Why I Advocate for Men’s Rights

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About GirlWritesWhat

I'm a divorced mother of three who's tired of living in a society that treats men like assholes and women like children. I have a blog,owningyourshit.blogspot.com, and also write at avoiceformen.com, where I try to convince anyone who'll listen to start thinking of men as human beings, and start insisting women collectively grow up.

Comments

  1. ht tp://www.rolereboot.org/life/details/2012-01-why-are-some-men-still-afraid-of-feminism
    This guy misses the point quite a bit.

    ht tp://jezebel.com/5873726/what-should-you-do-when-someone-you-love-becomes-a-mens-rights-activist
    Apparently most mens rights issues are feminism issues, funnily enough that same site openly talked about how they beat their ex bf’s too. Some of them are quite the hypocrite…I’ve tried to talk about male issues on feminist majority sites and facebook groups and copped the privilege + whataboutthemenz + butwomengetitworse dismissals and silencing insults. The egalitarian feminists need a separate site where men can actually talk about their issues, along with women and their issues without being blasted, minimized, insulted and silenced. It doesn’t look good when so many men’s experience of feminism is one of their issues being worthless and not important. Quite frankly sites like Jezebel are a mockery to feminism, at least the feminism I kept hearing over n over n over about which was egalitarian.

    Does anyone know where these egalitarian feminists hangout? I’ve asked on multiple comments now and haven’t received a single link, not a peep. The feminism I keep hearing people talk about, “my feminism”, egalitarian feminism, where is their popular hangout? Where do you go where men and women feel welcome and people want to fight for each sides gender equality issues? Hell, where can I actually see a feminist talk about how bad domestic violence is against MEN BY WOMEN these days as well as the other combos (m>m, m>f, f>f). The only place I know really is here, and I’d find it strange if this is the only place on the internet that exists.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I don’t know that there is a main headquarters site, but my thought is there are egal/feminists everywhere and reading all blogs. Whether they comment is unknown. I mean, I read pandagon and others, but don’t always comment. I read lots of blogs and don’t comment.

      • egalfemhq sounds good lol. I guess there must be a mix of everyone, everywhere. I start to worry when the authors and editors themselves start talking of bad acts, and not from a place of learning or remorse but in a casual and joking manner which annoyed me to all hell n back over the jezebel link I posted a while ago.

        Guess I’ll hold out until the egalitarian movement starts off big:P maybe they need everyonegetalongdamnit dot com

        • ThursdayFae says:

          I love it! I want to create a site now that is called EgalFemHQ. (If I had the money, I’d go buy the domain right now! :P)

        • Actually archy – that is quite a good idea!

          It could be funny to have the site, and if someone gets disruptive it goes off line for 5 minutes. I wonder if it would act as a control mechanism, or would the trolls just keep playing? P^)

          C’est La Vie

    • ThursdayFae says:

      I agree with Julie. We may not have a site devoted specifically to ‘us’ (egalitarian feminists), but we do read on other sites, and sometimes comment. My own blog (in sore need of updates at the moment) expresses those ideas, and when I do comment on sites, I tend to make my views known. I think that more people SHOULD speak up when they hear/read stuff like that. This site is a great example where people can come from both sides and discuss the issues (I mean, we’re commenting about feminism on a piece that’s entire purpose is to explain why the author is an MRA). More should be created.

      And sometimes, the comments are made but deleted or simply ignored. You and others have pointed out how many sites that disseminate such ‘feminism’ tend to be hostile toward people standing up against them and calling them out on their misandry and divisive attitudes. Maybe someone should start another site? One whose primary goal is the coming together of feminists and MRAs?

      • I’d love to see it but don’t have the time or funding:P I’d comment there though. I’m commenting on the feminism as some see men’s rights covered under feminism and I’m wondering just how many there are. Seems they’re both feminists and mra’s all in one! I personally prefer to just lump them both as egalitarian without the need for secondary labels like mra or feminism, since egalitarians would be for all rights including racial rights, sexuality, disability, etc.

        But then again, I absolutely hate labels funnily enough, they can cause people to associate bias to them straight away. As soon as someone identifies as feminism, or mra, their entire argument can be disregarded by some. I do like the idea of an anti-sexism site with 2 groups, anti-misandry and anti-misogyny that could pick apart popular media sexist attitudes, it would bring both groups together for a common cause and I have a feeling it’d heal relations quite a bit.

      • DavidByron says:

        I think someone tries every now and then but for various reasons it’s really hard.

  2. I think the bigger problem is the driving ideology/epistemology/theory behind the feminist movement.

    Patriarchy Theory is very much invested in the idea that men have always been privileged relative to women, and that women have always been oppressed by The Patriarchy (not to be confused with “small p” patriarchy, which is simply referring to father-led families and patrilineal lines of descent).

    As evidence for this overarching theory as to how society works (a theory which, coincidentally, plays into our instinctive and cultural views of women as being in need of/deserving of protection and support, and men being potent and dangerous/violent, both of which are extremely successful as survival/reproductive strategies in difficult environments, such as…well, most of human history), they held up their theories on domestic violence and rape being patriarchal in nature–male societal oppression of women enacted on a microscale. You can see it stated quite clearly in a lot of feminist texts, such as Brownmiller’s Against Our Will, where she claimed, “Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.”

    The problem is that feminists devised the theories first, then set out to find evidence, rather than looking at evidence and developing falsifiable hypotheses, which then could be constructed into theories. Female DV perpetrated against men is as obvious as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uO410iaJ7E and old Victorian cartoons showing rolling-pin-wielding wives and beleaguered, “hen-pecked” husbands. It’s kind of insane how what has always been pervasive, common knowledge, and a cause for a man to be ostracized, ridiculed and abandoned rather than helped, was somehow “overlooked” by feminist scholars when it came to researching domestic violence, isn’t it?

    But it didn’t fit feminist theories on domestic violence, which HAD to fit their theories on patriarchal oppression of women and male privilege in order to support feminists’ advocacy efforts and proposed legislative and public policy changes. And they managed to bury male victims so deep under the suffocating blanket of feminist ideology, social policy, mainstream media reporting and pop-culture, that what was once common knowledge–that some men are beaten by their wives–became something “nobody knows about or is willing to believe”.

    Feminist complicity in concealing female perpetration and male victimization can be clearly seen in the series of events following the implementation of feminist-inspired mandatory arrest policies in California in the 80s. Arrests of men increased by 37%. Of women? 446%. In response, lobbyists somehow convinced legislators and police that female “victims” were being arrested in place of, or alongside, their “batterers”, and predominant aggressor policies were devised to institute gender profiling in arrest policy, to get the numbers “back to where they should be”.

    If domestic violence is demonstrated (as the empirical evidence clearly does) to be gender-neutral and to stem from causes other than men and women’s relative positions in society, that casts doubt on Patriarchy Theory, doesn’t it? Same goes with rape, which the CDC just recently showed to be almost equally perpetrated by women on men than the other way around, and which a huge cross-cultural study of heterosexual relationships showed to be gender-symmetrical within relationships, as well.

    Then you add the “pay gap” myth to the DV and rape myths, and you find that pretty much all of feminism’s biggest smoking guns wrt male privilege and female oppression are…well, they’re bunk.

    But feminism’s offshoots in academia, advocacy groups, charities, organizations, government departments and ministries, their influence on family law and criminal law…do you have ANY idea how many jobs, how many positions of political influence, and how much public and private money is riding on these theories? Is it any wonder those whose jobs and incomes, whose influence in society, whose public images depend on Patriarchy Theory being valid are not interested in disseminating the truth about ANY of these issues?

    • That’s some intense stuff:O I only hope intelligence prevails and we can all move towards egalitarian policies.

      Thank-you for that comment, it’s quite informative.

      • The most unfortunate thing is that feminist theory dovetails so neatly with our instinctive perceptions of maleness and femaleness. That means they FEEL right to us, even when they’re dead wrong.

        It’s like the instinctive fears most people (and animals) have of snakes–cats laying their ears back and hissing are actually mimicking snakes (the shape of the head is almost identical to a hissing snake when they do this) to scare away enemies, that’s how deep these kinds of survival instincts can go. Same goes with cartoon characters from Bugs Bunny to Johnny Test having a facial structure that is the slightly exaggerated facial proportions of a baby, because babies are universally and instinctively perceived as cute and good and nice and all that.

        It would be advantageous to prejudge men as potentially dangerous/violent, because for a lot of human history, being leery of men you didn’t know was a good strategy for staying alive. It would be advantageous to see women as deserving of protection, because keeping women alive kept human collectives going.

        Even male and female patterns of violence follow the gender roles of hunter/gatherer societies. Men (even very violent ones) are more violent outside home base than in it, and for women it’s the opposite. Even the fact that the vast majority of stranger violence is perpetrated on men, now that women have equal freedom of movement and would be much easier for someone to victimize.

        But then we make a huge deal about violence against women being “systemic”, and violence against men not being a problem at all, when it’s really the other way around. I actually did a video on how messed up our views on this are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gekyg7yy4Dc

        We just have so many things backwards, it’s not even funny, and it all, IMO, can be traced back to traditional gender norms and the blind spots of evolutionary psychology.

        Which means it’s gonna be a lot harder to fix than the few legitimate *serious* issues feminism had to deal with.

        • DavidByron says:

          Whereas I tend to see it as dating more from the industrial or Victorian period…

          • There are some cultural norms that stem from that period, sure, but the most fundamental and universal roles of men and women go back a lot farther than that, and some of our most basic perceptions of men and women do, too.

            In societies that are more survivalist (like Afghanistan, for instance) women who do wrong or seriously defy cultural edicts wrt behavior are seriously punished (though men are often subjected to equal or worse punishment for gender-equivalent transgressions), because, IMO, those societies cannot afford to allow protecting women to upset the social order. Social order is heavily prioritized because everyone’s first priority is staying alive, and you need social cohesiveness to do that. (Of course, this need for social cohesiveness in extreme conditions often leads to systems that are WAY more oppressive to everyone than is arguably necessary.)

            Even looking at a woman being stoned to death for being raped. She would face the same punishment for committing adultery. The rapist would face the same punishment if the sex had been consensual. But when it comes to a society where you can easily get killed trying to feed and protect your kids which means a man has a right to know those kids are actually his, and you add in a fundamentalist religion and its laws… extramarital sex is so strongly condemned that even a rape victim is punished… just in case it wasn’t actually rape but infidelity, or to keep other women from getting ideas, or to make sure they keep themselves safe or fight back harder if it happens to them, or whatever.

            In fact, I’ve read some interesting stuff on the trauma rape victims feel, and the strangest thing is, according to some data, a rape victim will feel MORE psychologically traumatized if she has a partner, and if there are no visible injuries. Which would lead me to think that if there ARE injuries, it’s a lot easier to convince your partner that it was non-consensual, and that you tried your best to prevent it, therefore it probably won’t happen again.

            But back to the matter at hand.

            I’m pretty sure in the Dark Ages, or in prehistoric times, an approaching stranger would be regarded with more suspicion if that stranger was male rather than female. Not necesarily because he’d be more likely to mean harm, but because he’d be more capable of inflicting it. Likewise, when it was possible to protect women–even in the context of female camp followers of armies, who were in danger but not put into combat–women were protected. They were not expected to fight or die to defend the collective. That, in itself, is a form of protection.

            Even looking at the typical reactions to coerced or unwanted sex depending on whether it’s a male rape of a female, or a female rape of a male. The potential cost, biologically, to a woman is much higher than the cost to a man, and the psychological responses (perhaps not personally, but societally) seem to reflect that. We’re horrified by men who rape women, and kind of blase about women who rape men, aren’t we? IMO, because if a pregnancy occurred (at least up until very recently on the continuum of human history), a man could walk away and a woman could not. Even the slut vs stud dichotomy can be traced back to that greater female biological investment, and uncertainty of paternity.

            There are a LOT of underlying dynamics within our culture that have biological, evolutionary bases. Even the gendered “empathy gap” that makes us not care as much about the men who are forcibly and repeatedly raped as prisoners of war as we do about some woman was pressured into drunk sex, and where we can care more about girls not being taught to read in Afghanistan than about the male genocides in Bosnia. All of that can be traced to biological and environmental realities that go all the way back to the cave, too.

            TL;DR: there are some things so universal between cultures that I think they go back to the beginning.

    • ThursdayFae says:

      You comment about Academia really rang true to me, because I first started feeling uncomfortable with the idea of being a ‘feminist’ when I started taking Women’s Studies classes at university. (And a comment about why there weren’t Men’s Studies classes was met, by some, with the (inaccurate) stock reply: ‘All classes are Men’s Studies!’) I was excited to take classes that focused on femininity and female contributions to culture and arts (mostly literature), and I absolutely loved ‘feminist criticism’ when it came to literary studies (that was the only reason I actually was able ENJOY reading The Scarlet Letter), but a lot of the attitudes and ‘facts’ that were presented in some of my classes made me feel distinctly at odds with mainstream feminism. And pointing out inconsistencies in logic was not met with intellectual discourse (at least, not by some of the rabid feminist students; the teachers were usually better at discussing differing points of view). So I started seeking out more ‘humanist’ studies; I care deeply about the state of women in my community, in my country, and around the world, but I cannot divorce them from their male counterparts and disregard the men in my concern and compassion and desire to make the world (and my community and my country) a better place.

      I appreciate your breakdown of feminist theory, GWW. It helps affirm and put into perspective a lot of things I’ve been thinking, and it helps give language to something I’ve been trying to articulate.

    • DavidByron says:

      When I used to ask feminists for examples of women being worse off than men on a regular basis there were about five topics that would come up again and again and of course they were all the bunk topics. Because there are not real issues. DV and rape and the gender wage gap were the top scorers – all bunk as you say.

      What I found interesting was that another very popular “issue” put forward by feminists was “the vote”.

      And this was mostly back in the 90s but even so seven or eight decades too late really. So I began to add “..in modern day America” when I asked them to name issues. And STILL they would very often say the Vote. And something about women in Afghanistan (this was before 9-11). It didn’t matter how obviously silly it was to keep claiming the Vote as an issue, and it didn’t matter that I’d explicitly said “modern day”.

      So these issues for feminists are like totems. They don’t need to be real in any sense whatsoever. Not as actual issues for an activist to deal with. They just need to be handy hooks to hang male guilt on. So it doesn’t matter how long ago the Vote stuff was so long as they can blame men for it.

      So I researched the history of the Vote for women and I found that was bunk too. I researched the status of men and women in Afghanistan and I found more bunk.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        Why is voting bunk? Did you answer my question earlier about women and the vote?

        • DavidByron says:

          I did. (search for “vote” maybe)

          The situation with the vote did not represent an area where women were oppressed. It was not an issue for most women. As I said most women opposed it. But there are other reasons why it is not correct to see it as an issue for women. Even beyond what I did say about the Australian ballot there, globally women were not far behind men in terms of getting the vote. In the UK for example most women got to vote for the first time as a result of the same bill in parliament that first allowed most men to vote. In Australia it was one year.

          Feminists misrepresent the history to make people believe that women were “oppressed” and that they wanted the vote but were denied it by “men”. Or that women were seen as second class citizens because they didn’t have a vote. Or that all men had the vote but no women did. In reality gaining the vote was and remain an on-going process. In fact today its mostly men denied a vote eg because of America’s almost unique laws saying ex-cons can’t vote.

          In short the real history doesn’t provide anti-male propaganda but the feminist version does.

        • Voting is a largely bunk issue because, when it comes to the entire history of voting rights being compared to a 24 hour day, women got that right about ten minutes after ordinary men did.

  3. @TyphonBlue – I wonder if you will read all of this or just cherry pick? I do recommend you read it all. Link back to Comment.

    With reference to the Tim Hetherington piece and the reported paraphrased comment:

    “Some people are attracted to the kind of situations that ended up killing him and they can’t let it go until it’s their time to do so.”

    Is that victim blaming? Is it victim blaming to notice that some people chose to go into situations of potential violence and abuse repeatedly?

    You seem to be mixing up two matters which end up producing a “Red Herring”!

    I also read this and it was shockingly wrong headed!

    “The abuser is just a situation–a dangerous situation, but just a situation–that’s all, nothing more.”

    The linking of the life and experience of Tim Hetherington to IPV is a Red Herring. You only need to have the relevant knowledge of the field to grasp that his behaviours and experienced “strongly indicate” that he had PTSD – and he was High Functioning. There is nothing but a most tenuous and misleading link to matters being addressed here.

    However, dealing with the Gross Psychological, Physiological and Sociological impact of PTSD can be quite something, and even so shit happens.

    Ever had to deal with someone with undiagnosed and untreated PTSD and told them it’s all up to them and they need to just get some Agency and use it?

    “Pull yourself together” is the usual catch phrase and cliché used! People often like to use it and supposedly throw it about for the “Person’s Own Good”!

    Ever wondered why such Clichés don’t work?

    Using such Clichés is in fact Victim Blaming in the field of PTSD.

    Victim Blaming defined as: occurs when the victim(s) of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment are held entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them.

    Transgressions Committed Against them – Just Pull Yourself Together!

    Ever tried that one to an ex-service man lying homeless on the streets where he is actually using his battle field skills to survive – and due to PTSD and it’s untreated and unrecognised effects, it is actually the best manifestation of his Agency until someone recognises the Situation he faces and is able to empower him to use his Agency in a more socially normal and less stigmatising fashion.

    Is it his disposition to be homeless sleeping on the streets, or is it just situational – or is it a complex dance between the two with people on the outside passing judgement from a place of ignorance?

    What does it have to do with victim blaming? One hell of a lot – and a lot of Ignorance too!

    Victim blaming is not just made manifest in certain words, it is made manifest in a mind set that biases the Dispositional over the Situational and leads to Transgression.

    I wonder if you are familiar with such matters as the “Fundamental Attribution Error” a well known psychological issue also often referred to as correspondence bias. It describes the tendency of varying degrees to over-value “dispositional” or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing “situational”explanations for those behaviours.

    It can be minor in nature or major and even quite dangerous. It’s odd too, because the same people who judge others with a gross bias to the Dispositional also have a gross bias to ensuring all matters affecting them are to be judged from the Situational.

    I did have to point out that commentator did not have all or any of the “Situational Information” and so had to be more than careful about making “Dispositional” Comments.

    As I said “That is straying far too close to Victim Blaming for Me!”

    Insufficient information has been provided for some of the opinions I see springing up – and it’s not acceptable in my book!

    Apparently some see calling a halt to victim blaming as a way of shutting down conversation? How Odd!
    The actual reason for calling victim blaming is to stop such activities as using inappropriate language and behaviour which is against a victim’s best interests and also to prevent re-victimisation. It also acts to protect the blamer from their own errors and Transgressions against others.

    Victim blaming and the Fundamental Attribution Error go hand in hand – and when the error is low it is not dangerous, but when someone decides that their Dogma overrides a persons reality and they ignore the person and impose Dispositional Bias – then they are well over the line of victim blaming, and I will happily call it just that.

    Remember, it’s not just words, it’s how a mindset is made manifest.

    I will even represent situational information to allow the person over the line to learn, reconsider and rephrase. People do make mistakes – but if that Dogma keeps coming – and the situational view remains fixed due to that Dogma, then the person is evidently dangerous and they will be told so! I will also tell them to steer well clear of areas where their Ignorance and Dogma are dangerous – and I will mean it very clearly.

    That is exactly what I have done!

    I even posted a relevant quote – which comes in the form of a question;

    “One question that is often asked is: “Why didn’t you leave?” or alternatively “Why did you stay so long?” If you haven’t been in this situation yourself, leaving may seem the obvious answer.”

    It’s pure Situational Vs Dispositional! …and the answer is – “If you haven’t been in this situation yourself, leaving may seem the obvious answer.”

    It’s that dispositional thing – be biased to the supposedly obvious answer and ignoring the totality and complexity of the Situation and the person’s experience in that Complex Situation.

    The Obvious answer comes from viewing as Dispositional – the real answer comes from dealing with the Situational and Dispositional in an unbiased, safe and even productive manner.

    I have even made it clear that there are specific ways to communicate which address that balance in a constructive way – and yet even that message was ignored due to Dogma and Disposition! Of course Dogma is all too often a gross bias to the Dispositional.

    Well some have agency to address their own Dogmas, and it’s 100% up to them to do so. I do allow people to do that and have even provided opportunity. If a person has a Dispositional Bias to ignore their own Dogmas and keep using them indiscriminately within a situation, what is the outcome?

    So lets go that little bit further into looking at the Bias – What is the Hierarchy of Agency and how does it work across the “Full Spectrum” of IPV?

    When does it start being appropriate to hold the Victim responsible for lack of agency and just judge it from a position of personal dispositional bias?

    An “abuser is just a situation” and the abused only need to use agency and get out.

    When does that agency kick it – at what age?

    Is it a pure Binary – as it 0% or 100% with nothing in between? Is it 100% Dispositional and 0% situational?

    Does the two year old suffering IPV at the hands of their mother have to just view it as a situation and get out?

    “If you haven’t been in this situation yourself, leaving may seem the obvious answer.”
    “The abuser is just a situation–a dangerous situation, but just a situation–that’s all, nothing more.”

    What about the 10 years old being sexually abused in the showers by someone who has been grooming them, playing with their head, for 2 years? It’s just a situation – they just need to act and use their agency and go home and tell someone?

    “If you haven’t been in this situation yourself, leaving may seem the obvious answer.”
    “The abuser is just a situation–a dangerous situation, but just a situation–that’s all, nothing more.”

    How about this quote?

    “I have been living with my nan since I was 12. Nan forced me to have sex with her last night and I don’t want to do this. I have nowhere else to live.” (Boy, aged 17)”
    From Children talking to ChildLine about sexual abuse 2009

    He’s 17, surly mature enough to have some agency – or does he need to wait until his next birthday at 18 or is it 21?

    “If you haven’t been in this situation yourself, leaving may seem the obvious answer.”
    “The abuser is just a situation–a dangerous situation, but just a situation–that’s all, nothing more.”

    Does the line “ I have nowhere else to live” have any bearing on his disposition relative to his situation?

    And That is just considering age and ranking it against the Hierarchy Of Agency.

    Then you have the whole rape issue – and according to you it’s just a situation so use some agency!

    “The “rapist” is just a situation–a dangerous situation, but just a situation–that’s all, nothing more.”

    I wonder how that would go down on some sites like Toy Soldiers?

    I can see it now “You should not make comment – you had agency and should have used it! The situation is irrelevant you just failed to have 100% agency and it’s your own disposition and your own fault for not owning your agency in the situation – It’s an uncomfortable truth, but I’m telling you this for your own good”.

    How does that “Hierarchy Of Agency” work and what are the relevant measures to take into account – age? IQ? Schooling levels and eduction? How about history of multiple incidents of long term IPV? Where do such things as Social Conditioning, Religious Belief, Ethnic and Cultural factors fit in – how about Familial Relationship? – and how do they play in that “Hierarchy”?

    I love the idea that there is some simplistic attitude to Agency – if there is an issue, you have agency – if I encounter you you will be told you have agency and even how to use it. You will be given Trite – Simplistic – off the cuff and even dismissive comment – because I know you have agency and if you are not using it that makes you …….?????????

    What does it make people in the view of those who have a dogmatic agenda of agency?

    What is in that unfilled blank – what does it contain – what does it say?

    I can not imagine that they would be positive or even neutral. I get the very distinct impression that they are pejorative.

    I do hope we are not seeing the dawning of “Agency Culture”? – heavens above preserve is from that!

    Fundamental Attribution Error is an interesting matter, and the bigger, more fixed and even Dogmatic the error the more dangerous it becomes – not just for the person who has the error in their head – but primarily for the people who are having it rammed down their throats by someone who is in error and fails to take responsibility for their own errors.

    It was interesting that when Penn State blew up there was a great deal of anger being expressed ever so publicly. I cautioned Here , and Here that the anger needed to be managed and not used in a way that could deter Victims of child sexual abuse coming forward.

    There was so much Dispositional Anger coming out, and people were being so careless in considering how it could and even would affect the situational disposition of those who had been abused – not just at PSU – but everywhere.

    It’s odd how the situation of seeing people getting mad can actually rob you of agency – because the victim does not what to have to deal with other people’s anger – they generally have enough of it repressed in their own life. That is of course Dispositional – but it is also situational.

    A child who is being abused suddenly sees this wall and tsunami of anger when PSU comes out. They have been told that they should not do or say things to make people angry. The child realises that saying I’m being abused will make people angry – but apparently the child just needs some agency and to own their own shit and not have the wrong disposition.

    You only need agency is it – the abuser is just a situation?

    Who is the abuser when a person acts to repress or dissuade a victim from coming forward, even if the person doing it is not aware of their own actions and the effects upon others?

    I have heard so many times people using the excuse – It’s being said for your own good. That is very odd, because from experience it is most often not said for the benefit of anyone but the person espousing the views. It’s that “own good” bit – “I know your disposition”, and your situation which I refuse to acknowledge does not count.

    I did find this illuminating “Surely telling them the truth about this should be allowed, even if it’s an uncomfortable truth?”.

    Funny how it is presented as a question when in fact it is a rhetorical question form a persons disposition.
    Sorry – but who’s truth is that? – who is doing the telling? – who is giving themselves agency and does not care about the disposition or situation comfort of the person?

    “I’m telling you for your own good!” – and exactly how many abusers use that mind set and language to control both the victim’s situation and disposition?

    Odd how recognised best practice is to allow the person who is abused to tell you what their reality is, to reveal the experiences they have, the frames of reference they have become trapped in so that their Situational Experience is made clear and it can be referenced against any Dispositional factors.

    Of course the dance of Disposition with Situation is to be dismissed with a supposed uncomfortable truth – for the abused’s own good. And exactly how has the person’s disposition been influenced by their situation and being told supposed truths for their own good, over and over and gaslighted?

    It’s odd just how many times in IPV and DV and abuse in particular the abuser will use the “Uncomfortable Truth” and “For Your Own Good” trick to Gaslight the abused and use it as a control mechanism.

    Someone who exhibits gross tendencies towards Fixed and dogmatic Fundamental Attribution Error is someone I will call out – especially when they are talking about what is best to abuse survivors in all forms, how they should view their situation and the disposition they need to have to address it.

    I pointed out how the Simplistic and Fundamentally erroneous views being expressed were wrong – the language was wrong – that the bias of dispositional over situational was wrong…. and still the error came back.“Surely telling them the truth about this should be allowed, even if it’s an uncomfortable truth?”.

    Being abused is never simplistic – dealing with and being in an abuse situation is never simplistic – having any disposition and possession of agency in an abuse situation and even afterwards is never simplistic.

    Being overly dispositional and throwing around supposed “uncomfortable truth” for other’s own good – that is simplistic. It even goes into the realms of gaslighting people who are already choking on the fumes from the gaslighting they have already undergone – potentially for years – decades even.

    Viewing an abuser as just a situation is massively simplistic and totally off the ball. As I said It’s totally wrong headed. It’s as bad as all men are rapists – all feminists are harpies and in an international conspiracy – all abuse victims just lack the will and interest to exercise some agency – I’m telling you for your own good.

    A hole in the road – well some have fallen into that hole – they were offered ways to get out – but they have chosen to stay there – and that is their Disposition and their error.

    C’est la Vie.

    • Media Hound,

      “Ever had to deal with someone with undiagnosed and untreated PTSD and told them it’s all up to them and they need to just get some Agency and use it?”

      I AM someone with diagnosed PTSD. The only thing that got me over the abuse I suffered was to realize it *WAS* a situation. A situation I had no role in creating, was not responsible for existing, but I, nevertheless, had the choice to exit or continue once I was legally and financially capable of doing so.

      Once all the exterior barriers to exiting the situation are removed and someone still returns, it is obvious that that is their choice to be in that situation. Until they own that choice they will return and return and return and no one can save them from that.

      A 10 year old is dealing with insurmountable exterior barriers and has no legitimate choice or agency. Neither does a man facing the possibility of being arrested for his own abuse. Or someone locked in their parent’s basement being beaten every day.

      But when we’re talking about someone _like John’s sister as he described_, who had nothing keeping her in her situation but her own choice to return, then what else is there? She is choosing and she will return to the situation until she stops choosing to do so. There was no one except those voices in her own mind coercing the choice out of her. Those voices in her own mind are under her control and hers alone.

      Does it help her to tell her that those voices in her head telling her to go back are not under her control but her abuser’s control? Doesn’t that set up a situation where she has to go beg for her life back from the very person who has taken it in the first place?

      And what about the secondary victims, the people who love her and have tried to remove every possible exterior barrier to her leaving the abusive situation? Doesn’t their pain count for anything? Should they be lead to believe that it’s somehow their fault for failing to provide exactly the right set of circumstances so that she will leave?

      It has taken me a hell of a long time to realize that what I walked through, the abuse I suffered that lead to:

      PTSD
      Chronic depression
      Anxiety Disorders
      Internalized shame and self hatred
      Constant feelings of humiliation

      The abuse *I* suffered was just a ‘situation’. That’s it, that’s all my abuser(s) were. Situations.

      Incidentally when we’re talking in the abstract about dealing with healing is different then dealing with survivors.

      • @Typhon – Could you please clarify what you mean by the following:

        “I AM someone with diagnosed PTSD. The only thing that got me over the abuse I suffered was to realize it *WAS* a situation.”

        Do you differentiate the “situation” from the PTSD, and hold them as completely separate and in no way interacting?

        • There were other environmental factors (living through being bombed) that likely contributed to the PTSD aside from the abuse.

          I believe the abuse was a partial cause of the PTSD, but once I was out of that abusive environment then what, exactly, is continuing the PTSD?

          • @Typhon – I will take the reference to being bombed as indicating a separate trauma.

            That would indicate at least two traumas have occurred 1) bombing 2) abuse – and can indicate being Re-traumatised – which raises the risks and effects of PTSD into Complex and multifactorial PTSD. This is the most difficult to manage and treat.

            Many people who have PTSD will stay in abuse situations as they adapt to manage the PTSD in that environment – it can cause people to stay as a protection mechanism, and leaving becomes a trigger for worsening PTSD – the person therefore stays as the least worst option as they see it.

            It is only when they can then be motivated to leave the abuse is either through improved management of the PTSD, generally by medication, or if there is a significant shift in the abuse effect which makes the person believe that leaving is the least worst option.

            DV – Abuse and PTSD are very common, as is adapting to managing the PTSD within the abuse environment. Also many abusers will play upon PTSD symptoms – telling the abused person they are mad – unstable etc which indices a phobic state of being with people outside of the abuse venue who are seen as normal – the abuse victim is made to feel shame and this is also a mechanism for not leaving.

            Often the exploitation of the PTSD is not deliberate and only coincidental with other patterns of psychological abuse and distress.

            If a person is known to have PTSD and that is “deliberately” used to facilitate abuse that is gas-lighting.

            • “Many people who have PTSD will stay in abuse situations as they adapt to manage the PTSD in that environment – it can cause people to stay as a protection mechanism, and leaving becomes a trigger for worsening PTSD – the person therefore stays as the least worst option as they see it.”

              What this sounds like is exactly how I was mismanaging my PTSD when I was at my worst. I essentially confined myself to a room in my house off and on for about ten years. (Ever heard about those people who live in bathrooms? That was me.)

              What eventually helped me out of that was cognitive behavioural therapy–paying attention to my thoughts–and learning about neural plasticity. But all these things were only as good as my choice to adhere to them.

              Also reading something very important, ‘if you give in to fear, it will grow larger.’ I learned that if I start feeling afraid of a situation I must not let the fear dictate my actions. I also worked on accepting the worst possible thing that could happen to me if I ever left my house.

              None of this was easy. Easy was staying in a 8 x 8 room for the rest of my life.

              Easy is staying where you’re ‘safe’.

              “It is only when they can then be motivated to leave the abuse is either through improved management of the PTSD, generally by medication, or if there is a significant shift in the abuse effect which makes the person believe that leaving is the least worst option.”

              When you say ‘they can then be motivated’ that means it’s a choice they’re making. Just like I was making the choice to confine myself to avoid facing my fears. And I know for sure that no one could have made these choices for me.

              I don’t think that I’m that much of a psychological outlier, here.

            • @Typhon

              I use the phrase “‘they can then be motivated’ very deliberately as the motivation can be Dispositional or Situational.

              Often it is situational as the levels of abuse or the effects of abuse increase – situational – and that shifts the balance to least worst being leaving.

              At all stages the person has the ability to act, but the psychological burden of what some would see as the correct action is too much for the person.

              You indicate that for you a change came from CBT and that indicates that your motivation became dispositional – you were not forced into a least worst option – you developed the capacity to take a better option.

              As I have said the dynamics of Abuse are complex and client focused as each person and their situation is different. There is no one size fits all!

            • Media Hound,

              I’m not saying one size fits all. I’m saying that size will only be tried on when the person is ready to make the choice to do so.

              “You indicate that for you a change came from CBT and that indicates that your motivation became dispositional – you were not forced into a least worst option – you developed the capacity to take a better option.”

              Dispositional sounds essentially like ‘when you make the choice rather then the choice being _forced_ on you, then you will start to move out of the cycle of abuse.’

              And that’s exactly right. If someone had forced me out of my room, I wouldn’t have gotten better. It wasn’t until I *chose* the better path that the better path became open to me.

              I’m pretty sure that’s all that GWW and I are saying.

            • DavidByron says:

              But why the bathroom? I’d've picked the bedroom. Well — I did pick the bedroom for many years when I had depression.

              Perhaps you should tell us how it happened…?

            • Er… maybe some day when more people in my family are dead.

    • Think about what you’re saying here MH.

      You have someone who has no exterior pressures leading them back to the abusive situation. None. The only reason why they’re going back is because they are _choosing to do so_. And you’re telling them that this choice is not under their control?

      Then whose control is it under? Who is controlling them putting one foot in front of the other and walking back to the abusive situation? Who?

      Even if they are mentally influenced by abuse or PTSD, *telling* them that they have no control over their own brain space sounds like you’re locking them in a prison and throwing away the key.

      You’re essentially saying that there is no solution, no hope and no point. Nothing the person can do will ever give them a way out of their situation. They just have to hope and prey and beg the abuser to stop. It’s all up to him or her.

      But let’s put all that aside. What do you suggest people do if they’re in a situation like John’s family is with his sister? They’ve removed all the exterior barriers to her leaving her abusive husband and are watching her walk right back to him over and over again.

      How can they stop her from putting one foot in front of the other and walking back into the abuse? How can anyone stop her?

      • @ Typhon – I fear that you are reading what you want to see and not what is written.

        “You’re essentially saying that there is no solution, no hope and no point. Nothing the person can do will ever give them a way out of their situation. They just have to hope and prey and beg the abuser to stop. It’s all up to him or her.”

        Can you please “Quote Directly” where it is have written comments and views where I have supposedly indicated the following? Please include hyper-links to the relevant posts quoted.

        It seems that you are not reading what has been written but assuming what has been written.

        I also fear that you are Conflating your personal experience as the way all other people should be viewed and treated. Dealing with abuse and DV at all stages is client centred, therefore your experience can only be viewed in relation to you. It is improper in so many ways for your experience to be extrapolated to supposedly cover all other people and eventualities.

        • So what you’re saying is that no one can ever speak about any issue, because every issue looks different depending on what each individual’s situation and perspective is? There is no objective reality, therefore no such thing as truth, therefore no one should ever presume to present their reality as actual reality.

          Sounds very post-modernist/perception is reality/the Principia Mathematica is actually a “rape manual” to me. Because that’s what defining reality subjectively looks like. It looks like calculus=rape.

          Wow.

          I understand you better now.

          • There is a post below for your direct attention – It may take a few minutes to be visible as it contains links which have to pass moderation.

            I await your response to that post.

          • @GirlWritesWhat – I have reread in detail my post addressed to Typhon, quoting her and my observations and concerns.

            I am unable to account for how you take what has been written and from that create your response – there is no rational or valid connection.

            it would appear, again, that you are inventing what has been written and responding to ideas, views and comments that have nothing to do with me. It appears that you are inventing a reality.

            I will now have to ask that you stop doing that. If you wish to attribute ideas and views to yourself that is your prerogative – but I am unwilling to have you attribute ideas, views and sentiments to me which I do not hold.

            Not only is it rude on your part, but when you have done it so many times and so consistently it becomes abusive.

            • @ Media Hound

              I am leery of reading your observations or concerns. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m finding what you’re writing triggering.

              If you want to discuss what I’ve said that’s fine, but I will ask you not to discuss me. I am not a science project for you to dissect.

            • DavidByron says:

              Seems like you’ve all been pretty clear.

            • You’ve repeatedly objected to my reiteration that even abused people, in reality, have the agency to make choices that will affect their situations. (Especially women, who have all kinds of resources and assistance to help them.)

              I can only assume that you believe their feelings of helplessness and objectification are valid–that they are based on a reality based on perception rather than objectivity.

              The problem with perception being equivalent to reality is that it is simply not true a lot of the time. The man who does not dare call the police because he knows he’ll be the one arrested and his children will be left in the sole care of an abuser…given the nature of the law and our culture, that is objective reality. The woman who feels she is helpless to change her situation, despite an entire federally legislated framework of laws and policies skewed in her favor, a family court that is predisposed to cater to her, and a society that will sympathize with her and be outraged on her behalf… that’s not objective reality. That’s fucked up.

              There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling someone that their thought process is fucked up. Yet you would do that to save a woman’s feelings. And god help any woman who ends up with someone like that as a counsellor, because all they will do is enable her to continue to stay, rather than embrace her agency and leave.

              Would you tell a rapist who’d been sexually abused as a child that the rapes he perpetrated were not his fault, that he had no choice, that he had no free will?

              If not, how is it different, simply because the person who’s been damaged is harming themselves rather than someone else? Does the person who harms themselves somehow have LESS free will than the one who harms others?

            • As for your question, how many people who are abused seek advice before leaving? That’s a moot point. They have all of pop culture and the media telling them they’re helpless rather than strong and effectual, so why would they seek advice elsewhere?

              And your accusation of abuse on my part is…well, it’s extremely tiring. You choose to remain engaged in this conversation. You choose to read my comments. Characterizing my opinion as abusive is about as objectively accurate as a “concerned citizen” who told me the MRM were terrorists because an MRA had stated that men going their own way–refusing to be wage slaves and marry women–as “fucking feminism’s shit up”. Imagine that: refusing to get married and only working part time is terrorism now.

              And apparently, acknowledging objective reality–that abused women have the power to end their abuse, if they would only embrace it–is abuse in itself.

              I will say again, it really doesn’t matter whose fault it is that a given woman is in an abusive relationship. She has the power–assisted by laws, policies and social supports skewed insanely in her favor–to change her situation. Most abused women are not Jaycee Dugard. Most abused women are capable of seeing reality if they are only confronted with it. And sheltering them from that reality may feel good to the rest of us, but it does nothing to help or empower those women.

              Men, of course, because of the current cultural perceptions regarding abuse, are a different animal altogether.

            • @GirlWritesWhat

              I note that you have yet again deliberately failed to answer direct questions – and you are attempting to divert attention away form where they have been asked – so here is the link to direct you back to them http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-i-advocate-for-mens-rights/comment-page-2/#comment-100372

              As I noted “How familiar are you with the mechanisms of gasligting – deliberately acting to misrepresent reality to others? It is an interesting mechanism via the net, as it is not aimed solely at one person but all readers.”

              Why are you not following standard Netiquette and addressing questions at the point in a comment stream where the questions are actually asked?

              You seem to have a well developed habit of attempting to shift focus away from the correct place.

              Why do you also persist in representing me as holding views and opinions which are not mine?

              I have already stated “I will now have to ask that you stop doing that. If you wish to attribute ideas and views to yourself that is your prerogative – but I am unwilling to have you attribute ideas, views and sentiments to me which I do not hold.

              Not only is it rude on your part, but when you have done it so many times and so consistently it becomes abusive.”

              It has become abusive – you are notified of this and you continue!

              WHY?

            • Explain how a voluntary conversation has become abusive. All you need do is stop reading my comments. You HAVE AGENCY.

              And yes, I’m familiar with gaslighting–the deliberate misrepresentation of reality.

              I find it ironic that I–someone who is stating objective reality, and would state objective reality to ANY person, abused or not, at any time–is being accused of gaslighting, while the person who characterizes stating reality as abuse is portraying himself as a hero of some sort. The fact that you are actually gaslighting me is telling. Are you unable to accept that women, or abused people, have agency? Your attitude of sheltering and coddling smacks of projection, actually.

              How’s this? You tell me straight out what you think–without all the double-speak and qualifiers and subjectivity–and I’ll address it.

              Answer me this: Who does an abused person have the power to change? The abused person, or their abuser?

            • @Girl

              Please provide evidence that supports your view that I have ever stated or indicated that as you phrase it ;

              “Are you unable to accept that women, or abused people, have agency? Your attitude of sheltering and coddling smacks of projection, actually.”

              I note you again present statements in the form of questions. I note again that you attempt to clearly misrepresent my views and beliefs.

              WHY?

              You have been asked to account for this conduct and to stop it – and in that you have Agency, which you willingly fail to use.

              Again I have already stated “I will now have to ask that you stop doing that. If you wish to attribute ideas and views to yourself that is your prerogative – but I am unwilling to have you attribute ideas, views and sentiments to me which I do not hold.

              Not only is it rude on your part, but when you have done it so many times and so consistently it becomes abusive.”

              It has become abusive – you are notified of this and you continue!

            • How can she be misrepresenting your views with questions? Are you not yourself misrepresenting her by claiming her requests for your clarification is in fact stating your view? Is it not possible that in all your doublespeak, looking down upon others and “putting others on notice”, from on high your pedestal, that you may have actually given cause for others to believe you would deny agency, given not one, but two people have received this perception from you.

              And I’m curious, this “you are on notice” business, is this intended as some kind of threat? I have seen you make the statement several times now. Is this some kind of countdown before you storm out, using your “notices” as some kind of justification and moral high ground for bailing? Seriously, these aren’t children you’re talking to, whom you can send for a time out. Grow up.

            • “You have been asked to account for this conduct and to stop it – and in that you have Agency, which you willingly fail to use.”

              Um…I don’t think that word means what you think it means. What the word “agency” means is that I can act upon the world of my own will and affect my life and others’ lives positively or negatively. You say I am failing to use my agency because I am not obeying *your* rules of discourse or doing what you say I should do.

              But here’s the thing. This agency? This here is MINE. I have every right and intention of speaking the truth as I see it, and I really don’t care who’s offended by it, or whose feelings are hurt, or who gets all bent out of shape because I’m advocating personal accountability rather than offloading all responsibility onto other parties.

              You can own your shit. I absolutely own mine. And as horrible as it may seem to you, *I don’t have to do what you tell me to do*. I’ve read your comments, and I know where you stand. For whatever reason you would rather tell people they are right in feeling weak rather than expecting them to be strong. And frankly, I find that absolutely sad.

              Tell me. You’re involved in the domestic violence industry? Where the prevailing dogma is the Duluth Model? If so, then IMO you are absolutely not credible. You have two women, both of whom have survived abuse and trauma, telling you what is the necessary outlook for a person to perceive themselves as strong and in charge of their lives. And yet you cling to a model that is so ineffective that women are counselled to divorce battering husbands because they are destined to batter again, and that seems incapable of breaking anyone free of the cycle of abuse because it has misidentified all of the causal factors.

              I’m sorry, but if you don’t like that, or anything else I have to say, you are well within your power of agency to STOP LISTENING TO ME. Why don’t you go read a book? I hear “Eat, Pray, Love” is just the thing to cheer people up.

            • @ Girl

              “Tell me. You’re involved in the domestic violence industry? Where the prevailing dogma is the Duluth Model? If so, then IMO you are absolutely not credible. You have two women, both of whom have survived abuse and trauma, telling you what is the necessary outlook for a person to perceive themselves as strong and in charge of their lives.”

              Again you are fabricating a reality which has nothing to do with me or my views.

              You are aware that this board is open to many people and readers. Yet even when you have been directly asked to stop such misconduct and abuse you continue.

              You have acknowledged you are aware of gas-lighting and how it is made manifest by the deliberate misrepresentation of reality. Yet you also persist to do just that.

              Again I have already stated “I will now have to ask that you stop doing that. If you wish to attribute ideas and views to yourself that is your prerogative – but I am unwilling to have you attribute ideas, views and sentiments to me which I do not hold.

              Not only is it rude on your part, but when you have done it so many times and so consistently it becomes abusive.”

              It has become abusive – you are notified of this and you continue!

              You also have agency to stop abusing others, and yet you fail to do so. That is most odd! I am surprised that you say you own your shit. Kindly take ownership of all of it, and stop throwing shit about and claiming it belongs to others when it is solely yours.

            • @ MediaHound:

              Abusive to whom, and in whose opinion?

              Are you the arbiter of what is abuse and what is not? I have “been put on notice”? By whom? In the comment thread of my own post, after being invited to contribute here, and when my comments are apparently passing whatever moderation policies exist here? Who exactly is putting me on notice?

              I own my shit. I own my own participation in a psychologically abusive marriage, and I own that I grabbed my power and agency and walked away from it. How is that abusive? How is telling others like me that it is within their power to do the same abusive? How is telling people the most effective means to end their abuse abusive????

              Owning your shit is standing by your words and beliefs (which I am) and taking responsibility for your own actions, thoughts and feelings. Other people can feel however they like about me or you or whoever. If they do not wish to be affected by my words and beliefs, they have the power to do so. YOU have the power to do so.

              It might surprise you to know that I specifically told Lisa that if anyone comes out here with proverbial fists swinging at me, to not censor their comments. Words are words, MediaHound. I can choose to read them, or I can close my laptop. That is a choice. It is not abuse. Not unless I have no alternative but to listen to it.

              If you or others feel abused by me, then simply turn off your computers or go to any one of dozens of other articles on this website that will suit you better. You know the ones–where women act like the abused and wounded oppressed and men do what they can to capitulate to that manipulative form of dictatorship.

            • “If that was true, as you seem to believe, it would not be possible to domestically abuse another – they would choose to not be influenced and affected – and that would be the end of the matter.”

              Haha, that’s only true if you deny people agency. You feel that the only choice they would make is to not be influenced or affected, just like you assume that I would be exercising my agency by conforming to your rules of discourse and ceasing to be “rude and abusive”.

              Both Typhon and I have repeatedly stated that returning to an abusive situation, or remaining in one when one can reasonably leave IS a CHOICE. That’s the problem with agency…you can choose, and you don’t always choose what’s healthy or right or good, even for yourself.

              You seem to feel that I’m unsympathetic to abuse victims. Nothing could be further from the truth. I sat one night and listened for 11 hours straight while my best friend’s prison guard, gun-owning husband gaslighted, verbally and psychologically abused her, and within 24 hours I was on my way across the border into the States to get her and bring her home. When she phoned me the next day to tell me he was being so nice now (surprise surprise after the police had been there), I told her if I had to drag her by the hair she was getting in the car with me. I put my life on the line and took the chance of potentially leaving my own kids without a goddamn mother to rescue her from that. And as thanks, I had to listen to her for a day and a half in the car, talking about how she was going to have her baby in Canada and then reconcile with him, and bite my tongue until it bled, until she managed to talk herself out of going back and into divorcing him.

              I let her and her 3 y/o live in my house for months while she got back on her feet, and loaned her $4000 I didn’t have and will likely never get back so she could fight a custody battle over a child that hadn’t even been born yet. And when she told me after all of that that she was considering letting him move up here to be with her, I told her I wasn’t going to get in between them, I was done. And when he fucked her over again, I was there to catch her again.

              I’ve been lauded by reviewers (even feminist ones) over my depictions of fictional victims’ journeys to healing and empowerment, and how sensitively I approach the subject in that venue. And oddly, I express my beliefs about agency and strength in fiction, it’s just obscured beneath a veneer of character and story and made palatable that way. And THAT’S what I’m praised for.

              But this is not fiction. This is real life. And I am not writing someone’s personal story, I’m writing about a social problem in a general context. And even in that context, absent extreme circumstances that do not play into the more mundane cases, or institutional barriers, people who are abused have the agency. Those who help them embrace it, however they do it, are doing those people a favor, not abusing them.

              Telling people they have a choice when they have a choice is a kindness, not victim-blaming. Telling them they don’t when they really do is abuse.

            • @ Girl

              “Answer me this: Who does an abused person have the power to change? The abused person, or their abuser?”

              Technically Both!

              But then again – as you are so fixated on the idea of agency having only one function and only able to facilitate change in one person – and given how you have so actively attributed ideas and views to me which I do not hold – I will be waiting to be attacked and misrepresented by return.

              You are on notice that your repeated and deliberate misrepresentation of my views and beliefs are abusive so you are advised to stop such activity – again!

            • Technically, no.

              Barring psychosis, which is a serious mental issue, we are all in control of ourselves and ourselves alone. We can affect and influence others, but the choice to be influenced or affected by us IS THEIRS.

              Just as you are choosing to engage with me, and characterizing my responses as abuse (when you could easily disengage and disregard all I’ve said), everyone else is capable of seeing themselves as agents who act, rather than objects who are acted upon.

              You are an agent. You are choosing to engage me. You are not an object, no matter how much you try to portray yourself (or other, anonymous readers in your stead) as objects incapable of disengaging.

              I find it so appalling that, especially in the case of women, self-objectification is becoming the norm. Just as the false perception of male hyper-agency makes us all ask what he must have done to deserve it when a woman hits him or even cuts off his penis, the false perception of objectification of women and other minorities is just as harmful.

              There are some people who are truly incapable of real agency, for whatever reason–they’re mentally ill or disabled or institutionally oppressed (such as a male or minor abuse victim), but for the rest… they absolutely do have a choice. They have agency. Telling them that they are right in feeling that they don’t is not going to be helpful to them.

            • @ Girl

              “Barring psychosis, which is a serious mental issue, we are all in control of ourselves and ourselves alone. We can affect and influence others, but the choice to be influenced or affected by us IS THEIRS. ”

              If that was true, as you seem to believe, it would not be possible to domestically abuse another – they would choose to not be influenced and affected – and that would be the end of the matter.

              You have an extreme bias towards the Dispositional and away from the Situational – it is the most extreme manifestation of the “Fundamental Attribution Error” I have ever witnessed.

              You are so immersed on your Dogma that all human activity is Dispositional and about personal agency. You dismiss the reality of so many real IPV – DV – Abuse victims and survivors it is quite breathtaking and beyond bizzare. It is the most extreme manifestation of Victim Blaming I have ever witnessed.

              I am glad that you have proved me right when I stated that I am now clear that you are in fact a very poor advisor to any person in the area of IPV – DV – Abuse, so kindly steer clear of areas where your Dogma and Ignorance are likely to be damaging. There are ways to speak of the subject that are highly developed to provide the highest potential outcome for those affected. You Dogma and need to express it does not agree with those.

              And I note that you have now belatedly stopped telling me what I believe and think, and you have framed matters in only your own words and within your own frame of reference.

        • @ Media Hound

          This entire conversation is in regards to one specific incidence. John’s sister. John describes how he and his family attempted to remove every external expedient to her leaving her abusive husband and yet, even when she was safely away from the abusive situation, she chose to return.

          There are people who have no external pressures (external being physical, financial or legal realities, etc.) who return to abusive or destructive environments. The only thing that is making them do this is carried in their heads. Whatever is in your head is under your control if you’re not mentally ill (or if you are mentally ill and still competent to make decisions regarding your own life. If you’re not you should be institutionalized and other people making decisions for you.)

          Telling people that they carry something in their head that is outside of their control when they are capable of making decisions about their own lives is toxic. It leaves them unable to take control of their own decisions.

          And these are decisions. Even if it’s the voices in your head telling you this is what you need to do, even if those voices were placed there by an abuser, it’s still your decision to listen to them at the end of the day (if you are mentally competent to make decisions about your own life.)

          The only person who can stop someone listening to those abusive voices is the person hearing them. That’s just reality.

          All the rest of us can do is support them in taking those steps away from doing things that those abusive voices are telling them to do. Whether it be returning to an abuser, or a war zone or heroin. We can’t stop those abusive voices nor can we stop them listening to them.

          In my own personal case, I am so very glad I never had a therapist who lead me into learned helplessness. I’m glad I had a very good one who said ‘the past is all well and good, but why are you doing X now?’ He never took away my agency or let me do it myself.

          When I was in the very last death spiral ever with my abuser and she was tearing into me like a rabid dog, I remember realizing that although I couldn’t control her abuse, I could control my emotions. They were my responsibility. She was just a situation; nothing I could say or do would ever change her because she was just a situation. A situation I could choose to engage with or a situation I could choose to leave.

          If I hadn’t depersonalized the abuse and realized she was just a situation, then I would still be, today, believing that I had to get her to recognize the pain she was causing me so she would fucking stop causing it. Once I realized that she was just a situation I couldn’t change, I could only choose to engage or not engage, all the power she had over me vanished.

          • The irony is that once I took responsibility for my emotions and started to gain distance and clarity, I realized more and more how little responsibility I had for her actions and words. The more I could deconstruct the entire edifice of bullshit she had constructed to ‘excuse’ her behaviour and blame it on me.

            I think that’s because I took that first step creating boundaries. My emotions are mine, not yours.

      • @ TyphonBlue

        But let’s put all that aside. What do you suggest people do if they’re in a situation like John’s family is with his sister? They’ve removed all the exterior barriers to her leaving her abusive husband and are watching her walk right back to him over and over again.

        How can they stop her from putting one foot in front of the other and walking back into the abuse? How can anyone stop her?

        I will address patterns but not the individual case which of course belongs to John’s sister who I have no contact with – and as such it is Unethical to state what she or anyone else should do – As I have insufficient information, as do so many others.

        You seem surprised that a person who is dealing with abuse would return or expose themselves to the abuser. It is one of the most common patterns that exists in IPV – DV – Child Abuse. It can be linked directly to such matters as Helsinki Syndrome – “paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.”.

        It is seen as linked to evolutionary biology and survival under stress. Brain plasticity causes the person to rapidly bond with captor/abuser as a survival adaptation. The bond can form very quickly and be enduring long term.

        There are often patterns linked to extended threat of harm which the person is controlled by and with – that they suffer increased psychological distress and anxiety – and the only way the person can relive this short term is to return to the abuser and reduced threat/anxiety. This requires specialist support from a suitable Refuge/Shelter.

        In the dynamics concerned, professional support is required – preferably in a supported housing environment such as a shelter/refuge – with both physical and psychological support available from those trained and experienced in dealing with those who have such patterns. If possible the venue for support should be as far away from the abuser as possible – as distance reduces the tendency to return or seek to return.

        It is never advisable for family members to attempt to provide such support – there may be long term residual resentments from family issues, even created by and exploited by the abuser (Psychological Booby Traps) which can cause major issues, cause the abused to return to the abuser and cause greater distancing between the abused person and their family.

        It also need to be considered that an abused person can be carrying large volumes of repressed anger as well as shame, and these will be difficult for the person to deal with especially with people such as close family. If the abused person has resentment to family or if such resentment has been cultured by the abuser, having to deal with shame with family members is a distinctive to being with family members.

        Beyond that it is possible for an abused person to have both Psychiatric illness and Injury, in which case relevant professional medical intervention is the only course of action. Should it be deemed that the illness/injury represents a dander to the person or others, then consideration should be given to detention for treatment.

        When leaving an abuser the first 72 hours afterwards are the most likely time to seek to return. Distance reduces this likely hood.

        Due to patterns – the obvious and direct advice is to facilitate contact with a suitable refuge/shelter – if financial support is needed and possible to provide that – and if transport is needed to move to a Shelter/Refuge some distance away assist with that transport and for one trusted person to travel to that venue providing emotional support on route.

        • “You seem surprised that a person who is dealing with abuse would return or expose themselves to the abuser.”

          Not really.

          “Brain plasticity causes the person to rapidly bond with captor/abuser as a survival adaptation.”

          Brain plasticity also allows for an individual to rewire his or her brain to not respond in self-destructive ways to stimuli.

          “There are often patterns linked to extended threat of harm which the person is controlled by and with – that they suffer increased psychological distress and anxiety – and the only way the person can relive this short term is to return to the abuser and reduced threat/anxiety. This requires specialist support from a suitable Refuge/Shelter.”

          Well, I guess that means anyone who isn’t an abused woman is screwed. They will never have the resources to escape their abuse.

          Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who do go to shelters end up going back to their abusers. Why is that if shelters are capable of stopping the cycle of abuse?

          • @Typhon

            “Brain plasticity also allows for an individual to rewire his or her brain to not respond in self-destructive ways to stimuli. ”

            Depending upon the stimili and levels plasticity may allow change on one direction, and it proves very hard and even impossible to reverse the change.

            In PTSD Amygdala hyperactivation can prove irreversible, or reversion to a more normal state can take prolonged period of time measured in tears and even decades.

            The same can also be true in such matters as Chronic Pain Syndrome as well as other chronic neurological conditions.

            “Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who do go to shelters end up going back to their abusers. Why is that if shelters are capable of stopping the cycle of abuse?”

            Shelters/Refuges can not detain – they are voluntary venues – and the psychological management of empowering the person requires time. It is often helpful to see the person as dealing with four factors – Behaviour – Information – Thinking – Emotions.

            Moving to a shelter allows an alteration in behaviour and is quick. It is generally linked to immediate danger and the behaviour makes sense.

            Information is readily provided and can be assimilated and that influences thinking.

            However there is a loop between thinking and emotions which can be highly resistant to change. Most Refuge/Shelter staff have expertise in dealing with behaviour and information. For high level abuse cases they also have on call specialists to provide expert psychological support in dealing with Thinking and Emotions.

            Even then it can take multiple cycles of abuser – shelter – abuser – shelter before the interventions work and have a positive outcome. The individual is responsible at all times for their own actions and decisions. At all times they are supported in their decisions – don’t forget abusers control decisions and if the shelter did so it would just be re-abusing – re-victimising .

            A friend who has managed many Shelters refers to some clients as revolving doors – they can come and go so many times before they stay it’s like a revolving door.

            For those clients it is best if they move geographically as far way from the abuser as possible as it reduces the likely hood of the revolving door. For some it is not possible to relocate as they have work commitments and family commitments.

            There can also be many complications with co-dependent behaviour and addiction patterns, so the abused returns to the abuser as part of that cycle.

            • Addendum: there is also one major factor of Shelters/Refuges which can also be an important factor in people arriving and leaving shortly afterwards. Shelters/Refuges can be highly emotional charged environments and abuse is known to occur within them.

              Just because the venue is set up to cater for those fleeing abuse, it does not mean that abusive behaviour used by the women themselves in their relationship stops upon arrival. There can be frequent issues of bullying, power hierarchies that develop and many forms of acting out.

              Some women find this too much to cope with and so will leave and return to the abuser as a better option.

              There can be highly complex social and emotional dynamics within refuges due to cultural, social and ethnic considerations whcih require careful management – and preferably specific architecture which provides both privacy and social spaces to allow the clients as normal a social environment as possible. There are known models and best practice – but they have not been adopted across the whole sector due to a number of factors.

    • “I did find this illuminating “Surely telling them the truth about this should be allowed, even if it’s an uncomfortable truth?”.

      Funny how it is presented as a question when in fact it is a rhetorical question form a persons disposition.
      Sorry – but who’s truth is that? – who is doing the telling? – who is giving themselves agency and does not care about the disposition or situation comfort of the person?

      “I’m telling you for your own good!” – and exactly how many abusers use that mind set and language to control both the victim’s situation and disposition?”

      Of course, you are right. Next time, I’ll remember to tell an abused person that yes, they really are helpless to change their situation, that yes, they really are powerless, that yes, they really are stuck and the best they can hope for is to either die or wait until their abuser dies, that yes, they have no choices, that yes, everything they feel about how utterly optionless they are is true, that yes, they have no choice but to tolerate abuse, that yes, they are every last goddamn thing their abuser says they are.

      Because validating the messed-up feelings of someone who has been abused is MUCH more important than helping them see reality, their own agency, and their own power, so they can get out of their situation.

      Tell me, if you were helping a schizophrenic patient whose dog was ordering him to kill his child, would you validate his feelings and tell him that they are appropriate and real and understandable, or would you try to make him see reality?

      And why is it different when the mental dysfunction is organic rather than inflicted, and when the person who could potentially be harmed is someone else or the person themselves?

      • @GirlWritesWhat

        I’m still awaiting a direct answer to a direct question you have been asked before and now it is being asked for a third time: once twice and now the third –

        Do you know the number of DV affected people who seek legal advice prior to leaving?

        I await your direct answer to my direct question – it is not rhetorical.

        Beyond that, you seem to yet again be deciding what has been written and viewing it through some very strange lens – and then attributing to others views and ideas they don’t have – even inventing reality and ideas and views that have nothing to do with me!

        I do fear that your Dogma and excess of Zeal are becoming very much clearer. You do seem to have a problem with Fundamental Attribution Error – as you keep attributing to others Dispositions which are not theirs.

        How familiar are you with the mechanisms of gasligting – deliberately acting to misrepresent reality to others? It is an interesting mechanism via the net, as it is not aimed solely at one person but all readers.

        Either you are very confused and failing to seek clarification of you misunderstandings, else you are for some reason, which you own and are responsible for, misrepresenting what has been written and communicated.

        Which is it?

        That is also a direct question and again I await your direct response.

        • “I’m still awaiting a direct answer to a direct question you have been asked before and now it is being asked for a third time: once twice and now the third –

          Do you know the number of DV affected people who seek legal advice prior to leaving?”

          1: Relevance? Why does she need to know, and what difference does it make, to the point that someone who is being abused is capable of getting on a bus and seeking legal assistance?

          2: How can it NOT be rhetorical? You already acknowledged her point:

          “The DV affected person is far far more likely to contact a DV support service – where expert help is available on how to leave and even escape, and whilst the person will be advised of legal opportunities they can exercise – by the time the person is making contact it’s long past that as an option. They want to escape and flee – not be told get on a bus and see a lawyer!”

          Are you not aware that DV support services, including the very legal aid you acknowledge in your 1st sentence “legal opportunities they can exercise”, include lawyers? Does not your acknowledgment that those seeking aid from a DV service are seeking the very legal counsel you are questioning?

          Furthermore, your posts are rife with “I’m disappointed”‘s, “this really upsets me” and claims that it is others who don’t understand the conversation without any evidence you even attempted to understand the point. You are judging others as if you have some authority to claim what is true and right, as well as what is morally and ethically acceptable. This is not indicative to a reasonable discussion.

          • @Mark Neil – You say “This is not indicative to a reasonable discussion.” – to which I agree absolutely, but I do believe you are missing a number of issues which you may have failed to notice or recognise.

            I have had a vested interest in the unfolding dialogue which started on another page here.

            It has been fascinating to watch as people dealing with the Complexity of DV – IPV – Abuse have had their realities and the complexities reduced to the supposed Magic Talisman of Agency.

            It’s almost Cult Like – Agency is all – I will define all persons as with or without Agency – I have Agency – I define Agency – I will use my Agency – your use of Agency is wrong – you do not understand Agency – you think you have Agency but you are wrong – Only I know Agency – Only I know How To Use Agency – when you claim to have of use Agency you are wrong – I will state you are wrong as proof – I will redefine reality about you so that it is clear you are wrong – I can do this because the magic of Agency empowers me …..

            I do have some experience and knowledge around cults and cult like behaviour – and I have even written about it – in fact it’s here on GMP – Bite Me, Bite Me – MediaHound wonders what happened in Happy Valley, the emotions involved, and looks at how the Victims are being treated by people who may not know their own minds.

            Frankly the behaviour is Bizarre. The message of the Magic Talisman Of Agency is also highly seductive to those who believe they have been denied agency and wish to attain it. Oh and it’s all built upon the experience of one person who holds and controls the Magic Talisman. How Guru can you get.

            What’s more Biazzare is how this Magic Talisman Of Agency and it’s operation keeps shrinking and how it has shrunk across this tread – it has gone from universal panacea – to everyone but the disabled, people with mental health issues (the usual suspects who are easily written off and dismissed) – to apparently only being about people who can “reasonably” exercise it! Odd how the talisman has shrunk so quickly and in less than 24 hours! Magic In deed – quite a trick!

            Of course, some have been beguiled by the talisman and it’s holder, so they have tended to miss the magical shrinkage. Some times the old tricks are the best! You disguise the shrinkage by hiding it within a message about something or even someone else. Smoke and Mirrors – Never mind the Quality, Feel the width! Nice Try – No Cigar!

            There are some interesting patterns. One person believes they can define another person and that person’s reality. That is such an odd trait to see repeatedly used and used and used. “I am empowered to define reality over others”?

            They are told they are wrong – to which they respond that they are not and they will continue to define reality. Sorry? – so even when it is pointed out that there is a most odd trait that is even antisocial the response is denial, and it occurs again and again and again. That is “I control reality – you can’t stop me”!

            They claim that they have the ability to be omnipotent – to know what a person thinks, what they believe, what their views are of others – and to tell all others of this Supposedly Omnipotent Reality! “I Own reality and you have no control?”Hmmmmm!

            They are told that they are wrong and asked to stop the misconduct of defining another person as something they are not. They refuse. Oh what a surprise!

            Denial turns to entitlement and the shrinking magic talisman of agency is brought out – and it is made clear that this person with the Talisman will do as they want, say what they want, behave as they want as they have The Magic Talisman Of Agency which apparently only they control and can use – and others are to shut up accept this and tough luck….. I Have Agency – I Have The Magic Talisman – Hear Me Roar!

            It’s so odd to watch and analyse – and frankly disturbing. Even odder that it’s all coming under the Umbrella of DV – IPV- Abuse, and such patterns are appearing.

            However, it is not uncommon to see such patterns where DV – IPV – Abuse is concerned. It’s would be ironic, if it was not so serious.

            It is also very interesting that there has been so much gas-lighting – the defining of reality to control a person. Of course, in a one on one relationship it a pattern of recognised psychological abuse – it is quite deliberate. On the net it is harder for some to recognise. It’s the pattern of defining and controlling reality for all readers and site users – even if it is only the explicit manipulation of reality about one person which the gas-lighter focuses upon to achieve that manipulation of a larger group.

            Oh boy – was dealing with that one 15 years ago as manager and editor on a rather large web forum dealing in equality and diversity – across all streams, and providing people in all streams lesson on how to swim with equality and have Agency for free!

            If you use the dynamics of bullying the poorly attempted and executed gas-lighting corresponds with the recognised defence mechanisms of Avoiding acceptance of responsibility –
            1) denial,
            2) counter attack
            3) feigning victimhood.

            Gambits one and two have already been tried and failed. I await gambit 3.

            Individuals who are domestically abusive, or who have failed to recover form domestic abuse and remain in the Victim stage, do have some very distinct traits and behaviours which manifest in distinct patterns. Just as you can’t hide the sun or the moon you can’t hide the truth – it will shine out.

            Maybe it’s my experience and knowledge in the field some have failed to note?

            If you have the relevant experience and knowledge you know that individual actions can be disguised or misleading – you study the patterns which are far bigger and far more revealing. Odd how owning shit is not all it’s cracked up to be!

            • Mark Neil says:

              “but I do believe you are missing a number of issues which you may have failed to notice or recognise.”

              Perhaps if you stopped positioning yourself within the conversation as an authority, you may actualy be able to learn something. But instead you presume to know what is true, and act as a teacher, passing on your lessons onto the students, but so self assured in your own knowledge that you are unwilling to allow anyone elses message sink in, for how could a student teach you anything.

              But you are not a teacher here, you are not an authority, and you are not omniscient. When you tell someone that they have failed to notice or recognize something, you assume that it is them, and not you who has missed something. You deny yourself the opportunity to learn something new by assume the failure to come to an agreement is the fault other others and not yourself. This is an incredibly arrogant position to take, it is also offensive to the other ADULTS you are treating like children (including in your tone) and close minded in that it leaves you unwilling to examine anything outside you accepted worldview.

              “I have had a vested interest in the unfolding dialogue”

              Then perhaps you should try to maintain a diologue instead of lecturing and admonishing those who challenge your views with threats of “notice” and repeated expressions of your personal feelings of disapointment, etc. You are not having a dialog because you are not listening, you are simply observing, as you even acknowledge “It has been fascinating to watch as people” and “It’s so odd to watch and analyse”. You have effectively removed yourself from the discussion and assigned yourself the position of evaluator and lecturer, and then have taken it as a personal affront that others have not accepted your position.

              For example, in this post you just gave me, you proceed to equate others arguments as reducing agency down to some “supposed magic talisman”, being “cult like” (followed by a list of misrepresentations of their arguments), their behaviour is “bizarre”, what they argue for as being “a trick” or beguiling, smoke and mirrors, odd, disturbing, gaslighting, manipulating, bullying, that they are in denial, entitled

              “They are told they are wrong”

              But who are you to tell them such? Do you believe yourself above the need to prove your point? Did you not claim to be invested in the discussion? If so, then how does “telling” others anything promote discussion? simple answer, it doesn’t, it seeks to end the discussion. An authority “tells” people something, but again, you are not an authority.

              “They claim that they have the ability to be omnipotent -to know what a person thinks, what they believe, what their views are of others”

              I think you mean omniscentient. Omnipotent is unlimited authority or influence. Omniscentient is all knowing.

              “They are told that they are wrong and asked to stop the misconduct of defining another person as something they are not. They refuse. Oh what a surprise!”

              Again with the telling. Again with you defining twhat they should not be doing. And the “what a surprise” attitude, again, comes off as arrogant.

              “Maybe it’s my experience and knowledge in the field some have failed to note?”

              Is this a claim to authority? Do you feel above the need to defend your position and prove it’s value, if you wish to have it accepted? Your experience and knowledge in the field are irrelevant to anyone but yourself. They can give you a foundation on which to build your arguments, but they give you no credibility on the net, and especially in a discussion between feminist theories and MRA’s, given the bias of feminist theory in the domestic violence industry.

              “If you have the relevant experience and knowledge you know that individual actions can be disguised or misleading”

              Then prove it, don’t just tell it and expect to be listened to and obeyed.

              With that said, I must note, after your very long lecture at me, telling me how things are, again, putting yourself into a position of authority and addressing me as an unlearned child, I must point out that despite you writing over a thousand words to set me straight and to point a finger at everyone but yourself, you have failed to even acknowledge a single point I made regarding your own behaviour. Do you seriously believe you are devoid of any failure in this breakdown of the dialog?

              One last note, Are you familiar with the term psychological projection?

        • DavidByron says:

          Will you quit this MH? Quit with the passive aggressive approach. I don’t think there’s much more to be said by either of you but quit going round and round. I’m saying this to you not her because I have the sense that YOU feel people haven’t heard you. If you have a point to make then just make it without the games.

          PLEASE, quit squabbling. You said at the start you respected GirlWritesWhat from her work. Was that true? If it isn’t any more you might need to take a break.

          • @ David. I have been quite clear of my views and that they have changed – and the reasons why.

            I would like to make it clear that I have not been squabbling. I have been closely studying and addressing claims and conduct that are highly revealing.

            I have also been addressing the issue of a person repeatedly telling me what I believe, how I feel, how I think, my attitudes to others – and all from someone who has stated they don’t know me from “a hole in the ground”. It’s most odd what they keep supposedly filling that hole with.

            It appears that I don’t fit the hole and some are most unhappy that they can’t make me fit, no mater how they try.

            It’s odd how they keep imposing their views and supposed reality upon me and other readers. Normal social discourse would normally follow such patters as I don’t understand what you mean, could you clarify – or even simple questions. It’s not happening, and in it’s place a supposed reality is being imposed. How Odd! An imposed hole!

            I have noted that asking simple and direct questions results in a person writing about anything else but the question, and even in places where what is written is about the question but does not allow others to readily grasp where the question comes from and even why it has been asked. It’s an odd and constant shifting of frames and references. It seems to be more about controlling supposed reality than actually dealing with it.

            I do find it fascinating how matters keep being shifted to re-frame a certain view and dogma – It has gone from being universal – to limited by capacity and excluding people who are for example disabled – and then has even been framed as only to be used in a “reasonable” manner. So odd how the dogma has been re-framed and diminished and how that correlates with me having a supposed reality of who I am imposed to cover up the shrinking subject.

            I do find it fascinating the “power plays”, “rhetorical gambits” and “Gas-lighting” that have been used as matters have developed. As you are aware I do like studying words, semiotics and semantics – they are ever so revealing in how they are used and even reveal motivations.

            Given my experience in Abuse – DV – IPV, I have seen the patterns play out so many times. Of course, If you have the relevant knowledge you do not look at individual acts but the wider play of patterns and how specific dispositions are made manifest in different situations. As I have made clear there is a complexity of subject that needs to be dealt with, not just single acts by individuals.

            I am now very clear that my change of view and position has been 100% correct. My position is now very clearly defined from my close observations.

            It so fascinating to be told that I am denying all people agency, when I deal in the field of Human Rights and Equality and especially fight for all people to have agency, opportunity to exercise their agency and deal with all the complexity of achieving. It’s so odd to be told I deny agency when I have been so directly involved in getting laws changed, institutional policy, practice procedure changed – kicked asses so hard and so often when people’s agency has been denied to them – dealt with the matter of agency as a Gay Man – a Disabled Man – Ethnically Diverse and at one point Stateless Man – but of course, as I’m only a hole in the road, I am subordinate to someone else’s supposed omnipotence and power to define who I am and what I believe, what I think and how I view others – to one person’s demands that I am what they demand and represent me to be as they impose their reality and demand I accept it and when I refuse and ask them to stop their odd and even bizzare conduct ….. . ?

            I work within a very large frame of reference, but am told repeatedly that I operate in a smaller frame than another person who keeps demanding that their frame is the only frame, and I am to be lesser and even subordinate to them. How fascinating!

            It appears that I am to be erroneously made smaller by someone by demand, my misrepresentation, by being told what I believe, who I am – by an imposed reality that is nothing to do with me. How odd!

            Why would a person demand so strongly that their reality be so powerful, and that they have the power and apparent omnipotence to be able to define another person – who they are, what they think, what they believe, how they view others, how they treat others – just why would a person believe they hold so much power over other people – or even a hole in the ground?

            It is fascinating to read what my apparent reality is – even though I have not been asked to reveal it – and how when it is pointed out that the person is wrong – been repeatedly wrong – and they are asked to stop such conduct, they refuse, they state:

            “This agency? This here is MINE. I have every right and intention of speaking the truth as I see it, and I really don’t care who’s offended by it, or whose feelings are hurt, or who gets all bent out of shape because I’m advocating personal accountability rather than offloading all responsibility onto other parties.”

            It is odd that when a person uses their agency to state you conduct is abusive they are told “tough I will do as I like and you can’t stop me”. I have agency and I will use it and if you use yours I will ignore you – your agency is lesser than mine. Hmmmmm?

            They advocate Personal Accountability but when told their behaviour is not acceptable they do not take personal responsibility – they do not accept being held accountable – only they have that power – that agency and they do not accept it from external sources. It’s only them that understands personal accountability and only them that can exercise such accountability – it is solely within their control.

            It’s bizzare that reality keeps beings shifted form the general to the absolutely specific – how there is even Emotional Trafficking – and much more. Hmmmmm?

            The repeated defining of reality about other people – for other people – the constant re-framing so supposed superiority and power over others….. Hmmmmm?

            The Dispositional over Situational – “You are this” rather than “This is the situation” – Fundamental Attribution error, whcih is being presented in an extreme form which is rare to see. Hmmmmm?

            Fascinating patterns that I am “Ever So Familiar” with – and which I am more than capable of recognising – and all centering around the subject of DV – IPV – Abuse – who has supposed power – who will exercise it over who – who has agency and who does not – who defines reality for others and demands it is accepted – who refuses to accept that their demanded reality is wrong when the person it is being foisted upon says “Sorry that is wrong – stop doing it” – and they don’t stop – and then after multiple repetitions of the same behaviour it is called abuse – and even then the person calling it abuse is told they are wrong – they can’t stop the person’s agency – they will do and say what they like – if you don’t like it your options are to shut up and take it – I have agency, I will define reality, I will tell you who you are, you are not being abused, you are lesser than my frame of reference, I will do as I like, you have no power or agency to stop me, shut up , you stop saying I’m wrong, I will tell you to stop reading because I say that is how you are to exercise agency, but I will not do that myself and every time you speak up and say anything I will tell you who you are – that I am right – I will impose reality upon you – I will tell others who you are – I will define – I have agency and I know how to use it …..

            Oh boy – Don’t I know those patterns, and know how to recognise and map them out!

            I’m still mapping – and it just gets more fascinating and revealing!

            “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
            Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni – commonly known as Buddha.

            • My question to you MH is what on earth are you thinking getting into an argument with two women? And these particular two as well. I’ve seen Typhon in several areas and she’s no shrinking violet. I think you’re going to need some aerial support -:)

            • @Elissa – thank you for your vote of “No Confidence”! You will have to forgive me if it makes me laugh! P^)

              I have great respect for Typhon!

              But, I have to make clear that I am no shrinking violet when it comes to dealing with others, who have a disposition to domination, and patterns of conduct which involve Shrinking Talismans which they attempt to hide under poorly constructed devices and well recognised patterns – and all under the guise and umbrella of discussing DV – IPV – Abuse.

            • @MediaHound
              I have also observed on pattern about your communication style. You have a bad habit of beating around the bush and lecturing others. IMHO it would be better if you stick to the points of contention instead of long rhetoric and please stop using judgmental phrases.

            • I read his first comment, wherein he praised my writing, with a sinking feeling in my stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not uncomfortable with praise or admiration or respect, but there was something unctuous about the tone that made me think that if I let this person down in any way, there’d probably be trouble.

              I do not think agency is a magical talisman that can cure all ills. But the two specific situations mentioned in this thread, and many other similar cases, are ones where the victims would be better served recognizing and embracing their agency and power (which is never total, but still considerable), in order to get out of the situation, than enabled to remain immersed in it with constant pandering to the weakest parts of human nature instead of the strongest ones. Many, many people have the ability to do this, if the will (or even an external expectation) is there. My friend would still be with an abusive husband if she didn’t have two kids to think about and protect–that is an external expectation placed on her to consider her children before her own unhealthy desire to return to her abuser, and one she lived up to, resulting in better, happier lives for all of them. I would likely still be with my ex, had I not had children who were depending on me to give them a stable life and a solid future. Again, this was an external expectation to be strong for someone else that kicked me in the ass and forced me to make the necessary decision to leave.

              The fact that he’s ascribing a dogmatic and blanket view of the issue of DV to me is…irritating, especially since I’ve repeatedly stated in this thread that there are cases where individuals have no agency to embrace, or only have the agency to make a choice for the worse rather than the better. The fact that he’s basically accused me of being an abuser (there is a lot of dancing around the idea that how I think and express myself is how IPV abusers behave and think, and the tactics they use), is insulting, considering what I’ve been through and what I’ve helped others through. And the fact that he refuses to speak plainly or directly, instead couching everything in condescension and a passive aggressive voice that is as fun to read as a research paper on the computer modelling of nutrient trasport in plant cells translated from Japanese is driving me up the wall. It’s impossible to read his comments closely enough to get down to what he’s actually saying, because of all that.

              Very frustrating.

            • @ girl

              “The fact that he’s ascribing a dogmatic and blanket view of the issue of DV to me is…irritating, especially since I’ve repeatedly stated in this thread that there are cases where individuals have no agency to embrace,….”

              How odd – you started with the 100% agency position and only changed that when challenged.

              Are we playing with reality again to mislead others? P^)

              And I believe I did say at the outset:

              “There is a massive complexity of experience that comes with DV and abuse – and I fear that some are straying into Amateur Psychology Night!

              Insufficient information has been provided for some of the opinions I see springing up – and it’s not acceptable in my book!

              Odd how you have shifted to say some are excluded – the disabled – on grounds of mental health – by circumstances – and yet That Is A position I do Not Hold and never would support as I goes against Fundamental Human Rights!

              I work to provide such supposedly excluded people with agency and entitlement to act within their situation – respecting the complexity. I would never accept your view and excuses that there are cases where exclusion is acceptable.

              So you exclude people I would never treat that way? How “Inhuman” of you!

              And you wonder why I have stated you are being dogmatic? – why you are dangerous in your views of DV – IPV – Abuse. You would leave behind those who other’s fight to give agency to!

              I do find it odd that someone is still attempting to use a Hole In The Ground – and it just aint working!

            • @MediaHound

              In the present discussion, I feel you are the one who is constantly framing and re-framing the reference. This opinion piece is not about domestic violence (DV), but about the author’s personal experiences that led her to advocacy of men’s rights. The topic of DV came up when Julia mentioned the case of her mother and John of her sister. In both the cases, the victims of abuse could have saved themselves the trouble if they could only firmly make up their mind escaping the abuse. During the discussion any reasonable person would believe that the two cases were being examined. There you come and bring whole lot of theories and dogmas without even hinting others that you are broadening the topic by miles. IMHO, it is not an honest way of discussing issues. Moreover, your way of addressing others was rather patronizing with giving notices, feigning moral superiority and vanity. Lastly, I wish to remind you that humility is virtue.

            • Mark Neil says:

              I must also point out the passive aggressiveness of shortening her name to @girl when you were previously writing her name out in full. The combination of using this passive aggressive name truncation in conjunction with a lecturing and authoritarian, teacher like tone, would be no different then someone calling you hound and telling you to “sit” and “no barking”, or telling you “bad boy”.

              Show some decorum.

            • Here is my take on all this. “God only help those who help themselves” The abused can help themselves by calling police, consulting lawyer, going to DV shelters or may be killing the abuser whatever deems fit in the situation. As I previously stated in a comment that there are no SWAT teams doing door-to-door rescue for the abused. The abused themselves have to seek out help or suffer in silence, there is no third way out.

              It reminds me of an incident when I was in school. A boy in our neighborhood was bullied by a bigger boy. He was so sacred of the bully that he even did not want to go and play in the park. When our group of boys came to know about it we asked the boy to come to the park where he was bullied and we would fix the matter- The boy was too afraid, but somehow we convinced him not to be afraid and if necessary, pick a fight with the bully. He was scared but he went to the park, the bully was there and started teasing him. When he asked to stop, the bully pushed him on the ground and tried to attack him. We were hiding and this triggered a quick heavy handed intervention. Our group beat the bully really and bad, and he stopped being a nuisance from that day onward.

            • @Rapses

              “Here is my take on all this. “God only help those who help themselves” The abused can help themselves by calling police, consulting lawyer, going to DV shelters or may be killing the abuser whatever deems fit in the situation. As I previously stated in a comment that there are no SWAT teams doing door-to-door rescue for the abused. The abused themselves have to seek out help or suffer in silence, there is no third way out.”

              Well – given the simplistic views of FV – IPV – Abuse which most people have been indoctrinated into, I’m not surprised at your take on the matter.

              It all comes down to that awful model – the white, heterosexual, able bodied woman who speaks English! It causes so much bias and loss of agency to people not created in that image.

              So lets look at some real world world people and ignore the bias – Young woman from rural India, very minimal eduction, is taken by a relative on a supposed holiday to the UK. Upon arrival she finds that she is in the middle of an arranged marriage – the relative she is travelling with has literally sold her – the rest of her family know nothing of this. She is married – her husband is violent and abusive – as part of that abuse and control she is not allowed to learn English – access to phones are also prevented. She is allowed out of the house, but has little to no access to anyone who speaks her language – when she does find people who speak her language cultural barriers around the subject of forced arranged marriages means she is not supported – she has to stay quiet.

              She has agency – but no opportunity to exercise it due to language barriers – she is not disabled – psychotic – institutionalised – she is denied access to services due to language and cultural issues. She can’t speak to a lawyer and even a public phone is not accessible as she can’t read English, can’t call anyone to get a number to call – and even calling the police is no good as the control room staff all speak English. She knows nothing of the Local country and so has no knowledge that such things as shelters exist.

              She becomes pregnant and has to attend hospital – her husband controls this and he attends – he will act as translator. During examination she see’s a poster which has many languages written on it – in simple language she grasps and can understand is a message – “Please Help Me” – she is able to sign at the poster to the staff member and her husband is not aware – The hospital employee is aware of the poster as it says on the top in English “Please help me” and there is training in DV – IPV – Abuse and what to do – the poster is a deliberate tool developed as part of strategies to deal with DV – IPV – Abuse.

              The hospital employee provides excuses to get the husband out of the way – the woman is then able to point to the one of 40 languages she recognises and under that is the name of the language in English and a phone number for a translation service – they are called – and the women is able to tell what is happening – it’s translated to the hospital staff – the police are then called as are specialist in DV – IPV – Abuse who actually do speak her language and can both communicate and help!

              The woman is placed in a Shelter which has been developed for people who speak her language – she is able to use her agency – she is able to contact her family back in India – she is able to return to them – and prior to leaving she is even able to use her agency to decide if she wishes to have a child by a man who has been involved in kidnap – illegal marriage – DV – abuse – or is she wished to terminate the pregnancy.

              No swat teams required – no door to door – simply knowing how DV – IPV – Abuse works – how people can exercise agency – how people dealing with victims need to be trained and empowered to help – what the barriers are, such as language, and how to have them addressed and removed at all stages!

              You just need to throw out that awful model of “the white, heterosexual, able bodied woman who speaks English!” – and replace it with a pan dimensional and real model of abused people, and work out what the barriers are they face in their situations – and then rip the barriers down – across all government – all agencies – all service providers – all access points – and allow real people in real situations to be helped and served in the real world.

              Do you want any more real world examples – dealing with barriers due to disability, mental health, the elderly, across socio-economic grouping, sexuality, gender – in fact anyone who is not that white, heterosexual, able bodied woman who speaks English?

              If you say yes, I’ll alternate between real world male and female examples! The Difference Is Shocking! That “white, heterosexual, able bodied woman who speaks English?” is a nightmare and she just keeps getting in the way of reality for so many people!

              Thankfully so many of us are not willing to see people left behind and make sure their Human Rights are protected to give them Agency and we don’t even care if the person needing the opportunity to exercise and posses agency is that white, heterosexual, able bodied woman who speaks English – even she gets equality of access to both her agency and the services that deal in need!

            • I can puncture your example with just one statement “what if she is too scared for her life or family honor and does exercise her agency in seeking help when opportunity arises.” All the infrastructure i.e charts, translations service etc. are of no use till the victim actively seeks out help.

            • edit – does not exercise her agency in seeking help when opportunity arises.

            • @Rapses – Oh I agree with you – it is so simple for the Bubbles to be burst, where the situation overwhelms the person and no matter how you act to remove barriers to agency some will still not act. It is a massive factor in dealing with abuse in all areas – men- women – children. Most often you need time to lay the barriers down gently, brick by brick – there is so often no trite quick answer.

              When you find those barriers you have to analyse them, understand them and find ways to deal with that complexity – which is why just saying people have agency and should us it is such a poor attitude and even inhuman. It’s dismissive of the reality people live with and in.

              Sorry but I deal with Human Rights – and you don’t exclude anyone. We are all equal, even if some dismiss others due to limited and biased views.

              Why do you think I am so fed up with men being brushed under the carpet and treated as people with with limited rights or no rights!

              All Humans Count – all men are human – Therefore all men count – and it’s equal to all women. I’m not interested in any label other than Human – all others such as feminist or MRM – or what ever just don’t feature in my world view.

            • @MediaHound

              You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Telling people that they have agency and they should use it to get out of bad situation or improve their present situation is not inhuman, it is empowering. Some people are quite passive, they are used and abused by others. Nobody can help them if they do not change their own attitude. You can create theories and dogmas around their situation but the reality is that they are themselves part of the problem.

            • @ Rapses

              “Telling people that they have agency and they should use it to get out of bad situation or improve their present situation is not inhuman, it is empowering.”

              It depends on who it is being said to and even how. It is interesting to consider and look at the mechanics and practices linked to DV. Abusers undermine the psychology of their victims daily. oppressing them with the view and belief they have no power, no authority and basically no free will. If they evens how signs of free will they are cut down, mocked, undermined.

              So someone says you can get out – and the person simply does not believe this – they have been programmed to not believe it. If you really have interest in empowering such victims you do not oppress them with more shame – you don’t tell them they can do something and cause an automatic fail. That is so counter productive. It will make them fear leaving.

              The best way is to find paths and routes and ways for that person to be able to find a way out – and if the horse does not drink water, find a drink they will like and take.

              Ever tried to change the mind of a Scientologist by telling them they are wrong – there are so many links between DV and cult behaviour and thinking – and poor strategies just don’t work. People in general find Cults beyond odd – and yet they think people trapped in DV are so simple to change and influence!

              So people dealing with DV just need to change their attitude – and that is so easy when you are being told all the time by the abuser exactly what your attitude is – and any disagreement or sign of disagreement results in more abuse.

              If you whip a horse hard enough you can break it’s spirit!

      • DavidByron says:

        Before you assume anything too bad about MH & Duluth Models I suggest you read this:

        http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/what-is-a-good-man/comment-page-1/#comment-97696

        I am sorry to butt in to a perfectly good screaming match but I am kinda hoping you’ll actually stick around and I know you’ve been busy lately with the YouTube stuff and your new found infamy.

        • This is what’s bugging me about all this.

          I’m pretty sure that mine and GWW’s point is pretty non-controversial. Until people stop making choices out of fear, they will be controlled by fear. And only they can learn to make ‘dispositional’ choices rather then ‘situational choices.’ And of course there are people whose situations are so restrictive (psychosis, legal, financial and social obstacles, etc.) they aren’t capable of making dispositional choices.

          So as far as I can tell this screaming match is over nothing at all.

          • Yep. But let’s see…I’m victim-blaming, gaslighting, abusive, etc…and for what? For indicating that the two specific situations discussed in this thread are examples of people who *could* leave but won’t.

            This reminds me of the response from many people when I blogged about my sexual assault and how I got through the immediate fear and to the other side of it. There was a lot of accusations of me having blamed myself for what happened because I chose to see myself as someone whose choices and actions contributed to putting myself at risk (and felt safe again because I didn’t have to do those things again, see?), and how my post was borderline abusive because it might make people who were unable to get past their assaults as quickly as I did feel worse about themselves.

            What I see in this entire approach and the very swift accusations of victim-blaming that seem to come up whenever someone tries to speak to the (not total, but significant) power individuals have over their own circumstances and reactions, is that no one seems to want anyone who’s ever been a victim of anything to take any responsibility for themselves and their lives in any context. Which is, to me, so very disempowering a viewpoint.

            When I walked away from the scene of my assault, the fact that I acknowledged the mistakes I’d made (which I’d known were ill-advised as I was making them) was what helped me realize something like that didn’t need to happen to me again. It was not a case of getting struck by lightning on a clear day while sitting in my living room, and I know some cases really are like that. Mine was not. And owning the fact that I could have made different, wiser decisions that night and avoided the whole thing…that didn’t feel a bit like blame. What it felt like was getting my power back.

            But all many people could see in that whole process that helped me get through it and come out stronger, was self-blame.

          • @ Typon “So as far as I can tell this screaming match is over nothing at all.”????

            Is that so?

            The position has gone from Agency to is all – and then it got shifted to some are actually excluded “There are some people who are truly incapable of real agency, for whatever reason–they’re mentally ill or disabled or institutionally oppressed (such as a male or minor abuse victim),” oh, and apparently psychosis is a reason to not have agency too – and then the position shrank even further so that it was ” Both Typhon and I have repeatedly stated that returning to an abusive situation, or remaining in one when one can reasonably leave IS a CHOICE.

            So it;s gone from 100% dispositional to “it depends on the situation”? You have Agency and us it – to use it if it’s appropriate, releasable and even safe?

            How odd – the shrinking Agency – and It all started when I said that blaming a victim for not being 100% with the agency meme was Victim Blaming – because The reality of their situation was being ignored!

            Hmmm – odd how it is all shifting to the Position I started at – and yet I’m the one who keeps being told I and denying reality and people’s agency?

            So much smoke and mirrors – and we still have to find out if you have been given permission to change the whole ball game!

            • @ MH

              You know how you’re upset about GWW putting ‘words into your mouth?’

              “The position has gone from Agency to is all”

              I never said that agency was all. I explicitly said that there are also situational factors. No one can magic themselves out of psychosis, or legal barriers.

              All of this was in reference to one scenario. That of a woman given every single exterior support available to her and still choosing to go back to her abuser. The only way to say that’s not her choice is to remove agency completely from the picture.

              Now I am well and truly tired of this. This is argumentation for its own sake.

            • @typhon – sorry but it was claimed that all that was required was agency – and I did have to point out that the situation is far more complex than that!

              I find it odd too that in discussing your own situation you were surprised that I was able to illuminate situations around PTSD and how that can affect a person’s ability to utilise agency. The balance of the dispositional vs the situational.

              I find it odd that you indicate that people are being argumentative when rational discussion provides one set of answers, and yet being told you believe things you don’t and asking that person to stop making false claims is argumentative.

              You do seem to have mixed up matters.

              I would like to find out why some believe that people who are mentally ill or disabled or institutionally oppressed are without agency – and why it’s acceptable to ignore their rights in law and just brush them under the carpet for argument sake?

              Inhuman – and degrading – and even facilitating torture!

              Maybe some need to look at the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 1 to 5 – and even that US Constitution – 14th Amendment!

              Both make it clear that all people have agency – and barriers to exercising that at all times and in all ways have to be removed.

            • Isn’t that what you’ve done to me?

              You’ve even gone so far as to imply that I am pro-torture because I would posit that someone who is disabled, mentally ill or incompetent, a minor, etc (or as you used in an effective example, a language barrier) does not have exercisable agency in a DV situation the way Julia’s mother and John’s sister *clearly do*. And frankly, agency does not exist where there is no ability to exercise it. Someone who *cannot act* does not have agency. Does this mean I think they are subhuman? Not at all. Just that *they cannot act* and should not be expected to act.

              You seem to believe I do not have a nuanced view of domestic violence. This is something I find bizarre, especially in the context of being someone who has repeatedly spoken elsewhere about how different the choices are for men vs women, how differently the situation will be filtered through their gender identity, society’s views of men, and how many barriers there are to men even reporting, let alone getting out.

              Julia’s mother, if I am to take Julia at her word as to the situation, is in my opinion waiting. She’s waiting until either her ability to be self-sufficient (and I’m sorry, there is no argument about learned helplessness wrt someone who defies an abuser’s wishes and gets her driver’s license or a job) so that she can leave without taking a serious hit to her material circumstances and the day-to-day difficulties of being a single parent. Or she’s waiting until the abuse becomes so intolerable that any material and practical hit she takes will be outweighed by the difficulties of staying. Ironically, the longer she waits for the status quo gets worse or her prospects of making it on her own get better, the more likely she is to feel she’s wasted a ton of time and her best years waiting. At least, this was my experience when I was in a very similar situation, and I waited for the calculation to become easy and obvious, rather than difficult. Someone who went out and got her driver’s license and a job against the wishes of her abuser does not sound like she’s a victim of “learned helplessness”. She’s a strong woman, and she needs to be made to see that so she can act upon an assumption that she is strong and capable rather than that she’d be depriving her kids of a material standard of life.

              John’s sister, if I am to believe his description of the situation, is exercising her agency, by returning to abuse time and again. At what point does her family have the right to call her on that, and stop bashing their heads against a brick wall? At what point do her actions and expectations become abusive to them? Are they not allowed to have expectations of HER? At what point are they allowed to say, “we’re no longer going to enable you to put us through this”?

              And finally, you’ve repeatedly accused me of being abusive, of gaslighting, of backpedaling (when I have never claimed to be speaking in this thread to all DV situations, but only to the two presented here), and even gone so far as to imply I am pro-torture (??!!) because I claim that someone who is disabled or mentally incompetent or a minor does not have agency in a DV situation. Agency is not a prerequisite of humanity. Agency is the exercisable ability to act, and to have one’s actions affect oneself or the world around them. How can someone chained in a basement be expected to act to change their situation? How can someone who is mentally incompetent be expected to act to change their situation? How can someone who is physically disabled be expected to act to change their situation? For that matter, how can a man be expected to act, when ANY action he takes is likely to penalize, rather than help, himself and his kids?

              I assign agency where it exists. And in the context of domestic violence, adult, female victims have a LOT of agency compared to any other victim, agency provided by tools, protections, legal biases and resources that are available to them. Just because someone does not *see* that they have agency does not mean they don’t have it. And what is called for in those situations is to show them that they DO have agency.

              There comes a point where, as with Julia’s mother, it becomes a cruelty to listen to someone say, “I feel helpless to change things,” and NOT say, “Your feelings are lying to you. You have the power to change it.”

              And while you say many who take steps to leave are doing so when they’ve passed the point of rationality, when things are so awful that any risk is worth it just to get out from under the abuse, I would rather show people how much power they have (when they do indeed have it) before it gets to that point.

            • GWW:
              “I assign agency where it exists. And in the context of domestic violence, adult, female victims have a LOT of agency compared to any other victim,”

              You better add the qualifiers “mentally competent and able-bodied” before this sentence gets seized upon as debate material.

            • Anyone who does that is arguing in bad faith. But thanks for the warning. :)

            • @ girlwriteswhat

              I made at least 13 separate points in my posts – none about you.

              So I wonder, when you write “Isn’t that what you’ve done to me?” – which point are you referring to?

              I was addressing Typhon and her comments and points!

            • DavidByron says:

              I can’t believe that any of the three principles have all that much daylight between their respective positions. It seems to be rather an argument over precisely when and to what extent the respective philosophies should be applied. It’s like watching three chefs argue about how much salt should go in. Of course that can make a whole lot of difference. I’m not saying the debate is trivial. But it’s not about the philosophies per se. It’s about what weight and due consideration they should have.

            • @David – If I was to tell you who you are, what you think, what you believe and tell you that because I demand that is reality you are to be dismissed – I wonder how you would react?

              There is far more going on here than a difference in how to define terms of reference around a subject. P^)

              … but then again I think you know that!

              I find it odd that I am being told that I deny peoples agency when I have been on the front lines of doing the opposite for 30+ years.

              I also see some post have to yet get past moderation! I does tend to warp time lines and some people’s perceptions. P^)

  4. To MH, GWW, and typhoon and anybody else who cares to read, I have a few things to add about my situation.

    Firstly, I didn’t expect this to become a big verbal WWF throwdown. In fact, the whole topic was drudging a lot of bad memories for me, so I even gave MH the last word on the sub-thread about my sister/julia’s mom 1 or 2 pages back (I saw that he had posted, but just brushed past it).

    Secondly, Typhoon and GWW (and others I may have missed) thanks for articulating my point in a way that I couldn’t.

    Thirdly, MH: It’s great that you help abused victims. You deserve a big round of applause. But, after that is where we part ways.

    Lastly: It has been a hard experience to go through. But, I would go through ten times the worrying, hand-wringing, expensive attempts at setting my sister (and her kids) up independently, etc.. if I could have ultimately achieved success at getting my sister out of the situation.

    More painful than watching her being verbally and emotionally abused is her *Conscious* *Deliberate* *Executed* *Choice* to choose her abusive husband over those who love her again & again.

    Honestly, I reached a point where I couldn’t give anymore. I will always have a hand out to her, but I will no longer make expensive attempts at getting her attorney help or housing. I worry, but I no longer call over there constantly to get the latest information. I no longer intensively worry or fixate, hand-wring, be her cry-on shoulder, or obsess over what is going on. I have reached a point where I have to say that my sister is 50% of the problem, say to myself that this is the nature of their marriage and this is where she wants to be (I have concentrated my time, money and energy on trying to give the kids as much relief and happiness as I can as they truly have NO CHOICE. I have become very close with my 3 nephews and niece who have an awful quality of life).
    MH:
    My take-away of your comments is that you are trying to force your narrative on others and claim that your narrative applies in all situations. I also believe you are denying a tremendous amount of human behavior.

    To paint an analogy, there is a huge groundswell of sex-positive advocates who say that anything under the sun is okay as long as it is with consenting adults, and there are no greivious bodily injuries. There seems to be some overlap between these advocates and feminists. There may or may not be some small overlap between sex positivity and IPV advocates, I don’t know.

    My question is, how can there be this huge umbrella of sexual activity that an outsider cannot understand or comprehend how a person would actively choose, but nonetheless it exists like extreme bdsm, domination, nipple torture, co*k and ball torture and yet say that there ABSOLUTELY CANNOT EXIST something similar to these self-destructive pathologies in the way humans pair-bond?

    Additionally, there is beginning to become accepted the idea that people are moving past the pair-bond. There are men with multiple wives, and wives with multiple husbands and they are growing and gaining advocacy, and it seems that interest in this is being generated.

    I remember reading an article in which a man who’s constant victimization at the hand of his female lover was culminated in a shotgun blast to the face by his female lover, (causing blindness) and he begged the judge to show leniency and wanted her back.

    I remember reading about a woman who’s husband ran her down with the family van causing lung & rib damage, a crushed pelvis and a laundry list of permanent disability and damage and SHE WANTED HIM BACK.

    How can there be these self-destructive pathologies in almost EVERY area of human behavior, but when it comes to pair-bonding we say “OH NO! Every abused woman (or man) WANTS TO LEAVE!” (I would also point out that the victim stating they want to leave is not necessarily proof of anything as most women or men are well aware of how very abnormal their preference to remain is and will give the answer most will want to hear).

    After a lot of heartache, feeling like a failure for failing to protect my baby sister (and feeling horrible for being relieved at no longer caring) and the stress and heartache contributing to my mom’s death I absolutely can tell you that that mantra does NOT apply in every single case.

    Sometimes the dysfunctionality is bi-directional.

    Whatever the reason a man or women might have for ACTIVELY CHOOSING to be with their abuser, I know of at least 1 woman who makes that choice daily and would be willing to bet there are a lot lot more men and women who do as well.

    • I can’t even begin to tell you how powerful that was, and how heartfelt, and how much I wish you well.

      • Thanks

      • @girlwriteswhat

        I’m interested if you will help me and others understand your point of view?

        You have stated ” Both Typhon and I have repeatedly stated that returning to an abusive situation, or remaining in one when one can reasonably leave IS a CHOICE.”

        I have no issue with CHOICE, but I would like you to me very specific in explaining what you mean by “reasonably” or even “reasonable”.

        The terms are so plastic and work on a sliding scale, so I wonder if you will be kind enough to explain what you mean and define the scale you apply to those terms?

        What is for you reasonable, and also unreasonable. The two need to both be defined carefully to ensure there is no gap between them.

        I have also been surprised that you have indicted that “Disabled” people have either no or reduced agency. Given that I am disabled myself – and quite open about the matter – I would like to know what is the level of disability that is required for a disabled person to loose agency or to have reduced agency?

        Again – What is for you disabled, and also able-bodied. The two need to both be defined carefully to ensure there is no gap between them. You will also need to define what is “disabled and loosing agency” as well as “disabled and not loosing agency”. Again the two need to be closely and explicitly defined to ensure there is no gap between the two definitions.

        It would appear that there is also a sliding scale of disability that need to be clarified so that we are all clear as to your views on disabled people having or not having agency, or the level of agency of a person ranked against the level of disability.

        It would seem that terms of reference are the cusp of resolving differences. I await your response. and clarification of the terms of reference that you are using.

        • Disabled: Someone who is largely or completely dependent on a caregiver to provide the necessities of life. This would include, in my mind, nursing home residents suffering from dementia, para and quadriplegics who require the assistance of caregivers, the blind or deaf who have been kept unaware of the assistance available to them, and the like. Anyone who is mentally incompetent, and whose personal and legal decisions are made for them by others.

          All of these people are vulnerable, because they lack the means to exercise their agency. These are people who are unaware that they will be helped if they disclose, or who will NOT be helped if they disclose.

          If someone can starve you when you make trouble, then you have no exercisable agency. If you can walk out the door and you know there is help available to you, then you objectively have agency.

          Reasonable to me is, “If I leave, will there be people who will help me?”

          A male victim leaving a DV situation is on his own. Moreover, his children are on their own, in the sole care of an abuser. It is UNreasonable, in the current legal and cultural framework, to expect him to leave, because in all but the most horrible of DV circumstances, he will be punished more for leaving than for staying. An able-bodied woman who is not Jaycee Dugard? She can leave. She would have to be completely isolated from reality (as with a language barrier, or living in a cabin in the woods) to not know there is all kinds of help available to her, and a legal bias that will work in her favor to protect her. It is entirely reasonable for her to leave.

          Personally, with this question, I think you are just setting me up for another morally superior dressing-down. But frankly, I don’t care that much. I’ve been in a situation where I convinced a “horse to drink the water”, and I’ve even been praised over my fictional depiction of rape-trauma and healing.

          I’m not counselling a victim here. I’m discussing an issue on a public forum as pertains to two cases as described by two individuals who know those situations first-hand. Of course if I were talking to a victim I’d be more sensitive…to a point. But that’s not what this is.

          What I find disturbing is that you somehow feel okay telling John how he should feel or interpret his own 16 year experience with his own sister, and preach to him about how he needs to be more caring and available to his sister. If even half of what he’s said is true, I would not fault him for washing his hands of the whole thing. In one breath, you claim you do not know enough about the situation to judge it, and in another you call him a victim-blamer. This is…well, it seems terribly elitist to me, and dismissive of his pain and personal experience, and almost a bludgeon with which you can make yourself feel more powerful than perhaps you feel you are, in reality.

          • @GirlWritesWhat – I wonder why you keep shifting the goal posts? You keep adding pieces to, or rather having to chop piece off, the “Agency” meme in order to save it from being false.

            That is so common when you are dealing with Fundamental Attribution Error. Brush away the error with excuses – Post hoc rationalisation and side track issues.

            I believe it was Mark Neil who posited the question “Are you familiar with the term psychological projection?”

            I can answer that one very easily. Yes! There are a whole set of “Projective techniques” and “Defence sequences” which individuals will use and which get played out in so many ways and combinations.

            I found this most interesting:

            “I’ve been lauded by reviewers (even feminist ones) over my depictions of fictional victims’ journeys to healing and empowerment, and how sensitively I approach the subject in that venue. And oddly, I express my beliefs about agency and strength in fiction, it’s just obscured beneath a veneer of character and story and made palatable that way. And THAT’S what I’m praised for.”

            and this;

            “… and I’ve even been praised over my fictional depiction of rape-trauma and healing.”

            Of course you write under an mystery “Nome De Plume” so no-one can check those claims.

            I also wonder why you have brought your fictional portrayal of rape into the discussion – and how it relates to the the complexity of DV and people experiencing it? Why was it necessary to hide Agency under a veneer?

            At times it almost like reading a Text Book Marketing Campaign Strategy. P^)

            So we now have that “Agency” does not apply to all people – those “you” define, as disabled, as mentally incompetent, as having no “reasonable” way to exercise this Agency. It seems that men have an automatic pass, as they are oppressed by systemic bias and institutional bias, and that shrinks the pool of agents who can reasonably have agency yet again.

            Odd how Agency keeps switching from situation and dispositional to even adds in the Institutional. This agency meme has such funny and fuzzy boundaries that shift so fast.

            It seems that Agency only applies predominantly to Able-bodied Mentally Competent Women, who you view as having agency and Institutional bias in their favour. Able-bodied, Mentally Competent Women have no excuses and you don’t like it if they are not using it.

            As you said “If you can walk out the door and you know there is help available to you, then you objectively have agency.”

            I was most interested in your reports of your friend, who you “Rescued” from Domestic Abuse, as stated evidence that you are “sympathetic” to those being abused. It would seem that even as an Able-bodied, Mentally Competent Women she was having issues with agency and you had so much trouble convincing her of this.

            So you had to drive hundreds of miles from Canada to the USA – save her – and then drive back hundreds of miles back, and as you so quaintly put it, having to “..bite my tongue until it bled,…” as your friend talked and “ I had to listen to her for a day and a half in the car, talking about how she was going to have her baby in Canada and then reconcile with him.

            Of course, such DV victim psychology is normal and if you have the relevant knowledge and experience in the field, you would to have been biting your tongue. You would have known how to use your tongue to support your friend and even gently re-frame matters to assist her.

            Those who have been subject to psychological abuse do need careful help in that process, and it’s best coming from professionals and experts in the field. That support is available at all stages – just a phone call away – through outreach etc. The same advice and support is even available to those who are concerned about others and want to know the best ways to help and what to say.

            I won’t address all the issues of safety and the risk factors around intervention/rescue in domestic abuse and people leaving. Suffice to say, you seem to have endangered yourself, your children’s future with a mother, your friend and even the reported abuser – by your dramatic report, A gun-owning Prison Guard who was emotionally and psychologically abusive and gaslighted. There are well known risks at such times, which do of course affect both personal safety and the opportunities to manifest Agency. I do understand there are far higher risks in the USA due to Gun Culture and the right to bear arms.

            If Agency was as Universal as you present, you would not have made that journey – your friend would have just hopped on a bus and seen an attorney. Your friend would not have presented a psychological state and language which made you bite so hard to the point of dramatic self injury for 36 hours.

            You would not have had to as you put it, “sat one night and listened for 11 hours straight while my best friend’s prison guard, gun-owning husband gaslighted, verbally and psychologically abused her,…”… and then the next day play out the rescuer role with a road trip.

            All you would have to have done was tell your friend she had agency and it would have all been sorted out so quickly in a far shorter phone call and no road trip required.

            Your friend apparently meets that definition, “If you can walk out the door and you know there is help available to you, then you objectively have agency.”, – unless of course the story will now be re-framed that she was somehow disabled, mentally incompetent or in some way subject to Institutional oppression, did not speak a specified language and was ignorant of such things as DV shelters, buses and even the existence of Attorneys.

            You of course could have addressed many such matters in the reported 11 hour phone call – made her aware of the options – saved yourself a road trip – not acted as rescuer – and your friend’s Agency would have been prefect and untroubled.

            And then we have:

            I let her and her 3 y/o live in my house for months while she got back on her feet, and loaned her $4000 I didn’t have and will likely never get back so she could fight a custody battle over a child that hadn’t even been born yet. And when she told me after all of that that she was considering letting him move up here to be with her, I told her I wasn’t going to get in between them, I was done. And when he fucked her over again, I was there to catch her again.

            So you could also have saved yourself both time and money – and not had to be in rescuer mode for a second time with a dramatic catch.

            Maybe it was that biting of the tongue all the way from the USA to Canada that was the issue – and not knowing what to say and when.

            A phone call of less than 11 hours by you to some Experts prior to any Road Trip would have been better use, more productive and less injurious.

            I do have to wonder how you managed to loan someone money you did not have, and even why?

            As I’m not sure of reciprocal legal positions between the USA and Canada in child custody, I’m not sure why there was a legal battle and the need for $4000. But then again, as your friend apparently failed to use agency and a bus to consult an Attorney prior to dramatic rescue, there may have been legal issues that would have been known about, managed and even avoided if expert support was used and your friend’s own agency and even autonomy had been the focus.

            I do understand that the USA does treat Canada as a state where custody is concerned – and there has been that whole issue over “Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act” and then “Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act” – where a parent can raise legal issue in the home US state the child has vanished from, if the child has been resident there in the last six months.

            I am aware of many DV specialist expert groups who even assist victims by allowing them to be resident in shelters under aliases – and this will act to prevent malicious and vexatious use of legal process to re-victimise. Of course being at a known address under your own name does make the service of legal papers that much easier.

            You do also have to consider The “Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”. I understand that many DV specialist organisations in both the USA and Canada know all about these, and will even chat about them on the phone to those who want to support a friend leaving from a domestically Abusive environment. Many of the phone calls are free and last as long as it reasonably takes to make sure all bases are covered with whoever calls.

            They also advise on such matters as how to empower the victim to act for themselves and avoid rescue, as rescue does tend to fail and can even worsen the cycle of DV and raise many extra issues on top – even endangering the Rescuer and their household.

            I have said repeatedly that there is a high level of expertise needed in dealing with people leaving or escaping DV- IPV – Abuse, to deal with the psychology and empower them out of the pattern of returning and subsequent dramatic catches by rescuers – and some aspects are purely legal and even on an international scale.

            Of course, if you know anything about DV Psychology, you don’t allow rescuers to intervene – you give the abused person agency to turn themselves into the rescuer – which removes the victim completely from the Drama Triangle. They change from Victim to Rescuer, smashing the triangle completely – which is after all the most positive and powerful transformation for all concerned. It does not have to be a full transformation – just sufficient to have the person affected use their Agency freely and neither act or be treated as a victim – and it frequently only has to be in one aspect of their world view – with others addressed afterwards through professional and expert support.

            It also prevents the rescuer stealing the victims agency and objectifying the victim to make it a battle between the abuser and the rescuer – the victim Tug Of War! There are so many complications in that arena from the psychological to the social and the legal as well as the rescuer actually abusing the Victim’s Agency.

            In the field of DV service provision and activity, people who have a marked propensity to “Rescuer” role are selected out as early as possible so that all parties are protected from such people.

            Most interesting, in the shrinking meme of Agency, is that men get the pass on agency due to Systemic Bias and Institutional Oppression. They get the “Get Out Of Agency Free Card” so it can be played and of course that allows so much blaming of the situation and ignoring of personal disposition and actual situation.

            So we do in fact have two “Fundamental Attribution Errors” in play – and they are gendered. Women get to act it’s all so dispositional and supported by Institutional Bias and men get an excuse as they are all situational and robbed of disposition by the same institutions.

            You claim that the right thing is to tell people they have agency and they should use it, and then excuse so many with a few words. It does appear odd that the Magic of agency is not all it’s cracked up to be – or there is a special rule in the agency hand book for “my best friend’s prison guard, gun-owning husband.” and it’s not clear if the rule applies to both men and women in a relationship with such a person.

            In the rule book, Men also get attributed to them the big Situational “Get Out Of Agency Free Card”.

            The other rules around Disability and how you define them are just as fuzzy and personal to your views and not the reality of such Disabled People, who know one hell of a lot about Agency and how to use it.

            The fuzzy “reasonable” rule is also highly subjective and can even be influenced by the position taken on the Drama Triangle.

            Male Oppression and Institutional Bias as the Abuser – Men as the Victims – and who is playing Rescuer?

            You are talking about male oppression and at the same time providing a nice excuse to just carry on in the same situation and be oppressed – and the rescuer keeps their position in the game being played out. Men lack agency or have reduced agency or institutionally oppressed agency – but as you have said “If you can walk out the door and you know there is help available to you, then you objectively have agency.”.

            So even the message is oppressive, and tells men that they are victims and which role they have to stay in.

            It is fascinating to look at how you keep shifting everything with so much Post hoc rationalisation to keep the Agency meme supported and up in the air.

            You have attempted to define reality – telling people what they think – what they believe – their views of other people. Known patterns of Psychological Projection and “Projective techniques”.

            Of course you have been told to stop doing that as it is abusive. Your response, You have agency and can do and say what you like – you are empowered by Agency to demand your reality is correct and to be accepted. You have Agency and will say and do as you like.

            When that fails you then have to attack the person – again an attempt to define reality for yourself and readers. Hey ho!

            Refracting reality to you causes you to stop telling people who they are what they think etc, and you start to use other oppressive techniques through your Agency and how it interfaces with yet more Psychological Projection and “Projective techniques”.

            You then attempt to bolster the Agency meme by presenting yourself as Rescuer and Heroic – Even Masculine and Chivalrous – even dramatically biting your tongue until it bleeds.

            You justify yourself as rescuer, and the costs don’t matter – you will do it over and over, even as those rescued are placed in legal situations which experts would be better able to address and have resolved and most probably avoided period.

            The Whole Agency meme has to be re-framed – disabled people, as you define them, and so many others out of the picture – suddenly only “reasonable” use of the Agency has to be considered – and then men get a pass due to institutional oppression and systemic bias – they are victimised, and that is their role.

            But you even undermine the “ it’s just about women and they have agency” idea with that story of tongue biting and rescuing your friend. So heroic – so chivalrous – so dramatic.

            You bolster your argument by reporting that you have been domestically abused – and that you had agency and used it, even if your situation was supported by Institutional Bias.

            Now who wouldn’t be sympathetic to a woman escaping domestic abuse – and who wouldn’t see the rescuer of others, from Gun-owning, prison guard, gas-lighting, psychologically abusive people, as positive and so good?

            It’s so odd – that Agency meme keeps getting reduced, altered and re-framed in so many ways and by so many means – and in the end it comes down to you and your personal experience and personal views to justify it as it shrinks .

            Well, in my book it is probably far better if you stick to fiction and being lauded.

            As they say – Truth is stranger than Fiction – and it seems your bias away from Reality to Fiction and being Lauded may just need to be curtailed when it comes to the realities of people caught in the real complexities of DV – IPV and Abuse and “enabling” them to have full possession of their agency and any transformation from Victim to Rescuer.

            Of course – as you have made clear you have Agency and you will do and say what you like – It’s your agency and no one can stop you – you don’t care for others opinions and views on any subject or matter – you don’t care about outcome – it’s your shit and you own it – even when it costs you a bitten tongue and money you don’t have – and puts others in legal positions that could so readily have been avoided – and of course you also have agency to catch everyone when it all goes wrong.

            Well at least your claims about your agency and views of it are demonstrably accurate – they keep being played out so publicly in your own words.

            MODERATOR’S NOTE: This comment is in violation of our moderation policy because it is too long. This is a warning. Further comments that are in violation will be removed. See complete commenting guidelines here.

  5. DavidByron says:

    So… I figured out why I hadn’t read this piece before. Apparently Blogger has a bug whereby it doesn’t tell you when there’s more than one page of articles when you use the archival links to view an entire month. So back in May 2011 GWW wrote 13 articles and only seven are displayed when you click on that link in the archives.

  6. Well seeing as I’m commenting all over GWW’s ‘Patriarchy Shmatriarchy’ article, and coming up against a lot of opposition, I’d just like to comment on this article. (I know this is a bit old, but I figure someone might be looking at it.) First, I think it takes great courage to share such personal details of your life, so thank you for being so open. Secondly, I agree with everything you’ve written in the article. I haven’t read the comments so I don’t know what I think about them.

    But as to this article…I say, ‘Yes,’ and ‘Amen, sister.’ :)

  7. You know, in the past I will freely admit that I have posted here looking for a good argument.
    In the last few months I feel I have grown (very very slightly) by learning that sometimes it’s just better to walk away.

    It’s interesting because I can definitely see the tendency to argue about things in other posters.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

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  1. [...] This comment is from Rapses on the post Why I Advocate for Men’s Rights. [...]

  2. [...] Today 01:48 AM #45 fairi5fair Ambassador of Funk Status : Online Join Date : Apr 2011 Location : Southern California Posts : 2,924 Blog Entries : 9 Liked : 6396 times Reputation : 4599 Originally Posted by I Live for me not "WE" FYI: 'GirlWritesWhat' – She's Not Who You May Think! – YouTube Source: Why I Advocate for Men’s Rights [...]

  3. [...] in to it, you will have the best sex of your life!… Because its so tabooPowered by Yahoo! AnswersJames asks…Is avoiding eye contact a sign of sexual tension between a man and a woman?Because one …ye contact a sign of sexual tension between a man and a woman?Because one get's nervous and doesn't [...]

  4. […] MRA Karen Straughan has pointed out the gendered division of labour in a piece for The Good Men Project back in 2012. Though the two have long parted ways, her article remains and I’ve always found […]

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