Few of those reading this would be unfamiliar with the feminist proclivity for labelling a plethora of issues as ‘gendered’. Like many terms it doesn’t mean much without considerable qualification. And even then it may not mean much. But if something can’t be portrayed as being gendered then feminists and their beloved narrative lose traction.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘gendered’ as “reflecting the experience, prejudices, or orientations of one sex more than the other.” The problem though is that in real life there are relatively few things that only (or even predominantly) affect one gender. In most situations both genders wield a significant influence and/or are significantly affected. We’re all in it together. One topical example would be online harassment.
Let’s now look at an even more contentious issue, child abuse. Most non-sexual child abuse and neglect is perpetrated by women. Most sexual abuse of children is perpetrated by men (although there are still plenty of sexual abusers of children who are female). So is child abuse gendered? And in terms of framing remedial action, is it more or less productive to attack child abuse as a gendered issue?
The straw that broke this camel’s back today was an article entitled ‘Australia’s most shocking statistic: Sexual abuse and domestic violence against women with disabilities‘ by Ginger Gorman. The tagline was the shocking announcement that 90% of disabled women have been sexually assaulted during their lifetime.
Ginger’s article tells us that most abuse takes place in institutions, yet makes no mention of the abuse of disabled men/boys. She then provides some examples of incidents of abuse involving male perpetrators in non-institutional settings. The actual gender mix of perpetrators of abuse, in either institutional or non-institutional settings, is left unstated.
In the absence of further details it’s highly likely that readers would have assumed that most victims of abuse were female, and their abusers male. Such is the inevitable outcome of persistent gender bias in the media on top of decades of gynocentric conditioning.
This is despite that fact that there are certainly instances where research has found most perpetrators of abuse to be women. One such example can be found in the Adele Mercier incident, whereupon a feminist academic wrongly denied female perpetration of institutional abuse.
This selective presentation of statistics – only showing the extent to which women are affected, and in the absence of comparative statistics for men and boys – is extremely common in feminist literature. This problem is discussed further in a separate blog post about feminist research and their misleading use of statistics.
The source document for the 90% abuse claim was a submission by the Australian Cross Disability Alliance. I found the relevant reference in the section entitled ‘Incidence & prevalence data on gendered disability violence‘ (page 37). Despite asserting that the abuse was gendered, this section provided no comparative statistics whatsoever in relation to the abuse of men/boys.
How is that appropriate in terms of either compassion or academic rigour? I mean, is this a case of just ‘trust me, I’m a feminist’?
I then took the matter up with the author of the article in a series of exchanges on Twitter including the following:
Look, don’t get me wrong, the most important thing here is to effectively reduce the incidence of child abuse. The rest is second-order stuff. But I honestly don’t see that goal being significantly advanced via the blinkered and self-serving approach taken by feminists. As with domestic violence, framing a solution to half a problem translates into no solution at all.
Oh, and colour me surprised – see below for how this episode ended.
How could anyone take feminism seriously when one is constantly reminded how infantilised its followers have become?
How to make anything a gendered issue, by Blaise Wilson (30 April 2017) Video
The following are some of the other posts in my blog that are also relevant to this issue: