I have often wondered how any person of intelligence and integrity could make statements like the one I heard Caroline Criado-Perez make in his television “debate” with Mike Buchanan. He said 96% of all violence was perpetrated by women.
If I had never read an article, let alone a book on the subject of domestic violence I would instinctively have known this statement was pure bullshit. In fact that is something I understood innately when my personal journey as a women’s rights supporter began some 25 years ago.
In the early nineties, in my home state of Victoria, there was a serious and relentless attack on women under the heading “The War on Men” in one of our major daily newspapers (The Age) which featured a series of articles purporting to lift the lid on the unspeakable atrocities women were perpetrating upon their men folk behind closed doors. These articles were promoted on large banners outside the local news agency and I can still remember seriously considering ripping them out of the wire grills they sat behind but I somehow controlled my rage and entered the shop. I looked at the stack of papers calling women violent, oppressors and I vividly recall looking about the store at the other women who casually picked up their copy along with a magazine or packet of gum and wanting to shake them and scream,
“That’s you and me they are writing about!”
Of course, I simply swallowed the bile in my throat and purchased my own copy with my heart pounding in righteous indignation.
I cannot begin to explain how personally I took those articles–I literally lay awake at night struggling to contain the seething anger I felt about this seemingly endless barrage of female demonization. All of the female friends and relatives in my life were compassionate, considerate, funny and supportive-not a monster among them! I began writing letters and arguing with people at dinner parties and other social gatherings. The “One Good Woman” syndrome was at its peak back then with so many gals willing to nod solemnly as they sipped their chardonnay and talk about the disgraceful statistics which condemned their fellow woman (but never them, you understand.)
I would tell them how ridiculous the statistics were and no person with intelligence could take them seriously. The headshaking would continue and I was told I was in denial.
At the time this series of articles began I was recovering from a serious illness and so I spent a good deal of time watching television. Phil Donohue, Sally Jesse Raphael and Oprah seemed to feature a woman-bashing segment every day. There seemed to be no escape from this notion that women were a problematic species which needed to be dissected and analysed by males or females who saw their careers were dependent upon feeding the insatiable hunger for victimhood their male audiences craved. They all spoke as if the very idea that males could be capable of violent behaviour, be it physical or emotional was absurd and unworthy of any consideration.
Why did I keep watching these shows when they literally had me screaming at my TV and punching the cushions on my couch? I felt I had to understand the enemy in order to fight them.
I wrote countless poems to vent the outrage I felt. If not for the poetry I think I may have imploded. Here’s an example:
Endless monologues examining
The many weaknesses and vices
Attributable to only one species
Woman.It is a daily revelation to a one legged woman
Who just happened to stumble,
through unforeseen circumstances
into this hostile, alien territory.
The radio talk back assails the listeners
With mouth watering subjects
Which so often focus
On the problem with women
Advertisements patronise and belittle them
Television gorges upon the mute,
Who offer themselves up
Upon the altar of Sally Jesse Raphael
The gentle sex shriek their shrill accusations
And whine in unison
At the vulnerable women
Placed before them
They ooze self confidence
Safe with their brothers
That men are good
And women-a problem to be solved, eliminated
Or dismissed with a sneer
As I read about the “oppression of men in Australia” I would look out of my lounge room window and watch the men playing tennis on the courts across the road. They laughed and squealed in delight as they played–no women were to be seen during the day. They were at work.
On occasions when I felt strong enough I would venture down to the local shopping centre. Everywhere I looked I saw men buying items for themselves, having a coffee with their boyfriends or having their toenails painted in a salon and I seethed. The reality of my daily life bore no resemblance to the supposed horrors men were meant to be enduring-horrors I was watching or reading about in the media on a daily basis.
Then not long ago a couple of articles on bullying by men and boys appeared in the Herald Sun. They compelled me to stop and ask a question. I spoke it out loud even though I was alone at the time.
“What becomes of these male bullies when they go home at the end of a day?”
Both articles on bullying had males as the major (or only) protagonists. The first was titled, “Bullying at the Gate” and concerned the violent abuse and threats Victorian fathers are directing at other mums at their kids’ school.
Victorian fathers are receiving counselling to help them cope with bullying, intimidation and even threats of violence from other fathers at their kids’ school.
Oscar Yildiz, CEO of Bully Zero Australia Foundation, said her organisation was receiving calls from mums being bullied by other fathers.
“I had one father ring me and tell me that he wanted to ‘punch the daylights’ out of another father,” she said.
According to author, Debbie Rossi, “Some of the mums avoid getting out of their cars because they don’t want to see other mums.” His book is titled “Beyond the Schoolyard: End the Bullying Forever.”
Rossi thinks some mums feel judged by what they wear or what car they drive and how their children behave. This in turn leads to violent threats and bullying.
So, I wonder, what are these mums like when they are behind closed doors at home? It defies logic to suggest that a man who is abusive and violent at his child’s school during pick up time would revert to being a gentle easy going, conflict averse person at home where no-one but the hubby and kids bear witness to their behaviour.
Two days later another headline caught my eye: “Bullies on Rampage: One in three face school threats.”
This survey showed:
Victorians from Year 7 to 9 show boys consistently report higher rates of being bullied than girls. The trend is especially pronounced when phones or the internet are involved.
More than 20% (of boys) reported being cyber bullied compared with 12.3% of girls. Rates of recent traditional bullying victimisation were 35.4% and 29.3% respectively.
The research was published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Again I ask the question: What becomes of these boys who take delight in tormenting others either emotionally or physically? Do they become empathic, compassionate and supportive human beings or do their devious, spiteful, bullying natures simply evolve into less obvious but just as hurtful and damaging behaviour in their adult relationships?
Most of us know very well from simple observation and daily interactions with people that no gender has a monopoly on the more noble or less savoury human qualities. We see backstabbing, power hungry, ego driven females and males in the workplace. We encountered nasty, hard hearted bullies, some girls, some boys in our formative years and many have endured volatile, abusive relationships with a member of the opposite sex. Knowing this makes the very deliberate silencing of any attempt to draw attention to the fact that both genders can and do behave in an abusive, harmful manner, unforgivable.
When I think back to those earlier years when the “War On Men” theme was rampant I still hold many of the women I knew in contempt. These articles on bullying boys and men tell us nothing we didn’t already know. Those weak bastards were happy to sell their sisters down the drain for the sheer pleasure of having men look at them with warm approval rather than the hostile aggression I was occasionally subjected to for daring to suggest men were capable of violence and abuse or that the vast majority of women were good people.
Having recently reacquainted myself with a checklist provided by The Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast which informs boys/men about what behaviour constitutes domestic abuse these two articles seem very pertinent.
Before I provide you with a few samples from the checklist you must understand that every question is framed with the woman as perpetrator and the man as victim.
Does she call you names or make you feel bad about the way you look?
Does she degrade your self worth by constantly putting you down?
Has she ever pushed shoved, slapped, pinched, punched or physically hurt you?
Using Female Privilege
Does she insist on making all the big decisions?
Does she see herself as always right?
Using Coercion and Threats
Has she ever threatened to leave you?
Has she threatened to hurt your children, friends, family members or pets?
Using the children
Has she told you that you would lose custody or never see the children again?
I could go on for a page or more but I think you have the general idea. What a truly Orwellian world we live in today. How could any person with integrity post such bigoted information on an official website? This website is meant to be fighting the scourge of domestic violence yet could make no mention of one half of the world’s population in any role other than evil perpetrator.
All of us could think of males who would tick the boxes on many of the questions contained in the DV survey.
The two articles in the Herald Sun demonstrate the sheer bewildering bigotry of the domestic violence industry in a manner which leaves no room for debate. Bullying, violence and abuse are something human beings do. It is a form of behaviour which can no more be attributed to one gender than the capacity we all have to love, protect and nurture others.
I would like to have my question answered:What becomes of these vicious men and vindictive schoolgirls when they go home and close the door behind them?
[Editor’s Note: The Herald Sun articles cited in this article are not available online for linking. There is a site by the Herald Sun which allows access to digital copies of actual printed papers for viewing at a fee. This can be found at http://heraldsun.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx but a subscription will apply]
[Editor’s Note: Mark Dent also brought to our attention an article which highlights a similar problem in the UK.]