Why I Advocate for Men’s Rights

Men deserve more voices talking for them, writes GirlWritesWhat, and that’s why she’s doing it.

I’m not a traditionalist woman. I’m bisexual. I’m kind of a dirty old man when it comes to my attitudes about sex, and I’m masculine enough in some ways to pull it off without ever having been burdened with the label of slut. Moreover, I write erotic fiction, much of it with bi-male and bi-female themes (and no, I’m not telling any of you all my pen name, so don’t bother asking). Though I was a stay-at-home mom for the first five years of my marriage, and though I found that role fulfilling and the work intrinsically valuable, I did not feel myself again until I got back into the paid workforce. I am the last person on earth who would wish to return to the world of a hundred years ago.

I’ve been sexually assaulted. I was sexually harassed as a 23 year old woman to the point where I left a job I’d held for four years. I would even regard the last six years of my marriage as emotionally and psychologically abusive.

I’m divorced, have three kids, and grievances against my ex that any reasonable man or woman would likely see as entirely justified. I still struggle with my anger over things he did during our marriage, and tried to do after it was over. The fact that after two and a half years, the only money that has ever changed hands between us has been from me to him only adds insult to injury.

During my travels online through the rugged and often inhospitable landscape of the Men’s Rights Movement, I have been required to “prove my credentials” as a logical and reasonable human being more times than I care to mention. I have had to “prove my credentials” as a woman who did not screw over her ex during her divorce. I have had to “prove my credentials” as not merely a traditionalist woman who wants to go back to men supporting women while women stay at home. This is an environment that is often hostile to women until they have paid their dues. And even when your dues are paid (and paid and paid, lol) you pay in other ways.

I have had to sit and grind my teeth when men in the movement complain that “That bitch got MY house. It was MY property because I paid for it while SHE stayed home,” and resist the urge to remind them that unpaid domestic labor has value too, and that women’s denial of that value in the early days of feminism is part of why men and women are in this mess today. That if she was the kind of wife and mother I’d been when I stayed at home, and he’d had to pay her a fair-market wage for her child-care, housekeeping and maybe even home/yard maintenance duties, her income might have been almost as high as his own during the marriage.

As the survivor of a sexual assault that I suffered as a 14-year-old virgin who hadn’t had her first period yet, I’ve had to sit and grind my teeth time and again at the glib attitude many in the movement have toward rape. If the system has a default assumption that all accusers are telling the truth and all accused are lying pieces of shit, many in the MRM have a bias that leans too far in the opposite direction. I am a firm believer in always believing an accuser–when it comes to providing victims’ services such as counselling and medical treatment. I am also a firm believer in the due process rights of the accused during police investigations and criminal trials, feel a university’s involvement in a sexual assault case should be limited to dialling 911 and letting the criminal justice system take it from there, and that the identity of the accused should be withheld by authorities until he’s convicted. I believe feminism’s elevation of rape-victim status to a bizarre combination of almost religious idolatry and kid-glove handling harms women in very insidious ways. But at the same time, the way some in the MRM talk about rape…well, it upsets me.

I’ve had to wade through dozens of news pieces about female perpetrators of spousal assault, stalking, hideously violent assaults on innocent people, sexual and physical abuse of children, infanticide, premeditated murder of husbands and boyfriends, atrocities beyond counting, held vengefully aloft by the MRM as proof that women are as likely to be sociopathic, psychotic, hateful, brutal, selfish assholes as men are. Story after story after story about yet another woman’s unsubstantiated claims of abuse leading to yet another man losing his kids and yet more kids losing their father, more lives destroyed by women who weren’t even the ones scorned because THEY are more likely to initiate the divorce. A steady diet of misdeeds perpetrated by women on men and innocent kids, enough to turn anyone’s stomach.

It gets tiresome. It gets disheartening. It gets burdensome. It even gets a little scary sometimes, when I realize just how angry some of these men are. Given that many of my personal experiences with men have been…ahh…less than wonderful, given how initially hostile the MRM can be to anyone with a vagina, and how insensitive they can seem on issues that have affected me very deeply from the opposite side of the gender divide, why do I do it? Here’s why:

I used to live in a tiny, isolated town with a resource-based economy–mostly logging and sand/gravel. When the construction industry in the US went kablooie in 2008, most of the jobs in that town disappeared. I work as a server–tips are a huge portion of my income, but that portion depends on how many people eat out. In late 2008, people where I lived stopped eating out, and my income started to go down. And down. And down.

My ex has never paid child support, and had always enjoyed unlimited access to our kids, at my expense, because my kids love their dad and have a right to see him. He exercised that access an average of one night every 6-8 weeks. My nearest family–my parents and sister–lived 2000km away in a city with a robust economy, but the few times I’d suggested moving there, my ex wouldn’t hear of it. His assertion that “How do you expect me to pay child support? I can’t even support myself around here. I don’t even have food in my fridge,” without extrapolating from that just how impossible it would be for me to support four people on my own in the same local economy, and how no food in my fridge would mean his own kids going hungry…well, the level of his tunnel-vision and selfishness was almost surreal to me. I felt like my ex had not only effectively abandoned my kids, he’d abandoned logic, reason, reality, sanity.

In February of 2010, I finally looked at my mounting debts and decided there was no way I could continue to live where I did, supporting four people on my own, and not go bankrupt. That staying solely so my kids could see their dad one night every couple of months, if and when he could be bothered, wasn’t worth the price I and my kids were paying. My debts alone, not including my mortgage, had climbed to almost twice my yearly income at the time. I was paying the mortgage with my Visa card. There were no jobs to be had. And my nearest family lived 2000km away–I really was going it alone.

I finally had to concede that my choice was either move or starve. My ex’s objection to the very suggestion was well-documented in the correspondence between our lawyers, and he had repeatedly threatened to bring legal action if I tried to move, action that would cost me thousands of dollars and might take a year or more to play out.

I was stuck between survival and my own honor. If I stayed, my family would be destroyed. If I did the honorable thing and informed him of my decision, he’d bring an action that would only force us all to stay where we were until I’d spent thousands I didn’t have in legal fees just to get it on a judge’s desk, which would only destroy us all the faster.

So I packed up my house and my kids and I moved. Without asking him. Without even telling him. And then I prepared for a legal Battle Royale to prove to a judge that I was justified in what I had done, that I’d had no choice in moving, and no choice other than to do it when and how I did. That my only reasonable option was to move to the city where my parents and sister live so I and my kids would have help and support nearby–a city where the economy was healthy, but that also happens to be 2000km away from my children’s father. I’d documented the ways I’d encouraged my ex to spend time with his kids, and how seldom he’d actually done it, and how his right to see them every 6-8 weeks when he felt like it should not outweigh their right to not be raised in poverty. I had a six-page affidavit prepared, with which to argue my case.

And my ex’s objections to what I’d done were dismissed out of hand. I’d moved his kids 2000km away from him, without even informing him I was doing it, and I didn’t even need to present my affidavit to the judge–all I had to say was that I’d moved for work. She took it as a given that she should side with me over him, and made her decision with a sanguinity and certainty that I found appalling, even as I almost wept with relief.

Shortly before I had moved, I’d re-entered the sexual marketplace. I had a brief fling with a married man. I was his first affair, and he struggled with his guilt over stepping out on his wife, even though he’d been sleeping on the couch for two years. Conversely, his wife had been cheating on him for years–remember, this is a small town where everyone knows every bit of dirt about everyone else. I don’t suppose she struggled very much over her own guilt feelings, since she didn’t care to hide her infidelities. He was so unhappy in his marriage I can only describe it as despair because he couldn’t see any way to fix it, but he stayed because he was terrified–not worried, not scared, but terrified–of losing his children.

It wasn’t until after I moved and the judge made her 8-second ruling that I realized just how justifiable his fear had been.

I was raised by parents who told me to never only read the headlines or listen to the soundbites, but to read the entire article and think rationally about things before I formed opinions. To not only regurgitate the information I am fed, but to thoroughly digest it, apply logic and my own experiences to what I hear and read, and then decide if it makes sense. To question. To examine. To look at problems from many angles. To seek out differing points of view because, hey, you just might learn something–even if that something is that people can be full of shit.

They taught me words like “sophistry” and what it means. They taught me that evidence is everything, and statistics can be made to say anything you want, depending on your agenda. They taught me that sometimes people lie so convincingly to themselves, that even when they’re lying to you they feel like they’re telling the truth.

As a teenager, I mostly hung out with guys, because guys were more accepting of the ways I’m different. Because I’m more guy-like than girlie, they never guarded their speech around me, nor do any of my male coworkers now. And though I’ve been deeply wronged by a few men, I know from my other experiences with men that that the vast majority of boys and men are more good than bad. They’re flawed, but they’re still human. They’re not women, but they’re still human.

I have three children. Two sons and a daughter. And as much as I may complain about how much trouble they can be, and despite the fact that I’ve been known to threaten to knock their heads together when they annoy me, I love them and am as proud as fuck of them. I want them to be happy and to succeed in life, however they choose to measure their success.

But I look at the world they are growing up in, a world where my boys will soon be facing the same problems men face are facing now, only worse. A world where my daughter also will be reaping the consequences of living in a society that values the rights of one gender over another and no one seems to give a shit. A world where everything women naturally are is seen as admirable, and everything men naturally are is seen as a pathology to be cured. A world where even women who commit the most heinous and atrocious acts are instantly assumed to have been failed by the system or somehow justified in their actions, while men who commit similar acts are instantly assumed to have done it out of jealousy, anger, a desire to control, aggression, or just…well,maleness. I don’t want my sons to live in a world where no matter how good they are, they will be told they are bad–or my daughter to live in a world where she will always be able to blame someone or something else for her decisions and actions.

I want my daughter to grow up to be a woman who owns her own shit, and my boys to grow into men who are not forced to own everyone else’s shit on top of their own.

The voices that speak for feminism are millions upon millions. They are so legion, they need only whisper to be heard. The voices speaking for equality for men and boys are so few, they’re drowned out by the opposition even when they scream. I don’t know what I can do other than raise my kids to be able to think on their own, and add my voice to the issues I believe in that I feel are underserved. That more people advocate for, and sympathize with, animal rights than men’s rights is a travesty that stymies me. I suppose if men could somehow make themselves look as cute and as helpless as a baby seal, things would be different, but they can’t. Men and boys are in jeopardy–really and for true, honest, not just kinda-sorta jeopardy–and they deserve more voices speaking for them.

So that’s what I’m doing.

Originally appeared at Owning Your Shit.

—Photo uair01/Flickr

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. YAYS! FIRST!

    • Also, congrats on getting the article up at GMP. 😀

      • Thanks, TB. I was a bit leery when I got the invite to submit, but I figured what the heck. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

        • Ah… well, I got your back. 😉

          BTW, I have something up here too. Even though I’m sure I’m the biggest pest on here. (Or at least one of them. Don’t want to be inflating my ego.)

          Linkies!

          http://goodmenproject.com/sex-relationships/10-things-i-love-about-my-husband/

          Warning: It’s a bit Halmarky.

        • TheOnlyKarsh says:

          Thank you for your voice. In today’s society it’s difficult as a male to say somethings without either being maligned as misogynist by one side or being mocked as gay by the other.

          TheOnlyKarsh

        • DavidByron says:

          What made you choose that piece?

          • I didn’t choose it. Lisa did. I told her I didn’t know if my writing would be suitable for this site, but if she wanted to mine my blog, to go ahead. This was the first one she chose, so there you go.

            • DavidByron says:

              Ah, Lisa picked it. Now the choice makes perfect sense to me. It’s a good introduction piece with a lot of balance in it. It’s a good choice but if you had chosen I figured you’d have gone with something that outlines the basis of your grand opus. Probably something on male disposability.

              But why would you doubt your writing would be suitable for this place? The site is all about male goodness and you write about male goodness. In the past the perception of male goodness has been wrapped up in male disposability. Sacrifice, duty, honor, chivalry, protecting, courage, violence, danger. So you are challenging all that stuff.

              I wish the MRAs would get more involved here. I see it as part of their increasing exclusivity that they distrust the place so much.

              One of the reasons I thought it best that feminism be opposed and negated by society was that the alternative approach to men’s rights — the MRA approach or if you like the feminist “approach” to men’s rights, they were both tending to divide women against men. That is no way to reach equality on anything — to start with segregation. If a solution comes it must come through a system where men and women are not seen in opposition. In the meantime the best that can be done it seems is to at least have some prominent women on the MRA side.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              You will imagine that I wouldn’t agree with you. I think the place of egalitarianism will be hard to find if we focus on one pole bringing it on its own.

            • DavidByron says:

              Wait… you meant to say that you agree, right?

            • Well, the purpose of this site is for men to find a way to become “good” in a changing cultural climate, isn’t it? I’m more of the mind to say that what is “good” in men, in society’s eyes, is harmful to men themselves, so they should stop caring so much about being “good” and just do their best to survive.

              The conundrum is that the things we (women and society both) find admirable and laudable and beneficial about men are the ways we can exploit and even destroy them for our own benefit. So is there anything much that is good about that, especially if it comes with no compensation, socially or emotionally, and increasing economic disincentives?

              It’s really not okay to only care about and have empathy for “good” men, because their “goodness” as men depends on them living up to our expectations of masculinity [and god only knows what they are this week], and when they stop living up to them, they stop being “good men” and we get to stop caring about them, don’t we? That’s one reason why we have so many social programs available specifically to get homeless women off the streets, and so few (if any) specific programs and assistance for men, even though they comprise 80-90% of the unsheltered homeless. Those men have failed to live up to the standard of “good men”, so we no longer have to care about them.

              Is there value in being a “good man”, whatever that means? Of course there is. But if it means men must walk a tightrope between consistently putting others first with even odds of being penalized for it, or failing in that and being expelled from the sphere of society’s empathy… well, none of that seems very “good” to me. What I want to see is more unconditional empathy for men, not more emphasis on how they can jump through the hoops to earn it.

            • Men are naturally good. It’s what society is inflicting on them through its expectations that cause the goodness to die.

            • DavidByron says:

              This site doesn’t define what “good” means but leaves up to you and me and everyone else to figure that out.

              I agree with what you’re saying.
              Actually I’m not sure many people here regularly would disagree with it.

  2. Dear GirlWritesWhat. I have to say that I’m impressed. I have been watching your endeavours for some time, and I do find your willingness to step outside of other people’s frames of reference, and look at issues from many different angles, very powerful.

    I have to say that I detected your anger at how you were treated in court – an 8 second hearing – and how it has motivated you not from a position on winning or victory but from a position of Justice. So many in the field of law look at victory and not at Justice. You recognised a failure where a system has stopped being about justice and equality of all before the law and you looked beyond to the wider implications.

    In an odd way you wanted to help you ex-husband and allow him to see a bigger picture. You really had not choice for your own survival and your kids but to move and to act as you did. But even then, you were still reaching out to educate and illuminate, and the system and supposed justice just got in the way. I have seen that play out in so many areas of law for decades – people who have gone to court not just for justice but to make the world better, and so many have been disappointed because the Court and Supposed Justice have been about system and not real people.

    Aristotle said that law is reason free from passion – but unfortunately passions have been allowed to meddle with and warp law and make it a tool to other’s passions and so remove Justice.

    You keep looking at Injustice in all forms and you keep educating people, even the one’s you don’t like or agree with. You are a rare voice and I do like hearing it. It even makes me think over and over, and look to see which views and ideas need to be re-framed and re-assessed! You keep up your original thinking and challenging.

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”
    Albert Einstein.

    You have a Touch Of Genius and also Courage. Don’t let anyone say otherwise! P^)

  3. Good article. This line was particular powerful and memorable:

    “I want my daughter to grow up to be a woman who owns her own s***, and my boys to grow into men who are not forced to own everyone else’s s*** on top of their own.”

    That really summarizes the core purpose of the men’s rights movement in a nutshell.

  4. (Duhh, typo: “PARTICULARLY powerful”)

  5. Your story is certainly an interesting one, especially the parts you put in about being sexually omnivorous and naturally inclined to be “one of the guys,” which you most certainly must be if you are aligning with the MRM. (The MRM is well-covered here: http://manboobz.com/) Otherwise, your story and mine are not that different.

    About the judge you wrote, “[s]he took it as a given that she should side with me over him, and made her decision with a sanguinity and certainty that I found appalling, even as I almost wept with relief.” Should she have made a different decision? It seems like it was probably in the kids’ interest to move 2,000km from a man who was, as you said, “emotionally and psychologically abusive,” and who does not offer any financial or monetary support, who offers periodic disappointment, and what else exactly? In my experience, judges are more inclined to side with *the children.*

    So many words are spilled on MRM sites, many of them shockingly angry, misogynistic, and offensive. Obviously there are a lot of hurt and hurting men out there, men who feel they have been robbed of their masculinity. Many are miffed because they have been forced by the legal system to cede CONTROL. (Usually when judges determine the kids’ lives would be decidedly worse if their embittered fathers were left in charge.) Thankfully, children are no longer a man’s property. (I suspect that quite a few of these MRM guys find that a crushing disappointment.)

    I have no doubt that the courts sometimes get it wrong. I have no doubt that there are good, decent, loving fathers out there who have really been screwed over, but I am far from convinced that such men represent the core of the MRM.

    I will also say this: I want my sons to live in a world where they own their “shit,” too. Owning one’s “shit” is hardly the MRM way.

    P.S. I am sorry about the sexual assault you experienced as a young woman and hope you have found and continue to find healing.

    • It’s interesting, we get people commenting who dislike much of the MRM, and others who comment and dislike much of feminism, yet both sides have pretty valid concerns.

      “Should she have made a different decision? It seems like it was probably in the kids’ interest to move 2,000km from a man who was, as you said, “emotionally and psychologically abusive,” and who does not offer any financial or monetary support, who offers periodic disappointment, and what else exactly? In my experience, judges are more inclined to side with *the children.* ”
      I believe she is saying the judge knew nothing of his abuse, all the judge heard was “moving for work” and bam, instant win. That is the problem, which gives a lot of weight to the idea that men get screwed over in courts if it takes 8 seconds for a woman to win a custody hearing.

      “And my ex’s objections to what I’d done were dismissed out of hand. I’d moved his kids 2000km away from him, without even informing him I was doing it, and I didn’t even need to present my affidavit to the judge–all I had to say was that I’d moved for work. She took it as a given that she should side with me over him, and made her decision with a sanguinity and certainty that I found appalling, even as I almost wept with relief.” That is what she said, that IS SCARY as hell for fathers. I’m not even a father and it bothers me a lot. It’d bother me if the same happened to a man winning and woman losing, it’s just plain f*cked up.

      Are you completely sure these men want more control, or simply a fair chance? I know a few MRM want power n control, but I’ve seen the same few in feminism who want power n control, what do the majority want? Who else is going to speak up on male issues? I haven’t seen many, if any, feminist areas a man is welcome to speak about his issues in and actually receive support. Most common experience I’ve had on feminist sites seems to be insults of “whataboutthemenz” and misandrist comments should someone daer speak up on male issues, patriarchy and privilege are thrown around to silence them or act as if their issues aren’t important.

      I totally would LOVE to know egalitarian feminism areas where men and women can both post and no childish taunts, this is probably the only place I know where males can speak about their issues and be listened to, AND females can too.

      • Should probably that I am sure there are feminist sites that exist and truly follow the equality line, but I’ve found them hard to find as many seem to be gynocentric and also have relaxed moderation allowing misandry and childish behaviour. Are there any decent PURE egalitarian/equalism sites as well? Anyone can speak on their issues and no bull*%*t?

        • DavidByron says:

          You probably ought to stop being sure about things in the absence of evidence (or as here, despite the presence of evidence to the contrary).

          Feminists used to allow non-feminists to comment 20 years ago. As much as anyone else I guess I “helped” change that. It is the way of things. The purpose of dialogue is to get at the truth. Those who cannot withstand the truth therefore must prevent dialogue. You can talk to your critics or you can remain stupid but its hard to do both. And so feminist web sites had to adapt or die. They chose adaption and after ten years of the process no open feminist sites existed.

          Still if you find any exceptions I am always interested. This place is at least close.

          • “Should probably ADD that I am sure” Oops
            I still have hope though DB, maybe blind hope, the only one I can remember off the top of my head is noseriouslywhataboutthemenz which I THINK is feminist run? But can’t recall any equalism ones sadly.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        Archy, no one likes ceding control. That’s what the whole privilege thing is about. Sounds like she was in the middle of a terribly difficult decision, with no truly good options, with little support. Weeping with relief is something anyone would do, even if the circumstances were less than perfect.

        Divorce brings out the worst in people. Children are the ones who should be focused on, not which parent has more or less rights.

        I’m sorry you are pushed so hard in the MRA circles. I think any movement should take good care of their allies, and as much for human rights as I am, including learning things here about men’s issues, I don’t know if I would be able to take that dues paying experience you’ve detailed here. I prefer doing most of my advocacy in the real world where some of that is ameliorated.

        • Yeah but she was pointing to the MRM as ceding control when the author is describing something where men have NO control, 8 second justice is no privilege for the loser. Just how common is that experience? I think people really need to pay attention to why these men are so angry, if the author’s experience has similarities to their experience then that’s pretty shocking and they have very right to be angry.

          I believe there are 2 different groups, male rights movement and also the fathers rights movement, not sure if they merge together or not though. I know the fathers rights groups do advocate in the real world, the MRM is small though and haven’t seen much locally in Aus about them except hit pieces by biased and bigoted authors who like to act as if they are all “middle class white men” who have no legitimate issues and gloss over the multitude of very serious issues men face, biggest probably being violence.

          I’m not sure if women realize the hypocrisy many men hear by feminists, I have heard feminists say they are for equality and equalism yet the silence over male issues is deafening. Imagine being told of a group that fights for gender equality, bring equality to everyone….yet you bring up issues and cop the silencer stream, the belittling of your issues and being told men have all the power whilst men appear powerless in some cases which seems to be what the OP is saying.

          In this case the male was abusive and I’m glad she was able to move to a better place for financial security if what she says is true. But not in 8 seconds with a few words! What if he was a loyal n loving father? A man who would die to protect his kids, who was brought up in feminism hearing equality equality equality beaten into his brain expecting the modern world to be just n fair for both genders yet his ex could move 2000km away against his wishes, making it extremely expensive and rare to visit, and the judge accepts that IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO FINISH A BULL RIDE, simply hearing she’s moving for work.

          Wouldn’t you be angry as all hell? I’m trying to explain possibly what they feel, because based off of what I have read and heard of them I can see how SOME are angry at women, angry at feminism. I don’t agree with it of course and hope everyone of all groups can calm their anger, stop the bitterness n battles and work together.

          I’ve heard way too many stories on either side about divorce and child custody, are their issues state to state where men can be messed over in some and women in others?

          I think we need leaders in the MRM and feminism to both start calling out the misandry n misogyny, ask people to control their anger and not hate entire groups based off the few. I dislike labels, I don’t want to be lumped in with either side because too many people see each side with bitterness and it instantly biases their communication. I am an Archy!

          • Archy, (cool name, btw…)
            Sometimes 8 seconds is enough. Eight seconds seems like enough time for a judge to think, “He pays nothing. Kids need to eat.” The equation is not that difficult. Drop the gavel already.

            • You might be right, if she had looked at our financial statements, if she had known he wasn’t paying child support, if she was aware that I was going bankrupt. She had to ask how many kids we had, ffs, as well as have us and the lawyers fill her in on all the financial details, and she never once asked how often he saw them–but was only told that he’d previously enjoyed unspecified and generous access.

              She didn’t know about any of that until after she’d dismissed his objection to my moving.

            • See that scares me regardless of who the parties are. It sounds like a complete joke of justice, I’d understand if the judge had did the research but from what you are saying it sounds like it was just an automatic judgement. I think it’s absolutely awesome that you spotted that, and are appalled by it.

      • DavidByron says:

        Basically there are no such thing as fathers any more in the West. From a legal and it seems even an ethics standpoint (as society judges these things) a father is no different from a guy the mother happens to be dating (if cohabiting) , or a conscript (if not). Fatherhood just doesn’t exist any more.

    • While I appreciate your P.S., it’s not necessary. I came to terms with what happened a long time ago, thanks.

      What bothers me about your comment is that you make the same assumptions about divorcing fathers that the family courts do. WIth the exact same cavalier attitude, too.

      There was nothing in my case file about abuse of any kind–why would I bring that into it when he was never abusive to the kids, and when it would only make the divorce process more onerous to all of us than it had to be? I never wanted to keep him from my kids, or keep my kids from him, because for all his faults (of which they are all well aware) he’s the only father they have and they love him, and for all his imperfections I know he returns that love.

      The judge had obviously barely skimmed the file, if that (it was a case conference, a pre-hearing, essentially), and had to ask some very basic questions that betrayed her lack of familiarity with our particular case. She had no idea he wasn’t paying child support until after she’d brushed aside his objections.

      The assumption on the part of the judge was that I *must* have moved for good reason, that I obviously had my kids’ interests at heart, but she had no way of knowing that. Her decision was based on an assumption that could just as easily have been completely wrong.

      I find it amusing that you dismiss a man’s anger and deep sense of betrayal at losing all control over his life and how he fits into his family, his circumstances, as some attitude of, “ZOMG, my precious, precious privilege!” While at the same time, you would likely see my anger at the boys who assaulted me–which was an identical anger at no longer being in control of my circumstances–as entirely justified.

      If I had to choose between going through another assault–even if that assault had been completed (which it wasn’t, by luck alone)–and being treated the way my ex was in that room at the courthouse? Choose between being held down by two boys and having my control over my life suspended for 20 minutes or half an hour, and when it’s over have my autonomy back and with it the power to decide how to deal with what had happened, how to heal and whether to seek justice, what steps I might take to prevent it happening again; or held down by the entire weight of the family court and told what the rest of my life is going to look like and whether my own flesh and blood would be a meaningful part of it, have my entire future–financial and emotional–decided at the bang of a gavel, and no exercisable power to do anything other than submit and keep submitting or end up in jail? Half an hour of feeling powerless or a lifetime of it?

      I know exactly which I would choose.

      You claim the MRM is rife with “shockingly angry, misogynistic, and offensive” words. I could say the exact same thing about feminism. Shit, I’ve seen mainstream memes in emails and on facebook that are as hateful toward men as the most hateful things spoken about women within the MRM. But no matter. We live in a culture where it’s so okay to hate men that we don’t even see those things for what they are. They’re just normal.

      And frankly, I’m sick to death of characterizations like this one: “Thankfully, children are no longer a man’s property. (I suspect that quite a few of these MRM guys find that a crushing disappointment.)”

      If that’s all you think, then I’m positive you’d agree with several prominent feminists’ assertions that the MRM’s outreach toward male victims of DV is part of some sinister agenda to tear down battered women’s shelters. I suppose I could make the same accusation of feminism, except that thanks to feminist theory and legislation, there are no battered men’s shelters for them to tear down. Interesting how that works.

      • Thank-you girlwriteswhat! Seeing the good n bad in both sides as opposed to blind allegiance to a cause, much respect!

    • “Thankfully, children are no longer a man’s property. (I suspect that quite a few of these MRM guys find that a crushing disappointment.)”

      No, now they’re treated like the mother’s property. So much better.

      • DavidByron says:

        Well mothers still can’t sell their children, (except for rent-a-womb and “giving” a baby up for adoption in exchange for “considerations”), and can only kill them up to about one year old I think (“infanticide” – only a much reduced sentence not really legal). So they are not property.

        What it is is quite bad enough without exaggeration. Mothers can have children, and fathers cannot. Fathers can at best lease them from mothers in exchange for considerations and always under threat of termination. Really that one item alone would be enough for any rational mind to see women have incredible power over men and certainly have all the privilege. That’s simply a recognition of how important children are to most human beings.

        • “Well mothers still can’t sell their children, (except for rent-a-womb and “giving” a baby up for adoption in exchange for “considerations”), and can only kill them up to about one year old I think (“infanticide” – only a much reduced sentence not really legal). So they are not property.

          As I said, they are treated like property, the property of the woman, at least in family courts. that is not the same thinga s being property under the law.

          “Mothers can have children, and fathers cannot. ”

          You are not real clear on the biology of sexual reporduction apparently.
          And specifically WRT to humans, women are almost completley incapable of carrying apregnancy to term without significant assistance and support, usually from the father, beacuse who else is going to give a shit?

          “Fathers can at best lease them from mothers in exchange for considerations and always under threat of termination.”

          You are assuming fathers have some compulsion or obligation to surender their children to women. I assure, it is quite easy to devise social systems where women’s access is completely under the control of fathers. (And guess what? You see the same suicide rates among divorced women in China as you see among divorced men in the US.) it’s horrible there too, in reverse.

          ” Really that one item alone would be enough for any rational mind to see women have incredible power over men and certainly have all the privilege.”

          This part you got right, ebcause you use the word”privielge”. Privilege is granted, not inherent. There is nothing inherent or natural about mothers’ or fathers’ monopoly over children.

    • If I may:

      “So many words are spilled on MRM sites, many of them shockingly angry, misogynistic, and offensive. Obviously there are a lot of hurt and hurting men out there, men who feel they have been robbed of their masculinity. Many are miffed because they have been forced by the legal system to cede CONTROL. (Usually when judges determine the kids’ lives would be decidedly worse if their embittered fathers were left in charge.) Thankfully, children are no longer a man’s property. (I suspect that quite a few of these MRM guys find that a crushing disappointment.)

      I have no doubt that the courts sometimes get it wrong. I have no doubt that there are good, decent, loving fathers out there who have really been screwed over, but I am far from convinced that such men represent the core of the MRM.”

      Let’s flip this around to see how ugly, offensive and hurtful your statement is.

      “So many words are spilled on Feminist sites, many of them shockingly angry, misandric, and offensive. Obviously there are a lot of hurt and hurting women out there, women who feel they have been robbed of their femininity. Many are miffed because they have been forced by the legal system to cede CONTROL. (Usually when judges determine the kids’ lives would be decidedly worse if their embittered mothers were left in charge.) Thankfully, children are no longer a woman’s property. (I suspect that quite a few of these feminist girls find that a crushing disappointment.)

      I have no doubt that the courts sometimes get it wrong. I have no doubt that there are good, decent, loving mothers out there who have really been screwed over, but I am far from convinced that such women represent the core of feminism.”

      When can we stop these stereotypes and generalizations. How much further will this stupid “gender war” go before people begin to respect one another?

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    We all ought to own our own shit. But sometimes shit just happens. What then?

  7. One of the best articles I’ve seen on these matters, thank-you so much!

  8. I admire your integrity and desire to look at things in a balanced way. Especially in light of being raped at 14, then abused by your ex-husband. I don’t think I would have come out of that situation and think that it’s essentially a woman’s world. I have to tell you I could not relate to your story. Where I live, men routinely get 50-50 custody if they want it. I sat in a courtroom and watched my judge order a custody evaluation for a couple where the mom wanted to move away — I don’t know what happened ultimately, but she certainly wouldn’t have been able to pick up and move without preparing a proper case and spending a lot of money. If I had ever tried to move my kids out of my state, my ex would have slammed me in court because he’s loaded and can fund legal battles indefinitely. He also pays no child support, by the way. He was able to get essentially full custody of our son because he wore me down with legal fees. As for the MRM — I have never heard/read anything but venom and misogynistic rants coming out of that movement. There may indeed be men from that movement who have been truly wronged, but for me those voices are drowned out by the vitriol and sheer woman-hating.

    • Does this vary state to state? Maybe some states are equal, others are terrible? I am from Australia which has it’s own set of problems but it seems both of those countries have quite a few fathers rights groups, and from what I’ve seen recently from them they do have quite legitimate concerns.

      I think what you’re experiencing is probably what many men experience in the more extreme feminist and radfem areas, I personally felt the sheer level of vitriol and man-hating to be sickening by those trying to advocate under a banner of equality. I’ve seen a few mrm comments and articles with the vitriol n anger you mention but lately I’m finding quite tame stuff really, similar tone to most feminist stuff I see.

      Given the MRM are smaller I think the extreme ones have an even more profound impact, as feminism still has a lot of good seen in it especially in the early days. Give it time and the right advertising for the good in the MRM, I think perceptions will change and the bad of both groups need to be called out n told to cut the shit. Anger isn’t going to help when it’s at the level of causing misandry or misogyny.

      • In my experience, money is what will determine a “positive” outcome in family court for a father. (I’m not saying your outcome was positive in an objective sense, but he got what he wanted, right?)

        I know one man who had to spend over $100,000 to get custody of his two small boys away from their abusive, drug-addicted, bipolar mother. My bf was told by two lawyers that despite being primary caregiver to his (non-biological) daughter for 5 years, he’d likely need a minimum of $50,000 PER YEAR to maintain access to his daughter. His de facto fatherhood would have entitled his ex to child support (and the giant, free legal mechanism to extract it from him) if she’d sought it, but even if she had and he was paying, it would not entitle him to access. She was determined to deny him access, and she was perfectly capable of doing it, even though he changed more diapers and made more grilled cheese sandwiches while they were a family than she ever did.

        I was discussing this issue online with someone once who claimed that because his father had gotten custody of him in 1989, obviously there wasn’t a problem. I asked him, out of curiosity, how long it took and how much his father had to spend, and oddly enough, he never replied.

        If a man is loaded, he has a chance. If he’s loaded, HE can screw over his ex. But most men aren’t loaded, and many of them face the prospect of spending a ton of money they don’t have only to lose and in some cases end up paying their ex’s legal fees along with their own.

      • Archy, from what I remember there are 8 shared custody states that make a big ruckus about preserving fathers rights to access.
        I don’t know which states these are off hand, but I do remember reading that these states have much lower rates of divorce.

    • @ Pauline

      “He also pays no child support, by the way. He was able to get essentially full custody of our son because he wore me down with legal fees. ”

      If your ex-husband has full custody of your son, then why should he pay child support? You should be paying him child support.

      • DavidByron says:

        Yeah, I’m not buying her story either.

        • To be fair, a couple of sentences up she mentions kids (plural). Maybe he has primary custody of the mentioned son, and she has primary custody of the rest.

          Regardless, it always amazes me how some come on here and try to make it look like family court is just f*cked up in a gender blind way and there are equal victims of both genders.

          The fact that a poster can find female victims of injustice in family court doesn’t change the fact that there is systemic mother bias in family court.

    • Making it difficult to move kids away from the other parent (their parent, their property) should be difficult.

      “If I had ever tried to move my kids out of my state, my ex would have slammed me in court because he’s loaded and can fund legal battles indefinitely.”

      Justice shouldn’t be based on how much money you have. Here you’ve inadvertently revealed the bias against fathers. Your ex was able to ‘even the playing field’ because he had money. The only reason that money evened it was because it started UNEVEN in your favour as a mother to begin with.

      • This:

        “Making it difficult to move kids away from the other parent (their parent, their property) should be difficult.”

        Should read:

        “It should be difficult to move kids away from the other parent(their parent, their property).”

      • TB says:
        “The only reason that money evened it was because it started UNEVEN in your favour as a mother to begin with.”

        Well said. Poor fathers can’t block a mothers move-away of 1000’s of miles. That is supposed to be equal?

    • Justa Mann says:

      ” I have never heard/read anything but venom and misogynistic rants coming out of that movement.”

      Then I respectfully submit your exposure to the MRM has been severely limited. I know this to be the case because I have read hundreds, maybe thousands of MRM aricles, and angry rants were in the distinct minority.

  9. And apparently anti-feminists are no longer allowed to comment here. Censorship saves the day again!

    • Huh, that one went through…

      Are we not allowed to criticize Manboobz now or what?

      • Julie Gillis says:

        What post are you missing? I can’t find one about Manboobz.

      • I thought Manboobz was so obviously biased and misandrist that no criticism of it was needed. Does anyone take that site seriously?

        • ht tp://manboobz.com/2012/01/17/the-mens-rights-movement-in-interpretive-dance/
          Generalizations are fine for him to make as long as it’s against the MRM, at first it looked serious until I kept reading and saw the criticisms….

          “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.”
          He takes extremist comments and acts as if they are representative of the entire movement, by definition he is a bigot. Pointing out the bad comments is one thing, painting with a broad brush is what bothers me.

  10. I’m really sorry that you had to go through those experiences, but I appreciated your piece. What I find problematic is exactly what Pauline described. Women still make 70 cents for every dollar men make for the same work, women earn less than their husbands on average, more women than men are stay-at-home parents and domestic labour remains unpaid. As a whole, men still very much hold the financial advantage over women. The parent with the financial advantage-more likely to be the father- can silently coerce the other parent into staying or gain custody when they financially drain the other parent through legal fees.

    My father is emotionally abusive and was physically abusive to my mother, but she never left. She had been a stay-at-home parent her entire life with no substantial work experience, so she was worried that the courts wouldn’t grant her custody due to her lack of financial means, or that if she gained custody, she wouldn’t be able to financially support my brother and I. When my younger brother started going to school, my mom found a job, but my father would emotionally manipulate her into thinking she was being a bad parent because she had less time for us now. He didn’t support her in anyway, in fact, he went out of his way to discourage her from becoming financially independent. He wouldn’t teach her how to drive and when she got her license with the help of a friend, he wouldn’t let her take the car out because it was he was paying the insurance fees. Even though my mom has a job now, filing for divorce wouldn’t be a viable option because my brother and I would want to stay with her, but I’m still in school, my brother is still in elementary school and her job pays slightly above minimum wage.

    It’s no question that what your judge did was wrong and I don’t think there is really any way to justify her actions. Though it seems she made the right decision in the end.

    Could you elaborate on your statement that “women need to collectively grow up”? I find that sort of sweeping generalization a bit too simplistic.

    • ” The parent with the financial advantage-more likely to be the father- can silently coerce the other parent into staying or gain custody when they financially drain the other parent through legal fees.”

      In some jurisdictions the higher paid spouse is responsible for the legal fees of the lower paid spouse.

      For example, where I live, I can throw my husband out on his ear with an accusation of domestic violence, freeze his assets and assume full control of the house.

      Further, for most women it’s a choice to become the lower paid spouse. First they select for men who earn more then them and second they are usually the one to make the (often unilateral) decision to stay at home or reduce their work obligations. This choice sometimes has the repercussions that you identified. (Although fewer then you’re making out to be since women actually control the majority of the house hold spending in most families.)

      Men can’t choose to be men(with the attendant difficulties with custody, getting their DV recognized,etc). Women can choose to be the lower paid spouse(with the attendant difficulties of financial dependence).

    • Sigh.

      Women do not make 70 cents on the dollar for the same work men do.

      Once all variables are controlled for: field of employment, uninterrupted years of experience in a field (or company), training (not comparing cardiac surgeons’ pay to pediatricians’ pay), overtime, what constitutes “full time” (anything over 35 hours/week is considered full time, but men are more likely to work longer full time hours than women), absenteeism, and a ton of factors based largely on personal choice…the wage gap virtually disappears.

      And is domestic labor really unpaid, just because it doesn’t come with a pay stub and a tax bill? When I was a stay at home mom, my ex-husband busted his ass every day and essentially handed me half of his earnings so that I could make the choice to stay home. How is domestic labor *supposed* to be paid? Should men “pay” their wives 1/2 the going rate of day care and housekeeping (remember, it’s her kids and house too), then deduct all the wife’s personal expenses (her car and insurance, her make-up and clothes, her salon appointments, all the food she consumes, plus her half of the kids’ expenses)? Would she come out in the black or the red, if this was how it was tallied?

      I’m not going to invalidate or minimize your personal experience by claiming that it oh-so-rarely happens. But I do know that there are just as many men who feel stuck in abusive marriages, who feel they can’t leave because they’ll lose their kids and be impoverished in one fell swoop, and I know men that this has happened to.

      My statement that women need to grow up… I suppose it has to do with women denying their own power and agency. I think your mother’s view of what is likely to happen in court (depending on where you are, of course) if she chooses to leave your father… I think this is, in many ways, her refusing to take control and responsibility over her situation.

      If you live in North America, then in my opinion, filing for divorce is your mother’s only viable option (and it’s one that is more likely to have a positive outcome for her, and you and your brother, than a negative one). Kids over 8 or 10 usually have some say as to which parent they want to live with, especially if there’s any hint of abuse. There are mechanisms in place to protect the three of you from that–mechanisms that innocent, non-abusive fathers get caught up in all the time.

      When I realized that staying with my ex would harm my children more (emotionally and financially) than divorcing him would, that’s when it was time for me to go. He went out of his way to make the process a million times more difficult than it had to be, but I got through it, and even at its worst I knew it was the right thing for me to do.

      If your mother is not prepared to take her power and get out from under his, she’s denying her own agency. She’s objectifying herself by telling herself she *can’t* act, and settling for being acted upon by your father and her own fears. It doesn’t take a lot of money or courage to take a bus to a lawyer’s office and talk about the process, and the legal and enforcement mechanisms that exist to help people just like her. If she’s not doing that (keeping in mind that I’m assuming you live in North America), it’s not because she can’t, but because she won’t, and I have no idea why.

      • girlwriteswhat says:
        “I’m not going to invalidate or minimize your personal experience by claiming that it oh-so-rarely happens. But I do know that there are just as many men who feel stuck in abusive marriages, who feel they can’t leave because they’ll lose their kids and be impoverished in one fell swoop”

        Not to mention that many fathers may stay in abusive relationships for the same reason women do:
        They are afraid of losing custody and the abusive spouse would start abusing the children.

        Of course this fear is much more real when we talk of fathers initiating divorce than mothers. The blatant mother bias of family courts would seem to extend logically the premise that there are more fathers living in abusive marriages than mothers (since women can just take the kids and leave).

        Girlwriteswhat says:
        “If your mother is not prepared to take her power and get out from under his, she’s denying her own agency. She’s objectifying herself by telling herself she *can’t* act, and settling for being acted upon by your father and her own fears. It doesn’t take a lot of money or courage to take a bus to a lawyer’s office and talk about the process”

        My mother left the slums of delray (destitute suburb of detroit) in the 70’s with a shopping cart my 5y/o a$$ and my 6month old sister. She put clothes into a shopping cart, walked to the corner store and called a cab. You’re right that some people lack the courage to do what they know they must–it has nothing to do with gender.

      • If your mother is not prepared to take her power and get out from under his, she’s denying her own agency. She’s objectifying herself by telling herself she *can’t* act, and settling for being acted upon by your father and her own fears. It doesn’t take a lot of money or courage to take a bus to a lawyer’s office and talk about the process, and the legal and enforcement mechanisms that exist to help people just like her. If she’s not doing that (keeping in mind that I’m assuming you live in North America), it’s not because she can’t, but because she won’t, and I have no idea why.

        That is straying far too close to Victim Blaming for Me!

        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!

        • Julie Gillis says:

          Thank you Media Hound.

        • DavidByron says:

          Well it is victim blaming but its not blaming the victim for being a victim. It’s blaming the victim for other things.

        • I have to agree with MediaHound on this, it’s too easy to talk of courage and why people do or don’t leave abusive relationships.

          • Regardless of any of that, I’m going to have to maintain that people who are in abusive relationships are the only ones with the power to change their circumstances.

            • Regardless of any of that, I’m going to have to maintain that people who are in abusive relationships are the only ones with the power to change their circumstances.

              I agree that those being abused are in many ways responsible for their own destiny – but that is not “Regardless”. That is a word which I really am unhappy about!

              Regardless of the opinion expressed – Most DV/Abuse victims have spent a great deal of time and effort in working to stop the behaviours through various means including adapting their own behaviours and psychological view points – have had children do the same – and the subtlety of the chains created can be very hard to see. There are often very complex issues at play – Cultural – Ethnic – Religious and they are not to be treated “Regardlessly”.

              Just as children who are suffering abuse don’t want to leave, adult DV is a situation where they what the abuse to stop – the mental and physical priority is no more abuse – many are so exhausted that they lack the capacity to think beyond that point.

              Just as every person is different – so is any case of DV.

              I can see many people reading your view “..I’m going to have to maintain that people who are in abusive relationships are the only ones with the power to change their circumstances.”.. and to them it reads – my fault again – NO Way Out!

              “…It doesn’t take a lot of money or courage to take a bus to a lawyer’s office and talk about the process, ….”

              … and I can see people reading that and immediately thinking, as I have not taken those steps I evidently lack courage and so I can never get out. It disregards the courage that has been shown in dealing with all the complexity so far, staying and enduring, protecting all parties from social stigma, protecting children from potential physical abuse and even taking that abuse for them, dealing with lost opportunities for a better life …. and it seemingly boils down to a little money and just not having even a “scintilla” of courage?

              I can see many men reading it and saying my abuser is right – I am a waste of skin – boy If I’d only had the courage to do that 10 years ago! … and they re-frame the message instantly not as empowering but from the point of view of how to manage and deal with the abuse for another 24 hours.

              …and as an aside – the ideas being propagated seem to be predicated on the person being able to get on the bus – so I hope all buses are Wheelchair accessible, because there are So many barriers to so many people to being able to speak to an attorney, from finance to physical access to language and education barriers – to even geography and geographical isolation – and the effect that has on time to be able to speak to someone ….. It’s not just as simple as having sufficient money and courage to get on a bus – and saying so “regardless”, is not a wise or rational view point when you know the actual subject.P^/

            • Or they may interpret it as, “Wow, that seems so small and noncommittal a thing, the way it’s put, that maybe it’s something I could do. I can talk to a lawyer without actually deciding to leave. I can talk to a lawyer without my partner knowing I did. I can talk to a lawyer and still stay if I choose. I can talk to a lawyer and change my mind because it’s just talking for now. This person believes I’m powerful enough to do it, and maybe I am.”

              All of that is also a possible interpretation of what I said. There has to be some way to discuss an issue like this without pandering to and enabling someone’s sense of helplessness, especially since I was not speaking directly to an abuse victim, but to the child of an abuse victim who WANTS her mother to get out of the situation, but who feels there are *practical, real-world* financial and logistical barriers standing in the way of that that are simply not as onerous as they’ve been made out to be (for women who are abused, anyway).

              What do you think the message is when everyone tiptoes around the issue, and constantly goes on about how HARD it is to leave an abuser? Maybe that it’s really really really…well, hard? That it’s pretty much the hardest thing ever, because these people are so very damaged? That we can’t possibly expect them to find a moment on a given afternoon where they might be brave enough to leave? How does it help to allow that sentiment to completely dominate the discourse, the sentiment that yes, we understand, you ARE helpless and leaving really IS too hard for someone who is so psychologically damaged?

              It might validate how they feel, but are helplessness and feeling trapped really the emotions we WANT to validate here?

              When your kid needs stitches and he’s scared and hurt, you don’t tell him that getting stitches is a cake-walk and it isn’t going to hurt, because that’s lying. But you don’t go on and on about how MUCH it’s going to hurt, and how scary it is, and how he should be afraid of the whole process and especially the doctor because OMG, it’s going to hurt so bad. You tell him that yes, it’s going to hurt and you know he’s scared, but it’s definitely survivable and you know he’s brave enough to handle it.

              Not every person who’s being subjected to abuse is so far gone that they are as you describe in your comment. What do you think they hear when they’re told constantly by the media how hard it is to leave, how potentially dangerous it is, how virtually impossible it is, how very scary? What about people who are on the verge of doing it, and they read yet another article or comment on just how difficult it is?

              Rhetoric that *only* focusses on how damaged and helpless people who are abused are and feel and how difficult (nigh on impossible) it is to change their situation…that may make them feel validated today, but is it helping them to change anything?

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

              It really is not a priority when survival is what they see as the priority issue.

              So – all they need to do is have the courage and a few bucks to chat with a lawyer? Nice idea, but fundamentally wrong message. It may reflect your knowledge and experiences, but it only applies to a minority and not to the complexity of the subject for both men or women.

              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!

              I have not been surprised by the number of women in their late 50’s through to 70’s who end up in DV shelters/refuges. They have had decades to use a few bucks and have a chat with a lawyer – but over all that time the fear of doing so – of being discovered – of having to deal with the consequences – well it’s one very big disincentive – and even the abuser knows it. I have also had to deal with many men in the same position who have never had the luxury of access to a refuge or shelter.

              How about some “Gaslighting” of a person who is already emotionally isolated psychologically abused and controlled, and they are told by the abuser that should they even think of leaving they will make sure that they don’t get half of the house (I have even witnessed threats of arson to drive that one home) – they will be left penniless – you walk out take everything with you because you will never get through the front door again – so take every single thing of value – every memento – every object you hold valuable – every photograph – every memory …… Get them all out now or shut up, sit down and stop being so stupid!

              I have to conclude that you are not well versed in the complexities of the field of DV where either gender is being victimised – so please consider carefully how what you say can affect those people who are. If appropriate and you wish to express opinions do so with the proviso that each case is different – there is no One Size Fits all options – and that those who may need to speak to someone contact a relevant and expert support service who can help them!

              There is a great deal of expertise out there in how to communicate with people suffering DV /Abuse – and there are known strategies for making sure that the message is received – such as making it clear first that there is support and help to get the right advice and even flee immediately, and that always comes before any suggestions that you should just hop on a bus see a lawyer and go it alone. The communication strategies are there to deal with the complexity and empowerment – and even to provide reassurance first!

              Those strategies are not just an accident, they come from decades of work, study, experience and dealing with the realities of many people and the whole complexity of DV and abuse.

              One of the Primary messages is presented very early one in the form of a question. “Why did you not leave earlier?” – and the answer is …….

              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. But there are all sorts of reasons why women stay with their abusers – and it is also important to know that leaving does not always end the abuse (and sometimes, at least for a time, it may get worse).

              That is from Women’s Aide UK – who are actually gender neutral in their advice – they do note early on, that they use the female and male in a particular way – but they are in fact totally interchangeable.

              You may have strong views and ideas – but on this one you strength of views and ideas is not valid and you need to address that!

              You should also consider very carefully how the message you are defining actually conflicts with so much you are saying about men and dealing with family break down! So the custody issues and legal process bias is not there? – all they need to do is have the time and courage and a few buck to hop and the bus see lawyer and all will be fine and dandy? You are in fact putting yourself at cross purposes.

              Think it through! You have strong ideas and messages, but on this one you realy need to get with the complexity of the subject, else you run the risk of doing damage and undermining a great many people.

              I did say in a prior post You have a Touch Of Genius and also Courage. Don’t let anyone say otherwise! P^). I’m wondering If I was too premature in being so complimentary?

              So maybe it’s up to me to say “otherwise” – and I have no fear in doing that as required, as a great many know.

              I do own my own shit!

            • @ MediaHound
              You are completely misunderstanding what GWW wants to say. She means that the victims of DV/abuse must be proactive in getting out of their ordeal. There are no SWAT teams doing door-to-door search for rescuing the victims. If they do not come out on their own then they don’t have any chance of being escaping the abuse.

            • Media hound,

              Stripping people of their agency *is* abuse. Seriously.

              How is it any different when it’s hidden behind flattery?

              ‘You could never leave me because you’re a worthless piece of shit and no one will ever love you.’

              ‘You just aren’t able to leave him/her because of the thrall s/he has over you.’

              The blame may be shifted but the outcome is the same.

            • Typhon – It seems that you and others are reading what you want to see, and not what is written.

              “Stripping people of their agency *is* abuse. Seriously. ”

              Oh I agree – and telling someone how that agency should be exercised and intimating how they should be judged is stripping people of THEIR AGENCY – oh and in a very complex “personal” situation dealing with DV/abuse!

              So Glad We Agree! You called it abuse – I was dealing with it in a more constructive manner!

              “The blame may be shifted but the outcome is the same.”

              Oh I agree on that one – which is why I did say very clearly “That is straying far too close to Victim Blaming for Me!”.

              Of course under the dynamic in question the outcome is abused if you stay and abused for not leaving – Loose-Loose and it’s the person dealing with the DV who is MADE the looser! So exactly who is playing with who’s agency?

              I expected better of you!

            • I agree with you on this, wholeheartedly. People who stay in abusive relationships when they can leave are complicit in their own abuse, whether it’s conscious or unconscious. Only they have the agency to leave, and as far as I’m concerned, telling them they have a choice (and helping them to see it and act on it), is a million times more empowering than agreeing that they really have no choice and that their feelings of helplessness are valid.

              And I find the morally superior, subtle-as-a-sledgehammer “I expected better of you” or “I gave you credit, are you proving me wrong?” shaming technique kind of laughable.

              I don’t know MediaHound from a hole in the ground. And while it’s nice to be respected, well…considering these feminist-flavored shaming tactics, his/her initial kudos are starting to make me feel like Christina Hoff Sommers must have felt when she discovered Rush Limbaugh was a fan.

            • @ Media Hound

              You can expect what you like. I do care what people think of me, but not more then I care about speaking truth as I see it.

              Teaching people that their agency is in hands other then their own leads them to stay in situations where they could otherwise get out of.

              No matter how easy John’s relatives made his sister’s get-away, she always returned to the abuse because she *chose* to.

              Now whether or not that choice was coerced or she was compelled to try and ‘correct’ an emotional dynamic acquired in childhood has bearing in why she’s making the choice, but it still is her choice to do so.

              This is not victim-blaming. It’s recognizing the reality of the situation. People choose bad things for them–drugs, dangerous activities, sexual addiction, abusers; to help them stop choosing bad things we have to understand _why they are choosing them_. What situation in their past or present exists that compels them to make the choices that they do and how can we help them correct it in a healthy way.

              IMHO, there should be absolutely no stigma to saying ‘you’re making a self-destructive choice’ any more then there is stigma saying ‘you have cancer’ or ‘you were paralyzed in a car accident.’

              Deflecting blame onto a villain(while emotionally satisfying) essentially leaves them helpless in the face of other people’s choices. Their world becomes constructed not of their own choices but the choices of others, choices that they have NO ABILITY TO CHANGE. This constructs a prison around them.

            • @ gww

              “And I find the morally superior, subtle-as-a-sledgehammer “I expected better of you” or “I gave you credit, are you proving me wrong?” shaming technique kind of laughable.”

              Thanks for calling it out.

              However, people’s reactions are their reactions. I’m sure Media Hound has his reasons for being upset by this line of argument. And I’m sure I have my reasons for saying what I say too.

              It’s reasons all the way down.

            • @Typhon:

              I hate how quickly “victim-blaming” leaps to people’s tongues when discussing these things, because it halts all perspectives that are remotely empowering to individuals.

              It’s really not a matter of whose fault it is. It’s a matter of “what can be done, and who is the person (or people) who can do it?”

              An individual person has MUCH more power to change their individual circumstances than anyone else does, especially when it comes to things like abuse. They have much more power to change their own actions than they do to change their partner’s actions. Surely telling them the truth about this should be allowed, even if it’s an uncomfortable truth?

            • @ girlwriteswhat

              I note you avoided the direct question to you!

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

              Why would you avoid such a simple question?

              I am careful in what I say – so I will be more than careful now.

              On the subject of DV against men and women you are woefully ignorant. If that was not the case, you would have owned you own shit when it was pointed out to you. You Failed.

              I will modify absolutely my prior comments: You have a Touch Of Genius and also Courage. Don’t let anyone say otherwise! P^) – that is now incorrect!

              You have an Excess of Dogma and also An Excess of Zeal. Don’t let anyone say otherwise! P^)

              You seem to believe that Dogma mixed with a lack of knowledge is a good thing. It is not.

              I have even had to point out how your views are at cross purposes with your professed mission of speaking for men. You even failed to take note of that. I had considered that re-flexing matters into an area you claim expertise in would have caused you to pause and think. You did not.

              I had to look up your references to Christina Hoff Sommers & Rush Limbaugh. They are not part of any pantheon that I deal in. Evidently I was expected to see some form of insult or humour, so you will have to forgive me if it passed me by.

              I have not become subsumed and immersed in some obscure areas of Gender Politics and all it’s references, as I have dealt with Equality and Human Rights, a far bigger, more complex and rewarding endeavour for some 30+ years. In have also been on the front lines of many matters form HIV to Abuse and IPV. I also deal in the interesting area of Conflict Transformation and even Disability Rights and Equality.

              But since you seem to like the contrast of characters, I have looked to more mundane and less esoteric pairing – so I offer you Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “Tom and Jerry”. I understand they are well known to far more people on a global basis.

              It would seem that you are playing Tom and I am Jerry!

              As for feminist shamming tactics – how funny that you should attempt to invert something you claim to despise and use it. Does that mean you despise yourself?

              I was very clear and most sincere when it wrote to you and said:

              I did say in a prior post You have a Touch Of Genius and also Courage. Don’t let anyone say otherwise! P^). I’m wondering If I was too premature in being so complimentary?

              So maybe it’s up to me to say “otherwise” – and I have no fear in doing that as required, as a great many know.

              I was equally blunt and direct when I stated to TyphonBlue:

              I expected better of you!

              I don’t do shamming tactics I call shit shit, spades shovels and I have no problem in being very blunt and direct when required. There is an old Japanese saying “Those who stay long in privies forget how foul the smell is”. You seem to have confused my views with some other matter due to having spent too long immersed in certain views.

              Maybe you should read THIS , so you have some insight on exactly how clear I am when calling out those who have been less that accurate or valid in their writing. Please do note relevant dates and how the relate to time lines and events.

              I also have now had to form the opinion that as you have an emerging fan base online you are to be seen as fantastic. That is most definitely an opinion I do not share. You have clarified that very succinctly for me.

              It is known that I will read closely and study what is said and how. That is the reason I was most critical of a past contributor here. To many what they said seemed great, but under close scrutiny and challenge it was found to be less than valuable and riddled with damaging dogma. You are in good company with other’s who showed the same lack of insight.

              I have also been known to say such things as “Mortality Is Short – Internet Immortality Shorter – and Internet Infamy Is it’s Own Reward.

              Maybe you need to consider if that would be a valid epitaph for your own Dogmatic Endeavours?

              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. You are therefore dangerous and unwilling to deal with your own shit.

              You were challenged to own your own shit and you failed. You can evidently Talk The Talk, but when it came to Walking The Walk you thought you were talking to a “Hole In The Ground”.

              Whoops – you fell in, slipping on you own shit!

              C’est la Vie!

            • @ Media Hound

              I wish I could give a link to the comment but it’s somehow disappeared. Anyway. There was an individual who posted on a story about a recently departed war journalist the following(paraphrasing):

              “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?

              Does it make it victim blaming because we’re talking about a relationship? Because we believe the entire situation is under the abuser’s control thus a result of his or her choices?

              The abuser is just going to do what he or she does, just like a war zone is never going to be anything but dangerous. The abuser is just a situation–a dangerous situation, but just a situation–that’s all, nothing more.

    • After reading that you should know the moral of the story is women need to take responsibility for their own actions and choices. That means neither you nor your mom gets to blame your dad for your mom’s decisions.

      It’s a shame that some people can easily be manipulated and controlled by others but that is not limited to one gender. Men have many such stories but telling them is likely to result in their being laughed at instead of being seen as victims of abuse. Feminism has not done much to police the abusive behavior of women towards men resulting in a empathy gap that extends into the legal system. Men could not even rise up in their own defense without being called misogynist.

    • DavidByron says:

      “Women still make 70 cents for every dollar men make for the same work”

      I posted an article on the AskFeminists reddit about how many feminists were actually aware that that statement was false. Curiously not one respondent tried to defend that statement or say it was true. They all in fact claimed that they had NEVER said such a thing themselves and many said they had NEVER heard ANY feminist say it.

      Which I found remarkable.

      Julia, do you honestly believe that statement is true? And would you call yourself a feminist?

      • ‘Women still make 70 cents for every dollar men make for the same work’

        I posted an article on the AskFeminists reddit about how many feminists were actually aware that that statement was false. Curiously not one respondent tried to defend that statement or say it was true. They all in fact claimed that they had NEVER said such a thing themselves and many said they had NEVER heard ANY feminist say it.

        Which I found remarkable.”

        Very, very interesting. I’m floored. This is one of the biggest lies of feminism, that all feminists seem capable of stating at a moment’s notice. Heck, it’s how I identify a feminism true believer. It’s right up there with “If women ruled the world..”, “1 in 4..”, the Super Bowl Domestic Violence Myth, “8 out of 7 women …” and so on…

        I’ve always thought that once people realize what feminists have done to men, women, children and our society you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone admit to ever being a feminist and fewer still who would actually still call themselves a feminist.

        I figured we were about 5-10 years before we reached critical mass of awareness for this to START to happen. Maybe the Internet has accelerated things so that we are now at the start of growing exponential awareness of men’s rights and sheer enormity of what feminists of done to everyone.

  11. ThursdayFae says:

    I love the work of yours that I have read so far.

    I have struggled with the ideology of feminism, and the sexism that has come with the movement, and whether I want to be identified as a feminist. The venom and vitriol that the majority of the feminist movement seems to embody, the misandry, and the sheer injustice towards men and men’s rights (especially in arenas such as child custody) is appalling and sickening. The complete refusal to see and help male victims of assault and domestic violence, and the social reaction to men coming forward as victims (shame, derision, disbelief), and only helping female victims of violence is more than heartbreaking; it is wrong, unethical, and from my own personal view, immoral. I hate that female victims refuse to acknowledge male victims, and I hate that those who have never been victims refuse to see that men can be as well. I love that you and other women are speaking out against such vile injustices and against the sexism and misandry of the feminist movement. I suppose at the moment I would identify as an egalitarian feminist, but I’m still not sure that’s the right way to look at it.

    I appreciate your candour, your wit, your intelligence, and your refusal to support the status quo. Thank you. It encourages me to keep writing about the things that bother me, and know that I’m not the only voice that is speaking up. :)

    • I’ve been consistently impressed by GirlWritesWhat since I first came upon her writing a year or so ago.

      I’ve personally been interested in men’s issues for at least ten years now and I never encountered any other woman who embraced them as whole heartedly and fearlessly as GirlWritesWhat. (Believe me, I’ve looked for them.)

      • ThursdayFae says:

        I’ve only recently started being able to articulate why calling myself a feminist didn’t always feel right, and spending more time looking for good writing on both sides of the fence has come up with a lot of crap (I’m interested in thoughtful, intelligent writing, inspiring conversations, working toward fixing the problems; instead most of what I’ve seen (on both sides) is whining, name calling, sexism, blaming, and not anything remotely resembling what I have always felt that ‘feminism’ should be–egalitarianism), and once in a while I find a few gems, things that inspire me, that make me realise that what I want isn’t so completely absurd that it is fantasy. I’ve read the piece you wrote about your husband, and not only did it make me smile, but I really appreciated seeing the naked love you have for him. (And listing the hugs at the end made me laugh and think of my beau.)

        I think that more needs to be said, not in defence of men necessarily, but in acknowledgement of them. I’ve been hurt equally by men and women, and yet the vitriol of my women friends toward the men who have hurt me is astounding, while they’re silent about the women who have done the same sort of things (or in some cases, worse things). Sexism goes both ways and it needs to be acknowledged, and it needs to stop.

        So thanks! :)

        • @ThursdayFae: “I’ve only recently started being able to articulate why calling myself a feminist didn’t always feel right”

          TF, you might like this post I wrote (about the same doubt I had about calling myself a “feminist”):
          http://goodmenproject.com/men-and-feminism/the-end-of-feminism-as-i-knew-it/
          (if you didn’t read it already)

          Anyway, I hold the same position as you and this article’s author: if you believe in equality, you believe it should be for everyone. Thus, I appreciate your position.

          • ThursdayFae says:

            Actually I did read it, but there were a billion comments already and I didn’t have anything new to contribute that hadn’t already been said. :) (And immediately after reading it, I had to watch My Fair Lady, because you got that silly song, Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like A Man, stuck in my head!)

            Sexism toward men and misandry has really been in my main view for the last several months. I remember asking as a child what the opposite of misogyny is, and being told ‘feminism,’ which I thought was bizarre; what I meant to ask is ‘what is the female-to-male equivalent of misogyny?,’ and often the answer now is still ‘feminism,’ to a lot of people. Feminism has become synonymous with ‘misandry,’ but if you ask people what they think of misandry, many will say that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not a big deal; it does exist, it’s a very big deal, and it’s totally counter-productive to seeking true equality.

            And I don’t think that equality means ‘same.’ I love men because they’re different than women. I don’t want to be the same as them, or them to be the same as me. We can be equal, and different.

        • ” spending more time looking for good writing on both sides of the fence has come up with a lot of crap”

          I always keep in mind poe’s law. 90% of the stuff on the internet is sheer crapola.

          “I’ve read the piece you wrote about your husband, and not only did it make me smile, but I really appreciated seeing the naked love you have for him.”

          I write more at: http://www.genderratic.com if you’re interested.

          “I’ve been hurt equally by men and women, and yet the vitriol of my women friends toward the men who have hurt me is astounding, while they’re silent about the women who have done the same sort of things (or in some cases, worse things). ”

          I know what you mean. I have also been hurt by both men and women, but it’s the deafening silence over the pain women caused me that inspired me to look outside of feminism and the mainstream attitude towards the genders. (Plus I think having my husband helped heal me of a lot of the hurt men did to me. Without a similar relationship to a woman, I was sort of left floundering, until I realized I could be the woman I needed to relate to.)

          • ThursdayFae says:

            I know what you mean about your husband helping you heal. My beau has done things for me that have reduced me to tears because he’s addressed the hurts I have in my life that I didn’t even acknowledge (but that he could see). And it’s wonderful.

            I am fortunate enough that my two greatest inspirations in human goodness and capacity came from my parents; even when I hated men and they sucked because they hurt me, my daddy could always hug me and make me believe in good men. And when I was at my wit’s end with dealing with women, my mum was always there to hug me and assure me that not all women were catty and awful and full of shit. But both of them always stressed (and continue to stress) how important it is to be a good person, to be true to myself, and to do right by others, even if I’m hurt or angry (which, given my temperament, inherited honestly from my mother, is saying something–we’re both spitfires, but she’s been hammering into me the need to do the right thing even if it means to swallow my pride, or to forgive someone who hurt me, when both of our instinctive reactions would be to kick whomever it is that hurt us until they hurt too).

            I just remember being told when I was a kid not to play with boys because I’d get hurt, and no one ever commented on how much more girls hurt one another, and in less visible, sometimes much more painful ways. But it was only the ‘terrible’ things the boys did that were noticed and chastised.

            (Also, your blog has been bookmarked! :))

    • DavidByron says:

      Oh an “egalitarian feminist”.
      Maybe you can tell Julia that the, “Women still make 70 cents for every dollar men make for the same work” thing is false then?

      • @DavidByron

        Well thanks for grouping me into that distorted stereotype of feminists that you have inside your head. I actually am genuinely interested in other views than my own, I don’t need to be subject to a constant stream of support for what I believe in. Obviously I’m ignorant of many things and I’m biased, but then again, so is every body. We`re all guilty of ignorance and bias of certain things. I may see some things one way and you may see it another. I don’t see why there is any need to mock me for declaring I am a feminist but an open-minded, curious one at that? Or are you trying to tell me that because I`m a feminist, I shouldn`t be curious about this issue. If you want others to understand the issues you bring up, then try not alienating those who are making an effort to understand.

        And Girlwriteswhat and others have directed me to a bunch of links. And I`ll take a look at them before I declare something to be so definitively false or true.

        • DavidByron says:

          People tend to ignore things if they come from the other side of the debate. It may be that a lot of feminists these days have quit spreading the gender wage gap myth. So I figured if ThursdayFae could confirm that it’s not true, you’d take her opinion more seriously than people on the other side of the debate.

          I seem to have offended you somehow so I apologise for whatever it was.

      • ThursdayFae says:

        As I said, I’ve been struggling with the idea of identifying as a ‘feminist’ because the mainstream, accepted idea of what that ideology means is far from what I feel comfortable professing of myself. I believe that sexism is real and institutionalized the same way I believe that racism is and that homophobia is. And I think that sexism is institutionalized in different ways, and some of those ways are exceptionally unfair to men (e.g. in cases of alleged rape or domestic violence). That doesn’t mean that I hate all men, or even that I want to see men stripped of any of their rights or privileges. I want to see equality, parity, and justice, regardless of sex. One of the most horrifying things to me is the lack of acknowledgement of male victims of sexual violence or domestic violence (I was actually scoffed at once when I declared vehemently in an argument that women can rape men). I don’t whine about wage disparity (I make 33% more than my boyfriend, actually), or the fact that men are oppressing me personally, or that every man is a potential rapist who must prove otherwise because I’ve been raped, or that male privilege cancels out anything that men could possibly find about which to complain. I believe that angry, aggressive, misandristic feminism is disgusting. But I’m still pro-women. And I’m pro-men. I can’t imagine hating men, or blaming them for my own shortcomings when I have just as much agency to go out into the world and be as free and extraordinary as I want.

        So yeah. Egalitarian. :)

        • Lisa Hickey says:

          Well said. Is there anyone who disagrees with this?

        • DavidByron says:

          Well I put it in scare quotes because it just seemed pretty odd. It ‘s a weird phrase because everyone I ever met who called themselves a feminist always insisted that feminism already implied equality. So saying it again is a redundancy which argues against the idea that feminism is about equality to begin with. As in “egalitarian feminist”? As opposed to what kind of feminist? But perhaps you don’t say feminism is about equality and so you feel the word “egalitarian” needs to be added?

          It’s fine, I just wanted to explain what I was thinking. I guess I’ve heard plenty of other words added as a prefix to “feminist” to have much the same effect over the years.

          • ThursdayFae says:

            I agree that many people who identify as feminists would say that they’re about equality. But as has been pointed out numerous times by numerous persons (you being one of them) many (if not most) people who identify as feminists may SAY they’re about equality, but they’re really about putting women on top, usually at the expense of men. And as I said, I’m struggling with the word ‘feminist’ as it applies to me because I really do believe that it’s about something more than just turning the traditional system upside-down. It’s about fixing the system, it’s about reworking it, starting something new, not ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’ So I qualify the nomenclature. It may seem redundant based on the original meaning, but I’m going on the assumption that when people hear the word, it may trigger a defensive response. :)

            • The converse of that setup is what I see as the real problem: the concept of “equality” is treated as if it’s the exclusive property of feminism, when in fact feminism encompasses a broad range of attitude, from egalitarian to gynocentric to all-out matriarchal.

              Equality is the essential and valuable concept; you don’t have to (and shouldn’t feel expected to) embrace all the baggage that comes with the ‘feminist” label in order to support equality.

            • ThursdayFae says:

              I agree completely. And NOT embracing the baggage is what has given me cause to struggle with the label in the first place–because even though I personally don’t adhere to gynocentric feminist views, as soon as the word ‘feminist’ is out there, some people are going to start making assumptions on what that means. The qualifier is merely acknowledging those assumptions will be made, and attempting to mitigate them without having to give a boilerplate on my beliefs every time. (Similar defensiveness and assumptions come when I tell people I’m a Christian; if you only see Christians as what the media portrays, then it’s understandable for people to be wary until they can see that I’m not one those lunatic fundamentalist fringe elements.)

  12. Even if they do pay for the legal fees, what about other expenses though? Assuming the lower-paid spouse is already barely making ends meet for themselves, how can they afford to be dragged into a lengthy and time-consuming legal process? What about the time they are forced to take off of work? What if they are fired because of all the time they have to devote to the legal proceedings? This is not meant to be argumentative, I really am interested in your response.

    ” For most women it’s a choice to become the lower paid spouse…they select for men who earn more than them and second they are usually the one to make the ( often unilateral) decision to stay at home or reduce their work obligations.”

    Seeing as, on average, men earn more than women, I see this as an inevitable product of the gender discrepancy in income. The median income for female FTYR workers is around $36,000 while the median income for male FTYR workers is around $47,000. A woman making the median income is unavoidably going to meet more males who make more money than males who don’t. Doesn’t this trace back again to gender inequity? Also, I don’t agree that it’s a unilateral decision for the majority of women to stay at home or reduce their work obligations. The spouse with the lower income ( more likely to be the woman) is probably the one who has to quit their job or reduce their work obligations. Again, this originates from the gender inequalities in our society. Hopefully we can agree that some of these inequities can be eliminated or lessened if domestic labour were paid. Are there women who purposefully search for men who have a higher income? Sure. And vice versa. However, I don’t think this is as much a choice as probability and a subconscious result of gender socialization

    • You are trying to prove a thesis by looking at the evidence and assuming there are no other factors involved in creating this disparity so it must be discrimination. The fact is men and women have different priorities which show up in these broad averages. Choosing a job that pays less but offers other benefits is a choice women are more likely to make while men are more likely to choose whatever job pays more.

      Next you make a huge set of assumptions based on pay disparities that are based on nothing but unproven social theories in your head. Determining a correlation between income and willingness to divorce would require some hard science and anecdotal evidence would suggest a great many women with husbands who earn more are in fact willing to divorce their husbands. If not we would not have men paying nearly all the alimony and child support in this country. By the way I think the census says about 20-30% of couples have women who make more than men.

      Times our changing and your going to have to let your outdated ideas about women’s place in the world change with the times. You can’t keep talking like it’s 1970 when young single women today earn more than men. In addition to that professional single women on average out earn men in general. Gender inequity meaning people being different outcomes between the genders would tackle a major inequity it would be the massive gap in degree attainment between males and females. Feminist seem happy to call it a life choice as long as men are down.

      • I don`t believe I mentioned any correlation between a willingness to divorce and income disparity.

        “Times our changing and your going to have to let your outdated ideas about women’s place in the world change with the times. You can’t keep talking like it’s 1970 when young single women today earn more than men. In addition to that professional single women on average out earn men in general.“

        “Choosing a job that pays less but offers other benefits is a choice women are more likely to make while men are more likely to choose whatever job pays more.

        Next you make a huge set of assumptions based on pay disparities that are based on nothing but unproven social theories in your head“

        In my discussion with others, I`ve tried to self-examine and re-evaluate my stance. Perhaps you should take a look at what you wrote to me and realize how hypocritical your statements are.

        • You really should watch that Warren Farrell video. Pay close attention to when he asks, “Would you be working in a different field if you’d won the lottery, and how many men stand up vs women.”

      • “Times our changing and your going to have to let your outdated ideas about women’s place in the world change with the times. You can’t keep talking like it’s 1970 when young single women today earn more than men.`

        Unfortunately there are still many places in the world where they hold notions more outdated than those than existed in America in 1970.

    • Why the hell should domestic labor be “paid”? By who? The other spouse? They already do- by using their earnings to buy things for the household. By the government? Why?
      I mean, hell, I would love to get paid to do my own laundry, but it doesn’t make any sense for anybody to do so.

  13. @ Julia

    “This is not meant to be argumentative”

    What’s wrong with argumentative?

    “Even if they do pay for the legal fees, what about other expenses though? Assuming the lower-paid spouse is already barely making ends meet for themselves, how can they afford to be dragged into a lengthy and time-consuming legal process? What about the time they are forced to take off of work? What if they are fired because of all the time they have to devote to the legal proceedings? ”

    Again, you can file this under the category of ‘assumed risk’ when a woman decides to be the lesser-earning spouse. Men assume the same risk if they do (in fact more since they don’t have the same state protections as women.)

    But, aside from that, it’s possible to assign emergency temporary child support and spousal support during the process of divorce.

    “Seeing as, on average, men earn more than women, I see this as an inevitable product of the gender discrepancy in income. ”

    Young unmarried women earn more then young unmarried men. If married women have lower incomes then married men it’s because of a process of choice that they’ve undergone. First they choose a higher paying partner to marry; then they choose to scale back or eliminate their financial obligations to the household. Yes some men want women who stay at home, but there is no legal or social mechanism to force this decision on the woman.

    “Hopefully we can agree that some of these inequities can be eliminated or lessened if domestic labour were paid.”

    So the tax payers would provide stay-at-homes a wage? How about couples in which both work and both do domestic tasks? Do they get a wage for the domestic tasks they undertake?

    • Personally I don’t find being argumentative devolves too quickly into the area of confrontation and I don’t find being confrontational very effective when I’m trying to engage in thoughtful discourse. But that’s just me. But I didn’t suggest in any way that tax payers should pay for domestic labour. I’m just suggesting that there has to be a way to somehow quantify and pay for domestic labour. Perhaps it could be some sort of income redistribution system between spouses. I really don’t know but I’m sure that there is some way.

      There are no legal or social mechanisms to force this decision on women. Yes, but there are social mechanisms that do influence the decision of women to stay home ( ie. gender socialization, girls are taught to be more domestic and boys are taught to be more adventurous/bold. Easy bake ovens are not being marketed to boys.).

      Could you link me to the research that shows young unmarried women make more than unmarried men? If that is the case, I’d be happy to re-evaluate my stance. Though I don’t agree it’s a conscious choice on the part of most women to marry a higher paid spouse. Like I said, the gender income disparity that does exist in combination with gender socialization result in women marrying “up”.

      • * I find being argumentative

      • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704421104575463790770831192.html

        ” Perhaps it could be some sort of income redistribution system between spouses. ”

        If you get the government involved it will take a portion for ‘overhead’ and the entire family will take the financial hit.

        • Thanks for the link.

          “While these particular women earn more than their male peers, women on the whole haven’t reached equal status in any particular job or education level. For instance, women with a bachelor’s degree had median earnings of $39,571 between 2006 and 2008, compared with $59,079 for men at the same education level, according to the Census.

          At every education level, from high-school dropouts to Ph.D.s, women continue to earn less than their male peers.

          Also, women tend to see wages stagnate or fall after they have children.”

          I think it’s important to point this out, and one of the commenters who claims to be from the research firm that conducted this study also added:

          “What we’re seeing is that young single childless women are the first segment that we’ve found out-earning their male peers…on average. But that last phrase is key. That does not mean that a young woman earns more than a man holding the same job. It simply means that young women are more likely than young men to graduate from college and populate the higher-paid entry-level jobs in greater proportions, hence the average income is higher for this particular segment.”

          • Getting married and having children are choices that women make.

            There is nothing to indicate that women, were they to forgo those choices, wouldn’t continue to make more money, on aggregate then men. Alternatively if women chose lesser paid partners who took over the domestic tasks they could continue to earn more then men throughout their lifetime.

            Instead women select from a far smaller pool of potential mates who earn more then them, ignoring the larger pool of potential mates who earn less.

            “That does not mean that a young woman earns more than a man holding the same job. It simply means that young women are more likely than young men to graduate from college and populate the higher-paid entry-level jobs in greater proportions, hence the average income is higher for this particular segment.”

            This logic could easily be reversed. There’s no evidence that men making more then women, in aggregate, means that men earn more than a man for holding the same job.

            Funny how when the wage gap favours women, people use the same arguments as MRAs do when the wage gap favours men.

      • Julia says:
        “I’m just suggesting that there has to be a way to somehow quantify and pay for domestic labour. Perhaps it could be some sort of income redistribution system between spouses. I really don’t know but I’m sure that there is some way.”

        It sounds like you’re suggesting that higher-earning husbands start paying alimony while still married–lol.

        You know how privileged that sounds? You say women are already socialized to do domestic work, and now you want to add a cash signing bonus on top of that?

        How in the world is THAT supposed to convince women to do less domestic work???

        • @John D
          It wasn’t a very well-thought out suggestion, but just something I threw out, perhaps I shouldn’t have done that. But as I already admitted, I don’t know how domestic work could be paid, but I’m sure that there would be a way if concerted effort were put into the process.

          Also I said an income redistribution between spouses, I didn’t say the transfer of money had to be from husband to wife. It could also be from the higher-earning wife to husband. Just wanted to clarify that point.

          I’m saying women are encouraged by the socialization process to be more domestic, which I have a problem with in the first place. And you’re assuming that women are the only ones who are unpaid for their domestic labour. There are plenty of men, father, husbands, stay-at-home dads who are not paid for their domestic labour contributions either. I’m not advocating for only women but not men to get paid for their domestic labour, let’s get that straight.

          • Julia,
            Your story about your mother reminds me of a Rush song called freewill.
            The lyric goes:
            “if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice”

            My sister has been married to a very verbally and emotionally abusive husband for the last 16 years. He is a compulsive gambler. He worked on the line at one of the automotive factories and made about 60k per year. Because of his gambling they probably lived off of 20k per year (four kids). Several years ago, he took a buyout of $100k and spent the vast majority of it gambling. Now he collects SSI even though he is able-bodied (he gamed the system).

            They have moved something like 15 times in 14 years always leaving a huge rent debt.

            My sister made about 10 aborted attempts to leave him and everytime went back.
            Eventually, I had to come to the realization that my sister was 50% of the problem. She may not be happy, but she is exactly where she wants to be. If she didn’t want to be there, she wouldn’t be.

            The same might be true of your mother. You can blame it on learned helplessness, or lack of confidence, but maybe she’s getting something out of the relationship that you don’t understand.

            There are a lot of dysfunctional women that get something they need out of dysfunctional abnormal power dynamic relationships.

            • Just as an afterthought, I do not think that it would be justified for there to be some governmental coercive redistribution of wealth between spouses with the justification being in a tiny minority of dysfunctional relationships (whatever the gender dynamic) the higher-earning spouse doesn’t share credit cards, or finances with the other spouse.

              In the vast majority of functional relationships, stay at home mothers (or fathers) are thanked for their contribution and share in the financial decisions of the household.

              The higher-earning spouse is already making a sacrifice by putting a roof over the stay at home spouse’s head. They are getting paid with free room and board, free equity in the home, and given the VERY RARE (in this economy) joy of staying home to bond with their children.

              I don’t think there needs to be a new law regarding this. The lower-earning (or none earning) spouse gets paid in the form of free support by the other one.

              I’m going to phrase this bluntly. If we’re talking about men and women owning their own sh1t, then passing a law for higher-earning spouses to PAY lower-earning spouses after already supporting them, is moving in THE OPPOSITE direction from “owning your own sh1t”.

            • Guess it depends how one values domestic labour. And just because a parent gets the joy of being at home with their kids, does not mean it’s not work at the same time.

            • I’m not denying that it’s work. But, it is A) easier and B) much more fulfilling than just about all paid work outside the house.

              I mean, I think raising kids is one of the MOST important jobs in the world (trying to bring in the next generation as well-adjusted as possible is VERY important for society).

              But, despite it’s importance let us not try to lie and say that it’s not a joy and privilege.

              ht tp://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/mothers-hanker-for-husbands-of-wealth/story-fn6t2xlc-1225985339082

              This twin study of mothers in Australia & UK show that working mothers state “if finances permitted they would elect to be stay at home mothers”.

            • Please don’t claim to know what my mother’s frame of mind is or assume anything about her. Frankly, I find your victim-blaming mantra a little hard to swallow. Also, why mention that “there are a lot of dysfunctional women that get something they need out of dysfunctional abnormal power dynamic relationships”? I’m sure there are people who fit that description. Please don’t lump my mother into that category because you don’t know her. I don’t know your sister, but whatever the case is, I hope that she gets the support she needs.

            • Julia Says:
              Please don’t claim to know what my mother’s frame of mind is or assume anything about her A). Frankly, I find your victim-blaming mantra a little hard to swallow B).

              (for ease of replying I lettered your sentences)

              A) fair enough. You’re right I don’t know anything about your mother.
              B) I disagree. I am not victim blaming.
              And for the record, the idea that women in dysfunctional relationships having agency was hard for me to swallow too. Until I lived it.

              Also, I would point out that the risk of mis-characterization of your mother is a risk you are taking when you hold her up as poster-child of a victim to make your point. You could have just as easily kept her anonymous, and said “I know a woman who” yada yada.

              I thought that by sharing a (somewhat painful story) of my own, I could bring some focus to your mom’s dilemma.

              I used to think like you. I used to think that my sister had learned helplessness, she was beating herself up (mentally), had horrible self-esteem and other thoughts that said she was trapped.

              But, after 10 aborted attempts to leave him (every single time in which she had A) custody of all of the kids B) was in a “safe space” to start building her life and C) had controls in place to start building a financial future and a place to stay of her own) she went back to him anyway.

              After my sister sided with her husband and ran a ploy to rob my mother of $500 on her ATM card, I was forced to re-evaluate.

              You know what? I realized I was DENYING HER AGENCY. She was making a decision to stay with her husband.

              My sister has gotten the support she needed. That support was at a dear cost. Her aborted attempts to leave cost me, my wife and my mom easily $6000. The stress also contributed to the early death of my mother 3 years ago this October.

              Far from victim blaming I have gone through a painful growing experience in which I have found a great deal (but by no means all) of women in these types of situations are not *NECESSARILY* victims in the classical sense. They DO have agency, and they do **CHOOSE** to be right where they are at.

              And you know what? When I accepted that truth, I actually get along better with my sister, and my life is more balanced and enjoyable.

              Respecting women’s agency to make crappy decisions is central to respect for women.

            • @ John – you have and many others have stepped well over the line!

              You do not Know the full details – you do not know the full facts – and If I had heard some of the comments I have seen here in my work – there would be be blood all over the floor!

              It is not up to you to state if it’s Victim Blaming – It is the Victim who has that right!

              It has been called – so BEHAVE! 8^/

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Thank you, MH. There are many reasons that people stay in difficult situations. Sometimes yes, it’s a passive choice. Sometimes there is a sense of learned helplessness, or in more severe cases, Stockholm Syndrome. That is real stuff, no matter how many people want to say, “Well I’d never let a person…”

              Maybe you wouldn’t. I hope you never have to find out.

              Of course it’s also possible that people can enjoy playing a victim status too, but that’s not always the case.
              I’d suggest doing some research into Family Of Origin System Theory to learn about how system dynamics reinforce a status quo.

            • Julie – I may be a puppy – but I bite when required!

              … and I have three heads, so maybe some should look up “Cerberus”.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              RRRRow!

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Also, sorry for only using wiki…in a hurry!

            • Please don’t claim to know what my mother’s frame of mind is or assume anything about her.

              Absolutely Right!

              This hound is getting barking mad and the misconduct and gross insensitivity that some are displaying!!!!!!!

            • I had a long response ready to post, but it looks like (I’m guessing) this is tongue in cheek.

              It’s hard to tell as print is a very non-versatile medium.

            • John If I have my tongue in my cheek, you will know!

              Until further notice It is Exactly what is says on the tin!

              if in doubt – look at the posts above! P^/

              Some have been stepping well over the line in comments – inferences – and very incorrect comments in response to people talking about other’s experience of Domestic Abuse and Worse – and I would be saying exactly the same thing what ever genders were involved!

            • Well, to be honest if you’re going to hold up person X as a poster-child of being in a victim, then while you may not be inviting a mischaracterization of that person, you are inviting comments, and you can’t control the comments that people are going to post.

              I think it’s interesting that I am getting flak because I am choosing option B as a response to the following narrative:
              Person X is in a bad relationship with a controlling significant other. They are either A) a victim and trapped or B) have agency in which case they are making a decision as an adult to be there.

              I just thought my painful experience could help bring some insight.

              Sometimes there is a very stiff learning curve to realizing you have been excusing somebody’s poor choices by painting them as having no agency.

              This was a 16 year learning curve on my part.

            • @MediaHound

              Can you explain which comments are over the line and why?

            • I think it’s interesting that I am getting flak because I am choosing option B as a response to the following narrative:
              Person X is in a bad relationship with a controlling significant other. They are either A) a victim and trapped or B) have agency in which case they are making a decision as an adult to be there.

              Domestic Abuse is not a two point A or B narrative – you missed out so many other factors – psychological – social – ethnic – financial – religious – and quote a few others too.

              So you have 16 years on a learning curve?

              Did you even consider asking about the other curve and the dimensions it works in. before narrating about another person’s life and how they should choose A or B?

              Please don’t claim to know what my mother’s frame of mind is or assume anything about her. Frankly, I find your victim-blaming mantra a little hard to swallow.

              Maybe you missed the message because the dimensions of the curve weren’t given!

              I was dealing with a 74 year old lady just a few weeks ago – and it had only taken her 74 years to recognise that she had been subject to DV and abuse for 74 years – and that is a learning curve that is roughly 5 times longer than yours! If you had said the following to her:

              A) fair enough. You’re right I don’t know anything about you.
              B) I disagree. I am not victim blaming.

              … you would have been out of the door quicker that you could have imagined.

              Your 16 years may be of value to you, but it does not empower you to dismiss others in the way you did – and it also can readily be seen as a manifest lack of both insight and empathy.

              Odd that – I keep hearing that isn’t being shown to one side by the other! Now Which Side Is Which? P^/

            • Mediahound:

              Your 16 years may be of value to you, but it does not empower you to dismiss others in the way you did – and it also can readily be seen as a manifest lack of both insight and empathy.
              =========
              I’m willing to concede that maybe I was too eager to project the specifics of my situation upon Julia’s.

              If anything I feel for what she is going through. It’s very hard to see someone you love being miserable and controlled at the hands of another person, and only have the power to watch.

            • It’s very hard to see someone you love being miserable and controlled at the hands of another person, and only have the power to watch.

              That is a mistake that many make – you also have the power, and even the obligation, to stand by and be ready. That is ready to act if it is warranted and call in experts such as police and child welfare services – and also ready to support the person should they decide to act for themselves.

              Often it is the knowledge that the person will be supported no matter what that is the biggest factor in them deciding to act. Many people trapped in DV are programmed to believe that there is no help – no hope – no way out – and knowing that there is even one person who says otherwise, quietly, calmly and clearly is the greatest empowerment they can have to act for themselves.

            • Media hound says:
              “That is a mistake that many make – you also have the power, and even the obligation, to stand by and be ready. That is ready to act if it is warranted and call in experts such as police and child welfare services – and also ready to support the person should they decide to act for themselves.”

              Of course I would call the cops if her safety or health were threatened. But, other than that I will waste precious little of my personal time and or resources (other than a drop off at a DV shelter) as my sister has made it clear that she is where she wants to be.

              I will acknowledge that I mis-stepped with Julia, however I think you are trying to enforce a narrative of people who stay with controlling or abusive spouses that don’t necessarily apply in all situations (maybe not even a majority).

              I don’t know why you have such an issue with the concept that the dysfunctionality may be bi-directional. That the controlled lover maybe just as dysfunctional as the controlling lover.

              I have only known one author who talked about this (that some women are “getting something” from being in relationships with controlling S.O.’s) and that is Camille Paglia in her book Vamps and Tramps.

              After seeing your over-the-top reaction (talking about blood being spilt if you were in the same room when I spoke those things– really? that’s productive), I can see why she has no friends on the right or the left.

              The simple fact is people make poor choices all the time. Some people throw away their entire marriages and families for a quick roll in the hay. Some gay men actually seek getting HIV and have un-protected sex with those who already have it (they’re called bug-chasers).

              If you’re going to dismiss out of hand that a sizable portion of those with controlling or domineering lovers may choose to be there, then you are not acknowledging the totality of human behavior.

              And you are trying to force your own narrative as an explanation for these people. I remember a quote that says something like:
              “the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.”

              This is what I don’t like about feminists, and those in the IPV field. They rarely acknowledge their own ignorance. I consider myself always as being “in class” and trying to learn new things about the human condition.

              If you’re not allowed to question the prevailing wisdom, then you’ve just shut down a large part of human progress.

            • @ John D

              “I don’t know why you have such an issue with the concept that the dysfunctionality may be bi-directional. That the controlled lover maybe just as dysfunctional as the controlling lover.”

              Where have I said that I DO have such a problem? …and For The Record – I don’t!

              I’m glad you used the term Bi-Directional which us far more correct than the erroneous “Co-depednent”.

              As it’s generally impossible to break down the dynamics of such a case, it is even more important to be on standby to support. Many such relationships develop over time – and both parties carry a complex mixture of justification that their conduct is 100% right, and at the same time guilt that they are responsible for all issues and are 100% wrong. Due to that rather toxic cocktail, they believe they are also the least worthy of support and help to bring it all to an end. To so many on the outside it’s totally illogical – but to those caught in such a complex dance – it’s rational, normal and all too often NO Way Out! Fighting to survive in a loose-loose situation is not fun, and people on the outside can’t stop it either.

              … and you may want to consider the following. Many people living with abuse will speak about it in the Third Person, even say they are seeking information for friends, co-workers or even family members. It’s a known pattern and even plays out long term. Have you read this piece about how protecting the self can be an issue and manifest in interesting ways? P^)

          • Demonspawn says:

            “I don’t know how domestic work could be paid,”

            It’s paid by the roof over your head and the food in your fridge.

            If you don’t like that deal, go work to support yourself.

          • ht tp://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2084582,00.html
            Figured I’d throw this into the fire here. Generally, men and women are both pulling their weight. I grew up in a household where both parents worked and both parents did housework, when I was younger though mum took time off work to raise me and did more of the housework whilst dad continued working. This meant hear career was on hold and her income wasn’t as high as his when she returned, but I guess that’s the tough luck in life.

            Encouraging more fathers to be stay at home dads will help but one side is going to get the career stoppage if they do that. I guarantee you though she had a lot of power in her spending, and it wasn’t HIS money, or HER money, it was the FAMILY’s money. It’s a family unit, it was shared, He did the external work and she did the internal work, and they both earned the money. A few stay at home mothers I know have home businesses they run to supplement income, and quite a few of their husbands work on the mines here 12 hour days, 14 days in a row, 7 days off for example, because it can bring in the money needed due to high living costs especially with a child here. Australia is getting expennnsiiive. They both sacrifice something for the family unit whether that is a career, or time at home with family. It’s a very complex issue.

  14. Thank you GirlWritesWhat!
    (wow, it’s a tongue-twister! 😉 )

    What I notice reading around, is lots of people who were hurt, and they hadn’t the strength and emotional maturity to heal and get over their wounds. So, now they look at the world through the lens of their hurt. And, of course, this leads to see everything polarized and in extremes.
    Their voice is the voice of pain and fear. This happens on BOTH sides, feminists and MRM alike, and it seem happening a lot (or, maybe, the more extremist voices are less but talk louder).

    You had the strength and courage (and, I’d add, intelligence) to get over your hurt and keep a balanced and reasonable attitude – despite all the reasons you had to blame and attack. It’s admirable and encouraging.
    People like you make me feel hopeful for our future.

  15. If you could provide me with a link or source for that information, I’d like to read it for myself. It’s not that I disagree with what you were saying, but those were the concerns I had after reading your article. I don’t think I was disrespectful or condescending in any way ( if I was, let me know), and though I consider myself a feminist, I’m open to what you had to say in response to be post. I wasn’t expecting to be met with a patronizing “sigh” to begin with, I was hoping for a thoughtful response ( which I got) without patronization. This is what gets in the way of effective discourse, and I think people from all sides are guilty of it.

    I understand what you’re saying about domestic labour, it is difficult to pay for domestic labour and to be frank, I don’t know how one would pay for it. Though I’m sure if there was a concerted effort put into it, there would be a way. My perception is obviously going to be coloured by what I’ve experienced, but my mother’s domestic labour went unpaid for. In contrast to yourself, she didn’t control the finances in the house, when she bought my brother a pair of prescription glasses for my brother without consulting my dad, he cut off her credit card. Prior to that, she had only been using the credit card for groceries and bills. I’m sure there are many people who share your experience, but I think that there are just as many people who share my mother’s experience as well.

    Trust me, during times of frustration, I’ve often wondered the same things about my mother. I own my own shit and am not to dependent on anyone but myself. It wasn’t so much she can’t act, as she won’t act. I can say with certainty that had she divorced my father, our quality of life would’ve declined because we would’ve chosen to go with our mom. Though I tell her that I would’ve accepted, even welcomed that lower quality of life in exchange for her happiness, you have to understand that she would’ve felt like she failed us.

    Again, I don’t disagree with you, I know that innocent, non-abusive fathers are sometimes unjustly punished. And you and I both know that those mechanisms that are in place to protect those women, can also fail them. I’ve known many single mothers that have not received a single child support cheque, and some received them sporadically. I don’t think you can tell someone who has been consistently emotionally and physically abused to “grow up” or that he/she is being weak. Obviously, you’re a very strong and intelligent woman and I applaud you for that. At the same time, you have to understand that blaming the victims for “denying their own power and agency” is an especially callous view, and I think, an ineffective statement to those victims. Especially since many of the women trapped in abusive marriages have been so constantly emotionally manipulated that they might not have the same frame of mind as you or I. And I think the same goes for men in abusive marriages.

    • I really detest the fact that this website refreshes spontaneously, since I was almost finished my reply to you, and then it went out the window, gah!

      Anyway. I’m sorry about the sigh. Please understand how tiring it is battling the same misinformation over and over and over. I think I’ve probably responded to at least 150 assertions that women earn 68 or 71 or 76 cents for every dollar men make *for the same work*. It’s just not true.

      http://consad.com/index.php?page=an-analysis-of-reasons-for-the-disparity-in-wages-between-men-and-women

      There are lots of other examinations of the data that say pretty much the same thing as Consad. One place I usually send people is to Warren Farrell’s The startling truth about the wage gap, which you can watch in several parts on Youtube.

      Men and women in abusive situations face similar emotional issues, for sure. But there are a few key differences. Women have resources available to help them leave (with their children) and an enforcement system designed to serve their needs, while men do not. Men are more likely to be arrested for kidnapping than helped if they choose to leave with their kids. Leaving without their children–that is, leaving their children in the sole custody of an abuser–isn’t much of an option, either. And calling the police is not even an option, because of predominant aggressor policies–he’s at least as likely to be arrested as she is, even if he never laid a finger on her, which again, leaves his children in the sole care of an abuser.

      Another is that we are allowed to have expectations of men–we expect them to put their kids first, and they expect that of themselves, which is why many of them STAY. The battered man who stays is often doing what’s best for his kids, within his power as a male in this culture. This is not the case with women. But we are not really allowed anymore to have expectations of women, not even to put her children’s welfare before her own if it would be difficult or scary or the outcome not guaranteed or they don’t feel 100% safe in doing so.

      And I don’t think it’s callous at all to tell someone that the only thoughts, motivations, feelings, behaviors and actions they have any power to control are their own. Your mother is the only one with the power to change her situation. That isn’t blaming the victim, it’s just reality. She has the power to take a reversible baby step by talking to a lawyer, to find out what her options and chances are, and whether there are emergency services in her community to help her financially while she does it.

      And the amazing thing is that taking that baby step can do a lot to make a person feel empowered, even if it’s a tiny thing that’s easily set aside if she chose to do so. That might not always be the case, but she’ll never know if it will be for her unless she does it.

      • @girlwriteswhat

        The same thing happened to me!

        Thanks for the link and I’ll be sure to look up Warren Farrell. I’ll withhold judgment about the study until I get a chance to read it more thoroughly and look for hidden biases J. I’m not sure I agree with you about the expectation for men to put their kids first, I think it probably stems from this fear of not living up to the ideal “masculine” image or fear of being seen as a coward if they do leave. I know that my own mother had that expectation of herself to put her kids first. In fact, I think what you said about the expectation of men applies to my mom. She didn’t leave because she believed it was better for us to stay and be in a financially stable household.

        Obviously we have different ways of looking at things, and that’s fine. I think different viewpoints enrich our society despite the frustrations that come along with it. And I’m glad that you responded so thoughtfully to me post.

        • Part of the ideal masculine image of being brave derives from the expectation of putting the safety and wellbeing of others (especially women and children) before their own. Society and women have always needed men to be brave and willing to play through the pain. That’s why the socialization of boys among their peer groups often involves doing risky things and sucking it up when hurt.

          That doesn’t mean all men end up being brave in ways that benefit women, children or society. But this is largely the source of it. Can’t expect a weary, aching, injured man to fix a bayonet to his rifle and charge up a hill if he’s never been expected to suck it up and be a brave boy when it was time for the doctor to stitch up his knee. Sometimes that socialization becomes toxic to society. Most of the time, it’s just toxic to the man himself.

  16. DavidByron says:

    I thought I’d read all your stuff at your site but I must have been mistaken as that one is new to me.

    I don’t have much to do with MRA sites and haven’t seen what goes on so it was interesting in the first half to see your observations there. My impression is that the MRA sites were not nearly so suspicious of women 10-20 years ago, but I am not sure how long you’ve had an interest so i don’t know if you could comment on that.

    Not that I read them much back then either but it seemed like they always had enough women around to keep from falling off into the deep end. Second wives and other women who’d seen the effects of feminist laws on their sons perhaps. Some women with no personal connection, like yourself. There was a lot of positive feeling for the women who were seen as fighting feminism like Cathy Young.

    Is that not so now?

    • I think there’s a great deal of distrust now among the MRM wrt women in the movement, because many of the women who seemed on the surface to be advocating in men’s best interest were discovered to be advocating for their own.

      Traditional women who want to go back to being stay at home mothers. Women who bemoan the death of chivalry. Women who want men to stop being handicapped in the workplace by gender quotas for women, so that they can continue paying for dates, etc.

      And then…well, there are some voices out there who seem very sympathetic to men’s issues, then will post a defence of the Schroedinger’s Rapist essay or whatever. Or women who say male victims of DV deserve help, even though they comprise a “tiny minority” of victims.

      There is even this website, where feminist and female participation seems to be conditional on men being “good”, especially when so much that is deemed “good” about men is stuff that benefits women or society and is actively harmful to men themselves. The “20 things I love about men” list one writer here posted being a huge one, since all but maybe two items were about how she loved the way men fulfill her emotional and practical needs.

      So yeah. There’s always skepticism of women when they first enter into the MRM.

      • Girlwriteswhat,

        I have to add my congratulations to others who have posted on your excellent ability to look past the harm that individual men have caused you and see into men’s frame of reference who are also being harmed by women and societal expectations.

        You are an extremely rare person. You do the MRM credit by being part of it.

      • DavidByron says:

        I’m not sure what you mean by, “feminist and female participation seems to be conditional on men being “good”

        Hmm. As to the rest that sounds like a development from the MRAs being solidly conservative and identified with a “traditional family values” view of things towards actually being more about equal rights. So a positive thing maybe, but unfortunately leading to more distrust of women. The fact is a lot of men think just the same way of course (“traditional family values” that is).

        The 20 things I love about men… it wasn’t 20 politically correct things I love about men. People are people. They don’t love for rational or politically correct reasons and that goes both ways too of course. It’s not like if men made a similar list that every item would be somehow non-objectifying and life affirming and etc etc. At best the difference would be that if a man posted that about a woman they would be criticised in the popular media whereas for a woman to get criticised for it would require some MRAs. But I think neither would deserve it.

        • Well, consider that probably 90% of “what’s good about men” in society’s eyes is their utility and tendency to sacrifice. A man is a “good” man when he’s putting more into society than he takes out, and when he’s putting others (the pregnant woman on the bus, his family, his country) before himself.

          Then you get a list of 20 things someone loves about men, and virtually every one of them embodies those qualities that used to guarantee a man a certain respect and status in society, or at least in his family, but which now, more often than not, will lead him to harm. The man who brings a lost toddler to customer service at Walmart berated in public as a pedophile by the mother when she spots him standing next to the kid, the man who worked his ass off to provide for his family only to have his wife divorce him because he “wasn’t around enough”, the soldier who comes home from Iraq to an empty house and divorce papers and whose wife tells the judge she feels a “murderer and assassin” like him should not have joint custody of the children.

          Being “good” is just another way for a man to get kicked in the teeth these days.

          All the things we love about men are too often the reasons we can leave them in the gutter without wanting to help them, or ways we can utilize them for our own benefit, or expect things of them that often lead them to work harder and die younger than they have to. Some men are starting to realize this, and those men have every right to be unhappy with the criteria so frequently presented as “reasons to love men” or things that are “good” about men.

          As for feminist participation being largely conditional…well, I think the brouhaha over Tom Matlack and the Rape Culture thing is a good illustration of what can happen when you don’t conform to those conditions.

          • DavidByron says:

            I agree with you on the politics of the 20 things, but I think the honesty is more important. Well I am not sure we actually disagree here….

            OK. On the other thing you meant that some feminists bailed on the site when Tom got a demerit from the Twitter feminists. Hmm. So you’re saying that feminist insistence on men completely obeying their party ideology is another example of disposability? Yes I would agree. I would put it that feminism is essentially a conservative movement in that it never challenged any societal norms but rather asked for a doubling down on the existing norm of women get protected, men are disposable. I see men’s “equality” as fundamentally harder than women’s “equality” in that respect.

            • Hey David,
              The way I see it is that A) feminists transitioned the system from one in which individual men supported individual women to one where the class of men (via taxes) support individual women.

              They never really broke the idea of women needing support, only changed the nature of where that support came from.

              In other words big-sugar-daddy-government was every woman’s new husband. And he made the perfect husband. One, women could have other lovers and/or husbands. Two, he never judged, he always advocated for women even when they do wrong. Three, he would always support women (via welfare, or mother/women biased family court laws that keep men paying in perpetuity).

              Feminists are the BIGGEST chivalrists ever.

            • Guess there wasn’t a B) lol

            • DavidByron says:

              how about “(B) don’t talk about fight club”?

  17. GWW — You are an amazing, powerful writer. Thank you for sharing your skill to speak out. I get really angry when I read about the crap you have taken. I get really angry when I read about the crap boys and men take just for being male. The existence of so much rank, putrid injustice in the world makes me want to scream to high heaven. But then I read your totally honest prose and clear analysis, and I can breathe again. It is enough for me that there is one woman willing to speak the truth. Thank you. PS, Your kids are really effin lucky to have you!

    Julia — For data on how the alleged gender earnings gap has, in fact, shrunk to almost nothing I would suggest you look at the March, 2011 report of the White House Council on Women and Girls. And please look at the actual numbers, not just the headlines, which were at some considerable odds with the data because the White House Council decided, for whatever reason, not to do the math necessary to match apples with apples. It is easily found with a search, so I’m going to be lazy and not post the link here.

    In brief, the White House Council data shows: (1) when adjusted for number of compensated hours worked — because men on average work more compensated hours outside of the home than do women, women on average earn 94% of what men earn on average; and (2) when you add up the number of hours men and women work, on average, both for compensation outside of the home and uncompensated labor at home, men now put in, on average, about 40 minutes more a week than do women. Note, by the by, that since men work in jobs that result in death and disabling injury at rates many times that of the jobs more commonly accepted by women, the 6% pay differential might just be seen as a “hazard pay” equalizer. Is a life work a 6% higher wage?

    In addition, I would suggest the Economix blog piece at the NY Times written by Catherine Rampell. Since that one is harder to find, here is the link:

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/the-gender-pay-gap-persists-especially-for-the-rich/?scp=6&sq=Rampell%20Economix%20Gender%20Gap&st=cse

    In a nutshell, the study Rampell walks through found that below about $100,000 in annual income, once some fairly ho-hum adjustments were made there was essentially no difference between male and female earnings. Above $100,000 a year, the high-end outlier males continue to make more. A whole lot more. And it is the skewing of the 1/10th of 1% to male earners that causes the “average” earning data to show like men still lord it over women at every level, when nothing could be further from the truth. Interestingly enough, those fairly innocuous adjustments did NOT include any adjustment for differences in hours worked, as Rampell notes quite off-handedly toward the end of her piece. If that adjustment were made, it seems likely that below $100,000 a year women now make more than men on an hourly basis. I don’t expect that make any headlines any time soon. Doesn’t sell anything.

    • Will do. Thanks for the links.

      ” I get really angry when I read about the crap boys and men take just for being male.”. I don’t deny that, but I hope you realize that girls and women take just as much crap for being female. I don’t want to get into who takes more crap for being what, but either way, these gender stereotypes and expectations are not healthy.

      • No, they are not healthy, Julia. But we have come a long way as a society in eliminating the worst of the crap women and girls have historically faced. We have gone in the opposite direction with boys and men, deeming males to have group privilege when 99% of the group have very little privilege, if not active bias against them, in many circumstances.

        I am interested in Truth and Reconciliation. How would you propose we get there in the schools, in the prisons, in the family courts? At the most practical levels you can describe. I am serious.

        • Just because the worst of the crap women and girls have had to face is eliminated doesn’t mean that it’s okay to stop recognizing that they still face a lot of crap and that needs to be combated as well. The presence of the glass ceiling is an example of how that 1% of males is rewarded. However, you don’t think that an employer would be inclined to promote a male over a female employee with similar credentials? I do. If I were in a dark alley and a man approached me, I’d be more frightened than if a woman were to approach me. Perhaps that’s due to an active bias against males, but it might also be because I feel I’ve a better chance of defending myself against another female.

          I am interested in truth and reconciliation as well but do I know how we get there? No I don’t. If I did, I’m sure a lot of smarter people than myself would’ve found a way. What’s become more apparent to me after reading this thread is that Truth is different for each individual. My truth will be different than your truth. How you interpret a study will differ from how I interpret the study. Whose interpretation is the Truth? Both or neither? My interpretation is the Truth for me and your interpretation is the Truth for you, and a lot of the times, they don’t reconcile.

          • Julia says in response to Justa Man:
            “Just because the worst of the crap women and girls have had to face is eliminated doesn’t mean that it’s okay to stop recognizing that they still face a lot of crap A) and that needs to be combated as well. The presence of the glass ceiling is an example of how B) that 1% of males is rewarded. However, you don’t think that an employer would be inclined to promote a male over a female employee with similar credentials? I do. C) If I were in a dark alley and a man approached me, I’d be more frightened than if a woman were to approach me D). Perhaps that’s due to an active bias against males, but it might also be because I feel I’ve a better chance of defending myself against another female.”

            Hey Julia,
            First off–I apologize for what I said about your mother. If an open dialogue on men and womens issues is the goal (and it is my goal), then the conversation needs to be respectful.

            Second, I have labeled your comments so when you peruse my below comments you will know what I am responding to.

            A) yes, sexism against women must be combated, but the fact that women’s issues has been front and center for the past 40 years it does mean that we have to (as a society) start making room for mens issues. In cases where it can be demonstrably shown that a large segment of men or women have very imminent issues of quality of life, then those need to be front and center which leads into
            B) the glass ceiling. While the top 1% of earners (I would use the term elites) may be important for you, it is not very important for me. For one, most people get to be at the very tippy top of society by massive amounts of boot-licking and back-stabbing. I really don’t care if this group is 1% female or 99% female. quite frankly. But it can very demonstrably be shown that there are millions of poor, depressed and minority men at the bottom of the power pyramid who desperately need acknowledgement, media coverage, legislation, and help.
            Men are:
            95% of on-the-job deaths, 90% of the homeless, 80% of all suicides, 80% of victims of violent crime, 90% of the incarcerated (studies I have looked at state the anti-male sentencing disparity is about equal to the anti-black sentencing disparity), 38% of college grads, live 7 years less, get cancer at twice the rate of women (for cancers that attack gender-neutral organs). Despite all these pressing issues $7 for female-specific disease research is spent on each $1 for mens specific disease research, there are 7 offices of womens health, a federal and in each state a Commission on The Status of Women versus 1 for men in Mass. which is unfunded. The litany of female-only government aid goes on and on despite a clear and convincing evidence that men sorely need help too.
            So, we should be able to advocate for both, but put more pressing need where it belongs for urgent matters regardless of sex.
            C) employers hiring female over male is your subjective opinion. It may be true or it may not. However, you assume this would be due to discrimination. There are some very real hazards for a small or medium sized company to hiring a woman. First off, she would be several times more likely to start a sexual harrassment lawsuit. Secondly, she may be likely to take time off for pregnancies (in which the employer would still have to pay her 70% of her wages or whatever the law says). While women should not be penalized for having babies, neither should the company be penalized for HER CHOICE to have a baby. The solution? Change parental leave laws so that fathers get the same leave as mothers. Also: change custody laws so fathers get more parenting time. When fathers are allowed more parenting time (yes I use the term allowed, because right now their are very real barriers to fathers parenting their own children) then women will make even greater in-roads in the workplace than have already taken place.
            D) Julia, there are no streets where women are safe and men are not. Violence against women by strangers is not an issue of systemic discrimination. EVERYBODY should be safe everywhere, but unless you want something similar to soviet russia in which you need to provide documents to move freely, this will continue to be the cost of a free society. Men are 80% the victims of violence, and 80% the victims of murders.

            The only reassurance I can give you is that bad people are not specifically targeting women. Other than that, I am bemused why you present violence as a woman’s issue. It seems to be a human issue.

          • You’re right. Only your Truth matters. How silly of me to attempt dialogue.

            • Whoa. Hold on second. I had to attend to a couple of things, so I didn’t see your comments until twenty minutes ago. And that is that not what I’m saying about truth. I’m saying that it seems to be extremely difficult to each of us to see past our own truths and accept or even acknowledge other people’s truths. I didn’t diminish the value of your truth at all, I stated that your truth is, well, your truth, and my truth was mine. I understand if you took my lack of response as a slight or a refusal to acknowledge your truth, but it was unintentional.

              B) The glass ceiling is important to me because those at the top hold the most influence and they in turn influence the mainstream media and subsequently, the mainstream audience.

              C) “First off, she would be several times more likely to start a sexual harassment lawsuit.”

              I appreciate and accept your apology, but that statement above starts to veer off into the area of blaming the victim again. That statement adds nothing to the point you’re trying to make and, I feel, detracts from it.

              I agree that violence and domestic violence affects all sexes. From my personal experience, the physical damage that I’ve seen as a result of domestic violence is far greater and occurs more often as a result of husband-on-wife violence. That is not to minimize what domestic violence victims( who happen to be male) have to endure. That might be why I framed it as such, though it was unintentional on my part.

              D) I think there was some misunderstanding. I don’t know what makes you think I don’t think everyone should be safe everywhere.

              “Violence against women by strangers is not an issue of systemic discrimination”

              My example of how I would react differently to a man vs. woman approaching me in an alley was not a comment on how systemic discrimination results in violence against women by strangers. Though I believe that how women are continually objectified, sexualized and degraded in the media are factors in some domestic violence cases.

              Like I said to Girlwriteswhat in an earlier post, I don’t disagree all that much with what you’re trying to change. My main problem with what you wrote was the victim-blaming stance you adopted. But yeah, do I think men’s health is neglected in our society? Absolutely. Do I think we need to allow fathers more parenting time? Yes I do. And I bet other feminists would agree with several of your points. Seriously, after spending all day reading this thread and several others on GMP, it seems that so many of us go into it with prejudices in hand, that we can’t even see eye-to-eye on topics that we agree on. Anyways, that’s the last I have to say on the matter because I have a big day tomorrow and am going to turn in. Don’t take it as a slight if I don’t respond :)

            • DavidByron says:

              “The glass ceiling is important to me because those at the top hold the most influence”

              Again this is the feminist sex war view of men and women fighting each other like two armies. Reality is not like that. Powerful men look after the interests of women more than men. Powerful women do the same but a little less. For example you can (people have) compared how male and female judges tend to sentence male vs female criminals. Both men and women treat men a lot worse than women but the gap is smaller for female judges. This is probably because (1) society values women over men and (2) women tend to have less sympathy for other women, and men less sympathy for other men.

              Feminist rhetoric says that men in charge means women get treated worse but this simply false.

            • Julia Says:
              B) The glass ceiling is important to me because those at the top hold the most influence and they in turn influence the mainstream media and subsequently, the mainstream audience.
              =====================
              Julia, you’re speaking as if just because men are predominantly the 1% elite, that they don’t spread a message, or encourage the help of women. Since we have a black president does that mean black men are doing fine?

              No. What matters is that women control 80% of spending choices and marketeers steer their ads in that direction.

              Women are also 60% of the vote. Obviously, politicians have found that the more than pander to women’s interests the more likely they are to be re-elected.

              If you have a better explanation of why the $1billion feminist pork barrel project VAWA was re-upped in 2000 with a GOP controlled Pres, House and Senate I’d like to hear it.
              You seem to be suggesting that since the elites are men, this is a man’s world.

              If men’s views are being promulgated because the elites are men then can you explain any of these following mainstream airings?

              ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1J8wC1AWus&feature=related

              Here is Sharon Osbourne laughing uproarisly at a man who’s wife cut off his penis (for seeking divorce apparently). Not only does she laugh but the whole audience tee-hees along with her. This is broadcast to millions. Can you ever picture a show laughing at the mutilation of a women’s sex organs being broadcast to millions? The show would be closed down, and advertisers would leave the show. All that happened to the Talk is Sharon Osbourne apologized and took a voluntary hiatus.

              ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VihlsPKMh4U
              Look at some of the scenes of boy only child abuse in movies like Mr. Woodcock and Bad Teacher

              ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGmz3wrpOJA

              Here is a commercial in which it is stated if your husband isn’t perfect beat the crap out of him:

              ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGmz3wrpOJA

              Beat your snoring husband:
              ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K07RKgt4KDg

              Or this department store commercial which shows men in the emergency room for buying the wrong their wives the wrong xmas gifts.
              ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJejr9jRyZs

              How about any of the movies in which male rape is depicted as funny? This is a running theme in slapstick comedies like the Eurotrip “safe word” scene.

              You reverse the genders on any of these instances and these marketing/writers would be out of a job and the companies boycotted.

              Violence against men is seen as the ultimate joke. You can’t even make a case that violence against women in media is as pervasive or wide spread or as extreme.

              If having men as elites benefits men, then where are the benefits? These instances of laughing at male pain would NEVER be replicated with women as the targets.

              C) “First off, she would be several times more likely to start a sexual harassment lawsuit.”

              I appreciate and accept your apology, but that statement above starts to veer off into the area of blaming the victim again. That statement adds nothing to the point you’re trying to make and, I feel, detracts from it.

              I agree that violence and domestic violence affects all sexes. From my personal experience, the physical damage that I’ve seen as a result of domestic violence is far greater and occurs more often as a result of husband-on-wife violence. That is not to minimize what domestic violence victims( who happen to be male) have to endure.
              ===============
              Julia, first off point C was about employers choosing men over women. My point is that a small or mid-size company that doesn’t make much money will have owners/managers who will try to protect the company. Women file about 3 times as many sexual harrassment lawsuits as men. There is a risk however tiny to the company. This is not discrimination, but a goal of financial survival of the company.

              I also mentioned maternity leave as a reason the company might want to protect itself. The solution is simple: give men the same parental leave rights as women.

              I don’t know why you bring Domestic Violence into it. All the studies in the past 20 years show that DV is gender symmetrical. In other words women attack or exert coercive control or domination as much as men do.

              In fact, according to this CDC study:

              ht tp://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pd f

              (your example of your mother notwithstanding) men report HIGHER RATES of being targeted with coercive control then women:

              Intimate partner violence starts on page 35.
              The highlights:
              with 6.5% of men and 6.3% of women experiencing partner aggression in the past year. More men (18%) suffer psychological aggression (humiliation, threats of violence, controllingness) than women (14%). Feminists often define IPV as a “pattern of power and control,” but the survey finds that men were 50% more likely to have experienced coercive control than women (15.2% vs 10.7%).

              So, once again you paint things as women’s issues that are more accurately human issues.

              Additionally, there are tiny tiny help services for male victims of DV. Look up David Woods and how his wife almost killed their daughter and yet (despite being disabled) he and his daughter were turned away from shelters because he is male.

              VAWA specifically states that no grants will be issued to shelters that house male victims.

              It is time to start advocating for men too (unlike feminists I am not saying MEN ONLY, just to concentrate on men where it can be DEMONSTRABLY SHOWN that a greater portion of men face imminent issues with quality of life, and danger).

            • DavidByron says:

              60% of those who vote sounds high. I would have guessed maybe 54%

              http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/press_room/news/documents/PressAdvisory_WomvsMen04Turnout_06-05.pdf

              It was 53.5% in 2004 US presidential elections.

            • I stand corrected!

  18. For those interested in, wage gap studies:
    ht tp://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.ht ml
    young professional women out-earning men

    ht tp://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/6622521/Harriet-Harmans-costly-Equality-Bill-wont-do-anything-for-women.ht ml

    UK wage gap seen to be due to women’s choices not discrimination.

    girlwriteswhat already linked to the consad report which is the largest most techinical report ever done. This was done for the dept of labor.

    ht tp://www.freakonomics.com/2008/05/01/robert-reich-answers-your-labor-questions/
    former sec of labor under bill clinton says wage gap due to discrimination is at most 5%

    http://www.abajournal.com/weekly/many_women_lawyers_with_kids_do_as_well_as_the_men_researcher_says

    This study by the American Bar on University of Michigan law
    school grads find it’s not gender, but an attorney’s willingness to put their
    job first which determines pay.

    ht tp://fairmodel.econ.yale.edu/ec483/katz.pd f

    This study was done on the MBA graduates at the University
    of Chicago. It shows gender does not hold women back. Only the choices of
    individuals does. Women tend to take more career interruptions and work shorter
    hours.

    ht tp://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.ht ml

    Here is a Time article which quotes a 2004 Women’s Policy
    Research 15year study of college grads. It shows 52% of women go through at
    least one full calendar year with no earnings compared with 16% of men. Fewer
    than half of women had earnings in all 15 years compared with 84% of men. One
    third of women had no earnings in 4 years compared with 5% of men.

    ht tp://www.reuters.com/article/2007/11/07/us-boardroom-women-idUSN0752118220071107?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&rpc=22&sp=true

    This reuters article details a study of 25,000 CEO’s. It shows female CEO’s make more than male CEO’s. This story was not picked up in any major American news outlet.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026111731.htm

    Here is an article which reports on several studies on girls
    and women in STEM fields. These studies show there is no gender discrimination
    of any kind.

  19. For those interested in wage gap studies:
    ht tp://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.ht ml
    young professional women out-earning men

    ht tp://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/6622521/Harriet-Harmans-costly-Equality-Bill-wont-do-anything-for-women.ht ml

    UK wage gap seen to be due to women’s choices not discrimination.

    girlwriteswhat already linked to the consad report which is the largest most techinical report ever done. This was done for the dept of labor.

    ht tp://www.freakonomics.com/2008/05/01/robert-reich-answers-your-labor-questions/
    former sec of labor under bill clinton says wage gap due to discrimination is at most 5%

    ht tp://www.abajournal.com/weekly/many_women_lawyers_with_kids_do_as_well_as_the_men_researcher_says

    This study by the American Bar on University of Michigan law
    school grads find it’s not gender, but an attorney’s willingness to put their
    job first which determines pay.

    ht tp://fairmodel.econ.yale.edu/ec483/katz.pd f

    This study was done on the MBA graduates at the University
    of Chicago. It shows gender does not hold women back. Only the choices of
    individuals does. Women tend to take more career interruptions and work shorter
    hours.

    ht tp://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.ht ml

    Here is a Time article which quotes a 2004 Women’s Policy
    Research 15year study of college grads. It shows 52% of women go through at
    least one full calendar year with no earnings compared with 16% of men. Fewer
    than half of women had earnings in all 15 years compared with 84% of men. One
    third of women had no earnings in 4 years compared with 5% of men.

    ht tp://www.reuters.com/article/2007/11/07/us-boardroom-women-idUSN0752118220071107?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&rpc=22&sp=true

    This reuters article details a study of 25,000 CEO’s. It shows female CEO’s make more than male CEO’s. This story was not picked up in any major American news outlet.

    ht tp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026111731.ht m

    Here is an article which reports on several studies on girls
    and women in STEM fields. These studies show there is no gender discrimination
    of any kind.

    I’ve entered spaces in the web addresses to evade the spam blocker and keep my comment out of moderation. To go to the webpages, just copy & paste the webpage and delete the space at front and back before hitting enter.

  20. Can a moderator remove one of the two double posts I made just above?

  21. For comment posters who don’t think the way men are treated in family court is any big deal, or that bad treatment is unusual, I suggest you read the following piece from last week’s Seattle Weekly.

    Lisa, maybe you could see about reposting that article here at GMP?

    http://www.seattleweekly.com/2012-01-18/news/ripped-apart/

  22. By the way, the Seattle Weekly piece is especially interesting in its demonstration that summary legal proceedings in which preponderance of the evidence is the standard and an inability to cross examine lead to clear injustice. Yet these are the key features of the US Department of Education Dear Colleague letter mandated to be used by all colleges and universities in the US to handle sexual harassment claims, and Washington State’s US Senator Patty Murray attempted to that those features written in the VAWA reauthorization at the end of 2011.

  23. Wow, I really agree with everything you’re saying, GWW. Thanks for this piece.

    I still hold out hope of being able to call myself a feminist, and still do what you’re doing for men. It’s getting harder and harder to reconcile myself with what Internet feminists especially are up to right now and still keep my identity.

    Sorry you’ve had such a tough road with your ex. You’re an amazing writer and I’m so glad that you’ve found a career you’re passionate about and is hopefully providing you a solid financial foundation. You’re an inspiration.

  24. I have a serious question for those of you in the MRM. I know that many of the feminist blogs I read often address issues that extend farther than North America. A couple posters that have responded to me have mentioned how things for women have changed significantly for the better. While this may be true in North America and Western European countries, the situation for girls and women in other countries are still dire. I don’t know how sexism is moving in the opposite direction ( as other poster informed me) when there are still countries where girls are subjected to FGM. Isn’t this ethnocentric? To ignore the undeniable and dangerous sexism that still occurs outside of North America and Western European countries?

    • Can I just add that I’m not very familiar with the MRM? And if I’ve made assumptions that I shouldn’t have, let me know -which I’m sure many of you will :)

      • Julia, I think it’s better to focus on a certain location as it has specific dynamics. What people do in say Australia, will be vastly different to Afghanistan and to talk about them all without splitting it up could muddy the waters and make it a huge jumbled mess.

        I don’t want to minimize the horrors that females face in those countries, but do feminists also study what males go through there? Is it really peachy keen for men? I’ve heard of child soldiers in some areas, heavy violence, men being killed and the women n children get taken so I’d say from a basic guess that the men too in many countries have quite a lot of problems, as well as females and as well as the children.

        Are the men really MUCH better off or is there a huge epidemic of violence that harms men quite horribly? Based on world health organization’s 2004 report into deaths worldwide I saw 3-6x more death in men from violence, war and civil conflict which indicates pretty damn dire circumstances for men worldwide. If feminism is focusing on gender and how women suffer, are they getting the male side of the picture as well to compare? Because if they only study the female side then the male side could have a lot more issues than the female side but no one knows, it might be balanced out or the men might be better off.

        Not trying to stir a fight but I am generally curious if this happens. I personally would like more studies do both genders, that way the experiences can be compared to some degree and identify if it’s truly a female only issue, or a male only issue, or both suffer.

        And it’s quite possible that things for women could change for the better and surpass in benefits vs men in some areas for women, whilst other countries can be horrible. It’s possible men slip backwards whilst women more forwards in some countries (education gap seems to be one area this happened), whilst other countries men rise and women fall.

        Due to each country having different laws, culture, customs, etc, the experiences between the genders can vary wildly so I think it’s best to keep things based on country and/or “west” vs “east”.

        • DavidByron says:

          That’s the pattern I’ve seen. I felt I had to research Afghanistan specially because of all the feminist propaganda about it back in the late 1990s. From what I could see the feminists and the media constantly spread lies to manufacture a framing of the country as anti-woman. Looking back now I wonder if that was done specifically to prepare public opinion for the war.

          But eg. they constantly said the Taliban banned all girls schools whereas I knew the Taliban were building girls schools. The information contradicting the feminist-imperialist line was NOT hard to find, although it is harder these days. eg I could get photos of the schools. RAWA was used and abused by imperialist feminists who wanted a pro-woman angle. Their actual web site was not slanted that way. Not surprisingly to me, the Western feminists quickly ditched RAWA (RAWA is an Afghan women’s rights group, but its basically more human rights as it is communist).

          From what I could see it would have been easier to build a case that men were worse off in Afghanistan back then.

          But it’s not just Afghanistan and oddly it’s not even just US enemies. Saudi Arabia gets a lot of propaganda about its women’s stuff that is incredibly tilted for feminist consumption. In the West every time a Saudi woman is punished for any thing it makes news but what never gets highlighted is that while a young woman is being threatened with lashes for something stupid, the young man she was with already took double her punishment and nobody gave a rats ass. Instead there’s a huge fuss about the “sexism” of punishing the woman and eventually they let her go with no punishment.

          In this way the US media is continuously pumping out deceptive propaganda for feminism. No why would they do that for feminism unless feminism is doing a big favour in return for imperialist USA? So we get feminist backed imperialist wars and so on. Which country’s women do we have to “save” by bombing them today?

          • Richard Aubrey says:

            David. Couple of points. The Taliban is blowing up girls’ schools. See the blog “rantburg”. It has a voice I think you will find offensive. However, I say this in advance, they do not make this stuff up. They are a compendium of current reports from various news sources around the world, much of it having to do with the GWOT. Don’t roll your eyes and say…. “rantburg, a bunch of racists you can’t trust”.. That’s old. Trying to discredit something inconvenient by pointing to a transmitting medium the Right Sort of People have been trained to laugh at Does Not Work. Does Not Work. Does Not Work.
            The issue about victims of rape being punished is also a bit off kilter. If a guy rapes a woman he’s supposed to be punished. She’s not. I think you missed the point there. He is, she’s not. That nobody cares that the rapist is punished should not be cause for alarm. It’s when the victim is punished that…. aw geez.

            You may also want to see the usual punishments for honor killing. Such as they are.

            Feminists had a hard time with mistreatment of women in developing countries because on alternate days they were cultural relativists.
            You will also note these imperialist women shut up about the plight of women in Afghanistan once the US invaded. Yes, women had it rough, but US military action is worse than…than anything, no matter that women might end up having things better.

            I believe Patty Murray said the same thing about the Taliban building girls’ schools and roads and hospitals. She got a good laugh. She might actually believe it. Never know about some people. But nobody else does.

            • DavidByron says:

              It’s as if you don’t know anything about the topic but feel compelled to say something anyway.

              If you doubt my word please feel free to write to the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan about it.

            • Richard Aubrey says:

              David. Feel free to read the news. Rantburg, as I say, has a number of sources, many in South Asia. Your local paper may not run something a wire service puts out, but another may. Sometimes they get to Rantburg.

    • “A couple posters that have responded to me have mentioned how things for women have changed significantly for the better. While this may be true in North America and Western European countries, the situation for girls and women in other countries are still dire.”

      The situation for men, women, boys and girls in other countries may be dire, but is feminism the answer? Do we really want to export feminism so that in 40 years time their men and women will be at each other’s throats, their families will be torn asunder and their societies will be entering into a slow, permanent decline?

      How about a movement that address men’s and women’s rights? That’s not feminism. Feminism is a brand that can’t be repaired. There needs to be a new movement, with a new name, that includes everyone.

      • In my home country, all the social and political reformers who worked for the upliftment of women and gender equality were men. Even though they were seriously opposed by traditional society (both men and women) in their efforts, they did not adopt confrontational attitude for achieving their goal, and used their moral authority and conciliatory approach to achieve their goal.

        Feminism is a kiss of death for the society. Wherever feminism finds a stronghold, it leads to breakdown of social values, tradition and finally family leading to total collapse of society.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Even the moderates? I agree that extreme feminists are an issue. I also agree that they tend to have more power and influence. But you have to remember that feminism means different things to different people, many gender agalitarians refer to themselves as feminist. It doesn’t help to say that anyone using the “f” word is the same as the crazies.

          • Moderates are not feminists.

          • DavidByron says:

            It’s an institutional problem. Saying there are good feminists is like saying there’s good people in the Catholic Church in a discussion on the pedophilia issue. It’s true but it doesn’t do anything to address the problem.

            • How True That Is! P^)

              It’s a frequent defence mechanism and diversion! Try and change the topic and focus. Even play it out emotionally as a power game.

            • DavidByron says:

              I wonder if “institutional problem” would be a better way of expressing it all without people getting too defensive or seeing it as a personal attack. I might use that analogy again if it is not offensive to Catholics!

        • Truth!

      • I’d go with “humanism.” By and large, feminism is advocacy for women; MRM is pretty much advocacy for men. Both can accomplish good things for their respective genders and the challenges they face, but it takes a more egalitarian effort to try to achieve human rights for everyone.

        That’s not to say that either movement is worthless, by the way! The Arbor Day Foundation does nothing to address the racial imbalance in our justice system, but they’re still doing good work.

    • All I know is that I’m not going to appropriate the pain of people in other cultures in order to deny and minimize the pain in my own.

    • @ Julia

      I don’t know how sexism is moving in the opposite direction ( as other poster informed me) when there are still countries where girls are subjected to FGM. Isn’t this ethnocentric? To ignore the undeniable and dangerous sexism that still occurs outside of North America and Western European countries?

      Pharaonic circumcision AKA female genital mutilation is a complex issue – because primarily it is a cultural practice driven by women – it is performed by women on girls. I have seen many feminists and others in apoplexy over the matter and portraying it as all about men and by men, when that is not the case.

      I know in Europe it is outlawed, and also it is illegal to remove a child to another country to allow it to happen. There are also education programs and support programs funded all across the countries where it is practised with a view to ending it. A number of countries where it is practised have brought in laws outlawing it to meet obligations under the UN Convention Of the Rights Of The Child.

      I see no ethnocentric issues here, but people acting as quickly as possible in a complex world and dealing with Cultural and Social practices.

      It was the same in dealing with Foot Binding in China – though there Chairman Mao did speed things up with a Communist Revolution. He may have made the practice illegal, but the move to stop the practice was well under way before he arrived.

      You mention undeniable sexism outside of North America and Europe. Well here are a few examples.

      Micro Finance and Investment – many countries are being supported to bring this initiative in – but unfortunately it is seen to only benefit women as many of the schemes will only lend to women. Many even ban women from employing their husband in any business they start. Men are denied access to equivalent funding to be equally entrepreneurial.

      How about AIDS and HIV prevention in Africa – culturally many groups practice what is known as Dry Sex which means that condoms are far less effective – and it’s a cultural practice supported and practised by women. The result of this is that men are more likely to suffer abrasion of the foreskin during sex and so acquire HIV – solution being proposed is that all men are to be circumcised to HIV infection rates. There are no programs to address the female cultural practice of Dry Sex.

      Eduction – in many poor countries female literacy is being paid for by international aide – but there is lesser or no funding for boys. So when the family is short of money, and they need extra hands to work, guess who gets pulled from school? The family takes the free eduction for girls and uses it as an investment in the families future – there is no equivalent investment in boys futures.

      How about anti rape campaigns in Congo (DRC) where there has been a long history of war, war rape against both men and women – to the point of genocide and UN War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda with massive implications for the people just over the border in Congo – and American and European Anti rape campaigners first tell male victims they have not been raped – and then require funding targeted at male rape victims to be spent only on women!

      Those are just a few examples.

      So forgive me for asking – when you talk about sexism that still occurs outside of North America and Western European countries, are you including all the sexism issues, many being driven and caused by organisations going from North America and Western European into other countries and imposing their views, ideals, agendas and ideologies, or are you looking at sexism with only a small “s”?

      It’s a big world out there – and the issues are far bigger than some grasp!

      • “It’s a big world out there – and the issues are far bigger than some grasp!”

        Though I’d argue:

        “It’s a big world out there-and the issues are far bigger than (any of us can) grasp!”
        I am not all-knowing and if I were, I certainly wouldn’t be participating in this discussion.That’s why I put the question out there.

        Some of these microfinance programs target women because a definite gender inequality exists in those country. The women in these countries are almost always at a severe financial disadvantage in comparison to their male counterparts- in terms of assets and access to resources, and an overwhelming majority of these women don’t retain control of their household’s income. And those restrictions to males you make mention of? The gender inequality that exists in those countries can’t be compared to what we experience in America, those women are often subject to social pressures that result in their husbands taking advantage of the money intended to microfinance those women. I can’t say I know enough about the culture there to comment further. Here is an IFAD report if you’re interested though.
        http://www.ifad.org/gender/pub/gender_finance.pdf

        And according to the wikipedia page that you linked to on dry sex, it is practiced because some men consider wet sex “unchaste“, and that this is practiced to supposedly increase sexual pleasure for the male while dry sex is incredibly painful for women. Keep in mind that this comes from the wikipedia page that you linked me to. And that dry sex increases the incidence of HIV and AIDS transmission for both males and females who practice it.

        “It’s a cultural practice supported and practiced by females”

        I’d imagine it’s not only females practicing it, seeing as they’d do somebody to practice it with. And I don’t see how it would be supported by females seeing as it’s unpleasant and painful for the female. And if it is I wonder why? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the gender inequalities in those cultures.

        It’s a big world out there- and the issues are far bigger than any of us can grasp! Myself and yourself included.

        • “And I don’t see how it would be supported by females seeing as it’s unpleasant and painful for the female. And if it is I wonder why? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the gender inequalities in those cultures.”

          Here are some links on the cultures that practice female genital cutting:

          http://www.mbali.info/doc311.htm

          http://www.arts.uregina.ca/dbfm_send/637

          http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/14/the-sexual-consequences-of-an-african-initation-rite/

          Also look up ‘Ain’t I a woman too?: challenging myths of sexual dysfunction in circumcised women’ by a woman who willingly underwent Female Genital Cutting in the context of her culture.

        • Julie – I know of the IFAD report “Gender and rural microfinance: Reaching and empowering women.
          Guide for practitioners”

          There are two issues that leap out from just the title. Gender/Women and “Guide for practitioners”.

          They focus on two things – women and telling practitioners that Microfinace only applies to women. Don’t get me wrong, the underlying work to empower entrepreneurial activity through microfinanace is sound and is creating great changes, but as the initial projects back in the 1970’s were focused upon women and even focused upon innovation it has caused and still causes gender disparity and can actually make matters worse. There is this highly developed meme that only women need or should benefit from Microfinance.

          Real World Example – family unit in rural poverty. Farmers – local soil conditions change due to flooding, so new crops required for both income generation and basic survival. Family lacks finance for seed. Microfinanace available to women for “innovation” but not farming – no finance open to men. Women is convinced to use microfinance to purchase mobile phone which she will then use as service to others – she charges for making calls and also acts as telephone exchange for local village for incoming calls. She is advised that this will generate income fro her and family. She agrees due to needing income. Problem, everyone else in the immediate area also needs to finance for seed. Result she has phone, needs to travel to reach electricity supply to charge it – locals can’t afford to use the service she provides – so no income – and she still has to pay back the microfinance loan. The land which can produce a higher income is ignored and the microfinance ideal being pushed very heavily by interest groups causes more poverty and reduces nothing.

          I’ve seen example after example of the same thing happening – but that info is coming back from organisations on the ground which use budgets to finance and provide solutions which deal with people’s reality, whilst other organisations spend money on large glossy brochures and large staffing costs in the USA and Europe where it all looks fine and dandy on paper.

          I love the fact that the big glossy brochures report the number of successes, but never the number of people who the Microfinance meme actually fail or cause to be pushed into greater poverty.

          Personally I find groups such a “Intermediate technology/Practical Action” far more appropriate and well informed. Example – Village is located 3.5 miles from suitable 365 day water supply, and due to cultural norms and geographical/environmental factors it is not possible to relocate village. Children have to make 2 trips per day, total 14 miles to fetch water to meet household need. Water source has higher elevation than village so a gravity fed system could be used – borehole and well not possible due to underlying geography and inability to bring drilling rig on site. land between water source and village blocks use of open air aqueduct. Village is close to major source of very pure Caolin/Clay – village supplied with very simple tools to transform this resource into pipes. Village works as group splitting labour from ground preparation to pipe manufacture as well as maintaining subsistence farming. Work is also seasonal due to climate and particularly rain fall which is allowed to allow certain areas of ground to be worked. Pipes laid and joined using same Caolin/Clay – natural drying due to sun causes the bonding. leakage will occur at a high rate, but overall flow will be more that sufficient for need.

          Result – piped gravity fed water supply to village – more water that they have ever seen before – increased water provides better agriculture and food supply – cuts malnutrition and child mortality – frees many man hours per day away from water carrying to food production and even allows the opportunity for basic schooling – raised food production allows for both bartering and sale for cash on a local basis. Similar villages locally see benefits and adopt similar projects for themselves ….. Total investment in the simple tooling to manufacture pipes £15.00. Local labour free – boost to local micro economy measured as return on investment in excess of 1 Million %. I don’t know a single banker or investor who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity.

          Side benefit – leaky pipe system opens up new ground for food production and for the crowing for crops for sale. A little imagination can go one hell of a long way!

          On the “Dry Sex” issue and it being relating to women being “chaste”. There is a great deal of debate about the origins of the practice. It has an odd Global distribution which correlates with certain early Christian Missionaries going out into the world. These missionaries were heavily into the idea of “Original Sin” and saw any example of Female sexuality or arousal as linked to the devil – so mix in local animistic views of evil and spirits that rob people of their Mojo – coupled with sex being a bit of a major biological imperative such as couple bonding and baby making… and you have a perfect storm of clashing cultures where one group are very clear due to a dubious book of dubious origins and called The Bible – and a whole set of cultural groups and practices who work to integrate these exotic and external Judeo/Christian concepts into existing local and animistic practices. It’s not simple to map – it’s complex and gets very messy – especially when the modern developed ruling class in these countries are in fact those who have adopted and are subjected to Judeo/Christian ideas and world views – and even biased against the people they supposedly rule over.

          It is also interesting that as far back as the early 1800’s supposed anthropologists have viewed African Cultural practices and sexuality as “primitive and immoral”, something to be controlled and eradicated. The level of knowledge was kept extremely poor, biased and frankly racists until the advent of HIV/Aids. Since then It has not improved that much either!

          There has also been a modern dash to Africa to deal with HIV/AIDS where there is an ongoing issue of Western supposed experts interfacing with local governments where officials lead off with a Judeo/Christian Bias – and they then both have issues with long-standing basic culture which is not western or Judeo/Christian… and they attempt to impose solutions which apparently had some form of success on Sunset Boulevard and The Meat Rack at Piccadilly Circus, London.

          They also conveniently ignore such matters as HIV rates are higher in urban areas amongst Christian Biased groups! who access such things as modern health care facilities – and that is linked to concerns over the fact that medicines derived from blood products locally and the transfer of blood within medical settings is a known infection risk and causing infections – but the government have been given resources to check for infection – systems, automated testing systems, lab systems and people have been trained to use them – but there is no funding to do the actual testing and stop the transfer. The ever so kind donors and interest parties just assumed that supplying the resources meant they would be used – because that is what happens else where….. in their own back yards. Corruption and money going missing within and across supposed western like institutions also is a factor that some need to address. Odd – but corruption is known about in the western and supposedly developed world – but charitable interest groups from there do tend to lack experience in seeing it, addressing it and not having their perceptions warped by it! P^/

          I would highly recommend some reading material on the matter:

          Social Science and Medicine 52 (2001), AIDS and cultural practices in Africa: the case of the Tonga (Zambia) Quentin Gausset, Institute of Anthropology, Copenhagen. Link

          I do like this bit:

          It is important to note that when the fight against AIDS is presented as a fight against “cultural barriers”, this is always in an African context and seldom involves European or Western practices. For example, on one side, some statistical studies argue that women using sexual drying agents have a higher seroprevalence than other women, and that the higher the number of sexual partners, the higher the risk of infection (see for example Gresenguet, 1997; Quigley et al., 1997). The implied solution is then to fight against dry sex and polygamy in order to fight against AIDS. On the other side, studies that show that people who live in towns, or people who have been hospitalized and who have received blood transfusions or injections in recent years are also more at risk than others (see for example Packard & Epstein, 1991, pp. 777, 778), never result in the suggestion that we should discourage people from living in towns, going to hospital, or prevent them from receiving blood transfusions or injections.

          World views are interesting – and it’s fascinating how bias does not need a passport to travel. P^)

          Reminds me too of a conversation I had with an eye surgeon who was funded to spend a year in a particular country to address growing incidents of preventable and curable blindness. He was government sponsored as the government had five years earlier funded a massive program of specialist medical equipment and training for the country to address the issue – and they could not figure out why it was all not working! So they decided to fund an expert to operate on people and help cut the incidence. He arrived and was a little shocked. The equipment provided was only suitable for use in a fixed clinical setting such as a major teaching hospital – it was not in any way portable. His target group were many hundreds of miles away from any such hospital setting and they had no way to get to him. He spent a year fighting to get access to funding to be able to do his work – portable equipment – portable power/electricity supplies – Transport such as vehicles – and even portable water purification systems, much needed to allow the equipment to work – and finally it all arrived, a month after he had left. There was no funding and no provision for training local doctors to use the equipment – and he was not surprised that when he returned five years later the equipment was still packaged – unused – and blindness rates had doubled. He had luckily just retired and decided to stay at his own expense, train the people who needed to be able to do the work and then spearheaded a five year program to deal with the Blindness issue in Western Organisations and government agencies which as he put it “Didn’t Know Their Arse From Their Elbow”!

          I like people who see a problem and work to solve it – even if some think the real problem lies in other parts of the world and which they can’t see, and view through some very faulty lenses that need surgical attention from people who can and do see reality.

          Have a look at Orbis International – a very interesting history there! Vision – Imagination – and doing the job, and all because one man saw the issues clearly and wouldn’t take NO for an answer! 30 years on, and still working with real vision of the issues and how to address them.

        • DavidByron says:

          Your guess — and that is all it was — about FGM not being supported and done by women was wrong because you’ve got the feminist way of looking at the world and it’s simply not true. Feminism says that men and women are at war with each other and then says men are evil brutes who like to oppress women, whereas women are the “good guys”. Reality isn’t like that.

          For example did you know most women in the USA opposed women’s vote? Right up until the end that was true. Some of the suffragettes said that women opposed it more than men did.

          “I am surprised beyond all things to find how many men are favorable,” Harriet Taylor Upton informed a friend while campaigning for suffrage in Ohio. “Now if only stupid women would get awake and yell we might make it.” But feminine silence remained smothering. As a fair belle told one … organizer in Mississippi, “You know we women do not desire to be other than we are.” From a train chugging across the “dead level prarie” of South Dakota, Anna Howard Shaw angrily wrote home to Susan Anthony that, “The women don’t want the ballot…that is true here and no mistake.”

          • I’m convinced that men(as a group) have always wanted an equal partner. It was the Church(notice it’s comprised entirely of celibate men) that decided to maintain the gender dichotomy we’re still labouring under.

            • DavidByron says:

              Women tend to be more conservative about messing with how society works. Perhaps because of their role as educators and propagandists for societies roles. Equality for the sexes was screwing with how society works.

            • Sorry but Judaism is also a patriarchal religion. The ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, especially Aristotle, thought that woman is inferior to man. I hate to say it but men as a group have not always wanted an equal partner. Women had to fight very hard to get into universities, vote, practice birth control, own property, and so on.

            • So you’re somehow capable of divining the desires of most men from the writings of a few?

          • Julie Gillis says:

            David, curious. What do you think the reason was for women to resist getting the vote? Not a question I have an answer to, but I’m curious about your opinion.

            • DavidByron says:

              The reason given by the early 20th century I believe was that women were purer than men and dragging women into politics like that would threaten that purity. Men who opposed the vote for women said much the same. There were exceptions for women voting on issues felt to be within their “pure” domain — eg school boards.

              Before the introduction of the Australian ballot (ie secret ballot) in the late 1890s some politicians also argued that because a husband could check which way his wife voted, all that women’s suffrage would achieve would be to double the value of a married man’s vote. That was the same argument that had been used against men getting the vote too for the last hundred years. It was said that any man who didn’t own his own land and business was at the mercy of his landlord. Therefore giving a landless man a vote would just be giving his landlord an extra vote, because he could simply direct his tenants to vote as he said.

              Voting today is not much like voting back then. Voting back then was after deals and lobbying among the voters. Everyone knew how others had voted. Rich people would hand out ballots for their candidates and often they were coloured for their candidate so you could tell at a glance who voted which way. It was not uncommon for the poor to be pressured to vote a certain way.

              So it wasn’t such an anti-male argument as it sounds today — the assumption that a husband would basically threaten his wife if she didn’t follow his orders on voting. It was an extension of an old old argument about financial independence being a prerequisite for political independence.

              Modern voting is secret which solves the need for independence BUT it also disempowers the vote so that its almost worthless, and hence half the population doesn’t bother to vote and frankly, they are the smart ones. Voting is meaningless with the ability to get promises from electors, and if nobody knows how you voted, that system breaks down. That also probably happens because of the huge scale of voting in the US. No accountability for electors. Look at Obama for example.

              While I am listing reasons for opposing women’s suffrage another issue was temperance. Feminists insisted (along with the conservatism of the day) that women were morally better than men and so women voters would vote differently on moral issues such as temperance. Everyone seemed to believe this nonsense. As a result the vote for women was heavily opposed by the alcohol lobby. After Prohibition passed anyway much of the opposition for women’s vote evaporated in the US.

              Another issue was WW1 because women were encouraged to take up the jobs that men sent to fight had left vacant. This encouraged women to move out of their traditional gender role and so made voting seem more open to the purer sex. If a woman can weld a seal maybe she should vote too? There was still some of the sense that women were not as smart as men at the time and I think WW1 was a big part in eliminating that argument.

              Another aspect of the changes in the late 19th century were that the Western territories led the way in women’s suffrage. This was because women were heavily outnumbered out West and as a result they tended to get a lot of special treatment. So they were introducing wider and wider votes for women in the late 1880s and 1890s.

              I don’t know there was any split on how men and women thought about all this. I believe that was manufactured by feminism as part of the sex war. That women’s lack of vote was “oppression” and seen as such. It was not. Of all the demands of the first feminist conference at Seneca Falls in 1848 only one demand failed to pass unanimously and that was the demand for the vote. Ironically women became political to oppose the vote that they said would make them political. Anti-vote women’s groups lobbied Congress.

            • I remember reading a great deal of the opposition was that women feared being drafted if they had the right to vote.

              There was a view of seeing the two connected (the ultimate civic right and ultimate civic responsibility).

            • DavidByron says:

              Hm. Needed to be 21 to vote back then. They didn’t have a regular draft but eg in the Civil War they drafted from 18 — before a man could vote. Can’t imagine anyone saying women ought to fight back in those days.

        • Julia,
          It seems you’re predisposed to assume women have it worse in third world countries and to give feminist organizations that steer help to women the benefit of the doubt.

          However, this is demonstrably not the case when it comes to systemic male on male rape in Africa as a system of warfare, humiliation and torture for captured prisoners.

          There was either an article posted, or a comment posted on an article about rape that clearly showed that feminist-minded anti-rape help organizations were minimalizing and denying the size of the problem for men, because they did not want to split their budget.

          This is what happens when we give these aids organizations the benefit of the doubt.

          The World Food Program sent thousands of tons of rice and wheat to haiti during the earthquake. However, to get your 50lb bag of food, you had to redeem your ticket. And only women were given tickets.

          The World Food Program PR people stated various reasons for this, but this isn’t equality or even very humanitarian. If a man works 50 miles from home and can’t get home, how is he supposed to eat? If he can’t find loved ones, or his wife is dead how is he supposed to eat?

          While many feminists organizations talk the talk about being for equality, their actions speak something entirely different.

    • DavidByron says:

      When you look at these other countries what you find is that for any abuses women suffer under there’s often worse things happening to men in those countries. But you never hear about anything bad happening to men because the media is institutionally discriminating against men.

      FGM is an example. Have you ever heard anything about the stuff men have to go through in their coming of age ceremonies? Very often it involves an awful lot of pain or danger. And then there’s the universal woman’s advantage over men which I just mentioned. Only women get their problems addressed so while FGM is outlawed, harm done to men is often championed.

      http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~rfrey/220aboriginal_passage.htm

      • If FGM exists so does male circumcision.

        • and in the west even a pinprick of the hood of the clitoris is illegal, whereas a parent can merrily have the hood of the infant’s penis completely cut off.

          i dont support either practice. and the hypocrisy regarding mgm in the west, hasnt gone unnoticed by those that practice fgm either

          • “i dont support either practice. and the hypocrisy regarding mgm in the west, hasnt gone unnoticed by those that practice fgm either”

            Are you kidding? It’s their primary justification for continuing their practice and treating attempts to end it as invasive colonialism.

      • David says:
        “When you look at these other countries what you find is that for any abuses women suffer under there’s often worse things happening to men in those countries. But you never hear about anything bad happening to men because the media is institutionally discriminating against men.”

        Correct.
        Look at how the west still continues to blackout press stories about the Serbs killing as many men as they could find (combatant or not) of the muslims:
        ht tp://www.gendercide.org/case_bosnia.ht ml

        About the only stories you’ll find in the west about Bosnia is to say women are seizing power YEA! (but they leave out that it is because there was a mass extermination of men).

        Whenever the cameras show women and children refugees forced to flee a battle-torn area, they don’t talk about the men who are forced to stay behind to die.

    • “Isn’t this ethnocentric? To ignore the undeniable and dangerous sexism that still occurs outside of North America and Western European countries?”

      And what is the option? To be colonialistic and to assume we have right to intervene and correct those societies? That was the whole theoretical basis of the Ne-Conservative movement and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact the plight of Afghan women was one of the selling points for that invasion – cheap, manipulative trick. (And yes that is a false choice, yes they are our flesh and blood too, but it has to be addressed and transcended)

      Besides, as the saying goes, get your own house in order first. I have to say, when Western women who care more about non-Western woemn than about Western men, I have yet to see and evidence that it’s because they really care so much about non-Western women, just that they care more in comparison.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “A couple posters that have responded to me have mentioned how things for women have changed significantly for the better. While this may be true in North America and Western European countries, the situation for girls and women in other countries are still dire.”

      Are you suggesting that because things are still dire in other coutries, things for men in western countries should remain dire? Are you suggesting that because some women get stoned in the middle east, that feminists in western nations should be able to demand and receieve even more funding and attention for abuse in the west, where all DV funding goes to women, and thre are laws the turn DV into a weapon against men for any woman willing to use it? Think for a moment, imagine (do so in the hypothetical if it helps) that men in the west are falling towards the level of oppression women in the middle east are at… should the issues of those men in the west justify ignoring or creating laws that harm those women in the middle east? So why then should we be expected to ignore the issues of men in the west just because women elsewhere don’t have it as good as our women?

      “I don’t know how sexism is moving in the opposite direction ( as other poster informed me) when there are still countries where girls are subjected to FGM. Isn’t this ethnocentric?”

      Because sexism isn’t a singular entity that can only look in one direction. It can affect both men and women simultaniously, it can be more dominante against women in one area of the world, and more dominante against men in other parts of the world. It can target women in some ways (employment) while targeting men in others (family) all in the same part of the world, at the same time. So to focus on it as a single entity, and only acknowledge it’s effects on a single gender, well, that is itself sexist, and it will only do more harm to everyone.

      “To ignore the undeniable and dangerous sexism that still occurs outside of North America and Western European countries?”

      Who’s ignoring it? Saying men are treated unfairingly in western family courts says nothing one way or the other about sexism outside the west. it doesn’t deny it exists. it doesn’t support it. It doesn’t defer funding used to address it. It is completely and entirely seperate. So why then should we ignore the undeniable and dangerous sexism that now occurs inside of North America and Western European countries?

    • “I don’t know how sexism is moving in the opposite direction ( as other poster informed me) when there are still countries where girls are subjected to FGM.”

      Julia,

      I’m an MRA. There is a huge amount of anti-misandry (anti-male) laws, behavior, etc for us to deal with here full-time that we experience in our everyday lives within our own society and culture. While there are foreign countries where there is misogyny and FGM, that doesn’t mean that misandry doesn’t occur in the West and is the dominant gender theme. Feminists attempts include foreign issues and stats essentially seems to be a white-washing not to bother to take note of domestic misandry.

    • John Anderson says:

      There are a couple things. The MRM is relatively new compared to feminism. People will stick to things that they know and there is little credible information coming out of these countries. Female sexual predation and female perpetrated domestic violence wasn’t even considered possible 10 or 15 years ago. People in western developed countries still spew the misinformation that men commit the overwhelming proportion of DV even though the CDC for years has published statistics to the contrary.

      People assumed there was no DV or female sexual abuse of males in the West. They were wrong. People assume there is no DV or female perpetrated abuse of males in developing countries. Are they that dissimilar to us? For example, you mention FMG. I don’t know of any country where it is not illegal. What countries have banned male infant circumcision? I know you’ll say there is a difference in severity and you’re right. About 2 years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics considered allowing a ritualistic prick of the vagina. The trauma to the vagina would be significantly less to the trauma to the penis in a male circumcision and the effects would not be permanent like in male circumcision. Under heavy feminist pressure, the AAP backed off.

      http://www.bellytales.com/2010/05/11/aap-suggests-possibility-of-ritual-nick-in-place-of-fgc/

      With feminists it’s never the victimization or level of victimization that is the issue. It is the gender of the victim and victimizer that is the issue. The AAP is not the first group to back down from feminist pressure. The mass media continues to spread disinformation concerning the levels of DV and female perpetrated sexual violence in the US. MRAs naturally don’t trust the information coming out of those developing countries and so we don’t focus on them.

    • Most MRAs I’ve talked to take the “clean up your own backyard” point-of-view when it comes to gender issues worldwide.

      I happen to agree that any societal structural change must come from within.

  25. Why we need male rights and awareness.
    ht tp://jezebel.com/294383/have-you-ever-beat-up-a-boyfriend-cause-uh-we-have?tag=gossipdomesticdisturbances
    Just one link of course, there are plenty to find though.

    “Another editor slapped a guy when “he told me he thought he had breast cancer.” (Okay, that one made us laugh really hard.)”
    An editor, at a large feminist site, doesn’t he/she realize that men actually do get breast cancer? Have a read of the comments, they’re real gems…they discuss their physical violence by females towards males with no remorse in plenty of those comments, quite a few feel it’s deserved!

    Google the video for “The Talk Catherine Kieu ” and if you find it you’ll see a popular daytime TV show say something outrageously misandrist, and have an audience of women laugh. They laugh about male genital mutilation “Can you imagine that thing whizzing around a garbage disposal, ha ha ha”. The apology from the hosts also left a lot to be desired…

    We need people to speak out on misandry AND misogyny, neither is acceptable!

    • Yep that jezebel thread should be the gold standard for sexism.

      If anyone can point me to an article or blog post in which MRAs (not fringe, or at least no more ‘fringe’ then Jezebel is) have applauded committing DV against their partners, then we can start talking about the misandry among feminists equalling the misogyny amongst MRAs.

    • ThursdayFae says:

      Reading that article (and even more of the comments) made me a little sick. I have an ex who was the victim of DV at the hands of one of his first girlfriends (she broke his arm, she sexually assaulted him, and more). I learnt quickly that ANYTHING remotely resembling violence was enough to trigger him and shut him down. I grew up as ‘one of the boys,’ and I tend to be pretty physical with my friends when it comes to rough-housing–I’ve hit my exes before in the context of goofing off, never in the context of anger or violence. But even a playful slug to the arm was sometimes enough to flip him like a switch, and I had to learn to be careful around him. It really opened my eyes to how much my current beau has adjusted when it comes to modifying his behaviour to accommodate my own psychological triggers. It is never okay to resort to violence in domestic situations. I would go further to say that it’s not right to resort to violence at all as an appropriate response to anger.

      The sheer amount of cavalier misandry on that article and the comments is disgusting, and it’s the acceptability of such behaviour that makes it even harder to get people to see that men deserve just as much attention and support (and protection and funding) as women do when it comes to being a victim. (I guarantee that had a girl shown up in the ER with the kind of injuries my ex had at the hands of that woman, over that amount of time, law enforcement would have been notified. As it stood, even him stating that she had assaulted him was ignored.)

    • Man, that Catherine Kieu thing literally made me throw up the first time I saw it. The best part? Sharon Osbourne wasn’t disciplined at all for the comment. she took a “leave of absence” from the show, and is (last I looked anyway) back hosting it.

      The dean of Princeton can get fired and essentially blacklisted for even suggesting that the reason more women aren’t in STEM fields is because maybe they choose not to, and Sharon Osbourne can laugh gleefully at the grievous bodily injury of a man she doesn’t even know, on national television and she is essentially rewarded for it.

      THAT is the world we live in gents. “Privileged” my butt.

  26. FunnyFaceKing says:

    This originally appeared on Owning Your Shit, not Own Your Shit, and it appeared 8 months ago.

    GoodMenProject is not good at making it clear that GirlWritesWhat does not work for them.

    [Ed. note: Thank you for pointing out our error on the title of GWW’s blog. It is corrected now.]

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Hi FunnyFaceKing,

      In regards to this point of yours “GoodMenProject is not good at making it clear that GirlWritesWhat does not work for them.”

      None of our contributors “works” for us. We are a community site. We have two employees, and 400 people who contribute posts. We run on average, 8-10 posts a day, and about 20% of our posts have appeared elsewhere. Posts that are originally written for us run elsewhere after they run here all the time. We do exactly this all the time. Can you explain why this would matter to you?

      thanks,
      Lisa (publisher)

  27. I’m glad to see a reasonable woman recognizing the challenges that men face, but there is one thing mentioned here that is a favorite of feminists everywhere that deserves to be address. The myth that women are doing unpaid labor at home when they dont work. This is a less honest statement given a woman who does not contribute to family income is being paid by the fact that they receive free room and board and the costs of raising a child. If you want to determine what woman is paid that does not work, divide ALL household expenses by 2 ( assuming equal financial contribution) and that nets out to the minimum amount a woman who stays home is paid. In many many cases, those expenses, that in an egalatarian household would be split equally, are far more than the woman may have expected to afford if she did not stay home.

    • ThursdayFae says:

      To clarify, are you taking issue with GWW’s comment that the domestic labour she performed as a stay-at-home mum has value (perhaps thinking the statement of having value implied that it should be paid?), or are you pointing out that more generally, it is a flawed argument that women claim they should be paid for the work they do as stay-at-home mums?

      • I certainly believe domestic labor has value. I am taking exception with labeling it unpaid. Any adult that has a house to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, and all of their child rearing costs paid for by someone else and then turns around to claim that their contribution is unpaid is…..well, entitled.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          That may be true, but it is not currency that can be saved and spent at the store, hotel, for gasoline etc. The benefit of paid employment is that the employee has access to cash flow, savings, health benefits and SS accrual. A house, unless owned by the person living it (which in this case may or may not be the point and in cases of joint ownership obviously would entail both parties agreeing on a sale) is not useful as liquid currency.

          • I dont disagree with some of what you say, but my point remains….it is false to argue that a stay at home mom’s contribution is unpaid.

          • Mark Neil says:

            “The benefit of paid employment is that the employee has access to cash flow, savings, health benefits and SS accrual.”

            Re: Disposable income. You are making three presumptions; 1: that the family income even provides for disposable income/savings. I know several families that live pay check to pay check, and have very little disposable income, even with two household salaries. 2: That it is the breadwinner that controls the finances. My brother works full time, yet he never see’s his pay check. It goes directly into a joint account which his wife controls and budgets. 3: That none of the stay at home parent doesn’t have access to that disposable income.

            Ultimately you mistake is in presuming “only they who earns the money may spend the money” and that just isn’t true. Yes, it’s possible that the breadwinner may deny any access to money of the SaHParent, but under current laws, that’s deemed domestic abuse. You can’t honestly list being the victim of a crime as a limitation of the SaHP. Not to mention, again, I know a lot of people WITH jobs that don’t have much/any disposable income.

            Re: Health insurance. Does it really matter who earns the health benefits, so long as the entire family is covered? If the breadwinner is earning health benefits, they are doing so for the entire family, which includes the SaHP. This means the SaHP is also getting medical for their efforts.

            Re: SS Accrual. This is the only legitimate issue, sorta (in that they should lose any accrual from before they stopped working, and if they choose to work again, will begin accruing from where they left off).

            The fact of the matter is, the SaHP will have access to some disposable income, which, in conjunction with the effective room and board hotrod noted, as well as the health benefits as listed above, they come off pretty well compensated for the benefit to stay at home and raise their children full time.

        • ThursdayFae says:

          Thanks for the clarification. I agree with Julie about the difference between being paid essentially in ‘goods and services’ rather than cash, and I also agree that having the ability to be a stay-at-home parent is ‘paid’ in that sense.

          What I’ve seen (partly from the discussions that have happened on this thread, and other places where the same topic is addressed) is that there is a disconnect somewhere, sometimes on the side of the partner who works outside the home (in an ‘I do all the work and you spend all my money’ sort of attitude), and sometimes with the stay-at-home parent (in an ‘I do all this work and it’s not even acknowledged’ sort of attitude). The disconnect is that neither side is recognizing what they HAVE and what they’re being GIVEN, i.e. the working parent has childcare and child-rearing ‘services’ that do not cost anything extra that isn’t already being paid (house, food, etc.), and the stay-at-home parent is being supported financially. But when one side sees the other as only take and not giving (the parent who does ‘all the work’ vs. the parent who ‘earns the all the money’), that’s where the argument arises. It is wrong for one party to claim to be the only one contributing, and it seems that the conflict is either a disbelief that the contributions are equal (is the domestic labour ‘worth’ half the household income?), or a refusal to acknowledge that both sides are contributing (e.g. ‘All my partner does is sit around at home doing nothing and spending my money.’).

          So I would argue that fixing that disconnect would be the first step.

          • Hey TF,
            Not to nitpick but when you say this here:

            “The disconnect is that neither side is recognizing what they HAVE and what they’re being GIVEN, i.e. the working parent has childcare and child-rearing ‘services’ that do not cost anything extra that isn’t already being paid (house, food, etc.)”

            I agree with you that both sides are refusing to see things from the other’s perspectives.
            Where I have a disagreement, is: why would a stay at home parent expect to be reimbursed for their choice?
            Let’s be honest. The lesser wage earner (or non-wage earner) who takes care of the kids is not taking care of ANOTHER family’s kids. He or she is taking care of THEIR OWN KIDS.

            This is a lot less drudgery than just random child care. In most surveys I have seen almost all working mothers state they would prefer to be full-time stay at home moms IF THE FINANCES PERMITTED.

            This is one of the reasons Glenn Sacks got into the father’s rights movement. He was a stay at home dad for about five years, and has specifically stated that those 5 years were the best time of his life.

            I agree about the lack of seeing things from the other perspective from both parties, but there seems to be this particular drive among feminists to paint domestic care as the worst oppression since the exodus. This is simply a gross purposeful exaggeration.

            Caring for SOMEBODY ELSE’S kids is drudgery. Caring and bonding with your own kids is a joy and privilege.
            I wish everybody could at least be honest about this one fact.

            • ThursdayFae says:

              I completely agree. And it puzzled me when I first started coming across persons who were making a big fuss about paid vs. unpaid labour with regard to child-rearing. I know my own mother, for example, would have loved to have been able to stay at home with my brothers and me. As things happened, both my parents worked full time through my entire childhood. I don’t agree with the idea that the work that stay-at-home parents put into rearing their children is ‘unpaid.’ I think that in some cases (many that I’ve seen), it’s under-appreciated, but it’s not without definite compensation–the compensation is just not as easy to quantify (i.e. $X for X hours work).

              The point I was making was that the cause of this conflict (the battle over the worth or value of the work a stay-at-home parent does) is that there seems to be a disconnect on both sides. If both sides can be seen as producing value and contributing to the overall effort of having a family, if both sides are appreciated for what they DO contribute, then I think such conflicts (and the resentment they can incur) would be greatly lessened.

            • Family is like team where there is no “me”, but only “we.” Both partners are working for the welfare of the family. It is for the partners themselves to decide who will do what. In a family there are no paid or unpaid work, there is only family work and family money.

          • Richard Aubrey says:

            This presumes that the wage-earner (generally a patriarchal oppressing male in this area of discussion) keeps the money and gives his oppressed, suppressed, repressed and depressed wife a house to live in and crumbs to eat.
            In fact, he puts the money in the bank and they have a joint account which, frequently, is run by the wife–more unpaid labor–to pay the bills and keep things current.
            Stereotypes and myths run into reality from time to time and usually discredit the argument based on them.

          • “The disconnect is that neither side is recognizing what they HAVE and what they’re being GIVEN, i.e. the working parent has childcare and child-rearing ‘services’ that do not cost anything extra that isn’t already being paid (house, food, etc.), and the stay-at-home parent is being supported financially.”
            There is a cost…..and that’s the cost of the stay at home parent not working..ie whatever their income was. That is an additional cost that both spouses share.

            But when one side sees the other as only take and not giving (the parent who does ‘all the work’ vs. the parent who ‘earns the all the money’), that’s where the argument arises. It is wrong for one party to claim to be the only one contributing, and it seems that the conflict is either a disbelief that the contributions are equal (is the domestic labour ‘worth’ half the household income?), or a refusal to acknowledge that both sides are contributing (e.g. ‘All my partner does is sit around at home doing nothing and spending my money.’).

            I dont really care to get into the details of bickering spouses, but do I think that domestic labour is worth half of the household income ? I would say yes until you get into household incomes > ~150-200K. After that I dont think any stay at home spouse can argue their work is worth over 100K a year.

            • ThursdayFae says:

              Based on what GWW said about her experience as a stay-at-home mum, I would probably disagree on the monetary issue, but that’s more personal. I think that hard labour (‘unskilled’ as it is often called) is woefully underpaid compared to white-collar executive jobs. Yes, a job that pays $200k a year is probably stressful, but it’s probably no more stressful than doing house maintenance, or balancing a household budget, or wrangling 3 or 4 unruly children (my parents had 3 ambulatory children under the age of 5 at one point–I can’t imagine having to keep track of just one!). I know people that make 3x as much as I do, and do much less actual work. So stating that household work isn’t worth $X (where X is half of the earned income of the spouse who works outside the home) is to say categorically that the working spouse works harder than the stay-at-home spouse. That’s not always the case. (The image that sprang to mind to compare to the image conjured by GWW describing her experience was that of a friend of mine who makes >$100k selling things online. He sits at his desk at his office waiting for people to click on his website, and occasionally fields phone calls or emails. And I’d say the work of raising several children is much more strenuous, and ultimately more valuable than that, so if his work is valued at $100k/yr, then hers is certainly at least worth $75k.)

            • ThursdayFae says:

              Ack, that should read $150k, as $75; is clearly half of $150k.

            • I definitely think it’s difficult to put a dollar value on domestic work.

              For one, if you were to pay a fair market wage, you’d have to pay “on call” work (like I’m doing now, while largely letting the dog hair pile up and the kids amuse themselves) differently from “active work”. You’d also have to deduct not only all of the woman’s individual expenses from that (food, hair and body care, her share of the utilities, clothing, shoes, car and insurance, gas, all of that), but you’d have to deduct 50% of all the children’s care and needs (including from her own pay, since they’re 50% her kids too). Then you’d have to “pay” the father for any work he does domestically–home, yard and vehicle maintenance (50% for community property, and 100% for anything he does that only benefits her, such as filling the washer fluid on her car), and 50% of any time HE puts in changing diapers or bathing the kids or cooking a meal).

              Given that, I know I’d have been in the black, even as a SAHM. In fact, I’m almost positive that with the reno work I did, and my very tiny personal expenses, I’d have probably “earned” more than my husband did. But for most women? Not so much.

              And if you did fix a monetary value on it…well, I’d be paying my ex alimony, because my “earnings” would likely be higher than his were. Most women would earn MUCH less than their husbands, though, and if you fixed that contribution onto things like share of marital assets, and required fair compensation between spouses, I think a LOT of women would have a bill to pay their ex at divorce time.

            • You can argue domestic labor should be valued differently, but the reality is, we know quite well how much domestic labor is worth in the marketplace.

    • Domestic labor has value. My issue with some of the statements made by very angry commenters on MRM sites was that because she did not earn income, she should leave the marriage with nothing. No share of the assets, because he paid for all of them.

      While I do know many women who are…atrociously entitled stay-at-homers (partly because they can get away with it), when I was a SAHM, the only “work” my ex ever had to do at home was play with or spend time with the kids. He never even had to check the oil or cut the grass, install a light fixture or repair a doorknob, paint a room or pour concrete for fenceposts. I did all that. Hell, I added $50k value to the house with about an $8k investment and my own sweat–while cooking from scratch, using cloth diapers, breastfeeding, cutting everyone’s hair, refinishing rescued furniture, sewing my kids’ clothes and keeping the house clean. I was a busy woman, like my mom and grandmother were.

      I was a far cry from the ex of a man I dated, who somehow had him convinced that after coming home from his 12-hour-between-work-and-commute day earning about $200k/year, it was “only fair” that he do half the housework and his own laundry.

      Now her, I can see leaving her marriage without a share of the assets because all she seemed to be was a leech of the first order. But not all wives are like that, even when they stay home.

  28. Listen to GIRLWRITESWHAT.
    The MRM is about equality, true equality in it’s purest sense.
    Not special rights and privilages based on one’s sexual organs.
    “EQUAL protection under the law”
    Not “more equal than” men, special protection for women.
    The MRM are the only true feminists fighting for real equality.
    Feminists fight for supremacy and disenfranchisment of the male.
    MRM holds that men and women are EQUAL in value to society.

    • “The MRM are the only true feminists fighting for real equality.”??????????

      Is that a Typo or something else?

      • Feminism claims to be about equality, but in practice it seems to be a very different beast, at least the upper tiers of it where all the lobbying and advocacy seems to stem from.

        If feminism is only about equality, then MRAs are feminists, and feminists (at least in practice) are not.

    • F&F has a recent post up showing that they successfully got a soldier mom her custody back (while undertaking her legal defense) after dad used her deployment to try and change custody status (which happens to many soldier dads).

      When has NOW ever advocated for the parental rights of a father, by footing the legal bills?

      NOW paid the legal bills of Lorenna Bobbit for pity’s sake.

      • Mark Neil says:

        Slight correction, they provided valuable legal advice, information and resources in order to win an appeal that overturned a custody arrangement that denied the mother due to her deployment, etc and will return the custody battle to the jurisdiction it should have been in the first place. She still hasn’t yet won custody back, unless something has happened in the last day or so.

        Your point still stands though, just clearing up the details as I understand them.

    • “The MRM are the only true feminists fighting for real equality.”

      There is very little evidence that the MRM are fighting for anyone but themselves.

      • “There is very little evidence that the MRM are fighting for anyone but themselves”.

        Who are the feminists fighting for besides that select small percentage of elitist women that are happy with their lives exclusively because of feminism? Are most women (and children) better off now, happier, more fulfilled, and secure in today’s America? There is a huge amount of evidence (need to open your eyes) that MRAs are fighting for their children, justice, and a decent society.

      • John Anderson says:

        It may appear that the MRM is only fighting for themselves, but that is because at least in the US, it is men who face the bulk of systematic injustice. Look at

        The gendered rape definition that doesn’t count the majority of female perpetrated rapes.

        The lack of social services for men most of which is funded at least in part with government grants, which would make it illegal for them to discriminate in services, so why no shelters for men?

        Women make up 57$ of college undergraduates and 87% of nursing school students. Graduate from nursing school in higher proportion to males due partly because of systematic bias. Over 40% of male nurses reported discrimination from nursing faculty or staff while in nursing school and almost 90% of all nurses reported hearing anti-male comments in the classroom.

        Men are denied access to same gender care which is afforded in the patient’s bill of rights because iof the absence of male nurses as noted above partly contributing to them failing to seek medical care and partly resulting in them dying 7 years earlier than women.

        Look at health care spending, criminal sentencing, family court (as mentioned in this article). All these favor women. Women have the right to vote. Men have the privilege of voting if they sign up for selective service.

        It’s legal to circumcise infant boys, but not girls.

        State one right that men have that women don’t. If it looks like the MRM is only fighting for men, it’s because most injustice is being perpetrated against men at least in the US and fighting for equality means fighting for everyone’s equality, even men’s.

  29. The Bad Man says:

    I just want to thank the GMP for featuring GWW and GWW for being able to look past the pain and anger really understand and empathize with men. Great comment thread, love Typhonblue too.

    I just want to make a point of contention about how serious discussions about social problems get sidetracked/derailed with very personal and specific examples. This isn’t the victim olympics and everyone has their own experiences. Personal politics don’t make good social policy.

  30. Well we went from an article about a woman who writes for mens rights to comments right off track about implementing feminism in foreign lands that the authors have no idea bout the culture there.

    In other words,a derailment away from the authors topic.

    Good job GWW,and thanks for sharing your background story,it makes your support all the more valuable.

    The only more I could add would be that men need the restoration of due legal process in the US and other Western countries.

    The women have due legal process,and free at that.
    So why are they always fighting for more,and denying men,and insisting on remaining “feminists” when that group is the ones that petitioned to take away mens rights?

    Is it total obfuscation?
    And why?
    Malice?

    • ThursdayFae says:

      I would posit that perhaps *some* feminists don’t see themselves as taking away the rights of men. In that sense, they would be misguided in continuing to support policies and actions that elevate women at the expense of men.

      I think that there IS deliberate obfuscation on the part of some of the feminist movement because it’s easier to say, ‘Society owes me this because I’m a woman,’ than to say, ‘Not all men are to blame for the broken system, and I should work WITH them to fix the system.’ Many aren’t interested in equality, they’re interested in what the movement can give THEM. That sort of sense of entitlement isn’t necessarily malice, but it is selfish and exclusionary.

      And yes, there are some openly misandristic feminists who paint all men with the same brush of being patriarchal, misogynistic (irony!), oppressive, egomaniacal (again, irony!), rapacious, and basically to blame for all their problems. Those attacks on men and masculinity can be deemed malicious. They’re deliberately trying to tear men down, and they use men as the scapegoat for all their personal problems, and for all of society’s problems. THAT is the sort of thing that I feel GWW’s writing addresses: owning your shit means you can’t blame other people for your own problems. That’s what it means to be an adult, and it is a vital step toward ending the ongoing attacks on both sides of the fence, be they Feminist or MRM.

      • TF says:

        “I would posit that perhaps *some* feminists don’t see themselves as taking away the rights of men. In that sense, they would be misguided in continuing to support policies and actions that elevate women at the expense of men.”

        I agree TF. I think the vast majority of women who are rank and file feminists are of good heart and only want what is best for all.
        The problem is those at the top who promulgate the view with intense propaganda that women are the worst off in almost every sphere of life. They also try to censure and/or attack anybody who questions their bible of female victimhood.

        Look at how the famous researchers Gelles and Strauss who found 1 woman was abused every 15.5 seconds have been banned from reauthorization hearings of VAWA and other IPV conferences–the reason being that their research shows women attack and exert coercive control/threats as much as men do (and they shifted to advocating gender-neutral solutions).

        Look at how radical feminists attacked Erin Prizzey who started the first abused shelter in the UK. Erin stated that women were as abusive as men and intended to open her shelter doors to men. Radical feminists made bomb threats and threats to her family, and essentially kicked her out of her own shelter movement and made it into a female only industry.

        While waiting in the halls of congress Daddy Justice was outside of the room VAWA reauthorization hearings were being conducted. He hoped to get Dr. Phil McGraw on tape and ask him why he was giving erroneous testimony on VAWA that IPV is a female-only problem.

        A CEO of a DV organization PHYSICALLY ATTACKED HIM.

        Things are changing at a glacier pace. I think the best chance for men right now lies with F&F. They are doing good work. They are polite but determined. They are starting to get wealthy donors to the cause and lots of face-time with important politicians.

        • Mark Neil says:

          I think the best chance for men right now lies with F&F. They are doing good work. They are polite but determined. They are starting to get wealthy donors to the cause and lots of face-time with important politicians.”

          Agreed. I have a great deal of respect for F&F

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. @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^)

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.’ :)

  37. 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

  38. Running Elk says:

    I am an egalitarian feminist and I believe that the same prejudice that oppresses women also oppresses men. They are the same beast. How can you define a woman’s role without also defining a man’s role? That’s the problem.

    This article was pretty thought provoking until you used the term “sexual marketplace”, however. That is an extreme misigynist concept that states that a persons worth is based on their sexual market value, which is in turn based on a woman’s looks (and little else) and a mans ability to manipulate women by preying on thier insecurities. When typed into google, it brings up ROK, a horrible site; embodying the opposite of a ‘good man’. To me that powerful terminology somewhat discredits your whole article and somewhat even this site. It’s a very powerfully misogynist concept to shoehorn into an article where you argue moderation and logic as your source of credibility. It turned me from agreeing with you to being extremely wary, only reluctantly finishing the article. It made me wary as to if you are even who you say you are in the article. I know many women buy into the “sexual market value” shit, but it absolutely baffles me to put yourself in that position of objectivity. It blows my mind. If you are a woman who subscribes to that, you’re hardly moderate. Don’t belive me? Look up Rooshv, ROK, or cheatauhartiste. If you’re some grain of egalitarian, thier discussions it dating market value or sexual market value will make you vomit. The dating market value quiz on chateauheartiste judges women like dogs at a dog show in a very condescending tone, and advises men to be sociopaths and that being too intelligent is a detriment. Shoot for the stars, guys.

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  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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