The Red Pill is an amazing documentary that accomplishes an incredible task. It portrays men as human beings who deserve compassion and choice.
It first helps the viewers to see that those bringing the message of men needing compassion and choice are not women haters, not Neanderthals and not unloving oafs but are people who are concerned about the humanity of both men and women and have already taken the red pill. These folks know that men, like women, are deserving humans. People like Elam, Farrell, Pizzey, Crouch, Esmay, Hayward and Angelucci all are shown not as oafs but as caring people concerned about the humanity of men and boys.
With that task started the harder work begins. The work of showing that men and boys face hardship and discrimination and fail to engender compassion from the vast majority of our culture.
The film accomplishes this by describing the inhumanity that men and boys have experienced and the concerted societal effort to ignore their suffering. It succeeds in doing this through graphics, through talk, through human stories and through statistics. It powerfully builds the case that men and boys are silently suffering in a world that sees the needs and pains of women and girls as a call to action and the pain and needs of men and boys as something to ignore. The message and theme of men’s disposability is gradually brought to life along with men’s issue after men’s issue that is driven home with undeniable statistics and powerful personal stories.
All of this likely leads to an audience that is unsettled at best. Their blue pill comfort is being shaken and challenged. Two opposing elements come crashing together. On one hand, the viewer’s worldview has likely been that men have it all, have all the power and privilege and don’t need/deserve special help or even compassion. But on the other hand they are now in the midst of seeing the Red Pill message which is elegantly and honestly challenging that worldview by exposing the hardships of men and boys and how that is very often ignored. The unavoidable dilemma is that the viewer realizes they too have been a part of this global ignoring of male pain. These two opposing forces can’t coexist. Something has to give. This is where Jaye truly shines. She seems to have predicted the audiences’ angst response and gives them a balm: she tells them about her own ambivalence, her own disbelief and struggles, and her own discomfort with this new vision of men. She intersperses what she calls video diaries throughout the film and they show her process over the 2-3 years of filming of slowly struggling with the red pill and how hard a thing this is to swallow. I am certain that most of her audience is having the exact same ambivalence, disbelief, and discomfort that Jaye so aptly portrays in the video diaries. This gives them a model, another human being who has a similar struggle. My guess is that having Jaye as a model in these video diaries makes their task of incorporating such a large dose of new information that contradicts their beliefs a bit easier. When they see a very attractive young blond feminist who is openly questioning her own previous beliefs it normalizes their own experience of the same. The audience is at a disadvantage since they do not have 2-3 years to process, they only have the less than 2 hours of the film. Dissonance. My guess is that the end product of the video diary approach is that it helps the audience swallow and process a bit of their own bias. It likely softens things a bit and it does so in a way that facilitates their feeling stunned and minimizes their rage and anger. Being stunned breeds discussion and questions of oneself and others, being furious tends to breed separation and denial.
There will be plenty of folks who can’t psychologically tolerate the message of the Red Pill even with the helpful video diaries. These folks will likely be furious after seeing the film. That is both fine, expected, and welcomed. Better furious than ignorant. Cassie Jaye has given them a good shot to come out of it with questions and feeling at least a little more intact. I’m sure their mileage will vary based on their own level of personal development.
Jaye also interviews feminists. Quite a few of them. Their words likely grate on the viewer’s psyche due to the viewer’s brand new realization of some men’s issues. The feminists tend to disregard men and boys and overtly contradict the very thing the film has been teaching. When you have seen clearly how men and boys are getting very little compassion it’s much easier to see the stark contrast of the feminist message of blaming men. It makes it very easy to see how their feminist world view is myopic and severely limited. Perhaps an even larger impact on the viewer came from the scenes of protestors trying to keep men’s issues from even being discussed. And then there was Big Red. The people I spoke with after seeing the movie unanimously referred to Big Red as extraordinarily enlightening to the hate that exists. The clips of the protestors and of Big Red were very effective in helping the viewer to understand the depth of their hatred and misandry.
The protestors chanted such hatred as “Fuck Warren Farrell.” They accused him of being a rape apologist, a misogynist, and pulled fire alarms to sabotage his talk. What was the issue they were so enraged over? Farrell was to talk on boys and suicide. Boys and suicide. Knowing this it becomes clear that their upset was likely not about Farrell but more related to simply wanting to stop anyone from discussing men’s issues such as boys and suicide. That is a forbidden topic to them. Why? Because it challenges their worldview and they will have none of it and will do what they can to stop it. They are like flatworlders who attacked those who said the world was round. This is obvious in the film but what I want to point out now is that we are seeing the exact same dynamic from people protesting this film. Watch the movie and see that it is only about men’s and boy’s issues. That’s it. But the protests of the film, like the Farrell protestors, are not about the content, they are personal attacks on the cast and on the director. Watch the reviews, or the attempted bannings of this movie and you will see this dynamic repeated over and over again. The worldview is challenged and the response is to make personal attacks, just like “Fuck Warren Farrell” or now “Fuck the hateful misogynist Red Pill”. It is obvious to even a casual observer that what is driving this frantic screaming has nothing to do with the cast or the director or even the content of the film and has everything to do with the protestors’ lack of compassion for men and boys and their fear of anything that might negate their feminist ideology. Here’s a tip: when you run into someone attacking this movie just ask them if they are having a hard time having a little compassion for boys and men. That cuts through to the reality of their upset.
The film flowed easily for me. In its nearly two hours time I never looked at my watch and was engaged in the flow on screen. So many issues were presented clearly and accurately. I was especially moved by the section on circumcision. I wont’ spoil it for you but will just say that is was a powerful use of cinema to get a message across and will likely open many eyes about the barbarism of circumcision and the default disregard for the pain and trauma of little boys.
I loved this film but if I had one nit to pick it would have to be the omission of the role of gynocentrism. The film does a great job of showing that men and boys have faced difficulties and their problems have been ignored but it fails to help the viewer understand why this might be. Yes, feminism is a problem but the question is what is fueling feminism? Why has it been so successful? Why has it been so easy to over run the needs of men and boys while tending to the needs of women and girls? The answer lies in gynocentrism which has been around for eons as compared to feminism which is a newcomer and basically a parasite of gynocentrism. In a nutshell, gynocentrism is about providing and protecting women and children at the expense of men. You know, the old “women and children first” meme. This is not a totally bad thing since it has been what has built our culture and many others for thousands of years. It does however impact our interest in women’s issues and our turning away from men’s issues. If you are curious about your own degree of gynocentrism you can try an exercise here. If you want to learn more about this I wrote an article Gynocentrism 2.0 that goes into much more detail. (or a youtube video here) Maybe the next documentary will explain this in detail.
Jaye has had the guts/balls to make this film and tell her story, the men’s story, the feminist’s story and let it all stand on its own. When she interviews both MHRA’s and feminists she doesn’t take sides, she lets people talk. She doesn’t interrupt or challenge or try to change minds. She just listens. Through most of the film she just puts the story into the film. This is a gift to the viewer. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to her for this. When you see this movie you will likely join me in that feeling and importantly, will be left to decide on your own.
Jaye has produced a ground breaking documentary that exposes the default lack of compassion for the needs and problems of men and boys. In some ways the film is a litmus test. It will accurately tell you how much compassion you have for boys and men. Those who flail their arms in the air and scream patriarchy, patriarchy, patriarchy are letting you know that they failed the litmus test. They are lacking in compassion for boys and men.
Thank you Cassie Jaye for having the courage to make this critically important film. Thanks too for the unmistakable message that underlies the Red Pill: Men Are Good!
Have you ever wondered how erroneous and misleading ideas are spread and maintained in our culture? Look no farther than a social work graduate textbook that errs by telling only a part of the truth. For more on the misandry in social work go here meninsocialwork.org
There is a popular text used in social work graduate schools titled American Social Welfare Policy: A Pluralistic Approach. It is meant to be an introduction to social policy in the US and give students a beginning idea of the state of our social welfare system. The parts I have read seem to be a tool of indoctrination that offers students a very one-sided view of issues. It pushes a liberal feminist agenda that is presumed to be gospel. Perhaps what it leaves out is more important than what it includes. Let’s look a little closer at that.
Yes, the book hammers away at the popular meme that poverty is the biggest problem facing our culture today with the idea that racism is a major factor in creating poverty. What does it leave out? The book ignores the issue of fatherlessness even though this issue has been revealed as foundational and at the root of poverty. If you don’t know, the research has shown significant father involvement seems to be a greater factor in many problem areas than poverty or better schools. In other words poor children with significant father involvement do better on numerous factors than wealthier children without dads. Getting fathers back into the home should be our #1 priority but sadly that is not even on the radar in this book. They simply don’t mention it.
The book quotes a nearly 20-year-old research study by Sara McClanahan about single motherhood but completely ignores the 2013 blockbuster paper by the same author that summarized the research on fatherlessness in the 2000’s. The paper astoundingly shows that fatherlessness is the #1 factor in so many of the social problems we face. This book was published in 2014 so this 2013 journal article was available at the time of publication as were the 60+ research studies the paper summarized. The title of the McClanahan article is “The Causal Effects of Father Absence” and reviews the numerous studies that lead one to see the causative nature of fatherlessness. That’s right, CAUSATIVE.
This is unheard of in social science research that typically relies on strong correlations. This is different. This research says fatherlessness causes the problems. This is huge, especially for social workers whose profession played a strong role in removing fathers from their homes. Starting in the 1960’s welfare payments were dependent on men not being present in the home. Yes, social workers were a party in enforcing that hateful policy. Fast forward to the 21st century when social workers are all too often taking the feminist stance and working in and condoning a biased family court system that favors mothers as caretakers after divorce which decreases the likelihood of father involvement. This is just another way to remove fathers from the home through no fault of their own. Shared parenting is the simple solution if we could only get beyond lawyers, feminists, and social workers who stand in opposition. This book, by ignoring the important role of fatherlessness is neglecting an important side of the story that these graduate students need to hear and discuss. That side of the story is simply omitted.
Perhaps the worst of the one sidedness is in the book’s chapter on discrimination with the portrayal of women as having been oppressed. The book places women in the same boat as blacks and gays. Now wait a minute. Blacks and gays have both faced a great deal of difficulties and hardships due to their skin color or sexual orientation. The book is putting women in the same boat? Um, nowhere near the same. Women have faced discrimination not due to being hated, but more often due to their rigid sex role which saw them as pure and worthy of protection. Traditionally women have been placed on a pedestal, not oppressed.
Try this on for size: “It’s as American as blacks and apple pie!” That doesn’t seem to work so well does it? Okay, how about “It’s as American as gays and apple pie!” Oooops, again, not so hot. Those two really don’t fit. How bout this “It’s as American as mom and apple pie!” Oh yeah! That is just right. Now tell me, why would a country oppress the ones who are the positive symbols of the country and are held up as beloved cultural icons?
American soldiers in Europe during WWII when asked what they missed were most likely to say mom and apple pie. That is apparently where this saying originated. It’s obvious that moms were beloved and held in very high esteem. When people use the phrase “As American as mom and apple pie” they mean to claim that both mom and apple pie are unassailable and universally beloved and agreed upon. No one would disparage moms and very few would disparage apple pie.
So the question boils down to why would a country oppress the very people it held up as their beloved heroes? Of course, the answer is they wouldn’t.
And it was because women were held in such high esteem that radical feminists were able to make the bogus claims to be “oppressed” and get away with it. No one would question mom. She was trusted and believed. This charade, which I think qualifies as the biggest lie of the 20th century, was not pushed by most women, it was pushed by a radical group of women who shoved on us the exaggerations of women’s oppression. Of course the worst of this fabrication was the blaming of men as being the ones who intentionally kept women down.
The claims of women being kept out of the workplace, banking, education etc., had some reality to it. Women have faced discrimination in our culture. It’s just not for the reasons the radicals portray. Men had striven for decades to allow women to be at home with the kids and not be sullied by what they considered to be the coarse nature of money, the workplace, or politics. They wanted women to avoid the coarse nature of those things and fulfill their biological imperative of having and loving their own children. The men were willing to sacrifice their own efforts in order to insure that happening. This was not meant as a way to keep women down, or restrict their opportunities. At this time most women liked the idea of having, raising, and loving their children and were grateful that the men took on the burden of providing the income and keeping them safe. I for one would love to have had someone take on the burden of creating income in order for me to stay at home full time with my children. My wife and I both worked part time in the 1980’s and some of the 1990’s to insure that one of us was at home with the kids at all times. We both sacrificed our careers in order to make this happen. I found that time to be the most joy filled and fulfilling time of my life. What a joy to have that uninterrupted time with those I love? It’s not hard to assume that women have traditionally felt the same sorts of joy. How much bitterness and ungratefulness would it take to transform this gift and label it oppression? Then blame men, the very people that had sacrificed to make that happen?
This “oppression” nonsense was thrust on a gullible population that would do anything they could to help women/moms. Imagine for just a second that fathers were to make similar claims. Just imagine men saying “We are oppressed!” Pretty funny eh? Dads were not, and are not in such an unassailable and lofty position as women. Would they be believed? No, they would be laughed at. But our country, like all western countries, jumps to gynocentric attention when women claim they are being tied to the tracks. People respond to help women. Just have a look at what congress has done for women over the last 50 years.
This book sports a 40-page chapter on discrimination. The largest section in the chapter describes discrimination faced by women. It’s almost 11 pages in length. In comparison gays got 4 pages and blacks got 5 pages. Since this book will likely be read by mostly white women I suppose they are playing to their readership.
The section on discrimination faced by women starts off with a sub-section on violence against women. It quotes a number from a research study that 1.5 million American women were victims of domestic violence. Here’s a great example of the book’s one-sidedness. What’s the important other side that they don’t tell you? It’s that the exact same study, the one the book quoted that claimed there were 1.5 million American women were victims of domestic violence, also found that 835,000 men were victims of domestic violence over the same period of time. But they didn’t say a thing about the men who were victims! By only printing the female number and not mentioning the men it leaves the reader thinking that this problem must be confined to women. We have known for decades that this is false, that men are a significant number of the victims of domestic violence but the media, academia, and the water cooler all fail to recognize this fact.
This is typical of this book and specifically this chapter. They are only telling one side of a very complicated story and by doing so leading the reader to false conclusions. This omitting important information and leaving a one sided approach is not new to feminism. The early domestic violence activists did just that. One woman, Ellen Pence, the founder of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, and author of an important early book on domestic violence said the following about her efforts in helping with domestic violence:
In many ways, we turned a blind eye to many women’s use of violence, their drug use and alcoholism, and their often harsh and violent treatment of their own children.
Why would Pence and her cohorts deny women’s violence and men’s victimhood? Why would they turn away from a woman’s violence towards her children? Good question but one likely answer is that getting funding for helpless women being beaten by burly men was much easier than trying to get funding for a crazed female beating her children or knifing her husband as he slept. If you mention men as victims it ruins the argument that men are the problem. When there is an innocent woman tied to the tracks legislators jump to attention. A man similarly tied? Not so much. People don’t care and the money is not there.
So we see the same pattern of simply ignoring the violence of women and the victimhood of men. Pence was one of thousands of people using this same technique. This left us with a cultural sense that domestic violence was only strong and abusive men beating innocent and defenseless women. This erroneous idea took form in 1994 when the US passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that focused on women who were victims and men who were perpetrators. If you have the idea in your mind that women are the only victims you now know that you have been hoodwinked and this graduate textbook simply keeps pushing the lies.
Another section discusses abortion and women’s reproductive rights. It talks about a woman’s right to choose and frets over whether she may lose those rights. What it does not discuss is the fact that women do indeed have choice but men have none. If the woman wants an abortion she can decide unilaterally to do so. If she wants the abortion and he does not, he is out of luck. He has no rights, no choice and just has to deal with it. Her body her choice, his child, her choice. Again, the book tells only one side of the story. The woman’s side.
There is a large section about the wage gap. This is stunningly ridiculous. The wage gap has been refuted by science for years. They know that the gap is a function of her choice of jobs and preferring employment that is not hazardous, dangerous or highly strenuous and that she is looking for flexible hours. This tends to lead her to jobs that pay less. Her choice. This is worse than telling one side. Pushing the erroneous idea of a wage gap is making up a narrative that is simply wrong and having been disproven by science repeatedly. I suppose the narrative they are trying to create is more important than the truth. The book fails in telling both sides of the story. This error is a little more excusable since present day politicians continue to mouth this disproven idea in order to be re-elected and appear to be friendly to women.
There is another large section on female genital mutilation. Legislation was passed years ago outlawing all forms of female genital mutilation even those that are based on religious or cultural norms. They are all forbidden and outlawed. Some of the conversations are on women around the world who might face such genital mutilation. The side of the story they fail to tell is that male genital mutilation is the fourth most popular surgical procedure in the United States. Little infant boys are strapped down, against their will and a significant part of their penis is amputated usually just days after they are born often without anesthesia. I have heard nurses say that the little boys scream and keep screaming, sometimes for days. Many
uninformed people think this is just a little snip. Not so. The amount of skin amputated equals about the area of a post card once the man’s body matures. Even more people think this procedure is medically helpful. Wrong. The medical profession has sung this song before telling us incorrectly that male circumcision will help prevent, syphilis, epilepsy, spinal paralysis, bedwetting, eye problems, deafness, dumbness, tuberculosis, penile cancer, cervical cancer, and now HIV. The US is one of the few countries left that encourages this barbaric practice. This is a horribly painful procedure that is done to more than a million boys each year in the US and no one seems to know or to care. This book is only worried about one side. The women. It turns its back on the pain of these little boys.
I hope you are starting to see that both men and women are facing hardship and discrimination due to their sex roles. In fact, in some ways the female hardship seems mild compared to the males. Remember those young men, the soldiers who said they missed mom and apple pie? Nearly a half million of those young men died in WWII and they died due to their sex role that said they were the ones to go and fight. Why? Because they had a penis.
This book is a glaring example of how false narratives are spread and maintained. Do women have troubles? Of course. But I hope you can see now that men also have significant difficulties and these are ignored by professionals that claim to have compassion for all. It is obvious that they don’t and that they are only interested in one side of the story. The definition of bigotry is to only be interested in one group or your own group. I will let you be the judge how that may play out in social work today.
If you are a social work student or social worker, please complain today to your schools and let them know you won’t tolerate only hearing one side of the story. If you don’t, you will simply get the same narrative over and over again.
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:
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.
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 criticismdue 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.
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
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)
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.
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
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.
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 wouldfocus 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.