Taking back the bias

In light of my recent kerfuffle with feminists, I thought this article by Robyn Urback was particularly ironic:

Take Back the Night as a movement began in 1975, following the brutal murder of a Philadelphia woman who was stabbed to death walking alone one evening. … Marches now take place annually in countless cities worldwide, as women walk to reclaim the streets and rally against victimization. But while some Take Back the Night marches have grown to accept men, many others — including Toronto’s march this Saturday — have upheld their steadfast “No Boys Allowed” policy. After more than three decades, it’s time for a change. … Organizer Deb Singh is used to hearing the question of why men can’t take part in the latter, and she gives me the short version when I again posed it to her. “It’s not to say that men aren’t survivors of sexual violence,” she says. “But as we know, women are the ones who are disproportionately affected. It is important for us to create a space where women can reclaim that power.”

Urback states, “… the exclusion of men ignores the plight of male survivors of sexual violence, however in the minority they may be.” Urback is wrong on two points. One, in all likelihood sexual violence against males happens as frequently as sexual violence against women. Two, which is more of an oversight, female-on-male sexual violence does not get challenged, discussed, or protested as often as it should either.

However, Urback is correct that Take Back the Night serves as another, feminism-driven mechanism to marginalize male survivors, and in a very insidious way. Feminists often peddle that myth in order to justify excluding men because acknowledging male survivors, as Singh noted, does not fit the feminist paradigm. However, the exclusion does not just perpetuate the myth that sexual violence against males rarely happens. Unfortunately, it also perpetuates many male survivors’ belief that they are the only ones who got hurt.

As I noted in that piece, that kind of sentiment leaves male survivors in the rather bleak situation. No one should experience that kind of profound isolation, let alone have forced on them under the guise of helping more “deserving” and “needing” victims. Yet this is what male survivors generally get from feminists. As much as feminists claim to support equality and want to stop all sexual violence, one can easily find examples of them essentially male survivors’ plight and pain solely to promote a feminist position.

It is hypocrisy at its finest, and as usual such hypocrisy ends up hurting a hell of a lot of men for no good reason.

7 thoughts on “Taking back the bias

  1. I beg to differ with Deb Singh…“It’s not to say that men aren’t survivors of sexual violence,” she says. “But as we know, women are the ones who are disproportionately affected. It is important for us to create a space where women can reclaim that power.”

    I believe that more boys are sexually abused as children, and men, when raped as adults dont report that crime, so in my experience of twenty years of working with male survivors and being a male survivor myself, far more boys and men are abused than women!

  2. Exactly correct, the Personal Safety Survey carried out by the Australian Bureau Of Statistics (2006) states precisely that. Women come in second in most areas yet receive all the assistance, research funds and associated programs. Sexism and bias and yet, women demand more and more..

  3. TS: Good point about leaving victimized boys feeling they are alone in their abuse. Knowing the power of words to heal the wounded soul, and then to remain deliberately silent toward just boys is sexist and abusive in itself. Oprah did that for twenty-five years. Mike Lew, “Victims No Longer,” was the specialist on her first show for male survivors, way back then, and was much better than her so-called experts on the recent “200 Man Show.” Mr. Lew talked about female abusers and how sexual abuse is usually symptomatic of multiple abuses. He also talked about maternal enablers which I think cut too close to the bone for Oprah. What ever the reason, denial, poor ratings, she never dealt with the issue again for 25 years. In the whole of the two part series, not once did she mention female abusers. And her 1 in 6 number is low by many estimates. Steve, I agree that more boys than girls may actually be sexually abused when children. But in adult life women are raped to the greatest extent. Just as your pedophile on the street is most likely to be a man, occasionally in conjunction with a woman as sick as he is. But stranger danger molestations are a small fraction, estimates are less than 10%, of total sexual assaults against children. The majority occur in the home and 30% of the perpetrators are women, moms aunts, sisters, babysitters…

  4. Organizer Deb Singh is used to hearing the question of why men can’t take part in the latter, and she gives me the short version when I again posed it to her. “It’s not to say that men aren’t survivors of sexual violence,” she says. “But as we know, women are the ones who are disproportionately affected. It is important for us to create a space where women can reclaim that power.”
    And that’s the biggest barrier to finally being all inclusive of all sexual abuse victims. It seems that there will always and forever be a rather large portion of people who insist on constantly bringing up “women have it worse” type arguments. I know I can’t be the only one that notices how this mentality prevents progress. If this were a conversation about how non-custodial parents are treated my money says these same would won’t say anything like, “while there are non-custodial moms out there the majority of non-custodial parents are fathers”. No all of a sudden it would not be the time for Oppression Olympics.

  5. It seems that there will always and forever be a rather large portion of people who insist on constantly bringing up “women have it worse” type arguments. I know I can’t be the only one that notices how this mentality prevents progress.

    You are not, however, the idea is so entrenched that it takes a lot to change people’s minds. In my experience, it literally takes sitting people like Singh down and having male survivors describe in detail the impact of that thinking had on their lives and their attempts to get help.

  6. Danny: “And that’s the biggest barrier to finally being all inclusive of all sexual abuse victims. It seems that there will always and forever be a rather large portion of people who insist on constantly bringing up “women have it worse” type arguments.”

    I have a slightly different take on it. They are saying, “it affects women more, so we feel justified in marginalizing the minority.” Because women disproportinately represent the victims, “It is important for us to create a space where women can reclaim that power [to the exclusion of the small percentage of victims who have no voice].”

    It really is a stunning piece of logic that defies so many feminist rules about marginalization, inclusiveness, silencing, etc.

    -Jut

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