I don’t want no menfolk near my daughters, you hear?

“The English noun bigot is a term used to describe a prejudiced or closed-minded person, especially one who is intolerant or hostile towards different social groups (e.g. racial or religious groups), and especially one whose own beliefs are perceived as unreasonable or excessively narrow-minded, superstitious, or hypocritical.” (Source)

Thanks largely to the pervasive influence of feminism, anti-male bigotry has been accorded a level of acceptance well in excess of that applicable to other significant segments within the community. This has been reflected in an increasing number of rather biased articles in the mainstream media, examples of which can be found in the following posts:

New Zealand journalist labels men as the ultimate predators
A few observations in relation to yet another article critical of men
How tragic that feminists ignore their role in demonising men
On the issue of traveler safety
Persistent pro-feminist and anti-male bias in the mainstream media
How men are portrayed … Haw Haw Haw! The jokes on us

Today I wanted to address an article by Jane Gilmore entitled ‘Be outraged at the abuse of children, not at one mother’s efforts to protect her daughters‘ (2 March 2017). Jane’s piece focuses on an earlier article by Kasey Edwards,  ‘Why I won’t let any male babysit my children‘, and the public reaction to it.

After Kasey’s piece appeared I read three well-intended, but somewhat insipid, rebuttals. These were penned by Ben Pobjie, Melissa Hoyer, and Louise Roberts. Still, the fact that any rebuttals were published is indicative of feminism’s gradual slide from the pedestal of public opinion. A considerable amount of material also appeared on social media, most of which was critical of Kasey’s position.

Jo Abi, on the other hand, wrote an article in Mamamia supporting Kasey’s stance. Interestingly, even in that feminist forum many readers held a different view.

From an MRA perspective this was pleasing to note, the only negative being an unfortunate tendency by some to personalise the issue via referencing the potential danger posed by Kasey’s family.

Jane stepped in at that point to address those taking umbrage at what they perceived as the gender bigotry inherent in Kasey’s position. What follows now is Jane’s article (shown in italics) with my comments inserted in relevant places (and shown in blue font).

A wave of outrage broke and splattered across social media this week over an article by Daily Life columnist Kasey Edwards about the choice she and her husband have made to keep their children safe from sexual abuse. In it, Edwards pointed out the following statistics:

“…the ‘best case’ scenario is that 1 in 20 boys are sexually abused. The worst case is that 1 in three girls are.”

“Evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by males.”

These disturbing facts should indeed provoke outrage. But they didn’t.

This is the page in the Australian Institute of Family Studies web site where Kasey sourced the statistics noted in her article (scroll down to ‘How many Australian children are sexually abused‘). The author describes the difficulties compiling these statistics and their consequent limitations. Note too the basis for the “1 in three girls” statistic mentioned in both Kasey and Jane’s articles.

Kasey’s chosen strategy does not “keep their children safe from sexual abuse”. This is because a) men aren’t responsible for every instance of sexual abuse, and b) her daughters would still have contact with men at other times. Remember that the definition of abuse used here does not require actual physical contact. Kasey’s approach only theoretically reduces the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring. Not all personal threats and dangers. Not even all child abuse. Sexual abuse only.

You see, sexual abuse is just one of the four types of child abuse (and in fact it’s the least common variety). Sexual abuse is the only form of child abuse wherein surveys consistently identify more male than female perpetrators (although there are still plenty of those).

No surprise then that this is the form of child abuse that feminists keep the media’s focus on. A similar thing happens in the realm of the domestic violence debate, whereby all those forms of DV other than heterosexual male-on-female violence are air-brushed out of the picture. 

Instead, the backlash was in response to Edwards’ acknowledgment that men are the most likely perpetrators, and the resulting decision she and her husband made to not have men care for their children without a woman present.

Cue articles and endless anger about how hurtful and offensive this is for men. Followed by strawman arguments about Edwards’ husband caring for their children without supervision, despite her article clearly stating this was a decision they reached together.

Likewise, suggestions that her children would miss out on male role models and have a warped view of men. (Edwards clarified on The Project this week that her daughter has a wonderful male teacher).

Writer Amy Gray, who skilfully moderated a long and mostly respectful debate on this topic, said, “The uproar over this article hasn’t been about how to combat rape culture, community enablement, lack of law or police reform, or suitable therapy or support for victims. The uproar was about protecting men from hurt feelings over being excluded from unpaid labour they rarely do. The uproar should be tackling the overwhelming male presence in sexual assault of children.

It’s hardly surprising that the focus of feedback provided by readers mirrored the narrow scope of the article. Kasey did not address the issues above, nor did she indicate that she would welcome dialogue on those issues. If Kasey expected more holistic feedback then she should have written a broader and less injudicious article.

And it’s curious that no link was provided to that “long and mostly respectful debate”. Don’t tell me it reflected poorly on team feminism?

“I want men to examine their role in this culture,” she added. “I want them to actively combat it and question men who refuse to participate in that.”

On the contrary, the volume of feedback generated by Kasey’s article clearly demonstrated men’s *insistence* in participating in the discussion whilst rejecting the demonisation of an entire gender based on the actions of a very small minority.

The real difficulty with Edwards’ article was that she outlined a single approach to preventing child abuse in her own family. But if we are talking about preventing child abuse at a community level then we need to talk about a community-wide response.

Which comes back to the perpetrators. Again, they are mostly men, and yet men are so rarely part of the discussion about prevention, other than to object to the facts being discussed.

Why is it that men are so much more likely to commit violence and abuse? What happened to those men, where did they learn this behaviour? How can they change?

Clearly there is a problem with violence in our community, and a lot of that is due to men. A very, very small minority of men. A point that seems perpetually lost on feminists. And where are all these men objecting to the “facts”? Alternatively, where are all the feminists discussing prevention with regards to issues like circumcision, the sexual assault of men & boys, male suicide, etc?

What positive outcome/s are borne from the incessant criticism of men and the manner in which they are portrayed in the mainstream media? The consistent lack of recognition for the contributions made by men in terms of the well-being of the community? The paucity of government funding support for addressing men’s health and other men’s/boys issues? The bias of the legal and justice system against men?

The active support of the feminist lobby sure wouldn’t hurt, but their pointed indifference to date is hardly encouraging.

Turning our attention now to women, which occurs all too rarely other than in relation to some issue of perceived victimhood, why are there so many violent and abusive women? (NB: trending upwards). Why is this not being acknowledged and addressed? esp. bearing in mind that they are producing the next generation of not just child abusers, but perpetrators of domestic violence generally.

Exploring this, without defensiveness and with a genuine desire to find solutions, is the most valuable way men can participate in protecting children. It’s disturbing that many men are so aggressively unwilling to do this, leaving the burden of finding solutions to everyone else.

Seriously Jane, imagine if an article appeared wherein the husband set out his strategy to prevent his sons being killed by only having male carers. The reaction from your ilk would not have been merely “defensive” – they would be livid.

And Jane, what of the many instances where people do demonstrate “a genuine desire to find solutions”, and are attacked for doing so simply because they dare propose solutions that are contrary to leftist/feminist dogma? Want examples? 

On the censorship and erasure of non-feminist perspectives and opinions
A feminist laments: “Why do so few men turn up to hear women speak?”
White Ribbon campaign to men: Stand up! Speak up! Shut up!
Domestic Violence NSW censors dissenting views (before lapsing into paranoid delusion)
Sallee McLaren must write on the blackboard “I must not challenge the feminist narrative”
Australian feminist attacks integrity of advocacy group for male victims of domestic violence (Here Jane Gilmore sabotages Australia’s only advocacy group for male victims of domestic violence, only to then criticize the men’s rights movement on the basis that it doesn’t do anything but criticize feminists)

This is why mothers are so often vilified when they do something as simple as wait outside while their children go to the toilet, and conversely, vilified again if they acknowledge the facts of child abuse and act to protect their children from possible perpetrators.

The author was not criticized for wanting to protect her children, but for making a decision of dubious efficacy in the absence of an objective and unbiased consideration of all relevant factors. 

It’s not surprising given how fraught it can be to navigate the issue that parents like Kasey Edwards and her husband look for solutions that don’t depend on community-wide protection. Their choice is not right for everyone – indeed for some, it’s very much the wrong choice. But for them, it’s the best way to keep their children safe. And given the deep, lifelong trauma caused by child abuse, it is both justifiable and understandable.

Their solution, however, only works for their circumstances. It relies on them always having options for childcare that fit within their parameters, which is not readily available to many parents.

There is no proof that this approach “works” for anyone, full stop. As to whether it’s practical for parents to even attempt, your point is taken.

It also assumes that they, their family, and their children’s friends are always in partnered, heterosexual relationships. In the Edwards’ policy, children of single fathers, or in families that do not include people who identify as women, already suffering exclusion and stigma, are excluded even further.

Even for families who do have the option to have women always present, it places an extra burden on those women, who are already taking on the majority of (unpaid) emotional and domestic caring labour. This is particularly difficult in the context of the systemic economic disadvantage women suffer, which requires men to take on an equal share of parenting. It’s a quandary that can’t be solved by making women the “abuse police”. Men have to take responsibility for prevention and commit to unambiguous action on the causes and realities of abuse.

Please, jettison the male-shaming and #HeForShe nonsense. Both men and women parent children. Both men and women abuse children. Everyone has an equal role to play in reducing the incidence of abuse.

While there are undeniable problems with the Edwards’ choice, the outraged criticisms of it are equally problematic, and frankly blind to the realities of how abuse occurs and its effect on victims.

Pot-Kettle-Black (big time)

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a paper this week describing the grooming practices of abusers. Grooming is not something abusers only do to victims. They also deliberately create relationships with parents and caregivers that involves trust, friendship and dependence. And they make sure their victims know about it.

Was this specific to male abusers? The paragraph that follows implies it was.

As feminist writer Cecilia Winterfox told Fairfax Media, “Every time we say, ‘but my male friends are so lovely’ we make it harder for victims to speak out. It reinforces and demonstrates clearly to them the reflexive disbelief they will almost certainly face. It’s a kind of cultural gaslighting to victims, and a signal of protection to abusers”.

And every time feminists say ‘men can’t be raped (by women)’, ‘domestic violence is men’s abuse of women’, ‘women are only violent in self-defence’, ‘men don’t suffer negative effects from domestic violence as much as women do’, etc etc etc. That also makes it more difficult for “victims to speak out” right? But that doesn’t seem to deter feminists from making these statements. More equality-when-it-suits?

The royal commission paper was specifically about institutional responses to child abuse, so the recommendations were focused on cultural change to identifying and reporting grooming techniques. Which may work in well-monitored organisations, but it’s not something any individual parent can enforce in their social group.

Deanne Carson, co-founder of Body Safety Australia says a blanket ban on men caring for children is not the solution. “We need to empower adults to be a champion for children. This means debunking myths around childhood sexual abuse, teaching them to spot grooming techniques and supporting them in being able to address concerns about any individual’s concerning behaviour.”

It also means broadening the debate beyond child sexual abuse, firstly by considering all other forms of abuse. We also need to consider related issues such as the sexualisation of children, and again, both men and women play a role in this process.

The problem with these strategies, as Carson acknowledges, is that they don’t keep all children safe, they just protect the children whose parents can implement them. And not all parents feel able to do this.

Which is why the solution needs to go back to the community and the abusers, not victims or their carers. And we can’t do that while men are still refusing to discuss the source of the problem.

As Edwards told Daily Life: “Of all the people who have told me how ridiculous and offensive I’ve been, not one of them has come up with a feasible alternative to keep children safe”. <end of article>

Jane expands her views on the matter in an item in her personal blog, asserting that Kasey’s response was understandable and should be respected:

… often the responses are emotional because there is no other way to respond to such trauma. Those emotions are real, valid, complex and demand respect.”

Jane says this even though there is no suggestion in Kasey’s article that her children had previously been subject to abuse (and I sincerely hope that is not the case). Jane then adds:

“That respect is not present when men who have never been forced to feel those emotions are simply offended by the facts.”

Cheap shot. Because men have never been subjected to abuse as children, or fathered children who have been abused by others, right? And because I didn’t notice any reader feedback wherein the “facts” (presumably the quoted abuse statistics) formed any part of that individual’s objection to the article. Seemed to me people were upset about inference, opinion, and plain old bias.

And wait a minute. The feedback on Kasey’s article that Jane found so objectionable was contributed by men and women in roughly equal measures. It’s just as valid or invalid therefore to suggest that women are also “still refusing to discuss the source of the problem“. Unless Team Feminism has bestowed honorary bloke status on the largely silent majority of women who choose to hold a non-feminist-compliant opinion.

Earlier we noted Amy Gray’s haughty dismissal of the negative reaction to Kasey’s article: “The uproar was about protecting men from hurt feelings over being excluded from unpaid labour they rarely do.”

Let’s not detour to talk about single dads, yard work and the like. Let’s pretend Amy is right and proceed on the basis that men’s feelings count for nought. As presumably then, in the interests of gender equality, so too for feminists’ feelings.

Because rest assured, men certainly do want to be a part of the solution to the scourge of child abuse, but it seems most unlikely that it will be on feminists’ terms.

See also:

Safety around dogs: Half of all kids get bitten by dogs, so don’t let one near your daughters.

Reddit discussion threads in relation to the Kasey Edwards article:(r/mensrights thread #1) (r/mensrights thread #2) & (r/australia). The latter thread also provides links to several other threads on this topic

Feminism: The demonization of males, by Stacy McCain (2 March 2017)

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