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7 Tactics of Highly Effective Harassers: How A Voice for Men's Internet Hate Machine works

A Voice for Men mocks the fears of one of its targets of harassment
A Voice for Men mocks the fears of one of its targets of harassment

The self-described “Men’s Human Rights” site A Voice for Men is a hate site trying — admittedly not very hard, or convincingly — to pose as a human rights organization. In reality, as I and various other writers have documented in considerable detail, it’s an organizer and amplifier of hatred, directed at feminists and women more generally.

Much of this hatred is directed at specific targets, mostly though not always feminist women who have offended A Voice for Men’s founder Paul Elam. The aim is generally to terrorize feminists into silence.

I’ve written at length about AVFM’s campaigns of vilification and intimidation in the past; for a recent example as well as numerous links to discussions of past examples, see here.

Today I will  look at some of the specific tactics that AVFM uses against its targets – providing, in each case, a recent example.

This, in other words, is how AVFM’s Hate Machine functions. [TRIGGER WARNING for abusive language, discussion of abusive tactics]

TACTIC: Professional Ruin

Example:

Stacy, if I find out that there was a link between your report and [another AVFM foe’s] own vendetta that endangered Sage, I swear that you will never work in peace again. I will follow your activities and call out every lie that threatens the livelihood of decent men, until people stop citing your publications and you tearfully watch your degree gather dust in the closet. I have the resources and the connections to make that happen, and I will use them if you so much as tell one more goddamn lie about a man you don’t know. Covering your ass will only make me work harder to expose your sins. …

We’re still looking into your history, Stacy. …
Just know that I always will learn more. If you think there is something, and I mean anything else in your conduct on Kennesaw State University that will embarrass you, then you better send Sage Gerard an email and try to make things right, because I will publish all of your mistakes. …

Admit you were wrong like an adult, or pack up your desk.

Source: Post by Paul Elam of A Voice for Men.

Explanation: Elam threatens to ruin the career of a woman who reported to campus police that she felt intimidated by KSU Men founder and AVFM ally Sage Gerard. He provides no evidence of any connection between her and the other AVFM target mentioned.

In the last two paragraphs I quoted, this threat becomes a form of blackmail, with Elam threatening to dig up more “dirt” if the woman in question doesn’t apologize to the man who originally caused her to become so concerned about her personal safety that she called campus police. See below for more on blackmail.

TACTIC: Offering cash bounties for personal information

Example:

Stacy Keltner is a fraud on the run. There is a $100 reward to whoever finds a picture of her that we can verify. KSU students, if you happen to see Keltner out in public, grab a quick shot on your phone and send it over. You would be helping end corruption on your campus, and offsetting the cost of your tuition and supplies.

Source: The same post by Elam.

Explanation: Elam has offered cash bounties on a number of occasions in order to encourage those who have personal information on his targets, or those who might be willing to search for it, to send it to him. In the past, the bounties have ranged as high as $1000.

In this case, he is searching for a photograph of a woman who has evidently gone to great lengths to avoid having her picture posted on the internet.

TACTIC: Inciting an online mob

Example:

If you need more convincing, I invite readers to contact you via your public contact info. We will notice if you delete that, too.

Hundreds of people here have donated to Zen Men, the organization your people have been messing with, and I figure they may want an opportunity to explain how they feel about your disrespecting their contributions to gender equity. Oh, and just a tip: The supporters will not threaten you. They will most certainly be angry with you, but you are not in any physical danger. You never fucking were. Just keep that in mind if some odd troll sends you a message you want to believe we endorse. Use your brain and try listening to thoughtful dissent for once in your miserable life.

Source: The same post by Elam.

Explanation: After vilifying his target at length – calling her “filth,” and “one of the most egregious, repulsive and vindictive professors on Kennesaw State University, if not Georgia or the United States” – Elam calls upon his readers to contact her en masse, knowing full well (as he admits) that some of these messages may well be threatening. He also mocks and attacks her attempts to protect herself by removing personal information from the Internet.

TACTIC: DARVO (“Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.”)

Example:

Stacy, you used fear to recruit thugs to attack a single student you personally do not like by proxy. …
You need to understand that there are people out there who will literally beat a man bloody if they believe that he is some kind of threat to women. Look at the murders carried out where victims are men falsely accused of rape. Perpetrators of this violence won’t investigate. They won’t even think. They will simply beat him until he is broken, and bleeding. You put Sage, an innocent and intelligent young man with a future, in a position where he has to keep looking over his shoulder every time he walks on campus.

Source: The same post by Elam.
Explanation: The woman in question did not “recruit thugs to attack a … student.” She called the campus police because she felt threatened by that student. AVFM is attempting to portray the frightened woman as the aggressor. The student in question was not charged with anything, nor was he attacked by the campus police officer who responded.
AVFM frequently uses what some psychologists call DARVO in an attempt to portray victims as aggressors. When women who claim they’ve been attacked or threatened call the police, AVFM often recasts their call for police protection as an attempt to inflict “violence by proxy” on innocent men. AVFM also uses DARVO to cast itself as a victim.
IRONY: Tara J. Palmatier, a therapist with close ties to AVFM, has argued on numerous occasions that women who claim they have been abused by men may be using DARVO tactics to smear them. In one post on AVFM, Palmatier suggests that so-called “high conflict individuals” are likely to resort to “smear campaign and mobbing tactics when they target someone … .” Ironically, this is a perfect description of AVFM’s own preferred style of “activism.”

TACTIC: Blackmail

Example:

If you choose to stand by your dishonest image, I will dig through all of your connections, your history and your publications, then email your colleagues and superiors all of the reasons they should consider working with other people. I’m sure the network of anti-feminist YouTubers and bloggers looking for content would also have a field day if I pointed them to ISD’s publications. …

Tom, if you and your buddies own up to your crap like grown-ups and make amends with Sage, then I will back off. …

Staying silent is not going to save you.

Source: Another blog post by A Voice for Men’s founder Paul Elam.
Explanation: Blackmail is defined by the Macmillan Dictionary as “to make someone give you money or do what you want by threatening to tell people embarrassing information about them.”

In this case, Elam is threatening to dig up dirt on KSU professor Tom Pynn and pass it along to his colleagues as well as to a group of videobloggers known for their harassment of feminists, unless Pynn recants a previous statement claiming that AVFM is a hate group. No, really: It’s a hate campaign targeting a man because he called AVFM a hate group.

Elam is angry that Pynn wrote an email to KSU Men’s former faculty advisor in which he stated that the Southern Poverty Law Center had declared AVFM a “hate group.” While this is not technically true – for one thing, websites do not meet the SPLC’s definition of a “group” – it is also true that the SPLC included AVFM in a report on misogynistic websites, describing in some detail AVFM’s doxxing and harassment of women, which at the time included setting up the phony offenders registry called Register-Her to smear feminists, and offering bounties for personal information on the site’s foes.

TACTIC: Revelation of deeply personal information

Example:

A simple text search reveals something very interesting. [Target of harassment] was at [identifying info redacted] the same time as [name redacted], a woman who was brutally murdered in a random attack by a deranged psychopath who received the death sentence for her murder. [Target of harassment] and [murdered woman] were friends. Further investigation reveals that [murdered woman] had fought with a friend before she was murdered, and the relationship was never repaired. The friend was left to grieve and to live with the knowledge that her last words to her friend were unkind. [Target of harassment] is quoted in the newspaper article, but she is not the friend who testified at the trial. The entire faculty is described as being traumatized and in shock at the murder.

Is [Target of harassment] the friend who was mean to [the murdered woman] before she died?

Source: A blog post by AVFM’s”social media director,” who posts online as “Judgy Bitch” and “Janet Bloomfield.”

Explanation: There is no possible justification for posting this. It has no relevance to AVFM’s “charges” against the woman. It’s clearly intended to use the facts of a murder case to hurt someone whose friend was brutally murdered.

Irony: “Bloomfield,” a staunch supporter of and practicioner of doxxing, posts under a pseudonym.

Note: Due to “Bloomfield’s” posting of personal information, I will not post a link to her post or the name of the targeted woman. I will provide the link to journalists and others with a legitimate need to see the original.

TACTIC: Social media harassment

Example:

jackbarnesharassmentwillcontinue

Source: The Twitter account of Jack Barnes, a contributor to AVFM and co-host of that site’s Blue Collar Red Pill Radio show. Link to tweet.

Explanation: Barnes threatens endless “harassment” of feminists unless and until they are completely silenced. Barnes directed his tweet at cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian, the target of a massive, several-years-long campaign of harassment online.

In an earlier Tweet, also directed at Sarkeesian, Barnes joked about the death threats that at one point led her to flee her home.

barnes2This bit of nastiness was retweeted by four other AVFMers. This is typical: Twitter harassment from individual AVFMers – there is no need for the ironic quotes around “harassment” – is almost always amplified by a squad of other AVFMers eager to flood their target’s Twitter mentions with a flood of insults and abuse.

AVFM’s Twitter army was once led by the AVFM “social media director” who posts online as “Judgy Bitch” and “Janet Bloomfield.” But she has been banned from Twitter, evidently for her “targeted abuse” of feminist writer Jessica Valenti, which included the deliberate dissemination of falsehoods about Valenti.

As Barnes and other AVFMers have made clear, this sort of harassment and abuse is likely to “continue and accelerate.” AVFM’s hate machine will not stop, Barnes contends, “until no one will openly admit to being feminist.”

That’s not going to happen. So it’s up to us to document and denounce and do what we can through all legal channels to shut their hate machine down.

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Tony
6 years ago

Reblogged this on The Shoops Roost and commented:
Grab yer popcorn and sit down for Dave Futrelle’s latest evisceration of Men’s Rights bullshit.

Tony
6 years ago

Wait…thoughtful dissent from AVfM? Hahahahahahahahahaha.

Dan Kasteray
Dan Kasteray
6 years ago

going through the threads here, I’ve recently done some battling of my own with MRA’s on deviantart. The one in particular who I’m having a little internet spat with is one of these “hitting equality” guys who believes Paul Elam is a great human rights champion. If that little guy is anything to go by, we’ll never be able to breath freely until all the Paul Elam’s of the world are just a memory.

Just because Paul is running his own cause doesn’t mean that he can’t still do damage before his time is up.

So blog about this, spread the word and talk as much truth about the MRA’s as you can.

I don’t know, I’m just stunned by David’s post here and the inhumanity of it and the sheer evil. I can’t think of anything else to say to this evil.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

I do see it however that a man should always be someone that a woman in distress can run to, never from.

Me too…although it’s hard to tell the cops from the robbers without a program, sometimes. And I say this as one who LEARNED self-defence, and knows exactly where and how to hit a guy that would put him in hospital, even if he’s twice my size. Even if he’s as big as Paul Elam, who claims to be six-foot-eight (I’m five-six on a good day).

The only time I ever did hit a guy, though, it was before I learned self-defence (and the confidence that comes with it). He was a boyfriend who kept teasing and razzing and pestering and even physically prodding me even after I told him to cut it out, several times. So I smacked him upside the head — once. It was a light swat, not even as hard as kittens hit when play-fighting. His response? DRAMA! He claimed that the slap made his ears ring, but it was the noise, not the impact itself, that did it. I know, because my ears were ringing from the noise, too. I did not set out to injure him, and I didn’t. It was just to make him stop, because I was worn down to a frazzle and couldn’t take any more.

It shocked and embarrassed me, because I’m generally very much in control of myself, and I don’t want to give any credence to that old “bad-tempered redhead” myth. I always saw myself as a terribly meek little thing; certainly I acted the part. I’ve actually swallowed a lot more abuse than most people would ever take, all so I wouldn’t have to get that extra layer of shit about my hair. And also because my parents kept telling me not to react to bullies, not to give them that satisfaction. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had to bottle up my anger and do nothing about it. Girls are constantly being told not to hit. We even get told not to be angry! So I was ashamed that I actually got mad enough to do that. Ashamed that I’d “let” myself be goaded to violence, because I’m not that kind of person; for me, that sort of thing was the last of last resorts. And then mad at him all over again for being such a fucking jerk that he couldn’t even respect the word “enough” when it came out of me, and ashamed at myself for that, too. He made me feel like the weakling and the villain simultaneously, and even to this day, that just fills my head with fuck. It makes me almost hate myself. (Which in fact is what I did do, a LOT, when I was with him. But it’s quite socially acceptable for women to internalize their anger and direct it only at themselves!)

Why do women get ashamed of their anger, even when it’s perfectly understandable, while men are encouraged to wallow in it, escalate it, and even take pride in that, even when it’s totally irrational and stupid? I’m pretty sure that anger-shaming is a kind of control strategy. He did that on a regular basis; he liked to undermine my self-esteem with all kinds of cutting remarks phrased as teasing, and then when I got predictably pissed off and told him to fuck off, he’d put on a hurt face and claim he was “only joking”, that I “shouldn’t be that way”, and that it wasn’t respectful for me to tell him off. And yet, somehow it wasn’t disrespectful for him to ignore my boundaries and keep prodding at me long after I told him I’d had enough. He even slapped my butt, which I absolutely HATE, and I told him so, and he kept doing it anyway because he thought that was “funny”. I lost count of the occasions when his “good-natured” provocations reduced me to tears. Do women cry tears of rage? You bet we do. Tears are the only rage we’re allowed, and even that is often not allowed. Being told not to cry when I’d been prodded into that much of a fury really got to me. And yeah, he told me not to cry when I was doing it out of sheer anger and frustration, too.

And then, after months of that, one time I got really mad, and lashed back the only physical way I knew how at the time, in a relatively weak, typically “feminine” way. And then he acted like I’d tried to kill him, when all I wanted was to make him STOP.

Even now, I cringe remembering all that.

I’m pretty sure MRAs don’t cringe when they try to goad women, though. You can practically hear the fapping every time Paulie goes on about how much he’d love to smack a woman around, no matter how much smaller she is. There’s something undeniably evil and perverse about that.

PatrickG
PatrickG
6 years ago

A question: why is doxxing people necessarily bad? Why not expose people who are using pseudonyms to harass and threaten people, not to mention actually inciting violence?

Not trying to derail, just feel I must be missing something fairly obvious (beyond Don’t Stoop to Their Level arguments, which I don’t find convincing).

PatrickG
PatrickG
6 years ago

A quick follow-up: I didn’t read the entire thread to date, and I’m really just asking for some reference links. I’m pretty sure this question has been addressed elsewhere; I was just personally startled by so many people disavowing identifying people who specifically advocate violence against others (even if it’s wink-wink-nudge-nudge).

I’m off to bed, but thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

lith
lith
6 years ago

@Bina:

What an idiot. Someone should inform him that women don’t get away with hitting, that they get charged with assault for it all the time. Just like men. So, if he wants to punch a girl in the face, he can…and he can face the same consequences she would if she did it to him. Equality!

There’s no such thing as the ‘right’ to hit someone. Anyone. So why does equal rights mean being allowed to punch people?
They seem to have a thing about the ‘right’ to abuse/rape/torture (mentally and physically)/generally treat women like shit. And then wonder why women aren’t interested.

I’d use the “Would you like having that done to you?” approach but that would require them to think of women as being in any way like themselves (i.e. people) and having an ounce of empathy.

lith
lith
6 years ago

@Bina:

Just read your last post too. I’m sorry someone treated you like that, that sucks enormously.
The worst I’ve had is never being able to do anything ‘right’ – to the extent that when she would go away for the weekend I’d secretly do laundry in the hope I could get away without her noticing/criticising. She always did and the response was always criticism. I can feel a rant coming on but I’m not trying to make this about me – so I’ll just say I understand what it’s like to have someone ragging on you all the time with no ‘win’ scenario allowed, and I sympathise.
For what it’s worth I’ve always loved red hair, it adds colour to the world and I have no idea why people are so damn weird about it – some kind of ‘socially acceptable’ racism I guess.

Kootiepatra
6 years ago

I am also in my 40s and I did NOT teach my sons not to hit girls. This is for the very simple reason that kids are evenly matched when equal sizes, and plenty of girls are aggressive before it has been socialised out of them.

I have a younger brother. We were allowed to wrestle and play rough with each other on two conditions: 1) No hitting, kicking, or biting; and 2) both people had to be having fun. If one of us stopped having fun, the other person had to stop.

While my brother was still smaller than me, I got some warnings on the side to remember that I was bigger than him, so I had to be careful not to hurt him. By the time he caught me up and grew bigger than me, we had an established history of respecting each other and I never had to worry about him hurting me.

But yeah, my parents never once told my brother “You can’t hit your sister, because she’s a girl.” They said “You can’t hit your sister, because that hurts, and it’s mean to hurt people.”

I’m also kinda of the “it’s worse when men hit women” camp, and I can’t pinpoint WHY.

I think part of the reason discussions of male/female violence gets so weird is that, okay, in theory, it’s a pretty level playing field. Men should, in general, be more careful, because in general, they are bigger and/or stronger than the women they’ll meet—but otherwise, an eye-for-eye theory makes sense. Women can be abusive, and in such a case, a man has a right to do what it takes to get away. Women can attack in a way that may cause death or grievous bodily harm, and in such a case, a man absolutely has a right to defend himself and incapacitate his assailant. It is possible for a larger, in-shape woman to have a significant physical advantage over a smaller, out-of-shape man.

But that’s theory.

In reality, acts of DV (including murder) are overwhelmingly committed by men. Random acts of assault against women are overwhelmingly committed by men. If a man and woman are in a fight, chances are good that he can hurt her a lot worse than she can hurt him.

So when the “is it really worse for men to hit women” discussion comes up, it feels weird, because it’s happening in a completely different universe than the one we actually live in. And because of the crew most eager to talk about it, it frequently results in (often times on purpose) downplaying male abusers, and vilifying any form of physical pushback that a woman might give.

(And of course, it’s still an important discussion to have, because male victims of DV really exist and they deserve all the support in the world. It’s just not a 50/50 thing, which is where MRAs miss the boat and start getting creepy about it.)

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
6 years ago

I didn’t know Janet Bloomfield was not her real name?

Me neither. I guess when she volunteered to be AVFM’s Twitter pest, Paul Elam told her, “We can’t have a social media director only known as ‘Judgybitch’. It’s a human rights publicity transparency thingy. You have to at least get a nym that looks like a real name.”

To which JB responded in her mind, “That shouldn’t be a high bar to pass, Mr. Male Backwards.”

proxieme
proxieme
6 years ago

*comes to check on thread*

*reads “since of entitlement” in own reply*

http://imgur.com/QPEOT0g

sunnysombrera
6 years ago

And also because my parents kept telling me not to react to bullies, not to give them that satisfaction. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had to bottle up my anger and do nothing about it. Girls are constantly being told not to hit.

I can think of a few occasions in school where if I’d been allowed to strike the bully and get away with it, they’d have left me alone. Obviously I’m not condoning violence, but considering that I was bullied regularly and a fair few teachers did nothing to help, I sometimes wish I’d had the option to at least just slap them once or twice. Sometimes that felt like the only solution but I knew that if I did I’d be dragged before the principal because God forbid a victim use force when backed into a corner.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

There is an interesting debate to be had about inter-personal violence generally (it’s a bit of an area of expertise for me for various reasons)

To very much over simplify though, to understand why there’s a world of difference between violence against women and violence against men (whether from women or other men) is to bear in mind the contrast between actually attempting to harm and posturing.

Violence against men is nearly always ‘ritualistic’; violence against women is real.

[Does that make sense?]

lith
lith
6 years ago

@Alan:

Violence against men is nearly always ‘ritualistic’; violence against women is real.

[Does that make sense?]

I think I see what you mean. Men are more likely to do actual damage, women maybe cause pain but not much more?
I take it there are statistics covering that?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ lith

It’s more that male on male violence almost has a ‘display’ element to it. Now of course, people can get hurt, but the aim of the violence is usually to achieve some sort of dominance and status enhancement. We talk in terms of “posture and submission” in the trade. A phrase that crops up a lot is “the monkey dance”; you can probably guess the implications.

Male violence against women takes two main forms. As a form of coercion and control; especially to get women into more vulnerable situations. But also to inflict actual real harm. There isn’t the ritualistic element to it. A fight between men almost has unwritten rules, and often it’s either actually or tacitly consensual (“Right you, outside now!” “You’re on”).

With violence against women it’s almost paradoxical in that the woman is both not seen as a “worthy” opponent entitled to the “respect” that a male may give a male opponent, but also as someone who must be “punished” for having the audacity to challenge a man.

There are all sorts of figures flying around but there hasn’t been a lot of controlled studies. It is something that’s well known (if not well understood) in the “applied violence” field though.

lith
lith
6 years ago

Interesting. I think I get the idea but I’ve been staring at the same problem for several days now and it’s starting to curdle my mind.
Something like the difference between a wolf fighting for position in the pack and a wolf making a kill during a hunt?

swedishbitchAnders
6 years ago

As much as I hate to be associated with this site, I have to say that, beneath the hatred in some of Elam’s pieces and the comments, there are many, many valid points. Most of them the result of the male gender role, but not by far enough and in a credible fashion addressed by mainstream feminism. Listen to Warren Farrell, Janice Fiamengo, and Christina Hoff Summers for more reasonable voices of what are basically dissenting feminists rather than the ideological opposite. In fact, I often get the impression they are even more in favour of rejecting the burden of the male gender role than feminists.

I also do not think it is fair to accuse them of inaction – as I understand, they are working on a number of issues such as ERA and men’s shelters. But as we can all imagine those issues do not enjoy much political support.

All I can hope is that, as this movement settles in and becomes less radicalised, there will be more frank dialogue between the men’s and the women’s movements. Men’s problem are simply the opposite side of the coin, and we have only really been working on one side these past decades.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

Spot on.

IntRA species violence is very rare; even venomous snakes wrestle rather than bite (cf, the ritual male on male violence we’ve been talking about). Only in intER species violence do animals try to kill (whether for food or territorial reasons).

Hmm, that raises the very interesting question as to whether men who hurt women do literally see them as a different species! Maybe we’re onto something there?

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Really? But then male-on-male violence would have to be considerably less severe than male-on-female? I cannot think of any statistic that would support that view. Are men not, despite a good number of sad exceptions, programmed to protect women rather than men?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Swedishbitch

It generally is.

Consider how common male on male violence is (just go to any town centre at kicking out time) and then look at how rarely anyone actually gets seriously injured. Even the severe injuries are usually non intentional (in the legal sense of the word). There’s a whole genre of law reports called “one punch manslaughter cases” (i.e. someone gets hit and cracks their head on the pavement).

It may be that men who want to hurt (rather than protect) women are the aberration; I would like to hope so, but it’s interesting to compare, say, knife attacks on men and women. Stabbing men is rare in itself (it’s usually a slashing attack) but the median number of knife wounds is very low (it’s often just one) whereas for women it’s something like 17 wounds and not uncommonly in the high tens. That perhaps gives some indication of the mindset of attackers.

lith
lith
6 years ago

@Alan:

I guess a lot of guys are brought up to believe women are utterly different from men, just look at the books about all of the differences.
It’s ridiculous when most of the – actual, not culturally programmed – difference is biological, and hardly something MRAs object to.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ lith

“and hardly something MRAs object to.”

I got the impression they objected to EVERYTHING related to women!

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Alan, interesting. There is certainly a marked difference in kind, mindset, triggers, and intent between male-on-male and male-on-female violence. We know quite a bit about the latter, at least from a feminist/patriarchy theory perspective, but less about the former, and very little about female-on-male (not including self-defense). Excluding psychopathic acts of both genders, you are certainly right that MoM violence is often about competition, measuring who is the strongest, and revenge, whereas MoF is more about control, frustration, perceived inadequacy, and the like.

But the fact remains: males are much, much more likely to engage in severe violence towards other men than towards females. Both genders express a strong gender preference for women in most studies I have seen. So the subordinate species train of thought I cannot really make sense of.

And how would you characterise the nature of FoM violence? It appears to be as prevalent as MoF, but of course MoF is on average more severe (making up up to four fifths of spousal homicide across the world), so that the FoM problem, while underappreciated due to gender roles, is minor in comparison to MoF. Surveys also indicate that females indicate self-defense as the primary motivation considerably less than males. How does that fit the potential model?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Swedishbitch

Ooh, this is such an interesting discussion; I could go on about this for hours. But I’d better not or everyone else on the site will get bored!

To take just a few of your points and give some very brief thoughts:

I’d say a principle difference between MoF and FoM violence is the matter of necessity. MoF violence may occur for many reasons (control, anger, humiliation etc.) whereas FoM violence generally is about self defence or defence of another (e.g. kids).

Now I note to myself I’m only considering serious FoM violence there. You see, I don’t consider a slap or a single punch against a guy as being meaningful. I suppose that’s a whole other topic as to why that is.

With spousal homicide it may again be about the lack of options. A man who wants out of a relationship can pretty much do so at will. He’s perhaps more likely to have financial resources to find another place, he probably doesn’t have primary childcare responsibilities and, realistically, there’s usually not the same element of control.

For a woman it may be that the only possible way to end the relationship and escape is to kill.

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Ok – do you have any studies that covers both MoF and FoM equally, with the same questions and a statistically relevant sample, in support of that hypothesis? I know of many cases that would NOT fit, but they are of course anecdotes and their sensational nature may mean that they are proportionally overrepresented in media; and the studies I see mostly focus on MoF only.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

I’m afraid not. I’m not sure if there is such a study. It would be a worthy topic though.

I was given a load of interesting material by WAR once for a case I was involved in. That did have a lot of relevant information, but it’s all archived now.

My favourite fact was that in 60% of murders it’s the murderer who calls the police.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

@Alan:

Male violence against women takes two main forms. As a form of coercion and control; especially to get women into more vulnerable situations. But also to inflict actual real harm. There isn’t the ritualistic element to it. A fight between men almost has unwritten rules, and often it’s either actually or tacitly consensual (“Right you, outside now!” “You’re on”).

With violence against women it’s almost paradoxical in that the woman is both not seen as a “worthy” opponent entitled to the “respect” that a male may give a male opponent, but also as someone who must be “punished” for having the audacity to challenge a man.

Yes, this exactly! And in turn, women are socialized from childhood up to repress their urge to fight back, even though fighting back is what stops a bully and ensures that he never picks on you again. And that’s why, I guess, my long-ago ex-boyfriend thought it was quite all right for him to repeatedly whack me on the ass “as a joke”, but I wasn’t allowed to slap his face, in earnest (which actually used to be an accepted defensive tactic for women against mashers, once upon a time) to make him stop it. The “joke” was, of course, an aggression designed to tacitly let me know “who’s boss”. And since I dislike being bossed, intensely, and won’t stand for it even from someone I love, well…that relationship HAD to end. When everything I did and said and looked like was more and more inadequate (according to him), and my depression deepened (which was a perfectly logical response to what he was doing, although I’m sure he saw it as just one more case of “bitches be crayzay”), that was the beginning of the end. The only regret I had when it ended was that I let him dump me, instead of doing it myself. But that’s Nice Girl Training for you, I guess. Even when it’s time to walk out, you have to wait for him to open the door for you.

For what it’s worth I’ve always loved red hair, it adds colour to the world and I have no idea why people are so damn weird about it – some kind of ‘socially acceptable’ racism I guess.

Thanks, for all that…and yes, it is. I’ve often had that thought myself. The funny part is, it’s racism from within the same race! And redheads are about as white as white gets, too…but I guess to some, we’re either not-white-enough or not-the-right-white. Which is just bizarre. And one more reason to fight against racism and bigotry in whatever form they come.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

I can think of a few occasions in school where if I’d been allowed to strike the bully and get away with it, they’d have left me alone. Obviously I’m not condoning violence, but considering that I was bullied regularly and a fair few teachers did nothing to help, I sometimes wish I’d had the option to at least just slap them once or twice. Sometimes that felt like the only solution but I knew that if I did I’d be dragged before the principal because God forbid a victim use force when backed into a corner.

Same here. And I’m pretty sure at least a few teachers would have understood if I had done that. But if there’s one thing about bullies, it’s that they have no qualms about screaming bloody murder, and saying “She started it!” And even though my bullying happened before zero-tolerance policies existed, I wouldn’t have put it past any of those kids to do just that, and even be believed.

lith
lith
6 years ago

@Bina:

Small minded people who are so focused on the differences between themselves and others that they can’t see anything else. They’re missing out.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

1) mammals may not be inclined to eat their own kind, but plenty of the slithery and swimmy sorts will eat their own young even, forget any respect for another’s. Youngsters cannibalizing their siblings isn’t uncommon either. This isn’t really relevant to much, but you know, fish stuff.

2) that a woman slapping a man who wasn’t getting “stop” used to be acceptable might be part of what was bugging me. When we think of women hitting men, that’s what we think of, and it just plain isn’t going to do him physical harm — the point isn’t to harm him, it’s to get him to knock it off, no more serious than my brother and I having a “slap fight”. Whereas male on male violence does often resemble clown loach fighting for #1 big shot loach — they fight until one backs down, and almost never suffer serious injuries because it is about dominance, so backing down ends it. Can anyone here picture “ok ok, you win” actually getting a man to stop hitting a woman?

So yeah, we’ve got the socialization factor, plus the strength thing, plus the nature of the violence, and it seems like when you put it all in a pot and stir, women benign it by men get the worst of it.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Argenti

“Youngsters cannibalizing their siblings isn’t uncommon either.”

Well yeah, but that’s just common sense. I mean I was an only child; eventually. 😉

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

In the US, 90% of homicides are committed by men. I expect the statistic is similar in other countries. There’s damn good reason to be more concerned about male violence than female.

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Alan,

So I looked around a bit. Almost all studies looked only at MoF; the few I found showed gender symmetry OR tried to explain how the apparent gender symmetry is misleading. This article:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.372.5578&rep=rep1&type=pdf

is biased towards the former, but it does provide an extensive overview of over 200 studies.

More interesting, though, is what lies behind FoM violence APART from direct and indirect self-defence. This has always puzzled me; my intuitions rhyme with those of other commenters, but I have certainly seen examples of both light and heavy FoM violence that does not fit the traditional victim-perpetrator paradigm. These studies, even if biased, suggest that at the very least there is something systematic we are not taking into account.

Then I found this study:

http://trauma.blog.yorku.ca/2014/06/love-hormone-oxytocin-linked-to-domestic-violence/

Basically, females with high levels of oxytocin are MORE prone to express their frustration through (presumably light) violence, while the opposite is the case for men. So FoM violence is perhaps an expression of exasperation at the expected and actual behavior of the mate.

Does this make sense? It would certainly explain why MoF violence is more severe; a male that hits is, if not psychopathic, not experiencing high levels of oxytocin and perhaps simply not in love. That makes it easier to hit to hurt.

This of course begs the question: if light FoM violence is this prevalent, how exactly do we justify a hard stance on MoF but not on FoM? Perhaps the risk of escalation? And do we need to think harder about how to deal with this relatively unexplored and unnecessarily polarised other part of domestic violence? Does our polar view of the problem actually undermine our efforts to reduce MoF?

By the way: One of the feminist icons, maybe Steinem, once said something that made perfect sense – it may seem perverse to focus so much on violence against women, but the fact is that there is a strong correlation between levels of violence against women and levels of violence overall. So perhaps fighting violence against women helps male victims too? Correlation is not causation, but it is a tempting thought.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Swedishbitch

Thanks for that. Should keep me occupied (I’m supposed to be busy at work but it’s nice to take a break now and then)

There is definitely an article to be written on all this.

As an aside, I once did a court martial where my client was your almost mythical ‘super soldier’, Ex-SF, hyper fit, multiple tours, decorations coming out of his ears. It transpired that he was getting the shit kicked out of him at home by his 5 foot nothing wife. He never retaliated, but it was really affecting him. Just goes to show this is a complex subject.

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Think about it: would you really fight back? And if you did, what would the likely consequences be, both in terms of your self-perception and that of society?

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Alan, just had to share this Judge Pirro clip:

Of course, this case is in no way an indication of anything systematic – in fact, open the opposite is the case (it is the exceptions that are interesting). But it DOES illustrate how society and women condone FoM violence in most situations, all the way to the battered wife syndrome. She stabbed her boyfriend with a pumpkin knife and blithely and smilingly claims she would do it again, if he misbehaves.

Not even in the most horrid of cliches could I imagine the genders reversed.

There IS something going on here, something that may be an important part of our fight against MoF violence. We polarise between perpetration and innocence, but what if this happens a lot, what if men, told to bottle up their feelings and protect women, fail to respond, the situation escalates, and at the end he unloads all his anger on her with terrible consequences? We are, implicitly, telling women and men that FoM is innocent, innocuous, negligible, and justified; apparently, more than a few women take advantage of that and may trigger a vicious circle of which they in the end suffer the most. I am writing this with a voice in my head saying “victim blamer”, but after spending half a day reading on this I can’t help to think that it is, at the least, a starkly neglected factor.

In terms of criminal sanctions, however, women should of course be exempt except in the most egregious circumstances. Male violence IS worse because of the consequences of potential escalation, and the justice system should treat the issue accordingly. But at the very least we need a more open discussion about the issue, rather than dismissing any deviation from perceived traditional roles as misogyny or MRM nonsense. A renowned feminist from my country, Sweden, once remarked on pretty much the first and only prominent Swedish MRM that she admitted the issues he raised were valid, but that it simply felt and was wrong to raise them from the angle of men’s rights. That is more or less my feeling too; but I also think that it is time for feminism to live up to its claim to want to dismantle gender roles, regardless of which gender would benefit (almost all of the time: both).

In that sense, the current discourse is disheartening.

And as for the other comment: as far as I understand, the MRM is antifeminist, not anti-woman. But they are also critical of the male gender role, albeit with different focal points: the objectification of men as providers, the assumptions that men should absorb violence, the neglect of male victims of sexual violence, and the like. Although I identify as feminist, let us see MRM through its moderate advocates such as Farrell and Hoff Summers rather than extremist trolls, just like we are urging them to see all of feminism and its different streams rather than extremists on Jezebel fantasising about how to kill all men (with probably pretty much the sense of self-righteousness as the woman in the Judge Pirro-clip above). After all, think about how much violence can be prevented by just a little bit more understanding for the other side, the other gender, the other race, or the other religion?

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Weirwoodtreehugger: Of course you are right, and I have never heard ANYONE, not even on the MRM sites I visited, seriously suggest the opposite. My concern is to understand the whole picture as a basis for our action against violence in general and against women (by men) in particular. And, perhaps, to balance the public discourse a bit to reflect the gender distribution of the victims as well as the perpetrators.

I would also presume that a man capable of (non-self defense) violence against a woman or a child is at least equally capable of violence against another man. So cracking down on violence against women benefits potential male victims as well – the trade-offs are limited.

sunnysombrera
6 years ago

@Bina One of my school bullies did almost that. She once took my purse and I grabbed it and pulled to get it back. Upon wrenching it out of her hands it lightly struck her on the chin. She pulled a face of shock and then next lesson proceeded to tell everyone that I’d punched her in the face. Fortunately nobody believed her because a) there was no bruise and b) everyone knew she was a little shit towards me, although few ever intervened.

katz
6 years ago

1) mammals may not be inclined to eat their own kind, but plenty of the slithery and swimmy sorts will eat their own young even, forget any respect for another’s. Youngsters cannibalizing their siblings isn’t uncommon either. This isn’t really relevant to much, but you know, fish stuff.

Some mammals do. Hamsters will eat their own litters when they’re stressed, and newborn hyenas practice siblicide. Animals are interesting!

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Swedishbitch,
MRAs claim to be anti-feminist and not anti-woman, but it’s not true. They express glee in harming women, they claim men are inherently better at science and math so there shouldn’t be a push to get more women in STEM fields, they engage in rape apologia, etc. I would argue that you can’t be anti-feminist without being a misogynist.

Also, most feminists are not the ones pedastalizing women and excusing violence on their part. The notion that women are delicate flowers who couldn’t possibly do anything violent is patriarchal, not feminist.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

And I forgot to add, Warren Farrell is just as bad as all the others. You can search this very site for examples. He called it date fraud when a woman says no to sex after a man pays for dinner. He is a rape apologist. Christina Hoff Summers does not identify as a MRA. Although she does sound like one.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Katz

“siblicide”

I like to learn one new word each day. Thank you!

sunnysombrera
6 years ago

Sorry to go OT but I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the UK has jumped aboard the Yes Means Yes train.

http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/28/new-rape-guidelines-will-remove-any-grey-area-over-sexual-consent-5040439/

The bad news is that the comments are CHOC FULL OF RAPE APOLOGIA be warned. Seriously it’s like 80% dudes whining that it’s not fair, now they have to video their sexual encounters and what if she regrets it the next morning and cries rape? Women can now send a man to jail on hearsay! THINK OF THE LIVES THAT WILL BE RUINED! False rape accusations are a serious problem yo!

swedishbitch
6 years ago

I don’t know about the date fraud thing, sounds terrible, but having seen Farrell speak – he is one of the most agreeable, thoughtful advocates I have ever met. If you consider him as an extremist as bad as the others, then MRM is about as serious a threat as mansplaining.

Seriously, have you seen his youtube videos? Paul Elam yes, him I can vilify, and especially his attempts at satire alone contain enough soundbites to dismiss the entire movement out of hand, but Farrell…

Hoff Summers calls herself a feminist, but she is an icon in the MRM as I understand, and a frequent contributor.

sunnysombrera
6 years ago

Warren Farrell straight up advocated for father daughter incest.

http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.html#soulhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/fathers/farrell2.htm

He is most definitely extremist.

swedishbitch
6 years ago

Sunnysombrera: some of the comments sound terrible, and some of the concerns about affirmative consent, for all its good intentions, are legitimate and I fear an even stronger backlash as the system inevitably will produce some wrongful convictions along with rightful ones.

But what strikes me is the dissonance between how unacceptable it thankfully is to speak like that in public, and the opinions expressed on such internet sites. Maybe there is some self-selection involved; maybe it is just a small group scouring the net for articles to comment on. Or maybe there is actually public opinion against this law change?

swedishbitch
6 years ago
Reply to  sunnysombrera

Sunnysombrera: My first reaction – there’s the 70s for you!

But other sources I found report that he said generally, not genitally, and has never advocated incest. And, you may disagree violently, but I think we have sort of created a devil – many young fathers today are death scared of touching their children spontaneously, lest it be misinterpreted. Even I, a ridiculously harmless looking gay male, was accused of pedophilia once in San Diego when I tried to help a five-year-old girl that had gotten lost.

At any rate, I looked at his speech about the boys crisis and could not find anything objectionable, even with my feminist hat on. In no way does he minimise the problems girls face; he just tries to complement that perspective. If he is indeed a rape apologist, I will discard him with the same verve as you, but so far, he has the benefit of my doubt (in contrast to Elam, for example).

What do the others think?

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Here’s Farrell spewing rape apologia and comparing being turned down for sex to rape.
https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/05/03/putting-warren-farrells-notorious-comments-on-exciting-date-rape-in-context/

He is not a moderate. He is a misogynist who is a bit more articulate than the AVFM crowd and is able to use civil language to appear reasonable. He isn’t.

Like I said, there’s a ton of evidence that he’s awful if you bothered to search the site but apparently you’re going to make us do your work for you.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Anyone else starting to think that Swedish is one of those MRA trolls who claim they aren’t MRAs?