On this morning's thread, JPJ2 mentioned that he was the only person brave enough to have left a mildly critical comment on Jenny Kemp's piece about male violence against women at Better Nation. Ms Kemp later responded to his comment directly, and it was a fairly extraordinary contribution -
"It’s a shame that you want to get into this ‘what about abused men’ argument. This was a post about men’s power, privilege, and misuse of those, and the onus on men with public platforms to condemn abuse of women and not perpetuate myths surrounding it."
The problem here is that JPJ2 was in no sense changing the subject. One of the premises on which Jenny's argument and conclusions hinged was that domestic violence is essentially something that men do to women, and not the other way round. JPJ2's comment challenged that premise, and therefore could hardly have been more relevant. Jenny must surely have realised that, so to react by telling him off for speaking out of turn, rather than addressing the legitimate objection he raised, is on the face of it thoroughly peculiar. But it fits into a wider pattern with radical feminism - namely, that certain articles of faith are not up for debate. They don't need to be tested or justified, they're just facts. If you don't find them convincing, it's not the philosophy that's wrong, it's a personal failing on your part. Or perhaps you just haven't been browbeaten hard enough yet. It's not uncommon to hear the phrase "we need to educate men" - not listen to, not engage with, simply educate. In most cases, that's code for stop thinking, and start accepting.
"Of course no-one should ever have to accept domestic abuse, and any men who experience it should be supported, but it’s a different issue."
I would suggest that the first and most important step towards "supporting" men who have been abused is precisely to admit that the issue is not "different". Does a punch to the face feel different if you're a man? Is being struck with a blunt instrument less stressful if you're male? Do men bleed differently to women? Of course not, but by peddling the idea that in some magical, unspecified way it's completely different for men (and by logical extension that men are lesser victims), Ms Kemp is perpetuating the very stigma that makes life so intolerable for many male victims. The radical feminist message in relation to domestic violence is "men are all-powerful, women are passive" (ironically, a profoundly conservative and sexist notion), so if a man admits to being abused it's a strike against his masculinity. Or he'll be told that it can't be as bad as all that, or that he's lying. Is that Ms. Kemp's idea of being supportive?
Another theme of the article was that because men generically are 'to blame' for violence against women, there is a responsibility on all men, whether they are perpetrators or not, to do something about it and "challenge" that violence. They are being negligent if they fail to do so. So if we are expected to believe that female-on-male domestic violence is of an entirely different character, does that mean women generically are 'to blame' for it? We can only assume not, because Jenny sees no irony in the fact that she has effectively been negligent by not actively challenging that type of violence herself - indeed in her article she did the opposite of challenge it, she wrote as if it didn't exist. So it seems we must conclude that male violence against women is "gender-based", but female violence against men is not.
But how can that possibly be? If female-on-male violence proves that human beings can occasionally be violent against their partners in a sporadic way that is not rooted in "patriarchy", "matriarchy" or any other type of "-archy", surely the same must sometimes apply to male-on-female violence? How can all male-on-female violence be "gender-based" (and thus something that the male gender is collectively responsible for), when no female-on-male violence need ever trouble the conscience of any other woman? It's just nonsense, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that the real problem with male victims, and this need to swat them away, and tell them "it's a shame" when they don't keep their noses out of all this, is less to do with protecting female victims of violence, and more to do with protecting a treasured belief-system that countless lifetimes of political activism would be rendered meaningless without. That was of course the point that JPJ2 was making - that this isn't a gender-exclusive issue, and that the most effective way to help all victims, including female victims, is to move beyond that warped and harmful paradigm. Is Ms. Kemp actually interested in discussing what might be effective, or do we have to sign up lock, stock and barrel to her ideology before our voices can be considered legitimate?
"Women experience a whole continuum of abuse from men (sexual harrassment, domestic abuse, sexual violence, forced marriage, exploitation in prostitution, stalking, genital mutilation etc etc) in a way that men don’t."
OK, let's take those one at a time -
Men experience sexual harrassment. If anyone claims they don't, it's only for the same reason that men supposedly "can't be raped by women", ie. the act is either defined in law or in the interpretation of the law in ludicrously gendered terms. Men experience harrassment at the hands of both men and women, just as women do. So this is not an exclusively male-on-female problem.
Men experience domestic abuse, as Ms Kemp herself has conceded. They experience it at the hands of both women and men, just as women do. Again, not an exclusively male-on-female problem.
Men experience sexual violence, at the hands of both men and women. As noted above, the only reason they "can't be raped by a woman" is that the law defines rape in gendered terms.
Men experience forced marriage. Women experience it more frequently because of gender discrimination in the societies they live in or their societies of origin. However, the perpetrators of forced marriage are both male and female.
Men experience exploitation in prostitution. But it's hard not to suspect here that Ms Kemp probably takes the "Swedish model" view that all prostitution, however scrupulously consensual, constitutes violence against women, again relying on the sexist and discriminatory worldview that only men are responsible for their actions, and women don't know their own minds.
Men experience stalking, at the hands of both women and men.
The closest Ms Kemp gets to a genuinely gender-exclusive problem is genital mutilation, but even this is something that boys are routinely subjected to as well, albeit in a different form.
"And the root cause of this is women’s wider inequality, in a patriarchal society."
So for the "root cause" of an exclusively male-on-female phenomenon that demonstrably does not actually exist, we're offered an evidence-free affirmation of blind faith in the concept of "patriarchy"? Wow.
"The experience of male domestic abuse victims are really quite different and not something I want to get into here."
And how is it different? She'll tell us later. Maybe.
Well, I don't know about you, but I'm convinced.