When it comes to men’s issues, it is hardly surprising to find that feminists dismiss them as nonsense. It is difficult to find feminists supporting efforts to prevent visitation obstruction, efforts to raise awareness for male victims of domestic violence and rape, efforts to change biased policies that discriminate against male victims at domestic violence shelters and rape centers or efforts to have parental alienation recognized as a real problem. Feminists contend these problems either do not exist at all or are so rare they are not worth acknowledging.
Being such, Kathryn Joyce’s article about the men’s rights movement comes as nothing new. Neither, for that matter, does the complete absence of any evidence supporting the claims she makes in her article about male victimization, custody issues, abuse or parental alienation. She does not cite a single credible source for any of the claims presented, especially in regards to statistics. It is certainly not that she is incapable of searching for them because she went out of her way to link to Angry Harry’s blog in order to make a very loose connection between George Sodini and the men’s movement. Instead, it looks more like Joyce chose to engage in a generalized feminist appeal to authority, one in which she quotes from random people and presents their statements as true without bothering to double-check any of the statistics being cited.
Much of Joyce’s piece is simply a general complaint that men’s groups are starting to be taken seriously. She depreciates RADAR’s efforts and bemoans the recent rulings in West Virgina and in California that found the existing domestic violence policies in those states were applied in a discriminatory manner against men. Joyce does not look at why the courts ruled as it did or why there are studies showing an overt anti-male bias in the domestic violence community or why some courts find that domestic violence laws are being manipulated or why some people who work in the domestic violence community agree that male victims are deliberately ignored and that feminist-driven policies play a major role in that.
She goes on to question whether any of the complaints men’s groups make hold up, with her obvious conclusion being that none of them have any validity whatsoever. She starts with this claim:
RADAR and other MRA groups base their battered men arguments largely on the research of a small group of social scientists who claim that domestic violence between couples is equally divided, just unequally reported… While some men certainly are victims of female domestic violence, advocates say the number is closer to 3 percent to 4 percent, rather than the 45 percent to 50 percent RADAR claims.
Unfortunately for Joyce, the group of social scientists who have found that women are equally violent is hardly small. The other problem with Joyce’s claim is that the 3 to 4 percent rate does not even match the results from the National Victimization Against Women Survey, which reports 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of domestic violence, which places the rate male victimization between 35 to 40 percent of all domestic violence cases. This rate, however, does not factor in that male victims are far less likely to report abuse. Likewise, there are some recent studies suggesting the rate of violence between men and women is probably the same, even across age ranges.
The feminist opposition to acknowledging males as victims is two-pronged. The first is the usage of reported instances of abuse as an indicator of the actual rate of abuse against males, despite many professionals who work with male victims stating that males are far less likely to come forward or to seek help. The 3 to 4 percent rate comes from no given study or research. To the contrary, comes from the handful of cases men report to law enforcement and the few instances that men seek assistance from domestic violence shelters, the latter of which being compounded by overt misandrous policies.
The second is the unsubstantiated claim that women are abusing predominantly in self-defense. No one has ever presented any conclusive research demonstrating that when women or girls abuse their male partners that they are doing so solely or mostly out of self defense. To the contrary, a study suggests that females abuse in situations in which they are the sole abuser:
Furthermore, Whitaker discovered, of the 24 percent of relationships that had been violent, half had been reciprocal and half had not. Although more men than women (53 percent versus 49 percent) had experienced nonreciprocal violent relationships, more women than men (52 percent versus 47 percent) had taken part in ones involving reciprocal violence.
Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women. This finding surprised Whitaker and his colleagues, they admitted in their study report.
As for physical injury due to intimate partner violence, it was more likely to occur when the violence was reciprocal than nonreciprocal. And while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than were women (20 percent of the time). “This is important as violence perpetrated by women is often seen as not serious,” Whitaker and his group stressed.
Of the study’s numerous findings, Whitaker said, “I think the most important is that a great deal of interpersonal violence is reciprocally perpetrated and that when it is reciprocally perpetrated, it is much more likely to result in injury than when perpetrated by only one partner.”
The claim that these studies are taken out of context has no demonstrable basis in fact. What feminists and biased domestic violence advocates argue is little more than making excuses for female abusers because the notion that women can and do abuse does not fit into the view and the positions those people have formed. Despite there being credible evidence in front of them, feminists claim the evidence simply does not exist. This is particularly questionable reasoning because the effect of denying male victimization is that domestic violence advocates — the very people who supposed to prevent and raise awareness about abuse — send male victims the message that the advocates both do not want to help them and that the abuse males experience is deserved because it is an act of self-defense.
That is a very dangerous position to take because it means a host of boys and men will continue to suffer in silence solely because it is politically inconvenient for feminists and domestic violence advocates to help them. This does not just have an effect on males either, because this sentiment carries over to domestic violence in the gay community. The absence of services for male victims and the failure to acknowledge female abusers allows the abuse to continue and perpetuates a host of myths about who can be a victim.
The absence of any support for Joyce’s claims is worsened by other feminists latching onto Joyce’s claims and repeating them over and over. Already several prominent feminist websites have linked to Joyce’s article, each one adding a bit more misinformation as they applaud the piece.
Ultimately, this is not an issue of attacking feminists, but of acknowledging misandry and anti-male policies. What Joyce’s article shows is that feminists are invested in the denial of male discrimination and victimization. It has nothing to do with the veracity of the research presented or veracity of men’s and boys’ experiences because all of those are outright dismissed. This is an issue of politics, of pure political control. The more the public and the courts acknowledge the validity of men’s groups’ complaints, the more feminist messages and policies will be challenged. For the last thirty years feminists have dominated the gender discussion and painted a very skewed, very specific picture. They have gotten comfortable with that position of power, and like anyone in that position, they want to protect it. The problem is that this is done at men’s and boys’ expense. Real men and real boys face a host of issues that should and likely would be acknowledged if it were not for feminists and various advocates positing that males do not have any legitimate problems.
Feminists present the situation as a zero sum game in which people must choose between feminists or men’s groups. What feminists fail to realize is that acknowledging male victimization, acknowledging parental alienation and acknowledging misandry in no way detracts from any of the negative experiences women have. The situations are not mutually exclusive; both situations can be true at the same time. All Joyce’s article did was demonstrate the methods some people use to perpetuate the current situation of inequality.