Quantcast

«

»

Nov 25 2013

So how do we eliminate violence against women?

Today, November 25th, is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. I’ve always liked the unequivocal absolutism of this demand – it’s not just a call for awareness, or even a reduction, but the total, final eradication of violence against women. As the Situationists used to say: Be reasonable – demand the impossible.

What I’m less clear about is what we are meant to do to achieve this aim. The day is also known to many as White Ribbon Day, when men around the world pledge never to use or tolerate violence against women and to actively work to end it. I’ll confess I’ve never been comfortable with this campaign. It may be unfair, but it always looks to me like the gentleman doth protest too much, it seems to say “look at me, I don’t beat or rape women!”  Whoop-de-fucking-do, well done you, have a ribbon.

It’s not that such campaigns do any harm. I don’t for a moment buy the argument that campaigns like this are misandrist, implying that all men are potential rapists and wife-beaters, that is paranoid poppycock. I just don’t think they offer any meaningful solution. I also have a deeper, philosophical problem with the politics behind the campaign. As with the slogan “Only men can stop rape” it places the power, the agency and the control of the phenomenon entirely within the gift of men. That is not necessarily entirely helpful – what men can grant, men can take away. I don’t think the use of violence (against anyone) should be an option. The natural right to live free from violence and exploitation is not anyone else’s to grant or rescind. I’m much more comfortable with the campaign slogan of Scottish Women’s Aid: “Together we can stop it” or perhaps the lyrics of Twisted Sister’s feminist classic (no, really) We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore.

There’s another reason why the White Ribbon campaign strikes me as inadequate. For any one person, violence is (usually) a choice made with free will and each of us has personal responsibility for our own actions and decisions. However those decisions are not made in an individualist bubble, but are steered, prompted and motivated by a lifetime of experience and social conditioning. The way I like to think of this is that if you lock a hundred people in a cool, calm, well-ventilated room for 24 hours, the chances of someone punching someone else might be fairly slim. If you switch off the air-con, let the temperature rise, play aggressive, edgy music ever more loudly, the chances of a punch being thrown increase considerably. Whoever threw the punch remains responsible for their own actions, but not in conditions of their own making. The way we mould society, through politics, culture and our own interactions, create the environment in which violence occurs.

I agree with many feminists that, to some extent, male violence against women is informed by patriarchal gender roles – the idea that women should be subordinate to men and kept in line, that they are men’s chattel or playthings. This is true  in many parts of the world today, has historically been true in developed societies and, to a certain extent, still remains so. Challenging vestigial or active gender inequality and male cultural dominion are worthwhile ends in themselves, however this does not and cannot explain all violence, nor even all violence against women. To focus purely on violence rooted in patriarchal dominance is to leave the bulk of the problem unaddressed and therefore excluded from any solutions.

Violence takes many forms, has many meanings and many causes. Today, by coincidence I presume, Professor Murray Straus addresses the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Atlanta with a major and important new paper.  He used data from 15 different countries to demonstrate that university students who were spanked as children were significantly more likely to engage in criminal activity on each of nine different measures – six of which related to violence against others, including partner violence. The findings remained true even after controlling for background, parenting style in other respects and childhood misbehaviour (in other words, it wasn’t the case that children were beaten because they were already more naughty).   The effect was strongest where the child had been beaten by both a father and a mother.

Previous research by Straus has found that a child who grows up in a family where adults are violent to each other is almost three times as likely to display violent behaviour in adulthood. Another study found that a child subjected to physical abuse who also witnesses domestic violence is between five and nine times as likely to become an abusive adult. Over the past 40 years, the developed world has turned against corporal punishment, grown less tolerant of violence and bullying in the playground and physical and sexual abuse in the home. We have also seen precipitous drops in most forms of interpersonal crime and violence. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Ending violence against women will not and cannot be achieved in isolation. Male violence against women is one hub of a psychological and sociological network and is ultimately inseparable from men’s violence against men, women’s violence against women and men and, above all, adult violence against children. For good measure, we could probably add in the economic and social violence of inequality and political injustice.

Eliminating violence against women is a far-reaching ambition. To achieve it, we may need to reach much farther than anyone is prepared to acknowledge.

 

67 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Jimminy

    Good to see someone actually writing this. It’s not rocket science, men cause far, far more violence and harm to each other than they do towards anyone else so how can we hope to stop violence against women without tackling the core of the problem?

  2. 2
    Gjenganger

    I totally agree with your analysis (except that I lack your tolerance for absolutist slogans and partial solutions).

  3. 3
    Danny Gibbs

    Agreed. Pretending that specific forms of violence are happening in some vaccum or even worse acting as if some forms of violence are more important than other (on the overall level, not the personal level) is to look at only a part of the big picture.

    All violence can’t be traced back to “men are raised to think women are their property” and its foolish to think it can be.

    Eliminating violence against women is a far-reaching ambition. To achieve it, we may need to reach much farther than anyone is prepared to acknowledge.
    I think at the minimum its going to call for looking at other forms of violence.

  4. 4
    kacyray

    Brilliant. Thanks again, Ally.

  5. 5
    closedmyaccount

    @Ally — Every call for a utopian society is answered with a dystopian nightmare. No exceptions. Wise folks get that. Why don’t you? Why do you think your writing has encouraged someone to exercise genocidal hatespeech in the very fist comment below your article ? Don’t be so careless.

    On the issue:
    I wouldn’t “end violence”, even if it were possible and even if I could. If I were forced to take your idea seriously, I’d have to ultimately root out 50% of the traits that make us human, among them many which gave rise to civilisation in the first place and will guarantee its continued existence.

    If you want to battle injustice, do it. But violence is not injustice, it’s a means to an end. We need it.

  6. 6
    Ally Fogg

    Why do you think your writing has encouraged someone to exercise genocidal hatespeech in the very fist comment below your article ?

    You what?

  7. 7
    Jimminy

    genocidal hatespeech

    Wowsers, recognising that you won’t stop violence against women without tackling the wider problem of make violence is “genocidal hate speech” now!?

  8. 8
    maudell

    5
    I’m trying to find the perspective where advocating for less violence against men (as is the first commenter) is considered genocidal. So far, I can only come up with ‘cognitive dissonance’ or ‘alternate universe’. I must not be one of the wise commonsensical folks.

  9. 9
    lelapaletute

    @Schlumbumbi

    If you want to battle injustice, do it. But violence is not injustice, it’s a means to an end. We need it.

    How do you work that one out? And what, to you, does count as injustice, if not abuse of power?

  10. 10
    lelapaletute

    As to the genocidal hate speech remark, I assume your theory is that acknowledging that male violence is a problem in general, and not just where it is directed at women, represents a call to eliminate men – your view being that men are, by their very nature, inherently violent and that this cannot be changed?

  11. 11
    Paul

    Ending violence against women will not and cannot be achieved in isolation. Male violence against women is one hub of a psychological and sociological network and is ultimately inseparable from men’s violence against men, women’s violence against women and men and, above all, adult violence against children. For good measure, we could probably add in the economic and social violence of inequality and political injustice.

    Well said Ally. It really is stating the bleedin’ obvious in my opinion and it’s depressing that too often the focus is almost always on male violence against women. If we must have an international day for the elimination of violence then it should be for the elimination of violence towards everyone.

  12. 12
    closedmyaccount

    Sidenote: I’ll have to say “sorry” to Jimminy.
    I was too quick in my judgement and I tend to be overly sensitive when it comes to a certain kind of language. Back in the days, I had to get intimately familiar with Julius Streicher’s approach to language for a course of lectures @uni and on the emotional side, it hasn’t really served me all too well. I am allergic to certain types of “identifying the problem” and in the context of gender discourse, I’ve stumbled upon several instances of unambigious fantasies about extermination.

    @lelapaletute #9:

    And what, to you, does count as injustice, if not abuse of power?

    Well, that for example – the abuse of power. While violence might be used to for that purpose, it might be used to tackle it as well. Violence is not inherently bad and it’s certainly not a synonym for injustice.

    Problem is this:
    By selling violence as inherently bad and as the source of injustice, you’re not only drawing attention from the problems that cause it, but you’re automatically scapegoating men as well. In the mind of the reader, the connection is easily made. Men = violent. Violence = bad. Therefor, men = bad. And everything else is left to the very narrow imagination of the average Joe.

    Not only do I contest each of the premises, I think that such an argument, however elegantly phrased, is malevolent at its core. People who present such lines of argumentation know exactly what they’re doing.

  13. 13
    JT

    Great Post Ally. I would be curious to know if you think that the majority of violence that we see in our world is physical in nature?

  14. 14
    Ally Fogg

    I would be curious to know if you think that the majority of violence that we see in our world is physical in nature?

    to be honest I’m not sure how you could even begin to quantify that.

  15. 15
    JT

    @Ally

    The problem is, people who are violent find ways to hurt others. If they lack physicality then they will use another means. Maybe psychological, or coerce someone else to do there bidding. To often we forget that fact and only look at the physical nature of violence. In one sense that could easily be another form of sexism because in general men are typically more physically dominant so on the surface it may seem that they have a “better” ability to commit the acts we so abhor. When the truth of the matter is both genders are equally violent but generally express it in different ways(though there are overlaps within genders). I think we might have to start to quantify it if you want everyone to be on the same page.

  16. 16
    lelapaletute

    @12 Schlumumbi

    By selling violence as inherently bad and as the source of injustice, you’re not only drawing attention from the problems that cause it, but you’re automatically scapegoating men as well. In the mind of the reader, the connection is easily made. Men = violent. Violence = bad. Therefor, men = bad. And everything else is left to the very narrow imagination of the average Joe.

    I really think that is nonsense. For one thing, saying that violence is inherently bad is pretty much uncontestable. It may sometimes be explicable, or inevitable, or even justifiable (arguably) but it always the least favourable result of a situation where less harmful methods have either failed or not been adequately considered or attempted.

    Where you then go wrong is assuming that because violence is statistically more likely to be practised by men, you can get to ‘men are violent’. This is like the 80s prejudice ‘gays have AIDS’; just because certain idiotic proportion of the population are unable to distinguish between a statistically greater tendency and a general characteristic inherent to a particular group, doesn’t mean it is immora for those less hard of thinking l to identify the statistically at-risk groups, identify what statistically more prevalent behaviours among those groups might have causative links with this increased risk, and try to deal with those issues. Indeed, it is immoral not to, not to mention anti-intellectual.

  17. 17
    Gjenganger

    @JT 13

    if you think that the majority of violence that we see in our world is physical in nature?

    It had better be, because that is the root meaning of the word ‘violence’. OK, you can extend it a bit by analogy, but if you get to the point where most of what you classify as ‘violence’ is psychological, you would need a new word for ‘physical violence’ – and the cycle continues. Only Humpty-Dumpty would be happy with that.

  18. 18
    JT

    @Gjenganger

    I disagree.

  19. 19
    Gjenganger

    @JT 15
    OK, I get where you are coming from. As my five-year-old self noted, it was very unfair that my sister was allowed to tease me, when I was not allowed to hit her – I was disarmed and she was not! But would it not be better to expand what you are talking about (‘violence and coercion’ , ‘violence and bullying’, …) instead of redifining ‘violence’ to make sure that it applies to both sexes equally?

  20. 20
    JT

    @Gjenganger

    The reason I put it like that is because it DOES apply equally to both sexes. The mindframe that allows us to be violent isn’t different because of your gender or physical prowess. The only thing that is different is how we express it. All you need to do is read an online discussion to see the skills of a “violent” person who isn’t using hands or feet to inflict their damage.

  21. 21
    JT

    @Gjenganger

    This short vid gives an idea of how some violent people work without ever lifting a finger.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xt5fu1_ending-credits-from-mystic-river-2003_shortfilms

  22. 22
    Ginkgo

    @JT – “This short vid gives an idea of how some violent people work without ever lifting a finger.’

    Sometimes all they have to do is say a word….

    http://www.businessinsider.com/professor-jailed-for-allegedly-facilitating-the-gruesome-murder-of-her-rapist-2013-11

    And in this connection, Alabama finally passed a law exonerating the Scottsboro Boys after the last one died, since they couldn’t pardon a dead man.

    On the issue of violence sometimes being useful, if you count depriving someone of their liberty as an exercise of (state) violence, and I do, sometimes it can be a good thing. Did you see where they have locked up four more people in the Steubenville rape case, one of them the head of the school or something?

  23. 23
    TMK

    JT, you start with weird assumption that men are not only more violent in societys eyes, but also in reality.

    Whereas the topic of the post is arguably the violence against children, and if you read the article, there is a sentence that it is violence commited more often by mothers. So there you go.

  24. 24
    Ally Fogg

    JT and Gjenganger – the question of what violence actually *is* can be very difficult.

    I agree with JT that it is not just causing physical hurt. The legal definition is the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force – I think that gets closer to it.

    I think the shared root with violation is quite telling too. I certainly don’t think it is unreasonable to say there can be such a thing as emotional violence or psychological violence.

    On the other hand, we do have to be careful that we don’t extend the definition so widely that it becomes meaningless. I don’t think all cruelty, manipulation, coercion etc is necessarily violent, but we should certainly acknowledge that it can be.

  25. 25
    TMK

    Hey, look what i found, browsing sciencedaily links:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810024827.htm

    Results showed that for all three behaviors, the second generation of mothers closely followed what their mothers did. For example, mothers who were spanked at least once a week are nearly half as more likely to spank their own children than mothers who weren’t spanked at all.
    In most cases, there was no relationship between mothers’ parenting practices and the parenting practices of their sons – the one exception being spanking. And in that instance, fathers who were spanked as children were less likely to spank their own children.
    “A little spanking of boys seems to deter them from spanking their own children later in life,” Vespa said.

    Weird.

  26. 26
    JT

    @Ally

    In my early life on was on the receiving end of a considerable amount of physical violence. From fists to feet to other items being used as weapons. Let me tell you, from my experience the greatest pain I experienced and on occasion still do, were from words. They cut the deepest and left the most lasting of scars. For the people who dont understand both trust me when I say, they equally fall under the definition of violence.

  27. 27
    closedmyaccount

    @lelapaletute #16

    For one thing, saying that violence is inherently bad is pretty much uncontestable.

    I didn’t fight my way out of one societal narrative just to leave all others untouched. Not only is it contestable, it’s an easily demonstrable category mistake.

    Example1) The goal of any legal system known to civilisation, is to uphold its rules. It has several means to achieve that goal, only one of them is the threat of violence against perpetrators.

    Example2) You might be familiar with the “evil science” line of reasoning, which claims that because science has produced evil things like the nuclear bomb, science is inherently bad.

    It’s the same mistake. Science, like violence, are mere tools to achieve a certain goal. You might morally examine that goal, but the mere usage of the tool has no moral qualities. Even if you argue that there are actions which can never be morally justified, all you have demonstrated is that you were trying to imagine a morally legitimate motivation for an action, but couldn’t do it. At no point did you reflect upon anything other than the motivation behind the usage.

    And even if I granted that the mere usage of a tool has moral qualities, the following would still be valid:
    As long as violence can, indeed must be used, to do good things (like upholding law & order, or defending yourself against attackers), it cannot be inherently bad – except of course, you want to argue that in order to achieve good results, bad actions must be met with bad reactions. Be your own guest.

    Where you then go wrong is assuming that because violence is statistically more likely…

    Well, that’s a serious problem – because there is infact more than just a grain of truth in it.

    Assumed you have following constellations:
    “A minority of homosexuals have AIDS. But the majority of people with AIDS are homosexuals”
    “A minority of muslims are terrorists. But the majority of terrorists are muslims”.
    “A minority of men are violent. But the majority of violence is done by men.”

    ^
    Such observations, if factually correct, will cause a dilemma.
    On the one hand, you have a concern for public safety, which can only be met by targeting people with certain identifiable attributes but on the other hand, you know in advance that this exact same procedure will penalise a large amount of people who have done nothing wrong.

    Even if were true that violence is inherently bad, and that the majority of violence was perpetrated by man, both of which I reject as false, it still wouldn’t justify the stigmatisation of men or any broad demands towards men in general.

    In short, that’s why I don’t buy into the larger “violence against women” narrative.

    @Gjenganger #17

    It had better be, because that is the root meaning of the word ‘violence’

    I can barely remember my latin classes but there’s something I do remember:
    There are about 10 different words in the latin language, which all translate to “violence” in the english language.

    I see no reason why we shouldn’t make basic distinctions between physical and psychological violence. But I can understand that it’s rather easy to spot physical violence, while psychological violence may easily go unnoticed by outsiders most of the time. That of course says nothing about the degree of coercion it creates or the injuries it can cause.

  28. 28
    John Horstman

    @Schlumbumbi #27: I think violence is always bad, though I also recognize circumstances in which my only practicable options are bad options, and in some of them (when all possible options involve violence), some level of violence is the least bad outcome. As for your examples, for number 1 to be a challenge to the idea that violence is bad, one would have to accept that laws are good. They are not – every legal system is a means to formalize power relationships to the advantage of some over others. Some are more egalitarian than others, but none is perfect – by their very nature they cannot be, becasue it’s impossible to codify a system that can account for fair treatment of every possible person in every possible context. In fact, it is the coercive nature of laws (and all social norms, for that matter) that makes them problematic – in other words, the problem is violence. Example 2 requires viewing the nuclear bomb as the sole result of Science™ and not, say, the application of scientific knowledge to the pursuit of violence. Science is neutral; applying it to violence is bad becasue violence.

    And even if I granted that the mere usage of a tool has moral qualities, the following would still be valid:
    As long as violence can, indeed must be used, to do good things (like upholding law & order, or defending yourself against attackers), it cannot be inherently bad – except of course, you want to argue that in order to achieve good results, bad actions must be met with bad reactions.

    Or I could disagree that “upholding law & order” or “defending yourself against attackers” are necessarily good. The first I think is always and actively bad, the second is bad if it necessitates violence, though it might be the least bad option sometimes (and only in the cases where one is not the violent aggressor: if you are the aggressor, defending yourself against reprisal is not less-bad, it’s doubly bad).

    On the one hand, you have a concern for public safety, which can only be met by targeting people with certain identifiable attributes but on the other hand, you know in advance that this exact same procedure will penalise a large amount of people who have done nothing wrong.

    This is only true if your means of combating, in this example, AIDS involves problematic, “penalizing” tactics. In imagining methods of handling threats to public safety that are themselves to be viewed as intrinsically undesirable by the people they impact, you’re projecting. I’m not sure how, say, efforts to set up free condom distribution systems in areas with large gay populations in any way penalize people who have done nothing wrong; same for including both gay and straight couples in safer-sex awareness campaigns (instead of the historical mode of only representing straight couples) – all you’re really telling us here is that the only campaigns you can imagine to combat AIDS are harmful to those they target (Were you imagining quarantine? Why?).

    In short, that’s why I don’t buy into the larger “violence against women” narrative.

    I disagree. That may be your rationalization, but based on your comments, I think it’s far more likely that the actual reason you “don’t buy into the larger ‘violence against women’ narrative” is socialized misogyny, perhaps only the mild form of misogyny that is androcentrism.

  29. 29
    JT

    I disagree. That may be your rationalization, but based on your comments, I think it’s far more likely that the actual reason you “don’t buy into the larger ‘violence against women’ narrative” is socialized misogyny, perhaps only the mild form of misogyny that is androcentrism.(John)

    Priceless. Misogynist, wow. I love it when people think. Reminds me of the joke. You thought you had farted but shit your pants.

  30. 30
    Sasori

    I agree that ‘violence against women’ is not separate from other violence in society generally (and therefore can’t be solved separately). I think also that it’s framing as separate decreases the chances of success and hurts men who have been victims of domestic violence (and erases the fact that women do this) aswell. I am not even sure that patriarchal norms are all that big of a predictor, the rate of domestic violence in Japan for example is a fraction of that of the UK and it seems a much more ‘patriarchal’ place. The stuff on the motivators of women perpetrators of DV suggest that this is more of a problem of mental health in the developed west. I also think that the question is way more complicated than all that, with (iirc) mutually violent couples and initial violence toward the ‘primary aggressor’ being highly correlated with the most severe cases.

    Lastly about the Straus smacking children bit; this article http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/11/the-neuroscientist-who-discovered-he-was-a-psychopath/
    by a guy who featured in this old horizon documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2bPMDTXQTY

    was discussed elsewhere on the web,http://www.reddit.com/r/TrueReddit/comments/1rah6p/the_neuroscientist_who_discovered_he_was_a/cdla7x1
    in the discussion somebody goes through a paper about the (low activity MAO-A) “warrior gene” and it turns out that not only is the gene is only a predictor of violent and ‘psychopathic’ behaviour if a child with the gene suffers maltreatment in the first years of childhood, but that people with the gene are actually less likely to be violent than people who don’t have it if they don’t suffer abuse. The wikipedia page is really interesting. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoamine_oxidase_A#Aggression_and_the_.22Warrior_gene.22 Even though people with this gene are a small % of the population, I wonder if this could play a role in the drop in what Strauss was talking about.

  31. 31
    carnation

    @ all

    Re what is violence? Well, leaving aside sex and gender, the meat industry almost in its entirety. Sorry, just me touting my own agenda.

    @ Paul

    “If we must have an international day for the elimination of violence then it should be for the elimination of violence towards everyone.”

    Sigh… Presumably, then, you object to gay pride on the grounds there’s no straight pride? MOBO because there’s no MOWO?

    Nothing wrong with having a specific day, indeed movement, to eliminate men’s violence against women. Just like there’s nothing wrong with campaigning against fur farming and not against leather.

  32. 32
    Paul

    @Carnation

    Sigh… Presumably, then, you object to gay pride on the grounds there’s no straight pride? MOBO because there’s no MOWO?

    Nothing wrong with having a specific day, indeed movement, to eliminate men’s violence against women. Just like there’s nothing wrong with campaigning against fur farming and not against leather.

    Sigh.You’ve completely missed the point. Male violence against women has to be seen in the context of all forms of violence.And specifically if male violence against women is to be eliminated then the role of females-as well as males- in encouraging males to be violent as part of the deal of being a ”real man” has to be acknowledged.

    There are mothers who actively encourage their sons to be violent . There are women who have an expectation that their menfolk should beat up any other males who disrespect them.There are women who threaten other people with the violence of their menfolk if they themselves feel disrespected..There are women who’re quite happy for their menfolk to be violent to other people but only complain when they themselves become the victims of that same violence.

    The complicity of women in encouraging male attitudes which can manifest themselves in violence -the worst of which is targetted at other men- is to often played down or ignored .Just as the role of women as perpetrators of violence is often played down or ignored. Don’t get me wrong,i’m not in anyway seeking to detract from the responsibilities of men themselves .And i’m not seeking to demean the many completely innocent female victims of male violence throughout the world. What i am however adding is a dimension to the problem which many people- possibly even yourself- don’t want to acknowledge.Namely that eliminating male violence against women must not only include challenging female -as well as male- attitudes and expectations of men and masculinity but must also be seen in the context of eliminating all forms of violence.

  33. 33
    SallyStrange

    So, yeah, women can and often do enforce patriarchy too, I guess you guys hadn’t heard?

    But I agree that ending the global acceptance of violence against children is probably the biggest thing we could do to change all of this.

  34. 34
    JT

    So, yeah, women can and often do enforce patriarchy too, I guess you guys hadn’t heard?(Sally)

    Actually I heard they can and often do enforce Kyriarchy.

  35. 35
    mildlymagnificent

    It may be unfair, but it always looks to me like the gentleman doth protest too much, it seems to say “look at me, I don’t beat or rape women!” Whoop-de-fucking-do, well done you, have a ribbon.

    I do think it’s a bit unfair. afaik, the main drive behind the wearing a ribbon (or a moustache or a red nose) thing – all the colours, all the named days/weeks/months – is as conversation starters and as ‘crowd-sourcing’ publicity for the various causes.

    the question of what violence actually *is* can be very difficult.

    I think we’d do better to focus on the origins of the behaviour in all its forms. Bullying is the word we’ve all been looking for.

    I remember someone telling me after she’d left her horrible husband – it would have been easier if he’d just have hit me and got it over with. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that when someone hits you it doesn’t stop him from doing all that other stuff as well. But with or without the physical stuff, it’s all bullying.

    I think it’s a lot easier for people to understand when it’s put in the context of bullying because everyone knows that different bullies use different tactics which might or might not include fists or feet.

  36. 36
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Ending violence against women will not and cannot be achieved in isolation. Male violence against women is one hub of a psychological and sociological network and is ultimately inseparable from men’s violence against men, women’s violence against women and men and, above all, adult violence against children. For good measure, we could probably add in the economic and social violence of inequality and political injustice.

    I’m with you on this post — end ALL the violence.

  37. 37
    carnation

    @ Paul

    Excuse the tone, your thoughts are better developed than I assumed. Still broadly disagree, however. VAW (and actually, intimate relationship violence) is something that could and should be tackled alone and with a specific immediancy. Wider societal violence is as important but would need a very comprehensive strategy. An analogy would be Ally’s ‘compromises’ on circumcision.

    Thoughts?

  38. 38
    closedmyaccount

    @John Horstman #28

    (1) It’s already pretty offtopic, that’s why I’ll make it short: I don’t get your line of reasoning.

    You reject the very principle of social norms because of their coercive nature, but you allow yourself to make moral judgements? Based on what ? After all, most social norms do reflect on our understanding of basic human nature and interactions, and the consequences that follow from these principles.

    (2) I’m not projecting. I remember the early 80s and I remember the ideas politicians had about how to treat gays in light of the HIV/AIDS prevalence in their group. Forcing gays to personally get their risk behaviour estimated and registered, including their HIV status, and making these registers publicly available, was among the more moderate proposals.

    (3) The last 2 sentences don’t deserve a reply. And it wasn’t my main point anyway. Identifying violence as “the problem” is simply a red herring I refuse to swallow.

    @Sasori #30

    I agree that ‘violence against women’ is not separate from other violence in society generally

    You know what the saddest thing is ? The hollow lip service paid by people who say that “of course” these things cannot be seperated, but whose very next step is to seperate these things and to argue for special consideration for their own pets.

    This “I’m not saying that, but I am saying that” style of hypocrisy has long surpassed any conceivable limit of tolerability.

    @carnation #31

    Nothing wrong with having a specific day, indeed movement, to eliminate men’s violence against women.

    If a good number of those who loudly promote WRA actions, not only oppose, but sabotage MRA events, then something is very wrong with these people. And in that case, I get very suspicious of the movement they claim to support as well. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

  39. 39
    Lucy

    “The natural right to live free from violence and exploitation”

    There is no such natural right; nature is utterly violence and utterly exploitative. The engine of evolution is death.

    There has not been a single day since the beginning of recorded history where there hasn’t been at least one war going on, usually several hundred, and where multiple attacks, murders and rapes have taken place in every country, following the same patterns. There’s a clue there: this isn’t aberrant, abnormal, unnatural behaviour, it is our natural behaviour.

    Sorry to put a dampner on things, but we will never end violence against women, men, children unless we fundamentally change our biology and the natural environment so that the instinctive urge to compete is removed and the necessity to do it is removed. But plenty of dystopian novels have been written off the the back of that premise.

    It would be nice if women were given a fighting chance of defending themselves and allowed to carry mace spray in this country, instead of being sent out to meet attackers with a car key.

    Ps. Natural doesn’t mean helpful or moral obviously.

  40. 40
    Lucy

    That is, until women evolve claws and fangs as per Mike Buchanan’s rather smug vision of the male lifeblood/resources/ingenuity-sucking feminist/wife/working woman/non-working woman “vampire”.

  41. 41
    Adiabat

    Ally: As usual I agree with the majority of your OP, all except your bit about thinking that campaigns which only posits men as aggressors and violent are misandrist is poppycock and paranoid. It just seems to me that sometimes you are very… selective about which ‘cultural influences and societal conditioning’ you consider part of the “patriarchy”.

    Schlumbumbi (38):

    You know what the saddest thing is ? The hollow lip service paid by people who say that “of course” these things cannot be seperated, but whose very next step is to seperate these things and to argue for special consideration for their own pets.

    This “I’m not saying that, but I am saying that” style of hypocrisy has long surpassed any conceivable limit of tolerability.

    Yep, I agree with that. I made the same observation the last time the resident feminists here engaged in “yay Ally” hypocrisy*. I suppose it’s ‘low cost’ for them to post something on a message board to give the impression that they are egalitarian – something that they are unlikely to be called out on when they revert back to promoting “patriarchal” messages about focusing on helping female victims.

    * http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/10/17/a-personal-manifesto-for-men-and-boys/#comment-12415

  42. 42
    csrster

    “the lyrics of Twisted Sister’s feminist classic (no, really) We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore.”

    Well I suppose the video does have a subplot of the obviously-downtrodden wife getting repeated revenge on her overbearing husband.

  43. 43
    carnation

    @ Schulumbi

    Schala, per chance??

    Your comment to me approached parody in its reactionary hysteria.

  44. 44
    closedmyaccount

    @carnation #43
    If that’s an insinuation about me using multiple identities, the answer is: No.

  45. 45
    pikeamus

    Lucy:
    I weigh 8kg less than the average woman in my country. Do I get to have mace as well? I have a female friend that is 3 inches taller and 5-10kg heavier than the average man in this country. Does she get to have mace? Does it affect your decision to know that both of us are experienced martial artists? How about my uncle? He’s in his late 60s and is a tad frail after his stroke. Or I have a 13 year old cousin, he was punched and had his smartphone nicked a few months ago. Does he qualify for a mace licence?

  46. 46
    Lucy

    Pikeamus

    “I weigh 8kg less than the average woman in my country. Do I get to have mace as well? I have a female friend that is 3 inches taller and 5-10kg heavier than the average man in this country. Does she get to have mace? Does it affect your decision to know that both of us are experienced martial artists? How about my uncle? He’s in his late 60s and is a tad frail after his stroke. Or I have a 13 year old cousin, he was punched and had his smartphone nicked a few months ago. Does he qualify for a mace licence?”

    No you don’t get mace, you have other advantages ranging from strength to influence.

  47. 47
    Lucy

    Plus you present a average higher risk to the public so can’t be weaponised.

  48. 48
    pikeamus

    If this were 2008 I would post the “not sure if serious” joker picture. It’s very difficult to tell if you mean some of the silly things you say.

  49. 49
    Mr Supertypo

    The fact that all violence is connected is something thats has always been fairly obvious to me, and I guess for every intelligent person on earth. Violence its just the act, the matrix behind it is the intent to harm somebody to destroy somebody, the reason may vary from person to person, situation to situation, as frustration or pleasure (the latter is more a pathological condition). But they all have one thing in common, and thats a emotive response to a tragic event, therefore per definition not rational. The matrix behind it is emotion, remove the emotions you remove the fuel inside the hostility engine. No violence against anybody….but at great cost, with the emotions we also lose our humanity. So how are we going to sell our souls? through Kurzweil’s famous singularity (unsure) or becoming addicts of Prozium? Or is there another way?

  50. 50
    Unphysicalism

    [DELETED BY AF FOR GROSSLY OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE, GROSSLY OFFENSIVE THINKING AND / OR SHAMELESS TROLLING]

  51. 51
    Unphysicalism

    Besides, what kind of frail, inferior male is weaker than most females? If you need mace to defend yourself, you should probably just do the gene pool a favor.

  52. 52
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Unphysicalism @51 & @52, either you’re attempting sarcasm or you’re being literal.

    If the former, it’s a feeble attack upon a straw dummy; if the latter, you’re an opinionated ignoramus — and, either way, I find you contemptible for it.

    (Are you familiar with that which the expression ceteris paribus denotes?)

  53. 53
    Unphysicalism

    I’m completely serious. The only purpose of females is to produce offspring. The only purpose of males is to be selected by females for breeding purposes. All other purposes are simply mythology constructed by deluded humans believing themselves to be worth more than they actually are.

  54. 54
    John Morales

    Unphysicalism @52, thanks for the clarification.

    Since purpose entails intentional agency, what do you consider to be the agency that assigns purposiveness to the female sex?

  55. 55
    John Morales

    PS, Unphysicalism: I note that since it’s established that humans aren’t a hermaphroditic species, it follows that it requires both males and females to produce offspring; this ineluctably entails that if the only purpose of females is to produce offspring then by the same reasoning the only purpose of males is also to produce offspring, contrary to your claim.

    (Logical consistency is necessary for validity, regardless of one’s premises)

  56. 56
    Mr Supertypo

    Lucy is actually right, its not possible to stop the violence against women, or anybody else. Its a lost cause…forget it. The only way its to change or alter or biology (Ray Kurzweil maybe?) or Prozium. But beside that there isnt much to do. Yes we can change or erase the present cultural narrative around violence and torment everything connected to it. But the reality is when the conditions are ideal, violence will knock at our doors. Because violence and general evil are the other side of the human coin :-(

  57. 57
    Mr Supertypo

    Unphysical doesent get it. Its not only about putting offspring’s on this planet its also about survival and therefore management of resources. And all this after X number of generations leads to our society and more.

  58. 58
    Ally Fogg

    I don’t moderate many comments here, as most of you know, but the post from Unphysicalism at 50 sailed past my levels of acceptability.

    Unphysicalism is not barred from this site but any more grossly ableist language or advocacy of eugenics and borderline Nazism and he(?) will be.

    This decision is final. If anyone wants to argue the rights and wrongs of it, please take it to the Musings on moderation thread. Any discussion of it here will be deleted.

    Thanks all.

  59. 59
    Ally Fogg

    Mr Supertypo & Lucy

    Lucy is actually right, its not possible to stop the violence against women, or anybody else. Its a lost cause…forget it.

    if you want to be literal about it, yes, we will never entirely end violence against women or violence against anyone. Of course.

    However there is no doubt that across different societies, and within different societies across time, levels of violence against women rise and fall dramatically. Even over a generation or two we can see it. In the US, levels of rape of women have fallen by about 80 – 90% since the early 80s. In the UK, domestic violence has dropped about 60% since the mid 90s.

    So while it is true to say there will always be violence against women, against men, against children or whatever, it is not true to say there will always be *this much* violence (however much “this much” might be.) It is perfectly reasonable (indeed I’d argue essential) to ask what it is we’ve been doing over recent decades that might have led to the declining rates of interpersonal violence, and see if we can do more of them.

  60. 60
    closedmyaccount

    @Ally Fogg
    And how are you going to find out why people don’t do the things other people did before them ?

  61. 61
    Ally Fogg

    And how are you going to find out why people don’t do the things other people did before them ?

    Criminology, psychology, neuroscience, sociology etc etc etc.

  62. 62
    Paul

    @37 Carnation

    your thoughts are better developed than I assumed.

    And to think i went to a comprehensive school as well . What’s the world coming to.

    Thoughts?

    None really .I read your response and my mind kind of went blank.

  63. 63
    mildlymagnificent

    Lucy is actually right, its not possible to stop the violence against women, or anybody else. Its a lost cause…forget it. The only way its to change or alter or biology

    Ally turned himself inside out to draft a reasonable, measured reply to this. I feel no need to do the same.

    This is just rubbish. There is no special biology affecting the astounding rates of rape and violence in New Guinea (for a current example http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/12/papua-new-guinea-children-abuse ). The rates of violence in New Guinea were high a decade or two ago but nowhere nearly as bad as they’ve become in recent times. A very few miles across Torres Strait the rates of violence and rape in Australia are much, much lower.

    It’s all about culture. Different times. Different places. Different rates of rape. Different rates of violence.

    The sooner we face it, the sooner we can do something useful about it.

    (And I may be a woman, but on behalf of all the decent men I know, I’m mightily offended that you seem to be branding them as victims of biology – helplessly driven on an irresistible surge of violent impulses. It’s not true. Having also known some extremely unpleasant, violent men, neither were they helpless in the grip of mindless impulse. They knew what they were doing and they chose to do it.)

  64. 64
    Mr Supertypo

    Mildlymagnificent-

    “Ally turned himself inside out to draft a reasonable, measured reply to this. I feel no need to do the same. ”

    all right, fair enough.

  65. 65
    Mr Supertypo

    Ally-

    “if you want to be literal about it, yes, we will never entirely end violence against women or violence against anyone. Of course.

    However there is no doubt that across different societies, and within different societies across time, levels of violence against women rise and fall dramatically. Even over a generation or two we can see it. In the US, levels of rape of women have fallen by about 80 – 90% since the early 80s. In the UK, domestic violence has dropped about 60% since the mid 90s.

    So while it is true to say there will always be violence against women, against men, against children or whatever, it is not true to say there will always be *this much* violence (however much “this much” might be.) It is perfectly reasonable (indeed I’d argue essential) to ask what it is we’ve been doing over recent decades that might have led to the declining rates of interpersonal violence, and see if we can do more of them.”

    I do agree, and thats why I was explaining that 100% is impossible unless we change or alter our biology. Violence has lot of causes, it may be inter/personal or political and it may a reaction to a tragic event or to something thats about to happen. But the point is violence is born within so to eradicate it completely we need to go to the root (go cyborg or drug addict or something else) premeditated violence may be possible to remove but not the instinctive (this one is usually defensive a reaction to circumstances). But I dont think we need to go so far (sorry Kurzweil and no Tetragrammaton rule to us) working on alternative cultural models and covering the basic human needs should be sufficent to place the violence to minimum.

  66. 66
    Unphysicalism

    [COMMENT DELETED BY AF. THIS USER HAS BEEN BLOCKED]

  67. 67
    Archy

    I want to see one, just one article written by a woman that gets a decent amount of views of her pledging to never commit violence against men. I’ve already seen 10′s maybe 100′s written by men and countless men on TV pledging to stop n speak out against violence against women yet zero of women affording the same pledge to men.

    Violence affects everyone, targetting the upper 2 thirds or less whilts ignoring the other third or more victims so often doesn’t do diddly squat really to help end violence, infact it’s actually become a privilege women get in that violence against them is taken far more serious. Surely there must be 1 article, 1 woman making the pledge??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>