How Feminists Deny Men’s Pain
A recent article in The Guardian about domestic violence and COVID-19 provides a stark window onto the anti-male indifference of feminist advocates, journalists, and lawmakers. It also suggests, not surprisingly, that years of valuable work by responsible scholars and men’s human rights activists has not yet had a significant impact on mainstream opinion.
Announcing in its title that “Lockdowns around the world bring rise in domestic violence,” the article by four female writers focuses exclusively on harms to women and children, declaring that “women and children who live with domestic violence have no escape from their abusers during quarantine.” The article advocates gender-based measures to protect women, such as special exemptions for women to file police reports and apply for legal protection orders, as well as draconian punishments for male “perpetrators,” who may be evicted from their homes for the duration of the virus lockdown.
To read the article, one would never know that men are also victims of domestic violence. An Italian trade union is quoted as referring to “female victims of gender-based violence.” The leader of the Green Party of Germany, we learn, is gripped by “fear for the lives of women trapped with violent partners” while in Greece, officials are said to be “stepping up a campaign to help women deal with problems emerging from the issue of confinement.”
What about men whose partners are abusing them? Even the most ruthless of feminists will admit, if pressed, that women at least occasionally abuse their male partners. And the data is abundant. In research going as far back as the 1970s, American professor of sociology Murray Strauss demonstrated that women initiate and carry out physical assaults on their partners as often as men do, and that women cause substantial physical harm, including fatal harm, to their intimate partners. Reports of men’s experiences of domestic violence in the United States, Norway, Finland, the United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, and India, to name only a few, are widely available on the internet. In 2019, the U.S. National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 36% of men, as compared to 33% of women, had experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. It’s impossible for anyone to deny in good faith that men are victims too.
The feminist sleight of hand is conveyed in the widely-used phrase “gender-based violence.” When you see that phrase, you can be sure that you are in the realm of an extraordinary level of obfuscation and denial. Gender-based violence, according to a Canadian government website, is “violence that is committed against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender.” The unfalsifiable and convoluted phrasing is meant to convey that violence against women—as well as against LGBTQ groups, but not against heterosexual men—is not ordinary violence. According to feminist special pleading, women and certain others are singled out for violence because they are culturally denigrated, objectified, or believed to need control. Similar to the idea embedded in the phrase “rape culture,” “gender-based violence” implies that violence against women is more distressing than other instances of violence because it is culturally condoned or even sanctioned. (That it is singled out for special attention on a government website would seem to imply the opposite—that far from being condoned, it is particularly hated—but this form of reasoning does not strike the feminist mind.)
At the same time as claiming that violence against women is uniquely horrible because it is based on prejudice and misogyny—while violence against men is supposedly neutral and non-discriminatory, perhaps even necessary—feminist advocates also assert that women are more severely affected than men, both physically and psychologically. In her study of violence against women in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia, Debra Parkinson, a researcher from Monash University, clarified feminist assumptions by stating that “domestic violence is men’s violence against women, where ‘women’s violence does not equate to men’s in terms of frequency, severity, consequences and the victim’s sense of safety and well being.’”
Two types of assertions are conflated in this jaw-dropping postulation: that men’s violence against women is categorically different in level of brutality from women’s violence against men, and that women suffer more from it. The first claim is flat-out contradicted by reliable empirical studies. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, for example, has published a Fact Sheet stating that 1 in 7 men “have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner.” It is nonsense to suggest that women are incapable of severe violence. The second claim, that men are less hurt by the violence they experience, is morally incoherent to the point of absurdity. How could such a thing ever be proved? It may be the case that men do not express their response to violence in the same ways that women do, but to conclude that men’s well being is not affected by severe violence, or even death, beggars belief. The feminist dehumanization of men is strikingly apparent.
In summary, reliable studies show that men are victimized in domestic violence at the same rate as women, and that a significant portion of men experience severe abuse and death. And yet feminists around the world do not consider men worthy of concern, or even think of them at all except as perpetrators. The only thing more repugnant than that is the large number of non-feminist men and women who have been content to allow such despicable ideologues to take control of journalism, policing, and the judiciary, with drastic results for men’s civil rights and health.