Men are Not Abused By Women, They're Abused By The System
As I read about Timothy Jones - the father who fought for full custody of his five children, then strangled them all to death with his bare hands - I was reminded of the numerous bad fathers out there who should never be given so much as a supervised visit with their children, let alone full custody.
There is a growing prejudice against common sense in the American legal system. Not all fathers should have access to their children. The courts routinely ignore the red flags of serious and generally untreated mental illness, long term and heavy drug and/or alcohol abuse, and past history of abuse towards the mother. Most sperm donors won't ever attain the level of "mediocre" father; many of them only want custody of their children because it riles their ex.
Who is fueling this attack on common sense? Men's Rights activists. And they are doing it by painting women as the perpetrators of domestic abuse and men as the long-suffering victims of the matriarchy.
You're Being Manipulated
I know men can be victims of abuse; my elderly and mentally disabled uncle was victimized by a woman who wanted his trust fund. She robbed him blind by drugging him, stealing him away from his hometown, and feigning the deepest of romantic love. When the money ran out, so did she.
But let's be honest: While female on male abuse is not unheard of, Men's Rights activists greatly inflate the numbers to serve their own misogynistic goals. Neither history nor statistics are on their side. They greedily feed on their festering resentment of women, melodramatically twisting even the clearest data to support bizarre and long-discredited theories like Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Oh yeah, and let's not forget their astounding sense of entitlement; they whine all over the internet about how unfair life is, and has always been, for men.
Oh, really? Because up until about 150 years ago, not only was beating your wife within an inch of her life legal (killing her outright was acceptable, too), but many laws even detailed how badly and in what manner a man was allowed to beat his "property:"
- "In 1800 [bce], the Code of Hammurabi decreed that a wife was subservient to her husband and that he could inflict punishment on any member of his household for any transgression." 1
- In 753 bce, "during the reign of Romulus in Rome, wife beating is accepted and condoned under The Laws of Chastisement. Under these laws, the husband has absolute rights to physically discipline his wife. Since by law, a husband is held liable for crimes committed by his wife, this law was designed to protect the husband from harm caused by the wife’s actions. These laws permit the husband to beat his wife with a rod or switch as long as its circumference is no greater than the girth of the base of the man’s right thumb, hence “The Rule of Thumb.” The tradition of these laws is perpetuated in English Common Law and throughout most of Europe." 2
- "In Renaissance France, when it became clear that too many women and children were being beaten to death and their economic contributions lost, lawmakers acted to moderate the effects of domestic chastisement. One statute, considered in its time to be progressive, restricted the chastisement of wives and children to 'blows, thumps, kicks or punches on the back...which did not leave any marks,' but added, 'the man who is not master of his wife is not worthy of being a man." Another law even later, designed to protect women and children stated that, 'All the inhabitants have the right to beat their wives so long as death does not follow.'"1
- "In 1910, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that a wife had no cause for action on an assault and battery charge against her husband because it 'would open the doors of the courts to accusations of all sorts of one spouse against the other and bring into public notice complaints for assault, slander and libel.'" 1
- "As recently as 1977, the California Penal Code stated that wives charging husbands with criminal assault and battery must suffer more injuries than commonly needed for charges of battery." 1
Did I mention that wives were considered property?
In the United States, it was legal to rape your wife in all states until 1975!
And although not illegal, divorce was a difficult process in which the Petitioner - usually women - would have to show mountains of evidence to prove they deserved a divorce; to be fair, though, couples could be jailed for "faking" the proof, even if they both desperately wanted a divorce. Remember that these were the days before telephones, emergency rooms and cell phone videos. How could a rural housewife even hope to prove her husband was brutally beating her?
My great grandmother sought a divorce from her alcoholic, physically abusive husband back in the 1930s. Ultimately, she was allowed to divorce him, but not until after my great-grandfather's friends were allowed to testify against her regarding the quality of her housekeeping and child rearing skills.
It wasn't until 1953 - and then only in Oklahoma - that the idea of the "no-fault" divorce gained acceptance. It took almost another 20 years for the idea to spread; California - that bastion of liberal idealism - was the second state to adopt the "no-fault" divorce model in 1969. Make no mistake: This greatly helped women get away from abusive relationships, only to find themselves nearly destitute afterwards.
Bad Behavior Is Not Abuse
My boyfriend wanted to kill me. Twice. The first time, he nearly choked me to death; the second time, he nearly shot me with his friend's gun when I was leaving work.
He had broken my rib about two years earlier; he spent the rest of that night beating my arms black and purple. He locked me in our apartment and wouldn't let me see a doctor for more than two weeks; when I begged to go, because it hurt so much to breathe, he told me I was lying. X-rays proved otherwise. It took a long time, but after a lot more physical and emotional abuse, I resolved to leave him after he choked me; thankfully, he (mostly) stopped bothering me after the armed confrontation outside my work.
So, yeah. I know about getting beat up.
Humans are, admittedly, pretty horrible creatures. They do awful things to each other, oftentimes on purpose. But can all bad behavior be defined as abuse? Is every bad relationship an abusive relationship?
It's All About the Data
Men's Rights activists want you to believe that female on male domestic violence and abuse has reached epidemic levels.
I will concede that male rapes are probably underreported, but that is most likely because of the underreporting of male on male (homosexual) rapes due to the stigma heterosexual males still associate with gay sex.
And before Men's Rights activists storm the blog with claims of women coercing men into sex, I would remind them that "Lie Back and Think of England" was a real thing. And producing an Heir to the Throne. And Henry the 8th, who murdered several wives because his sperm with the boy DNA couldn't figure out how to fertilize an egg.
There are still many people who say if a husband wants sex, it is a wife's duty to give it to him. You know, because he'll die without it.
A little part of me wants to think that these activists were just too lazy to read the data; that they aren't brainwashing the public into believing that reality did a 180 and women are now abusing males in epidemic numbers. However, after visiting several Men's Rights sites, I am inclined to think that these activists are bitter men who simply hate women. Of course, they won't admit that their past bad behavior might be to blame for their current problems. Nah, it's gotta be the women. And just like everybody in Shawshank, they're all innocent of the allegations against them.
So let's look at the statistics. Again, Men's Rights activists want you to believe that women are committing ever increasing amounts of physical assault against their partners. If we're talking about lesbians, then you would be correct. But abusing their male partners more? No. Overall, men still commit the bulk of the rapes and physical and psychological abuse, and they perpetrate this abuse on their female and male partners. The vast majority of male victims of violent physical abuse were assaulted by other men.
Oh yeah, unless you want to count slapping.
Men are Abused by the System, Not Their Women
Russians are known to have fiery tempers and it is not uncommon for couples to shout at and lay hands on one another during arguments. I know that's why our neighbors never called the police when they heard my boyfriend and I fighting; most Russians will only call the police as the absolute last option. I also quickly learned that even though Russians think domestic abuse is bad, few people step in to stop it.
In other words, he could do whatever he wanted to me, and I could have done the same to him. Only, I couldn't. I couldn't get to him; he was trained as a boxer and was much stronger and faster than me. It only took one fast blow with his right fist to snap my rib, and I know that he wasn't even hitting me as hard as he could. Many months after that, when he held me down and choked me, I was too weak to push him off me. He sat on my chest, held my arms down with his knees, shoved a pillow over my face with his left hand and choked me with the right. I would have died that night, had he decided to kill me.
See how I would be skeptical that an increase in slapping - most likely the majority of which was committed in self defense - would be a valid reason to start an entire movement that falsely paints women as Tasmanian Devils?
So back to the point where I said too many people are defining bad behavior as "abuse." Men are not the only ones guilty of throwing this word around; I know women who have claimed abuse to get sympathy. Make no mistake: When you falsely claim abuse, you greatly diminish the plight of true abuse victims. Arguing with your spouse is not abuse, even if it gets pretty mean. A grumpy person who constantly criticizes everyone around them is not abusive. Criticism and brutal honesty are not abuse. This is not to say that it is acceptable behavior, but bad behavior is not necessarily abuse!
There were only two areas in which domestic violence of females against males increased: Slapping and Pushing/Shoving. These, by the way, are not defined as "serious physical violence." Slapping and pushing are often used as self defense, not aggression. Does that mean that slapping and pushing are always okay? No, but is a slap the same as being set on fire? The same as being slammed against a wall so hard you pass out?
According to the CDC, "serious physical violence" includes the following:
- Hurt by pulling hair
- Hit with a fist or something hard
- Slammed against something
- Tried to hurt by choking or suffocating
- Burned on purpose
- Used a knife or gun
Men are not being seriously physically abused in record numbers by women, PERIOD.
Additionally, Men's Rights activists assert that men are suffering long-term side effects as a result of abusive women, but no data supports that claim.3 According to CDC data, men bounce right back after intimate partner violence; bounce back much better than women.
If you're looking for long-term male trauma, how about PTSD brought on by being in a war zone? But I guess fighting the military isn't nearly as much fun as hating women.
No, it's not okay for women to strike or emotionally abuse men. Women can be awful people, especially to their children. If a woman raises her hand to her man, that man should be allowed defend himself. He should be allowed to grab her arm when she tries to strike him. He should be allowed to shove her if she is threatening him with serious injury. Men should be able to defend themselves without any fear of being hauled off to jail for doing it. Law enforcement has taught men to be afraid of defending themselves. But being afraid of the police arresting you and being afraid of your abuser are two wildly different concepts that the Men's Rights activists conveniently ignore. Their agenda clearly has an anti-woman bias, or they would advocate for everyone's right to defend themselves, not just the rights of men.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this problem. When the police are called on a domestic violence incident, they are usually required to take at least one person into custody. Barring situations in which one party is severely injured, this puts police in a confusing situation in which they must decide in a very short time span which party is more guilty. On the one hand, males generally have the physical advantage because they are bigger and stronger. But what if the woman is truly the abuser? What if both of the parties are male or female?
This is a ridiculously slippery slope.
The stats simply don't support the theory of widespread female on male domestic violence, so the police are usually correct in assuming that the male is the aggressor. Men also add to the confusion, by falsely claiming abuse when the victim is forced to defend themselves by slapping, pushing or scratching.
And again, in many states, if the police show up to a domestic violence call, someone is going to jail. Do you know why the law is written this way? Because women are stupid in love and we usually take back even the worst men.
I speak from experience; I loved my abusive boyfriend very much. I didn't want him to go to jail, I just wanted him to stop hitting me. Well ... that and he hid my passport and travel visa and controlled every aspect of my existence; if the police took him away, I would have been screwed.
He once attacked me outside of a police substation, after a party; his paranoia came to a head and in an irrational tornado of wrath, he shoved me down in the snow. When the police came rushing out, I said I fell down. I refused to rat him out. Not long after that, he broke my rib. Had he been in jail, he couldn't have done that.
What can Men's Rights activists do to make the law more fair? Allow both men and women to defend themselves, without fear of being labelled aggressors. Teach law enforcement officers how to differentiate between self defense and abuse.
More importantly, though, is that if the Men's Rights movement is truly about what is right and not about hating women, those activists will admit that some men are abusers, some men do victimize women and not all men deserve to be fathers or husbands. At the current time, they maintain that all men are being victimized by all women, and that is patently untrue. Men who commit heinous crimes against their women are criminals and should be punished accordingly. Denying that they should face judgement flies in the face of good sense.
2 History of the Battered Women's Movement