Discrimination

Some time ago I had the belief that our system of government was fair to all and considered the needs of each person as being important. I no longer feel that is the case. This page will give you a birds eye view of how I came to my present conclusions. If you are happy with your view of the government and don’t want that to change, stop reading now. If not, read on.

As a therapist I often get calls about potential referrals. A number of years ago I had gotten just such a call about a man who was in crisis due to his wife’s violence. He was looking for a safe place for himself and his children. I wasn’t sure what services were available so I decided to call around to find out prior to meeting this gentleman. I called the local abused persons services and told them of the problem and they described at great length the myriad of services that were available. Then I told them the victim in this case was a man. They stopped in their tracks. They backed up and said “Well, what we discussed doesn’t apply to men. The services we described are for women only.” I was shocked. I asked what they could do for him and they told me that in lieu of offering him the shelter and all of the associated services they could put him up in a motel for a night.

I was stunned. I had assumed that the services provided would be for anyone with a need. I was incorrect. I thought that I should contact my Congressman and Senator. I wrote letters to Connie Morella and Barbara Mikulski my Senator and Congressperson at the time but both turned a deaf ear to my concerns. Mikulski literally said it wasn’t her problem, that is was a local concern. Of course she had voted in favor of the Violence Against Women Act several years before which overtly discrminated against men but she didn’t mention that. Again I was shocked and stunned by the disinterest in the pain and suffering of men. I turned to the service providers and contacted them thinking that they were colleagues and would be open to hearing my concerns. Wrong! What I was to find out was that the domestic violence industry is based on what is called the “Duluth Model” which claims that women are the victims and men the perpetrators. Any reverse of that is treated at best as an aberation and at worst simply ignored.

My efforts turned to local legislators and I received the same sort of response. I began looking for others who might see the same discrimination and want to do something about it. I found some small groups who were concerned. Some of these groups were involved in lobbying to change the VAWA to include services for men. In 2005 the law was up for re-authorization. We gathered an impressive group of lawyers, professors, authors, clinicians and male victims of domestic violence to testify on capital hill to encourage our legislators to adjust this bill to include men for services. We lobbied the members of congress on the important committiees and during lunches and meetings with them and their legislative assistants we were assured that our group would be allowed to testify at the public hearings. The hearings were held. Not one of our group was allowed to testify. Not one. The only people invited to testify were the ones that were invested in the status quo. They put on a dog and pony show saying the same things that had been said for the last 10 years. What the congress didn’t hear was the voice of a large group of very intelligent and compassionate professionals who had a very different perspective. Those people were essentially silenced. I thought I was in North Korea.

Prior to my getting the call about a possible referral I had no experience with domestic violence. It was far from an issue for me. I was happily married, with two grown children, having never been divorced or abused in any way. Nothing. The reactions I received from the people to whom I expressed my concern about male victims of domestic violence were consistent. I was treated like a pariah, as if I had some plague and needed to be avoided. At one point I sent out an email to local service providers asking about services for men and was mistakenly cc’d on a response from a local politician to the service providers that said basically, “People like that? Oh just ignore him and hopefully he will go away in time.” It made it clear that this was not simply a dialogue of information. It became clear that the information I was promoting was considered dangerous to them.

What was the information?

Why was this information dangerous?

 

Double Standards

If men and women are truly equal why should the following exist?

 

Men comprise at least 75% of the suicides. No one knows why. According to a Washington Post article the director of the American Association for Suicidology states that there is no research money available to find out why, only money for women and girls.

Men comprise 93% of the workplace related deaths.

Research shows that men comprise at least a third of those injured in domestic violence and yet the only services available for victims of domestic violence are for women and children.

Men comprise 75% of those who are murdered and yet there is no Violence Against Men Act.

Being male is the largest biasing factor in the criminal Justice system. According to an article in the L.A.Daily News (a daily newspaper in Los Angeles, California, USA covering law news.) “Research clearly demonstrates that gender is the most significant biasing factor in determining whether or not someone will be charged, prosecuted, indicted and sentenced, as well as determining the severity of the sentence.” It is a larger bias factor than race, class, or religion.

Men die from every major cause of death earlier than women and have a lifespan that is on average 5 years shorter and yet we have five national commissions for women’s health and none for men. We spend twice as much money on women’s health as we do on men’s.

Female circumcision is against the law drawing large fines and jail time while male circumcision (a comparitively similar procedure) is the most popular surgical procedure in the United States.

Why was it oppression when college enrollment favored males but when enrollment now favors women it is considered empowerment?

When a cruise ship was sinking recently in the Mediterranean women and children were directed to be first on the lifeboats. Men’s roles haven’t changed since the Titanic. Women and children first is not what I would call equal.

 

 

More Questions

Why do women have the choice between abortion, adoption, dropping an unwanted baby off at a hospital, raising the child with a father, or raising the child without a father, but the only choice men have is to agree?

Why is it funny when a woman kicks a man in the groin but terrible if a man did the same to a woman?

Why is it sexist to have clubs for only men but empowering to have them for only women?

Why do men that don’t pay child support go to prison but nothing ever happens to women that don’t allow visitation?

Why is a female marathon runner considered the winner when she doesn’t have the fastest time?

If we are truly equal why do we have red tee’s?

Why are television moms always portrayed as wonderful and loving and television dads normally portrayed as inept buffoons?

Why is it politically incorrect to say anything negative about women but funny to put men down?

Why are women without a job considered to be exercising free choice but men without a job considered a bum?

Why is it that when a woman accuses a man of rape, the man’s name is made public and he is presumed guilty, but when he is proven innocent the woman remains anonymous and the man is still ruined?

 

Double Binds

A man who emotes openly and pubically is called a wimp while a man who doesn’t show emotion is called cold and unfeeling.

 

Men in today’s culture are at risk. There are obvious double standards and stereotyping but they often go unseen since much of the population