On masculinity and ‘real men’

Hyper-masculinity? Toxic-masculinity? What is this masculinity thing that is painted as such a blight on society?

Why is there is never any mention of toxic femininity when (to varying extents) many of the same issues apply? Just look at my posts on for example, female violence, lack of empathy, sexual abuse by women, and damseling and the shameless exploitation of male chivalry.

The articles below all address the concept of masculinity, alternately either from a feminist, egalitarian, MHRA or another alternate position:

This man really knows how to deal with kids playing on the driveway (3 July 2022) Video

The words Will Smith didn’t need to say in his latest apology (2 April 2022) The female journalist implores readers to go easy on Will (for many reasons as listed).  The journalist uses the term ‘toxic masculinity’ but then states that “In no way, shape or form did Smith’s actions harm the people attending the Oscars, or anyone watching at home.” Whilst it’s rare to see people being asked to show empathy for men, what’s the bet that it’s only happening here because Will is perceived to have ‘done it for a woman’? #WhiteKnight

Will Smith, we don’t need men to protect us’ (28 March 2022) Meanwhile, in real life and starting immediately after Will Smith hit Chris Rock, the media began exposing women stating things like “Gee, I wish I had a man to protect me like that!” #EyeFlutter

The tragedy of modern love (25 July 2022)

Men love women more than women love men (22 July 2022)

Gender Self-Confidence as a Protective Factor for Suicide Risk: Analysis of the Sample of Lithuanian Men (23 May 2022)

Buy a real shaver – Jeremy’s razors (22 March 2022) Video satire, though meaningful

Oh but men commit 95% of all violence, blah blah blah (18 March 2022) Some real stats about the prevalence of male violence

‘Just part of everyday cowboy life!’ Hero dad, 40, who saved his son, 18, from raging bull at Texas rodeo says he was just ‘glad he was there to protect him’ (2 March 2022)

How much do you know about male psychology? (2022) Video

A Philosopher ponders ‘What Do Men Want?’ Insights and quotations from Nina Power’s book (14 February 2022) Book review

‘Dehumanizing the male’. Another book review (2 December 2021)

When did traditional masculinity become toxic? (25 November 2021)

Is toxic masculinity the reason there are so many climate-hesitant men? (13 November 2021)

Stop calling people ‘toxic’. Here’s why | Hannah Baer | The Guardian (26 July 2021)

Tweet regarding men expressing emotion (9 July 2021)

Man expresses enthusiasm = creep. Man expresses frustration = incel. Man expresses anger = toxic. Man expresses sadness = weak. Man shares emotions other than happiness = emotional labor. Man shares no emotions at all = emotionally distant

How Has Feminism Been for Young Men, with Tristan Glosby // Men are Talking Podcast – Episode 1 – YouTube (7 July 2021)

Stop Emasculating Men, Then Wondering Where All The Good Men Went (thefederalist.com) (14 June 2021)

Gender Equality and Where Feminism Gets It Wrong – Woke Father (24 May 2021)

The push to “Raise Boys Right” implies that men need to be fixed (20 April 2021)

The pandemic of male loneliness (24 February 2021)

China’s gender roles: War on ‘feminisation’ aims to build boys’ ‘masculinity’ (5 February 2021)

The Atlantic obviously doesn’t have any idea ‘What it means to be a man’ (19 February 2020)

Can we talk about ‘Toxic Femininity’ yet? (22 July 2020)

Watch: Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh on modern culture destroying masculinity (20 November 2019)

Well, America, Gillette’s idiotic ad may have finally turned the tide on ‘toxic masculinity’ (22 January 2019) USA

Masculinity isn’t a sickness (16 January 2019)

Traditional masculinity has been dubbed ‘harmful’ by a major health body (16 January 2019) with related tweet her

Psychology as indoctrination: Girls rule, Boys drool? (15 January 2019)

Barbara Kay: American Psychological Association declares masculinity an “ideology” (12 January 2019)

You can’t help men by attacking masculinity, by Dr John Barry (27 November 2018)

Male authority – Be a “Man”, by Rollo Tomassi (13 November 2018)

Brown University Offering Programs for ‘Unlearning Toxic Masculinity’ (25 October 2018) See related tweet from James Woods

The fact that we’re considering making misandry a hate crime should concern everyone who believes in equality (17 October 2018)

The mysterious invisibility of men’s good deeds, by Mark Dent (14 July 2018)

Feminism: Toxic Masculinity (26 June 2018)

Why men are refusing to help women and children (6 June 2018) Video (and also take a look at this Jim Muldoon article on the same theme)

How feminists developed ‘Toxic Masculinity’ (14 June 2018)

Rethinking Gender, Sexuality and Violence (25 October 2017)

Charts – Where You Fall on the Alpha / Beta Scale (9 October 2017)

Does the NRL have a culture problem? (13 September 2017) Video

Duke recruits men for program to fight ‘toxic’ masculinity (13 September 2017)

Houston Rescuers Prove the Lie of ‘Toxic Masculinity’ (1 September 2017)

Andrew Cadman: We are paying a high price for the feminisation of Britain (3 August 2017)

Delingpole: Too Much ‘Maleness,’ Complains Feminist Reviewer of ‘Dunkirk’ (2 August 2017)

We’re doomed and only women can save the day (20 July 2017) How men think of, and treat other men, is part of the problem.

SJW DYLAN MARRON GETS OWNED l Response to Unboxing Trump’s America and Masculinity l SJW Cringe (6 July 2017) Video

First police officer at London Bridge attack “was rugby player who took on all terrorists until forced to ground” (4 June 2017) UK

Study: Most Women Like ‘Manly’ Men, Don’t Worry About ‘Toxic Masculinity’ (13 May 2017)

The epidemic of sexless marriage is symptomatic of the modern emasculated husband (undated/2017)

The ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Trend Blames Boys For Being Born Male (12 April 2017)

Missed a spot, by Dalrock (1 March 2017)

E.B. White’s Touching Letter to Man Who Lost Hope in Humanity (27 February 2017)

Feminists wage war against romance on Valentine’s Day (14 February 2017)

Gender wars: Is masculinity toxic for boys? (9 February 2017) Reddit discussion thread and linked video

Toxic masculinity: Will the ‘war on men’ only backfire? (28 January 2017) Australia. Related Reddit discussion thread here.

‘Toxic masculinity’ is ruining men’s lives, by Corrine Barraclough (26 January 2017)

Dear Feminists, male vulnerability isn’t a virtue (3 January 2017)

Today (30 December 2016) I noticed two articles that took a now common approach of using/portraying generally positive attributes associated with masculinity (protectiveness towards women & risk-taking behaviour) in order to mock or criticize men:

Men are weirdly concerned about trans women’s use of female bathrooms according to new study and Drownings blamed on men’s risky behaviour

Male college students to undergo ‘critical self-reflection’ of masculinity (3 January 2017)

Feminist Prof: Cats are the solution to ‘Toxic Masculinity’ (15 December 2016)

To what should males aspire? (15 December 2016)

No Gender December: When did ‘gender’ become such a dirty word? (13 December 2016) Australia

The miseducation of young men, part 3 (9 December 2016)

Why women can’t complain about men (4 December 2016) Video

Masculine white men more likely to be mentally ill, says new ‘study’ (22 November 2016)

Why Colleges Should Stop Teaching “Toxic Masculinity” (16 November 2016)

The False Dichotomy of Feminist Ethics (11 October 2016)

‘Toxic White Masculinity’: What is it all about? (10 October 2016) USA

If gender is a social construct, why aren’t women ever accused of exhibiting toxic masculinity? (9 October 2016) Reddit discussion thread

What will feminists accomplish by defining masculinity as toxic and pathological? (8 October 2016)

This Woman Never Looked At Her Fiancé The Same Way After He Abandoned Her During A Violent Mugging: Toxic lack of masculinity? Reddit discussion thread and linked article.

‘Effeminism’ and the War on Boys (23 September 2016)

It’s not Muslims or people with mental health problems who are most likely to kill you in a terrorist attack – it’s men, by Janey Stephenson (28 July 2016)

Oddly, there has recently been other articles very similar to this one published in different countries, but with ostensibly different authors. See ‘What mass killers really have in common’, by Rebecca Traister (17 July 2016) and ‘One group is responsible for America’s culture of violence, and it isn’t cops, black Americans, Muslims or rednecks. It’s men‘, by Melissa Batchelor Warnke

And here is an MRA response to the type of article listed above: ‘The bizarre feminist response to Islamic terror in Orlando‘ (27 July 2016)

I Am A Transwoman. I Am In The Closet. I Am Not Coming Out (11 March 2016)

Joy of Masculinity (9 June 2016)

YouGov Poll: Only 2% of men aged 18-24 feel masculine (20 May 2016) UK

The Myth of the Masculinity Crisis (9 May 2016)

As a female college student, what can I do to empower my male friends who are (seemingly) very emasculated and don’t stand up for themselves? (9 May 2016) Reddit mensrights discussion thread

‘Masculinity isn’t toxic — our attitudes to it are’ (8 May 2016) UK

Violence in Men vs Women. Things aren’t how they seem (6 May 2016) Reddit discussion thread

Miranda Devine: Stop telling boys to act like girls (24 April 2016) Australia

39 Things Women Will Just NEVER Understand About Being A Man (14 April 2016)

Shaming Men Doesn’t Build Healthy Sexuality (9 April 2016)

New York Times: ‘Teaching Men to be Emotionally Honest’ (4 April 2016) with related Reddit discussion thread here

Toxic Femininity and Heroism (14 March 2016) Australia

Female counselor says men are increasingly ashamed of their masculinity (28 January 2016) UK

European Queens Waged More Wars Than Kings (27 January 2016)

How the European male was turned by the feminist into a “WIMP, PUSSY, AND MANGINA”, is it on it’s way here? (25 January 2016)

European men now being criticized for their lack of masculinity (25 January 2016) Video

Although the vast majority of people who risk their own lives to save others are men, this BBC article doesn’t mention that this is mostly a male behaviour. Every time there’s a mass shooting or a terrorist attack, feminists blame “toxic masculinity”. Why they don’t talk about ALTRUISTIC MASCULINITY? (5 December 2015)

Audio: Karen Straughan’s brilliant lecture on “toxic masculinity and toxic femininity” at SFU (21 November 2015)

Question to feminists regarding “toxic masculinity” (29 July 2015) Reddit discussion thread

Male Definition of Masculinity Is a Surprise – Toxic Masculinity Debunked (2008) with reddit discussion thread here

Feminism’s Real Target is Masculinity (December 2014)

It’s time to do away with the concept of ‘manhood’ altogether (29 October 2015) Nauseating pieces penned by mangina journo for The Guardian, but which attracted plenty of reader’s comments

“Toxic Masculinity” is hate speech. Full stop. It pathologies maleness and attempts to link violence to men’s culture. Feminists discussing “toxic masculinity” is little different than white supremacists attacking “ni**** culture” and “black violence” Reddit mensrights discussion thread (15 October 2015)

‘Real men don’t hit women’: The big problem with Malcolm Turnbull’s anti domestic violence message (10 October 2015) Australia. I agree with the prolem with the ‘real men’ message, but much about this article is wrong, not least the assertion by Michael Salter that female violence only occurs in the context of self-defence, and that the fact that most people in jail are male is proof that men are responsible for most crime.

Salon blames Oregon shooting on ‘traditional masculinity’ (9 October 2015)

Are today’s standards for being a ‘real man’ leading to violence against women? (8 October 2015) Australia. But what of violence BY women?

How to stop mass shootings (2 October 2015) and related https://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/3n8xmn/new_from_milo_yiannopoulos_on_the_root_cause_of/

Vanderbilt Women’s Center to Lecture Men on ‘Healthy Masculinities’ (31 August 2015)

Masculinity and Violent Behavior: A Complex, Combustible Relationship (25 August 2015) and related reddit discussion thread

Masculinity is more than a mask, by Christina Hoff Sommers (13 January 2014)

What would happen if no men showed up for work today? (17 September 2013)

The End of Men, by Hanna Rosin (July/August 2010 edition of The Atlantic)

masculinity

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Further sources yet to be reviewed:

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=dx2xLaLHZocC&pg=PA215&lpg=PA215&dq=sociopathy+and+hypermasculinity&source=bl&ots=QVAdycmNbP&sig=mvQqp40-RZyqI1E3bF9Px4oAPEY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BXd7VK7ZAsfh8AWm9YK4CA&ved=0CEoQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=sociopathy%20and%20hypermasculinity&f=false

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=6760256&fileId=S0140525X00039686

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=sluqacUK9mQC&pg=PA300&lpg=PA300&dq=sociopathy+and+hypermasculinity&source=bl&ots=OayNvsrL8h&sig=c9B_araQjFku6qB7DU7IZlefCqU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BXd7VK7ZAsfh8AWm9YK4CA&ved=0CE0Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=sociopathy%20and%20hypermasculinity&f=false

built_by_men

Further posts within this blog that may be of interest:

On being male or female (incl. innate differences, stereotyping and so on)

The Elliot Rodger tragedy co-opted as a feminist bandwagon

*That* West Australian Government DV Helpline web page – Some further background

This blog post follows an earlier post of mine entitled ‘Addressing systemic gender bias in the WA Department for Child Protection and Family Support‘. That item discussed the gender bias that is very evident in a particular WA Government web page promoting a domestic violence helpline service.

The same WA government web page was also the focus of this reddit mens rights discussion thread. Within that thread I came across an interesting post from someone with the moniker ‘dragonsandgoblins’. It’s interesting not just in relation to the information about domestic violence that it contains, but also because of how it demonstrates the censorship that occurs in relation to efforts to broaden the DV debate beyond the feminist-framed male perp/female victim model.

Anyway, this is what the author had to say:

“I actually wrote an article inspired by this exact webpage in 2013 that was published by http://rightnow.org.au/. Or at least it was published for about 4 hours before they pulled it. I’ll copy/paste it here because people may as well read it:

This webpage, hosted by the Government of Western Australia Department for Child Protection, contains two short paragraphs describing the domestic helpline services provided by this state government. The women’s helpline offers a range of services for women experiencing domestic violence. The men’s helpline on the other hand is more singularly focused, only offering counselling, and only for “men who are concerned about becoming violent or abusive“.

The Government of WA does not offer a helpline service to male victims, instead assuming that women are the only victims and that men will always be the perpetrators. This is despite a growing body of evidence that males do suffer from domestic and family violence in significant numbers. For example, the Personal Safety Survey (2006) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that, 780,500 women and 325,700 men aged 15 years and over experienced violence from a current or previous partner in the last twenty years. In other words, 29.4 per cent of victims who suffered domestic violence were men. 92.5 per cent (301,400) of these male victims suffered this violence at the hands of a female partner.

The Publications and Resources webpage from the Government of WA provides domestic violence resources aimed at the general public and they are as gendered as the helpline services. Out of the “Freedom From Fear” resources, three fact sheets and one booklet are targeted at the violent party and, excluding the fact sheet “How do I know if I’m abusive?”, they all use gendered language that exclusively refers to the violent party as male and the victim as female. All of them bear subtitles describing themselves as being “for men who want to change”, with no reference to women who may want to do the same. The fact sheet aimed at victims also uses the same gendered language.

WA isn’t alone. For example, NSW Legal Aid offers a Domestic Violence Practitioner Service and a Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program which aid women and children who are victims in legal matters such as getting Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) and victims’ compensation. The NSW Government Family & Community Services Staying Home Leaving Violence program “…aims to prevent homelessness by working with the Police to remove the perpetrator from the family home so that women and children can remain safely where they are.” If the NSW Government offers similar programs specialising in male victims, I was unable to find them.

The federal government also discriminates against male victims. The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (The National Plan) paints a pitiful picture of the federal stance on male victims. Along with use of gender biased language The National Plan has seen the Commonwealth commit $86 million to support women and children who are victims and only $0.75 million to male victims. This discrepancy in funding is justified through the use of misleading statistics from the ABS Personal Safety Survey.

The section of the page that discusses male victims provides statistics that only 4.4 per cent (21,200) of men who were physically assaulted in the 12 months prior to the survey were assaulted by a current/previous partner compared with 31 per cent (73,800) of women who were physically assaulted. This is misleading because it doesn’t compare the quantity of male victims to female victims – instead it compares what percentage of all assaults against men were domestic violence to what percentage of all assaults against women were.

Looking at just these numbers – 21,200 male and 73,800 female victims – the divide in funding is twenty-five times greater than the divide in victims. The National Plan claims only “a small proportion of men are victims“, yet the ABS survey shows that they are roughly a quarter of all domestic violence victims. Is that really such a minority as to warrant less than one per cent of the funding committed under The National Plan?

Our state and federal governments are perpetrators of gender discrimination. Those discriminated against are not only men, they are victims. Victims who are denied services and support they need based on their gender.

(I apologise for the fact that some of the figures are out of date (for example I am pretty sure the funding disparity under the national plan has increased since 2013), and any dead links. This is presented unaltered from when it was written in 2013.)”

The author of the paper was then asked “Why was it pulled?” and responded:

“Well it was refined by 3 of their editors and myself before going up. After a while one of them was contacted by the editor in chief who pulled it and asked me to make changes such as explicitly mentioning that women are victims more than men (which I do already, since I actually state numbers), saying that I didn’t want funding for women reduced, and calling DV a gendered crime. He also said that I could be “more critical in relation to statistics”. Note that I only take stats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, hardly a biased source. He also wanted me to mention that women under report DV. He also said and I quote:

…[the article] can be understood as arguing “men are being discriminated against in favour of women”.

I replied and said that I could make some of these changes but my word count ceiling would need to be increased. I said that I’d be happy to say women under report but I wouldn’t say that without mentioning that men under report too. I also said that I couldn’t avoid the theme that “men are being discriminated against in favour of women” because that is the thesis of the entire piece.

I get the feeling the editor in chief never wanted my article to go up at all because without further discussion he decided that even with changes my article shouldn’t be published because.

Your responses suggest to me that it is likely that even with changes, your article will not be suitable for Right Now. The primary reason for that is that you principally concerned with “the numbers”, as you put it, rather than the human rights debate. This means that you miss the point that these services for female victims of violence are not simply about statistics (the fact that more women are victims of violence in domestic contexts then men) but also about socio-cultural male dominance

In other words, these services exist not only because of the quantity of violence against women, but its gendered nature.

So there’s the rub.

Two awareness campaigns. Only one can be criticised. Cowed by feminism?

Many among the media, and the political and bureaucratic elite seem to get quite a hard-on about awareness campaigns. Indeed, some have suggested that such campaigns are a favoured device of the prevailing leftist/feminist hegemony. This despite the fact that the effectiveness of such campaigns is often difficult to assess. Or perhaps it’s because of that.

The American political philosopher Thomas Sowell observed “We should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.” (Source)

Ah, but not all awareness campaigns are the same. Campaigns concerning issues that are pivotal to the feminist cause are beyond reproach. Mild criticism is however tolerated in the case of campaigns on less ideologically revered topics.

A very different reaction to two public awareness campaigns

It’s May 2015 and the Australian federal government has released its annual budget. It proposes substantial allocations to two separate public awareness campaigns. One relates to drug use, specifically crystal methamphetamine – or ‘ice’ ($9 million). The other relates to domestic violence ($7 million).

Plenty of people have lined up to criticise the first campaign on the basis, for example, that it’s unoriginal, focuses too much on scare mongering, is unlikely to be cost-effective, and might even be counter-productive.

On that last point, one article included the statement that “When an ad is on television for a particular illicit drug, we know afterwards young people think it must be really, really common and so therefore it can increase their perception of how normal it is.”

In contrast the only public criticism that the domestic violence campaign has been subject to, is that not enough money has been provided. It is probably no coincidence that the feminist lobby is heavily invested in the DV campaign, but not the other.

So just how many parallels, if any, are there between the two campaigns?

The drug campaign was also discussed in an article entitled ‘Awareness campaigns need to target the real victims of ice” (13 May 2015), which noted that:

“International evidence suggests such “awareness” campaigns are not the most appropriate way to address harmful methamphetamine use. In fact, fear-based approaches can increase stigma which possibly drives people away from, rather than towards, treatment.”

The article proceeds:

“Australian media outlets and politicians claim we’re facing a nationwide “ice epidemic” …  the most up-to-date research estimates that the proportion of Australians who have used any type of methamphetamine (ice, “speed” powder) in the previous year has remained relatively stable for at least the last decade.

Nevertheless, the government and media’s continued use of hyperbolic language – in addition to a tendency to ignore and sometimes dismiss public health experts’ advice on ice – has the potential to incite unnecessary fear and misinform the public about this supposed “menace”.”

So there’s our first parallels, for neither campaign will be targeted and in both cases Australian media outlets and politicians are making exaggerated claims about an emerging epidemic.

The article then goes on to question whether the personal and public threat posed by drug use (as compared to the extent of drug use) has also been exaggerated.

The article states: “We need to accurately define the issue, including the nature and extent of methamphetamine use and related harms in rural and regional areas, to allow the development and implementation of cost-effective, evidence-based and timely responses.”

A further parallel is that the debate about domestic violence likewise does not accurately define the issue, focussing as it does wholly on uni-directional violence by men against women. I would also argue that the policy response is not evidence-based but rather driven by the ideology of those most heavily invested in the issue.

The article then goes on to talk about the success of health-related public awareness campaigns, noting that some “are costly, ineffective and possibly even counterproductive”.

In one example cited “The findings of one study suggest that the Montana Meth Project might actually increase acceptability and decrease perceptions of risk relating to using methamphetamine.” Elsewhere it noted that “fear-based approaches can lead to stigma and poor health outcomes, such as from reduced treatment-seeking.”

The article concludes with a discussion of the value of an alternative or supplementary strategy, that of “harm minimisation”. It notes:

“Because people will choose to engage in drug use (both licit and illicit) regardless of the policies and programs in place, we need to encourage them to do so as safely as possible. We also must continue to inform the public about options for managing drug-related consequences and appropriate and available means for professional support, such as telephone and internet counselling”.

The concept of ‘harm minimisation’ also applies to domestic violence when we consider the prevalence of bi-directional violence, as shown in the diagram below, and the fact that domestic violence may persist from one generation to the next. Perhaps we need to resign ourselves, that in some situations it may be more effective to focus more on the provision of short-term shelter accommodation, the removal of children into care, etc.

IPV-Truthwgray

Assuming there are parallels between awareness campaigns for drug use and domestic violence, then why have the same criticisms not been raised in relation to the latter?

Indeed, why has no criticism at all been directed at those spending large amounts of taxpayer funds on domestic violence awareness campaigns? Doubly so, given that there have been many previous awareness campaigns undertaken, and that these all appear to have achieved little in terms of effecting a remedy for the problem.

Is this lack of criticism because those in positions of influence truly believe in the value of such campaigns, or is it simply a reflection of wishful thinking and/or the very real fear of feminist backlash against dissenting voices?

Do public awareness campaigns even work?

Many public organisations love awareness campaigns because for minimal work they provide maximum profile (i.e. ‘hey, look at us doing something about the problem!’). Just engage a marketing consultant, agree on a logo, and begin advertising.

The jury is out, however, on their effectiveness – in part because many public awareness campaigns are not subject to proper evaluation. This is probably, in part, because of the factor noted above – they are often created at short notice for reasons of political expediency.

It is known however that some types of awareness campaigns are more likely to be successful than others:

“Some police agencies participate in domestic violence awareness campaigns and school programming, such as classroom instruction to teens about dating violence and ways to handle conflict. Domestic violence prevention messages may target the general population or specific populations. For example, campaigns may be designed to encourage victim reporting, deter potential offenders, or raise the consciousness of potential witnesses of abuse (neighbours, friends, relatives). However, the effect of these prevention strategies is unknown.

For instance, few of the programs developed to reduce teen dating violence have been evaluated, and of those that have, there have been mixed results. Although some report an increase in knowledge in the targeted population and greater familiarity with available resources to help victims, this does not necessarily translate into a reduction in the incidence level of dating violence.

† The Lancashire (United Kingdom) Police Constabulary placed messages about domestic violence on police vehicles, beer glass coasters in bars, utility bills, and lampposts, and used radio advertising to increase awareness of domestic violence.

As a rule, prevention is more likely to work if highly targeted. General campaigns are not typically effective. Highly targeted campaigns that focus on a specific target group or geographic area can have some impact. Offender-oriented campaigns, which are designed to raise potential offenders’ perceptions that there will be meaningful consequences to battering, are more likely to be effective than campaigns that appeal to potential offenders’ morals.” (Source)

See also:

What’s the point of sexual harassment training? Often, to protect employers (17 November 2017) This research found that sexual harassment training could actually produce the opposite result to what was intended.

Marriage vote: how advocacy ads exploit our emotions in divisive debates (13 September 2017) Now transpose the views expressed here across to domestic violence awareness campaigns, with the ‘yes’ lobby being those challenging the status quo by seeking a non-gendered approach to the issue. Again, “the ‘no’ campaign has many unfair advantages”. Though I suspect, most likely, not in the eyes of the typical reader of ‘The Conversation‘.

Feminist academics take issue with a women’s fitness awareness campaign (13 August 2017) Don’t exercise as men will look at you. A Mark Latham video

How Australia’s discrimination laws and public health campaigns perpetuate fat stigma (11 July 2017) “Fat-shaming” awareness campaigns don’t work and are reprehensible (… but male-shaming campaigns do/aren’t?) Of course this has nothing to do with where the issue of focus falls on the leftist/PC acceptability spectrum. #sarcasm

What if Mandatory “Sexual Respect” Classes are Counterproductive? (21 September 2016)

What good is ‘Raising Awareness’? (21 April 2015) USA

Are social marketing campaigns effective in preventing child abuse and neglect? (October 2010) Australia

And what if the campaign message is inaccurate and/or biased?

Another reason why a campaign might be counter-productive is when the information it disseminates is inaccurate and/or biased. This is a real danger with a topic like domestic violence, the debate concerning which is tightly-controlled by one group who maintain a very particular and inflexible ideological stance on the  matter.

It is highly likely that the campaign that eventually emerges will focus solely, or almost solely, on men’s violence towards women. Issues like bi-directional violence, domestic violence in same-sex couples (especially women), and female on male violence will be ignored or minimised. The focus on gender and control will mean that other factors like social disadvantage and substance abuse will be played down. Political correctness will also rule out consideration of race, ethnicity or religion as potentially relevant factors.

What messages will this send? What biases and stereotyping will this reinforce?

Three examples:

Feminism, Domestic Violence & Spiderman Screenings (12 July 2017)

Video and discussion thread concerning a gender-biased awareness campaign in Victoria, Australia (17 January 2017)

The UK Home Office ‘Disrespect Nobody’ campaign included this TV advert which failed to acknowledge female perpetration of abusive behaviours.

Other sources that may be of interest:

‘Ice Wars’ message is overblown and unhelpful (14 February 2017)

Our Watch charity invited to assess its own schools gender equity program (4 February 2017) Just have one feminist organisation (a recipient of substantial public funds) evaluate the effectiveness of a program of similar allied organisation. What could go wrong with that?

Miranda Devine: Stop telling boys to act like girls, by Miranda Devine (24 April 2016) Australia

Some early reaction, on mensrights reddit, to the new Australian DV ‘awareness’ campaign (24 April 2016)

Get ready for some good old male-bashing (22 April 2016)

What about the mean girls? by Jasmin Newman (21 April 2016) Australia

Australia’s costly new national ‘violence against women’ awareness campaign and some articles that followed its launch:

Prevention of violence against women – finally, an idea whose time has come, by Mary Barry (20 April 2016)
Domestic violence ad campaign to focus on ‘influencers’ in bid to change attitudes (20 April 2016)
Where the new $30 million domestic violence campaign is missing the mark‘. This campaign ignores male victims and female perpetrators, and is based on the flawed assumption that the main cause of DV is attitudes towards women.

Branded for life? Sending the wrong message to young perpetrators of family violence (24 February 2016) Australia. Campaign devised by feminist group ‘Our Watch’ and article published in pro-feminist site The Conversation. Campaign only features male perpetrators, this issue ignored in article.

Fear-based health information makes new mothers anxious (23 July 2015) Australia. Now consider DV campaigns that demonise all men despite them having no control over the small minority of men who abuse. The community seemingly sees no problem with making men feel “anxious” in that situation, even despite the fact that four times as many men commit suicide as do women.

Not just a slick TV ad: what makes a good domestic violence awareness campaign? (23 July 2015)

National $30 million campaign to tackle domestic violence (5 March 2015)

Mark Latham on why Labor can’t get it right on domestic violence (16 May 2015)

$16m for dom violence but $1.2b for terrorism (14 May 2015)

Social Marketing for Preventing Violence Against Women: Making every action matter (June 2013) This paper is written from a pro-feminist pro-awareness campaign perspective, but provides a useful list of many previous awareness campaigns. It fails to provide serious/objective evaluations of individual campaigns or of awareness campaigns generally. Indeed, it’s telling that the only campaign against which it directs criticism is the ‘One in Three‘ campaign that draws attention to male victims of domestic violence. One in Three‘ is an ongoing target for feminist criticism.

Feminists claim domestic violence is caused by ‘rigid gender roles and stereotypes’ (then apply them to men in painting them as perpetual aggressors)

I’d suggest reading the following article and the readers comments that follow it, and then come back for a brief discussion:

Quentin Bryce urges focus on gender inequality to tackle domestic violence (6 April 2015)

Firstly, a few words about Quentin Bryce. Quentin is a former Governor-General who recently chaired a state Taskforce into Family Violence the report for which was released in February 2015 (see related blog posts here and here).

Quentin deserves our thanks for performing that role without sticking out her hand for the sort of generous compensation demanded by other prominent talking heads of the Australian Domestic Violence Industry. Quentin was ill-advised, however, to issue statements during the course of the Inquiry that were pre-emptive and prejudicial, and which clearly signalled her own personal anti-male and pro-feminist agenda (example1example2).

In the article linked above Quentin reiterates a key element of the feminist narrative as it is applied to the issue of domestic violence, that:

“Domestic and family violence is caused by unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women, it’s about the rigid gender roles and stereotypes that characterise our society, and the culture and the attitudes that support violence against women”

Domestic violence does indeed involve an unequal distribution of power, but where feminists get it wrong is that the man need not be the partner wielding the power. The feminist perspective also ignores the reality of domestic violence affecting same-sex couples.

Feminists cling to this notion however because it dovetails with a theoretical framework that they rely upon so heavily, known as the Duluth model.

According to the Duluth Model, “women and children are vulnerable to violence because of their unequal social, economic, and political status in society.” The program’s philosophy is intended to help batterers work to change their attitudes and personal behavior so they would learn to be nonviolent in any relationship. Its philosophy is illustrated by the “Power and Control Wheel,” a graphic typically displayed as a poster in participating locations. (Source)

An excellent rebuttal of proponents of the Duluth model recently penned by South African MRA Jason Dale is well worth reading, with some further criticism here. A further study illustrating the ineffectiveness of the Duluth approach is provided here.

What galls me most, however, is the mind-numbing hypocrisy of feminists asserting that the application of “rigid gender roles and stereotypes” promotes domestic violence, whilst their ongoing portrayal of men as perpetual perpetrators relies upon applying those self-same roles and stereotypes. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

And here’s yet another example, an article entitled ‘Stop gender inequality and you will stop domestic violence‘ (3 September 2015)

See also ‘Testing Predictions From the Male Control Theory of Men’s Partner Violence‘ (2 August 2015)

And in closing perhaps you might like to read ‘Always beating up on men‘ by Bettina Arndt.

Elsewhere in the blog you might be interested in:

Domestic violence is not a gendered issue – Why the pervasive sexist bias against men?

Fudging the figures to support the feminist narrative

On the suggestion that women-only police stations might help the fight against domestic violence

I first came across this proposal in a post within the Facebook page of the feminist advocacy group ‘Domestic Violence NSW’. I contributed a comment which they quickly removed (as recounted in another of my blog posts), and which I will now re-iterate and expand upon here.

In the article Women-only police stations an effective way to target domestic violence, law professor says, Professor Kerry Carrington is quoted as saying that:

“Women’s access to justice is the key thing and the key things that most women complain about is not being believed, not being heard, not having appropriate support or response.

“That’s one of the key findings of most research, and of course that puts police in the firing line, but one way of alleviating that is to have specially trained police who work in these police stations.”

(Professor Kerry Carrington is Head of the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, and author of Feminism and Global Justice, Routledge, 2015. Her original blog post on this subject can be accessed here)

But Prof. Carrington doesn’t just want specially trained police, she wants specially trained female police. In fact Prof. Carrington’s idea goes even further than that, calling for women-only police stations, a proposal that carries with it more than a whiff of separatism or gender apartheid.

In terms of enhancing the battle against domestic violence, to what extent would Ms. Carrington’s idea contribute above and beyond that which is, or could be, achieved with the existing system of mixed-gender police stations?

It’s probably fair to assume that some women would be more comfortable reporting domestic abuse to female police officers. I certainly understand and support that with respect to (for example) having female officers assist traumatized female rape victims. As a consequence one tangible benefit of women-only police stations could be an increase in the percentage of female victims of domestic violence lodging reports of violence.

But even if that were the case, would these further reported crimes translate into more effective sanctions, and eventually a corresponding reduction in rates of perpetration? I’m not convinced.

And given that the percentage of male victims of domestic violence currently lodging reports is substantially lower than for female victims (7% vs 21%), then perhaps addressing that segment should be accorded a higher priority?

I think we can assume that it is not Ms. Carrington’s intention to press for one male-only police station for every two female-only stations (to reflect the fact that one in three victims of domestic violence are male). Thus the proposal is sexist and discriminatory in that it provides a publicly-funded service for women in the absence of a similar service for men

Another point to consider is that domestic violence is only one of many crimes dealt with by local police stations. Even if women-only police stations were more effective at addressing domestic violence, would it be practical and cost-effective to establish special police stations to tackle one particular crime?

In the broader scheme of things, additional reports of domestic violence might well result in incremental increases in government funding for the domestic violence industry. But one has to ask just how effective has that consortium’s efforts been in reducing the incidence of domestic violence over recent decades? Hardly inspiring, I would suggest.

And what of other potential negative aspects of Ms. Carrington’s suggestion?

        • It reinforces the false view that women are more empathetic and/or that male police officers are incapable of displaying empathy (even specially trained ones)
          • It reinforces the false view that domestic violence is limited to men’s violence towards women (and ignores the reality of male victims and female perpetrators)
          • It reinforces the notion that it is appropriate to have differing systems of justice for men and women, rather than one uniform and consistent justice system for all Australians
      • It may be the case that some citizens would be subject to inconvenience, or even additional danger, as a result of finding themselves further removed from a traditional mixed-gender police station. There would be some additional cost associated with the proposal, and thus there would be a corresponding ‘opportunity cost’ in that funds would be unavailable for alternative and perhaps more effective measures aimed at curbing domestic violence

See also:

Male police officers well placed to tackle sexism, says first misogyny detective (4 August 2022) UK

‘Lap dance’ cop Vera Mekuli suspended after drunken tirade (29 May 2022)

NYPD cop caught on video giving her boss a lap dance ‘didn’t know he was married’ (26 December 2021)

Detroit cops flee from drive-by shooting happening in front of them – YouTube (23 July 2021) Apparently both of the police in the vehicle were female.

Queensland police discriminated against 200 potential male recruits in favour of women, report finds | Australian police and policing | The Guardian (12 May 2021)

Victoria Police officer hospitalised following alleged assault in Glen Iris (11 January 2021)

All-woman police station in India linked to male suspect being framed (July 2020)

How all female staffed police stations can reduce domestic violence (16 October 2019) Australia

Police officer sacked for ‘wholly inappropriate’ grooming of vulnerable and suicidal teenager (16 June 2019) UK

Shocking vision of hair pulling exchange between woman and police officer (22 June 2018)

AFP’s call for female recruits causes major stir online (1 October 2017)

Female police officers much more likely to kill unarmed suspects than male police officers (5 December 2016) Reddit discussion thread with linked article

Related reddit mensrights discussion thread #1

News5 Investigates: CSPD veteran officer says she was forced into early retirement over new physical fitness exam (24 June 2015)

Queensland researcher to start world-first study into women-only police stations (22 June 2015)

Related reddit mensrights discussion thread #2

Do Female Officers Improve Law Enforcement Quality? Effects on Crime Reporting and Domestic Violence Escalation (October 2013)

Disturbing Eyewitness Video Captures Calif. Officer Fatally Shooting Unarmed Homeless Man ‘About a Second’ After He Called Her a ‘B**ch’ (1 August 2013) and related reddit discussion thread

Freeze! I just had my nails done (16 March 2005) More female police = more civilians shot? Hmm.

‘DV Connect’ is “non-judgemental” (but men calling their helpline are sneaky perpetrators)

I read an article yesterday entitled ‘A connection to hope in a world of violence‘, concerning the operation of a charity active in the sphere of domestic violence and sexual assault called ‘DV Connect‘. It featured the usual feminist spin that comes with the territory, but the part that turned my stomach was the following:

“Every now and then a perpetrator calls, desperate to find where his spouse is. Often these men present themselves as victims, hoping to unearth the addresses where their partners might be seeking safety from the storm.

Now, just a quick reminder to readers that at least one third of the victims of domestic violence are men. Staff at DV Connect are apparently so astute that they can confidently differentiate between those men (actual victims) and that very small minority of men who are actually abusers. A remarkable feat by any standards.

In their web site DV Connect describe themselves as follows:

“DVConnect is the only state wide telephone service offering anyone affected by domestic or family violence a free ‘crisis hotline’ 24 hours a day 7 days a week

We offer free, professional and non-judgemental telephone support, wherever you live in Queensland.

DVConnect Womensline takes over 4000 calls every month from Queensland women who are in fear of or in immediate threat of danger from Domestic or Family Violence, and on average we assist over 350 of them and often more than 400 children to be moved to safety every month.

We can arrange practical assistance such as counselling, intervention, transport and emergency accommodation for Queensland women and children who are in danger from a violent partner or family member”.

Yes, you read that correctly, their telephone support is “non-judgemental”. I guess they just mean the service provided for female callers, because they seem perfectly willing to judge the men who call … as mainly comprising perpetrators.

And notice how, within the space of a few lines, they morph from an organisation providing services to “anyone affected by domestic or family violence“, to one that’s here to help “Queensland women“.

DV Connect provides both a Mensline and Womensline service. The Mensline page in their web site has been re-written since I originally wrote this post, and now makes mention of men seeking help as both perpetrators and victims of domestic violence. The Womensline page assumes that women can only be victims of domestic violence despite this being obviously untrue.

Details regarding how the Mensline services operates in a discriminatory manner can be found in this reddit discussion thread.

I was unable to locate DV Connect within the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s register, but their 2013/14 annual report can be downloaded here. A few extracts illustrating the gynocentric bias within this organisation are shown below:

(p9) “We not only work with almost every specialist and community service throughout Queensland around the safety needs of women and children but we also have the unique position of having a ‘helicopter view’ of the sector as a whole … The physical and psychological safety of women and children living with domestic violence is the overriding focus of our work both on Womensline and Mensline.”

(p14) “An even smaller number of men call Mensline because of violence from a female partner or family member. Often this violence is on a very different level to that experienced where the male is the perpetrator of violence. Most of these situations do not have the element of fear in these relationships …”

(p17/18) “Sadly, hundreds of women, children and their beloved pets across Queensland are constrained in violent and fearful relationships because the fear and practical challenges of leaving are just too overwhelming.”

“Every month in Australia six women die at the hands of their intimate partner, at least one of them is from Queensland” and “Sadly in the year ended June 2014 we held 10 rallies for 18 women who died at the hands of their male partners“.

Minimal mention is made of male victims, apparently less important than pets. And when they are acknowledged (as above) their experience is discounted/diminished. And no mention anywhere, in the entire report, of female perpetrators.

I wish I could say that this type of unfair gender-stereotyping was rare or unusual, but I can’t. The fact is that most organisations working in the field, both government and non-government, are just as biased. Their web pages, their helplines, and their brochures and PR material, all relentlessly drive home a message of men as perpetrators and women as their victims. I provide a few examples of this in other posts within my blog, such as this one.

One of the outcomes of this situation is that only a small number of men call seeking assistance and/or to report what is happening in their homes. I would further suggest that another outcome is the large number of suicides by men involved in situations of actual or alleged domestic violence.

Perversely, DV advocacy groups then use this fact (very small number of male callers versus female callers) to to ‘prove’ their claims that very few men are victims of domestic violence. They also use it as a basis for, for example, reducing the level of services provided for men whilst ramping up the services for women.

Men know full well that they won’t be taken seriously if they call these organisations, and that they may be accused of being perpetrators in denial. Many also know that even if they are given a sympathetic hearing then there are no actual support services available to them (e.g. beds in shelters). In fact, by and large, the only services provided for men are anger management classes (yet, ironically, no such classes are available for the women abusing them).

And invariably (and ridiculously) when anyone dares to question the status quo they are attacked on the basis that they are either ignorant, wilfully denying that women are victims of DV and/or uncaring about the plight of female victims.

But back now to DV Connect’s annual report. The financial statement included within the report informs us that the organisation’s total revenue in 2014 was $3,231,446. The statement does not provide a breakdown of their revenue sources, which is somewhat unusual. I have, however, subsequently been advised by the relevant agency that:

“DVConnect Ltd received $2,853,133 in 2013-2014 and $2,666,064 in 2012-2013 from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to provide domestic and family violence and sexual assault support services.”

As is typical for the sector, the overwhelming bulk of DV Connect’s expenditure goes towards salaries and employee-related expenses:

“DVConnect now employs 54 staff including a small management and administration team and almost 50 counselling staff all of whom work varying shifts to cover our 7 day 24 hour telephone service.”

In May 2015 it was announced that “DV Connect will receive an extra $750,000 per year for two years, on top of existing funding ($3.17m in 2014/15) for services including counsellors to expand its Womensline telephone support service.”

This reddit.com discussion thread discusses the discriminatory nature of the Mensline service, and calls on people to write letters in an attempt to resolve this situation.

Further information about DV Connect is available from their web site and Facebook page

And elsewhere in Queensland?

nooptionstoreport

Here are two screenshots from the web site of a Queensland Government agency. The wording assumes that any men seeking help in relation to domestic violence are perpetrators, and that any women seeking help are victims.

Unfortunately this bias is replicated in the web sites of other similar Australian government and non-government agencies. One example, involving a Western Australian government agency, is addressed in another post in my blog.bias

Postscript 27 March 2015: In order to provide further insight into the mindset within DV Connect, let me relay what just occurred. I contributed a comment to the Facebook page of DV Connect, in relation to an item about the release of the QLD Task Force report on family violence. I simply noted that I had prepared some comments on the report and included a link to the relevant page (refer screensave below). By the next morning the comment that I posted had been removed from public view. It seems that DV Connect wants to prevent their supporters accessing alternative perspectives. That looks a lot like ‘controlling behaviour’ to me.

dvconnectdvconnect2

To the left is what I see when I visit DV Connect’s page whilst logged-in to my Facebook account. The screen-save below shows what is visible to members of the public, i.e. no comments

Postscript 14 April 2015: Further censorship with the removal of my comment in response to an inaccurate statement in the DV Connect web site. I simply cited the relevant ABS statistic, but I guess the reality that men face more violence than women was just too triggering.

DVconnect_zap

On 11 September 2015 Di Mangan was quoted as saying that they couldn’t justify running the Mens Helpline on a 24 hour basis as so few calls were being received. Gee, I wonder why?

Fast forwarding now to January 2016 and along comes another advertorial for DV Connect, naturally with male victims & female perps air-brushed out of the picture.

This January 2016 article includes the following quote from the CEO of DV Connect:

“Mangan said abusive men were “emboldened” by the public murders that shook Queensland in 2015, noting that many of the calls received by DV Connect were from men warning that they wanted to harm their partners. Some of the men wanted help while others were calling to make a threat.”

In November 2017, the Courier-Mail published ‘DV Connect chief executive Diane Mangan axed from role amid dispute‘. I’d like to think this move was about improving efficiency & accountability, rather than just personalities, but have little faith in either of the parties involved.

The sort of gender discrimination practiced by DV Connect has been discontinued in one part of the United Kingdom as described in this November 2017 article by HEquel.

Postscript 3 May 2020:Inside the Men’s Referral Service, a call centre dealing with Australia’s abusive men and domestic violence‘. Gender-biased fruit off the same tree?

Postscript 6 May 2020: This video concerns a UK example of gender-biased caller-screening

Postscript 6 March 2022: This form of anti-male gender-bigotry is now VIC government policy

“I’m proud to announce the Palaszczuk Government is providing additional funding of $2 million to DVConnect to keep up with the high demand” said Shannon Fentiman (3 August 2022).

Elsewhere in this blog you might also be interested in these posts:

On recognising and supporting male victims of domestic violence

So what exactly is the ‘Domestic Violence Industry’?

Australian taxpayer-funded organisations that do little/nothing for men (other than demonising them)

My submission to the Premier’s Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland

My response to the report of the Queensland Task Force on Family Violence

Is it my imagination or does media coverage of mens health focus too much on shaming men?

Readers might be aware that there are a number of areas when men compare poorly with women in terms of disease prevalence and outcomes, rates of suicide, and overall life expectancy. I talk about some of these factors in my earlier post on men’s health.

Many factors contribute to this situation including aspects of male physiology, a propensity towards greater risk-taking in leisure pursuits, and working longer hours – sometimes in more dangerous occupations. Other individual factors include things like attention to diet and exercise, and receptiveness to seeking/receiving medical treatment.

Let’s try to split all the factors contributing to men’s poorer health outcomes into two groups, comprising those things that individual men can exercise significant control over versus those things that they can’t.

At the outset we must recognise that there is clearly a huge range of individual variation within male and female populations in relation to these factors with further variables like degree of education, income level, and age for example. Thus there are limits as to the extent that we can make meaningful generalisations about “all men” or “all women”. Further, in the case of some factors over which one might think people do have control, the extent to which an individual actually can exercise personal choice, is very limited in some cases. An example of this would be a poorly educated man choosing to engage in a risky occupation to support his family.

So what of the factors that most individuals don’t have any control over? Well one that springs to mind are decisions made by governments, health agencies and drug companies (for example), that determine funding priorities/subsidies/etc for medical research and treatment. To give an example, the fact that the death rate from prostate cancer is higher than for breast cancer might be more indicative of the disproportionately greater funding for breast cancer research and treatment than the extent to which men “take their health seriously“.

And yet despite the above, all too often the focus of campaigns and articles about men’s health seems to be an implied or overt suggestion that men’s health problems are of their own making – that if men weren’t so silly/lazy then everything and everyone would be better off.

For now I’ll just mention a few examples, with more perhaps to be added later.

I came across this article about a men’s health campaign fronted by well-known actor Samuel L Jackson. Jackson was visiting the UK to promote a new male cancer campaign called ‘One For The Boys’ that hopes to “change male mentality”. Apparently men in the UK are 60% more likely to get the cancers that affect all sexes and 70% more likely to die from these cancers.

The campaign is based on the premise that the higher incidence of cancer in men is caused by men neglecting their health. “If only men would only stop being so dumb and talk about our health then we’d stop dying from cancer in greater numbers.”

The author of the article disputes both the validity and appropriateness of this message, claiming that a major reason for the different rates of cancer between men and women is greater expenditure of research and treatment in relation to women’s health.

The author would prefer a more positive message for men, and suggests something more along the following lines:

“Listen brother, every man’s and woman’s life is precious so why are we putting less time, energy and money into fighting cancer in men? It doesn’t make sense to me. Is it any wonder that more men than women are dying of cancer every single day? Are you okay with that? I’m not. So here’s what we’re going to do. Us men, all of us, we’re going to get together and make sure we start putting more time, energy and money into fighting male cancer, cos that’s the only way we’re going to beat this goddam, mother***ing disease. So who’s with me? Are you with me brother? Are you with me?”

The author closes with: “Now that’s the kind of good man narrative that I’d be happy to be part of, and it could apply to any of the issues that men and boys face.”

Fast forward to February 2015 and Ice-T has established the Male Awareness Foundation (MAF), which appears to be in a similar vein. MAF is described as a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men and boys where they live, work, play, and pray with sickness prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational material, advocacy opportunities, and patient referrals.

Now the following media story may appear relatively benign, and the research was no doubt well-meaning, but male-shaming remains nonetheless quite apparent. On 6 October 2014 an item appeared on the television news entitled ‘Men at risk of mental health problems‘.

I subsequently wrote to the Australian HQ of the ‘Movember’ organisation to query whether the ‘problem is that men don’t take their health seriously’ angle for the story originated with them or whether the media created this angle of their own volition. I received the following reply the next morning:

“Thanks for your email this morning in response to the news coverage overnight.
With regard to the claim that some men don’t take their health seriously, this was a finding from a study we conducted last month into the attitudes Australian men have towards their health and well-being.  It revealed that 1 in 3 Aussie men don’t take their health seriously, in response to a specific question that asks whether they agree or not with the statement ‘I take my health seriously’.  We surveyed a representative sample of over 1,500 men from around the country, aged 18+.
The media reported it as 1/3 , so they (not Movember) are saying it’s all men.  In fact, it’s good to know that 2/3 do take health seriously, but there’s still some work to be done to raise awareness amongst the remaining 1/3 who don’t.
The purpose of the report is to shine a light on some of the challenges facing men and their health, with a view to raising awareness and sparking conversations about these issues, something the Movember aims to do through our annual Mo growing campaign.  It certainly wasn’t intended to denigrate men or portray them negatively.  We’re all about supporting men, raising awareness about their health and funding programs that help tackle prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
I hope that answers your query, Chris.  Please do get back in touch if you have any further questions or concerns.” (Meagan Bell, Movember, 7 October, 2014)
I wrote back as follows:
“Thanks for your prompt response. Yes, I don’t disagree with the fact that some men need to take their health more seriously, and they should be encouraged and supported in doing so. My concern is that there are many factors contributing to men health problems, and that how seriously they take their health is but one of these. It is unfortunate though that this aspect – which brings with it an element of male-shaming – seems to more often than not be the focus of media articles and health campaigns. I would like to see more effort made to put this variable into a broader perspective of men’s health and for men to be encouraged – in a positive way – to do what they can to maintain good health.
Recognition must also be given to the fact that some contributing factors, like government support for medical research and treatment for men’s health issues versus the level of support given to women’s health issues – are not directly under men’s control.”
Another common assertion about men and their health – particularly mental health – is that men need to talk about things more. Especially their feelings.
A couple of issues crop up here:
When men do speak up they are often shamed or called things in the media/social media. Things like ‘whiny man-child’
Research and anecdotal evidence suggests that many men are not helped by talking about things, this approach only adding to their anxiety. Most likely this is a point of difference between most men and most women.
On this last point I asked for relevant references on Reddit mensrights and several relevant sources were nominated including this excellent discussion thread with more than 200 readers comments.
See also:
Dr Zac Turner on whether men should get a vasectomy (10 April 2022) “I believe his connection to ‘neutering’ with getting a vasectomy is grounded in toxic masculinity”. Mind you, if a woman was concerned about contraception and/or medical procedures then that *wouldn’t be* Toxic Femininity, clear? Thanks #newscomauHQ
Men Are Experiencing Historic Levels Of Loneliness – YouTube (6 August 2021) While shame is heaped onto men, the negative contribution of women (in relation to male illness or suicide) is conveniently removed from the picture
Poll: Men less likely to follow health guidelines amid Coronavirus outbreak (27 March 2020) But then reading items listed in this post, would suggest that many women are hardly being angels in this regard.
Alcohol deaths have risen sharply, particularly amongst women (10 January 2020) But nobody would dare shame women about this, now would they?
How’s your walnut, mate? Why men don’t like to talk about their enlarged prostate (4 May 2016) The second shaming article in ‘The Conversation‘ this week. The theme of this one is that men are ignorant. Author avoids mention of contentious issues like number of related male deaths and paucity of research funding relative to (for e.g.) breast cancer.
Men more reluctant to go to the doctor – and it’s putting them at risk (2 May 2016) Apparently masculinity is the problem (isn’t it always?)

We’ve all heard of the gender ‘income gap’, but what about the ‘expense gap’?

In two other posts within this blog I explore the concept of the gender wage gap:

How feminists misrepresent the gender ‘income gap’, and
That tired old feminist chestnut that is the ‘gender wage gap’ resurrected in Australia

Those posts found that the ‘wage gap’ is an issue that is persistently misrepresented by the feminist lobby, and that differentials in salary are generally reflective of personal choice rather than gender discrimination in the workplace.

This post explores the notion that there is a flip-side to the ‘wage gap’, that I label the gender ‘expense gap’. This concept is borne from the premise that men/boys incur significant additional expense, in comparison to women, to access or obtain various goods or services and/or to perform the role that western society demands of them.

The existence of a gender expense/cost gap is addressed in the media from time to time, but such discussions are limited to the gynocentric meme of a ‘pink tax’. Such articles, examples of which are provided below, focus on women paying more for retail products such as shavers, fashion, haircuts and sanitary products. The reality that men pay more than women for other goods/services is overlooked.

Tesco cuts price of women’s razors so they cost the same as men’s (2 January 2017) UK
NYC pharmacy introduces ‘man tax’ provoking protests which it labels ‘hate’ (14 October 2016) USA
The Pink Tax (25 August 2016) A video by ‘ShoeOnHead’ (a female MRA)
The ‘tampon tax’ is not a marginal issue – it’s the force of structural sexism at work (25 July 2016) USA
This Is How Much More It Costs To Be A Woman (2 April 2016)
Price discrimination isn’t only about pink razors (6 February 2016) UK
‘Pink tax’ angers women from New York to London (3 February 2016)
CBS News goes undercover to reveal gender price discrimination (25 January 2016)
Pink premium? There are greater problems (24 January 2016)
Britain’s ‘sexist’ high streets: How women are being charged TWICE as much as men for almost identical items (19 January 2016)
Ever heard of the ‘pink tax’? It’s real and cutting into women’s finances in a big way (30 December 2015)
Why you should always buy the men’s version of almost anything (22 December 2015)
So Who Is Responsible For The Gender Cost Gap? (23 December 2015)
Women Pay More for Everything From Birth to Death, Report Finds (23 December 2015)

The Gender Expense Gap is broader and more pervasive than simply retail pricing differentials, encompassing for example:

  • Men being required to pay more for a particular product or service than a woman for the same or similar product or service (i.e. gender discriminatory pricing). A broad range of examples can be identified including nightclub entry, membership of online dating sites, and insurance (health, life, auto, etc). Here is one such example.
  • Men being expected (via social convention) to meet the full cost of a given expense, e.g. a restaurant meal or a holiday, rather than the relevant expense/s being split 50/50 with their female companion
  • Men being forced, by law, to incur certain expenses that would either not be incurred by women, or would only rarely be incurred by them, e.g. payment of alimony or spousal support
  • Men being unable to avoid particular expenses (without a penalty being applied), that women in the same circumstances would or could avoid  (e.g. in the US, women are less likely to meet their commitments to pay child support, and less likely to be penalised for doing so)
  • Men being denied compensation or financial support that would, in the case of women, offset costs incurred by them. Consider for example discounts or financial incentives or external funding support denied to men but available to women, e.g. scholarships and educational grants (example), sanitary products, superannuation top-up payments (here and here), maternity leave, and rebates or tax reductions for female-owned business start-ups.

How might we also, for example, assign a financial cost to factors such as workplace deaths (overwhelming affecting men), and the health impacts of reduced medical research/treatment (whereby the government spends a pittance on men/boys relative to women/girls).

This is a most challenging task as far as economic analysis goes, but nevertheless ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. A related reddit discussion thread can be found here.

Let’s look now at some of the specific factors that might be considered:

Courtship expenses and celebratory days

Men are still expected to subsidise most of the costs associated with courtship. The issue of who pays for dates is addressed in another blog post. One of the articles listed there is ‘Why women should never go halves on a date’ (27 November 2014).valentines-spend-ecommerce

Men are also expected to spend more on celebratory days, for e.g. birthdays, Mothers Day and Valentines Day, than are women.

The Fathers Day spending deficit is addressed here, but some related articles include:

The Father’s Day spending gap: Why does mom always win? (10 May 2015)

Less spent of Father’s Day gifts than Mother’s Day gifts (6 September 2014)

Valentine’s Day spend twice as high for men: bank research (13 February 2017)

Valentine’s Day spending driven by single men in search for love (12 February 2015)

Valentines Day, by the numbers (14 February 2013)

Why Are Some Men Such Awkward Gift Givers? Let Them Explain (5 December 2016) USA. Talk about ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’! On that note see also “Men are also pretty useless at buying gifts in general”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2385196/Sorry-gents-results-Men-really-ARE-good-fear-women-need-rid-spiders.html#ixzz4wCarcD3N
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Older men charged more for using Tinder’s premium service, Choice mystery shoppers find (12 August 2020) Five times more!

And on a lighter note, see If girls proposed to guys (Video)

Marriage and co-habitation

Although times are certainly changing, men typically remain the primary breadwinner in the family and are responsible for supporting most/all of the living expenses of their spouse and children. Men are also likely to bring considerably more assets into the marriage than are women. Woman however still typically remain in charge of making most of the decisions regarding the expenditure of household income.

WA de facto couples will be able to split super if relationship breaks down (25 October 2018) Men typically bring significantly more assets into a relationship, but the fact that they might take out more is “fundamentally unfair” … gynocentric much?

Is this the new normal? Women who live on a weekly ‘allowance’ from their husbands (7 May 2017)

New research reveals females control the household budget (27 November 2015)

‘I get a wife bonus — and I deserve it’  (29 May 2015)

Women who out-earn their husbands are also more likely to make money decisions for the family (17 March 2015)

New fathers must have same pay rights as mothers, says Nick Clegg, who vows to smash ‘Edwardian’ view on raising children (20 October 2014)

oppression

http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/diversity/17spending.pdf

Men make more, women decide how to spend it (11 May 2012)

I declare the gender pay gap to be a truly dead and gone issue (27 April 2014)

The following quote addresses the average differential between earning and spending in male/female households:

“Men earn 61.5% of all income but only account for 25% of domestic spending. Men only spend 40% of what they earn after tax. In contrast women make up 38.5% of all income but control 75% of domestic spending, women on average spend 90% more money that they earn. Men are exploited as cash machines and even with spending on children accounted for women still spend more money on themselves than the combined spending for men and children.” (Source)

Image

Divorce/Separation, incl. spousal/partner/child support and alimony

Sources addressing the issue of spousal maintenance/alimony can be found in this other blog post, but some examples are provided below.

Paying child-support for a non-biological child (5 March 2018)

Rosenblum: As times change, should alimony change, too? (25 March 2016)

Afeni Shakur And Whether Or Not Men Deserve Alimony (18 March 2016) USA

Group pushes male-dominated S.C. Legislature to change permanent alimony law (1 March 2016) USA

Report: NJ woman sued for writing ‘bum’ and ‘loser’ on ex-spouse’s alimony checks (19 December 2015) More on this case in this discussion thread and linked article

Breadwinning Women Are Driving Alimony Reform (18 November 2015) and related reddit discussion thread

Even though 37% of women earn more money than their husbands, only 3% of divorced men receive alimony (30 June 2015) Reddit discussion thread

Retired farmer must pay more in alimony than monthly income, Nebraska Supreme Court rules (27 June 2015)

Are Moms Less Likely Than Dads To Pay Child Support? (26 February 2015)

Divorced wife told to get a job and stop living off her ex-husband (23 February 2015)

Deadbeat moms? Should mothers be required to pay child support? (20 April 2014) and related reddit mensrights discussion thread

Jail Becomes Home for Husband Stuck With Lifetime Alimony (27 August 2013)

Woman sues ex-husband for a share of wealth he made years after they divorced (9 December 2014)

Why Do So Few Men Get Alimony? (20 November 2014) USA

Working woman in /r/legaladvice divorcing and is horrified that she has to give part-time-working ex-husband half her assets (15 November 2014)

Ex-wife of US oil baron to appeal $1 billion divorce award (13 November 2014)

Halle Berry’s Child-Support Fight: Female Breadwinners Can’t Have It Both Ways (20 October 2014)

Businessman is ordered to pay £28,500 to ex-girlfriend in landmark court ruling because he led her to believe he would look after her for life (17 October 2014)

Veteran chooses jail over giving his disability money to ex-wife (17 September 2014)

Alimony is broken – But let’s not fix it (1 September 2014)

Cost of education (esp. regarding the availability of financial support via government or university grants or discounts for example)

Critics Tell Young Men that Their Penises are NOT Golden (But They Are) (15 September 2022) by Janice Fiamengo. Recommended reading

Biden touts freeze on collections of $1.14m student loans (30 March 2021) USA. But let’s not say what percentage of those loans were to women, because that might seem like more #GenderEqualityWhenItSuits

According this female MRA posting on Twitter, 92% of all sex-specific scholarships are reserved for women (December 2020) USA

145 universities under federal investigation for sex discrimination against male students (27 May 2020) USA

Growing debate whether Title IX should help male students excluded by female-only programs (7 May 2020) USA

UN Women Australia MBA scholarship (May 2020) Each scholarship is worth $60,000 – available at the University of Sydney Business School. I have since written to relevant agencies about this matter, details regarding which can be found in this post.

Pell’s 6-Billion Dollar Gender Gap (1 March 2020)

Male Title IX activist expelled after “feminist witch-hunt” (12 November 2019) USA

Veteran of anti-male discrimination lawsuits SOUNDS OFF after study shows disproportionate female-only scholarships (26 August 2019)

ICRAR Visiting Fellowship for senior women in Astronomy (July 2019) Some previous fellowship recipients here.

Widespread sex discrimination found in college scholarship programs (18 May 2019) USA

Among 1,161 sex-specific scholarships, 91.6% were reserved for female students, with only 8.4% designated for male students.

Sydney University partners with UN Women Australia to offer women-only scholarships (March 2019)

Jordan Peterson, dozens of academics attack Ivy League anti-male bias (8 February 2019)

New data shows women now surpassing men in STEM fields (3 December 2018) USA. And then read this paper (2 March 2019)

The Science Ambassador Scholarship (December 2018) USA

Anti-male discrimination complaint gets UMN to change scholarship rules (2 November 2018)

Scholarship funding available for women working in the horticulture sector (28 September 2018)

Scholarships for Women in Male-Dominated Industries (12 September 2018)

Scholarships for ‘Board Ready’ Women in the Disability Sector (30 June 2017)

Sydney University defends new scholarship that favours men as ‘consistent with diversity’ (8 February 2017) Feminists lose it when a university faculty applies the same logic to attract more male students, and cry ‘sexism!’

Storm over Shami’s £500,000 to help girls get degrees … (4 January 2017) UK

Women in MBA Scholarship: 30 full rides. There are no men in biology or men in elementary education scholarships (23 September 2016) Australia

VCAT green light will let Ivanhoe Grammar School offer more places to girls (11 August 2016) Australia

“The decision [to escape provisions of sex discrimination legislation] will allow Ivanhoe Grammar to target female students in its advertising and to offer sweeteners to attract girls, including “scholarship and bursary assistance”.”

UN Women National Committee Australia MBA Scholarship (April 2016) Just one example – how many more like this?

There are four times as many scholarships for females as there are for males (28 February 2016) Reddit discussion thread and linked article

“It would be bad enough that men are continuously shamed for earning more than women, and told that because women get better grades in easier subjects, that women are more intelligent (SourceFed, 2014) or motivated (Lewin, 2006). However, women are also given disproportionate financial aid to attend college, even though they are now a sizeable majority of college students compared to men. While data is difficult to find, using the University of Oklahoma as an anecdotal example, in 2007 women received 78% of scholarships, and between the years of 2008 -2013 women received 89%, 77%, 68%, 94%, 92%, and 100% respectively (OU SLIS, 2013).

Government grants are another major source of funding for women wishing to attend college. There are numerous resources available created specifically for women (Scholarships for Women), but none specifically for men, unless you count athletic scholarships, which are a sticking point with Feminist activists who resent that female athletics lose money while male athletics make money for colleges (Bloomberg News, 2011). It seems fans aren’t interested in paying to watch female athletes perform at the level of a male high school junior varsity team. However, if you put athletics aside, and focus only on the resources available to help men obtain college degrees, those resources are sorely lacking, while money is being thrown at women who are wasting it on Liberal Arts degrees instead of STEM.(Source)

scholar

Scholarship discrimination (7 December 2015) Reddit discussion thread

How the Australian Research Council promotes gender equality … by providing “at least two named Australian Laureate Fellowships targeted at outstanding women researchers” (2015) None for men

Verizon donation makes STEM summer camp for girls free of charge (20 November 2015)

Female postgraduate engineering students entitled to taxpayer-funded sponsorships worth £22,750, on the basis of gender alone (30 April 2015)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2012/02/16/the-male-female-ratio-in-college/

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2005-10-19-male-college-cover_x.htm?csp=14

http://www.macleans.ca/general/why-do-women-still-deserve-special-scholarships/

Supporting women scholarships (February 2015) Australia. How many men-only scholarships are offered? My guess is ‘none’

4x as Many Scholarships for Women — a Disadvantage for Men? (27 February 2013)

Student Loans Help Women More than Men in Reaching Graduation (21 February 2013)

Insurance

Why Men Don’t Care About The Healthcare Debate (13 November 2017) USA

Men pay £170 a year more than women for car insurance despite EU gender rules (3 October 2017)

Men ‘pay £101 more’ for car insurance than women (13 January 2017) UK

Differences in insurance costs (29 June 2016) Reddit discussion thread

Men paying more for car insurance. Mensrights discussion thread and linked article (3 May 2015) Ireland

The benefits gap — a cursory analysis of US social security (OASI) and disability insurance (DI) (28 October 2014) A Reddit discussion thread

Canada’s Insurance Rates: Men vs. Women (17 January 2012)

Articles that address other gender-based expenditure/cost/revenue differentials

Vodafone is paying women 500 extra a year for being women, possibly in violation of the 2009 law Fair work act in AU (15 March 2017)

The Travel Insurance Company Tackling Australia’s Gender Pay Gap (15 February 2017)

“Equal Pay is Not Enough”, says violent feminist ad for overpriced shoes complaining that women pay more for things (25 January 2017) Video with related Reddit discussion thread here.

About a company that operates lounges at conferences and to promote equality, men are charged more for refreshments based on the gender pay gap (18 January 2017) Reddit discussion thread with linked article.

Female scientists with young children offered extra $10,000 annually to stay on at Brisbane Institute (17 December 2016) Australia

Swiss parliament rejects paternity leave plea (27 April 2016)

Give Your Money To Women: The End Game of Capitalism (10 August 2015)

Why Do Women Have More Credit Card Debt Than Men? (28 June 2015)

“Bring it on” – Says Fitness center illegally charging men more for membership in the UK when complaints are raised (9 April 2015) Reddit mensrights discussion thread. And here’s how that story eventually played out.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program Financial support for entrepreneurs (males need not apply)

You Should Know About: Feminist Perversion of Scientific Research. Athena SWAN – The go-to positive discrimination vehicle for feminists in STEM HE (14 November 2014)

Elsewhere in this blog you might be interested in:

On taxation and the ‘Female Economy’

Len & The Lamprey: The other side to the issue of financial abuse

When banks divert from banking to social engineering

Good manners versus chivalry

#IfIWereABoy

Oh here we go again … another hashtag craze. This time it’s #IfIWereABoy, and it’s discussed in this article and here it is on Twitter.

The people at reddit/r/mensrights (and here) have suggested wording for the banners that they think should be held up:

#IfIWereABoy…I’d probably be dead by now

#IfIWereABoy I’d collapse under the pressure of being held responsible for the consequences of my own decisions

#IfIwereaboy, I would be glad that I live in a country where there is no mandatory army service for boys.

#IfIwereaboy I would be scared to go to college in the US because I’d fear a girl would cry “rape” if I did as much as look at her.

#If I were a boy people would make fun of me for the job I love to do, namely being a nurse

#If I were a boy I’d still be in jail.

#If I were a boy I would see my children less.

#If I were a boy I’d had an idea about male socialization and social pressures.

#If I were a boy I wouldn’t hold up this sign.

#If I were a boy I’d be pretty pissed about the lack of empathy on these signs

#If I were a boy I’d probably have had my genitals mutilated at birth

#ifiwereaboy I’d be nine times more likely to die in a work related injury

#ifiwereaboy I’d be expected to work 30% longer hours for the same pay

With regards to the banners that feature in the article the folks have also suggested a number of interesting alternative perspectives for the ladies to consider. See reddit and elsewhere for further details

My submission to the Australian Government Inquiry into Domestic Violence

 A submission to the Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence in Australia

“I think the sad part is the way husband abuse is treated at the moment is exactly the way wife abuse was treated thirty years ago” Dr Sotirios Sarantakos[1]

 The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference

My submission addresses the nature and adequacy of policy and community responses to domestic violence. I also wish to submit the following comments in relation to the Inquiry’s terms of reference:

Points six and seven of the terms of reference limit consideration of certain matters to their impact on women only:

  • the effects of policy decisions regarding housing, legal services, and women‘s economic independence on the ability of women to escape domestic violence;
  • how the Federal Government can best support, contribute to and drive the social, cultural and behavioural shifts required to eliminate violence against women and their children

I disagree with this limitation given the substantial number of men who are also victims of domestic violence, and who face the same or similar issues as do female victims. That this restriction was considered appropriate reflects the existence of gender bias and outdated notions of gender stereotyping, viz. there are now for example substantial numbers of house-husbands who may be financially reliant on a working partner.

I also object to the use of the phrase “violence against women and their children”.

Firstly, it should be recognized that children generally have two parents and they are not the property of one or the other. Neither should it be assumed that one particular parent is more competent to look after the children than the other, based purely on their gender.

Secondly, when men are victims of domestic violence, it is often the case that the female partner is also abusing or may potentially also abuse children in the household. In such cases the male partner may be forced to leave the home and take the children with him for their safety.

Clarification and disclaimer

Domestic violence (DV) is comprised of man-on-man, woman-on-woman, man-on-women, and woman-on-man violence. The current debate about DV, and the community’s response to it, focuses almost entirely on man-on-woman violence.

I believe that such a focus more closely reflects the prevailing ideology within the DV sector, rather than actual patterns of perpetration. The continued existence of this disparity constitutes a significant barrier to effectively dealing with domestic violence and related issues of concern.

I believe that a solution to the problem of domestic violence will continue to elude us as long as we continue to only recognise and address one piece of the puzzle. Further, the current narrow focus on male-on-female violence generates or accentuates additional problems that I will touch on in this submission.

Those who have previously advanced this perspective have been accused of seeking to ameliorate the behavior of male perpetrators and/or to downplay the suffering experienced by female victims. Be advised that this is most certainly not my intention.

From my research regarding the subject of DV, I am well aware of the highly defensive and oftentimes aggressive response directed towards those who question the ‘DV=men’s violence towards women’ model. This pattern of threatening behavior, shaming and abuse is nothing new, and dates back to the experience of Erin Pizzey in Britain in the 1970’s.[2] It is for this reason, and out of concern for the welfare of my family, that I have chosen to put forward this submission on a confidential basis.

Much of the data about patterns of domestic violence that appears in the media and in the web sites of DV agencies is misleading

The starting point of any discussion about domestic violence must be accurate assessment of the nature and extent of the problem. In my view many of the statistics being circulated in discussions about DV are inaccurate or at the very least, highly misleading. This is unfortunate as suitable data, albeit imperfect or incomplete in some regards, is available for those who genuinely seek it.

From this one might well conclude that misleading statistics are at times being deliberately advanced in order to support a particular ideological perspective that is held by many, if not most, working in the field of DV.

A red flag for astute observers is the absence of comparative statistics for men and boys within much of the literature about domestic violence.[3] In some cases this is because men were not surveyed, or in other cases survey instruments were biased and/or did not ask appropriate questions about female perpetration and male victims. In other cases the relevant comparisons were available but were not reported, presumably as doing so would undermine the predetermined narrative.

For me to provide details concerning the debunking of these widely cited yet misleading ‘findings’, and to provide accurate statistics in their place, would substantially increase the length and complexity of this submission. What I will do instead is provide a series of links to relevant online sources within the body of this submission where the Committee may readily access the relevant information.

The view that is put forward by most within the DV sector is that this preoccupation with male violence is justified because the number of female perpetrators is almost insignificant – that female perpetrators are almost an aberration.

When provided with irrefutable statistics showing gender symmetry (or near symmetry) in rates of perpetration, the fall-back position is typically that females only perpetrate violence in self-defence, that the physical violence they perpetrate is less severe, and/or that the impact of DV is greater for women than men.

The first statement is demonstrably false[4] and the subsequent statements demand careful qualification and interpretation.

The US organization ‘Stop Abusive and Violent Environments’ (SAVE) examined DV research results from around the world and noted that “These studies show that rates of female perpetration are very similar to male perpetration rates. The authors conclude, Results of this review suggest that partner abuse can no longer be conceived as merely a gender problem, but also (and perhaps primarily) as a human and relational problem, and should be framed as such by everyone involved.

These conclusions mirror findings in the United States, where research shows men and women initiate most forms of abuse at equal rates, for similar reasons, and rarely in self-defense.” [5]

I would invite members of the Committee to review the following references:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsgeDrlRQWc (Donald Dutton)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KgBVedec_0

http://www.reddit.com/r/mensrightslinks/comments/y0mnx/dvipc_summary/

Intimate partner abuse of men (Edith Cowan University, 2010) at http://www.ecu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/178297/10_Tilbrook_Final-Report.pdf

http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V71-Straus_Thirty-Years-Denying-Evidence-PV_10.pdf

http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/dom/heady99.pdf ‘Domestic Violence in Australia – Are men and women equally violent?’

http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V74-gender-symmetry-with-gramham-Kevan-Method%208-.pdf

http://newscastmedia.com/domestic-violence.htm

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12153&page=0

http://reason.com/archives/2014/02/22/are-domestic-violence-statistics-bogus

http://www.familylawexpress.com.au/family-law-news/research/family-violence-research/domestic-violence-study-suspended-by-unsw-for-breach-of-ethics/2165/

http://time.com/#2921491/hope-solo-women-violence/

http://www.avoiceformen.com/women/working-with-violent-women/ (Erin Pizzey)

These and further references can be found at http://www.fighting4fair.com/misrepresenting-reality/domestic-violence-one-sided-media-coverage-and-bogus-statistics/

Consider also the trend of increasing violence by women and girls generally

The claim that women are rarely responsible for domestic violence becomes all the more implausible when one considers recent trends showing substantial increases in violent crime by women and girls. Such increases also exceed the trend in similar crimes by males.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/violent-crimes-committed-by-teenage-girls-have-surged-in-nsw/story-e6freuy9-1226239405809?nk=5f0a5e0064e7e26d5416acaf028e02d8

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/girls-get-violent-1345290.html

http://www.theage.com.au/national/girls-at-war-the-new-face-of-violence-20090815-elsm.html

http://www.news.com.au/national/arrests-of-women-in-nsw-are-rising-and-now-at-a-faster-rate-than-men/story-fncynjr2-1226937589292

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/conferences/evaluation/gelb.pdf

These and further references can be found at http://www.fighting4fair.com/women-behaving-badly/on-the-recent-increase-in-violent-crime-carried-out-by-women-and-girls/

How and why is the current focus on men’s violence towards women a problem?

Firstly it is a problem because this focus is reflected in language and in statements that paint a picture of all men as abusers or potential abusers. Web site content, even to promote help-lines, is written in such a way as to pre-judge visitors based on their gender. I will provide a link to one such site in a footnote, but the agency in question is by no means unusual in this regard.[6] The material posted online in most Australian federal, state, and NGO web sites dealing with DV is assiduously judgmental and anti-male in its nature.

Take for example the document the ‘National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children’ which sets the scene for addressing domestic violence at both federal and state level. That document, as do many others like it, waves away the welfare of battered men within the first few paragraphs. The Plan states “While a small proportion of men are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, the majority of people who experience this kind of violence are women in a home, at the hands of men they know.  Men are more likely to be the victims of violence from strangers and in public, so different strategies are required to address these different types of violence.”

As a consequence of both the message being communicated by DV agencies, and broader social forces at work (i.e. anti-male bias and sex-role stereotyping), many male victims are discouraged from coming forward to report crimes and/or seek assistance. By the same token it is also entirely likely that the overt profiling undertaken by DV agencies results in fewer women coming forward to seek help for their own aggressive tendencies.

Under-reporting by male victims then has a flow-on effect of reinforcing the misconception that there are few female aggressors, that facilities for male victims are unnecessary, that survey question on male victims/female aggressors are redundant, etc.

There are many reports of male victims who do come forward being treated with suspicion, if not downright hostility. They claim to not have been believed, and that they were considered as abusers who were denial. Even when they are treated sympathetically, the next problem they encounter is that there are either nil or minimal services (e.g. beds in shelters) or assistance available to men, and even more so for men accompanied by children.

When this mantra of ‘DV=men’s violence towards women’ is disseminated through the community via the media it encourages the view that men are inherently violent, and that should you see a man involved in a violent incident with a woman then the man is the perpetrator.

This is demonstrated in the videos at http://www.fighting4fair.com/promulgating-inequality/differing-public-response-to-partner-violence-depending-on-gender-of-victim/

Be assured that men suffer deeply from the affects of domestic violence. Another largely unreported outcome of the current situation is a very high rate of male suicide linked to involvement in domestic violence – which is often exacerbated by subsequent isolation from children.[7]

The man’s separation from children can and does occur regardless of whether the father is the perpetrator, the alleged perpetrator, and/or the victim of domestic violence (as for e.g. in the case where no emergency accommodation is available for fathers with children).

Focusing wholly on male perpetrators is akin to handing violent women a free-pass

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) prepared a submission to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. RAINN is the USA’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. In that submission they wrote:

“… an inclination to focus on particular segments of the student population (e.g.,
athletes), particular aspects of campus culture (e.g., the Greek system), or traits that are
common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., “masculinity”), rather than on the
subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape. This trend has the paradoxical
effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the
individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.”[8]

Now if we change ‘sexual violence’ to ‘domestic violence’ you might see where I am heading with this. As stated earlier, many within the DV sector are loudly asserting that ‘domestic violence is men’s violence towards women’, and devoting their resources to educating/shaming men as a collective group. But by doing so they are inadvertently sending a message to violent women that ‘whatever you are doing must be something other than domestic violence’, and ‘given the violent nature of men your actions might well be justified’.

It also follows that violent women would be less concerned about being prosecuted in the knowledge that they will probably be believed more readily than their male partner should the authorities become involved.

Recommendations

  1. First and foremost, I would implore members of the Committee to consider this submission, and the linked references it provides, with an open mind and in an objective manner. You may or may not share my view that the results of the approach now taken towards domestic violence are somewhat less than stellar. Truly, domestic violence is a difficult and multi-faceted problem with which to wrestle.

Please be open to the possibility that the limited success achieved to date may also be partly due to shortcomings in both the philosophical approach that is driving current efforts, and the fixed attitudes and preconceived notions of many of those tasked with addressing the issue.

Indeed I am very much aware of the ‘elephant in the room’ that is feminist doctrine, and of the combative ‘us and them’ approach often adopted by adherents to that movement. But as is usually the case, we can and must find a middle path that will lead us to a fair and equitable solution to the scourge of domestic violence.

2. Evaluate and modify all documents and web content produced by government agencies in order to identify and remove any bias that might be present in relation to gender or sexual orientation. None of this material should pre-judge who is or might be the perpetrator or the victim in the relationship, or their motivation for coming forward.

3. Ensure that gender bias is removed from survey instruments and in research methodology in order to ensure accurate, unbiased and truly representative findings.

4. Evaluate and adjust the composition of relevant sections within agencies, committees, and panels dealing with DV issues so that, as far as practicable, they are representative of the broader community, particularly in relation to gender and sexual orientation.

At the moment it is my impression that many such groups are currently comprised entirely of women, and it is quite possible that this is introducing a degree of bias which could limit the scope of approaches being considered or undertaken to address the problem of DV.

It is also important that any budget committee, steering committees or similar should contain representatives who are completely independent, in a financial sense, from any of the matters being considered. It would be naïve to assume, given the huge amounts of money directed towards domestic violence at the state and federal level, that there was no potential for financial considerations or self-interest to influence decisions regarding the approaches undertaken.

5. Evaluate and adjust the allocation of funding and resources so that it is in accordance with the reality of the domestic violence problem in its entirety. In the first instance this would almost certainly necessitate additional resources being directed towards male victims of domestic violence and counseling for female perpetrators of violence.

6. Although it may be beyond the scope of the Committee’s consideration the manner in which the welfare of men has been largely ignored in the case of DV is partly indicative of the lack of any advocacy for the interests of men and boys within the federal sphere. This of course contrasts strongly with the situation for women where there are generously-funded agencies or sections within agencies to advance the interests of women and girls. This may not be the time or the place to consider this issue, but it is a disparity which should not continue to go unquestioned.

[1] http://mensrights.com.au/domestic-family-violence/violent-women/

[2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Pizzey

[3] http://www.fighting4fair.com/misrepresenting-reality/gender-bias-at-the-australian-department-of-social-services/

[4]See for example http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/Dutton_GenderParadigmInDV-Pt1.pdf, See  p687

[5]http://www.saveservices.org/dvlp/policy-briefings/partner-abuse-worldwide/

[6]http://www.fighting4fair.com/misrepresenting-reality/addressing-anti-male-bias-by-an-australian-state-government-department/

[7]http://mediaradar.org/docs/Davis-DomesticViolenceRelatedDeaths.pdf See Conclusion

[8]https://rainn.org/images/03-2014/WH-Task-Force-RAINN-Recommendations.pdf

*****************************************************************************

Further information concerning the Inquiry can be accessed at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Domestic_Violence.

PS: The tabling of the Inquiry’s report has been postponed from 27 October 2014 to 2 March 2015, and then extended again to 18 June 2015. On 15 June 2015, the Senate granted a further extension of time for reporting until 20 August 2015. I was extremely disappointed with this delay – it was really quite a pathetic effort.

Here is a link to the final report which I have yet to review (that review may well form the basis for a separate post).

An interim report was released on 19 March 2015. Regretfully there is nothing in that document to suggest that any consideration whatsoever has been given submissions from those offering a non-feminist perspective on the matter. As a consequence the report continues the tradition of turning the other way with respect to the existence of male victims and female perpetrators. To give an example, clauses 1.11 and 1.38 only refer to behavioural modification programs in relation to male perpetrators.

The One in Three organisation has had a significant degree of involvement with the Senate Inquiry. In this paper they recount the bias and antagonism that they have witnessed and experienced because of their efforts to seek a fairer outcome for men who have been subjected to family violence.