Monday, June 7, 2010

What a pamphlet

So I'm at the clinic today waiting to get my ear checked and I have some time to burn. And just like most people waiting at a doctor's office/clinic they spend time checking the random health pamphlets. I saw one for a local DV Hotline and decided to take a look. And I have to say that going by the material in it as a man I would not feel comfortable going to this place for help.

The first paragraph is dedicated to the question "What is Domestic Violence?" Not that big a deal right? It proceeds to go downhill.

The next section is literally titled, "Why does he do that?". First paragraph of that section:
Yes, women can be abusers, too, but research show that males are responsible for 95% of all domestic abuse. So why does he do it? Because he can!

Okay while I only spent a few minutes looking I could find no source for this claim. Not only that but I find it pretty dismissive of the "Oh yeah" attitude of the fact that women can be abusers too. Like I say it doesn't sound like a very welcoming environment for men abused by women. And from here the pamphlet takes a very gendered slant.

It gets a little funny after than. In the same section:
Some people believe we have domestic violence because our social history is patriarchal. They say both women and men's belief in male privilege and entitlement has resulted in tolerance for men's use of violence, threats and intimidation toward their partners and the idea that it is OK for one partner to dominate the other.
Translation: It's all men's fault. This section completely disregards any and all reasons that a man may be abusive. Not just disregard them them actually calls them excuses. Such "excuses" include:
"She pushed my buttons."
"She knows how I feel."
"I was abused as a child."
"My dad abused my mom."
"Its only when we drink."
(emphasis by me)

Okay I don't know about you but the first two I emphasized definitely have more than "I'm a man and its my right to control women." behind them and the third more than likely does too (I'd be curious about he seems to drink so much that he becomes abusive). As for the first one I emphasized this is most certainly not a matter of some male privilege or entitlement. He was abused so he therefore becomes abusive. It could be that his abuse led him to think abusing someone you supposedly love is okay. It could be that he was abused as a kid and has concluded that he will take it out on the people in his life. This pamphlet doesn't even bother to attempt to look below the surface on abusive men.

The next section, called "Why does she stay?" seems to do a decent job on addressing the fears of abused women which I suppose is a good thing sine this pamphlet is pretty much starting off declaring that the only DV that really happens is male against female.

I can also get along with the third section called, "How are children affected?".

The fourth section, called "Abuse - A crime or not?" is a completely gendered mess. "Destroying property he owns....", "...who thinks she may be next.", "...his requiring her to assume all the debt."

While it is certainly true that women are abused by men in large numbers with biased literature I am really not surprised that abused men (especially those abused by women) are hesitant to report their abuse and seek help. Which in turns keeps the information and stats on abused men low or short to come by which in turn allows people to pull stuff like claiming "...males are responsible for 95% of all domestic abuse...".

Like I say if I were being abused I would not be comfortable going to this place for help.



As a sidenote I've seen folks here and there talk about how they conducted a bit of a survey checking to see if the shelters in a certain area actually offers aid and support to male abuse victims. I would very much like to check this shelter but at the same time it would be rude and tacky to call their help line which is reserved for actual emergencies. Looks like I may have to find another number for this place...

1 comment:

Abdias the Blind said...

Typical, yet still revolting.

But I do love how they utilize the passive voice in this paragraph:

"Some people believe we have domestic violence because our social history is patriarchal. They say both women and men's belief in male privilege and entitlement has resulted in tolerance for men's use of violence, threats and intimidation toward their partners and the idea that it is OK for one partner to dominate the other."

They're clearly adducing such a notion in this paragraph, and it's quite disingenuous to pretend as if it's just some abstract monad chiming in with such churlish waste.

Kind of makes one wonder if they don't sub-consciously realize that that paragraph is bogus, so in order to exculpate themselves from any contingency blame they utilize the passive voice...

At any rate, if the actual notion were true (that men's violence against women is a manifestation of their privilege over women), then one wonders why one always sees palpable, strong, and passionate decrees everywhere against male-on-female violence.

If any group felt entitled to be permitted to abuse, it would be women, particularly when abusing men. Female-on-male violence not only isn't condemned it's cheered on and venerated in some cases. The men abused in such a way usually elicit laughter, scorn, and at best apathy for their plight from others.

Sometimes I think the women who say and proclaim such nonsense (as noted in the paragraph you quoted) are simply projecting their own abusive nature; you know, employ this as a smokescreen to conceal the violence that _truly_ is socially acceptable, female-on-male violence.

I understand that's quite a sordid accusation, but I can't help but think it true sometimes...

Btw, I like the new background (it's so pretty!), but it does make the text rather difficult to decipher at times.

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