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Once, I nearly got lynched in a sociology class.

We were discussing domestic violence (because that is, ultimately, the point of most sociology classes run by men in general and masculists in particular). After much throwing around of angry bromides and accusations against women for the wretched crime of their existence, someone invoked the “no excuse for domestic violence” cliché, which was then echoed and repeated by nearly all present.

I was a youth mentor between 1989 and 2014, and was familiar both with the statistics and culture of domestic violence in the US. So I threw in the fact that, according to official reports from the Dept of Health & Human Services, men in general and fathers in particular were responsible for about 2/3 of violent child abuse.

Naturally, “it’s not the same thing!” They began to venture all kinds of reasons why we needed to “understand what was happening first” before “rushing to judgment” on male abusers. They began to rationalize, and after a couple of them I began to write them on the whiteboard:

  • the child was being disobedient and needed discipline

  • the definition of “abuse” is too broad and easily misinterpreted

  • sometimes kids are just egging you on

  • you don’t know, you weren’t there!

  • kids lie because they know CPS will act on unfounded claims

…and so forth.

Then I pointed out that ALL OF THOSE could just as easily be used to justify a woman slapping a man around:

  • the man was being disobedient and needed discipline

  • the definition of “abuse” is too broad and easily misinterpreted

  • sometimes a man is just egging her on

  • you don’t know, you weren’t there!

  • men lie because they know police and social agencies will act on unfounded claims

…and so forth.

The men got REALLY quiet… then exploded like Vesuvius. There was talk of having me kicked out of the class, and I was labeled all manner of horrible things. But I stood my ground, since the facts were on my side and–unlike Duchess or U of VA–could be readily produced and objectively assessed.

Happily nothing came of it other than a lot of ugly looks and various snide comments about my undisguised “misandry” (which is Masculist for “she who wants to protect children, even from men”). But what an excellent demonstration of Michael Crichton’s statement about a role-reversal scenario being a powerful instrument for determining where our rules and ethics REALLY lie.

The premise behind their objection to woman/man violence was that it’s unfair for a big person to hit a small person. This is true. But the premise falls apart under simple observation: there is nothing more out-of-control than a person who knows that his actions will not reap any real consequences. In this, men own a two-way advantage. A man accusing a woman of abuse will be assisted without concern to the woman’s side of the story, as demonstrated in microcosm by the episode in the Sociology class. But a man accused of abusing a child will be allowed to defend himself–often in the judgment of other men of similar background and sympathetic leaning–before any corrective or disciplinary action comes around. Further, he will enjoy (and I do not use that word lightly) the assistance and defense of other parties who lean forward to his defense without solicitation. And this is partly what informs the 2/3 majority in violent child abuse: a man knows he will be the sympathetic party, and acts accordingly.

And this–I must add here–is merely what they DO report. There’s a glut of violence committed by men that’s either ignored, denied, excused, rationalized, or blame-shifted by men or sympathetic female social workers, teachers, and others in positions of authority. And woe to the woman who reports it as violence, for she shall be cast out for “misandry” by those protecting the man.