This Is What It Looks Like v6

Child abuse does not happen in a vacuum. As much as it remains hidden from plain sight, it is predictable. We can usually tell when an abusive situation exists, and once we know a little about the players, we can usually tell why it happened. It is only because of our desire to keep out of other people’s business and pretend the world is a generally good place that we “miss” the warning signs.

There is not just one cause of abuse. A myriad of things come into play, such as drug abuse, mental illness, religious views, personality issues, prejudice, and political views. It is the latter two that prompted this post.

Hugo Schwyzer recently had a son. He wrote about his son’s birth on Role/Reboot. You would think it would be a joyous occasion, but Schwyzer had a fear: 

In the fortnight since my precious David was born, it’s struck me how gendered my fears for my children are. I worry about both children getting sick, or being in pain, or being hungry, or cold. I worry about both of them being victimized by predators. I know enough to worry about both of them growing up around toxic messages of physical perfection (a particular problem where we live in West Los Angeles). But I realize that I’m not anxious about whether Heloise will grow up to be violent or predatory herself. I know girls can bully—but despite the claims of MRAs, the evidence is that girls are much less likely to rape, to hit, to abuse.

The truth is, I worry about both my children becoming victims. But it is only my son whom I worry might himself become a victimizer. That’s not based on “misandry” (the irrational hatred of men), nor on any special insight into my baby boy’s character. That fear is based on statistics about which sex commits most physical abuse and it’s based on an all-too-intimate familiarity with a culture that mythologizes and glamorizes masculine violence. I’ve spent years and years unlearning the destructive tropes with which I was raised, just as I’ve spent years and years making amends for the very real harm I did when I was young. It wasn’t until I was well into my 30s that I began to love and accept my own maleness.

To put it simply, at the base of all of my worries is the fear that sweet little David will grow up to repeat his father’s cruelest—and most gendered—mistakes.

As I wrote in the comments on that thread, speaking as someone who was abused by a feminist who shares Schwyzer’s views, I honestly hope that Schwyzer’s son teaches him to curb his misandry because I do not want child to grow up in the same kind of abusive situation I did. The sentiment he expressed suggests that he not only would allow abuse against his son, but that if it were done by a woman or a girl, like the boy’s older sister, that Schwyzer would condone or excuse it. I have personally experienced this, and heard this from dozens of male and female survivors of the years. That dynamic of treating one sex as inherently bad or dangerous never goes well. There are people like Adaya who experience it the other way around.

I genuinely hope that the men’s rights advocate was wrong, but Schwyzer’s comments give me pause and remind me of how so many abusive situations begin.

And that is what this is. I know some will think that is callous, but it is not. In my experience, people who think like Schwyzer usually overlook violence done by the group they favor. I have no doubt that if his daughter bullied or abused his son, Schwyzer would not even acknowledge it or would make excuses for it.

But worse is that his view of his son as a potential abuser is something that Schwyzer will likely feed to his son whether he intends to or not. Every male survivor I know of who read Schwyzer’s writings got the impression that he does not care about male suvivors. Even male feminists who are survivors got that impression. It is hard to imagine a child would not pick that up and begin either acting the part or trying his hardest not to be that evil thing his dad hates.

More so, the presumption that little David must be taught not to abuse could create itself abusive situations. Yes, that means Schwyzer or he wife might abuse their child in their effort to stop him from becoming an abuser. And before anyone takes offense, ask yourself whether you would disagree is some Evangelical thought that his daughter was a potential prostitute and had a completely different standard for how he would treat his daughter as a result. You would consider it abusive, that is precisely that this is.

It also does not help that Schwyzer as a permissive attitude towards female abusers and a dismissive attitude towards male survivors, particularly male survivors of female abusers. That dynamic is dangerous and is something abusers of all sorts look for. It is also that can prompt parental abuse.

I do not know what Schwyzer will do. I do know that lots of feminists have their perceptions about men and boys changed once they have sons. Sometimes they calm down. Sometimes, like feminists like my aunt, they bunker down and it turns out very badly.

I hope that Schwyzer’s son can change his father’s opinions. I also hope that Schwyzer’s admitted violent proclivities do not make a return as he tries to raise his son.

That said, if people want to know one of the ways that child abuse starts, Schwyzer’s comments are an unfortunate and unsurprisingly good example of what it looks like.

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9 thoughts on “This Is What It Looks Like v6

  1. Agreed, it can be the start of something quite dangerous and I hope Hugo can see past gender and realize it’s his child, that his child isn’t on the path to become a criminal, but simply on the path to grow up to be anything. I particularly dislike his view of women commiting “far less” sexual assault but wording it in a way that he is ONLY concerned about his son becoming abusive, his daughter still has that chance too and the difference in abuse rates is not as large as he seems to think. So why hold such a prejudicial view of males? It’s similar to teaching original sin and having the person feel guilty over actions they haven’t even done.

    There are experiences told of some people being raised with the guilt of their gender, one example I’ve seen a few times is a household with a particularly radical feminist holding the son as having blame for being male, as if he is going to grow up a rapist/abuser/etc. There are comments on the GMP from men who experienced that in their childhood, it’s sickening to project a fear of a gender onto your own child!

  2. The thing that stands out to me is the fact that these kind of thoughts enter into his head while looking at his beautiful newborn son. Very disturbing to say the least.

  3. While they were fooling around, this young woman told Ian she wanted to “pop his cherry” and take the last vestige of his virginity. He reminded her (they’d known each other for a while) that intercourse was off limits. But at one point, she suddenly straddled Ian, grabbed his erection, and slid his penis inside of her. He ejaculated within seconds.

    Rape is, as we were reminded by the FBI this month, a word with a specific but evolving meaning. I’m leery about applying the term too quickly to Ian’s story, or to similar incidents that I’ve heard about from students of both sexes.

    Writing stuff like this is a major part of why male victims (of female perpetrators in particular) find Hugo Schwyzer troubling.

    Mr. Schwyzer conviction that all men is basically as bad as he was is internally consistent enough that it includes his son.
    I for one hope that his son never finds himself in the situation that Ian found himself in – and if he does I hope he choses someone else to talk with than his father.

  4. I share Hugo’s worries – but mainly because Hugo is so poor at reading stats and then so good at making ill judged comment! P^)

    … and on the subject of child abuse no less! P^O

    Lets hope the little David has not inherited Hugo’s mathematical skills, and does develop the ability to discern between what one says is reality and what reality actually is!

    Role models are relevant to that – poor kid. P^/

  5. There are othe ways in which this situation could turn into serious abuse.

    Male feminists are often highly disturbed individuals who obsessively fantasize about harming women. These men project their own perversity onto all other men. That is why they hate men. This poor child is going to turn into Schwyzer’s personal toilet, a place whre Hugo can discard all the ugly and cruel things that Schwyzer’s heart conjurs up. I can’t tell you how sad I am.

  6. This here is a very familiar story.

    Extremely gynocetric feminist has a son, they fear he will become an abuser based on “Statistics”, then instill fear and guilt into him. Like Toysoldier said, there have been men raised by these types.

    If Schwartzer is planning on doing this, then he’s no different from those rapists and parents who abuse their child in the name of “Religon”. He’s also no different from Biting Beaver, the infamous radical feminist who wrote that she wished she had an abortion when she found her son looking at pornography and intervened by force feeding him the works of Andrea Dworkin.

    Again, I don’t see any difference between these gynocentic extremists and radical evengelicals.

  7. Male feminists are often highly disturbed individuals who obsessively fantasize about harming women. These men project their own perversity onto all other men.

    While I agree that many male feminists project their own feelings, behavior, and tendencies onto other men (Schwyzer is a good example of that), I think it is unfair and uncalled for to say they are highly disturbed or that they fantasize about harming women. Nothing I have read or seen suggests that it is the case. At best, many male feminists fall into white knighting.

    This poor child is going to turn into Schwyzer’s personal toilet, a place whre Hugo can discard all the ugly and cruel things that Schwyzer’s heart conjurs up.

    Again, while I agree that Schwyzer may very well vent his frustrations with men onto his son, I would not go so far as to say he will use his son as his personal toilet. I do not doubt that Schwyzer may love his son. Chances are that if the situation becomes psychologically abusive, which I think may happen, it is not likely to be intentional. In other words, Schwyzer is not likely to say, “I want to mess with my son’s head.” It is more likely going to happen subtly over time, and by the time anyone notices the dynamic at play it will be too late.

  8. Eagle, there is not any difference between the two. Stringent views tend to cause more problems than they solve, especially when held by people with troubled lives. Schwyzer does not strike me as someone who is unaware of this anymore than he is unaware that the statistics he rattles off are at best misleading. There is a willful denial on his part, which again happens with a lot of people with stringent views.

  9. Schwyzer is a true lowlife. Ironically, one problem many male feminists or “profeminists/feminist allies” struggle with is that they’re closet misogynists themselves, and project their own faults onto others. A bit like the Catholic church methinks!

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