The Guardian publishes our open letter to CPS


After I published my blog post last week, several friends and colleagues from organisations involved in men’s health and recovery got in touch to share their astonishment and anger at what I had revealed. The brazen falsehood in the presentation of the ‘Violence against Women and Girls’ data was shocking enough, but possibly worse was the failure of any mainstream media or journalists to pick up on what had happened and challenge the CPS over their work.

We decided to take matters into our own hands. By Monday we had got together a draft letter, nominally to the Guardian’s letters page but really to Alison Saunders and the CPS, The response was phenomenal. We ended up with around 30 of Britain’s leading experts in the fields agreeing to put their names to the letter and this morning, I am very proud to say, the letter appears in the Guardian . We have also sent a press release to all national news desks, so hopefully further media will follow.

In the comments beneath the previous blog, several of you were debating why the CPS would have done such a thing. My hunch, for what it is worth, is that there is a little bit of many factors at play, but a key one is a prevailing sense that male victims of intimate violence and abuse seem to muddy the narrative, so it is easier to just ignore them. Since there has rarely been any kind of effective organised lobby on behalf of vulnerable men and boys, organisations like the CPS think they can get away with this kind of things because hey, it’s just men and boys so who is going to care? I sincerely hope that this letter will be one tiny step towards changing that, and that the likes of the Crown Prosecution Service and all other public bodies realise that they cannot always just throw men and boys to the wolves and no one will care.

Anyway, the original, unedited letter and the full list of signatories is below and I’ve added  Belinda Brown of UCL who asked to be on the list but got missed for no other reason than my administrative incompetence.


—————————————————————

Your article (More people than ever being convicted of violence against women, figures` show, The Guardian, 25 June) was inaccurate and damaging. It is simply untrue to say, “about 107,100 cases concerning violence against women and girls were prosecuted over the [past] 12 months.”

Responsibility for this error, however, lies not with your staff but with the Crown Prosecution Service and their report, misleadingly entitled ‘Violence Against Women And Girls, Crime Report 2014-15.’

Despite the title, this analysis included more than 13,000 male victims of crimes including rape, sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. Many will have been gay or transgender, many will have had their children or dependents affected. Designating these men and boys as victims of crimes “against women and girls” not only misleads the public about the complex and diverse dynamics of abuse, but also serves to conceal and marginalise the experiences of all male survivors of intimate and sexual crimes while perpetuating the myth that “real men” don’t get raped, abused or become victims of domestic violence.

Victims of intimate violence face significant psychological barriers to reporting these events. Some fear they will not be believed, or even cast as the perpetrator. Those who find the courage to report their abuse to the authorities often say they are motivated less by the need for justice or revenge but for validation that what happened to them was real and was wrong. Many men tell us  that the experience of intimate violation has left them feeling like ‘less than a man’ making interaction with authorities even more complex and challenging. For those same authorities to publicly disregard this and erase the experiences of around one in six of all victims is unjust and a cruel betrayal of their bravery.

We fully support drives to eliminate intimate and sexual violence and understand that focussing on female victims is central to this. It is also essential that we retain due consideration for male victims of these crimes. We call on the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders and all public bodies to affirm their commitment to addressing and eliminating intimate violence against human beings of any gender and to take care in future not to compromise the dignity and public understanding of any survivors.

Yours etc.

Ally Fogg, Writer and journalist
Michael May, Director, Survivors UK
Duncan Craig, CEO, Survivors Manchester
Jane Powell, CEO, CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably
Mark Brooks, Chair, The Mankind Initiative
Nick Smithers, National Development Officer, Abused Men in Scotland
Bob Balfour, Founder, Survivors West Yorkshire
Prof. Damien Ridge, Professor of Health Studies, University of Westminster
Dr John Barry, UCL Medical School
Dr Nicola Graham-Kevan, Reader in Psychology, University of Central Lancashire
Dr Mike Hartill, Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Sport, Edge Hill University
Dr Ben Hine, Lecturer in Psychology, University of West London
Dr Melanie Lang, Senior Lecturer in Child Protection in Sport, Edge Hill University
Dr Michelle Lowe, Lecturer in criminological and forensic psychology, University of Bolton
Dr Luke Sullivan, Clinical Psychologist and Director of Men’s Minds Matter
Anthony Murphy, Lecturer in Psychology, University of West London
Dan Bell, Features Editor, insideMan magazine
Martin Daubney, Journalist, broadcaster and committee member, Being A Man Festival
Brian Dempsey, Lecturer, School of Law, University of Dundee
Richard Duncker, Founder, Men Do Complain
Alex Feis-Bryce, Director of Services, National Ugly Mugs
Justin Gaffney, CEO, MSH Health & Wellbeing
Glen Poole, UK Coordinator, International Men’s Day
Shane Ryan, CEO, Working With Men
Martin Seager, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Mark Sparrow, Journalist
Simone Spray, CEO, 42nd Street
Gijsbert Stoet, Reader in Psychology, University of Glasgow
Martyn Terry Sullivan, CEO, Mankind Counselling
Tina Threadgold, Trustee, UKNSWP
Belinda Brown, Honorary Research Associate, UCL

Comments

  1. says

    The anti-male bias of the CPS (and many other public bodies) which lead to a lack of support for male victims of intimate partner violence was covered in a 154-page report we submitted to the Home Office last October:

    https://j4mb.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/141026-submission-to-home-office-improved-layout.pdf

    Well done on presenting a list of signatories without even one person who publicly identifies as an anti-feminist. 10/10 for narrative control.

  2. Ally Fogg says

    If you’re huffing because we didn’t ask you Mike, I’m afraid you have to live with the fact that those are the inevitable consequences of a long track record of truly hideous politics, , overt misogyny and deeply embarrassing and counterproductive public pronouncements.

    Turns out decent, sensible people don’t want anything to do with you. Funny that.

    If it makes you feel better, we didn’t ask Tom Martin or Milo Yiannopoulis either.

  3. says

    Just to reinforce your point Ally, the Daily Mail is running an article today about domestic abuse which involved battering with a heavy object – and they find it ‘hilarious’ (I quote) “I suppose it was mostly the 76-year-old’s choice of weapon that amused me.”

    How hilarious would they have found a husband battering his wife with a piece of solid wood?

    When it is a wife armed with a rolling pin it becomes ‘hilarious’.

  4. says

    Ally, I’m certainly not huffing over not being asked to be a signatory, I wouldn’t expect you to ask me. Calling me an overt misogynist doesn’t make me one, no matter how many times you allege it, it remains a lie. The CPS’s report is entirely consistent with the organisation (led by a radical feminist, Alison Saunders) being run along radical feminist lines, so to exclude anti-feminists from your list of signatories is perverse.

    There are plenty of other anti-feminists (British and non-British) you could have asked to be signatories, but you presumably chose not to ask them. They include William Collins and Herbert Purdy.

  5. says

    Just mulling over what the combined impact of ‘decent and sensible people’ – your signatories, and others – on the state’s assaults on men and boys for the past 30+ years has been. Precisely ZERO. If they continue doing what they’re doing, the impact will remain the same. Until we accept that radical feminism is the source of the problems, and is effectively challenged as a political force, things won’t change.

    Blogs of the two aforementioned anti-feminists, both very well worth reading:

    Herbert Purdy http://herbertpurdy.com
    William Collins http://mra-uk.co.uk

  6. sonofrojblake says

    One particularly repellent line is a reference to her losing “her temper again, this time volleying punches at her 6ft, 16st husband and giving him a black eye”. His height and weight being relevant because tall fat people deserve to be punched. Or something.

  7. 123454321 says

    Ally – Grand job with what you have done. PLEASE keep us informed of the responses.

    Anna – your Daily Mail piece is a mere drop in the ocean. I lost count years ago of the mounting plethora of double standard and biased, hypocritical articles like this, written by idiots who effectively do nothing more than spew vomit right across our society.

    People – sorry, sheep – are significantly influenced and easily led. They take what they see and hear as acceptable (because it’s in the media, so that makes it ok!) and then they go off somewhere and recreate these ‘acceptabilities’ and ‘moralities’ which they have seen amongst their social circles, thus perpetuating the theme of man-bashing in a wash, rinse, dry cycle of dirty laundry put out for everyone to see, soak up and regurgitate.

    Go watch the “Come Dine with Me – Couples” series and you’ll witness first-hand the relationships and current trends surrounding the ‘acceptable moralities’ which are now firmly ingrained within the psyche of publicly interacting couples with respect to humour, violence, threats, controlling behaviour, jealousy, verbal attacks, shaming, outright abuse of people’s physical attributes, their dress sense, open criticism, judgment and approval/disapproval etc …Dave Lamb reinforces the ‘humour’ when he openly attacks a man for being bald, having a big nose, not being able to peel a potato because he’s a man, or being misogynistic. Rarely does he attack women for their physical appearance or for being misandric. Nah, he applauds that and hand out accolades to people who successfully put him in his place! Yeah, you carry on taking the safe route, Dave, not worth your job, mate!

  8. mildlymagnificent says

    Well done, you! (And all the other signatories.)

    And btw. It’s about time that cartoon version of wife-with-rolling-pin-waiting-behind-kitchen-door was relegated to the history it should never have occupied in the first place. I’m old enough to remember such cartoons in newspapers. It was never funny, even though I had no idea it actually happened to some men when I was a child.

    The thing that amazes me, still, is the reluctance to face squarely the abuse of boys. Everybody knows by now about abuse in institutions from local church choirs and scout groups to remote orphanages and boarding schools of all kinds. How come the step to realise it happened, and happens, in families as well seems one step too far to acknowledge?

  9. Holms says

    #4 Mike Buchanan
    Calling me an overt misogynist doesn’t make me one, no matter how many times you allege it, it remains a lie.

    Calling you that, alone, does not make you one. Your demonstrable actions do.

    There are plenty of other anti-feminists (British and non-British) you could have asked to be signatories, but you presumably chose not to ask them. They include William Collins and Herbert Purdy.

    The fact that they openly call themselves anti-feminists is prima facie evidence that they should not be consulted.

    ___
    #8 sonofrojblake
    One particularly repellent line is a reference to her losing “her temper again, this time volleying punches at her 6ft, 16st husband and giving him a black eye”. His height and weight being relevant because tall fat people deserve to be punched. Or something.

    More likely a direct reference to the idea that men are bigger and therefore can’t be victims. As you say, repellent.

  10. says

    @Holms 11

    1. What ‘demonstrable actions’ would those be? Please enlighten us all.

    2. Anti-feminists should not be consulted, you say. The only narratives are to be feminist ones, because feminist agendas have been SO helpful to men and boys for 30+ years e.g. in recognition of male domestic violence victims.

  11. Ally Fogg says

    Can I just remind everyone that this thread and this issue is about somewhere between 13,000 and 16,000 men and boys, and to the best of my knowledge, Mike Buchanan is not one of them.

  12. ajay says

    ALly,

    when talking about why the CPS has produced such a dispiritingly misleading and sexist report you say you think it is because of a ‘prevailing sense that male victims of intimate violence and abuse seem to muddy the narrative’.

    The only narrative that is muddied is the narrative that women are always helpless blameless victims and men always agressors and vicitimisers. This narrative is not just be muddied by men who are vicitimised by women but completely underminded and disproved. I am struggling to see how criticising men for this is grounded in anything but sexism or that it is anything but a good thing.

    The starting point for this thsi discussion should be why there is a report on violence against women and girls and none for men and boys. This is nakedly sexist given the crime statistics for victims of violence. I fail to see any justification for the exclusion of boys in paicular apart from naked misandry. Any report related to VAWG has to distort and misrepresent the data otherwise it will simply undermine the programs own gender bias.

    Trying to excuse endemic establishment misandry by blaming the victims semes an exercise in self deception to me.
    he fact is that our society doe snot think men and biys lifes are as significant as women and this is reflected in teh education system, the justice system, healthcare and the media.

    It seems to me that anyone who has a focus on male issues has a valid voice on this wether they profess themselves an anti-feminist or not. The definition of feminism is so broad and elastic that it is almost meaningless to be aganst it in any case. I consider myself a feminist in the sense of believing in equality yet at the same time think the majority of self professed feminists are nasty sexist bigots. Am I an anti-feminist or not?

  13. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    CPS? In the USA that is usually “Child Protection Service”.

    Acronyms are OK, but for the people across the pond, what organization are you discussing?

  14. 123454321 says

    “I consider myself a feminist in the sense of believing in equality…”

    ajay I’d stop calling yourself a feminist if I were you and you believe in equality.

  15. Ally Fogg says

    Tsu Dho Nimh [15]

    Sorry, CPS is Crown Prosecution Service, which does roughly the job that a DA does in the US, the police investigate an alleged crime, passes on their evidence file to the CPS who then decide whether or not to take it to court, amongst other duties.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    ajay [14]

    “I am struggling to see how criticising men for this is grounded in anything but sexism or that it is anything but a good thing.”

    “Trying to excuse endemic establishment misandry by blaming the victims.”

    Sorry, I’m not following you. Who is doing either of those things?

  17. ajay says

    Ally,

    It seems to me that saying that a key reason that a report like this is published is because there is a prevailing sense that male victims muddy the narrative is firstly an implicit criticism of the victims and secondly is excusing the real reason which is establishment sexism.

    The only narrative I see undermined is the female pure innocent victim not responsible, male responsible aggressor narrative and the this is undermined by the mere existence of male victims particularly those of female aggression.

    I may be missing something subtle here but you need to explain what the narrative is that is muddied, why the publishing of a report that is obviously carefully crafted to exclude male victims results from the muddied narrative in a way that excludes institutional sexism as the primary cause and how male victims could possibly avoid muddying this narrative. At the moment it just seems a slightly mealy mouthed exercise in blaming male victims for the sexism of society. If you are simply saying that society and the authors cannot accept the existence of male victims, despite the evidence, why write about a muddied narrative at all. Why not call it for what it is, pervasive sexism throughout society and the establishment.

  18. Meggamat says

    If I may, the reason for a lack of focus on anti-feminists is that the point was to be supportive of men and boys. Human extinction is movements are arguably anti-feminists, in that they want feminists to die along with everyone else.

    Should fogg have collected omnicadal signatures?

  19. Marduk says

    This is a very well written letter, good work indeed.

    I agree with you however that the most shocking thing is not the CPS responding to (my guess) terms of reference they have been given and possibly have chosen to ignore (so they aren’t even obviously villains here, possibly someone has actually been a bit brave within the parameters they were allowed). It is the silence of journalists.

    Now sometimes we get frustrated because fleet street is not our personal army and on reflection, perhaps there was an issue but not a story. That is not the case here. It really requires an explanation, it is more than just the job of journalists to look at things like this, to the extent they still fight for recognition as a profession with a social benefit, it is their duty. There was a story here, and an important one.

    Given that a major area of rhetoric in social justice is “invalidation” and “invisibilizing” (sic) etc. you’d also think that when given an excellent institutional example, even some who are less than sympathetic to men’s issues might have wanted to at least nail a textbook example in the wild. But still nothing.

    I have no detailed understanding of the working of the press but the more abstract explanations are not looking good. Some mix of (1) nobody cares (2) the “chilling” climate is such that nobody wants to write about stuff like this for fear of being accused of misogyny (3) in the area of journalism about gender, the mainstream press has preferred to hire activists who write rather than journalists who have views. Therefore, if a subject does not match their activism, they aren’t interested, and we are told repeatedly that activism is necessarily partial and selective. Essentially then, we have no real journalism (in the sense of the mindset and investigatory ability; I’m not saying activists can’t write well) here despite appearances to the contrary. I’d be very interested in some sort of editorial comment on the last point because I’m not entirely sure this was planned, I think its been sleep-walked into via commissioning.

  20. says

    I second the sentiments of your other commenters, Ally–this is very good work indeed. It’s a small step, but anything that brings justice closer for victims of abuse–male and female–deserves props in my book.

  21. says

    On behalf of all those organisations that signed the letter and also all those male victims of abuse out there, a big thanks to Ally for organising this. This type of sensible, responsible and firm approach will make a difference in the long run.

  22. says

    Sorry another comment, for anyone wanting proof about how a false statistic from an official body like the CPS then becomes The Truth, see the comment from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau on their domestic abuse report this week. No fault of the CAB, why would they know any different?

    “The Crown Prosecution Service announced on Thursday (25 June) that in the year to April a record 107,000 people were prosecuted for domestic abuse and other violence against women and girls offences”

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/realities-of-domestic-abuse-not-widely-known-says-citizens-advice/

  23. says

    @ Marduk 23

    The CPS ARE the ‘obvious villains’ here. Why do people continue struggle with the demonstrable fact that public bodies are institutionally anti-male? I refer you to our 154-page report on the matter (comment #1). The actions of CPS in this matter are entirely consistent with its overall interest in male victims of violence, DV or otherwise. To the fullest extent possible, male victims of DV (or any other misfortune) are not to be recognized.

    Journalists are another matter altogether, of course. Two days ago the (Lord) Harris report was published, on the deaths of 87 ‘people’ aged 15-24 in custody over 2004-2013. The report is 280+ pages long, and is downloadable here (for those of tender sensibilities, you won’t need to suffer the mental anguish of visiting our website en route):

    https://j4mb.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/150702-harris-review.pdf

    Nowhere in the Executive Summary, Concluding Comments, or Recommendations section, is there a mention of the gender balance of the 87 dead ‘people’. You need to get well into the report to discover 85 of the 87 ‘people’ were male, including all four of the 15-17 year olds. This is not taken as a matter of the remotest significance or interest. Most media reports have spoken of ‘young people’ and ‘young adults’. The Guardian was an exception, to its credit, at least mentioning the gender balance:

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/01/prison-staffing-shortages-young-adult-suicides-lord-harris

    The mainstream media is relentlessly feminist-friendly and therefore uncritical of feminists even when they lie through their teeth repeatedly. J4MB and myself have been attacked by the Telegraph as well as by the Guardian, Observer, Independent, Mirror… A few months ago The International Business Times took me on as a fortnightly columnist to ‘balance’ their two British feminist commentators (one is Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism Project, winner of two of our ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ awards). After two pieces I was replaced by Ally. Balance is a fine thing. To the best of my knowledge, that was the first time an anti-feminist anywhere in the world had been given a mainstream media platform. I assumed it wouldn’t last long, and so it was.

    The extent to which feminism is the gender ideology of the Establishment was illustrated recently when Laura Bates was given a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Caroline Criado-Perez, winner of three ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ awards, was given an OBE.

  24. says

    Ally Fogg, you are good at bandying around insults, but I have read your hatchet job that you referred to as ‘truly hideous politics’ and I find that you are a truly bigoted mangina. How dare men use similar tactics to feminists (not even the radical ones) to point out for instance that men pay more taxes and receive less benefits?

    Look up the biological imperative that has always privileged women as more important to the tribe and check out the social experiments done all over the world that show clearly that everyone will run to the aid of an attacked woman and yet virtually no one will come to the aid of a man being attacked publicly by a woman. We have a name for self hating men like you ‘mangina’ and when in action attacking a man seeking equality like Mike here, ‘white knight’ and that is not meant as a complement you ignorant hack.

    You write ‘a key one is a prevailing sense that male victims of intimate violence and abuse seem to muddy the narrative, so it is easier to just ignore them.’ Your word use is deplorable. Men are twice as likely to be charged for the exact same crime and then do twice the prison time for it virtually mathematically accounting for the gender imprisoned disparity and this vague shit is what you have to say about our interaction with the CPS. Are you retarded as well as brain-rinsed?

    Contrary to the guff you spewed above, I can tell you as a veteran MHRA, a founder member of F4J in 2002 who marched with the 300, that there have been many excellent organisations lobbying on behalf of men, but its manginas like you throughout the lame-stream media and as a person who stood as a conservative candidate when they offered us a voice I can assure you that the politicians observe the mess your lot make of us very closely and are inclined to follow suit.

    Mike tells you that you have not sought the advice of anti-feminists and he is right. It is clear to me that you don’t care about men who are suffering.

    Under ubiquitous feminism during the last 40 years the male suicide rate has doubled, and University attendance declined from 60% to 35% and is still falling. FNF had to go against their own name to keep getting any government funding and your lot couldn’t stand us at F4J so you spread the rummer that we were planing to kidnap the PM’s son. You say that there has never been an effective lobby for men, but after almost a decade and a half of protests and campaigning I can tell you who are enemies are, hacks like you and the likes of my radical feminist MP. Kerry McCarthy who refused to sign edm128 to merely change the wording from contact to parenting time in family courts.

    Oh, you just noticed that the CPS is sexist? We’ve been shouting that from the top of our lungs since 2002, where have you been. I know, because today you are trying to shame one man here, Mike Buchanan, who is lobbying for the rights of men and boys and you lay yourself bare ‘truly hideous politics’. ‘rarely been any kind of effective organised lobby on behalf of vulnerable men and boys’ …Not without a truly hideous hack like yourself cutting us down.

    Men trump women in every event of the victim Olympics today and they always have. From the ancient biological imperative, to historic chivalry, to the white feather male shaming suffragettes, responsible for so many thousands of underage boys going off to die in the so-called great war, to ritual misandric infant genital mutilation that is allowed today in our first world nation regardless of all the facts we know regarding the detrimental effects.

    http://www.stgeorgewest.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/dont-cut-your-son-20-year-old-young-man.html

    http://www.stgeorgewest.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/circumcision-could-raise-risk-of-autism.html

  25. Paul says

    Despite the title, this analysis included more than 13,000 male victims of crimes including rape, sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence Many will have been gay or transgender,

    Well done Ally.I do however have a bit of a problem with the above.For i’ve found in discussions specifically about dv there’s a perception that either significant number of male victims are gay and/or a high proportion of straight male victims were violent themselves and the women were acting in self-defence.

    Now i accept that a significant amount of dv is mutual and irrespective of whether those involved are gay,straight or trans.But from what i understood the majority of totally innocent male victims of dv are actually straight men who’ve suffered at the hands of violent straight women. Yet with respect to you and the other people who signed the open letter that wasn’t acknowledged.For some may interpret it as the majority -as opposed to many- of the 13,000 male victims being either gay or trans and assume the majority of perpetrators were male as well.

  26. says

    @ Paul 29

    Well spotted. I’m surprised I missed that point myself (with respect to DV, at least).

    About 12 months ago we challenged Polly Neate (CEO, Women’s Aid) over seven lies and/or misleading statements made by a WA spokeswoman. Needless to say she declined to retract them, let alone apologise. The challenge document we sent Ms Neate is here, with background to each of the seven claims:

    https://j4mb.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/140606-public-challenge-of-polly-neate-ceo-of-womens-aid-urls-visible-update-with-polly-neates-response.pdf

    The issue of the gender balance of male victims of domestic violence is covered on pp 4,5. The WA spokeswoman had claimed:

    “A very large proportion of male victims of DV are suffering at the hands of male partners.”

    By our calculations (in the document) only 7.3% of male victims of DV were suffering at the hands of male partners. Hardly ‘a very large proportion’. And of course the highest levels of DV are to be found among lesbian couples, but from memory the BCS no longer publishes gendered stats on DV within same-sex couples. Hmm, now why might that be? As Toyah would say, ‘It’s a mystery, oh, it’s a mystery’.

  27. Holms says

    #12 Mike
    1. What ‘demonstrable actions’ would those be? Please enlighten us all.

    Follow the link supplied by Ally in reply #2 ‘truly hideous politics’.

    2. Anti-feminists should not be consulted, you say. The only narratives are to be feminist ones, because feminist agendas have been SO helpful to men and boys for 30+ years e.g. in recognition of male domestic violence victims.

    I didn’t say ‘exclusively consult feminists,’ but rather ‘exclude anti-feminists.’ See comment #28 for why they damage the side they stand for.

  28. Paul says

    @30

    Mike- i think if any form of violence and abuse is to be effectively tackled then we need to look at the whole picture.And if that get’s up the nose of those radical feminists who have a specific axe to grind then so be it.

    I don’t know how the powers that be at the Guardian would have responded if the open letter had specifically stated that female victims aren’t always central in the drive to eliminate intimate and sexual violence .And that whilst women are clearly more at risk of serious injury and death at the hands of men the plight of those straight men,lesbians and children who’re abused by women shouldn’t anyway be seen as secondary to that.All victims are equal and the extent to which women can be abusers needs to be more readily acknowledged.

  29. Ally Fogg says

    As I said above, this article is about somewhere between 13,000 and 16,000 men and boys, and Mike Buchanan is not amongst them.

    Any further comments on either side will be deleted, and anyone ignoring this warning and taking the piss may well be banned.

  30. Ally Fogg says

    Paul [29]

    The letter above went through several revisions and rewrites in order to produce something that as many people as possible would feel able to sign.

    Without getting into the specifics of negotiations and who wanted what, the line about gay and transgender men was added partly for tactical, Guardian-reader-pleasing readers, but also to reflect that in categories of both sexual abuse of adults and domestic violence, gay and trans men are significantly over-represented proportionately. So while they might still represent the minority overall, I think it was reasonable to mention them.

    I was very happy to agree to that change, not least because I was happy to challenge the absolute heteronormativity of the mainstream assumptions which say intimate and sexual violence are a strictly male v female issue.

  31. Lucy says

    Yay! The stats have been corrected.

    The extract of the report on violence against women and girls can have its total figure adjusted down ever so slightly and the media can be sidetracked into talking about violence against men and boys who the report wasn’t about, because there was some danger that we might not for a day or so.

    I suppose it would have been a big ask for all your signatories to have clubbed together and produced a report called something like, Violence against Men and Boys 2013-14? Instead of hijacking/exploiting this one? I mean, I can’t imagine Dr Hartill had a full calendar. And Martin Daubney finished his experiment on walking to the pub in high heels to empathise with women a full week ago so just gave been at a bit of a loose end.

    This letter is going to make things much better. One can already see how much better it will make things in this comment thread. Nice one.

  32. Lucy says

    “The letter above went through several revisions and rewrites in order to produce something that as many people as possible would be able to sign it”

    Well done, you achieved that.

  33. mildlymagnificent says

    Marduk

    Some mix of (1) nobody cares (2) the “chilling” climate is such that nobody wants to write about stuff like this for fear of being accused of misogyny (3) in the area of journalism about gender, the mainstream press has preferred to hire activists who write rather than journalists who have views.

    I’m not convinced. If a journalist or other person looking at this stuff as it was presented are fearful or reluctant about being accused of misogyny, there’s still no excuse, none at all, for fudging or obliterating the statistics about abused boys even if they omit or ignore the issues affecting adult men.

    The most biased activist reporter in the land could still report abuse of boys and argue in favour of support and services for those children. They could even time travel back 30 or 40 years and pretend that it’s all about ‘stranger danger’.

    Let’s face it, anyone who tries to pretend that no woman anywhere has ever been violent to any man anywhere still has plenty of scope to report on abuse of children, boys as well as girls. Considering all the continuing publicity about entertainers and churches and schools abusing boys (and girls) all around the world there really is no excuse for omitting or downplaying abuse of boys when considering reports like this. It’s hardly an earth shattering revelation.

  34. Lucy says

    Angelo

    “Men trump women in every event of the victim Olympics today and they always have. ”

    Oh come on now, women surely trumped men at the Olympics for looking like they thought watching men running round in circles and jumping over shit was important and worth billions in public funds and wall to wall media coverage even thought they think it’s not.

    —-

    “From the ancient biological imperative”

    The biological imperative to run in circles? Or the biological imperative to analyse the stats on running round in circles for days and weeks afterwards? Or the biological imperative to cry on the podium when they won for being the bestest at running in circles?

    —-
    “Or historic chivalry”

    What like being legally allowed to rape any woman in the castle confines? Or being legally allowed to rape and murder and loot any woman outside of it?

    —-
    “to the white feather male shaming suffragettes”

    It was a man who started the white feather movement, silly boy.

    But frankly, if you’re gonna stop women from running the country and you’re going to insist on bringing it to the brink of destruction every couple of decades then take care of your business.

    —-
    to ritual misandric infant genital mutilation that is allowed today in our first world nation regardless of all the facts we know regarding the detrimental effects.”

    I don’t think it actually lobotomises you. You’ll have to look for alternative explanations.

  35. Lucy says

    “Let’s face it, anyone who tries to pretend that no woman anywhere has ever been violent to any man anywhere still has plenty of scope to report on abuse of children, boys as well as girls. Considering all the continuing publicity about entertainers and churches and schools abusing boys (and girls) all around the world there really is no excuse for omitting or downplaying abuse of boys when considering reports like this. It’s hardly an earth shattering revelation.”

    Well I suppose there’s the excuse of it not being a report about men and boys. There’s that excuse.

    What there isn’t any excuse for is writing the words down on the actual internet that Martin Daubney is an expert in his field. Unless that field is being a peddler of soft porn and sexist inanity.

  36. Marduk says

    @mildlymagnificent

    I agree with you really but the fact is, it hasn’t happened so the question remains.
    I’m expressing confusion more than I’m claiming to have all the answers!

    The reason I’m emphasise the activism issue is that in activism its fair play to say you just aren’t interested.
    There is no reason why (e.g,) Laura Bates should write about men and boys, she doesn’t write about race either for example. She has her agenda and that is what she does, this is fine.

    For a professional journalist that argument isn’t acceptable. It isn’t acceptable (in my opinion) for public bodies either. That is the difference and why I’m a bit concerned about the capture of institutions by interest groups in general really.

  37. Lucy says

    “I second the sentiments of your other commenters, Ally–this is very good work indeed. It’s a small step, but anything that brings justice closer for victims of abuse–male and female–deserves props in my book.”

    How on earth does this letter do that?

    Published in the Guardian. No doubt Marty will write about it in the Telegraph. It’s manna from heaven for the hissing psychos, who’s take home message is: feminists are lying witches, covering up the abuse of men and boys who are the majority of the victims btw because chivalry and lying witches. Influence on government: nil.

  38. David S says

    @Angelo (28)

    I find that you are a truly bigoted mangina

    You realise that every time someone uses one of the names that Ally says that people call him in his profile, all the hetpat regulars have to drink a shot of vodka. Personally I think he is an anti-feminist quisling. Cheers everyone!

  39. Lucy says

    Marduk

    “For a professional journalist”

    There’s no such thing, journalism is a trade, not a profession. They have no obligation whatsoever to be unbiased or even handed. They are partisan introverted pedlars of gossip, musings and rubber necking.

    —–

    “It isn’t acceptable (in my opinion) for public bodies either. ”
    Different departments have different focuses and different budgets to address those focuses.

    Men and boys and the violence they perpetuate against one another isn’t overlooked by public bodies, they pour £49 billion into it every year, and that’s not even including the national defence budget. No doubt there are numerous studies and reports commissioned into it too if anyone cares to look.

    This was one measly report on violence against women and girls, the authors borrowed a crime figure from elsewhere because they don’t have the budget to do their own research or to spend much time or get experts in their fields on it. How many readers in psychology, pornographers turned men’s rights activists and sports sociologists are there to go round after all? Those letters to the Guardian won’t write themselves.

    The top line figure might have been slightly wrong, but the principle isn’t: women and girls do suffer violence. That’s the message that’s been lost now.

    This victory of truth and justice you’re all crowing over is a grubby one.

  40. Ally Fogg says

    Lucy, I’d like to ask you some straight questions, and I would appreciate if you would answer directly, without sarcasm, without irony, without trolling, without hyperbole, just tell me straight what you actually think…. like normal adults having a grown up conversation.

    Do you accept the points we make in the letter, that it is incredibly harmful and hurtful for male victims of child abuse, rape, sexual assault and domestic violence to have their experiences within the criminal justice system erased from the official statistics in this way? When so many organisations and professionals who work with survivors on a daily basis are saying this is the case, are you claiming they are wrong? Are you saying they are lying?

    If you do accept that these people might actually be telling the truth about this, what do you think they should do? Should they just shrug and ignore it, do nothing to attempt to prevent it happening again and again in future? Or do you think people who work with and/or advocate for male victims and survivors have a right and indeed an obligation to try to ensure that the powers that be do them the credit of at least acknowledging the existence and scale of intimate violence and abuse with male victims?

    Seriously, what do you think we should have done, given events of the last week?

    I’m genuinely interested to know what you think,

  41. Marduk says

    As you know Lucy, women are quite capable of violence against men, children and other women. Men and boys are quite capable of being the victims of all kinds of crimes carried out by all members of society. There is no serious debate about this so stop trolling.

    They did not “borrow” data for lack of funds or time. See footnote 28, it came from drawing records from their own Case Management System. This is a report about the performance of the Criminal Prosecution Service, nothing else. If you’ve confused this with some sort of activist initiative to raise awareness or something that could be ‘derailed’, more fool you. They were required to do this by the government following the publication of “Call to end violence against women” which benchmarked the coalition’s performance.

    The issue is why the CPS regards a whole set (or ‘strand’ to use their language) of crimes as only ever having female victims. Worryingly, they also boast about their own internal information systems and organisational strategies being arranged around this approach. Presumably if a small boy is sexually abused, his case won’t be treated as carefully as information, best practice and guidance on sexual abuse, they are proud to tell us, can only be found under the “VAWG” heading in their information systems and won’t be relevant to him. Unless being a victim of sexual abuse makes him an honorary Woman/Girl by bureaucratic syllogism (if all victims are women AND John Doe is a victim then…)

    I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, just poor and often short-sighted management doing what it thinks is best.
    It is the duty of journalists to speak up when these things happen.

  42. Paul says

    Ally,thanks for your reply upthread.

    I applaud what you did and see it as something that needed to be done.And i’m happy to concede that maybe that wasn’t the time to address some of the wider issues this business with the CPS raised.For you of all people must know the deep-rooted and widespread difficulty into getting greater recognition of the extent to which women are the perpetrators and instigators of abuse in our society.And as i’ve repeatedly said that’s not in any way meant to detract from the role of men as the perpetrators and instigators of abuse .But the fact is we’ve still got along way to go before public discourse reflects the full picture when dealing with issues related to abuse in whatever way it takes place.

  43. Holms says

    #30 Mike
    “A very large proportion of male victims of DV are suffering at the hands of male partners.”

    By our calculations (in the document) only 7.3% of male victims of DV were suffering at the hands of male partners. Hardly ‘a very large proportion’.

    How many of the male victims of DV have a male partner, and how many have a female partner? If the split is something like 4%-96%, then we would expect only 4% of the male DV victims to have a male partner. A figure of 7.3% would thus be disproportionate, almost double what we would expect to see and thus could might be why it was described as “a very large proportion.”

    Note that I don’t actually know the proportion of male to female partners, the numbers of 4%-96% were just to illustrate a possible explanation. The other major possible explanation is as you note: inaccurate, possibly motivated wording.

    ___

    #35 Lucy
    The extract of the report on violence against women and girls can have its total figure adjusted down ever so slightly and the media can be sidetracked into talking about violence against men and boys who the report wasn’t about, because there was some danger that we might not for a day or so.

    This letter to the editor, and Ally’s last two posts for that matter, would not have happened if the report didn’t imply and outright state that there are no male victims of DV. If it had had a neutral title, “Domestic Violence crime report 2014-15” for example, and if it had not obscured the male victims, it would most likely have been perfectly acceptable in a manner that does hide the disproportionate violence faced by women, nor disparage their advocacy. The clear data – that women face more violence – is still there, but without brushing the male victims under the carpet just because they are less common.

    I suppose it would have been a big ask for all your signatories to have clubbed together and produced a report called something like, Violence against Men and Boys 2013-14?

    Are you being disingenuous, or have you forgotten that the report under discussion is from your Crown Prosecution Service? You know, the government organisation that actually prosecutes cases, and hence the sole producer of the raw data.

    ___

    #40 Lucy
    Well I suppose there’s the excuse of it not being a report about men and boys. There’s that excuse.

    Except that that is not an excuse at all. The report is not exclusively about women and girls, is an evaluation of the gender breakdown of all DV and hence has no reason to obscure the male victims simply because they are less common.

    ___

    #44 Lucy
    “For a professional journalist”

    There’s no such thing, journalism is a trade, not a profession. They have no obligation whatsoever to be unbiased or even handed. They are partisan introverted pedlars of gossip, musings and rubber necking.

    Journalism is a profession, because ‘profession’ simply means ‘anything by which a person earns the majority of their income’ and hence can also include things like plumbing even though plumbing is generally termed a trade skill, ‘trade’ and ‘profession’ are not mutually exclusive, you are wrong, jesus fucking christ I’d hate to know you personally. Must you be deliberately dishonest / obnoxious / snide all the time?

  44. mildlymagnificent says

    Lucy

    The top line figure might have been slightly wrong, but the principle isn’t: women and girls do suffer violence. That’s the message that’s been lost now.
    This victory of truth and justice you’re all crowing over is a grubby one.

    I think you’re confusing Ally with some, and only some, of the people who comment here.

    I have a slightly different problem with the figures from what Ally has said, though I’m fully on board with the errors or omissions or whatever-you-might-call-it-when-you’re-in-a-bad-mood about offences against boys. I’m inclined to suspect that the CPS hasn’t got its head straight on what it’s supposed to be doing in the first place. If you look at the answer Ally gave me on the previous thread, you might get an idea about my problem.

    If a woman gets into an argument with a stranger or acquaintance in the street and is punched, this will not count as a VAWG offence even if the person doing the punching is a man.
    If a gay man gets into an argument with his boyfriend in the street and is punched, this WILL count as a VAWG offence, even though no woman or girl is anywhere near.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2015/06/26/why-is-the-cps-erasing-the-experience-of-thousands-of-abuse-victims/#comment-195688

    The CPS has to make up its mind. Is it reporting on gendered violence against women and girls? If so, then a woman being attacked by a male stranger in the street, because she refused his advances for example, should count and the violent interaction between a man and his same sex partner would not count, nor would abuse and violence by men directed at boys or male friends and relatives of their partners or exes. More importantly, offences by professionals in positions of trust – teachers, doctors, counsellors – would only be reported if the victims were women or girls. (At which point we’ve arrived at the destination, Ridiculous.)

    If it’s supposed to be comprehensive in including all domestic, family and intimate partner violence then they should be absolutely clear about identifying the targets of abuse and the perpetrators of abuse. They should also be able to put numbers to the bad, worse, worst offences and perpetrators. Without clear numbers in the various categories of problems and people affected, there is no basis for the CPS or any other agency to make appropriate decisions and identify the highest priorities for strongest action.

    Whether those decisions are about police/court resources and training or about public health/advice campaigns or about medical, counselling and other service provision really doesn’t matter. If you don’t know who has problems, in particular who has the most urgent and/or severe problems, you can’t know whether your efforts are likely to be successful. You certainly can’t analyse the success or otherwise of any given strategy, let alone whether it was the best use of the available resources.

    The first thing to do is to look at the decision/requirement/obligation for the CPS to produce a report with a title like “Violence Against Women and Girls”. If that is the requirement, then the CPS should be reporting on all “gendered” offences including those by total strangers – stalking, rape, physical assaults – as well as a subset of domestic, family and intimate partner offences.

    If it’s about domestic, family and intimate partner offences, then they must all be reported clearly and the relationships between the offenders and victims need to be sorted into appropriate, useful categories. If any category is to be excluded, then it should be clearly separated out – elder abuse and “honour” based offences might be categories deserving separate treatment and policy approaches, or at least a specific report in an addendum, so that they are not overwhelmed within the much larger numbers of more common offences.

    Either way, the CPS is obviously not clear about its data nor what data should be included/excluded nor the best way to show the extent and severity of the various offences and the victims and offenders.

  45. EigenSprocketUK says

    Great letter: hope it gets results. Glad to see that you added Belinda Brown on to the list. But you missed the opportunity to chuck Martin Daubney off it — seems to me his name and actions undermine the others.

  46. Paul says

    ….difficulty into getting……

    The above should have read ” …..difficulty in getting….. ”

  47. says

    @Lucy, #35:

    I suppose it would have been a big ask for all your signatories to have clubbed together and produced a report called something like, Violence against Men and Boys 2013-14? Instead of hijacking/exploiting this one?

    This report was already hi-jacked and exploited, by claiming violence perpetrated against men and boys to have been perpetrated against women and girls.

  48. Thil says

    I notice that most of you endorsers are male, that’s a shame. It’d look better if there was a more even mix. it’d look less self-interested

  49. Anton Mates says

    A lot of the male endorsers work with men’s welfare organizations and social services. I don’t think there’s much danger of them looking overly self-interested.

  50. johngreg says

    C’mon Lucy. Man up and answer Ally’s queries. Like he says, I [too] would appreciate if you would answer directly, without sarcasm, without irony, without trolling, without hyperbole, just tell [us] straight what you actually think…. like normal adults having a grown up conversation.

    Can you do that?

  51. Adiabat says

    Ally, you’ve received a reply: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/07/gender-is-all-too-relevant-in-violence-statistics

    As expected it’s the Fawcett Society, WRC etc (including the ironically-named ‘Standing Together Against Domestic Violence’) maintaining the narrative. A couple of choice quotes:

    it is also critical that we retain gender in our naming and analysis of these crimes because of the gender of the perpetrators, whom your correspondents do not mention at all.

    We need to understand who these men are, why they choose to do what they do, how they target their victims by preying on other inequalities including age, sexuality and social class, and the gendered excuses for violence and abuse, if we are ever to eradicate it.

    And apparently your use of ‘intimate abuse’ is positively “Orwellian”. I wonder how much negotiation occurred behind the scenes before all the signatories were willing to sign that, and to make it ‘Guardian-Friendly’?

  52. Ally Fogg says

    Yes, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in stuff today, but intend to write a brief reponse tonight or tomorrow morning if I get the chance.

    But in brief, they haven’t actually responded to the letter we wrote at all. They haven’t addressed any of the points we made in the letter we sent.

    They have responded to a bunch of different points which we didn’t actually make but they imagined we had.

  53. Adiabat says

    I’ll look forward to it. I don’t think you’ll get any more responses though, or any attempt to answer what you actually said.

    Their letter was about setting the narrative. If forced into it they’ll repeat that until it won’t work any more then they’ll shift it to something else. And so on until something sticks. It’s how they operate.

    Good Luck.

  54. Pete says

    My favourite/the most infuriating part of the response was the point about FGM only happening to girls. Well duh.

    Actually, the most infuriating part was the point that is always brought up when the fact that there are male victims of these crimes are brought up. The shift of focus away from the victims to the perpetrators.

    it is also critical that we retain gender in our naming and analysis of these crimes because of the gender of the perpetrators, whom your correspondents do not mention at all.

    Many of the signers are victims groups. The phrase “violence against women” focuses on the gender of the victim, not the perpetrator. Why does the frequency of the gender of the perpetrators matter when determining how we treat victims of both genders? I’ve never understood the apparent logic.

  55. Paul says

    Many male victims of domestic violence, and the vast majority of men and boys who suffer sexual violence, are abused by men.

    @58 Adiabat.

    Thanks for providing the link to the response to Ally and Co’s letter .

    The above blockquote is from that link and i’ve got a real problem with it. For if say 8% of all male victims of dv are in same-sex relationships then technically if only 5% of all men are gay then gay men disproportionately feature as victims.But that doesn’t detract from the fact that the overwhelmingly majority of male victims are straight men who’ve been abused by women.

    Yet those who signed that letter clearly don’t acknowledge that because it deflects from the agenda they’re trying to promote.Namely that the primary focus in any discussion about dv must be on women as victims at the hands of men .And that men.lesbian women and children who’re abused by women are somehow secondary-and in effect less deserving of attention -to that.Additionally anyone who tries to address the extent to which dv-whether in gay or straight relationships-is mutual with one partner coming off worse is also given short shrift .For that too doesn’t figure in the agenda the signatories of that letter are trying to promote.

  56. Paul says

    ps It may also be the case that lesbians are disproportionately represented amongst female victims of dv.So imagine the outcry if that was used to deflect from the fact that the overwhelming majority of female victims are straight.

  57. Gilgamecha42 says

    Could we just stop using the word misogyny when it’s not misogyny? I swear, there’s going to come a point in time when the meaning has been so watered down and so diluted, you could be a misogynist for pretty much anything.

    Gentle reminder: it means hatred of women. All women. It doesn’t mean you dislike this woman here, or that woman there. It means you absolutely hate all women everywhere. So, unless you have a good reason to actually use it: don’t.

  58. 123454321 says

    Gilgamecha42 – Completely agree but good luck with that one while the feminist movement still lives as it helps drive their narrative. The more people repeat and spread lies, the more those lies are accepted as truths! All men are misogynistic bastards; you should know that by now!

  59. Holms says

    #66 123
    The more people repeat and spread lies, the more those lies are accepted as truths! All men are misogynistic bastards; you should know that by now!

    I don’t think even Lucy goes that far, so this is a straw man; the only question is whether it is deliberate or accidental.

  60. 123454321 says

    Deliberate or accidental, overusing the word “misogyny” still amounts to bigoted self-superiority, self-interest, lack of concern for others or learning the truth, and basic stupidity. Kind of explains why the word is used by so many people, especially feminists. The new word to look out for is “misandrist” – far more relevant in today’s world.

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