UK+ – George Rolph – Oh! Those nasty Men’s Rights people are telling the truth again!

Attention – New Zealand Power Brokers – Prime Minister John Key and Ministers, Bennett, Turia, Dunne, Up on Ration Shed – Egroup, FaceBook and BLOG – with thanks to; GEORGE ROLPH – UK – ENGLAND – London – BROMLEY – Signed Equal Pet. Mid 2009 –

For the original article see below.

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Onward – Together – Jim

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Men’s Rights
Cathy Young,
11.19.09, 10:30 AM ET

Earlier this month DoubleX, Slate’s <http://www.slate.com/> short-lived
female-oriented publication (launched six months ago and about to be
folded back into the parent site as a women’s section), ran an article
ringing the alarm about the dire threat posed by the power of the men’s
rights movement. But the article, written by New York-based freelance
writer Kathryn Joyce and titled “Men’s Rights’ Groups Have Become
Frighteningly Effective
<http://www.doublex.com/section/news-politics/mens-rights-groups-have-be\
come-frighteningly-effective> ,” says more about the state of
feminism–and journalistic bias–than it does about men’s groups.

Joyce’s indictment is directed at a loose network of activists seeking
to raise awareness and change policy on such issues as false accusations
of domestic violence, the plight of divorced fathers denied access to
children and domestic abuse of men. In her view, groups such as RADAR
(Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting) and individuals like
columnist and radio talk show host Glenn Sacks are merely “respectable”
and “savvy” faces for what is actually an anti-female backlash from
“angry white men.”

As proof of this underlying misogyny, Joyce asserts that men who commit
“acts of violence perceived to be in opposition to a feminist status
quo” are routinely lionized in the men’s movement. This claim is
purportedly backed up with a reference that, in fact, does not in any
way support it: an article in Foreign Policy
<http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/06/18/the_death_of_macho>
about the decline of male dominance around the globe. Joyce’s one
specific example is that the diary of George Sodini, a Pittsburgh man
who opened fire on women in a gym in retaliation for feeling rejected by
women, was reposted online by the blogger “Angry Harry” as a wake-up
call to the Western world that “it cannot continue to treat men so
appallingly and get away with it.” But does this have anything to do
with more mainstream men’s rights groups? The original version of the
article claimed that Sacks, who called “Harry” an “idiot” in his
interview with Joyce, nonetheless “cautiously defends” the blogger;
DoubleX later ran a correction on this point.

Sacks himself admits to Joyce that the men’s movement has a
“not-insubstantial lunatic fringe.” Yet in her eyes, even the mainstream
men’s groups are promoting a dangerous agenda, above all infiltrating
mainstream opinion with the view that reports of domestic violence are
exaggerated and that a lot of spousal abuse is female-perpetrated. The
latter claim, Joyce asserts, comes from “a small group of social
scientists” led by “sociologist Murray Straus of the University of New
Hampshire, who has written extensively on female violence.” (In fact,
Straus, founder of the renowned Family Research Laboratory at the
University of New Hampshire, is a pre-eminent scholar on family violence
in general and was the first to conduct national surveys on the
prevalence of wife-beating.)

Joyce repeats common critiques of Straus’ research: For instance, he
equates “a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman
down the stairs” or “a single act of female violence with years of male
abuse.” Yet these charges have been long refuted: Straus’ studies
measure the frequency of violence and specifically inquire about which
partner initiated the physical violence. Furthermore, Joyce fails to
mention that virtually all social scientists studying domestic violence,
including self-identified feminists such as University of Pittsburgh
psychologist Irene Frieze, find high rates of mutual aggression.

Reviews of hundreds of existing studies, such as one conducted by
University of Central Lancashire psychologist John Archer in a 2000
article in Psychological Bulletin, have found that at least in Western
countries, women are as likely to initiate partner violence as men.
While the consequences to women are more severe–they are twice as
likely to report injuries and about three times more likely to fear an
abusive spouse–these findings also show that men hardly escape
unscathed. Joyce claims that “Straus’ research is starting to move
public opinion,” but in fact, some of the strongest recent challenges to
the conventional feminist view of domestic violence–as almost
invariably involving female victims and male batterers–come from female
scholars like New York University psychologist Linda Mills.

Contrary to Joyce’s claims, these challenges, so far, have made very
limited inroads into public opinion. One of her examples of the scary
power of men’s rights groups is that “a Los Angeles conference this July
dedicated to discussing male victims of domestic violence, ‘From
Ideology to Inclusion 2009: New Directions in Domestic Violence Research
and Intervention,’ received positive mainstream press for its
‘inclusive’ efforts.'” In fact, the conference–which featured leading
researchers on domestic violence from several countries, half of them
women, and focused on much more than just male victims–received
virtually no mainstream press coverage. One of the very few exceptions
was a column I wrote
<http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/\
07/16/battered_women___and_men/> for The Boston Globe, also reprinted
in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Whatever minor successes men’s groups may have achieved, the reality is
that public policy on domestic violence in the U.S. is heavily dominated
by feminist advocacy groups. For the most part, these groups embrace a
rigid orthodoxy that treats domestic violence as male terrorism against
women, rooted in patriarchal power and intended to enforce it. They also
have a record of making grotesquely exaggerated, thoroughly debunked
claims about an epidemic of violence against women–for instance, that
battering causes more hospital visits by women every year than car
accidents, muggings and cancer combined.

These advocacy groups practically designed the Violence Against Women
Act of 1994, and they dominate the state coalitions against domestic
violence to which local domestic violence programs must belong in order
to qualify for federal funds. As a result of the advocates’ influence,
federal assistance is denied to programs that offer joint counseling to
couples in which there is domestic violence, and court-mandated
treatment for violent men downplays drug and alcohol abuse (since it’s
all about the patriarchy).

Against the backdrop of this enforced party line, Joyce is alarmed by
the smallest signs that men’s rights groups may be gaining even a modest
voice in framing domestic violence policy. She points out that in a few
states, men’s rights activists have succeeded in “criminalizing false
claims of domestic violence in custody cases” (this is apparently meant
to be a bad thing) and “winning rulings that women-only shelters are
discriminatory” (in fact, the California Court of Appeals ruled last
year that state-funded domestic violence programs that refuse to provide
service to abused men violate constitutional guarantees of equal
protection, but also emphasized that the services need not be identical
and coed shelters are not required).

To bolster her case, Joyce consistently quotes advocates–or scholars
explicitly allied with the advocacy movement, such as Edward Gondolf of
the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute–to discredit
the claims of the men’s movement. She also repeats uncorroborated
allegations that many leaders of the movement are themselves abusers,
but offers only one specific example: eccentric British activist Jason
Hatch, who once scaled Buckingham Palace in a Batman costume to protest
injustices against fathers, and who was taken to court for allegedly
threatening one of his ex-wives during a custody dispute.

The article is laced with the presumption that, with regard to both
general data and individual cases, any charge of domestic violence made
by a woman against a man must be true.

One case Joyce uses to illustrate her thesis is that of Genia Shockome,
who claimed to have been severely battered by her ex-husband Tim and
lost custody of her two children after being accused of intentionally
alienating them from their father. Yet Joyce never mentions that
Shockome’s claims of violent abuse were unsupported by any evidence,
that she herself did not mention any abuse in her initial divorce
complaint, or that three custody evaluators–including a feminist
psychologist who had worked with the Battered Women’s Justice Center at
Pace University–sided with the father.

More than a quarter-century ago, British feminist philosopher Janet
Radcliffe Richards wrote, “No feminist whose concern for women stems
from a concern for justice in general can ever legitimately allow her
only interest to be the advantage of women.” Joyce’s article is a stark
example of feminism as exclusive concern with women and their perceived
advantage, rather than justice or truth.
http://reason.com/archives/2009/11/23/mens-rights
<http://reason.com/archives/2009/11/23/mens-rights>

Cathy Young, a contributing editor at Reason magazine and columnist for
RealClearPolitics.com, is the author of Ceasefire: Why Women and Men
Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality
<http://www.amazon.com/Ceasefire-Women-Forces-Achieve-Equality/dp/068483\
4421> . She blogs at www.cathyyoung.wordpress.com
<http://www.cathyyoung.wordpress.com/> …

With grateful thanks to Paul Clements NMCI

 

George Rolph

London

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is
striking at the root.”   — Henry David Thoreau

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