The False Paradigm
If we put across this idea that the abuse of men is as great as the abuse of women, then it could seriously affect our funding.
Sandra Horley, CEO of Refuge (Wolff, 1992)
We have seen that the courts operate to a series of ideologies which combine successfully to exclude fathers from their children’s lives. The challenge for a mother’s legal team is to remove the presumption of non-intervention, expressed in the Children Act as the ‘no order’ rule, and to displace the father’s right to be considered an equal parent. This is most easily achieved by an allegation of child abuse or spousal violence
The feminist challenge to destroy the family can thus be redefined as the challenge to remove the father. Three factors have enabled this. The first was to re-educate the public and policy makers into embracing an entirely false paradigm of intimate partner violence based on feminist Patriarchy Theory, introduced in Chapter Five; this will be the subject of this chapter, and we shall also present an alternative paradigm. The second factor, the subject of the next chapter, was the establishment of a series of ‘gender crimes’: crimes of which only men could be the perpetrators, such as domestic violence, child abuse, harassment, rape and non-payment of child support. The third factor was to establish courts and a jurisprudence in which a significantly anti-male bias could flourish unimpeded.
Rather than propagate their agenda to destroy the family openly, feminists created the domestic violence industry: a world-wide, multi-billion-pound conglomerate which relies substantially on funding from the tax-payer; by sponsoring this industry government underwrites militant feminism. No man may sit on the boards of this business, work in its refuges or benefit from its protection. The false feminist explanation of violence within intimate relationships is exploited to attract funds: this has successfully become the dominant version of domestic violence for our society. Swallowed hook, line and sinker by the family justice system, it has also come to determine the fate of hundreds of thousands of children. In addition, the rejection and fear of men has had catastrophic consequences for child protection.
This falsehood is the construct of a politicised ideology which grossly exaggerates the prevalence of male violence and the risk posed to their partners and children by men and fathers and pretends that wife-battering is a part of normal marital relations: a cultural construct with cultural approval. It teaches that men are inherently more violent than women, that men habitually use violence to control intimate relationships, that fathers are naturally abusive to their children, that contact between a father and his child is fraught with danger, that a child is at greater risk with its father than with its mother, and that fathers must therefore justify any wish to have contact with their children and prove themselves to be ‘safe’. As feminists Anna Coote and Beatrix Campbell expressed it, domestic violence is ‘an expression of the power that men wielded over women, in a society where female dependence was built into the structure of everyday life’ (Campbell & Coote, 1982).
The arena in which this violence takes place is the family, and thus the family is an institution depicted as hostile to women’s interests which must be eradicated. In the media campaigns against domestic violence with which we are familiar violence against men is rarely mentioned and although, if pressed, the propagandists will reluctantly admit that men and boys can occasionally be victims, they will excuse violence perpetrated by women as defensive (Bograd, 1988). Such a notion has spread unchallenged; indeed it was not until the mid-1990s that the British Crime Survey even began to record male victims of domestic violence. Subsequent research (Stets & Straus, 1992a) (Stets & Straus, 1992b) (Straus & Gelles, 1992) (Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980) showing levels of female violence equivalent to male levels was met with scepticism (Dobash, Dobash, Wilson, & Daly, 1992) (Jaffe, Lemon, & Poisson, 2003):it didn’t fit the paradigm. Most research concentrated exclusively on male violence: it was believed that a greater good of women’s rights and the protection of women should prevail over scientific accuracy and objectivity. Data inconsistent with the paradigm were dismissed, ignored, or explained away. Even official Home Office statistics now accept that about 45% of victims are male.
The great irony was that most of the data used to shore up the paradigm came from those countries (the US, Canada, Britain and New Zealand) in which gender empowerment of women was greatest. Research reveals plainly that society does not condone spousal abuse (Simon, et al., 2001). Intimate violence is not specific to men and cannot be explained on the basis of gender or gender roles (Dutton, 1994). Most men who commit acts of violence against women do not consider their behaviour acceptable, and instead attempt to minimise and conceal what they have done. The last century witnessed major cultural change in the way that society regarded women and a corresponding increase in gender empowerment for women, the incidence of domestic violence is declining rapidly (Chaplin, Flatley, & Smith, 2011); it is tragic that a small but extremist element has drowned out more rational and moderate voices and dominates the family debate, damaging the role of men within family relationships, and failing to protect anyone from violence.
Despite its dishonesty the feminist paradigm has become dominant through the medium of effective state-funded propaganda, such as the heavily ‘gendered’ public consultation launched under a Labour-controlled Home Office in 2009 to ‘end violence against women and girls’. The Coalition continued this rhetoric and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, re-launched the campaign on ‘International Women’s Day’ 2011. In a campaign aimed at teenagers and consisting of videos and posters the Home Office repeats the stereotype that all violence is perpetrated by males and all victims are female. On the This is Abuse website one poster asks, ‘Do you make your girlfriend weak at the knees – because she’s scared you’ll hit her?’ Others ask, ‘Does your boyfriend tell you you’re pretty? Pretty ugly, pretty stupid, pretty frigid’ or, ‘Are you his Princess one minute and a Stupid Tart the next?’ The accompanying leaflet makes no acknowledgement whatsoever of female-on-male abuse (Home Office, 2013). According to the Home Office you’re never too young to be indoctrinated.
To base the exercise of justice on politicised misinformation impairs justice and does not protect the welfare of children or vulnerable adults. In Britain purveyors of this propaganda include influential organisations such as Gingerbread, Mumsnet, the NSPCC and Women’s Aid. The cheerleaders of feminism have worked hard to sow within the public mind the perception that violence against women is far more prevalent than really it is. They have achieved this through extending the definition of violence ever wider and by presenting false statistics. This perception has then become the dominant one on which lawmakers base legislation; this is entirely consistent with the programme to destabilise and ultimately eradicate the family.
Take, for example, the widespread claim that the televising of football increases the incidence of domestic violence. This myth began in California in 1993 when a coalition of women’s groups held a press conference claiming Superbowl Sunday was ‘the biggest day of the year for violence against women’. The evidence was an alleged 40% increase in reports of beatings and hospital admissions in northern Virginia after games won by the Redskins during the 1988/89 season; wives and girlfriends were advised not to remain at home during the game; NBC even aired a public service announcement. When Ken Ringle, a Washington Post journalist, tried to validate the story, he found the original report was wrong (Ringle, 1993). The researchers, led by professor of sociology and criminal justice Janet Katz, had not in fact found the 40% increase claimed. Similarly, other reports of increased admissions to women’s shelters and calls to help-lines proved to be fabricated. The alleged source of the claim, Professor Patrick Ewing, said he’d never made it and didn’t have the data to make a judgement. Ringle found no evidence at all to support the assertion.
Not to be outdone by their US sisters, UK women’s groups claimed a 30% increase in domestic violence every time England played during the 2006 World Cup; the BBC and many other news outlets dutifully reported the story. The ‘evidence’ derived from a Home Office report called Lessons Learned from the Domestic Violence Enforcement Campaigns 2006 (Home Office, 2006). The data cited show 21 incidents per month during the World Cup period and 44 during the control period – which suggests that football is effective in reducing domestic violence. For the 2010 World Cup, BBC radio show Law in Action asked Cambridge statistician Professor Sheila Bird to review the Home Office study; ‘she found it to be so amateurish and riddled with flaws that it could not be taken seriously. The 30 per cent claim was based on a cherry-picked sample of police districts; it failed to correct for seasonal differences and ignored match days which showed little or no increase in domestic violence’ (Hoff Sommers, 2010). Increased police vigilance on match days could result in an increase in reports which didn’t actually represent an increase in violence. When Carmel Napier, the deputy chief constable of Gwent, was confronted by the BBC with evidence the study she was promoting was specious, she replied with the familiar response, ‘If it has saved lives, then it is worth it’. It isn’t worth it, though: if sensational untruths are allowed to flourish; misguided officials not only channel scarce resources into ineffective programmes, they also gravely undermine public trust.
The Home Office is also responsible for disseminating the common claim that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. This statistic cost the British tax-payer £3.5 million when it was commissioned from the Professor of Criminology at Royal Holloway College, Betsy Stanko. Her study was based on 49 partially completed postal responses and a survey of 129 self-selected women from GPs’ surgeries in the far-from-typical London Borough of Hackney, the former haunt of Jack the Ripper. It is a mass of guesswork and estimates (Stanko, Crisp, Hale, & Lucraft, 1998), but coincidentally close to more reliable figures: over a life time 23.1% of women and 19.3% of men will experience an incidence of domestic violence (Desmarais, Reeves, Nicholls, Telford, & Fiebert, 2012a). This means that three quarters of women will never experience a single incident of domestic violence in their lives. Furthermore, because the Home Office includes a wide range of non-violent activity under the catch-all heading ‘intimate violence’, only a quarter of reported incidents actually involve physical force (Smith, Osborne, Lau, & Britton, 2012). If we factor in the Home Office statistic that 7% of women experience violence every year (Ibid.) we must conclude that it is the same group of women who are the victims. If we really wanted to help these women we would ask what it was that made them more susceptible to violence.
Another familiar claim is that two women each week are murdered by a current or former male partner. The true number is about six women each month; nowhere is the corresponding statistic mentioned: that three men each month are murdered by current or former female partners (Povey, Coleman, Kaiza, & Roe, 2009). Or there’s the popular claim that domestic violence is the leading cause of ill health (or even death) in women, which is quoted by the Home Office, the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Ministry of Justice and others, demonstrating the typical dispersal pattern of a rogue statistic. This figure also is false: homicide is not even in the top ten leading causes of death. The Home Office, an early source of the bogus figure, defends it as merely ‘illustrative’, while others maintain that while the figure isn’t true, it should not be challenged, because domestic violence is such an important issue.
In 2001 the Prime Minister’s wife, Cherie Blair, presented an award to Kiranjit Ahluwalia at the Asian Women Awards ceremony for the laudable achievement of pouring petrol – bought for the purpose – onto her husband Deepak while he slept and setting fire to him. He took six days to die. Her defence, that she had only intended to cause pain, failed: she had assaulted him several times previously and was convicted of murder. After re-education by the Southall Black Sisters she claimed on appeal that she had lived in fear of him, and had killed him because he was about to leave her. Deepak was not available to confirm either claim.
In the most disgusting display of politicised misandry Cherie Blair hailed Ahluwalia as a ‘true role model for the next generation’ (BBC, 2001); once again the Government incited violence against men merely accused of a gender crime – it is unlikely we’ll see many men similarly fêted for killing their wives: Ahluwalia was courted by the media, signed a book deal and was even the subject of a film. This madness became embodied in legislation in the form of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, launched by women’s minister Harriet Harman, which introduced the twin measures of allowing a woman accused of murdering her husband the defences that she was the victim of ‘serious wrong’ or feared she would be the victim of violence, and removed the defence – most often used by men – of provocation. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, declared, ‘I don’t think this is a sensible way for us to proceed’ (BBC, 2010b).
One effect of the law, by specifically excluding infidelity from the category of serious wrong and thereby trivialising it, was further to undermine marriage; as with ‘no-fault’ divorce, fault now lay with the betrayed party, and morality was turned on its head. It was far from gender-neutral: women could kill in cold blood and with calculation, but if they claimed they ‘feared’ violence the charge would be reduced to manslaughter. Thus cold-blooded killing was no longer murder, while killing in the heat of the moment during a temporary loss of control was. This separated intent from the grievousness of a crime; it was not just an attack on men, it was a neo-Marxist assault on the moral underpinnings of society and its laws. In 2012 Lord Judge defied the new law, allowing the appeal of a man who had killed his serially unfaithful wife: excluding infidelity from cases in which it was integral risked ‘injustice’ (R v Clinton, 2012).
Challenging the feminist paradigm requires courage; academics who have queried the accepted wisdom, such as Murray Straus, Suzanne Steinmetz and Richard Gelles, have been threatened with violence, including death and bomb threats, against themselves or their families; universities and government departments have been intimidated to deny them tenure and funding; conferences have withdrawn invitations; fellow academics have used their work without attribution; libraries have refused to stock their books (Gelles, 1999). Here are their findings:
Domestic violence is not exclusive to men. Rates of female violence are actually slightly higher than for males at 28.3% compared with 21.6% (Desmarais, Reeves, Nicholls, Telford, & Fiebert, 2012b), particularly among women under the age of 30 (Kessler, Molnar, Feurer, & Appelbaum, 2001). A meta-analysis of no fewer than 286 studies demonstrates ‘that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 371,600’ (Fiebert, 2012). The studies included demonstrate consistently that women are more likely than men to initiate both mild and severe violence. Slowly the justice system is beginning to catch up; figures obtained from the Crown Prosecution Service in June 2011 showed that almost 3,965 women were successfully prosecuted in the previous year, compared with 806 women in 2004/5 (Cavill & Fursman, 2011); by 2012 the British Crime Survey acknowledged that more married men suffered from partner abuse than married women (Office for National Statistics, 2013).
The strongest predictor of a woman being the victim of intimate violence is her own perpetration of violence (Whitaker, Haileyesus, Swahn, & Saltzman, 2007). Research shows that women are at greatest risk of violence from an intimate partner when they themselves initiate violence (Capaldi, 2009). Government victim surveys in the UK (Walby & Allen, 2004), the US (Bensley, Macdonald, Van Eenwyk, Simmons, & Ruggles, 2000) and Canada (Statistics Canada, 2000) consistently reverse these findings due to a variety of factors: methodological bias, presentation to respondents as surveys on violence towards women (Archer, 2000), reliance on police figures (Malloy, McCloskey, Grigsby, & Gardner, 2003), male under-reporting (Stets & Straus, 1992b) and lower female arrest rates (Brown, 2004). Relying on their own inaccurate figures, governments incorporate the feminist paradigm of domestic violence into their thinking and thence into public policy.
Some studies have presented a profoundly different insight into domestic violence. A meta-analysis of 50 studies found 59.7% of violence to be reciprocal or bi-directional (Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Misra, Selwyn, & Rohling, 2012). A study using a large sample of 18,761 respondents showed that in 70% of those cases in which violence was not reciprocal the perpetrator of the violence was the woman. Reciprocal violence was more often associated with injury regardless of gender (Whitaker, Haileyesus, Swahn, & Saltzman, 2007).
There are correlations between domestic violence and major depression, being on welfare, and having a partner who uses drugs heavily, sells drugs, has a history of violence toward others, has an arrest record, or is unemployed (Williams, Van Dorn, Hawkins, Abbott, & Catalano, 2001). Living in an area of higher violence and drug use also increase a person’s likelihood of perpetration. Researchers concluded ‘that it may be possible to prevent some forms of domestic violence by acting early to address youth violence. Our research suggests the earlier we begin prevention programs, the better, because youth violence appears to be a precursor to other problems including domestic violence’ (Ibid.).
The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge project (PASK) was ‘grounded in the premises that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not to their own facts; that these facts should be available to everyone, and that domestic violence intervention and policy ought to be based upon these facts rather than ideology and special interests’. It found correlations with younger age, childhood exposure to parental violence, unemployment and low income and membership of ethnic minorities. There was a weak correlation with alcohol use and a stronger one with drugs. Risk was lowest for married couples and greatest for separated women (Capaldi, Knoble, Shortt, & Kim, 2012).
The feminist orthodoxy that all men are necessarily violent is bogus; instead violence is, ‘neither universal nor inevitable, but a behaviour that is caused and can be prevented… many societies have existed without discernible inter-personal violence’ (Hosking, 2009). Violent behaviour arises from ‘an interaction between two components’. The first of these is the range of personal factors which cause an individual to have a propensity towards violence. The second is the influence of external triggers or social factors; these will be harmless and won’t contribute towards violence unless there is a pre-existing propensity.
Creating a propensity depends on the way the infant brain develops; the factors which lead to violence are not so much psychological as physiological. Ill-treatment of an infant before the age of 3 causes the brain to develop structurally in such a way as to cause a violent propensity. The fundamental consequence of such ill treatment is the absence of empathy: the result of the failure of the child’s parents to attune with their infant. Absence of empathy combined with harsh discipline will result in the creation of violent, antisocial individuals. This lack of empathy is most conspicuous in crimes committed by children; for example in the murders of Martin Brown and Brian Howe by Mary Bell (aged 10 at the time of the first killing) or of Jamie Bulger by the 10-year-olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. These damaged people are then triggered to violence by external, social factors such as ‘unemployment, poor housing, over-crowding, economic inequality, declining moral values and stress’ (Ibid.).
Hosking emphasised that because these external factors are cultural, increasing and difficult to reverse there is a ‘strategic imperative’ to reduce the number of people with a propensity to violence. The most effective way to achieve this is to raise infants in an environment which promotes the development of empathy through encouraging and supporting parents to attune with their infants. The Labour Government, however, spent little money on prevention, and what it did spend was inappropriately targeted at the least receptive age groups. Intervention before a child reaches the critical age of 3 is beneficial and cost-effective, halting the negative spiral into violence and enabling children to develop into loving and fulfilled adults and potential parents. The Coalition toyed with this idea but failed to put it into practice.
The cultural perceptions of male and female violence are very different: male violence against females is not tolerated and will often result in aggressive intervention by law enforcement and social agencies; female violence against males tends to be justified and excused, and even the most extreme forms – such as the severing of a penis – can become the source of entertainment and comedy (Felson & Feld, 2009). The greater a male’s violence, the higher the probability that agencies will become involved; a correlation not applicable to female violence (Winstock, 2010). Men are more likely to be taken into custody, more likely to be prosecuted, more likely to be convicted and more likely to receive harsh sentences (Maxwell & Garner, 2012). Men and women react differently to violent provocation by others: men’s reaction to other males is often escalatory, while they will act in a placatory way to provocation by a female partner; as the provocation increases so do their efforts to neutralise it. Women’s response is the reverse, and they will escalate provocation by a male partner, regardless of its severity. This differential is explained by the relative importance of status enhancement for men and risk reduction for women: a woman’s priority will be the avoidance of physical injury; a man who is violent to a woman loses status (Winstock & Straus, 2011).
These perceptions of domestic violence are far more persuasive than those touted by feminists and are supported by the practical experience of two remarkable women who have devoted their lives to combating violence, Erin Pizzey, founder of Women’s Aid and Britain’s first shelter for battered women, and Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of The Place2Be and Kids Company, a club for abused, traumatised and neglected children. Pizzey confirms our understanding of domestic violence as a pattern of behaviour learned in early childhood, ‘Some children who are exposed to violence at the hands of their primary carers, usually their mothers and fathers, internalise the abusive behaviour and thereafter use violence and abuse as a strategy for survival’ (Pizzey, 2005). She speaks of the ‘family terrorist,’
a woman or a man (but for the purposes of this work, I refer only to women) who, pathologically motivated (by unresolved tendencies from a problematical childhood), and pathologically insensitive to the feelings of other family members, obsessionally seeks through unbounded action to achieve a destructive (and, therefore, pathological) goal with regard to other family members… Such individuals, spurred on by deep feelings of vengefulness, vindictiveness, and animosity, behave in a manner that is singularly destructive; destructive to themselves as well as to some or all of the other family members… The family well may be characterized as violent, incestuous, dysfunctional, and unhappy, but it is the terrorist or tyrant who is primarily responsible for initiating conflict, imposing histrionic outbursts upon otherwise calm situations, or (more subtly and invisibly) quietly manipulating other family members into uproar through guilt, cunning taunts, and barely perceptive provocations (Pizzey, 1997).
For Pizzey family terrorism is perpetrated by both men and women, ‘I’m not interested in discussions about how many men hit women or how many women hit men because it’s quite simple. If children are born into violent families, both boys and girls will be infected’ (Pizzey, 2007). Today the organisation she founded refuses her entry and has erased her name from its official history (McElroy, 2006); it has been hijacked by extremist feminism, the triumph of which, Pizzey believes, has enabled violent, abusive women ‘to sexually abuse, batter and intimidate their children and their husbands’ with the full support of a politically correct state,
They took their aggressive, bullying and intimidating behavior with them. Talking with the men who were accused of abusing their women, I was aware of this movement with its wild and extravagant claims against men had fuelled the flames of insecurity and anger in men. I watched horror stricken, as in home after home, I saw boys denied not only their access to their fathers, but also access to all that was normal and masculine in their lives (Pizzey, 1999).
I think feminism now believes that true liberation can only be achieved through destruction of the traditional family and, in particular, men’s role. The search for equality has been hijacked by these ‘gender feminists’. Militant ideology is being allowed to triumph over practical experience (Pizzey, 2004).
Camila Batmanghelidjh provides further authentication,
Without a doubt, from the observations that we’ve made at Kids Company… early deprivation and abuse has a significant impact on the individual’s behaviour later on. We need to recognise that a large number of these children are suffering from a syndrome, and the syndrome is a psycho-social violence-adapting syndrome, i.e. their poor psycho-social circumstances is creating a situation in their brain functioning and in their thinking which predisposes them to use violence as a way of surviving, and what we’ve got to understand is that the children are not morally flawed: they are appropriately adapted to the environments into which they are born, but this adaptation, which was necessary at the time that they were surviving the abuse, becomes a chronic state that stays with them, and for the child to come out of this violence-adapting state they need very specific treatment and support (Batmanghelidjh, 2009).
These women have founded their comprehension of domestic violence on observation and experience and have rejected an interpretation based on ideology. Their explanations are logical and consistent, whereas the feminist view is unable to account for female violence, having to pretend instead that it doesn’t occur, and refuses to make a distinction between men who are violent and those who are not. We know that even if the feminists’ inflated claims were true, most women will never experience domestic violence in their lives, and that therefore those women who are victims are persistent victims in confirmation of what Camila Batmanghelidjh and Erin Pizzey have argued. We also know that women are most likely to be victims if they are themselves perpetrators. We can now say with confidence that the problem of domestic violence is confined to a comparatively small proportion of the population and that it is they to whom support should be directed – perhaps by addressing first their own propensity to violence. The myths perpetrated by the violence industry – that all women are equally likely to be victims and only men are perpetrators – are designed to portray intimate heterosexual relationships as inherently dangerous to women in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the feminists: the destruction of the nuclear family; they ensure that resources are squandered indiscriminately, while maximising income from a gullible public and government. This is a risky strategy: when government funding dries up, will they be able to rely on an increasingly informed public (Pearse, 2012)?
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