and children. Whilst definitions have evolved and broadened, DV is loosely defined as “physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse“.
It is important to acknowledge that DV encompasses man on man, women on women, man on woman, and woman on man violence (both cis- and transgender). Further, in many instances violence is perpetrated by both partners as shown in the accompanying diagram. There is also a strong nexus between the incidence of child abuse/neglect and subsequent perpetration of domestic violence by affected individuals upon reaching adulthood.
The Wikipedia entry for ‘Epidemiology of domestic violence‘ provides readers with useful background information on this topic. For those willing to read something a little meatier, I would recommend this paper by esteemed DV researcher Malcolm George. Malcolm walks the reader through the historical context to the current debate about gender differences in violent behaviour and the way that society responds to the issue.
Many of those working within the DV sector, particularly here in Australia, only choose to acknowledge one element of the problem – that part involving male perpetrators and female victims. It is no coincidence that most staff within these government agencies, universities and NGO’s are strongly influenced by, and biased towards, feminist ideology. The feminist position is unequivocal, and it is that domestic violence = men’s violence towards women. Here is an example of that mindset, and here are many others.
This routine failure by feminists to recognise and discuss male victims, female perpetrators and bi-directional violence is no accident or coincidence. It is a deliberate strategy to build their brand, and in so doing demonise the overwhelming majority of men who have never, and would never, hurt or abuse their partner.
As a result, and in order to support the feminist narrative, a great deal of ‘cherry-picking’ and misrepresentation occurs in relation to the statistics provided in DV literature. In addition, the design and implementation of survey instruments is too often tainted with bias. This issue, that of feminist efforts to hide or discredit legitimate research and/or generate false or misleading statistics, is explored in this further blog post.
You will note, as you scroll down this page, that there are a multitude of sources of DV statistics, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States. Here in Australia, much less research has been undertaken – particularly in relation to male victimisation. One of the more significant sources is the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey 2012, which found that one in three victims of domestic abuse were male. The results of overseas studies generally found levels of male and female victimisation that were closer to parity, and in some instances even higher rates of victimisation for men that women.
Unfortunately many journalists display remarkable tunnel-vision when addressing the topic of IPV. Indeed some have suggested that the media is complicit in the same sort of systemic gender bias against males noted earlier amongst those working in the field of DV.
Turning to my first example, an article called ‘Til death do us part’ which appeared in The Australian newspaper. It consisted of five pages of heart-wrenching coverage of men’s violence towards female partners, but made no mention of any other form of domestic violence, i.e. m-m, f-f, or women on men. Similarly this February 2014 article from The Mail newspaper also neglected to mention that men can be victims too.
Fiona McCormack also ignores male victims and female abusers this item on Australian ABC TV … except in an aside where she implies that anyone who raises the issue of women abusers is only seeking to “excuse” the behaviour of male abusers. This is very much akin to the feminist predilection of labelling anyone who questions various aspects of sexual assault (e.g. false rape allegations) as being “rape apologists” “victim blamers” etc.
Now let’s turn to this article by Charlie Pickering (more about Charlie here). Charlie is concerned that more attention is paid to the issue of random one-punch attacks on men, than on the violence visited nightly on women people in their homes. He goes on to state:
“For a long time, the termdomestic violence has softened and normalised what is really going on. A more accurate term is ‘men’s violence against women’. Not ‘violence against women’, because that takes the responsibility for it away from those who need to be made responsible.”
This belief, that by acknowledging male victims and female perpetrators, we are somehow ignoring the validity and the pain of female victims is absurd, yet unfortunately commonplace in public discourse. The fact that there may be somewhat fewer male victims does not, nor should not, make domestic violence a gendered issue.
A precious few writers, like this one, suggest a more practical and unbiased approach to the issue:
“When it comes to the statistics about domestic abuse, it doesn’t matter to me how many men to how many women experience domestic violence. Domestic violence is a power issue more than a gender issue. Intimate Partner Violence affects men and women, and I really do not care in what proportion …
Within anti-domestic violence advocacy, there seems to be a trend to pit female victims against male victims and vice-versa. I do not know who is behind it, nor do I know if there is a “who” to blame. I do know that blame has no place in this fight against domestic abuse, especially when victim blames victim for any reason …
In a perfect society, men and women are equally protected under the law not because more laws were made to protect one sex but because in each mind and heart of all people, women and men are respected equally, and the individual contributions or crimes are our only measures of judgment. However, this ideal is as far away from our current reality as the idea that no person would seek power over another.”
Many others within the wider community have, however, embraced a biased and incomplete representation of DV, liberally salted with misinformation, at face value. Who could blame them, given that so many sources are bellowing out the same relentless message about male perpetrators and female victims, whilst studiously ignoring other elements of the issue.
Here in Australia, let’s look at this page within the web site of the Department of Social Services entitled ‘Women’s safety’, and the linked 28 page literature review prepared by ‘Urbis’ consultants at a cost of $220,000. One would have assumed, especially given the enormous cost, that the review would have encompassed all forms of abuse and perpetration. But, unfortunately, it did not.
In fact the review states that “Male perpetrators of domestic violence or sexual assault against men and female perpetrators of either offence against men have not been considered in this literature review. It is acknowledged that in practice the great majority of programs will be targeted towards men who commit domestic violence or sexual assault against women.”
Yes, that makes perfect sense … there are no programs for female offenders so let’s pretend they don’t exist. Such circular logic is (almost) unbelievable. And no, there is no corresponding ‘Mens Safety’ page within the DSS web site.
To be fair, the authors of some studies do admit that there are many female perpetrators and male victims, and that little research has been directed towards these groups. They also admit that there are probably many similarities between male and female perpetrators of IPV. They then invariably proceed, however, to offer a variety of justifications to continue their focus on the ‘domestic violence = Mens violence towards women’ model (example).
When misleading statistics are repeatedly exposed the feminist reaction is to move the goalposts by expanding the reach of the definition of domestic violence to encompass sexual violence, and less tangible forms of non-physical ‘violence’. This serves to both maximise the perceived magnitude of the problem, as well as support the anti-male narrative.
Naturally those areas where female perpetration is substantial, such as child abuse and elder abuse, are totally ‘out of bounds’. This theme is explored in this separate blog post. The same approach has been taken by feminists to prop up the notion of the existence of a ‘rape culture‘ in western societies.
Those of us concerned about men’s rights seek to have all aspects of domestic violence considered, as well as seeking remedies to specific issues such as:
the lack of resources to assist abused men and their children
laws and legal procedures that are based on the assumption that the male in the relationship is the abuser
negative and biased behaviour towards men who seek assistance, for example the screening of (only) male callers to abuse help-lines to determine if they are in fact perpetrators (example)
A selection of statistical sources that haven’t been doctored to support the feminist narrative
“Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In non-reciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.”
More than 125,000 women homeless because of domestic violence (15 February 2016). The only figures for male victimisation that were mentioned – because they appeared to support the feminist perspective – were drawn from this media release from a government agency. What’s not mentioned though is that the relatively low numbers of men seeking assistance are indicative of factors other than simply lower rates of male victimisation, incl.:
the rampant genderbias of ‘help-lines’, advocacy groups and even government agencies
the (widely-known) lack of resources available to help male victims (with or without children, and
the much greater incidence of non-reporting of DV by men (compared to women)
“The proportion of male victims who told police about their domestic abuse increased from 10.4% in 2014-15 to 14.7% this year as charities said more men were shaking off the stigma of talking about their suffering.“
For Nelson Women’s Refuge manager Katie O’Donnell, the solution to New Zealand’s domestic violence problem is more straightforward. “People say it’s a really complex issue. Well, it is a complex issue but also it isn’t – guys just have to stop doing it”
Telstra introduces domestic violence leave (13 January 2015) Australia. Article implies only women are victims of domestic violence and leaves us guessing as to whether the company policy is sexist/discriminatory – or just the journalism
In this article a feminist writer, Amanda Hess, attempts to rationalise why domestic violence by a female sports star should be addressed differently than in the case of a male sports star (22 September 2014) Most of the 600+ readers comments that followed disagreed and told her so in no uncertain terms.
‘Lollies at a childrens party and other myths: Violence, protection orders and fathers rights groups’ by Miranda Kaye and Julia Tomie (1998). Another detailed but flawed paper in support of the feminist position on DV. Its main line of attack is that available statistics don’t support claims made by men’s rights advocates. It conveniently ignores the fact that most Australian DV research is undertaken by feminists and biased towards finding ‘evidence’ to support a pre-determined conclusion. Thus the accuracy and impartiality of the research is the real issue, rather than the credibility of the whistle-blowers.
The paper also misinterprets and/or takes out of context, many of the comments it attributes to fathers groups in an attempt to portray them as irrational or unreasonable. Finally the authors attack specific statements put forward by fathers groups despite the same arguments having been used (at other times) by feminists in support of their own (feminist) perspective. The authors of this paper, for example, want to jump from one camp to the other (and back again) in relation to the issue of whether behaviour other than physical violence should be included in the definition of domestic violence.
We need to show it’s just not manly to hit out (9 July 2014) Nonsense article dripping with white knight bias … “The idea that the woman may be equally to blame, even if she is also violent and even the initiator of the violence, is simply not acceptable”
A reddit discussion thread about the anti-male bias evident in the web site of an American domestic violence centre’s web site. Unfortunately such bias (i.e. stating or implying that all men accessing the site are abusers and that all women are victims) is also common in domestic violence centres in Australia.