by Utopia Bold
Men may feel unease when male violence against women is addressed including non-violent men. However, all men, both violent and non-violent, must be held responsible for stopping male violence against women.
Violent men must stop assaulting women. Non-violent men must not sit by and allow male violence against women to continue. Their inaction-or indifference- is passive male violence against women. Breaking the silence by naming an atrocity is the first step in ending it. Male violence against women must be named specifically.
To maintain patriarchy, "Women's agony at the hands of men must never be revealed. If women steadfastly and courageously began to tell the truth and would not stop, would not be co-opted, would not become afraid, the truth of our enslavement would be undeniable and the jig would be up" —from "Telling the Truth" by Sonia Johnson.
Women, who outnumber men, are the single largest group of oppressed humans on the planet. Men have oppressed women nonstop for the longest length of time of any oppressed group, more than 5,000 years (The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler). A woman once told me that dealing with male violence "was just part of being a woman!
I don't understand why many people-especially women-resist holding all men responsible for male violence against women. Here are some popular evasions:
1. "Not all men are violent" No one said they were. Since men collectively hold more power than women, non-violent men are also responsible for stopping male violence against women.
2. "Women are violent too" Two wrongs don't make a right. However, as usual, women are blamed for their own degradation. As Mary Daly wrote in her book Pure Lust, (p.365) " Within the Virulent State of phallocracy, women have been attacked and divided against our Selves. From the earliest times of the patriarchy, countless mothers have been broken and the resulting broken daughters have carried on the chain of fragmentation. . . They have been reduced to responding to the fettered/fathered urge to reproduce their altered–that is, patriarchally identified selves –in an endless circle of Self destruction. Such forcible altered women have appeared to be normal within the man made milieu."
Also, female violence pales in comparison to male violence. Men commit 88 percent of violent crime (US Bureau of Justice statistics). Women don't build rape camps to torture and molest men to death. Women don't control the U.S. government which spends half a trillion dollars a year on mass murder (war). Globally, women can't walk alone without the possibility of men assaulting them. The reverse is not true.
Even though some broken women may collaborate with patriarchal men to gain power (Condi Rice, Margaret Thatcher etc.) it doesn't change the fact that patriarchal men are in charge and allow selected token "henchwomen" into the boys club–if they identify with and behave like patriarchal men.
3. “Violence is a human problem affecting both sexes”
Mary Daly calls this tactic “universalism.” Muddying the waters, it dilutes the specific focus on male violence against women by making it a gender neutral, universal human issue. It’s another version of “women are violent too.”
4. The absent referent The "absent referent" refers to something without naming it. (See Neither Man Nor Beast by Carol Adams p.16-17). Mary Daly in her book Quintessence wrote, "Naming the agent is required for an adequate analysis of atrocities. Timid terms such as "sexual violence," "domestic violence" "gender-based violence," and "violence" don’t name men as the perpetrators. Even Amnesty International, which calls it "a global scourge," uses the term "violence against women" instead of "male violence against women." ( http://web.amnesty.org/actforwomen/index-eng).
5. Men also rape men and boys This doesn’t change the fact that in every nation on earth, in all levels of society, men rape women. Rape is a male hate crime against women. Men who rape women have contempt for women and want to degrade them. Even when men rape males, contempt for women is the underlying issue. Men rape males to degrade them by treating them like raped women.
6. The duality argument Supposedly, opposing something directly "gives it more power." If racism and sexism were not opposed directly in the U.S., blacks would still be slaves and women would still be men's property, unable to vote, own a business or keep their own wages. If the Nazis were not opposed directly, they would now run the world.
7. Passive grammar Instead of the active voice using the passive voice (women were raped by men) instead of the active voice (men raped the women) shifts the focus from the perpetrators and their actions (men doing the raping) to their victims (the women being raped).
8. "Boys will be boys" Patriarchal cultures promote "nature over nurture" (biological determinism). Supposedly, men are "naturally violent." This legitimizes and perpetuates war and men's abuse of women. Abnormal violent "manhood" is regarded as the norm.
Men are naturally peaceful. Archaeological evidence shows men enjoyed and maintained 1,500 years of peace in ancient Crete! It's proven today by many non-violent men. It takes traumatic conditioning to make men violent. "Military training camps, police academies and even some self-defense pros are constantly searching for more effective methods of suppressing the human revulsion to taking human life." - The Science of Creating Killers http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/13/INGKFKDJHC1.DTL
9. "Societies were always patriarchal and men have always dominated women"
Marija Gimbutas, the world renowned archaeologist who wrote Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe unearthed relics that prove men didn't always dominate women and that women and men once shared power in peaceful non-patriarchal Goddess worshipping societies. Riane Eisler's book The Chalice and the Blade cites many more instances proving this.
Types of Male Violence against women
Modern patriarchal cultures are maintained by contempt for and abuse of women. Male violence against women in the media, men's requirement for emaciated super models and life threatening cosmetic surgery, mandated pregnancy in most nations, and billions spent on violent degrading pornography confirm this. Feeling contempt for women makes it easier for violent men to abuse them.
Reproductive male violence against women (Mandated pregnancy)
Male supremacist governments force women to have children they don't want or can't care for by denying women birth control or abortion.
Spiritual male violence against women Male supremacist religions claim men have the right to control women. Men coerce women to have children by telling women birth control or abortion is "sinful" and that "children are sent from god" etc.
Men wrote all the scriptures of all the organized religions, so "god's" agenda is men's agenda. Since the "words of god" are actually the "words of men, men don't "play god" they ARE "god," as illustrated by the following examples of male authored cosmic ca ca:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”— Ephesians 5:23-24.
“I thank thee O lord, that thou has not created me a heathen, a slave, or a woman.” – Orthodox Jewish prayer.
"God formed her body to belong to a man, to have and to rear children. Let them bear children till they die of it."— Martin Luther.
"In pain shall you bear children, yet your urge will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."— Genesis 3:16.
"Your women are fields to cultivate, so go to your fields as you will!" –Koran 2:223.
Physical male violence against women
Being battered by men is the number one "health" problem of women in the US (U.S. surgeon general). Men batter 12% of pregnant woman, causing 17% of birth defects (March of Dimes). Seventy-five percent of women murdered during domestic violence are killed by men after they leave them. (U.S Dept. of Justice-Bureau of Justice Statistics).
Since 1993, men raped and murdered more than 320 women in Juárez, Mexico. Approximately 100 were sexual-torture killings; 450 more women are missing. Men travel to Juarez to hunt, rape and murder women. ( http://codepink4peace.org/article.php?list=type&type=26).
Economic male violence against women women in most parts of the world are paid less than men for the same work-if they're paid at att.
Educational male violence against women Men in Afghanistan kill women who teach girls to read (Feminist Majority Foundation www.feminist.org). Most of the world's illiterate people are women.
Medical and psychological male violence against women The male dominated medical profession has prescribed shock treatment, psychoactive drugs, lobotomies, life threatening diets, dangerous cosmetic surgery and other “therapies” to tame wild women and make them acceptable to men.
Silence is Complicity
Collectively, men hold more power than women, so all men are responsible for stopping male violence against women. Increasing numbers of men are opposing this atrocity in various ways.
For example, some men in Los Angeles organize demonstrations and march against male violence against women wearing high heels. Their banner reads, “Walk A MIle In Their Shoes.” Other men write articles against male violence. In Bob Herbert's 10/16/06 New York Times article "Why aren't we shocked?" he wrote, "We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected."
Each man must look into his heart and ask himself what he can do to stop male violence against women. Speaking out is the first step.
Men against male violence against women
Here are a few men’s web sites. A google search will find many more.
http://menagainstsexualviolence.org/ - men against sexual violence.
http://www.borderlands.org.au/masa/ men against sexual assault
http://www.uwlax.edu/MUASA/ - men united against sexual assault http://www.interactivetheatre.org/mav/ - men against violence webring
Women abuse men just as often as men abuse women.
Although boys and men are more likely to be victimized by a stranger or causal acquaintance, research has found that women are more likely than men to be victimized by a family member or an intimate partner. In the case of childhood sexual abuse, studies consistently show that the vast majority of perpetrators are male, regardless of the sex of the victim. Domestic violence is primarily a crime against women by their male partners. In the US, in 1998, women were the victims in about 85% of domestic violence cases and they represented 72% of the victims of murders committed by intimate partners. In domestic violence situations, when women use violence, it is usually in self-defense. Furthermore, aggressions perpetrated by men tend to be more severe and harmful than those perpetrated by women. As Heise et al point out, (the fact that women are often emotionally invo l ved with and financially dependent upon those who abuse them has profound implications for how women experience violence and how best to intervene.)