It is ‘all men’, to varying degrees: men’s violence against women is a systemic crisis

Brad Chilcott is White Ribbon’s new executive director, and what a deplorable mangina he is. On 7th July he published an article in The Guardian that is so infuriating and nauseating that I can barely bear to read it – however, I just can’t let it lie either, so, please enjoy Chilcott’s article, with my commentary…

“Why?” has been the most consistent response when I’ve told my progressive friends that I’ve taken on the role of executive director of White Ribbon Australia for its next chapter.”

Hallelujah! Even the progressives are seeing through this false narrative!

They didn’t miss the organisation that had first become publicly synonymous with ending family violence and then famous for problematic ambassadors and financial ruin. As a volunteer White Ribbon supporter myself, I agreed with much of the criticism – and yet I continue to believe it’s worth mobilising the tens of thousands of Australians who constitute the White Ribbon movement towards meaningful action.”

Chilcott agrees with much of the criticism? Yet he doesn’t have the strength of character to inform us what the criticism comprised of and what he agreed with, which begs the question whether he has the strength of character to try to rectify the problems, does it not?

Gender inequality is structural violence.”

As hilarious as this comment is, it’s also dangerous. The steady concept creep of previously well defined words like “violence”:

  1. Justify excessive interference in our civil liberties.
  2. Encourage dysfunctional catastrophic and black and white thinking that any cognitive behavioural therapist would aim to train people out of.
  3. Belittle the impact of actual violence.
  4. Encourage actual violence – as a response to perceived violence (more and more these days radical progressives seem to be adopting the position that “Your speech/free choices/history are violence… Our violence is speech.”

It creates the space for acts of gendered violence by normalising disrespect as it socialises the idea that one gender is more valuable or capable than another.”

When he says ‘gendered violence’, he means ‘violence against women and girls’ – and yet the evidence all points to social acceptance of ideas about female superiority… and to underreporting of violence against men and boys perpetrated by women and girls to police; which not only leads us to believe that rates of victimisation and perpetration are much more similar than official statistics show – but that, surely, part of the reason may well be that men and boys are seen as inherently less valuable, less precious? See Steve Moxon’s ‘Sex Differences Explained – From DNA to Society, Purging Gene Copy Errors‘,  free PDF available, for more information.

It is clear that men’s violence against women is an ongoing systemic crisis – from the murder of more than one woman a week, to Australian police responding to family violence once every two minutes, to the sexual harassment experienced by women in the workplace – and when we know that approximately 80% of women who experience violence don’t report their abuse we begin to comprehend the vast scale of this emergency.”

Statistics supplied without links to evidence shall be disregarded. Mankind found that in the U.K. around 19% of women don’t disclose but 49% of men don’t, making men 3 times less like to report than women (and still nowhere near 80%). The murder of anyone is a tragedy – but I simply don’t believe that feminism has any capacity to mitigate the number of women murdered, yet alone men. The Istanbul Convention was a feminist initiative designed to protect women and girls, it hasn’t.

Gendered violence begins with the idea that you are entitled to obedience, sex, authority or a different set of freedoms because you are a man. That you have the intrinsic right to treat someone else in a way that you would not be treated. It is expressed in coercive control – exerting power over your partner’s finances, social life, clothing, career or otherwise reducing their individual agency.”

There you go – “Gendered violence begins… because you’re a man”, Erin Pizzey is totally right in defining violence not as gendered, but as generational. The greatest predictor of being a perpetrator of interpersonal violence is not a persons biological sex – it’s having witnessed or suffered interpersonal violence, personally.

I grew up in a religious environment that taught that men were the head of the house, that women couldn’t perform certain rituals, weren’t able to teach men or take leadership positions. When I was a child, my default image of engineers, pilots, football players and prime ministers was male. I said “policeman” instead of “police officer” and assumed my doctors would be men and my nurses would be women.”

Here Chilcott slides between inequality of opportunity that he accepted as a child and inequality of outcome that manifests in stereotyping. Yes, default images of engineers, pilots, football players, prime ministers and police officers are men for many of us – because men tend to be capable and hungry enough to succeed in these roles more often than women. These stereotypes are not evidence of structural inequality that needs to be combatted. There are, after all, enough women in all of these positions in the modern world to prove that there is no glass ceiling and to provide role models.

None of these things automatically turn me into a man who uses violence in my intimate relationships. But they demonstrate that many men in Australia – religious and otherwise – have been raised in cultures that share a history of entrenched gender inequality.”

I’m glad to agree with Chilcott that nothing he’s said bears any influence on whether he uses violence in intimate relationships! He uses the word ‘history’ like a weasel. Yes, almost all cultures have necessarily been unequal historically. Medieval England was a culture that was entrenched in gender inequality – and in Medieval England violence against women in intimate relationships was not simply accepted. Actually, there is rather a lot of evidence that it was punished… And that when wives battered husbands, the husbands often found themselves punished by their communities as a result… But, Chilcott is not evoking times past, he’s protecting himself with the word ‘history’ whilst trying to infer that Australia remains a culture wherein women are significantly disadvantaged as compared to men.

We have been taught – either subtly or overtly – that because of our gender we deserve a special kind of respect. We have been raised with a certain expectation of male power and to have control of our homes, partners, children, faith communities, sporting clubs and workplaces. To believe that men have a right to decide what happens to women’s bodies. Many of us have had this perspective role modelled to us, and indeed have seen the violence – whether physical violence, emotional manipulation, sexual exploitation or spiritual abuse – that men have used to dominate, control and harm women. We have seen men desperate to hold on to their power as they grow insecure in a changing society.”

Is this projection? I’ve known many men in my life and I would struggle to find any that these claims apply to. I often wonder whether male feminists are genuine misogynists though, and they assume that other men are and that’s therefore why women need protecting from the other half of our species.

We might say that not all misogyny leads to violence but that all violence starts with misogyny.”

I’m not dignifying that comment with a response.

So yes, “all men”, to varying degrees. Therefore, our first responsibility in responding to this national crisis is to reflect on our own beliefs and attitudes, our culturally acquired perception of gender norms and to consider and change the ways these translate into our behaviour. We need to take ownership of the ways we create the environment that allows men to believe they are entitled to a greater share of power in society and relationships – and often exercise that power to harm others.”

No. Not all men. Not the ones that I know and love. You, Chilcott, this is on you.

The abuse of power is violence – whatever form that takes.

If you’re monitoring your partner’s phone, telling them what they’re allowed to wear, if they have to ask your permission to spend time with friends or family – that’s not equality, it’s an abuse of power.”

Yes, those actions are wrong, and there is no evidence to suggest that they’re gendered phenomena, so please let’s be honest and work to eradicate them for the wellbeing of all victims – and perpetrators!

If, because you’re a man, you think you have the right to be obeyed, to make all the decisions, to be the head of a house, to have an unequal share of power – or indeed to be paid more, have more social freedoms, that your opinion is more important – then you are promoter of gender inequality.”

I wonder how well paid an executive director role at White Ribbon Australia is? Just out of interest… Perhaps our friend should have stepped back?

If you use any form of coercive control over your partner to enforce that privilege, then you’re a perpetrator of gendered violence.”

Excellent whitewashing of female on male abuse and abuse in homosexual relationships, brother. So progressive…

How do we respond? Perhaps understanding that aspiring to be a good male role model is about much more than controlling aggression. It’s a man who is willing to listen and learn. Who is aware of their power and privilege – and chooses to utilise them towards cultural and political change. It’s someone who is determined to share power in their relationships and hold on to their privilege loosely, knowing we all benefit when everyone is equally valued, included and given the opportunity to flourish.

In some quarters it seems controversial to say that men have a role to play in eliminating gendered violence and advancing gender equality. What is certainly problematic is placing men on a pedestal for not using violence or not acknowledging the decades of tireless campaigning by women that built the foundation of awareness and positive change that male advocates stand on today. However, as it is men that need to stop being violent and to break the cycle of generational misogyny, they must be part of the solution.

Women are valued, included and flourishing in many respects. I wonder if Chilcott is willing to listen to men – or even any of us women who love men when we tell him that it’s men who are not valued enough, who are excluded, who are struggling to flourish too often. And, Chilcott, you’re not the first good man so get off your arrogant high horse and hear this: women’s liberation was achieved by men and women standing shoulder to shoulder and some gratefulness directed towards the men as well as the women would be becoming.

Certainly, the men who hold on to the majority of the political power in Australia have not responded to the terror and suffering experienced by women in Australia in a manner commensurate to the crisis, nor with the magnitude of money and commitment expended on their self-identified priorities. A willingness to listen to and learn from women – and then act not only decisively but also proportionately – would go a long way towards creating safety for women now and pave the way for equality into the future.”

And long may the men who hold on to the majority of the political power in Australia respond insufficiently to the terror and suffering of women, in the eyes of feminists. Because the feminist road leads to Hell.

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