J. Soltys's Weblog

October 31, 2008

Small Victory in DART Protest Campaign

The ongoing protest campaign against the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for using what many feel are anti-male/anti-father domestic violence ads on the company’s buses, has achieved a small victory.
The creator and financier of the ads, The Family Place, one of largest domestic violence shelters in the Dallas area, has changed the wording and tone of their website.
As I reported here on Tuesday, the wording of The Family Place website portrayed only men as perpetrators of domestic violence, and women as only victims of domestic violence. No where on the website did it include wording that acknowledged women can be perpetrators of domestic violence. The only implication present was made on its “About Page” which explained the organization helps women, children, and men who are victims of domestic violence.
However, when viewing the website’s “Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship” page, every warning sign offered began with “He saysHe does…. He will….”. Never was the perpetrator designated as “She”. This attitude is in contradiction with many recent studies on DV which conclude women often instigate physical violence as much as men. Therefore, I opinioned The Family Place is extremely sexist towards men, especially when one includes in the argument the biased ads the organization created for the DART buses.

Now, with no explanation given, The Family Place website has been changed to include women as perpetrators of domestic violence.
As an example, on the page that informs about the “Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship”, the old information read:
He is controlling. He interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were. He insists you ask his permission to go anywhere or do anything.

The new page reads:
He/She is controlling. He/She interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were. He/She insists you ask his/her permission to go anywhere or do anything.

The web page is now gender neutral, and more importantly, acknowledges and reflects current research showing women are guilty of domestic violence towards men in greater numbers than currently believed.

Furthermore

The mayor of Dallas was asked to for his influence and involvement in the DART protest. However, Mayor Tom Leppert, while acknowledging the crisis, felt he would not intervene unless the public personally showed him overwhelming support.
So with that being said, let’s do this one more time. Click here to send a personal email to Mayor Leppert. This is a ready-to-go email form from Glenn Sacks’ website. All you have to do is sign and click.

Also, this protest has reached the shores of Iraq. Our men and women in the military have heard about the vile DV ads on the DART buses. Glenn Sacks recieved this email from Gary Christopher, a soldier in Iraq;

I contacted DART as well as Mayor Leppert’s office. I told them DART’s ads are a disgrace to the servicemembers here in Iraq with me. They are here to preserve the future of their wives and their children because they love them so much.

I explained that I’m a registered voter in Texas, and that I’m going to forward this Campaign email to other servicemembers here, too.


On another note: Many domestic violence shelters claim that funding for their services is always lacking, and therefore, this is one of the many reasons why DV shelters cannot, or will not help men and their children – they barely have enough money to help women and their children.
So it was interesting to discovered during the protest of DART that The Family Place has net assets of almost $10 million dollars. And more importantly, its executive director, Paige Flink, takes home an annual salary of over $160,000.
If The Family Place is indicative of other domestic violence shelters/programs across the nation, the question we may need to start asking is not “why” there is not enough funding for DV shelters/programs, but rather “Is” the money these organizations receive being spent properly?

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com
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October 30, 2008

DART Launches Sleazy Counter Attack Against Sexist DV Ads

The ongoing campaign against anti-male/anti-father domestic violence ads appearing on buses of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has heated up. In a local news outlet Morgan Lyon, DART’s media relations official, tried redirecting the focus and seriousness of his company’s blunder by stating the company has received very little negative response from the public about the DV ads via the company’s online customer feedback form.
It is a pathetic and disturbing attempt to minimize the magnitude of the situation. The company’s online form was never mentioned as a method in which to file a complaint until yesterday. If one clicks to this page on DART’s website, what appears is a form used to file complaints about particular bus routes. It’s obvious this form was not designed to handle a serious public relations crisis.
In contrast, the protest form found at Glenn Sack’s website – the ONLY KNOWN ONE – has led to over a thousand complaints against the ads forwarded to DART – confirmed by DART officials.
Also, DART has stated that the majority of the complaints received via Glenn Sacks site have been from outside the Dallas metro area, implying this controversy has no validity because the locals aren’t complaining.
My question to Mr. Lyons is, “So are you saying the Jena 6 incident was devoid of any real racism because the majority of those protesting the charges against the six students were from outside Jena?
Is this the “community standard” upon which you claimed to have used in judging the sexist DV ads, now posted on your buses, as acceptable?
Is this just another example of the dysfunctional corporate culture at DART?

Since Mr. Lyons felt not enough individuals used their online complaint form to take this situation seriously, I’m asking everyone who is disturbed by these ads, and the sleazy behavior of DART officials, to fill out the top and bottom portion (comment box) of this form. Here is the link.

Numerous Women Join DART Protest

Erin Pizzey, the founder of the first domestic violence shelter in England back in 1971, and a long time advocate for domestic violence prevention, has signed a petition asking the Dallas Area Regional Transit (DART) to remove the misleading and vile domestic violence ads from their fleet of buses.
Pizzey has been joined by over 50 others from various backgrounds on the petition in an effort to try and convince DART the ads are a mistake. The petition reads:

The undersigned believe that DART’s domestic violence ads ‘One day my husband will kill me’ and ‘When I grow up, I will beat my wife’ provide a distorted and counterproductive view of fathers, children, and domestic violence. We respectfully request that DART remove these ill-advised ads as soon as possible.

Other women joining the protest and signing the petition:

— Barbara Kay, a writer for the National Post called the ads “hate speech” in her most recent column.

— Syndicated Columnist Amy Alkon called the ads “ugly, toxic, and wrong”.

— Dr. Helen Smith, columnist with Pajamas Media

— Wendy McElroy, writer and founder of ifeminist.net

The petition can be found at Glenn Sacks website.

Note: The creator and financial backers of the discriminating domestic violence ads, The Family Place, rushed Paige Flink, Family Place Executive Director, to a public board meeting by DART Tuesday to defend the ads. It is reported that she and the organization have vowed not to “back down” from the criticism received from those ads.
According to Glenn Sacks website:

Flink spoke in support of her own ads along with two men who she brought with her. However, they avoided (emphasis mine) answering the challenge that the ads might depict males negatively or confuse children who see them but lack the maturity to understand the underlying messages.

Answering My Critic

Yesterday I received a response in my comments section essentially scolding me for being completely wrong on this recent issue, and criticizing the research I consulted. Here is the comment followed by my response:

And if you stay on their front page long enough, it scrolls through a picture with text, “We help ALL victims of family violence, men, women and children.”

And this, taken from their About Us page:
“We helped 423 women and 497 men recover from childhood sexual assault and incest in our Incest Recovery Program.”

Good on them and good on DART for providing the confrontation society needs about the truths of domestic violence.

You quote the report dated August 2007 about “non-reciprocal” intimate partner violence. The reason why women appear more in this report is because MOST of female to male violence occurs within the context of the female being a victim of physical violence, so when you ignore the factor that in most cases of IPV men are hitting women who are hitting back, and just use the one’s where women weren’t hit first, then it would show that women instigate IPV more…..but that is putting a spin on the numbers for the benefit of achieving some specific agenda, it doesn’t show the real truth that MEN are the biggest instigators of IPV.

In the November 2007 report, if it included stalking, sexual coercion and sexual abuse the figures would be very much different. In fact, the incidence of male to female aggression would skyrocket to somewhere around about 30 – 45%. It’s quite convenient to leave out the violent behaviours that are specifically used by men more than women, don’t you think? Another report with a spin to fit an agenda.

Comment by shivers

Dear Shiver,

It would be nice if you stuck to the facts concerning what I wrote, and didn’t twist the argument to something completely different. With that being said, I would like to thank you for your comment, because you have unknowingly proved my point about male discrimination on this subject better than I could have.

First, my argument, and the protest campaign, is about the discrimination men face in the DV prevention environment. The DV prevention industry and their supporters will go to great lengths to minimize or devalue men as victims of domestic violence, and at the same time, try to minimize and diminish the fact that women can be as violent as men in the home.

Your response pointed to the fact that The Family Place has helped over 400 men and 400 women who were victims of molestation. The difference of treatment concerning sexual abuse of males and females by The Family Place WAS NOT my argument. My argument was the discrimination men face concerning the DV prevention industry that continues to perpetuate a false ideology that men are always the perpetrators of DV, and women are always the victims in spite of numerous studies which prove otherwise. I opinioned that The Family Place is guilty of this behavior as proven by a page from their own website which I included as evidence, and the sexist nature of their ads that are now being protested. Also, I did mention their claim of helping male victims, but an indirect point I was looking to make was how could an organization that advocates unequivocally that men are the sole perpetrators of domestic violence rather than victims, effectively address and help male victims of DV and their children?
I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough.

Second, you wrote:

“You quote the report dated August 2007 about “non-reciprocal” intimate partner violence. The reason why women appear more in this report is because MOST of female to male violence occurs within the context of the female being a victim of physical violence, so when you ignore the factor that in most cases of IPV men are hitting women who are hitting back, and just use the one’s where women weren’t hit first, then it would show that women instigate IPV more…..but that is putting a spin on the numbers for the benefit of achieving some specific agenda, it doesn’t show the real truth that MEN are the biggest instigators of IPV.”

Thank you again for displaying the sexism men face when discussing domestic violence.
Feminist and women’s groups deplore the behavior of those who would sink so low as to dare apply “blaming the victim” to women who have been victims of violence, and have worked tenaciously to eradicate this behavior. However, these same women – you included – have no problem engaging in this disgusting behavior when the victim is a man and the perpetrator is a woman. So my question to you is, “Do believe blaming the victim is an acceptable form of behavior that applies equally to male victims as well as female victims, or do you believe that this malevolent behavior should only apply to male victims?

But let’s ignore your sexism and hypocrisy for one moment and extract it out in another way. Let’s say that it is true that the reason so many women are often charged with domestic violence is via the mode of defending themselves against an abuser as you have claimed, and as many in the DV prevention industry have also claimed as truth. If one accepts this argument as a realistic truth, the one must also find as an equal truth that many men are falsely charged with domestic violence in the process of defending themselves against an unprovoked attack by a female partner. Considering that many states have made it mandatory if injuries are present in a spousal altercation, then the individual without injury is presumed to be the perpetrator. Under this presumed judgment of guilt, the presumed attacker is immediately arrested and charged. Given the DV prevention industry’s mantra that men are more physically stronger than women, and the potential injury to a woman is much greater for them in even the most minor altercation, it becomes extremely plausible that a man defending himself from an unprovoked attack from a female partner will run the risk of causing visible injuries on her, but consequently, will have minimal or no injuries on himself. Therefore, the odds are much greater that a man defending himself against a female attacker is more likely to be presumed falsely as the aggressor by the authorities, resulting in his arrest and a charge of domestic violence. The female attacker will be falsely calculated as a victim.
Therefore Shiver, implying the numbers as being grossly inflated for female aggressors by using a “self defense” argument, in return, you and others in the DV prevention industry are inadvertently creating a valid argument that the statistics showing men as the dominate aggressor in domestic violence incidents have the potential to be grossly inflated also. The “self defense” argument cuts both ways, however, you and the DV prevention industry conveniently leave this valid point out.

And isn’t it a little pious for you and others to assume that of the numerous DV studies which found women are as violent as men, that not one of these professional, seasoned, experienced researchers even considered your argument that self-defense may skew the numbers, and accounted for this variable in their research? One of the researchers in the above mentioned studies is Murray Strauss. He has been studying family violence for almost forty years. Maybe you should contact him and offer to consult him about the serious faults you found in the majority of his research along with other fatuous research you’ve discovered on domestic violence.

You also wrote:

In the November 2007 report, if it included stalking, sexual coercion and sexual abuse the figures would be very much different. In fact, the incidence of male to female aggression would skyrocket to somewhere around about 30 – 45%. It’s quite convenient to leave out the violent behaviours that are specifically used by men more than women, don’t you think? Another report with a spin to fit an agenda.

Well thank you again for helping me display the bigotry men face when it comes to discussing relationship violence.
What you state is somewhat true, but again, your skewing the argument, and your approach towards analyzing gender violence is an example of the enormous bias men face on these issues. But I’m willing assume your position to prove my point.
If we are going to account for all acts of violent behavior when discussing the genders to make a point, as you did, then I will start with family violence. If one considers that all violence in the home should be labeled “domestic” (the actual meaning of the word), then the numbers for female and male perpetrators of domestic violence drastically change.
If the abuse of children in the home is categorized as domestic abuse – with mothers outnumbering fathers in abusing children according to statistics – then female as perpetrators of domestic violence begins to increase. If one includes the killing of children as domestic violence, then females as perpetrator of violence rises again. If one includes the number of female nannies, childcare workers, baby-sitters, housekeepers, au pairs, etc. who commit violence against children in the home, then the number of females perpetuating domestic violence increases again. If one includes the number of false allegations of abuse made by women against men in divorce and child custody cases as domestic abuse (emotional, financial, etc.) then females as perpetrators of domestic violence begins to take a commanding lead. If one includes the number of women who have hired or manipulated others to commit acts of violence or murder against their partners, then the number of female perpetrated domestic violence increases beyond expectation. And lastly, since we are speaking of violent behaviors towards one gender by another, if one also includes the number of women who bring false allegations of rape against men, and consider the destruction it causes men physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially, and how devastating it can be for a man’s reputation, his family, his career and such, then this type of female harm/violence should just about bring female malevolent behavior on the par with that of men.
My point is Shiver, if you want to “lump” everything together to validate your argument to increase the perceived harm/violence men do to women, then a convincing, substantial argument can be made to counter yours by “lumping” together women’s harmful and violent acts against men and children to prove women are just as harmful/violent as men. Fortunately I am never in a “contest” to prove women are worse than men. I only write to prove women and men are equally guilty of harmful/violent acts as a defense against those like yourself who feel an uncontrollable need to always make these serious issues into a “contest” of gender superiority.

And while I will agree that research at this point show men are responsible for most forms of stalking, you are displaying once again the discrimination men face on issues such as sexual coercion and sexual abuse. Most studies on gender violence issues begin with an inherent sexist assumption that most men are the perpetrators and women are most often the victims.
The most noted study on sexual coercion was done by Koss, Gidycz, and Wisniewski (1987). In that study, it was found that 15% of the women in a national sample of over 6,000 college students had experienced rape. About 4% of the men indicated that they had perpetrated rape. What is not mentioned whenever this research is cited is how only the women were asked if they were ever sexually assaulted while only the men were asked if they ever committed a sexual assault. This isn’t just a little sexist, it is extremely sexist!

In looking at research which included sexual coercion by females as well as males, one finds women aren’t far behind the men when engaging in this behavior.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, at least a dozen more studies that included both male and female sexual victims appeared in the literature. For example, Lottes (1991) discovered that 24% of the men and 35% of the women in a classroom sample of over 300 college students reported that they had been coerced into sexual intercourse. In a survey of 433 Canadian college students, O’Sullivan, Byers, and Finkelman (1998) found that 24% of the men and 42% of the women reported being pressured or forced into sexual contact in a heterosexual dating context in the past year. A survey of 221 high school seniors in New Zealand (Jackson, Cram, & Seymour, 2000) revealed that 67% of the boys and 77% of the girls reported that they had engaged in unwanted sexual activity.

And a study from California State University collaborated those findings in their own study by stating:

Results reveal that 70% of subjects [men] reported experiencing some form of sexual coercion within the past five years.

Looking at sex crimes in general, newer research is shattering the myth that women rarely engage in crimes of sexual perversion;

Canada’s largest study into the sexual exploitation of street kids and runaways has shattered some myths about who the abusers might be – with the most surprising finding being that many are women seeking sex with young males.
“Some youth in each gender were exploited by women with more than three out of four (79 per cent) sexually exploited males reporting exchanging sex for money or goods with a female,” said Elizabeth Saewyc, associate professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia and principal investigator for the study conducted by Vancouver’s McCreary Centre Society.
“I must admit it wasn’t something we were expecting.”

And it seems a week doesn’t go by in which the media is reporting another crime involving a female teacher having sex with one of her male students. Consider, these are the ones being reported, so how many are not?

So let me ask you this Shiver, “Who really is trying to force an agenda here?
I’m write from the perspective that men and women are human first, and therefore more likely to engage in the same behaviors – good or bad.

Your approach of spreading misleading and biased information is not a solution to these issues. You and others like you are part of the problem.

October 28, 2008

DART Refuses to Remove Sexist Domestic Violence Ads

The campaign to address the biased and misleading domestic violence advertisements presently being displayed on Dallas Area Rapid Transit buses in coordination with The Family Place has led to nearly a thousand emails of protest by both men and women across the nation, as was reported by the Associated Press and two dozen other news outlets.

In response to my support for the campaign, I received this reply from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit:

I’m writing to provide additional information about the ads running on 45 DART buses. These ads began running on October 1. They were produced and paid for by The Family Place, a long-standing family services agency based in Dallas. DART had no involvement in the creation of the ad campaign. The ads were reviewed by DART staff when they were first presented to us by our bus ad sales contractor. Staff determined the ads were not inconsistent with community standards. The Family Place paid approximately $25,000 to purchase bus side advertising on 45 buses and 300 bus interiors. The ads are scheduled to come down November 30 when the ad contract expires.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Regards,
Morgan Lyons
Director, Media Relations
Dallas Area Rapid Transit

In other words, in spite of offending many men, fathers, women, and mothers with these disturbing ads, DART has chosen to ignore the public outcry, and continue to run the malicious ads.

In my opinion, Mr. Lyons and DART have chosen to avoid accountability for these offensive ads by using a common corporate practice of shifting blame to “committees” (staff) and “focus” groups in these situations. It allows for responsibility and accountability to be distributed among some mythical “group think” because the actual individuals of these groups are never revealed, nor are they ever available for questioning when requested from the corporation.
My experience has found this is common practice when the discrimination is against men and fathers. The opinions and decisions of these “groups” are viewed as scripture, and their decisions are rarely overturned when men and fathers complain of feeling marginalized. However, I have found when the discrimination is found to affect women or other minorities, the corporation makes a decisive move to immediately override the decision of the “focus” or “committee” group.
Sadly, DART has taken the same demeaning and callous approach as others when men and fathers are offended.

Also, considering Mr. Lyons and DART are defending their actions by saying the “Staff determined the ads were not inconsistent with community standards”, it makes me ponder how low are the “community standards” in that neck of the woods? And furthermore, how effective can the the human resource policies at DART be concerning the recognition and procedures to address such issues as discrimination, sexism, and harassment within its own environment? Considering the DART “staff” did not find these ads offensive by their own merit, and needed to consult a “community standard” for guidance is troubling in itself. But given that after implementing the ads, it has now received nearly a thousand complaints from the public, and the “staff” still finds no reasonable concern to remove the ads, makes me wonder what kind of business culture is present at DART.

After finding the website for The Family Place, the domestic violence prevention group who created and paid for the placement of the ads on DART buses, it became obvious that the group is an insidiously sexist organization. While claiming to help all individuals that are victims of domestic violence – including men – their website states repeatedly that only men are the perpetrators of domestic violence. The group’s site refuses to make any mention that women can be perpetrators of domestic violence against men.
Here is a copy of the groups web page concerning the warning signs of an abuser:

1. He pushes for quick involvement. He comes on very strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures a girl for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

2. He is excessively possessive. He calls constantly or visits unexpectedly, prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone,” and even checks the mileage on your car.

3. He is controlling. He interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were. He insists you ask his permission to go anywhere or do anything.

4. He has unrealistic expectations. He expects you to be the perfect girl all the time and meet his every need.

5. He isolates you. He tries to cut you off from family and friends and accuses people who are your supporters of “causing trouble.” An abuser may try to prevent you from holding a job, going to church or being part of school organizations.

6. He blames others for his problems and mistakes. The teacher, the coach, you—it’s always someone else’s fault if anything goes wrong.

7. He makes everyone else responsible for his feelings. An abuser says, “You make me angry” instead of, “I am angry” or, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.” Less obvious but equally telling is the claim: “You make me happy.”

8. He is hypersensitive. He is easily insulted and claims that his feelings are hurt when he is really mad. He rants about the injustice of things that are just part of life.

9. He displays cruelty to animals. He kills or punishes animals brutally.

10. He displays “playful” use of force. He enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will. He forces you to kiss him and doesn’t accept “no.”

11. He verbally abuses you. He constantly criticizes you or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things, degrades you, curses and calls you ugly names. If he does this in front of other people, you may really be at risk for physical abuse.

12. He insists on rigid roles for men and women. He is strong. You are weak. He expects you to serve and obey him because you are “his woman.”

13. He displays sudden mood swings. He switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent in minutes.

14. He has battered in the past. He admits to hitting girls in the past but says they or the situation made him do it.

15. He threatens you with physical violence. He makes statements like, “I’ll break your neck.” or “I’ll kill you.” and then dismiss them with, “Everybody talks that way.” or “I didn’t really mean it.” If he has come this far, it is time to get out and get help.

Considering the ads it created for DART, and considering the above informational page, it is obvious this organization is engaging in the disturbing practice of sexual discrimination.  What’s even worse is that DART has since been made aware that the ads are misleading the public about the realities of domestic violence via the protest campaign, but has ignored this and chose to continue them.

The controversy with DART and The Family Place comes less than a week after Third District Court of Appeals in California ruled in favor of the plaintiff, David Woods, his daughter, and three other men that DV programs in California have discriminated against men. The court ruled,

We find the gender-based classifications in the challenged statutes that provide programs
for victims of domestic violence violate equal protection. We find male victims of domestic violence are similarly situated to female victims for purposes of the statutory programs and no compelling state interest justifies the gender classification.
We reform the affected statutes by invalidating the exemption of males and extending the statutory benefits to men, whom the Legislature improperly excluded.

Finally men and father’s rights advocates have legal proof needed to provide credence to their claims of historic discrimination against them by those in the DV prevent industry.

And this discrimination is hiding in plain sight. The Family Place – advocating men as sole perpetrators of domestic violence- appear to be engaging in this ongoing discrimination of males by intentionally ignoring some of the most relevant and recent research concerning domestic violence, such as:

August, 2007 – In fact, when it comes to nonreciprocal violence between intimate partners, women are more often the perpetrators.
These findings on intimate partner violence come from a study conducted by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The lead investigator was Daniel Whitaker, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist and team leader at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (which is part of the CDC). Results were published in the May Journal of Public Health.

May, 2006 – A 32-nation study of violence against dating partners by university partners found that about a third had been violent, and most incidents of partner violence involve violence by both the man and woman, according to Murray Straus, founder and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. The second largest category was couples where the female partner was the only one to carry about physical attacks, not the male partner.
Straus’ new research also found that dominance by the female partner is even more closely related to violence by women than is male dominance. These results call into question the widely held belief that partner violence is primarily a male crime and that when women are violent it is self defense.

November, 2007 – Physical dating violence (PDV) affects almost one in every 11 adolescents, according to research presented at the American Public Health Association’s 135th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The study, which looked at data from the 2005 National Youth Risk Behavior Study, also found that contrary to common general perception, males and females equally report being victims of PDV. The researchers found that in their study population of 6,951 male and 6,807 female students in grades 9 through 12, 9 percent of boys and 9.2 percent of girls responded yes to the question “during the past 12 months, did your boyfriend or girlfriend ever hit, slap, or physically hurt you on purpose.”

These are not the only studies. There are many more corroborating their findings.

What is really pathetic here is that DART could easily recognize its mistake, and remove the ads from the buses, and terminate its association with The Family Place until this organization addresses its sexism. But it appears to me that DART is not really interested in helping prevent domestic violence, or provide accurate information for those men, women, and children affected by domestic violence. Instead, it appears to me the real tragedy here is that DART is hesitant to return any portion of the $25,000 it received from The Family Place.

I can only assume from their actions that in DART’s corporate culture, money has greater value than morals.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 27, 2008

Please Join Me In Protesting Sexist Domestic Violence Ads

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit in coordination with The Family Place, a Dallas Domestic Violence service provider began running domestic violence prevention ads on DART buses that openly discriminate against men and fathers, and mislead the public into believing the myth that men are almost always the perpetrators of violence and women are most always the victims.

Men’s issue writer and advocate Glen Sacks along with Dr. Ned Holstein, Executive Director of Fathers & Families have organized a protest to these disturbing ads.

I’ve posted the campaign’s webpage below. Please join me in protesting this type of discrimination against men and fathers, and protest the damage done to all victims of domestic violence by promoting false and misleading information.

Protest Father-Bashing
Domestic Violence Ads!

dart

Several hundred Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) buses feature misleading, father-bashing ads purporting to address the serious issue of domestic violence.

One ad depicts a happy little girl with the message “One day my husband will kill me.” Another shows a smiling boy with the message “When I grow up, I will beat my wife.”

The ads are, to put it bluntly, hate speech against fathers.

We want DART to take down these anti-father ads. To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

To depict only males as perpetrators of domestic violence, and only females as victims, is a severe distortion. DV research clearly establishes that men account for half of all DV victims and incur a third of DV-related injuries, as women often employ the element of surprise and weapons to compensate for men’s strength.

In earlier years, it was common to see crime stories presented as if only African-Americans and Latinos were perps, and whites their only victims. We now recognize that these distortions are bigoted. DART’s ads are the same kind of distortions, only the “perps” are now dads.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

The offending ads were placed on the buses by The Family Place, a Dallas Domestic Violence service provider. Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink told Fox News in Dallas that says she designed the ads to provoke, saying “I hope you are offended.”

Flink is practically daring the fatherhood movement to respond, and assumes that domestic violence organizations can insult men with impunity. As a general rule, she has been correct–the domestic violence establishment, much of it funded with your tax dollars, has been allowed to get away with serving the public the false woman-as-victim/man-as-monster domestic violence model.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

DART Buses & Trains serve a total of 10 million commuters per month. To read the Associated Press’ and others’ coverage of the ads, click here.

The message of the DART ads is clear–kids need to be afraid of fathers. Boys need to be afraid to grow up to be like dad, and girls need to fear marrying a man like dad.

Dads-as-Monsters ads such as these influence our popular culture, our news media, our legislators, and our family law courts. If you’re a divorced dad who can only see his kids a few days a month, or who’s the victim of false accusations of abuse, ads like these are one reason.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

Two major billboard companies–Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor–have already rejected these ads. Jodi Senese of CBS said the ads “can be both misleading and disturbing.”

There are three ads in this series–the two mentioned above and also one apparently gender-neutral ad which discusses the issue of domestic violence and teen suicide. We have no problem with the third, but we want the first two–“One day my husband will kill me” and “When I grow up, I will beat my wife”–removed.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

We abhor domestic violence and child abuse in all forms, and give credit to agencies like The Family Place which help victims. However, by failing (or refusing) to recognize male victims of domestic violence, the domestic violence establishment and The Family Place harm male victims and their children.

Society once swept domestic violence under the rug, marginalizing abused women and their children. As California’s Third District Court of Appeal recognized in a recent decision, today male victims and their children are marginalized. These DART ads are part of that marginalization.

Internationally-recognized domestic violence expert John Hamel, LCSW, a court-certified batterer treatment provider and author of the book Gender-Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse, explains:

“Men account for half of all DV victims and incur a third of DV-related injuries. Ignoring female-on-male violence inhibits our efforts to combat domestic violence.”

In the column to the right we provide quotes from numerous internationally-respected domestic violence authorities, all of whom, attest that domestic violence is committed by both men and women.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

To learn more about the ads, click here.

We oppose DART’s Anti-Father Bus Ads Because:

  • To depict only males as perpetrators of domestic violence, and only females as victims, is a severe distortion of domestic violence research. A mountain of DV research clearly establishes that women are frequently the aggressors in domestic combat, often employing the element of surprise and weapons to compensate for men’s strength.The most recent large-scale study of domestic violence was published in the American Journal of Public Health last year. The researchers analyzed data concerning 11,370 respondents. According to the researchers, “[H]alf of [violent relationships] were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.” (This study is illustrated in the diagram at right from the Psychiatric News, 8/3/07).A quarter of the women surveyed admitted perpetrating violence, and when the violence involved both parties, women were more likely to have been the first to strike.Such findings are consistent with decades of domestic violence research. The National Institute of Mental Health funded and oversaw two of the largest studies of domestic violence ever conducted, both of which found equal rates of abuse between husbands and wives.
    New California Appeal Court Ruling: ‘Domestic Violence Is a Serious Problem for both Women and Men’
    “California domestic violence laws violate men’s rights because they provide state funding only for women and their children who use shelters and other programs, a state appeals court has ruled.

    “The decision by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento requires the programs to be available to male as well as female victims of domestic violence…

    “Justice Fred Morrison said in Tuesday’s 3-0 ruling, the state acknowledges that ‘domestic violence is a serious problem for both women and men.'” –(San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16/08)

    California State Long Beach University professor Martin Fiebert maintains an online bibliography summarizing 219 scholarly investigations, with an aggregate sample size exceeding 220,000, which concludes “women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.”

    Nor is this violence trivial. A meta-analytic review of 552 domestic violence studies published in the Psychological Bulletin found that 38% of the physical injuries in heterosexual domestic assaults are suffered by men.

    Dr. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling of the University of South Alabama says that as she and other researchers grappled with this research, “Every time we tried to say that women’s intimate partner abuse is different than men’s, the evidence did not support it.”

    According to Dr. Donald Dutton, author of Rethinking Domestic Violence, research shows that domestic violence is actually more common in lesbian relationships than in heterosexual relationships. For example, one study of 1,100 lesbian or bisexual women who are in abusive lesbian relationships found that the women were more likely to have experienced violence in their previous relationships with women than in their previous relationships with men.

    Domestic violence service sometimes providers justify their exclusion of male victims by citing crime and/or crime survey statistics which show that most reports of domestic violence are by women. Dr. Dutton explains:

    “Domestic violence ‘research’ has been misleading, in that data has been extracted from crime reports and/or crime victim surveys – in which men underreport more than women – and have been publicized as indicating domestic violence is a gender issue (male-perpetrator/female-victims).

    “In fact, when larger surveys with representative samples are examined, perpetration of domestic violence perpetration is slightly more common for females…”

    In the column to the right we provide quotes from numerous internationally-respected domestic violence authorities, all of whom, attest that domestic violence is committed by both men and women.

    To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

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  • The Ads Send the Message That Kids Must Fear Dads, When Most Child Abuse and Parental Murder of Children Is Committed by Mothers, not Fathers The child victims of male violence depicted in the DART ads are, in fact, most likely to be abused by a woman, not a man.According to the most recent data available from the US Department of Health and Human Services, mothers are more likely to commit physical child abuse, emotional maltreatment, and neglect than fathers. The only form of child abuse fathers are more likely to commit is the one that’s the most infrequent—child sexual abuse.

    According to Child Maltreatment 2006 (pictured), a report by the Federal Administration for Children & Families, leaving aside killings by nonparents or by mothers and fathers acting together, mothers committed almost three-quarters of the parental murders of children. If one looks only at murders committed by mothers and fathers acting alone, the ratio is over 2 to 1 committed by mothers.

    Leaving aside child abuse by nonparents or by mothers and fathers acting together, mothers committed almost three-quarters of child abuse.

    If one looks only at child abuse committed by mothers and fathers acting alone, the ratio is 2.3 to 1 committed by mothers.

    The data cited here are raw statistics, and all raw statistics are subject to various biases and influences. However, they do very much contradict the DART ads’ de facto claim that it’s fathers and only fathers who are a threat to their children.

    To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

    Hide

Fathers & Families, a national shared parenting organization, and Los Angeles journalist/radio commentator Glenn Sacks are partnering in a campaign to ask DART to remove these anti-father ads.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

Contact DART Executives & Ask Them to Remove These Anti-Father Ads

Below are the phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses for DART’s leading executives. I suggest campaign supporters email and fax all of them by clicking here, and also call the executives listed below.

If the intended party is not available, which will often be the case, please leave a short, clear message telling them that you want DART to remove these ads. Leave your name, phone number and email address. Please remember to always be polite, respectful, and to the point.

Let us know what happened when you called by clicking here.

Running these campaigns takes time and money–to make a tax-deductible contribution to support our efforts, click here.

To discuss the DART campaign on the campaign blog, click here.

Many of our supporters live in the Dallas area and use DART. If you are one, please contact us by clicking here.

Best Wishes,

Glenn Sacks
Dr. Ned Holstein, Executive Director of Fathers & Families

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 23, 2008

Bill O’Reilly – Doesn’t Back Down On “The View”

From the male point of view (no pun intended), I have always found The View to be nothing more than a visual interpretation of modern feminist ideology – masculinity bad, femininity good.

Years ago, when I had the opportunity to watch The View, I always found it to be drenched in the sexism of compassion and understanding for all female issues and problems, and lack of sincerity, or the minimization of men and their issues.

Some of the most uncomfortable shows I’ve watched involved men I’ve admired appearing on the show, and observing them turn into small boys when seated next to these women. I’ve watched these women take cheap shots at men and masculinity in their presence, and observed these guys just curl up and laugh along with these sexist comments, not challenging these women for their immaturity. Most men become nothing more than a lap dog in their presence. It seems as if most men check their gonads in at the studio door when appearing on this show.

However, yesterday Bill O’Reilly from Fox News appeared on The View and to my surprise, Bill came out with his gonads in full view. He did not play lap dog to these women. Bill stayed true to himself and his opinions.
What makes his appearance even more interesting is that the women on this show – minus  Elisabeth Hasselbeck – are hardcore liberals, and O’Reilly is known for his conservative views. It was humorous to watch the ladies try to label him as being biased in his interviews. This is a perfect example of the “pot calling the kettle black”. I’ve watched O’Reilly’s show and I’ve watched The View, and there is no comparison – O’Reilly is more straight forward and partisan towards his guest than any of the women on the view.

Remember, these same women who are trying to crucify O’Reilly for his positions, said nothing when Rosie O’Donnell made such asinine claims that our own government was responsible for the planning and execution of the 9/11 tragedy. Only Hasselbeck was willing to speak up and challenge these absurd comments. For the rest of these women, their milquetoast behavior was disgusting.

Here is the video of the interview, followed by a video showing the biased treatment of the “view crew” when interviewing Barack Obama and John McCain.

Part 1

Part 2

Watch the difference in approach and mood of the “view crew” towards the Obama and McCain interviews.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 20, 2008

Court: Domestic Violence Shelters Sexist Against Men

(October is domestic violence awareness month. My blog will focus on domestic violence from the often ignored and silent perspective – the male victim – and how organizations, politicians, and society deny men and their children the same awareness, compassion, and resources offered to women.)

There was a monumental victory last week for men and fathers in California that has confirmed what men, fathers, and male issue writers have vocalized for years – domestic violence organizations discriminate against men.
In a lawsuit originated by Mark Angelucci of the National Coalition of Free Men on behalf of Dave Woods, the Third District Court of Appeals in California ruled the “state-funded facility [domestic violence shelter] violated his rights when it turned him and his daughter away three times” when trying to escape an abusive wife and mother.
This will have a great impact on how government-funded domestic violence organizations address the inherent discrimination of male victims within their culture.
It should be noted that the argument these organizations use to defend their practice of excluding men has consisted of using “distribution of resources vs. victims” approach. DV organizations claim that since women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence, then the majority of the government resources should go towards women, not men. (Note: This is a feminist myth. More and more research finds women and men are guilty of domestic violence in equal numbers.)
If this argument is true, then the majority of resources to help those individuals returning from fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars should be distributed exclusively to men because the majority of those presently serving in the military overseas are men. But I am confident that if this type of policy was implemented, the screams of sexism would be deafening.

Here is the story and video: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/state&id=6454094

To show how sexist and anti-male the domestic violence prevention culture is, here are some videos which validate this judgment.
This first video is of David Woods discussing his experience after he filed the lawsuit. In this video, his own wife admits to her violent behavior, and she herself states she believes the DV system is discriminatory towards men.

In this second video, a forum gathered to discuss and address male victims of domestic violence is disrupted by feminist and DV prevention advocates because they do not believe male victims deserve any help.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 16, 2008

Violence In the Home vs. Gender – Diagnosed or Demonized? Part II

(October is domestic violence awareness month. My blog will focus on domestic violence from the often ignored and silent perspective – the male victim – and how organizations, politicians, and society deny men and their children the same awareness, compassion, and resources offered to women.)

Lady Madonna: Cont.

by Tim Goldich

Andrea’s mother and siblings told reporters that Rusty, a controlling husband who often downplayed his wife’s mental illness and shut them out, bears some responsibility for the tragedy. Andrea’s best friend, Deborah Holmes, did the same. On radio call-in shows, Internet chat rooms and newspaper editorial pages, the questions continue. . . . Rusty is “innocent of any criminal offense,” says his lawyer, Ed Mallet. Some legal experts, however, think that even if Yates escapes criminal charges (including contempt of court) he may have a tough time defending himself in civil court where a jury could find him partly responsible. (Newsweek, 04/01/02, p.6)

More than just “questions” circulate throughout the Internet.
Andrea went to prison, but many people believed that she was not the only one who was culpable in this tragedy. Rusty had been warned not to leave her alone with the children and a doctor had taken her off medication while apparently believing that she could be a danger to herself or others. Many people believed that they shared in the blame.

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/women/andrea_yates/13.html (retrieved 08/02/07)

In fact, many expressed more hostility and blame toward Rusty than Andrea. A typical sentiment was articulated by Barbara Robinson: “Rusty Yates is Culpable, Too: Father’s Bizarre, Domineering Actions Played a Role in Children’s Deaths”
(http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0322-02.htm, retrieved 08/02/07, published 03/22/02 in the Las Vegas Review-Journal).
Robinson goes so far as to suggest that “her husband should have been on trial instead of Andrea.”

I couldn’t understand how a man could repeatedly impregnate a mentally ill wife and force or allow her to home-school their children. Yates exhibited a sense of arrogance as he explained why his children had to be home-schooled: “The social integration that the world claims is so essential is exactly what we need to protect our children from.” So the Yates didn’t integrate with their neighbors, who didn’t agree with Rusty’s beliefs. Rusty Yates claims he and Andrea jointly made decisions — including Andrea giving birth to all five children without pain control measures; Andrea abandoning her nursing career to become a homemaker; Andrea home-schooling the children; the family moving from their four-bedroom house into a 38-foot trailer and an adjacent 350-square-foot motor home.

There’s a world of difference between “force” and “allow.” Is Andrea an adult woman accountable for her own actions? Or is she a child? Was Rusty her husband or her father?
Is Rusty Yates culpable? Of course he is. He’s in it; he’s involved; he plied a force of influence in the overall situation. But the same can be said of any wife whose husband “snapped” and did what Andrea Yates did. To whatever degree husbands may be judged “domineering,” wives may be judged “manipulative” in equal measure. The difference comes in the differing degree to which men and women, husbands and wives, are held accountable for their force of influence.

It should be noted that not everyone judged Andrea Yates so lightly. According to CBSNews.com, Dr. Park Dietz, the state’s expert witness “testified that Yates’ thoughts about harming her children were an obsession and a symptom of severe depression, not psychosis.” Additionally there was “the state’s key expert witness, Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist who evaluated Yates in May. He testified that she did not kill her children to save them from hell as she claims, but because she was overwhelmed and felt inadequate as a mother.”
(http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/26/national/main1837248.shtml).
Damning opinion regarding Andrea Yates exists, but you have to do some digging to find it. Where male killers are concerned only the opposite prevails.

Back now to the Chicago Sun Times article, “Police aren’t saying why Christopher Vaughn allegedly shot his wife Kimberly, and three kids in the family’s red SUV on June 14. But in other family-murder cases, a clear pattern emerges, experts say. Fathers often wipe out their families simply because they’re tired of them. They want to be free again, without going through the hassles and obligations of divorce and child support.” (p. 4). We don’t know why Christopher Vaughn allegedly shot his wife Kimberly, but even so, we’ll just lump him in with the rest of his presumed inferior species as an article of faith. Compare antipathy like that with the outsized empathy shown Andrea Yates. Following the Today show report on the Yates’ tragedy, Katie “Couric provided an address where viewers could send contributions for Yates’s defense fund” (TV Guide, 09/01/01, p. 10).

“Suzanne O’Malley, a journalist, covered this trial for numerous publications and had unique access to Andrea and Rusty Yates. As the author of ARE YOU THERE ALONE?: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates, O’Malley talks to Bookreporter.com’s Diana Keough” (INTERVIEW February 20, 2004 http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-omalley-suzanne.asp).
If anyone got in close enough to the Yates tragedy to hold an informed opinion it was Suzanne O’Malley. Says she, “Sure, spending time with Rusty Yates changed my thinking about him. But the 2,000 pages of Andrea Yates’s medical records affected me more. Before I read them, I felt Rusty Yates was a monster.” Is that really how she felt, or, like everyone else, did O’Malley simply presume guilt and evil upon the nearest male?
For Diana Keough, O’Malley’s interviewer, even Rusty’s forgiveness of Andrea is regarded with suspicion. O’Malley responds: “How I explain it is that Rusty Yates understands his wife is mentally ill. For him, the crime of killing their five children never required forgiveness — the deaths were a tragedy from which to seek future safeguards, not blame.” Sounds sensible enough. If only women could be expected to apply such magnanimity toward men.
The interview continues:

Q: Characterize Rusty Yates for us. He seems like a man who things happen to. The world seems to circle around him with him not really taking grasp of any issue except as a topline thought. He knew Andrea was ill, but never hired an attorney or other advocate to help him get her the care she desperately needed. He knew she was ill, but still left the children with her that morning. Andrea’s attorney was hired by her three brothers without Rusty even being consulted. This does not seem like a man “in charge.” Are these sentiments on target?

SOM (Suzanne O’Malley): No.

Indeed, these sentiments are not on target. With one breath we demonize Man for being “controlling” and “demanding.” With the next breath we hold him in contempt for not being “in charge.” In an effort to avoid being judged a “wimp” (i.e., “a man who things happen to”), a man tries his best to take charge only to suffer being judged a “patriarchal oppressor.” Where is the win position? Whether judged a wimp or an oppressor, either way, we will go to extraordinary lengths to hold him solely responsible.
Fortunately, Suzanne O’Maley dug deep enough into this tragedy, the people involved and all surrounding factors to see things more clearly. Says she:
1) There is a Rusty Yates standing on every street corner in America. I don’t perceive him to be different from many spouses. If you are talking to him about feelings on a Sunday afternoon in front of the television set, he will interrupt what you’re saying to appreciate a touchdown or a really good putt.

2) Read the book excerpts from the 2,000 pages of Andrea Yates’s medical records. If there’s one thing Rusty Yates is, it’s an advocate. When psychiatrists are unable to diagnose an illness after years of family effort, I wonder how a family, a lawyer, or any layman can succeed.

3) Hindsight is 20/20. Andrea Yates was left alone with the children for an hour that Wednesday morning when Rusty Yates left for work. Andrea and the children were watching television and Rusty’s mother was on her way over to look after them. When Andrea had been ill the first time (in 1999, after the birth of her 4th child), she had twice tried to kill herself. The family’s focus was on making sure she didn’t try to kill herself again. They never thought she would harm the children.

4) Andrea Yates’s attorney was hired by her then 72-year-old mother two days after the murders (with the consultation of her three brothers). Prior to that Friday morning, Rusty Yates was identifying the dead bodies of his children at the coroner’s office, selecting their coffins, making funeral arrangements, seeing a NASA grief counselor, ferrying relatives to and from the airport, giving the Assistant District Attorney a tour of the crime scene, and seeking advice from a friend who is an attorney. Rusty Yates had also scheduled a meeting that Friday afternoon with noted defense attorney Mike Ramsay (who recently won the Robert Durst murder and dismemberment case in Galveston, Texas). Ramsay had been recommended to Yates by the office of NBC’s Katie Couric. So had the attorney Andrea’s mother had selected. Rusty Yates agreed with his in-law’s choice of George Parnham.

Q: In his grief, just about everything Rusty did — from creating a website in his children’s memory to the way he methodically cleaned out the bathtub and removed the bed the children were placed on after they died — seems like the actions of someone rather emotionally detached from the situation at hand. Did you feel this way about Rusty?

SOM: First, let me say that, it was Randy Yates — Rusty’s brother — who cleaned the bathtub. Relatives had begun to arrive for the funeral and some were staying at the house. Rusty says he himself was never able to set foot in that tub. He had it removed and smashed to pieces with a sledgehammer.
Rusty Yates is a career NASA engineer. His job is safety systems for the space shuttle program. It is fair to say he is methodical.

Given the merciless blame and judgment aimed his way, one can only hope that Rusty was emotionally detached. Sadly, however, I have no doubt that a Dad’s grief at the loss of all five of his children could only be monumental. Obviously, that grief can only be magnified by the zero-empathy he’s accorded.
At such a distance I cannot judge the hearts of either Christopher Vaughn or Andrea Yates. I cannot know what The Truth is regarding either the depth of their guilt or innocence. What I do know is that there is a staggering gulf in empathy accorded each sex. What I know is that women are presumed innocent while men are presumed guilty.

It is ubiquitous misandry like this, at saturation levels, shouted aloud from the most official and respected sources of news and opinion, that forces my hand. I could just give up. I could sit by while my sex is utterly denigrated. I could watch passively as misandry and feminism conspire to turn men into second-class humans. But I choose instead to fight back. And I fight back the only way I know how. I tell the other side of the story.

(Tim Goldich is in the process of publishing a series of books on the subject of gender issues as seen from both the female and the male perspectives. His first book, Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics, Love and Respect in the Past, Love and Respect in the Present, and Love and Respect in the Future will be released in the near future.)

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com
Photo Courtesy of: stockxchng.com

October 14, 2008

Violence In the Home vs. Gender – Diagnosed or Demonized?

(October is domestic violence awareness month. My blog will focus on domestic violence from the often ignored and silent perspective – the male victim – and how organizations, politicians, and society deny men and their children the same awareness, compassion, and resources offered to women.)

Lady Madonna: Part 1

by Tim Goldich

The dark picture we have of men would lead us to believe that most child abuse is male-inflicted. In fact, the opposite is true, and by a wide margin. Women commit the vast majority of child abuse and infanticide. Of course that’s only because women perform the vast majority of childcare, nevertheless, our assumption that men are the primary perpetrators against children is emblematic of our attachment to the MB/WG paradigm.

We would hate to think that there was anything less than a Madonna in the nursery, but the facts paint a less-than-“angelic” picture. In fact, if we dare delve deep enough, in the shadows there lurks a picture of motherhood darker than any we care to know.

Before embarking down this road it is important to remind ourselves why. Why do we delve deep to reveal the darkest corners of the maternal psyche? I can answer that question with another: “Why do dads kill?,” asks the front-page headline of the Chicago Sun Times (06/25/07). In answer to that question, also from the front page, in “family-murder cases, a clear pattern emerges, experts say. The father wipes out his family simply because he’s tired of dealing with them.” Really, as simple as that? Also on the cover in a narrow-cropped photo of Christopher Vaughn, who allegedly killed his wife and three kids, eyes staring out and looking a lot like Satan. So, here on the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper we are told that dads kill their families simply because they grow weary of them. Message sent: men are evil violent scum; don’t marry a man, he’ll kill you and your children the moment he grows tired of dealing with you.

So, again, why do we delve deep to reveal the darkest corners of the maternal psyche? Because, in failing to do so, we are left with only a demonizing of men and an anglicizing of women—we are left with ManBad/WomanGood.

When Andrea Yates drowned her children in the bathtub, all five of them, one at a time, it made the cover of Newsweek (07/02/01). The headline? “‘I Killed My Children’: What Made Andrea Yates Snap?” Note how this Newsweek cover treats both Andrea Yates and what she did as unique. By contrast, in dealing with Christopher Vaughn and what he allegedly did, the Chicago Sun Times cover asks why dads kill as if to implicate all dads. It may not literally implicate all dads, but oftentimes it is the blunt message that sticks in the brain and the blunt message reads “dads kill.” Not some dads kill, or this particular dad killed, but just: “Why do dads kill?”. A headline that asked “Why do moms kill?,” would be protested accordingly.

The Newsweek cover quotes Andrea’s reply when a police officer asked, “Do you realize what you have done?” Her reply, “I killed my children,” could either be taken as cold-blooded or it could be taken as an expression of horror and remorse. What follows may nudge us toward the latter interpretation: “What made Andrea Yates snap?” Isn’t that really asking: What was Andrea Yates’ excuse? Also on the cover: “Understanding Postpartum Depression” and “Anna Quindlen on Every Mother’s Secret.” Yes, Anna “It’s not that I don’t like men; women are just better” Quindlen is asked to give her unbiased opinion on the subject [Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, CBS, 04/15/93]. So now we know what made Yates “snap” and we are given a further nudge toward an empathy interpretation of her actions.

Many will merely glance at the covers. The verdict will be obvious. Look for it and you’ll find the ManBad/WomanGood paradigm insinuating itself into our media/cultural products with a pervasiveness comparable to the way food additives are included in the products we buy at the grocery store. Comparing the two covers, the greater empathy shown a woman could not be more self-evident. Now let’s take a look inside each article starting with The Chicago Sun Times.

According to Minneapolis criminal profiler Pat Brown, men who commit “familicide” fall into one of two categories. “Some men decide to commit suicide because they are heavily in debt, have failed in their jobs or are otherwise falling apart. In a supremely selfish act, they decide to take their families with them. Those who don’t kill themselves are more likely to just want to be free, Brown said.” (Sun Times, p. 4). When a father kills we don’t ask what made him “snap.” We don’t care to know what his excuse was. He may well have been provoked in the worst way imaginable, but we’re too intent upon vilifying him to seek out that which might mitigate his guilt in some way. We are not invited to consider either his “depression” or his “stress.” In fact what we’re told explicitly precludes any possibility of redemption: “They are manipulators. They’re narcissistic, filled with grandiose thoughts. And they’re pathologic liars who blame everyone but themselves for their problems.” And there’s no end to it. “But they’re usually not insane . . . they know right from wrong” (Sun Times, p. 4). So, when it comes to fathers who kill, there can be absolutely no possibility of an “excuse.”

When the article shifts its attention to their female equivalents, however, the tone shifts dramatically. According to John Philipin, psychologist, crime profiler and author of true-crime books, “By contrast, many mothers who kill their families suffer from depression, depressive psychosis, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses” (Sun Times, Jim Ritter, “Why do dads kill? To be ‘free,’ experts say,” p. 4). Women who kill are said to suffer from these illnesses implying that even women who kill remain the victims.

The Newsweek article begins: “Andrea Yates was the ultimate caregiver—until depression and the strains of raising five children drove her to an unspeakable crime.” (p. 20). Note the air of incredulity that accompanies a heinous act when committed by a woman. “How could a mother commit such an act against nature and all morality, ending the lives she had so recently borne and nurtured. And kill them so methodically, one by one, holding them under the bath water (imagine eyes staring back) and laying them out on the bed wrapped in sheets like little Christian martyrs” (Newsweek, p. 20).

“About 200 children are killed by their mothers every year, according to Justice statistics. Sometimes moms blame the Devil. Or they think they are saving their children from a hellish life by sending them to heaven. The psychologists call these ‘altruistic killings.’ Andrea Yates was apparently suffering from a specific, diagnosable—and treatable—condition called postpartum psychosis.” (Newsweek, p. 20). It was on the basis of that diagnosis that Yates was eventually judged not guilty by reason of insanity. “Yates’ attorneys never disputed that she drowned 6-month-old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah in their Houston-area home in June 2001. But they said she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, believed Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.” (“Andrea Yates Found Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity; Will Be Committed To State Mental Hospital,” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/26/national/main1837248.shtml, 07/26/06). So, I guess it was five of those “altruistic killings” that Yates committed?

Patricia Pearson:
By contrast, when a sample of men convicted of infanticide were surveyed in Brixton Prison in Great Britain, those who offered altruistic motivations were scoffed at. Wrote their interviewer: “The statement ‘that it was best for the children’ . . . is an expression of the fact that the perpetrator himself thought that the infanticide was the best way out—that is to say, the act was egosyntonic.” [When She Was, p. 88]

No matter what the circumstances, a father who drowned his five children one at a time couldn’t possibly be received so empathically as to have his actions labeled “altruistic.”

Newsweek quotes Andrea’s mother, the one person we would expect to love Andrea most unconditionally. “She was the most compassionate of my children. Always thinking of other people, never herself. She was always trying to care for everybody.” (Newsweek, p. 20). And follows that with a pitiful image of Andrea Yates caring for her Alzheimer’s stricken father while pregnant. “Between caring for her father and her children, it is hard to think that Andrea ever had time for herself.” (Newsweek, p. 21). True enough, however, between working/commuting 70 hours a week plus domestic and other chores expected of him, many a husband/father has no time for himself.

According to the Newsweek article, most multicide killers (i.e., men?) are coldly psychopathic. “Andrea was the opposite; if anything, she apparently cared too much. She may have felt she could never do enough for her demanding husband. In a horribly twisted way, she may have tried to be too good a mother.” (Newsweek, p. 20). Even as we’re canonizing the female killer note how we begin blaming the nearest male, her “demanding” husband. But no one blames Andrea, not even the devastated father of those five murdered children. ‘“One side of me blames her because, you know, she did it. But the other side of me says, ‘Well, she didn’t, because that wasn’t her.”’ (Newsweek, p. 20). Spoken like a typically chivalrous and infinitely magnanimous male. What wife would express such forgiveness toward a husband who did what she did?

Houston police officer Frank Stumpo: ‘“Do you realize what you have done?’ he asked her. She looked right at him and said, ‘Yes, I do.’ She told the police, ‘I killed my children.’ Stumpo looked around. The house was a mess, he thought, dirty and unkempt.” (Newsweek, p. 25). At this point Rusty had returned home but was kept out of the house presumably to protect Andrea. Asked if he wanted a glass of water, “he doubted anyone would find a clean glass in the house. Stumpo looked anyway, and couldn’t find one—until Andrea calmly pointed him to the china cabinet.” (Newsweek, p. 25).

Rusty Yates was earlier described as “demanding.” Maybe so, but if he didn’t demand housekeeping, and he didn’t demand help with the financial burdens, then perhaps he wasn’t all that demanding. Many a wife is “demanding”: demanding toughness, strength, and courage of her husband; demanding of competence, demanding of domestic chores, demanding of career success and demanding financially. Even so, if a husband/father did what Andrea Yates did, who would ever think to pin the blame on his “demanding” wife? Yet the media made every effort to vilify Rusty Yates and hold him responsible for the murder of his children.

In a follow-up article, Newsweek (04/01/02) describes Rusty’s tireless campaign on behalf of Andrea. He defended her on every show from the “Today” show, to Larry King, to Oprah. For his chivalrous efforts he faces contempt of court charges for violating a gag order. But that’s only the beginning; “as he crisscrossed the nation, simmering questions about his own accountability have boiled over.” (Newsweek, 04/01/02, p. 6).

Andrea’s mother and siblings told reporters that Rusty, a controlling husband who often downplayed his wife’s mental illness and shut them out, bears some responsibility for the tragedy. Andrea’s best friend, Deborah Holmes, did the same. On radio call-in shows, Internet chat rooms and newspaper editorial pages, the questions continue. . . . Rusty is “innocent of any criminal offense,” says his lawyer, Ed Mallet. Some legal experts, however, think that even if Yates escapes criminal charges (including contempt of court) he may have a tough time defending himself in civil court where a jury could find him partly responsible. (Newsweek, 04/01/02, p.6)

(Tim Goldich is in the process of publishing a series of books on the subject of gender issues as seen from both the female and the male perspectives. His first book, Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics, Love and Respect in the Past, Love and Respect in the Present, and Love and Respect in the Future will be released in the near future.)

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October 11, 2008

“South Park” Finds Male Rape Humorous

The other day I posted videos corroborating my thoughts which point out how female-on-male violence is often used as an acceptable form of humor and empowerment for women (with male approval) in the main stream media.
I wrote how the same is not true for women. Men’s violence against women for any reason in popular forms of media is called into question immediately. Consequently, the reverse is rarely seen.

Yesterday, I found a controversy that corroborates what I’ve been arguing, and this I feel is a new low.
The cartoon South Park, known for pushing the envelope on sensitive issues, may have finally crossed the line. In its most recent episode, it mocks sexual assault, male rape, rape victims, and throws in three gratuitous male genital mutilation scenes all in one show.
In this episode, the boys are upset with the recent Indiana Jones movie, feeling that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are “raping” the Indiana Jones legacy for their own personal gain. This is symbolized by three graphic scenes of Lucas and Spielberg actually physically sexually assaulting and raping the Indiana Jones character. Two of the scenes mock the rape scenes from the movies The Accused and Deliverance. A fourth male rape scene involves the two producers caught raping a storm trooper (RE: Star Wars).
This episode also goes so far as to mock the emotional aspect of rape victims coming forward to report a rape, with a scene where the boys descend on the office of the town’s district attorney to report the pseudo rapes.

In a separate subplot, on three separate occasions, men are shot in the groin, with graphic scenes of bloody groin regions and the display of excruciating pain for the victims. I guess this is for “comedic” effect.

I am usually tolerate of twisted humor, but in my opinion, this goes too far. I do not find any humor in mocking rape whether the victim is male or female. But what really irritates me is that because the victim is male, it is accepted as humor. Once again, change the genders, and ask yourself if this episode would have even made it into production. An episode featuring Hillary Clinton getting repeatedly raped by males would never make it to the drawing board, and if it did, it would never make it onto television. But since the victim is male, the producers, the cable network, and its sponsors all APPROVED of this disturbing episode.
Do I need to say anymore about the extreme sexism towards men in popular media? While women have advocated their own grievances with the modern media and its negative influences on females, the big pink elephant in the room is the persistent acceptable violence towards men as funny and humorous. Both men and women are guilty for letting this happen.

Surprisingly, the L.A.Times and a few other outlets have picked up on the controversial episode and its mockery of rape. But sadly, when I read the comments posted about this controversy, the overwhelming majority of respondents stated the episode was hilarious. At the end of the Times article, they have posted an on-line poll to gauge the feelings of the general public. As of this writing, the poll showed over 80% felt the male rape episode was not malicious, only funny.

Strangely, this is one of those times when it feels terrible to right about an issue.

To watch the South Park episode, click here.

‘South Park’ vs. Lucas and Spielberg: Too far?: The L. A. Times

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October 9, 2008

Domestic Violence Awareness Month – But These Influences Will Be Ignored

(October is domestic violence awareness month. My blog will focus on domestic violence from the often ignored and silent perspective – the male victim – and how organizations, politicians, and society deny men and their children the same awareness, compassion, and resources offered to women.)

While great awareness has been raised concerning how violence towards women is perceived or influenced in major media circles, very little is mentioned about how common and acceptable violence directed towards men by women has become in these same circles.
While any type of violence towards women in the media is viewed as having the potential to influence real violence towards women in society, the opposite is true for female-on-male violence. This type of violence is perceived or portrayed as justified, empowering, humorous, deserving, etc.
And this type of gender violence is never mentioned when the topic of violence, gender, and the media is discussed.

Here are some videos that are examples of what I’m talking about.

This first one is a montage of female-on-male violence in the popular media:

This next video shows a commercial that was banned. It raises two conflicting points of view. The fact that it was banned is refreshing in spite of many others like it that were not. However, the fact that this commercial was even made shows the ignorance towards female-on-male violence. In other words, after viewing, ask yourself if the same commercial would have even made it to production if the genders were reversed.

This last video is a PSA that was shown in Australia. The commercial was made to raise awareness concerning violence against women. However, I find its message concerning the power of saying “nothing” to be more appropriate of the silence concerning the acceptable influences in modern media towards gender violence when female violence is directed towards men for humor, empowerment, and revenge.

The silence by those concerned about domestic violence prevention with respect to the above media – and the many others similar to it – certainly reeks of hypocrisy at its best, and unequivocal approval at its worst.

And lastly, how do I explain to my sons that violence towards women is never acceptable under any conditions, however, violence towards them by women is acceptable, humorous, and empowering.

Is this how we teach men empathy?

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