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ManUp encourages domestic violence

Leading on from the inherent misandry of ManUp, the campaign encourages DV by giving cover to abusers.
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By ignoring the existence of female domestic violence, in all its forms, the ManUp campaign condones it by omission and these abusive women are not asked to address their actions. Not that they would listen anyway; that is the nature of an abusive personality - they always feel justified in their actions. However, how much more likely are we to laugh at or excuse public abuse by a female if the message is reinforced that maybe he "tried to come down heavy"? Perhaps we silently congratulate her for standing up for herself.  

The insistence on presenting domestic violence as singularly perpetrated by males provides an environment where female abuse is unnoticed and unegognised. For any family suffering from female abuse, this is another lock on the door to getting help. It's sets the goal of an inclusive, neutral approach to domestic violence even further away and for any family suffering domestic violence from a female, the message is loud and clear that somehow it's not her fault. For a man suffering abuse, somehow it is his fault. Did he disagree to much, was he too insistent, did he raise his voice, why can't he be more like those men in the ads? 

- these are the questions he will ask himself, rather than recognising her abnormality and doing something about it. 

And what is he to do, if there are no male shelters, no recognition and only one inexplicably underfunded advisory service available? If children are involved, there would seem to be only one thing to do - stay silent - or risk leaving them alone with the abuser.

Similarly, the perpetrator is further emboldened, at least in their own mind, to continue with the abuse because what she is doing (again, in her own mind) isn't really abuse. The message - men abuse and women are victims - continues to obstruct efforts to deal effectively with all forms of family abuse.

The deliberate ambiguity of the message aims to further confuse, using such phrases as "I come down strong", which can be interpreted to mean anything, and can justify or excuse aggressive behaviour as being somehow preemptive. 

We all know what "coming down strong means" - for anyone still being silly, it means actual physical violence or threats of violence, but yes, it can also refer to a vigorous objection, passive immobility, verbal abuse, or whatever your own sensibilities dictate - and it is bad by any yardstick, but controlling, abusive and violent behaviour is not exclusively male. 

The ambiguity allows a broad interpretation in the mind, of not just an abusive person, but of a potentially abusive person, which could justify abusive actions because of a perceived victim status.

It's a very dangerous game for a very well funded, national organisation to be playing, but it is clear that Safe Ireland does not care about female domestic violence, or the children who are affected. It denies it wherever possible, and spends large quantities of your money (100K, maybe more?) promoting a singular, jaundiced perspective.


Yet, it isn't news that women can be abusive. Everyone knows it, but campaigns such as this aim to reinforce the idea that female domestic abuse is negligible and unworthy of consideration, even though this abuse extends not just to partners but to children too. 

The message, reinforced again, is that abuse is something that only men do, and so men and children will be less likely to report abuse if the perpetrator is a female. It doesn't matter how small this demographic is. Abuse is abuse.

However, many studies have shown that females are just as likely to be abusive as males. A report from Harvard in 2007 via newscastmedia indicated that the violence was reciprocal. Although a lot of the data is from the US, it can be applied here, simply because we have more in common with the US than not - we are all human beings after all, and it is reasonable to say that human interactions are fairly similar across the globe, particularly in countries with similar culture, language, law and politics.

A good place to start (check the citations, of course) is wikipedia, but closer to home, there is the odd news item which attempts a slightly more balanced view, but these can hardly make an impact in a society which simply refuses to believe that female domestic abuse is anything more than a very minor, negligible occurrence. 

Historically, studies and reports have consistently sought to find a smoking gun, and refined research to try to find data supporting "man-bad-woman-good" assertion. Categorising domestic violence by severity was one way to do this, and in Ireland it was studies from 2005, 2008  which found a gender imbalance in the most severe domestic abuse (almost 2:1), but also, rather inconveniently, that over 90% of female abuse is unreported. The response to this is more of the same - continue blaming men.

Thankfully, severe abuse is very rare, but the inconvenient truth of gender symmetry, demonstrated by data again, and again, and again, is dismissed by saying that the information only relates to the specific study group and the gender symmetry might not generalise outside of the specific context ... or some variant upon that theme.

Well the best way to avoid the inconvenience is to completely omit males from the study altogether, as happened with the fra EU-wide study which concerned itself only with female victims. Nonetheless, within that report (p.186), non-heterosexual (48%) violence is more than twice that of heterosexual (21%) violence. While other reports indicate cohabiting homosexual IPV at 7.1% . Does this mean that lesbian-orientated females are twice as violent as hetero sexual males, and lesbians, in general, six times more violent than homosexuals? 

Of course it doesn't! There could be any number of reasons why those numbers got thrown up. The point is that cherry picking data to suit an agenda is wrong. There is good an bad in everyone and thankfully there is generally more good, but ManUp gives cover to very bad people and that is wrong.

 As for female violence, a more recent study by Lara Stemple in 2012 shows that the experience of men and women is “a lot closer than any of us would expect". The study was prompted by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) of 40,000 households, which showed that 38% of incidents of sexual violence were against men. It turns out that this was because sexual assault is a term that gets refracted through a cultural lens. 

For many years, the FBI defined forcible rape, for data collecting purposes, as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. In 2010 Chicago reported 86,767 cases of rape but used its own broader definition, so the FBI left out the Chicago stats. 

However, in 2012, the FBI revised its definition and focused on penetration, with no mention of female (or force). When those cases were taken into account, the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact basically equalized, with 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men claiming to be victims of sexual violence.

A further study by Karen G. Weiss from 2010 looked at prison violence and bjs studies found that (contrary to what we think) - Women were more likely to be abused by fellow female inmates, and men by guards, and many of those guards were female. For example, of juveniles reporting staff sexual misconduct, 89 percent were boys reporting abuse by a female staff member. 

The point is to understand that abusive behaviour is not uniquely male, nor is it even predominantly male; in fact it could be argued that it is predominantly female, but that would serve no purpose.

It's not about playing some victim game, this is too serious for that. The longer we continue holding onto the our distorted view of domestic violence, the further away is the solution.

Campaigns like ManUp are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem

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