UK – *Why Women’s Shelters Are Hotbeds of Misandry*

Why Women’s Shelters Are Hotbeds of Misandry

Posted by: “Thomas Sochart”   tsochart

Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:26 am (PDT)


*Why Women’s Shelters Are Hotbeds of Misandry*

Von Gerhard Amendt 10. August 2009, 18:30 Uhr

*According to Gerhard Amendt, Professor of Gender and Generation 
Research at the University of Bremen, representatives of the supposedly 
weaker sex are every bit as violent as their partners. The researcher 
concludes that women’s shelters foster a devaluation of masculinity and 
should therefore be replaced by familiy counseling centers.*

At the very moment when the operation of women’s shelters in Germany has 
been subjected to scientific study for the first time, the German 
Bundestag’s Family Affairs Committee has decided to review the question 
of whether women’s shelters should receive funding guarantees through 
the German federal government. Given the political ideology of women’s 
shelters and the ramifications of such a step, this proposal should be 
taken under serious review. The answers to a number of questions are
still outstanding. Have the services performed in women’s shelters stood 
the test of time? Are the shelters operated in a professional manner, 
and have they moved on from an ideology that views men as the 
perpetrators of violence and women as nonviolent? Have women’s shelters 
developed a professional understanding of family conflicts that enables 
them to extend their efforts and include all members of a violent family?

As usual, the slated funding guarantees are based on no more than the
convenient statistic that “every fourth woman will become the victim of 
relationship violence at some time in her life.” Since there is no 
comparable data that would apply to men, the number is poorly suited as 
legitimization for women’s shelters. Up until now, reference was made to 
the role of women as victims, and funding for such institutions was 
automatically renewed. The effectiveness of the shelters was not 
monitored. At the same time, the statistic was used to popularize their 
work. In the pre-Christmas season of 2007, a media campaign was launched 
in Austria under the slogan “Verliebt. Verlobt. Verprügelt” (In Love. 
Engaged. Battered). The German lottery also runs public service spots
pertaining to the matter. While all this has little bearing on the 
circumstances under which men and women actually conduct their lives, it 
couldn’t document more clearly a bias against men.

When women’s shelters were first being opened more than 20 years ago, 
the object was to focus public attention on the experience of violence 
from a woman’s perspective. The founding of the Bremen women’s shelter 
can be traced to just such an intention on the part of the author, who 
at the time endorsed the risky attempt to provide political lay 
self-help. This coincided with the spirit of the times and its 
sensitivity to violence as an aspect of women’s lives – although it did 
not extend to men. In those days, the author, too, was unwilling to 
imagine that women’s shelters would make a substantial contribution to a 
hostile polarization of society into violent men as opposed to irenic 
women, thereby creating many years of stagnation in gender discourse.

*Ignorant Family Policies*

Today, we know more than we did 25 years ago about the partnership
dynamics that trigger violence. More than two hundred studies in the USA 
and Canada have produced findings that have added to public knowledge 
and increased understanding in political circles. But it is precisely 
the field of family policies that offers stubborn resistance to the very 
essence of this research, namely, that women behave just as aggressively 
and violently as men, and even slightly more often. This also applies to 
their behavior toward their children. It is particularly conspicuous 
during phases of a divorce that are high in violence. All counseling 
agencies should be expected to help limit violence so that children, 
above all, do not become actively or passively involved in the violent
episodes between their parents.

A major survey of divorced fathers conducted by the author in Bremen 
showed that violence occurs in 30 percent of all divorces, with 1,800 
men reporting physical or psychological abuse by their partners. This
represents a significantly higher rate of incidence than the 
approximately ten percent seen in relationships under everyday 
conditions. Within the 30 percent of divorces where violence occurred, 
sixty percent was initiated by the men’s ex-wives or ex-partners. Our 
survey findings revealed that within the most conflict laden context of 
an adult life, women, too, initiate violence. Only from the perspective 
of women’s shelters does violence emanate exclusively from men. Instead 
of making divorce conflicts more tractable, women’s shelters actually
exacerbate them. The »every-fourth-woman« statistic is therefore being 
used to document the necessity of changing the Domestic Relations Law of 
1998, because allegedly the sole source of danger for children during a 
divorce is violence stemming from their fathers. By pursuing this 
approach to family policy, the advocates of women’s shelters are 
attempting to use prejudice as a means to rescind the right of children
to both of their parents.

The 60 percent of divorce-related violent incidents that are initiated 
by women inflict great suffering on the fathers involved. Their 
statements are genuine. Yet there is a difference between science and 
the ideologically based enemy image adopted in women’s shelters, and it 
lies in the evaluation of the numbers. Whereas science attempts to 
resolve conflict, the proponents of women’s shelters book hostility 
toward men as political success. Accordingly, we do not claim that women 
experience episodes of violence in exactly the same way that men do. To 
make that assertion, we would have to survey them, which we have not as 
yet done – and neither have the »every-fourth-woman« agitators.

We have, however, arrived at an entirely different set of conclusions. 
We assume that women experienced the abuse in a similar way as their 
partners, namely, as stemming from the man. American studies confirm 
this. But if both parties are mutually accusing each other of starting 
the violence, then what is actually true? Both statements represent 
subjective truths. Generally, neither of the parties is lying. Unlike 
during their happier times, however, both of them now feel aggrieved and 
are no longer able to communicate with each other verbally. They lapse 
into lethal silence, scream at each other, or resort to physical blows. 
In such cases, marriage and family counselors can help to restore the 
couple’s destroyed ability to communicate. Once the partners reestablish 
a common language, they have the option of entering into a process of 
reconciliation or choosing to separate with respect. They and, above 
all, their children do not lose their positive experiences from the past.

Women’s shelters are incapable of providing this kind of professional 
intervention because of their ideology: they view a man as every woman’s 
enemy. For them, it is a foregone conclusion that women do not engage in 
violent acts. According to the ideology espoused in women’s shelters,
this is always a given, and mutual talks between a woman and her partner 
are therefore superfluous. To this end, women are politically 
manipulated into a victim role and men are collectively denigrated. 
Consequently, the residents of women’s shelters are allowed to 
experience themselves only as victims and not as participants in a 
relationship that has turned violent.

Women’s shelters represent a world where the joy of life is missing, and 
efforts to resolve relationship conflicts have been replaced by 
existential despondency or even self-hatred. Misandry appears to offer a 
way out. This oppressive atmosphere surely accounts for the high rate of 
employee turnover at women’s shelters and the dissension within work 
teams. It enables one to understand recent research conducted in the USA 
which found that women are increasingly steering clear of shelters 
despite the severity of their conflicts. They do not want to be forced 
into a world that despises men. Their own problems are burden enough.

The advocates of women’s shelters are unfazed by objections that they 
are compromising the ethics of the helping professions, for 
professionalism is not their goal. On the contrary, they 
self-confidently label themselves as “partisan,” which is synonymous 
with viewing women as victims who face sinister male powers and an 
indifferent public. Professional ethics have been deliberately replaced 
by political motives. And that is by no means selfless. It gives them a 
narcissistic high and a sense of moral superiority over the rest of the 
world. It is a mixture of elitism and pretended self-sacrifice.

In the founding years of women’s shelters, this elitism functioned as a 
gateway for the disparagement of existing professional organizations 
that were sponsored, for example, by Protestant churches, the Catholic 
Church, or the German state governments.

In that respect, little has changed. The proponents of women’s shelters 
believe that their combative, anti-patriarchal rhetoric will have a 
greater impact than professionally trained counselors and therapists. 
Most of them seem unimpressed that they are not genuinely helping those 
who seek counseling, because they attribute their failure to a lack of 
political insight on the part of the women. Their sense of mission 
appears to provide greater narcissistic gratification than the tough, 
daunting task of working with violent families who have elevated 
physical expression to the language of everyday life and otherwise no
longer have much to say about each other.

*The Feminist Ideology: A Hotbed of Misandry *

Granted, there may be shelters that have jettisoned their ideological 
ballast, but even the term “women’s shelter” itself always implies the 
disastrous ideology of radical feminism, whereby relationships between 
men and women are characterized by their respective status as victim and 
perpetrator. According to that, women can do nothing and men are 
completely in charge. Thus, women’s shelters perpetuate the destruction 
of communication within partnerships as a political project within the
gender discussion.

The conclusions are obvious. The concept of ideologically based women’s 
shelters is no longer needed. What families with violence problems 
urgently need is a network of counseling centers that can provide 
unbiased and nondiscriminatory assistance to all of the parties 
involved. For family violence is systemic and psychodynamic in nature. 
If a woman strikes her husband, and the husband strikes his wife, then
there is a high probability that they are also abusing their children. 
And children who have been struck, boys and girls alike, are in turn 
more likely as adults to strike their own children or partners. This 
sets the course for the reemergence of intra-family violence in the 
following generation. Society continuously accumulates a growing 
potential for violence. And mothers who do not strike their children, 
but instead leave the task to the children’s father, are no less 
integral parts of the scheme of violence – as is the parent who simply 
remains silent in response to the entire situation.

*Family Counseling Centers against Domestic Violence *

Instead of women’s shelters, what we need in the future are specialized 
counseling centers for families with unresolved violent conflicts. These 
would be staffed by well-trained men and women who cooperate based on 
professional ethical standards. They would intervene directly during 
violent family crises and, in extreme cases, provide a temporary safe 
haven for men and children and women, to the extent this has not already 
become unnecessary due to a personal protection order. We need family 
counseling centers that can step in and have an impact at the very 
source of the ongoing intergenerational cycle of violence. A public that 
is dumbfounded by the apathy of youth welfare offices and horrified by 
school murders and the corpses of children should approve government 
funding only if those who seek counseling are assured to receive 
effective assistance. Counseling and therapy simply must be kept free of 
political ideologies. The only place where this does not apply is in 
undemocratic societies.

Likewise, we need to initiate a new discussion at colleges and 
universities. Politcal correctness has given rise to a prohibition on 
thinking about women in terms of aggression and violence, and this must 
be confronted with the findings of international research.

About the Author

Gerhard Amendt is Professor of Gender and Generation Research. His most 
recent book, “I did not divorce my kids!” How Fathers Deal with Family 
Break-Ups was published in 2008. His forthcoming publication is a text 
book on intra-family violence. The author can be reached at or through his homepage:

Kind Regards
Greg Downing – Parental Alienation awareness, prevention and support. – Supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse. – A unique progressive educational movement for children and young people – both girls and boys.

“It is a rare breed of human who can blend a free spirit, a decisive nature, a deep respect for life, love for adventure, and an uncompromising sense of integrity into human happiness and being. Such individuals hear the heartbeat of wholeness.”

“Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding” Convention on the Rights of the Child

A child who is separated from one or both parents is entitled to “maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests” (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, Article 9)



One Response to UK – *Why Women’s Shelters Are Hotbeds of Misandry*

  1. smilingcynic says:

    Time for a male block vote alliance. If interested, contact me.

    Say no to all-female shortlists!!!!!!!!!

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