Mother Jones Goes Hypocritical

 

Mother Jones did a 6000 word piece on the Men’s Human Rights Movement and got it wrong in so many ways. Here’s a comment I left on the article:

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.36.17 PMThe namesake of this magazine is Mary (Mother) Jones, a woman who stood up for the rights of men. ​Her husband was an ironworker and organizer of the National Union of Iron Moulders. After​ his early death Mother Jones honored her husband by becoming a highly successful union organizer fighting for the rights of working men. She dedicated her life to helping men get a fair deal and did so with great gusto and aplomb. Far from a suffragette she is often quoted as having said “You don’t need the vote to raise hell.”

The irony of this article is overwhelming.

​The real Mother Jones fought for the rights of men who worked in the death professions. That is, those jobs that have a very high mortality rate. The jobs that are populated almost entirely by men who are sacrificing their own safety in order to provide for their families and loved ones. Workplace death is actually one of the many men’s issues that the author omitted from bringing up in this article. Rather than compliment the people who are working towards helping with this issue and these men her article instead attempts to denigrate and marginalize those working for the human rights of men and boys by name calling those folks haters and trolls. I do wonder if Ms Blake thinks of Mother Jones as a hater and troll?

She starts off the article with a huge cheap shot. In the first paragraph she tries to associate a murderer with the activists she is about to describe. There is literally no evidence that Eliot Rodger was in any way associated with the men’s human rights movement but facts don’t stop Ms Blake. Right off the bat she loses credibility by pulling such a low minded trick. Just imagine an article about the original Mother Jones that mentioned an unrelated murder in the first paragraph. It’s hard to imagine.

The majority of the article reads like a soap opera. She talks more about the personality of those involved rather than the issues at hand. In over 6000 words she never discusses any of the numerous issues men face for more than a sentence. That is remarkable.

It is also remarkable how she fails to mention the important work being done by avoiceformen.com. And of course, she fails to mention that a good portion of those at that site and who presented at the 1st International Conference on Men’s Issues in Detroit last June were women. Women who see the flagrant bigotry that Blake prefers to simply ignore. This might be more excusable if Blake had a short deadline but that was not the case. She has spent hours and hours, weeks and even months interviewing people about this and is totally aware of the issues at hand (including the workplace death issue) but has consciously chosen to simply not bring them up. That simply wouldn’t go so well with her personal misandrist theme of haters and trolls.

I think a better name for this magazine might be Mother Dworkin.

Men Are Good and so are Male Only Spaces (Part Two)



Part Onelionsmen of this series described numerous male spaces which over the last 40 years have been dismantled. Nearly all of the examples of male spaces had something important in common: they focused on all male groups that gathered to be supportive to women and the culture at large. The armed forces, police and firemen are obvious examples of men being of service. The Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary are also obvious examples of men gathering in male space to be helpful to women and the society at large. These spaces harmonized with men’s traditional provide and protect role. Even the all-male colleges could be seen as ultimately preparing young men to be of service to women and to our culture, especially the military academies. The athletic groups were also similar and provided a competition ground that helped women in choosing which man might be best for her. Most of these male spaces had a similar objective to be of service to women and the culture by helping men perform their primary sex role of providing and protecting.

Then along comes the 1970’s with the battle cry that men and women were equal. No differences existed between men and women outside of socialization they said. When we run under that assumption, that men and women are exactly equal, it is easy to see that the need for male space that enhances his ability to provide and protect for women is no longer a necessity. If we are truly equal then women should be able to provide and protect on their own. Male spaces lose their cultural importance. If we are truly equal then it’s optional. The male spaces become something that is as disposable as the males themselves. They are no longer necessary.

This might have been an interesting development if men and women were truly treated as equal. Women would have been drafted and dying in wars at an equal rate, there would be no affirmative action if we were truly equal, those women’s commissions would have been people commissions to serve both men and women, the health laws and funding would have focused in a more balanced manner rather than focusing primarily on women, we would have a violence against people act rather than a violence against women act and on and on.

But that is not what happened. At the same time that equality was proclaimed we see the powerful and quiet hand of gynocentrism shaping our world. Prior to this gynocentrism helped our civilization by providing and protecting women at the expense of men. This insured the survival of our species. But now with the proclamation of equality​,​ gynocentrism continued its influence but in a different manner. Now the heading is that we are equal but as Orwell explained “some animals are more equal than others.” This is clearly seen in the dismantling of male space and the simultaneous expansion of female space. Yes, we are equal but females should get more. The ridiculous excuse for this is that males had it all for so long and now it is women’s turn. Okay, if that is the case then why not have women only battle groups, women trashmen, women sewage workers? We don’t see that though do we? Just more perks for women and tell the men they are equal and to sit down and shut up and keep those sewers running. This is a far cry from equality.

It is interesting to note that as male spaces that were meant to provide for women, children and the culture at large were being dismantled female only spaces were being built.  These female Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.06.40 PMspaces seem markedly different from the males spaces that were intended to serve women, children, and the culture. The female spaces seem to focus only on helping women and sometimes children, especially female children.  Men’s service groups tended to serve everyone but themselves while women’s service groups seem to serve primarily only themselves.  Very different.  So if men “had it all” then women still don’t have it all since they have omitted a large part of what the men did when they were of service to women, children, the needy and the culture at large.

To make matters worse, the same gynocentrism that offers more to women by default, also continues to hold men accountable for women even though we are “equal.” If we were truly equal then women and the public would have no problem with men meeting in male only spaces. Why not? If we are equal and women can have private spaces, why not men? But we see the opposite. Men are discouraged from meeting together in male only spaces and even more discouraged to meeting together for their own benefit. The male spaces of yesteryear as we have seen had the open purpose of being of service to others, especially women and the needy. So these spaces are discouraged but guess what? Even spaces where men would meet just for their own benefit are greeted with shaming and harsh judgements. Let’s take an example.

Think back to the 1990’s and the Mythopoetic Movement started by poet Robert Bly. This movement began creating very powerful male spaces that had nothing to do with providing and protecting and these men paid a dear price for it. As we have seen, our culture has tolerated male only spaces in the past since they were mostly related to the gynocentric harness that held men to sacrifice their own needs and focus on the needs of the culture and of women and children. But these spaces were very different. The Mythopoetic groups offered spaces for men to enjoy each other’s company as men and to explore their vulnerabilities and woundedness in a non​-​competitive and supportive space completely void of any women. Sounds good right? The media had been blasting men for decades for being too violent, for being too silent, for being too insensitive, too competitive and well, just too “testosterone poisoned.” Then along comes the Mythopoetic movement which is the antitheses of all of these criticisms and what does the media and public do? They shame these men time and time again with insults like “all they do is go out in the woods and bang drums.” The public goes along with the media assessment and this huge shift is simply shamed and turned into a cartoon even though the men were doing the very things that the media and the public had complained that men had forever lacked.

The question is why would this happen? Why would people not see this important shift in men’s behaviors and applaud these men for breaking new ground? I think the answer is very simple. The answer is that the thing that most upset the public was that males were leaving their traditional roles of providing and protecting. It didn’t matter what else they were doing. All that mattered was that they were meeting as men, with other men, and not focusing on caring for women or doing anything that was related to providing and protecting. They were looking at their own wounds and supporting each other and this was enough to set off the media and the public into auto shame mode.

In​ ​so​​me ways I think these men got a taste of what gay men had seen for many years, shaming, harsh judgment and the assumption they just weren’t “real” men. Real men provide and protect​, and have an interest in women, not in themselves or other men​.

In some ways the mythopoetic men and gays were pioneers in the MGTOW movement. We can see the same shaming being dished out to the MGTOW men of today. All these groups have the common bond of not catering to provide and protect for women. When men meet on their own, in male only groups they become a target of the culture.

If I am correct it will help explain why men’s human rights activists are getting such an automatic shaming and hatred for standing up for men and boys. These men and women are focusing on an aspect of being male that has nothing to do with his primary sex role of provide and protect and has everything to do with his own needs, wants, and well being. This is seen as a threat just as the mythopoetic men, the gays and the MGTOW’s were likely seen as a threat since they were ignoring the provide and protect side of things and focusing instead on themselves.

And so it goes.

Let’s not forget, men are good. Gay men, straight men, MGTOW men, Mythopoetic men, MHRA men and on and on. Men are good.

Original Men’s Issues Video w/ audio

 

Here is the original Men’s Issues Video with the audio:

 

After being on youtube for nearly 8 years Youtube decided that the background music in this video was a copyright infringement and without any warning simply muted the audio.  This was the first video I had done and at the time I simply didn’t think that using background music in a free, non-commercial, educational video was going to cause a fuss.  I guess I was wrong.

 

Lesson learned.

 

 

Men Are Good and so are Male Only Spaces


I want to introduce you to a new hero of mine, a man named Johnny Shanahan. Johnny runs barber shops in Ireland and Great Britain. He decided that he wanted his shops to be male only.  This has predictably created considerable resistance from those who felt it was sexist.  johhnnyJohnny won’t back down.  Good on him.  Johnny offers more than just a haircut. In some of his shops a bar is available, some offer poker, some cigars and the welcomed male banter.  Johnny is standing up for the rights of men to gather in a male only space. He sees the obvious benefit for men to gather together.  I don’t think it is a stretch to guess that Johnny also thinks men are good.

But why does Johnny even need to provide such a service for men? Well, because we have seen a systematic dismantling of male spaces over the last 40 years.  The prominent justification is that women are facing discrimination by being excluded from the men’s spaces with the implication that men are using all of their male only spaces to network and market and thus leaving women out and disadvantaged. Framed in this manner male only space was deemed sexist and the demands followed that male spaces need to change and incorporate women. There may be an ounce of truth in this idea but that is no reason to dismantle ALL male spaces.  The feminist demonization of men strikes again and the public has followed along like a little puppy dog. 

At the same time that men’s spaces are being outlawed, women’s spaces are seen as sacred and rather than being opened to men have been expanded as women only.  Due to this 40 years of dismantling of male space and the opposite expansion of female only spaces there are very few places left that men can gather and just be men together.

pinkironLet’s give some examples of the dismantling of male spaces.  

Our gyms at one time were primarily male spaces for men to gather, work out, and compete but now gyms must be open to both genders.  But wait, what about Curves?  Yes, women only gyms are acceptable and are often a very successful endeavor providing women only spaces in gyms like Curves and Pink Iron.girlonteam

Men’s and boys sports teams have been largely opened to girls to participate while girl’s teams are off limits to boys and men.

There were numerous colleges that were male only providing the young men with an experience of an all male environment.  As of 2008 only three all male liberal arts colleges remained.  However, there are nearly fifty all female colleges and no one seems to mind or get upset.  Male space is dismantled as sexist while female space is expanded and blessed.

womeninlockerrooomAt one time women were restricted from men’s locker rooms and only men were allowed inside. Now that has shifted and females are allowed into male locker rooms after games even though the males are in a state of undress.  At the same time female locker rooms are always off limits to men and male reporters.

Barbershops at one time were places that were men only.  That has shifted and now they are mostly unisex.  Thanks to Johnny and others that is starting to shift.

firemen-womanThe military, fire department and police were all male only at one time.  But today they are populated by both sexes with the previous physical requirements to do the job often lowered for the express purpose of allowing women to participate.  At the same time professions like teaching and nursing continue to be dominated by women and no one says a peep.

The YMCA, the young men’s christian association, was once for boys but it has accepted girls and is now for all children.  The YWCA, the young women’s christian association remains for girls and women.

Title IX has been a great help to young women getting important athletic experiences but it has come at a severe price to the men and boys.  Over 2200 male athletic teams have been sacrificed for the sake of Title IX leaving the young men without a similar athletic experience and a huge lack of male space. This is particularly hard on boys since they are more likely to find and maintain relationships on their sports teams.

lionsmenMen’s organizations have taken a similar beating.  Most are now about women and men, not just about men.  Take the Rotary Club as an example.  At one time it was for men only. Then in the late 1980’s the Supreme Court ruled against them and forced the Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, and others to start accepting females. lions women But take a look at the women only organizations.  Hundreds upon hundreds of them.  We have a national organization to support and promote all of the women’s commissions and another  national organization to support and promote all of the women’s groups.  All male organizations are a thing of the past while female specific organizations are expanding in a big way.  

Women in congress have increased many times over in the last 50 years.  What do they do?  They start a women’s caucus to support and promote any legislation that might help women and girls. That is all well and good but congress has no men’s caucus.  What’s that you say?  All of congress is a men’s caucus?  Nope, you got that wrong.  Not one congressman or senator has an aid specifically for men’s issues but it is nearly guaranteed that each one will have an aid and maybe even a staff of people to focus on women’s issues. Our legislators may be mostly male but these males do their provide and protect routine very well and write legislation that helps women and girls but ignores the needs of boys and men.

ladiesparkAt one time our parking lots were spaces for everyone.  But now we are seeing more and more women only spaces. And yes the pun is intended, there are No Male Spaces.  On a more serious note In many countries they have women only subway cars or buses but nothing similar for men.

So it is easy to see that male spaces have disappeared and today’s generation of young men don’t even miss it since they never knew it existed. “So what” you say?  What’s the big deal?  Well, start off by just imagining that the same dismantling had happened to women’s groups and left them today without any female spaces.  Would that be hurtful to them?  Absolutely.  Women have always gotten a great deal by gathering in women only groups.  Imagine all of that was now available but it was no longer women only, there had to be men involved in every activity as both members and leaders.  Can you feel the difference?  I bet you can. Women would suffer and likely yearn for women only space.

Now think of what it has done to our men and boys. Men have traditionally found it helpful to meet and be with other men whether it is at the barber shop, the gym, on a sports team, at work, or at a service group. Men tend to find and maintain friendships within these male spaces. The male only camaraderie helps build the man’s sense of self and give him an idea of where he stands among men.  The jostling back and forth, the competition, the kidding and the pushing of buttons, and simply the all male shoulder to shoulder time also helps these men. They compete like crazy and then go have a beer. These sorts of things were common place in the male only spaces.  Now they are basically extinct except for the spontaneous gatherings that men create. Men like Johnny Shanahan.  

Johnny be Good!  And so are men.

johnnybegood

The One-Sided Narrative of Domestic Violence

Möbius_strip
The Mobius Strip only has one side and is not too dissimilar to the narrative on domestic violence.

The public is convinced that domestic violence is all about aggressive men beating up on defenseless women. While this is in some ways correct, it is only a fraction of the story.  The reality is that domestic violence is quite complex and women can be the perpetrators and men can also be the victims.  That side of the story though has been deeply buried and ignored.

How did the public come to be so misinformed?  It’s a long and involved tale.  Activists, clinicians, the media, academics and researchers have all played a part in this.  Each group has for many years only told a part of the story, the part about women as victims and men as perpetrators.  To get a good sense of this remarkable and lopsided tale you could read a report to Maryland lawmakers written by the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health that tells the story plainly about male victims of domestic violence. It does not pull punches and goes into more detail than this short article.  

It’s not hard to imagine how an activist, a clinician or the media might have a strongly biased stance that focused only on women as victims. They are all likely to have a vested interest. The activist wants more funding for their specific work, the clinician is tied to their patients and their plight, and the media will print whatever sells more papers. Female victims sell papers, male victims don’t. But how about academics and researchers? How could they play a role in this deception? One might assume that they would have an interest in getting the entire story in the open but that is far from the case.  There is no simple answer to this question but there is a fine piece of writing by Murray Straus,  a renowned family violence researcher that explains his take on this problem. (the Straus report is briefly referenced in the Maryland Men’s Health Commission report cited above) The Straus article describes seven methods used by feminist domestic violence researchers  to conceal and distort evidence on symmetry in partner violence. In other words Straus tells us how these researchers avoided talking about men as victims and women as perpetrators. The article is a remarkable story of a researcher explaining how his craft has been manipulated to tell only part of the story and therefore create a false perception among the general public, the perception that women are the sole victims of domestic violence. It is a must read for anyone who is baffled by this scenario.

Here are the Seven Methods outlined by Straus:

Method 1 Suppress Evidence
Method 2 Avoid Obtaining Data Inconsistent With the Patriarchal Dominance Theory
Method 3. Cite Only Studies That Show Male Perpetration
Method 4. Conclude That Results Support Feminist Beliefs When They Do Not
Method 5. Create “Evidence” by Citation
Method 6. Obstruct Publication of Articles and Obstruct Funding Research That Might Contradict the Idea that Male Dominance Is the Cause of PV
Method 7. Harass, Threaten, and Penalize Researchers Who Produce Evidence That Contradicts Feminist Beliefs

In this article we will be having a look at Method three which shows how researchers can choose to only cite evidence that shows male perpetration and simply omit any mention to alternatives. Straus explains that their own data may in fact have evidence of male victims but they simply choose to not include it in their studies.They simply ignore it and only promote one side of the story: female victims and male perpetrators. 

It is hard to believe that someone invested in the scientific method would stoop to such standards but Straus is 100% correct.  This has been done for years both in research and in the keeping of statistics.

In order to understand how this can happen let’s take a recent example that can show us how this works and also give us some insight into the mentality of those who might utilize such tactics.  

In September of 2014 in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine an article was published titled “Characteristics of Men Who Perpetuate Intimate Partner Violence.”  The article, as so many others before it, focused solely on men as perpetrators and women as victims. It estimated that 1 in 5 men admitted to being violent toward their spouse.  The media caught wind of this and a flood of articles were published with the headline “1 in 5 men admit to violence toward spouse.”

Here are a couple examples of the types of headlines that were seen:

psychcentral

webmd

Seeing these articles motivated me to contact the researcher, Dr Vijay Singh, and ask a few questions.  We exchanged numerous emails. In his defense, I must say that he was very generous with his time and civil in our discussions. He seems like a very nice chap but he did say some things that will help us in understanding the mentality of researchers who ignore male victims.  

The Gatekeeper

One of the first things I asked the researcher was if he had posed the same question to females about their violence towards men.  One of his eventual responses to this is below.  

“As I’d like physicians to think about asking men about IPV, a place to start is from the traditional heterosexual model of women as victims, and men as perpetrators. Eventually, physicians may get to a point of asking women about perpetration, and men about victimization. The medical community is not there yet, and may not be there for many years.”

So he is basically saying, doctors are not ready to hear about male victims or female perpetrators.  He would like them to be ready to hear about this but well, they just aren’t there yet.  This is somehow used as an excuse to not focus on male victims and female perpetrators?  It’s as if he is saying, “Maybe we will get to the men someday, maybe years from now.”  Imagine a doctor saying, “We have lots of diabetes deaths and let’s start with the white patients since that is where most physicians are comfortable, maybe someday we will get to the blacks. But let’s not talk about them since doctors may not be ready to hear about them.”  Would that go over very well?  Absolutely not,  It would be seen as hateful and racist but somehow if you do the same thing to men no one really cares.  It is also very clear that he is not willing to  point out to M.D.’s that males are indeed victims or females perpetrators.  That isn’t even on the radar.  Not to mention that the “heterosexual model” he mentioned has nothing to do with female victims and is a complete non sequitur.  (in this researcher’s defense he claims to have published research that points out females as perpetrators)

But Women are More Often the Victims!

This is a very common claim that researchers make in justifying ignoring male victims or in only serving women.  Listen to what this researcher says:

“Though women may report higher rates of perpetration, they receive more injuries from IPV, and women constitute 70% of those killed by an intimate partner. Because of the greater burden of injuries and deaths from IPV, we chose to focus on men as aggressors in our study.”

This is a very common excuse for those who are inclined to tell only half the story.  Let’s examine this just a minute.  Most research tends to show that males are a large percentage of the seriously injured in domestic violence.  The J Archer meta analysis estimated that 38% of the injuries from domestic violence were to males so I think it is safe to take this kind of claim with a grain of salt and understand it is just an excuse, not a good reason to avoid bringing up male victims and female perpetrators.  But look at the stats he quotes.  Women are 70% of those killed by an intimate partner. Yes.  Last I checked that would mean that 30% of those killed were males.  Therefore he is willing to turn his back on nearly a third of those killed each year.  To me this is bizarre and indefensible.  Blacks are 25% of those who die from heart disease. Should we have a “Heart Disease Against Whites, Hispanics and Asians Act?”  It’s an act that funnels money and services to the majority of the victims, right?  By this researcher’s logic that would be just fine.  Or maybe the Cancer Against Heterosexuals Act?  Would that work?

It turns out this researcher was aware of the fact that females reported higher rates of perpetration (we will get to this in just a minute) but he was happy to simply focus on 1 in 5 men being violent in relationship.  The only explanation that comes to my mind is that he is motivated by a gynocentrist attitude that thinks of serving females first and males as an afterthought.  

The Catch 22

This researcher claims that he was reluctant to alert physicians that men were also victims of domestic violence since, as he says, there are no interventions available.  Here’s the quote:

“…There is no effective intervention for male victims of IPV, or female perpetrators of IPV. Without an intervention, physicians don’t want to ask men or women about those behaviors. Your point that many domestic violence service agencies not wanting to work with men also complicates this issue.”

So here is the Catch 22.  Only those who have interventions available get referred and discussed.  Men get omitted since they have no interventions.  But how will men ever get interventions and service if they are not discussed? Seems like a fool proof plan to permanently exclude men and justify focusing only on women.  I do wonder what he would say if I suggested that there was a serious disease or problem where researchers didn’t have adequate services or interventions. Would he want to just keep that quiet since there were not interventions available?  I would bet not.  What we see is a callous disregard for males who have troubles.  He is insulated from any criticism  due to the profound lack of anyone in our culture standing up for the needs of boys and men.

It’s worth noting that it could be said that the interventions for female victims and male perpetrators are far from being proven effective but that doesn’t keep us focusing on women only and spending a billion dollars a year on the problem.

But wait a minute. It gets worse.

The STUDY

A public database was used for this research.  I asked the researcher for the raw numbers for females admitting violence and he refused saying I needed to find a statistician to help me obtain that data.  That smelled a little stinky to me and it made me wonder if he had something to hide.  I went about figuring a way to get the data myself and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was open for anyone to see and was online to boot!   

I taught myself the basics to get to this raw data and first looked into the ways the data was collected. They used two questions which were drawn from a nationally representative database. (NCS-R) One of the two questions asked about the respondent’s usage of minor violence towards their spouse and the other asked about severe violence.  The responses were broken down into four possibilities which detailed how often the behaviors occurred:

a. never
b. rarely
c. sometimes
d. often

These categories gave one a sense of the frequency of the behaviors being studied.  But here is the kicker.   The researchers didn’t use these four responses even though they were available on the database.  Here’s a quote from the research paper that describes what they didi:

In brief, the dependent variable IPV perpetration was assessed by asking: “Over the course of your relationship, how often have you ever done any of these things (pushed, grabbed, or shoved; threw something; slapped or hit; kicked, bit, or hit with a fist; beat up; choked; burned or scalded; threatened with a knife or gun) to your current spouse/partner?” Responses included often, sometimes, rarely, or never. We dichotomized responses into any/none.

In other words, by “dichotomized” they mean they turned all the different four responses into either “yes” I committed violence or “no” I did not commit violence.  They took any answer that was not “never ” as constituting an incident of domestic violence. With no way of interpreting the frequency of these behaviors we are left just guessing unnecessarily.  This limits the usefulness of the data. The chart below gives you a quick look at all the answers that were not “Never.” It shows all of the positive responses (the admissions of violence) to the two questions from the database where respondents answered “Rarely”, “Sometimes” and “Often.” Notice that 87% of these responses were “Rarely.” Knowing that the vast majority have answered rarely puts a very different spin on the data.  But since the study has removed this information it leaves the reader unaware of any frequency information and it is anyone’s guess what people will assume. If you only read their study with their dichotomized data and don’t know about this detail of the data you might assume that all of those responses were incidents of serious violence. Have a look at this chart and see how the vast majority of answers were “Rarely” (457) and there were very few “Sometimes” (63) and fewer still “Often.” (7)   

all-responses

Why would researchers do this sort of thing? I am not sure what their reasons were but it is clear that by counting the incidences as they did it will tend to inflate the appearance of domestic violence.  This gave them the ability to make the claim that 1 in five men “admitted” to being violent towards their spouse.  Just imagine if they had not dumbed down the data.  They would have had to say “One in five men admitted to rarely being violent towards his spouse and one in 1000 answered “Often.’  It just loses its sexiness doesn’t it?  

Then the question arises why would any researcher want to diminish the information in his data?  It might have been very instructive if they could differentiate the different levels of frequency of violence.  They could then say things like “Those men who claimed to “often” use violence towards their spouse were more likely to x than the men who said “rarely.”  This could be very helpful information to clinicians, law enforcement, and many others but we simply don’t see that level of detail since the data has been “dichotomized.” My guess is that the motive here is to inflate the appearance of domestic violence and by doing this they get more likelihood of funding for their next study.   But this is just my guess.

When people think about domestic violence they are often thinking of someone being severely beaten. They are not thinking of someone who gave a gentle push or grabbed an arm in a moment of irritation and both parties then calming down shortly thereafter.  But the way these questions were asked all of the “rarely” responses could be just that: a momentary irritation.  One of the questions asked a list of behaviors including if you had ever pushed or grabbed  your spouse.  If you pushed your spouse 20 years ago and never pushed her again you would answer yes to this question and would be counted as someone who admitted to violence in relationship. The way the questions were worded leaves us wondering about the severity of violence associated with the “Rarely” responses. It is possible that with the wording of the questions that the “Rarely” category might be a slight push every twenty years. So just to experiment, let’s exclude these “rarely ” responses and only count the “sometimes” and “often” responses as being evidence of more serious domestic violence the situation changes dramatically.  Now instead of being 1 in 5 it is more like 1 in 50.  Even that I think is not accurate.  If you exclude the sometimes responses and only count for the question about severe violence the figure drops to 1 fifth of one percent .17% (about 1 in 500) Very very low but these researchers tried to paint a picture using all of the positive responses as being a “yes” thus creating the appearance of a more widespread problem. 

But with these caveats let’s accept this as it is and move on.

We have seen how this researcher harbors ideas that are likely to diminish the chances of male victims being highlighted.  We have seen how the data was “dichotomized” and how this may have altered the meaning of the numbers to the general public.  Now let’s turn to the stunning fact that the database he used for this study to show how 1 in 5 men admitted to being violent with their spouse actually showed that women admitted to more violence in relationship than did the men, sometimes by as much as double.  Let’s look at each of the two questions. 

Here’s the first:

MR42. F (RB, PG 56)
People handle disagreements in many different ways. Over the course of your relationship, how often have you ever done any of these things on List A to your [(current)] [(spouse/partner)] – often, sometimes, rarely or never?

         List A
          ·  Pushed, grabbed or shoved
· Threw something
· Slapped, hit, or spanked

Let’s have a look at a chart that shows both men’s and women’s response to that question.

admits-min-viol-full2

Note that the majority of responses were “Never” with “Rarely” coming in a distant second.  Then note that the “Sometimes” and “Often” responses are a very small number in comparison.  You will see that of the responses that admitted to any violence (rarely, sometimes, and often) the female totals were always higher than the males.  In the sometimes and often responses they were almost double. This is remarkable but it got buried by the researchers only focusing on male violence.  Also note that the males admitting to minor violence are about 15.5% of the total while the females admitting minor violence are about 21%.  That is quite a gap.

So we can easily see that the researcher simply ignored the female data.  It was there but he chose to turn his head. 

Next up is the question about severe violence. Here is the question as it was asked:


MR44. F (RB, PG 56)
Now looking at List B, over the course of your relationship, how often have you ever done any of the things on List B to your [(spouse/partner)] – often, sometimes, rarely, or never?

LIST B
Kicked, bit or hit with a fist
Beat up
Choked
Burned or scalded
Threatened with a knife or gun

See the chart below and notice that the same patterns play out in this chart with the major difference being that the numbers are sharply diminished.  Again notice that the female numbers are always higher than the males and in the “sometimes” and “often” responses are double or more.

admit-seve-viol-full2

This seems like a very important difference that is contrary to the stereotype that has become the norm.  The least that needs to be done is for the researchers to attempt to explain this difference.  I am willing to bet that their explanation would  focus on the man’s unwillingness to tell the truth.  This explanation might have some credibility since men are far more likely to face harsh judgement and shaming for admitting hitting a woman while women do not face nearly the same sorts of judgements for hitting men.  But the data does not support this idea.  There were other questions on this same database about domestic violence and one of those asked the respondent for the frequency of how often the spouse hit them.  If we assume that men were lying about their violence we would expect that the women’s responses to how often their spouse was violent towards them would show that their masculine partners were more violent and the women’s numbers about the men being violent would be greater than the men’s numbers.  But that is not what the responses show.  The responses show that women reported that men hit them less than the men report the women hitting them.  This seems to support the idea that women are more violent in relationships (at least in this sample) just as the raw data from these questions suggests.

It is also worth noting that just as the researchers “dichotomized” the Rarely, Sometimes and Often responses into yes or no, they have also combined the question about severe violence and minor violence into one unit that is expressed as a yes or no.  If someone answered affirmatively to either of these questions it was counted as an incident of violence. But keep in mind that there were nearly seven times as many affirmative responses to the question about minor violence when compared to the severe violence.  These important differences disappear when the data is simply totaled and you ignore both the frequency and the severity. Again, the same theme plays out that “dichotomizing” the data and now the questions puts strong and unnecessary limits on its usefulness.  The only reasons I can imagine they would want to do this would be to inflate the appearance of domestic violence. Just as the activists, media and so many others try to paint an exaggerated picture we now see the researchers apparently taking a similar path.

It seems to me that List B is more representative of what most of us consider domestic violence.  Kicking, beating up, choking, threatening with knife or gun etc.  These are indicators of serious violence.  If we only look at the percentages of this question we see that the number of females admitting severe violence totaled 3.1% (approx. 1 in 32) while the males admitting severe violence totaled 2.2% (approx. 1 in 45).  That says that nearly 60% of those admitting to severe violence are women.  What?  Has anyone heard any research that points to those numbers?  No.  And that is the point of this article.  We have heard only half the story and as evidenced by this research the numbers were there, the researchers simply opted to ignore them thus leaving most of us in the dark about the realities of domestic violence.

Conclusion

We have seen how the ideas and attitudes of the researcher played out in only reporting one side of this story.  We have seen how the “dichotomizing” of the data and the questions basically dumbed down the data and made if less useful by making it a simple yes or no. We have seen how very shocking and informative data that conclusively shows that women admitted to being more violent in relationship was ignored and unreported.  This all facilitates the promotion of the default narrative of women as victims and men as perpetrators by only telling the story about male perpetrators and female victims.   We have seen how this works and the powerful national media’s willingness to promote this half story on a national level.

Look at the headline below. Now you know this headline should actually read “1 in 4 American Women admit to domestic violence.”


feministing2

Can you imagine seeing an article like the one pictured below in  a mainstream media publication?  I would bet not.  But like it or not, that is actually the truth.

newspaper (1)

It’s time we started holding researchers, the media and all of those connected to domestic violence accountable.  This charade has gone on far too long.

Dear Abby Strikes Again!

 

Check out this slightly altered Dear Abby column and see what you think.

 

abbyDear Abby: I think I have an abuse problem. I’ve been with my girlfriend for a year, and already I feel she is fed up with me. I don’t want to lose her.

When I was younger, my father used to abuse me. It was years ago, but I feel like I might have gotten that trait from him. In addition, I have a tendency to smack my girlfriend on the arm when she’s verbally abusing me. I just want it to stop.

I love this woman and I feel terrible after I do it. I keep telling her I’m sorry and that I have the worst tendency to act on impulse. Please tell me how to stop because I CAN’T lose her.

Sorry in Kansas City, Mo.

Dear Sorry: If you want your relationship to improve, you must realize it will take effort, not only on your part, but also your girlfriend’s. Neither of you handles anger or frustration appropriately. She shouldn’t verbally abuse you if something bothers her. And you need to find other ways than hitting her to make her stop.

Couples counseling could help you communicate more effectively with each other. Many licensed mental health professionals offer it. Please don’t wait.

 

See anything fishy here?  See the actual column here
.

 

Domestic Violence Double Standards: Men Get Shackles, Women Get Chuckles

Ray-Rice-married.final

Ray Rice got a raw deal.  

We are living in a world of huge double standards when it comes to domestic violence and our men are on the bad end of the deal.  When a man commits domestic violence  he is punished very harshly.  But when a woman commits domestic violence she gets cheers, chuckles or is all too often ignored.

Just look at what happened to Ray Rice.

The video of the incident showed Rice’s girlfriend (and soon to be wife) hitting him twice, once before getting on the elevator and once on the elevator.  Then it shows her moving aggressively towards him in what appears to be an attempt to strike him a third time. (please note this not a defenseless woman cowering in the corner) Rice responds by hitting her in the face and she hits her head on a handrail which then knocks her out.  The eventual response to this incident?  Ban Ray Rice from his lucrative association with the NFL, and be fired from his team, the Baltimore Ravens.  These two things obviously shame him, put a big DV on his forehead, cut off his income, his prestige, and his association with his friends and teammates.  A very harsh and far too stringent response in my opinion.  But wait.  What would happen if we reversed the roles here?

Let’s see.

Imagine this: Ray Rice hits his girlfriend before getting on the elevator and then again on the elevator.  Then moves aggressively towards her in what appears to be a third attempt to hit her.  As he moves in to hit her she hits him in the face and he hits his head on a handrail knocking him out. What is the response to this?  My guess is she would get accolades and be seen as a hero, a woman who successfully protected herself from an abuser.  She would likely be on talk shows and be held up as a role model for all women.  Rice would likely be arrested for domestic violence while she is seen as a hero.

Do you see the problem here?   For the same behavior she is a hero and he is shamed and banished.

So Ray Rice was not guilty of beating up on a completely defenseless woman.  No.  As we previously described this was not some cowering woman in the corner covering her face with her arms and hoping not to be hit, this was an aggressive woman who had already struck him twice and was moving in for the  third blow.  This is very different from a defenseless women.  Yes, Ray needs to take responsibility for hitting her but doesn’t she need to take responsibility for hitting him? Isn’t she clearly guilty of domestic violence?  I read quite a few articles on this incident and I simply don’t remember ever seeing her violence addressed. No one ever mentioned it.  Just another example of the huge double standard we face.  It is so powerful that the media simply ignores the violence of women.  The youtube with this article shows numerous women who were violent in relationship and what was the response?  Laughter and very little.

I think the NFL really blew it on this one.  

The punishment he received was far from helpful.  What sort of help might he get from being banished from his profession?  What sort of help might it give his wife?  None. The sad fact is that the NFL acted like a cowardly white knight who was more than willing to throw Mr Rice under the team bus in order to appear that they didn’t hate women and had uber concern about the issue of domestic violence.  It just seems like one big disgusting play for image by the NFL.  A play that ignores the humanity of both Rice and his wife.

What happens to the man on the street who hits a woman?  Is he tossed out of his job as punishment?  No.  Is he banned from working in his profession?  Highly unlikely.  Is he offered some form of counseling or educational opportunity that might help him deal with his mess?  Yes, usually, and in severe cases people go to jail but apparently the Ray Rice situation found that he was best served by this former alternative but the NFL stepped in and amped up the ante to an extremely humiliating degree.  

Does the fact that she didn’t hit as hard matter?  Not really.  If a 5’ 7” 150 lb man came to me in therapy and said that he had hit a pro football player twice in an elevator and was moving towards him again to land a third blow and he got knocked out what would I tell him?  Would I tell him that he should have the pro football player arrested and that he was a victim?  Or should I tell him that his behavior was a part of this equation.  Duh.  Why doesn’t Mrs Rice get the same treatment?  Because we are living in a gynocentric world that holds men accountable and fails to do the same for women.

If we are going to let women off and not hold them accountable for domestic violence than we need to do the same with men.  If we are truly equal it is the only fair thing to do.

The Invisible Blue Taboo — The Burden of Boys and Men

bluetaboo

This is what you get when you swallow the blue pill.

Most men live under an invisible blue taboo.  This powerful and cloaked prohibition discourages men in many ways, one of which is from letting anyone know if they might be feeling blue.  But it goes much deeper.  It’s not just about emotions, the blue taboo includes being needy or dependent in any way.  Men find themselves automatically avoiding any communication that might portray them as dependent or needy.  I have been watching this taboo for years and have marveled at men’s creativity in sidestepping this dilemma. Men have simply expressed their emotional pain and neediness in other ways.  Some use actions, some use inaction.  Most men have found  ways around this prohibition and feel just fine about it.  We should be good right?  Wrong.

The taboo also impacts women (and other men) by discouraging them from listening to the man’s emotional pain, his neediness or his dependency.  In my years of working with couples in therapy I have very rarely seen a woman who routinely listened to the emotional pain of her male partner.  Think purple polar bear.  Very rare.  Women do often claim that they want a man who is in touch with his feelings but if you scratch and sniff you find that this means that he should be in touch with HER feelings.  It is a rare women who can regularly sit with the man she loves and non-judgmentally hear him out on a feeling level.  Yes, women will claim that men give them no chance to do this, that they are cold and unfeeling, but  give her a chance in therapy to listen to his pain and what I have seen repeatedly is that she has a very hard time with this and often recoils.

Men have also found ways around not being heard in relationships.  Again, they turn towards their strength of action and their powerful ability to utilize solitude.  But that is not the end of this story.

The very same resistance to hearing men’s pain and men’s needs in relationship we can also see in our cultural structures. Just as a man’s emotional pain and neediness is taboo in relationship that same disinterest in men’s needs can be clearly seen in our culture.  It’s the same blue taboo just on a different octave. Take the family court.  How many times have you heard men clearly state that it was as if they were invisible.  When his ex complained to the judge she would get swift and helpful responses.  But when he voices what he needs he gets silence or worse yet, gets slammed for it.  This is the blue taboo playing out in the family courts.  Women’ needs are seen as a call to action and men’s needs are seen as his selfishness. In this arena, the blue taboo is deadly and there is no workaround for men.  They are sunk and no one sees it.  Only the men who are pummeled see it clearly. If these broken men try to explain this injustice the blue taboo works again to discourage anyone from really hearing their needs and injuries. So they had best not complain about it since that is, of course, taboo.  And we wonder why men commit suicide ten times as much as women following divorce?

blue-duct-tapeWe see the same blue taboo dynamic played out in our legislatures.  When women complain that  they are in need you see the legislators jump and jump high.  They are on a fast track to  a solution.  When men voice their needs what do you see?  You see shaming and turning away. Men’s needs are simply not heard. We have a multitude of laws to help women including the VAWA, rape shield laws, affirmative action, and many many more.  This is the blue taboo at work.  Men’s meeds are routinely ignored.  There is no workaround.  But men had better not complain…

We see the same thing in the media.  It fills its plate with women’s needs, women’s complaints, women’s feelings and on and on.  Do you see many articles about the needs of men?  Nope, there is that purple polar bear again. Feminism filled the welcoming media elite for 50 years.  It has literally become the default voice.  But what happens when men start voicing their needs?  Just look at the media reaction to the latest AVFM conference.  Men and women gathered to discuss the needs of men and boys and you know the rest.  Hit piece after hit piece. This is the blue taboo,  The needs of men are taboo.

One would think that our places of higher learning might not be so brainwashed by this taboo but anyone with eyes can see that our universities are about women and girls.  Women’s studies, women’s centers, women health, blah blah blah.  Ask for something for men and boys and you get a cold shoulder.  It went so far in Toronto that campus groups were banned if they were about the needs of men. This is the blue taboo.

So men are in a huge bind.  When men voice their needs they are routinely ignored both on a micro and macro level.  When they complain about this injustice they meet the same taboo.  They are ignored or shamed.  There is no way out. Be a man.  STFU.

At one time in human history this may have been a productive path.  For survival purposes we split up the roles with men doing the more dangerous work of providing and protecting and women the childbearing and child oriented tasks.  This arrangement obviously set up a scenario where women would ask for what they wanted/needed in order to maintain the family life.  There might be arguments over the details of this but the bottom line was the women would “ask for” and the men would then be responsible to get the provisions or the safety that women requested. His job of providing and protecting was directly related to her requests.  She got very practiced at asking for what she wants and voicing her needs.  Men got very practiced at providing for those needs and wants.  Note that this is a one way valve.  Women voice needs, men respond.  There was no corresponding flip side where women responded to men’s needs.

This may or may not be the origins of the blue taboo.  No matter where it came from we need to start dismantling it asap.  We have spent 50 years dismantling women’s sex roles but have yet to even have a look at men’s. This is yet another spin off of the blue taboo.  We work hard to change women’s restrictive roles but ignore those of men.  Blue taboo anyone? Focus on women and ignore the needs of men? Yup.  But how long can we afford to “empower” one half of the population while we continue to ignore the needs of the other half? Probably not much longer.  Let’s not let that happen.  Take that red pill.

Men’s Issues Soundbite Poll Results

pollThank you all for voting in the poll for the soundbites.  Here are the top 25 soundbites starting with #1 and working down.

  1. Equal rights without equal responsibilities is not EQUALITY - 4% ( 74 votes )
  2. Education is failing our boys - 4% ( 68 votes )
  3. Masculinity is not a disease in need of treatment. - 4% ( 66 votes )
  4. Discrimination in the name of supporting women is still just discrimination.” - 3% ( 51 votes )
  5. if wanting compassion and choice for men and boys is hateful towards women, maybe you need to re-examine your definition of hate - 3% ( 49 votes )
  6. Men dominate the bottom 30% of society. - 3% ( 49 votes )
  7. Male suffering is invisible - 2% ( 46 votes )
  8. The disposable male - 2% ( 46 votes )
  9. KIDS NEED DAD! - 2% ( 42 votes )
  10. A man is more likely to kill himself than you - 2% ( 40 votes )
  11. Men Deserve Choice Too - 2% ( 39 votes )
  12. Men Are Good! - 2% ( 39 votes )
  13. Men Suffer Silently - 2% ( 38 votes )
  14. “Men’s rights are equal rights” - 2% ( 38 votes )
  15. The men who face these issues are your fathers, husbands, brothers and sons”? - 2% ( 38 votes )
  16. “Families need fathers”. - 2% ( 37 votes )
  17. Her body, her choice, …HIS bill! - 2% ( 37 votes )
  18. Men die for others. - 2% ( 36 votes )
  19. Yes, 2 women are killed every week by their partner or former partner, but in the same period, 2 other women are killed, and 9.5 men are killed, so why not mention them?” - 2% ( 36 votes )
  20. Men built the modern world - 2% ( 35 votes )
  21. real women know men are good. - 2% ( 34 votes )
  22. Want to know how a women will act?  Tell her no. - 2% ( 34 votes )
  23. The empathy gap - 2% ( 33 votes )
  24. Compassion and Choice for Men and Boys - 2% ( 32 votes )
  25. Chivalry is dead because women killed it. - 2% ( 32 votes )