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September 29, 2004

Comments

Ampersand

If you can do that, great. If you can't, then I think you owe these guys an apology, having effectively smeared them as liars solely because they disagree with you.

You mean, like the way DJW explained that she wasn't going to debate because she thought life's too short; and you responded by implying that she was lying about why she's leaving the debate, and that the real explanation was probably something else? I'm sure you're going to apologize for that real soon.

There's nothing ruder, or more illogical, in a debate than speculating about the motivations of people you disagree with.

Ampersand

Incidently, although I know that Hugo can answer for himself, I wrote a detailed critique of the "husbands are as battered as wives" theory. Even Straus and Gelles - who created the survey instrument most-often-cited by men's rights activists - now say that the men's rights activists have misused their work.

(To anticipate an objection, I did - at the end of my post - speculate as to what motivates men's rights activists. But I didn't do that in the context of directly debating a particular men's rights activist and speculating on his motivations, which I think is a good deal ruder.)

My understanding is that woman-on-man violence is not uncommon at all, and that women are the more frequent abusers when the victims are children.

It was fairly clear to me that when Hugo was discussing battery, he was referring to adult victims. And in any case, we were definitely discussing who the victims are - not who the abusers are.

I think it's probably true that women are the more frequent child-abusers, although I'd prefer it if you could provide a specific, peer-reviewed citation. However, my suspicion is that the difference between fathers and mothers is accounted for not by any inherant difference between women and men, but by the differences in who has most of the responsibility for child-rearing and spends the most time with children. (Of course, I realize you didn't imply otherwise).

I don't think anyone is claiming that women are all saints - on the contrary, I think the feminist position is that women, like men, are human and have human flaws. However, due to an unequal society (and also, to some extent, due to biology - i.e., men are physically bigger and don't get pregnant), the power dynamics between men and women are not even; and so in relations between adult women and men, the abusers are disproportionately men.

Hugo

It will probably come off as laziness on my part, but Amp did such a good job in his article on the subject of abuse statistics that I defer to him, XRLQ.

Trish Wilson

Hugo, I found more information for you. Womensenews reported on an attack by Free Men against California domestic violence shelters in July. A man claiming to be the victim of abuse called 10 shelters out there and was not allowed to stay in any of them. They help both men and women but are not equipped to house men overnight. There is a shelter that helps battered men but he chose to not call that one. He claimed discrimination. This is the same pattern as the last lawsuit filed by Free Men against California shelters, which are already financially strapped. The last time Free Men pulled this stunt it lost. Free Men has been working hard for years to shut down domestic violence shelters and to make it difficult for them to operate. It's an attack against women.

Xrlq

Amp, this is now the third time in a single thread that I've had to remind another commenter that my mocking comments about a traditional, "patriarchal" society were directed toward western society, not backward, rural areas of an already backward country in the Middle East. I won't speculate as to your motives for providing a link to a story from rural Pakistan.

I don't think think a fair comparison can be drawn between the vitriol you get and the vitriol Trish may get. You're not Trish, and from what little I've read of both your blogs, your style is not nearly as confrontational, knee-jerk or downright daft as hers often is. That, and not your maleness, is probably the reason your blog entries don't generate the same hate mail that hers do, even if at the end of the day, you both come down on the same side of most of the same issues. I also suspect that if you blogged as a woman, the overall tone of the comments you received would, if anything, improve.

So you didn't like my questioning of DJW's excuse for not backing up her position. Fine. From my experience, "I can't" is a much more common reason for not winning a debate than "I can, but don't want to." Maybe she really can, and really doesn't want to, but you'll have to pardon my skepticism. In any event, I didn't brand her as a liar or a fraud, as Hugo did with respect to the "fraudulent" stats your own article describes as other than fraudulent, albeit of limited utility. Even if I drank the Kool-Aid and agreed with your more strained assumptions (e.g., the implication that since men and women both have reasons not to report crimes against them, it must therefore follow that men and women report crimes in roughly equal numbers), I still would find no justification for the f-word.

Ironically enough, your own piece supports the very conclusion that Hugo initially objected to above:

And to those men's rights activists who say that we need more services for male victims of domestic violence - I agree completely! It's only the men's rights claim that women and men are equal victims of intimate violence that I'm disagreeing with. I don't think anyone can look at the facts and deny that women are sometimes violent, or that male victims of intimate violence need more support services.

IOW, domestic violence is indeed a shared problem. Whether or not it is shared evenly is a relatively minor detail.

Amanda

Alright, X--in Western societies, rape isn't nearly as criminal as you would like to think it is. It has traditionally been punished harshly only when one man rapes a woman that "belongs" to another. Until recently, in our country, marital rape wasn't even considered a crime.

Jeff JP

True confession: my very first impulse with men who do this is to be reactive, stoop to their level, and defend my masculinity.

Ah, but I wasn't questioning your masculinity. I wasn't and I'm not.

"You want to question my cojones, buddy? Let's do a 20 mile round trip race to the top of Mt. Wilson and back, you so-and-so, and I'll show you who's a man!" It's embarrassing, but the first thing I want to do is re-establish my manly credentials by suggesting some variation on a boyish pissing contest!

Actually, I think arranging a friendly boxing match would be even better!

Fortunately, I don't actually let myself react that way. Instead, I pause, think things through, and usually (if particularly irked) pray for the person who has enraged me.

Prayer is good. We need more of it. You may be interested to know that I pray for feminists, even the most vicious man-hating ones.

Peace.

Hugo

Jeff, I love you. Get a blog and start posting. I promise to link to you regularly.

Civility abounds! Whoo Hoo!

Jeff JP

Jeff, I love you. Get a blog and start posting. I promise to link to you regularly.

Civility abounds! Whoo Hoo!

Hugo,

Thanks for the compliments, but my message is really no big deal. I'm just sharing a little info about me, that's all. I pray for everyone; it's part of my spiritual practice.

Yes, I get irritated from time to time, but I do still pray for all beings everywhere.

Chow for now.

Amanda

If you pray about all the vicious man-hating feminists, isn't that sort of like praying for the salvation of unicorns?

Xrlq

Marital rape is a fair point. I'm not sure where you get the info about non-marital rape only being a big deal if the victim "belongs" to another man. Do you have any documentation of that? I can't picture anyone having gotten away with forcible rape solely because the victim wasn't married - or because she was, but her husband was too much of a louse to care.

Amanda

The evidence that rape wasn't a crime against a woman so much as a crime against the man who owned her is best understood if you realize that until relatively recently, rape and seduction were customarily not distinguished from each other in the West. Men were prosecuted for "raping" unmarried women who had consented in Europe for a long time--since her consent was not the issue so much as the man who had authority over her's consent.

It's difficult to put your finger on exact laws--it's only relatively recently that Westerners have demanded that law and custom fall in line and have so much definition to them. But here's an interesting story about the culture around the French story "Little Red Riding Hood" that will better explicate how a woman's consent, aka the difference between rape and seduction, was not considered the important factor in a sexual encounter outside of marriage:

http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/danceswithwolves.asp

Again, inside marriage, a woman had no legal or cultural individuality and couldn't be raped--no ability to consent or reject, no rape.

Fred Vincy

XRLQ,

Are you serious in asking me to identify where you are hostile? Your hostility is dripping from every post, but here are just a few:

"Hugo's privilege and oppression theory is a bunch of crap"

"Spare me the rhetoric...."

"...the plural of "anectdote" isn't "data." Show evidence ... and you may have a real point."

"Please."

"It's clear that you are very thin-skinned...."

And on and on.

And yes, my response to your tone is hostile -- and fully justified.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

How severely men were punished for rape, and under what circumstances, in traditional Western societies is going to depend a whole lot on which men you are talking about, and what time period and place you are picking to represent "traditional" Western culture. After all, we know, for example, that African-American men were punished a whole lot more reliably and severely for raping white women than white men were for raping black women, that stranger rape has been more readily punished than acquaintance rape, and that you had better odds of your rapist getting punished if people were persuaded that you were a "nice girl" rather than a "slut."

To be sure, knowing that someone who rapes you will get a long jail sentence under some circumstances, and that under no circumstances will your family kill you for being raped, is a whole lot better than what happens in certain other cultures, where the probability that the victim will be killed appears to be higher than the probability that the rapist will be significantly punished. But I'm not convinced that traditional Western handling of rape was more rape victim friendly than modern Western handling of rape.

Jeff JP

UPDATE: Trish Wilson has this great post about NCFM from 2003.

Hugo, I really hope you are reading other information about this case than just the Trish Wilson commentary. I never even heard of her before seeing the mention of her blog here. Even so, what do NCFM-LA, Marc Angelucci, Warren Farrell, and reliable news stories say about this case.

Out of a sense of fairness, I did look at the Trish Wilson blog entry you mentioned. Dude, it is so over the top that I'm pretty stunned you mentioned it. If you want to call a foaming-at-the-mouth rant like that "a great post," you're obviously within your rights to do that. Your blog, your rules.

I, on the other hand, will call it just as I see it: a reckless and obviously misinformed attack on NCFM, Warren Farrell, and anyone who has the temerity to question radical gender-feminist orthodoxy. G-d forbid we should even consider the possibility that women may be just as abusive as men!

When it's convenient, she uses a broad definition of domestic violence. She wrote, 'Domestic violence can be emotional, legal, economic, psychological, physical, and sexual' in a comment to the blog post that you quoted, Hugo.

http://amptoons.poliblog.com/blog/000905.html

If you don't think that women in intimate relationships commit domestic violence through those other forms of abuse and harassment, I don't think there's much hope to convince you. Note, I'm not saying all women do it or even that most women do it. But do they do it as often as men? You bet they do!

The mere fact that male-perpetrated domestic violence tends to be more physical than does female-perpetrated DV doesn't prove anything. The research is insufficient to cover all forms of domestic violence.

There are no doubt facts that most of us can agree on. However, if one's goal is to deny that men commit domestic violence or to deny that women commit domestic violence, then we're not going to get very far.

Finally, we need to do more in terms of prevention. We need to study men and women to find out why some of them behave violently. We need to discover the roots of the problem.

Saying "there's no excuse for abuse" and funding shelters and other programs for survivors of DV will help us in the short term and they're very important. But we also need to dig deeper into the manifold causes of DV if we hope to develop lasting solutions and the underlying social transformation that will buttress those solutions.

Hugo

On your last paragraph, Jeff, we are in complete and utter agreement!

DJW

Xlrq, two quick points.

1) You're right--I don't think I could convince you women are oppressed in our society. I also don't think that I can convince Hugo that organized religion is a bad idea, or convince a libertarian that they should actually be a socialist. On this issue, the evidence seems clear as day to anyone who looks around. Obviously, you see the world in a very different way. I enjoy discussions and debates with people who see the world quite differently from me, but I find those conversations more productive and rewarding when they focus on more secondary points on which both parties are more likely to be flexible and open to conversation. (For example, I wouldn't come here and try to convince Hugo he shouldn't care about women getting abortions--what's the point--but I will try to convince him that legal prohibition is the wrong way to combat abortion. And so on.) If you wish to take this as an occasion to declare victory, by all means feel free.

2) Not that it matters, I'm not into that whole "real manhood" stuff Hugo likes, but I'm a boy :)

Joe Perez

Hugo,

I've read your past blog posts now (well, I skimmed a few of the really long ones) on the men's movement, and generally like what you have to say. I think you're right on in most of your assessments. However, I also chuckled sympathetically when one commenter wrote about your "feminist groupies" among your blog readers. I frequently find both the feminist and father's rights wing of the men's movement to contain out-of-balanced perspectives that are very deficient, including comments by some of your "feminist groupies."

I prefer to call myself an integral thinker, rather than a pro-feminist man, because a balanced perspective just makes a lot more sense to me. As a gay man in the men's movement, I tend to see thinks from a more balanced gender perspective anyways.

I've just added your blog to my blogroll. Looking forward to more of your writings on gender issues.

Joe

Sheelzebub

Gosh, Joe. I had no idea that being a gay man meant you could see things from a woman's perspective.

But then again, I had no idea that I was a groupie until you and a few other (male) so kindly enlightened me.

Xrlq

Michelle wrote:

Xlrq [sic], we'll just have to wait and see about the draft, won't we?

Wait no longer. When was the last time that any bill got voted down 402-2, with its own author voting against it?!

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