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Reno calls a domestic violence hotline: The MRA Reality Distortion Field in action [UPDATED with transcript]

phoneman

Today, a fascinating – and infuriating – case study in how Men’s Rights Activists twist reality around in order to fit their peculiar ideology. Obviously, they do this all the time, but it’s hard to find a clearer example of the MRA Reality Distortion field in action than the video I’ve pasted in below from A Voice for Men.

The video features a recording of one of AVFM’s regular commenters calling a domestic violence hotline, pretending to be a man named “Reno” who has been abused by his wife. In reality, Reno is Ian Williams, a puckish Australian who has made himself AVFM’s go-to guy for prank calls; you can find several other prank calls from him on his AVFM contributor page.

Here’s what Williams, who also goes by the pseudonym Dr. F,  has to say about the call:

If you’re a man and you are a victim of violence from your partner you may face difficulties finding help. Don’t listen to me, here’s the guy himself who called. His name is Reno.

Reno calls a battered women’s shelter and is denied help.

He is denied help, even though he tells the person on the other end of the phone that he is worried his wife will return with a cricket bat.

That sounds pretty damning, and, in the comments, the regulars at AVFM responded with predictable outrage.

“No concern for a beaten man or a boy that could also be a victim and, only able to help(willing) women,” wrote Raven01. “It makes the hate filled ideology apparent to all.”

“[Go] feminism- the humanitarian justice movement brought to you by the modern KKK!” Perseus added. “Sieg Heil, cunts!”

Not one of them seemed to care that everything Williams says about the phone call is false. “Reno” was offered help many times. He was the one who refused it.

If you listen to the call, here’s what you’ll find:

Williams, pretending to be “Reno,” called a Domestic Violence counseling line, not a battered women’s shelter. He told the counselor he’d been attacked by his wife and that he needed a place to go. The counselor explained to him that he’d called a counseling line and that she personally couldn’t arrange for shelter, but that if he called the men’s help line, they could arrange for him and his 6-year-old son to get free hotel accommodations at a location unknown to his wife. The counselor offered several times to connect him directly to the men’s help line.

Williams also told the counselor that he was thinking of calling the police. She told him she could connect him directly to the police, and would be happy to explain his situation to them and to make sure he reached an officer who specializes in domestic violence.

Ignoring  all her offers to assist him in getting shelter and further help, Williams insisted that he wanted to be housed in a battered woman’s shelter instead. The counselor, naturally, was puzzled by this strange insistence on his part, and explained to him again that he could get free shelter at a local hotel for as long as he needed. She again offered to connect him directly to someone who could get him immediate help.

Having refused all of her offers of assistance, Reno abruptly ended the call — to the obvious distress of the counselor, who despite the patent weirdness of  his behavior on the call had been patiently trying her best to get “Reno” the help he claimed he needed. (I suspect she sensed that his story was phony, but tried to help anyway in case it was true.)

Listen to the call yourself. It’s utterly surreal. What’s even more surreal is that Williams would make the bald claim that he had been “denied help” — and then put up a recording that clearly reveals that this claim is complete and utter bullshit. And I can’t tell if he’s lying or delusional.

That’s always the question with MRAs, isn’t it?

EDITED TO ADD: A commenter here has prepared a rough transcript of the call. There are a few moments where it was impossible to figure out a word or two, but otherwise this seems to pretty accurately match my memory of the call, which I’ve listened to several times. Let me know if I need to make any corrections.

Recorded message:
Family Violence Counseling Line. Please note for training and quality improvement purposes only, your call may be monitored. If you do not want your call to be monitored, please let the counselor know. If you wish to listen to ? regarding our privacy policy if you are already speaking to a counselor press one now, otherwise hold on the line for next available counselor.

[Ringing sound]

Counselor: Hello, this is *redacted* speaking, how can I help you?

“Reno”: Oh, hello. I um, was speaking to someone a short while ago called Maria,

Counselor: Uh huh…

“Reno”: And, and my name is Reno. And, um…

Counselor: Uh huh…

“Reno”: I was explaining, I was explaining to her that my, my wife, uh, is violent towards me with a cricket bat and other things.

Counselor: Mmhmm…

“Reno”: And, uh, she gave me a phone number to call, and uh…

Counselor: Mmhmm…

“Reno”: I called them and um…

Counselor: A phone number for what?

“Reno”: Uh… Uh, it was to help, it was a, um… Pardon me, it was 1-800-015-188. It was a…

Counselor: I don’t know what that number is, so what is it for?

“Reno”: Uh, it’s a helpli-, it’s a possible, it’s a place where they might be able to tell me where I can get some shelter for the night. But there’s none of the… DV places ? are gonna help me, because I’m a man, you see.

Counselor: Have you called the men’s line? ‘Cause they’re the ones who specialize in, because in Australia unfortunately most of the, um… Services. Well not unfortunately, fortunately though, most of the services are for women, because 95% of domestic violence is perpetrated by men. So that’s why they don’t really have um… They don’t really have… So many refuges for wom-, for men. They do have places where men can go, but they’re normally um, like overnight men’s, um, places, like… Which state are you in?

“Reno”: Victoria.

Counselor: Victoria. I don’t know the ones in Victoria but there’s quite a few, for example, in Sydney um, that provide um, overnight accommodation but they don’t call them refuges as such because um… It’s the different situation only for women ’cause often they’re, well normally they’re fleeing with children. So um, normally the men’s ones aren’t, they’re not called refuges, they’re called like, a men’s hostel or an overnight, um, men’s overnight um, shelter, or they’ll call them different names but they don’t call them refuges. So, um, if you’re looking for men’s refuge that’s probably not in existence, but there are a lot of men’s shelters.

“Reno”: Will they take me and my boy?

Counselor: If you’ve got a child, um, they’ll probably prioritize you, I would say. Um, have you rung men’s line? Because they’re the ones who really have this type of information, um because they specialize in helping men. While general lines, like, we’re a counseling line, so we don’t actually have access to phone numbers for, um, directly for refuges. We can connect you to the refuge line. How old’s your, how old’s your son?

“Reno”: Six.

Counselor: How old?

“Reno”: He’s six.

Counselor: He’s six. And where is he right now?

“Reno”: He’s with me. My wife’s gonna be coming home in about three hours, and she’s gonna, she’s gonna beat me.

Counselor: And he, and your son’s not asleep now?

“Reno”: No, he’s with me now.

Counselor: Why isn’t he in bed at 8.40, 8.48 in the-… Sorry Reno, but why is he awake at this time of night?

“Reno”: Because we’re about to just go somewhere, anywhere, out of the house because we just… We’re terrifed. He, we’re ready to go, so. We, we’re ready to go.

Counselor: Reno, this is really concerning me. Is he listening to you as you’re speaking on the phone?

“Reno”: No.

Counselor: Where is he right now?

“Reno”: He’s got some headphones on. He’s watching…

Counselor: What’s he doing?

“Reno”: He’s watching television now, he can’t hear any talk. I made sure of that.

Counselor: Yeah, I’m really concerned that he’s um, awake at this time of night. Um, the other organization that could most likely help you find accommodation and probably would be your best option would be ? Community Services, because they deal especially with children and families in crisis, and so they would definitely keep you together, they would probably actually put you in, normally they pay for a hotel or motel. A men’s shelter wouldn’t be the appropriate place to go with a child, definitely not. So, um, ? they give you, they have a lot of motels and hotels that they deal with, and put they in those instead of accommodation until they can find you permanent accommodation.

“Reno”: Okay.

Counselor: Like, normally they’d pay for a flat or something instead, they wouldnt, they don’t continue to keep you in a, you know, holding pattern in a hotel. Sometimes they make you stay for, like, two weeks in a hotel.

“Reno”: Mm.

Counselor: That would be a good option for you, wouldn’t it?

“Reno”: Yeah. And they wouldn’t let my wife know that, where I’m living? Staying?

Counselor: No, they wouldn’t do that.

“Reno”: ‘Cause she’s really violent. Really violent.

Counselor: They definitely wouldn’t. Um, they definitely wouldn’t let your wife know where you’re staying. I can help you with the phone call. I can introduce you, explain the situation, and see what they can do for you, if you’d like.

“Reno”: Hmm… Possibly, tha-, thank you. I think I might, actually what I might do is call the police now and then see how it goes in there.

Counselor: But your best option is calling the police and then asking to speak to a domestic violence officer.

“Reno”: Okay.

Counselor: They’re the ones that are the most specialized in this, so they deal with this day in and day out, and that’s probably stationed… Are you in area, in an open area? Are you in Melbourne, or are you in a town, or…?

“Reno”: Uh, I’m in Melbourne.

Counselor: Well, if you’re in Melbourne, most Melbourne police stations will have a domestic violence officer, and they specialize in domestic violence, and um, what you can get is to get a detective to come over, or a domestic violence officer, and say that you’d like to um, that you have um, fear of, um, harm of your wife who’s been abusing you. And what they’ll do is, they might um, even try and get an AVO so that she has to move out of the house and you guys can stay in the house.

“Reno”: Mm.

Counselor: They’ll try probably to do that so that you and the child can stay there. Or um, if you move, they’ll um, it would be, that she can’t actually have legal contact with you.

“Reno”: Yeah… No, we have to actually get away from her, we can’t stay here. So there’s nowh-, there’s no um, women’s shelter I could stay in, we could stay in tonight?

Counselor: Well, women’s, women’s shelter’s don’t take men.

“Reno”: They don’t take men.

Counselor: Why don’t you ring men’s lines? They would be able to tell you where you can go. Why don’t you ring the men’s line? Do you want me to connect you through to the men’s line? They deal with men. Men and women’s shelters are two totally different issues. Why do you want to go [to] a women’s shelter?

“Reno”: I just need somewhere where I can just get away from her, somewhere whe-

Counselor: Yeah, but why wouldn’t you, why wouldn’t you wanna go? Why aren’t you accepting this offer that ? will pay for hotel accommodations for you and your son?

“Reno”: Oh, because I…

Counselor: Why do you…

“Reno: Because I need to get out now.

Counselor: Yeah, but they would organize it now, they’ll probably organize someone to come and get you now. People work 24/7.

“Reno”: Oh, okay. I didn’t know what. Okay.

Counselor: ? Services work 24/7, or do you want me to put you through to your local um, police station and explain it to the domestic violence officer so that I can introduce you and explain your situation and see how they can help you?

“Reno”: No, I’ll, I’ll give them a call myself. Okay, thanks.

Counselor: Are you sure?

“Reno”: Absolutely.

Counselor: I’m happy to do it, Reno. I’m very concerned about your son.

“Reno”: No, that, that’s okay. I, I’ll go now.

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greendaywantsavatars
greendaywantsavatars
8 years ago

I can’t know whether or not he’s Pell until he starts calling us females.

katz
8 years ago

Hellkell: *snrk*

Marie
8 years ago

We should ask him if he’s a doctor.

The Purple Star
The Purple Star
8 years ago

Yeah, Purple Star is going straight to fantasizing about hitting women.

lolwut? I don’t even…..

If anyone hits me first, I will hit them back. No matter who or what they are. Idk about you but my religion does not prescribe turning the other cheek. For the record: I am not advocating domestic violence, I am promoting self-defense.

Objective Observer
Objective Observer
8 years ago

I’m sure this isn’t the only time OO has lasted for only three minutes.

Is this what passes as wit here? Attacking new posters with misandrist invective?

David, is this acceptable to you?

cloudiah
8 years ago

hellkell’s even funnier with her new catvatar

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

@The Purple Star:

Self-defense is not retaliation. And you are a terrible person. Both of these things are facts.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

I’m tapping out for the day. I have stuff I gotta do.

If the oh-so-observant one comes back, be sure to call him “sweetheart” for me.

The Purple Star
The Purple Star
8 years ago

False. It is not the abused’s responsibility to prevent abuse. It is the abusers to NOT FUCKING ABUSE PEOPLE.

I’m not disagreeing with you. HOWEVER, you cannot control what other people do! You can only choose how to respond to their behavior. Why is this so hard for you people to understand? Some people just don’t effing have a conscience and telling them that they’re a bad person isn’t going to persuade them to change(even though they certainly are bad people).

Fade
8 years ago

I shall. I’m 99 percent sure my sarcasm didn’t work, anyway. XD

*salutes*

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Ooooooh, Purps is so big and bad. This is big talk from a keyboard warrior.

Like most of these delicate flower MRA wouldn’t curl up like stinkbugs if shit ever got real in their general vicinity.

Fade
8 years ago

… Purple Star, if you’re not disagreeing why do you think the guy would be a sissy if he got beat up by a woman.

It’s the abuser who did the wrong thing. Not him.

So why would you insult him?

Marie
8 years ago

@purple star

funny how you bubs always try to characterize it as a woman hits a man and he hits her right back. Now, hitting is never acceptable, so she shouldn’t be hitting him. But your little prevented fantasies often involve a woman hits a man once and he should beat the shit out of her. Go swallow a lego.

Also, conveniently, I am going to recite what they tell the little kids in the karate classes I go to, just so you’ll understand.
You do not use self defense when you are angry at someone. You do not use it if you get in a fight with a sibling. You use it when you believe your life is in danger and someone is attacking you. If someone hits you, see if you can get the fuck out first. A physical fight is doing noone a favor.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
8 years ago

For the record: I am not advocating domestic violence, I am promoting self-defense.

vs.

However, if he bigger than her(or at the very least the same size), then he is weak for letting a woman slap him around! Anyone with an ounce of self-respect will hit back when someone hits them first. If you don’t, then you’re a Sissy with a capital S.
MRAs have hit a new low with their whining about (domestic)violence against men.

Fuck off you fucking asshole.

Marie
8 years ago

All in favor of ignoring purple star?

TomBcat
8 years ago

If anyone hits me first, I will hit them back. No matter who or what they are. Idk about you but my religion does not prescribe turning the other cheek. For the record: I am not advocating domestic violence, I am promoting self-defense.

And how strong that must make you feel and not at all full of yourself!
Peaceful solutions, the sissiest of all sissy choices!
And then religion. Because religion is the only possible help we have to decide whether or not hurting people is wrong.

I can’t mock you properly, the world you live in is too depressing.

cloudiah
8 years ago

I’m sure this isn’t the only time OO has lasted for only three minutes.

Is this what passes as wit here? Attacking new posters with misandrist invective?

David, is this acceptable to you?

OO, sweetheart, how can we miss you if you won’t go away?

cloudiah
8 years ago

And I mean, seriously, OO/Mr. Al/whoever you are, go away.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

Also, Purple Star, only a very small portion of humanity is sociopathic. A much larger portion are abusers. You know how people with a conscience can be abusive? They convince themselves that they are not being abusive, or the victim deserved it in some way, or that they are in fact the victim.

You want to know how to combat this? Speak out against the rediculous notion that responding to violence with unnecessary violence is not abuse. Speak out against the idea that someone deserves to be beaten up if they are strong enough to fight back but don’t. Speak out and make people aware that the fault for abuse lies with the abuser.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Is this what passes as wit here? Attacking new posters with misandrist invective?

David, is this acceptable to you?

In a word, yes. I’m mocking your misogynist self. If the shoe fits… PRANCE!!!

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

LOL at “misandrist.” That fictitious shit never fails to amuse.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

@hellkell:

We can mock him without enforcing toxic masculinity. It’d be like mocking purple star by saying he’s a pansy. Let’s not drop to that level, k?

Deoridhe
8 years ago

I remain amazed at “Men’s Rights Advocates” who mock victims of abuse who happen to be men. Even more amazing, those who then blame the feminists which take abuse of men seriously for the observable fact that men who are abused are mocked.

You’d think they’d notice the hypocrisy. On the other hand, earlier today I read a sexist fuckwit outright state his male friends would be demeaned if he treated them the way he treated females in his vicinity, but he somehow didn’t see the sexism in treating females differently, so maybe they’re just stupider than I thought possible.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

We’ll amend it to “didn’t last 3 minutes ’cause he got kicked out in disgust” then, k? :p

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

Maybe he had managed to not open his mouth for three minutes (unlikely) or maybe it just took 3 minutes for him to sulkily collect his underwear and socks (likelier.)

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

“didn’t last 3 minutes, because he kept droning on and on about the one objectively correct position and how everything else was false statistics and spin.”

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

OK, fine. It was low hanging fruit and I took the shot.

I’m really fucking tired of always having to take the high road with these assholes, but you’re right Kirby.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

If a woman beat the crap out of a man who was hurting her (not unheard of) the MRM would flip its collective shit so hard it wouldn’t be able to sit for a month.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

Purple Star’s so manly, when he runs into a door he punches it.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

Purple Star’s so manly, if he accidentally hit himself he’d punch himself.
Purple Star’s so manly, if a baby chick bumped him he’d punch it.

I could do this all day. 😀

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

@hellkell:

It’s alright. I have the benefit not having been here for the past half a year. If all the trolls have been like star and observer, I am so, so sorry. *best David Tennent impression*

Marie
8 years ago

Psssh. Punching through doors is for sissies females*. When I want to enter another room, I punch a whole through the wall

*I may be female, but I am the dreaded special snowflake exceptional female! *cackles evilly*

Marie
8 years ago

@bagelsan

I could do this all day. 😀

Please do XD They are amusing.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

They pretty much have been. I’m sorry–it read to me like a bit of a tone argument (which it kind of is and kind of isn’t, but that’s not the point) and my ass just went on my shoulders.

You know the quality of trolls has fallen when you start to miss NWO.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

Pssh, punching through the wall is for weaklings. When I want to enter a room, I punch myself through the wall. When I order at a resteraunt, I just punch the menu to indicate what I want to order. And then I eat the food. By punching.

I’ve been kicked out of TGiF… Must be misandry.

cloudiah
8 years ago

They are definitely not like the trolls of yesteryear…

Marie
8 years ago

@kirbywarp

I bow before your masculine masculiness. *bows*

cloudiah
8 years ago

An earlier incarnation of kirbywarp:

TomBcat
8 years ago

When I want to enter another room, I punch a whole through the wall

I had to imagine your teeny tiny cute kitten picture do that, and it made my evening.

Ugh
Ugh
8 years ago

Of everything that 00 said, this is the most precious by far:

MRA scholarship

LOL.

Marie
8 years ago

@tomBcat

I had to imagine your teeny tiny cute kitten picture do that, and it made my evening.

D’awww. The cutest way to punch through a wall.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

When Purple Star reads he just punches the pages. When he brushes his teeth he just punches his mouth. When he gets angry about being punched in the mouth he punches his punches, and if they punch back he punches his punches’ punches.

Marie
8 years ago

@bagelsan

owowowow on the punching his mouth.

TomBcat
8 years ago

Offering Purple punch at a party sounds like an unhealthy idea.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

Isn’t punching a punch just an extreme fist bump?

TomBcat
8 years ago

But I would pay to see him make breakfast.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

@TomBcat:

Can it be on Food Network? And can the show be called “Punch Kitchen?”

Today, on Punch Kitchen, we make a light, healthy omlette. And you can’t make an omlette, without breaking a few eggs.

*gets out eggs, punches them repeatedly while laugh track playes*

cloudiah
8 years ago
Fibinachi
Fibinachi
8 years ago

High impact pancakes, exquisitely smooth smoothies, lots of crunched cornflakes.
You don’t eat it, though. He just wraps it around his fist and punches it into your stomach.
Saves on the whole chewing business.

Marie
8 years ago

@kirbywarp

I want an omelet… *hungry*

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