J. Soltys's Weblog

June 30, 2009

Female Psychologist Advocates for Men’s Issues

In the process of advocating men’s issues, it becomes inevitable that I will wind up in a debate with those who feel advocating for men’s causes is a waste of time and resources because men are living in a state of blissful privilege. Instead, these people feel that valuable time and resources would be much better spent helping women’s issues, because according to them, it is obvious men are not the ones who have any real issues, rather it is women who are facing numerous personal and societal crises.
These same people are very creative and vociferous in minimizing the fact that males are failing in greater numbers than before in school, being incarcerated at record levels, likely to be victims of violence 4 to 1 over females, likely to commit suicide at rates 4 to 1 over females, and likely to be falsely accused of murder, rape, and domestic violence at a prodigious rate versus females.
This is called male “privilege and bliss”, and because of this biased and limited thinking, many men’s issues are ignored or placed into the low political/societal priority agenda.

But the tide is slowly changing. More people are starting to realize that recognizing men’s issues will have a positive effect on men, boys, women, girls, families, and society. As a matter of fact, some are saying that women’s issues could gain strength and greater respect, if they were to embrace men’s issues instead of denying and marginalizing them.

For example, the World Bank, a prestigious humanitarian organization which provides research, data, financial, and technological education to developing countries around the world had this to say about gender and men’s issues in a 2006 report:

What About Men And Gender? World Bank Publication Calls For “Menstreaming” Development

Accomplishing the goal of gender equality will be difficult, if not impossible, without considering men in the gender and development debate and focusing on the relations between men and women, according to a new book, The Other Half of Gender, released today by the World Bank.

While gains have been made over the decades, initiatives by government and development agencies that focused exclusively on women have in some cases inadvertently increased women’s work burden and violence against them, the book reveals and recommends applying a more inclusive perspective that also considers men’s gender issues.

The authors believe that while there is a long way to go making a more inclusive gender perspective a reality, the first step must be to move beyond the conventional gender paradigm that focuses exclusively on women and is based on the oppositional and two-dimensional “women as victim, men as a problem” attitude that has pervaded the gender and development debate over the decades.

“We believe that the time has come to better understand men from a gender perspective, for the benefit of men, women, future generations, and the society as a whole,” said Steen Jorgensen, Director World Bank Director for Social Development.

Empowering women has been placed at the center of the gender issue since 1970s when feminist advocates and academics brought attention to the special needs and potential of women in development. However, over the last decade, there has been a growing, but still timid, interest in understanding the male side of gender in development, that is, how gender norms and constructs in society negatively affect men themselves as well as the development processes.

“Despite this new understanding of gender, development practice on gender remained firmly focused on women— and to this day, when we talk about gender, we automatically mean women,” said Ian Bannon, Manager of the Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit at the World Bank. “There has also been a concern that drawing attention to male issues will draw scarce resources away from programs focused on women. But this misses the point. Men and gender is not about transferring benefits or attention from women to men.”

Rather women’s well-being can generally not improve without including men because it concerns relationships between men and women, and these relations are subject of constant negotiations. Addressing gender issues, including those that disadvantage women, thus requires understanding gender as a social system that affects both men and women and their inter-relations, according to the book.

And now a female psychologist from Australia is advocating a greater respect and awareness for the development of men’s causes and concerns based on some of the same logic as the researchers from the World Bank.

Dr. Elizabeth Celi recently appeared on an Australian talk show to voice her concerns about how men and masculinity issues are devoid of the same value and respect given to women and femininity issues in modern society.

 

Thank you to Dr. Celi and the those at the World Bank. I hope we can sustain this more modern and compassionate way of thinking concerning our approach as a civilized society when discussing the problems and issues facing  men, fathers, and boys today.

 

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com

https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

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June 18, 2009

Some Good Things Happened Since I’ve Been Gone

ncfm

I took sort of a mini sabbatical from my blog. However, it should not be assumed that I wasn’t busy advocating for a greater male voice in gender politics.

One of the things I’ve been working on – for quite some time now – along with another masculinity writer, Tim Goldich, has been the formation of a Chicago chapter of the National Coalition of Free Men. It took time to put all the pieces in place, but we were finally approved by the national office, and conducted our first meeting last month. We have a lot of work to do in building the foundation of our chapter, recruiting members, holding future meetings etc., but we look forward to the challenge.

About the same time that this was happening, another interesting thing happened. A men’s advocacy group calling itself Men in Power was formed at the University of Chicago. The formation of this group made national news, with founder Steve Saltarelli appearing on many media outlets including Good Morning America and National Public Radio to name a few. Steve was also contacted by Warren Farrell, who is considered one of the founding fathers of the men’s movement, and he offered his support. I also contacted Steve and the Men in Power members offering my support and the support of the NCFM Chicago chapter.

MiP held their first open forum at the University of Chicago earlier this month. The format was designed to allow others to hear and discuss MiP’s mission and intentions on campus. Tim and I attended this forum to observe the students reaction concerning the university’s first men’s organization (there are 11 women organizations already established on the campus), and to meet Steve and the other members.
Unfortunately it was a rude wake-up call for these young men, all men advocates, and for the progress of true equality between the sexes. The panel consisted of three MiP members going up against two campus feminist members, within a room which was lined with protesters holding signs that displayed anti-male, and anti-white male wording and symbolism.
The MiP members spent the whole night defending themselves against what the audience saw; a group of white male students trying to reclaim power for white males in this country.
It was a futile attempt because the opposition saw and heard what they wanted to hear, not what was actually being said. The MiP members were assiduously explaining that this was not their intentions, but it fell on deaf ears. Every misstep they took in defending their position was seized by the opposition with resounding sarcasm, taunting, shame, and ignorance. The opposition came looking for a kill and they got it.

It was apparent that the MiP organization had good intentions, but they went about it the wrong way. The members admitted to being new to men’s issues and male advocacy – and it showed. The opposition consisted of student activist who have studied and debated various forms of feminist, gay, lesbian, and transgender literature. They were the veterans, and the MiP members were the rookies. I myself was not sure what their purpose was by the time it was over, but in hindsight, they could never advocate their mission because they were constantly on the defensive. It takes the skill of a seasoned politician to absorb an attack, defend it, and then launch it back towards your opponent as a counter-attack. And considering the hostile crowd, I’m not sure if a seasoned advocate for men’s issues would have gotten the pertinent points across anyway.

The biggest issue appears to be their name, Men in Power. And I have to agree that this was a bad choice. For someone to be in power, it means someone has to be subservient. And given the history in this country, it’s understandable why some people are going to be offended.
I think MiP is distracting the true nature of their mission with that name. Their mission is not about reclaiming power, but trying to help those men who have been ignored or ostracized by society such as homeless men, men with addictions, men who are incarcerated, men who are mentally unstable, etc. And they know that part of this mission is going to be to reverse the downward spiral in education that has been affecting males for years now.

The good news is Steve has talked to Warren Farrell, and Warren has advised Steve that his group should accept the offer of working with myself and Tim, and Steve has accepted our offer. Within a few weeks we hope to get together and begin the process of establishing MiP as a legitimate, resourceful, men’s advocacy group – minus the name. We have already advised the members to change their name. Male advocacy work is hard enough, but with that name, it is almost impossible.

Aslo, Steve has told us he has received numerous requests from other universities wanting to know if they can affiliate with MiP. This is good news for male advocates. It shows a surge of interest in our message and arguments. And it should be noted that at the MiP forum, there was a handful of comments made in which males and female expressed a desire to know more about men and father issues.

That’s about all for now. Once the NFCM Chicago chapter website is established, I will post it on my blog. In the meantime, I will begin writing again. I’m thinking of changing my blog by using a mix of my writings and along with important news stories that concern or affect men and fathers. I guess I’ll try it and see how it feels.

So with that being said, I want to wish all fathers out there a wonderful Fathers Day. Regardless what President Obama says I think you guys are great. (I know it’s three day away, but I know his scolding of fathers is coming. Sadly, he’s clueless on men’s and father’s issues)

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com

https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

April 2, 2009

April Is Autism Awareness Month, And Sexism Creeps In

father-and-children     You may have noticed a recent surge in stories about autism. That’s because April is dedicated as Autism Awareness Month.

As a writer of men’s issues, the progress concerning the understanding and minimizing of autism would naturally be of concern to me considering that this disorder affects more males than females. But I also have a genuine concern for the children and parents of those affected by autism, because my wife and I had concerns about one of our twin boys.

Our son displayed an obsessive trait by the age of two that involved him feeling the need to have his environment in perfect order. If everything was not in “his” perfect order, he would throw a serious fit. His shoes and clothing could not have any stains or dirt on them, his shoe laces had to be tied exactly the same way and lay exactly the same way, the stuffed animals on his bed had to be in a certain order before he could go to sleep, and he could spend long periods of time organizing and reorganizing blocks.

With the help of some state run programs, my son was evaluated by many different professionals, which lasted over a period of about six months. In the end, it was determined that my son is not autistic, by has autistic tendencies. Those involved determined most of this behavior could be minimized through early intervention.

My son was enrolled in a special school funded by the state, and within one year, showed dramatic improvement. We still have the occasional tantrum (the shoelace thing is still a problem, but buying Crocs has solved that for now), but I’m aware that what we have gone through is nothing like what those parents who have children greatly affected by autism must go through. My heart goes out to those parents and their children.

 

Sexism in the media?

What really disturbs me about Autism Awareness Month is the blatant sexism involved in its reporting. As I mentioned before, autism affects mostly males, but when reading the stories about autism in the media, one is never aware that this is the case.

Go to any website that is dedicated to autism, and read the facts. Autism affects boys by a 3 to 4 ratio over girls. But this is rarely mentioned in the main stream media while reporting on autism.

For example, here are some recent articles on autism by some of the major news organizations:

  ABC News reports on autism and Jenny McCarthy’s new book (she is the parent of an autistic child). The four page report does not mention the boy/girl ratio.

  MSNBC files a report on research involving autism. No mention of the boy/girl ratio.

—  CBS reports on new research concerning autism. No mention of the boy/girl ratio.

—  The BBC files a report on autism rights. No mention of the boy/girl ratio.

—  Cable news networks CNN and Fox file reports on autism. No mention of the boy/girl ration.

—  Time Magazine reports on Jenny McCarthy’s new book. No mention of the boy/girl ratio. But I find an older article about autism from 2002. In this detailed, eight page report on the history and research concerning autism, never is it mentioned that boys are more greatly affected by autism than girls. How could this be?

Compare this autism reporting behavior with issues that are considered to affect more women than men. The media always makes the effort to highlight the greater disparity faced by women when compared to men.

—  For example, did anyone read a story about the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga without having many different stats presented of females suffering greater incidents of domestic violence than men within these reports?

—  Has anyone ever read about depression and the genders, and noticed how the report will always include stats stating that depression affects more women than men?

—  Has one ever read about the genders and heart disease, and noticed how reports usually mention research showing a disparity between the diagnoses and treatment for men suffering heart attacks, and the diagnoses and treatment of women, and how this disparity puts more women at risk?

The major media seem to find more value in highlighting the suffering of women than men. They seldom cover the facts about men’s suffering or injustices with equal fervor if it means having to put the needs of men before women.

For example:

—  When discussing suicides, the media feels uncomfortable reporting that men commit suicide three times more than women.

—  The media shuns the fact when reporting about deadbeat dads, that statistically, women do not pay child support in greater numbers than men, leaving some single fathers struggling to raise their children.

I feel the reporting on these issues should remain consistent, whether it involves reporting them as gender neutral or not. I would be comfortable either way, but right now it is not consistent, and appears extremely sexist and degrading.

—  When the media is covering a story about single moms, absent fathers, and men taking responsibility as fathers,  it rarely mentions the fact that women initiate the majority of divorces in the US, and the majority of those women demand sole custody of the children. Sadly, in contradiction to the pious cries of many who advocate the need to have more fathers involved with their children, the family court systems most often awards custody to mothers due to an inherent discriminatory belief that children need their mothers more than their fathers. (Note: Fathers who file for divorce ask for joint custody the majority of the time, understanding the importance and need for the mother in the lives of their children.)

—  When covering a story about a tradgic death in the work place, the media never mention that men make up 90% of work place deaths, or that men make up the over 90% of the most dangerous jobs in the workplace. Instead, the media is obsessed with highlighting how women make less than men, and how this is the greatest tragedy in the labor market.

 This discrimination is something I see often, and it is very disturbing that the media – the self proclaimed martyrs of social justice – ignore their own prejudice while reporting and calling out other members of society on theirs.

 As I mentioned before, the media seems intimidated to allow male suffering and injustices to take center stage if it involves having to place the hardships of women backstage momentarily.  However, the media seem very comfortable highlighting women’s greater suffering and injustices when in a position to do so, and do it quite often. It appears as if a dysfunctional form of machismo, patriarchal behavior, or just plain old-fashioned sexism is rampant in the major news organizations.

 

 

As Autism Awareness is upon us, for now, take the time to point out the fact that there is a diparity between the sexes. Maybe in time the word will spread to the major news organizations. And maybe they will finally do their job – reporting the facts.

 

Update: After posting this story, I found CNN is running a story today in honor of World Autism Awareness Day. The story discusses in detail the different aspects of the disorder and the possible causes. But again, after all the facts and observations are discussed, not one of them mentions the gender disparity. Progress is slow in the war against autism

 

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

January 26, 2009

A Great Argument For Father’s Abortion Rights

I’ve written about this inequity before, particularly how women expect men to sacrifice their rights in order to achieve equality, but at the same time, women refuse to accept any sacrifice when the situation is reversed. I’ve concluded the women’s rights movement has eroded into a selfish, immature, and sexist movement that advocates and promotes only the security, safety and well-being for women over the “equal” treatment of men, women, and children (including the unborn children).

Writer Tommy De Seno proves this in one of his most recent columns. Enjoy!

 

Roe vs. Wade and the Rights of the Father

By Tommy De Seno
Attorney/Writer

The emphasis must not be on the right to abortion, but on the right to privacy and reproductive control.
–Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Today marks another anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which overturned all state laws that would stop a woman from having an abortion in the first trimester.

While the topic I have chosen here, “Roe vs. Wade and the Rights of the Father” may sound interesting, actually there is nothing to write about. There are no such rights.

(AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

A father can’t stop an abortion if he wants his child, nor can he insist upon an abortion if he doesn’t want his child.

This situation should trouble everyone, not from a religious point of view, not from a personal choice point of view, but rather from an Equal Rights point of view.

Equal Rights for all people is difficult for any nation to achieve peaceably, because it requires the group in greater power to yield to the group of lesser power. This is usually accomplished only through war. Our own Civil War is a perfect example of equality being created by force, instead of reason and fairness, as it should have been.

This week as I watched and read opinions about Roe vs. Wade, I could find nothing, not a word among millions that addressed a father’s relationship to his unborn child.

Two weeks ago I tried an experiment in anticipation of writing this column. I wrote a column about gun control and posited that only men should vote on the issue of guns. The logic (rather illogic) used by me was that men buy guns the most, men are called upon to use them most (when a burglar enters our home) and we get shot the most. Why shouldn’t men have the only voice on the issue?

I wanted to gauge people’s reactions to the thought that in America we would ever give more weight to one person’s view than another’s because that person can show the issue affects him more.

As I walked around my city during these past two weeks, I was accosted by people who wanted to take me to task for suggesting that women lose their right to vote on an issue just because they may be affected by it less than men. Some pointed out, quite rightly, that even if there was an issue that didn’t affect women at all, as equal members of society, they should still have a voice in all decisions America makes.

Quite right indeed.

So where are all these well-reasoned arguments when it comes to a father and his unborn child? Why do people who have Equal Protection claims at the ready on other issues suddenly suffer constitutional amnesia when abortion is mentioned?

During every abortion a father’s child dies, so fathers are affected. There is much written about the post-abortion depression of women. Nothing is mentioned about the father. A good father knows his role is protector of his child. His depression must be crippling when the law allows him no chance to save his child from death by abortion.

In the Roe vs. Wade decision the Supreme Court found a privacy right in the 14th Amendment, which doesn’t have the word “privacy” in it. Then they found that the privacy right had a “penumbra” containing other rights (penumbra means the shadowy area at the edge of a shadow). In that shadow they found the abortion right. That bit of mental gymnastics aside, it wasn’t the most terrible part of the decision. This was:

The Court said that a woman my not be mentally ready to handle a child at this stage in her life, or the child might interfere with her career path, and that is so important to her that the State has no right to make a law against it.

So I ask today: Might a father find himself mentally not ready for a child? Might a father find a child inconvenient to his career path? If these are the rights women get to protect by choosing abortion, why not allow fathers “the right to choose” also?

I propose a “father’s abortion.” Let a father petition the Court to terminate his own parental rights to his child before or after the child’s birth. He would be rid of his obligations to that child in favor of his mental health and finances, the same as a woman does when she aborts.

As Justice Ginsburg said in the quote that appears at the top of this FOX Forum post, the emphasis is not abortion, rather an individual’s right to control his own reproduction. If we protect such a right for women, can we constitutionally deny it to men?

I propose this not because it would be in any way good. I propose it because constitutional Equal Protection demands it, and to show the danger created when judges destroy democracy by making up laws that don’t exist.

“Father’s Abortion.” It’s high time for a test case.

Any father with such a case can call me and I’ll take it for free.

Read more from Tommy De Seno at www.JustifiedRight.com.

November 13, 2008

Men’s Day At Community College

male-symbol2

If you live in the Chicago area, and want to explore some of the broad topics and interests in the area of men and father issues, then mark down November 23rd as your day.

Oakton Community College, located in Des Plaines Illinois, is hosting its annual Men’s Day with many guest speakers covering many topics of interest for men and fathers. Some of the topics include:

Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone with John Farrell. Healing is always about growing. Moving out of your “comfort zone” is essential to growth. This session will explain how to make that happen.

The Measure of a Man with Timothy Clark. Men face a variety of developmental challenges across the lifespan. We’ll pay specific attention to the reasons some of us become trapped in certain stages of relational, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual development.

Healing the Father Wound with Greg Baldauf. The heart of men’s work is healing the relationship with one’s father. Whether he was absent, distant, or uninvolved, resolving these issues is vital to healing old wounds, growing as a human being, and becoming a father yourself.

Living the Authentic Life – Not the Lies with George Rounds. Take time to create an authentic life in integrity with your true self. Heal the wounds suffered as you grew into a manhood compromised by the opinions of others. Learn basic skills to be fully present in the life you say you want to have.

Coming Home: Healing Strategies for Iraq/Afghanistan War Veterans with Phil Metres. The “re-entry” process for veterans returning from war is rarely smooth. Some stress disorder and trauma cases are immediately evident, while others become manifest over time. All veterans, however, share a common need to articulate their experiences to empathic listeners—family, friends, and professionals as well.

The BreakThrough Experience with Rick Simon. The BreakThrough Weekend is designed for men who have reached a personal impasse in their lives, or are “stuck” in an unhealthy situation or state of mind. More than 4,000 men have been able to “find a way out” by learning to remove blocks and create a healing spirit in order to build stronger relationships and brighter lives.

Spiritual Renewal and Healing in the Wilderness with John Lionberger. Spending time in the wilderness, even atheists learn there is Something Bigger Than We Are – though they may not call it God. This presentation addresses the power of nature and the timelessness of the wilderness experience as a spiritual conduit. Learn how to take this power back to your daily lives.

Pornography: Harmless Hobby or Infidelity? by Kenn Skorupa. This presentation will examine the prevalence of pornographic images in today’s media and consider the impact of such images on relationships.

And my friend, and also a contributor to this blog, Tim Goldich will present Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics. Participants will examine how society has respected women less than men, as well as how men have been loved less than women. Taking into account emotional suppression, hard and hazardous labor, battlefields, imprisonment, and other elements, it will be argued that the vast repercussions suffered by women for being less respected are fully matched by the consequences suffered by men for being less loved.

While this has been a yearly tradition at the college, I’m saddened to say that this years event was almost cancelled due to a lack of interest. I know the distressed economy has a played a large role in the loss of interest, but I feel that should the event be discontinued, it may be a while before men and fathers see an event like this dedicated to only them. Therefore I encourage anyone who lives in the area, and has a passion for men and father issues to make a sincere effort to attend the event and show the Oakton staff that many men and fathers are interested in seeing this event continue. Your presence will validate this to the Oakton staff.

It should be noted that Oakton Community College is the only academic institution that I am aware of in the Chicago land area that has a Men’s Program in its curriculum. I would like to see both of these traditions continue, but they are solely dependent upon the interest and support of men and fathers.

Here is the link to the Oakton’s Men’s Day Event.

 

Reminder: My New Internet Talk Show

I will be broadcasting live Sunday morning on my new show “An Hour With Joe Soltys” at Blog Talk Radio. The main topic: Do Women Belong On the Frontlines of Combat? Click here to find out what time my show starts in your area.

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.

    Hide

  • 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

September 30, 2008

Loving Men, Respecting Women: An Analysis of Modern Sexual Politics

(Today I’m lending my blog to another writer. Tim Goldich has written a book called 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.
I feel Tim has a unique perspective on the present dichotomies plaguing men and women, and offers a fresh perspective on how to remedy the persuasive distrust between the sexes. Because of this, I will be promoting his new book, which will be available soon. I am offering my readers a sneak-preview into Tim’s perspective by posting the forward of Loving Men, Respecting Women. Also, Tim has offered to be a contributing writer to my blog in the near future.
Hope you enjoy it.)

I have a truth to share with you, a truth that is at once radical and moderate. It is intuitively known but ideologically obscured. It is the one gender truth to be emphasized above all others. It is the one truth that promises to deescalate the Battle of the Sexes replacing resentment, blaming and victimhood with maturity, accountability and generosity. It is a truth just at the edge of awareness.
And it all begins with love and respect.

As is so commonly the case, I grew up respecting and obeying my Dad more than my Mom while appreciating and loving my Mom more than my Dad. When Mom cooked and served our meals her giving was plain to see and much appreciated. In serving our favorites Mom received our compliments and our gratitude. We came to the table hungry! And she gave us sustenance we could not live without. She gave us food, a fundamental archetype of life that stands at the very heart of family as well as religious, holiday and other social gatherings.
When Dad did his 50 hours a week on the corporate treadmill he did his giving miles away where none of us could see or appreciate it. I directly experienced what Mom was giving, but it often seemed as though Dad gave nothing. Growing up loving our mothers and resenting our fathers is more than just a matter of cultural cliché. It is the murky origin of a profound gender bias that remains with us all our lives.
Have you ever considered a true and deep empathy toward fathers? What is at risk in directing culture-wide caring, concern and compassion toward men in general and fathers in particular? And why will so many of us react with derision at the very idea?
Did you know that on Mother’s day more phone calls are made than on any other day of the year, more than on Christmas day and far more than on Father’s day. Father’s day, in contrast, is the day on which we make the largest number of collect calls.1 If we love Mom and Dad equally then why do we buy and send half again as many mother’s day cards as father’s day cards?2
It would seem that most of us grow up respecting our fathers, but not necessarily loving (empathizing with) our fathers. Likewise, it would seem that most of us grow up loving our mothers, but not necessarily respecting our mothers. At least in part, the disparity in love and respect derive from the roles we play. Clearly the husband role of protector/provider lends itself to being respected while the wife role of lover/nurturer better lends itself to being loved. Of course, it doesn’t always work this way; but it works this way more often than not.
In serving our meals we could say that Mom was being “servile,” or we could say that cooking and serving our meals was one of the ways in which Mom placed herself at the center of our affections. In “bringing home the bacon” we could say that Dad was being “dominant,” or we could say that working to earn his family’s love was one of the ways in which Dad was separated from his family’s love. In this way, we will find that every gender reality has a dual nature.
At home, Mom was as loving, giving, nurturing and omnipresent as Dad was demanding, rule enforcing, cranky and absent. My emotional dependence on Mom was obvious and absolute. It was she who washed us, fed us, tended to our bruises, taught us right from wrong and cared for our most basic needs. Within the mother/child glow we experienced a world of limitless unconditional love protecting us from an outside world cold and uncaring. It was Dad’s interaction with the outside world that insulated us from that world. Yes, we were financially dependent upon Dad, but what does that mean to a child? In our infancy did we experience Dad as he who suffered the slings and arrows making it possible for mother and child to live within a nexus of love and safety? Or, did we experience Dad as he who competed for and often usurped Mom’s love?

Every hour Dad devoted to earning his family’s love left him with one fewer hour in which to be with his family’s love. His work persona, so functional at work, was dysfunctional at home. “I can’t understand it,” he said to me once, “I communicate so well with my young employees; why can’t I communicate with you?” It’s easy to get disgusted with Dad. “I’m your son, not your employee,” I thought to myself. But how was Dad supposed to know about parenting?
Our dads didn’t grow up playing with dolls, playing house and babysitting. The male culture our dads grew up in did nothing to prepare them for the role of parenting. I was born before 1970, which means that I was born at a time when fathers were not even allowed in the delivery room. Think about it. Fathers were shut out right from the start. The anesthesiologist could be there. The family doctor could be there. A man with some practical value could be there. But, apparently, husbands/fathers, having no practical value in the delivery room, were considered to have no value at all. Only wives/mothers were encouraged to think of their nurturing and empathy as valuable gifts to be shared.
Fathers have many such stories to tell. Consider this one: Father listens to the sounds of his child playing outside. Suddenly something happens and the child is hurt. Father hears the sounds of his child in pain running for the front door. His heart goes out to his child. But the child runs right past his father’s open arms and into the arms of his mother instead. The child seeks comfort from the parent he loves most. In keeping with the male code, father does his best to keep his pain invisible, yet he is devastated nonetheless. It hurts to be loved second best. Is it any wonder if, from that day on, the father begins to hide behind his newspaper? Is it any wonder that Dad begins spending more time at work where he feels functional and less time at home where he feels dysfunctional?
Perhaps if we men better understood our father’s inner experience, we’d have more empathy toward our fathers. And if we can have more empathy toward our fathers, then perhaps we can have more empathy toward ourselves.
Dad did give something. Among other things, he gave 40 years of long days that he counted down till retirement from a job that he hated. He could have taken a more enjoyable job that paid less; but that would not have been in keeping with his role as provider. Though he ended up spending more time at work than at home, there on his desk amid the folders and the memos were pictures of his family. There under a sheet of glass covering his desk was a poem I had written in the 4th grade.
What he did, he did for us. Looking back on it, we might have thanked him more and blamed him less for not “being there for us.” He was over there at work for us. Looking back on it, I suppose it was we who were not there for him, to lend an ear to his fears, to love and support him.

A day of reckoning may arrive when a man comes to see his life in pursuit of respect as having been “all for nothing.” “Yes,” he says to himself, “I was respected. I may have been feared, obeyed, admired, lauded and rewarded with authority, status and titles, but I was never loved. Out of the blue, I awoke one day to be served divorce papers. I still love my wife; but she does not love me. And my children to the extent they even know me don’t love me either. With a restraining order effortlessly achieved I was effectively shut out of all their lives. I did it all for them, yet I lost them all. In desperation I turned to my brethren for solace and support, but following some perfunctory remarks (‘Keep your chin up,’ ‘keep a stiff upper lip,’ ‘Hang in there’), there was nothing. Men don’t love men any more than women do. Father’s Days come and go without a card or a call. I was never loved. It was all for nothing.”
Similarly, a day may come when a woman comes to see her life in pursuit of love as having been “all for nothing.” “Yes,” she says to herself, “I was loved. I may have been adored, protected, pursued, financially supported, coddled, catered to, and showered with gifts, mother’s day cards and other affections; but even my women friends never really took me seriously. I took the central place in the emotional lives of our children, but I awoke one day to find my children grown and gone away. I never achieved anything intellectually or creatively. I accomplished nothing with my life. I was never respected. It was all for nothing.”
As is true of men and women in general, we tend to respect fathers more than love them and we tend love mothers more than respect them. The love/respect dynamic is at the heart of gender polarity and in our tendency to respect women less than men and love men less than women, it is also the primary basis of legitimate gender complaint. The challenge for society is to care about men’s issues even when society doesn’t care about the men themselves. Both love and respect are abundantly rewarding in some ways, yet each is lacking certain essentials. For their lives to be fulfilling women need to be both loved and respected, and for their lives to be fulfilling men need to be both respected and loved.

The gender system can be improved. The sexes can negotiate these improvements under a unified banner without resorting to resentment or victimhood. One truth above all others leads the sexes down a path away from destructive battle and toward healthy negotiation, mutual understanding and fairness. So what is this wondrous truth that can do such wondrous things? Simply this:
It All Balances Out.

1[http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE7DE1031F933A15755C0A961948260]
2[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1630551,00.html]

September 29, 2008

I Finally Have A Real “About” Page

(For a long time now I’ve been wanting to create a more detailed “About” page. As my blog grows and receives more traffic, I’ve noticed more people clicking on “About” in the sidebar to learn more about me.

Well I’ve finally finished it. Here it is.)

I write about gender issues from the male perspective. Most notably, I challenge the negative stereotypes of men, fathers, and masculinity.

I became involved in this work after going through a dark time in my life. I was raised in an environment which was heavily influenced by alcoholism. The chaos and abuses I experienced caused personal turmoil throughout my life. It finally reached a pinnacle in my early thirties at which point I sought help.

One of the steps I took to address my issues was to become involved in a men’s only group. In this environment, a group of men would address many different events that have affected their lives, from the obscure to the most serious. Through this process, a man could not only rebuild his own life, but in the process, help other men rebuild their lives also.
As a part of this process, I learned a lot about myself, about the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of other men, and about the dynamics of masculinity – its truths and its myths.

Thus began a personal mission which led me to research issues facing men, and society’s perceptions of masculinity. This led to studies on gender. Unfortunately, what I found did not corroborate my personal experiences.

I found most gender studies were conducted by feminist researchers, or researchers that are sympathetic, or sensitive to women’s issues. Therefore, I began to question the legitimacy of these same people writing intimately and conclusively about men and masculine behavior. It seemed absurd that groups of mostly women were writing with confidence about male emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Reverse the genders, and these same actions would be considered sexists.
But most disturbing was how traditional genders studies focused exclusively on the faults and vices of men, and proliferated an ideology that masculinity is inferior to femininity. This was reinforced by feminist writings and speeches advocating a “standard” or model of a “real man”; behaviors, actions, and beliefs that according to them, creates a better or “flawless” form of masculinity.
As somebody who once supported feminism, I began to become skeptical of its agenda. I have always believed in equality between men and women, and still do. But I began to question their commitment to equality for the sexes. I knew ( and I have found true) that if I or any other man began writing how women felt, focused exclusively on their faults, and set a “standard” of behaviors, actions, and beliefs that according to us men, establishes “true” femininity, these same feminist would cry foul without hesitation, stating such behavior is extremely sexist and discriminatory.

I began comparing my own experiences with men with what I was reading in gender research studies. I found almost all negative male behaviors and issues were blamed on the patriarchy within gender research, corroborated with men’s need for power and control. My own experiences taught me that this was a shallow look at the issues facing men and masculinity. What is exactly is power and control? How does it manifest itself in men? What are the top five events or influences in a man’s life that cause it? What percentage of men have it? At what age does it begin to surface? Why is it always considered a masculine trait when I see so many women with power and control issues also?

What was most disturbing is that the solution for many male issues offered by feminist is to reconstruct masculinity to look more like femininity. The more I read, the more it appeared that from a feminist perspective, masculinity was deeply flawed, and the only way to save/salvage it was to infuse it with heavy doses of femininity. If men became in touch with their feminine side, they would evolve into better men, better human beings, and in return, all societal ills would be mitigated.
So according to feminist, if we look like them, think like them, and act like them, the world would be a better place.
Wow! And to think, I used to believe men had the bigger egos.

What I discovered in my experiences is that men and masculinity has been unfairly attacked. I found masculinity actually comprises many of the components associated with femininity such as compassion, empathy, caring, nurturing, selflessness, etc. But what I discovered is while masculinity may harbor these traits, they are not feminine – they are human. Men carry the same emotional components as women; we just go about addressing and managing them differently. Just as selfishness, irresponsibility, dominating, controlling, blaming, and risk taking are not masculine traits, they are human ones, and women are just as guilty of these behaviors as men.

After ten years of quietly reading, listening, and observing men and women in society, I’ve decided to start writing about my experiences, my observations, and my opinions.
Over the years I’ve uncovered many distortions and myths about men, women, and the genders, and how these distortions and myths have created a negative image of men within society.
Through my writings I hope to point out these indiscretions, and offer another point of view, one that not only restores our faith in men and masculinity, but shows how the negative behaviors of men, and men’s issues in general, are dealt with differently; usually being ignored, disparaged, or discriminated against, particularly when compared to how women’s issues are addressed.
Women receive understanding and compassion; men receive blame and shame.
Men need to receive more than this. At this moment the male population is under the burden of having the highest suicide rates, increasing rates of incarceration, males struggling academically with substantial drop out rates, males being more likely to be over diagnosed and over drugged with respect to behavioral issues, males experiencing rates of violence that are four to one over females, males more likely to be imprisoned on false charges, and males more likely to be executed for violent crimes than females.

It’s time for a change.

Bio

I am a married father of three: a teenaged step-daughter, and preschool-aged twin boys. I live in the Chicago area and work in the healthcare industry full-time – writing is my part-time passion.
I returned to college as an adult where I studied chemistry and business, and after ten long years, I graduated with honors.
My blog has been referenced by main stream media outlets such as Fox News and CNN. I have also been interviewed by internet radio to discuss my opinions.
My other passions are golf and fishing.

September 26, 2008

Men and Father Issues Gain Media Attention

In the last couple of weeks, men and fathers have made some headway in gaining recognition in the area of serious family issues.
What’s most interesting here is the paradigm shift that is taking place in the mainstream media.

Last week, ABC’s 20/20 aired a segment about Alec Baldwin and his custody battle with ex-wife Kim Basinger concerning their daughter Ireland. Everyone is familiar with Baldwin’s vicious voice mail rant he left for his daughter, but Baldwin tells his side of the story in the interview and in his new book “A Promise to Ourselves.”

Diane Sawyer of 20/20 conducted the interview and was willing to adress the controversial topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), something Baldwin and father’s rights advocates have been trying to raise awareness to in the family courts system. PAS is still controversial because it has not been validated by sufficient research – yet.
PAS is based on the belief that present in some bitter custody cases, one parent, usually the mother, will manipulate and brainwash the child/children into believing negative, false, and damaging stories about the other parent such as: the other parent does not love them, will harm them, will never bring them home again (kidnap them), etc.
This invokes tremendous fear into the child/children and can be used by the manipulating parent to try and prove false accusations of abuse against the other parent (“See how fearful the child is of him/her? This behavior proves he/she was abusing them!”). Or it is done to enable the manipulating parent to win a custody battle because a judge, upon seeing this type of parental fear in a child, will be heavily influenced in his/her judgment of who will be awarded custody.

I personally believe it to be true. Common sense and personal experience tells me that it’s true. However, feminist are trying stop the courts from accepting PAS as a legitimate diagnoses. They promote the theory that women simply do not do this, and furthermore, feminist reiterate that there is insufficient research to prove PAS is legitimate.
I’m always amazed how feminist’s, who have been caught perpetuating false research over the years, have the audacity to challenge the research and creditability of PAS with such hubris. One would think if they had any moral integrity, they would be more concerned with taking responsibility for their own fallacies and trying to re-establish their own credibility rather than organizing future events that are concerned only with trying to destroy the credibility of others before the final data is in.
And it should be noted that feminist and women organizations have repeatedly stated on record that they believe fathers who eagerly pursue custody of their child/children are nothing more than pedophiles and abusers who want to further victimize their wives and children.

So while signing books at a New York city book store, Baldwin’s book and his appearance was protested outside by a women’s group called Voices of Women Organizing Project. About twenty women from this organization protested Baldwin’s support and advocacy for PAS and fathers’ rights.
However, it should be noted that Baldwin’s appearance at the book store was standing room only, with an equal attendance of women and men, and the crowd was receptive to Baldwin’s talk on PAS, a biased and faulty family court system, and of his criticism of feminists and their practices.
Chalk one up for the good guys!

Here are the stories and video clip.

Alec Baldwin on Divorce, Children and Reconciliation

I can’t go on; I will go on: Baldwin promotes book

A story turned up on Glen Sacks website called “When dad is just bad” by columnist Mindelle Jacobs. Jacobs wrote about an international domestic violence conference and reported on some of the comments being distributed by the members of the conference.

Rita Smith, executive director of the U.S. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said her experience of men working on fathers’ rights is that many of the leaders are abusers or were accused of abuse.
Smith then states, “The agenda, often by the leadership, is to completely undermine women’s rights,” she said. “The ones that are the most dangerous are, in fact, creating safety problems for women and children.”

These sexist and malicious comments caused a firestorm among men and fathers’ rights groups, which then flooded Jacobs with protest e-mails. Jacobs stated that she was just the messenger, and she wrote the column because she thought the comments were controversial.
In response to the protesters, she then ran a follow-up column called “Divorced from reality”.
Some quotes:

Men wrote about being assaulted by their wives – with no subsequent charges by the police. They complained about the nasty games women play to cut them out of their kids’ lives.

Former Edmonton lawyer Grant Brown has heard it all. He quit practising law in March after only four years as a lawyer because he’s sick of dealing with what he describes as a dysfunctional family law system.
“I couldn’t hack it anymore,” says the 50-year-old who’s writing a book called Deadbeat Judges.
“The thesis of my book is that judges actually create the deadbeats. They make such harsh orders against fathers and give fathers no rights,” he says. “A lot of (dads) just give up.”
Police, prosecutors and judges are generally harsher with men in domestic abuse cases, says Brown. And, he adds, judges rarely punish women who violate court orders.
“Dads can spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to see their kids and the judges do nothing to make it happen,” says Brown.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Mindelle Jacobs for allowing both sides to be heard.

Another women who deserves a shout out is Katie Balestra for her column Taking a New Tack on Domestic Violence which reveals the new approach to diminishing domestic violence by not just focusing on the victim, but by also focusing on the abuser. In my four part series, Domestic Violence Prevention – More Hyperbole Than Truth, I covered this new appraoch and explained how the current model for DV prevention is based more on sexist politics than actually trying to diminish the violence.
Balestra writes in her article:

Amid the launch of the federal Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriage initiatives two years ago, social service agencies and industry experts have begun to recognize the importance not just of helping victims of domestic violence but also of treating the batterers themselves in programs such as the House of Ruth’s Gateway Project.
“No matter how many women you take in, it isn’t going to cure the problem,” said Toby Myers, vice chair of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, a nonprofit based in Austin.

Balestra also looks at a another insidious side to DV prevention industry – discrimination and money.
She writes:

Abuser programs are like “a stepchild” in the field of domestic violence, says Edward Gondolf, research director of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, who believes the programs offer “a really important laboratory to understand domestic violence and its workings.” At the Crisis Intervention Center in Calvert County, for example, victims get about 10 times more one-on-one counseling than abusers; one full-time therapist worked with 392 abusers last year, while six therapists, three of them full-time and three part-time, treated 207 victims.

“Sometimes you feel like the lone wolf,” Nitsch says. “We can’t compete with victims’ services, particularly when you’re talking about private donors. To be able to say, ‘I helped build a shelter’ feels better to them than to say, ‘I funded classes for abusers.’ ” It’s disheartening, she says, that “some people don’t view abuser intervention as a victims’ service.”

And Balestra covers the financial discrimination between victim and abuser resources:

In 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, the Justice Department gave abuser programs only a fraction of the $113.9 million that was doled out for domestic violence prevention through its largest grant program, Stop Violence Against Women. About 35 percent went to victim services, about half to law enforcement and prosecution services and just $5.4 million, or about 5 percent, to courts for programs including abuser intervention. Officials in Maryland and the District said their batterer programs receive no funding from these grants.

As I stated in my column, one of the main reasons DV is still a problem is because the model used to address DV issues advocates that only men are abusers, and that anger management classes will solve the problem with these men.
Not so.
If the inherent cause for the abusive behavior is not found and treated, the abuser will abuse again. Anger management classes will never accomplish this.
Balestra writes:

Some experts say part of the problem with obtaining funding for abuser programs is that many of them are ineffective, depending on an outdated treatment model developed in Duluth, Minn., in 1981 that, critics say, largely pins the blame on men seeking to assert power and control over women. This standard, the experts say, doesn’t allow for cycles of “mutual violence” — the recognition that women can be abusers — and the use of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for treatment.

Donald Dutton, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, refers to the old models as “shaming” programs.
“It’s been demonstrated repeatedly that psycho-educational models don’t work,” he said, “and then half the guys repeat” their abusive behavior. The Duluth model assumes the male is always wrong, says Janet Scott, the abuser program coordinator at the Calvert County center. Scott developed a group for female abusers in 2001.

Understanding that breaking the habit of domestic abuse involves a more complex process of reflection is part of the goal at Baltimore’s Gateway Project.

What I find most interesting about these three stories is how the mainstream media seems to be entering a period of recognizing that men and father have relevant issues. And by reporting on them and raising awareness to them, they are doing what they have done for women and their issues for a long time now – giving them the respect and validity they deserve.

I hope the trend continues.

Contact:

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

July 30, 2008

More Distorted Research From Relationship Violence Advocates

Recently, many news outlets ran a story concerning the results of a survey indicating how prevalent dating violence and abuse was among “tweens and teens in our society. According to a report by CNN:

Sixty-nine percent of teens who had sex by age 14 reported some type of abuse in a relationship, with slightly more than one-third saying they had been physically abused, according to the survey, conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited.

The survey was intended to raise awareness, particularly for parents, to this hidden crisis among our youth. But as I have written before, many studies done by domestic violence awareness advocates, and similar groups, are seriously flawed, distorted, or discriminatory towards males.
It appears this study can be added to the “junk science” pile.

According to Benjamin Radford, the “Bad Science Columnist” at the website LiveScience.com who’s job it is to review research making the news, this study is deeply flawed.
He states;

Parents may want to remove their fingers from the panic button and take a closer look at the study. Some of the most alarming statistics are misleading.

What Radford found alarming was how easily the numbers became distorted from the type of questions the survey asked. For instance, one question asked the respondent if he or she has ever experienced being called a derogatory name by a dating partner. If they answered yes, it was recorded as dating abuse.
As a former teenager, and the current father of a teenage daughter, this behavior is common among adolescents. So as Radford points out, of course the numbers are going to be huge, but shocking?
I always thought that society expects this behavior from adolescents, and society also expects that this will be the most trying time to teach them proper behavior and how their behavior affects others. I always thought this was called growing up, or the natural maturing process – not a crisis.
So the question becomes, “Is it fair to classify immature adolescent behavior as abusive, or should we tread more carefully when labeling various types of adolescent behavior?”
If not, we will see a crisis everywhere, and open up the possibility of overreacting towards all adolescent behavior, including labeling teenagers who do not clean their rooms as displaying signs of serious depression, or teenagers who are rebellious against their parents as having serious anger and authority issues, or teenagers who lie to their parents about who they were with, what they did, and why they came home late as having serious moral and discipline issues.
Where do we draw the line between what is normal and expected behavior versus what is abnormal behavior? Determining this could cause more problems if we don’t add some rational thought into the process.

Another serious flaw Radford points out is that the survey used questions that asked if “you or somebody you know has experienced…” which leads to inflated and distorted numbers. Adolescents are notorious for gossip, so how did the analysis of the survey dissect fact from fiction?
This is not known.

Radford also discusses how this type of questioning can lead to serious distortions:

It doesn’t take into account multiple reporting of the same incident among survey respondents. For example, let’s say there’s a fight at a high school and someone gets stabbed. If you later take a survey of students at the school and ask them if they know or heard about anyone who was stabbed, hundreds of people will say yes. But that doesn’t mean that hundreds of people were stabbed, it just means that all of the people asked had heard about the one person who was attacked.

What is also alarming about this study, and studies similar to them, is that when the media reports on them, some news organizations will include pictures or stories of individuals that have dealt with abusers in their relationships along with the report, and those individuals are always females. It projects a false image that it is always men who are the perpetrators of abuse. CBS News and Katie Couric did just that when this report was released, in spite of growing research that shows females are as likely as males to be abusive in relationships:

Male And Female Adolescents Equally Victims Of Physical Dating Violence, Study Shows
Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence
Men are More Likely Than Women to Be Victims in Dating Violence, UNH Expert Says

Sadly, the programs that are implemented into our nations school systems to deal with dating violence are developed and structured on this myth that females are almost always the victims, and males are almost always the abusers. I’ve been told some programs actually focus exclusively on demanding young males denounce violence towards women, while the similar issue of female dating violence towards males is ignored.
It sends a clear message to young men that their emotional and physical safety, as well as their overall well-being does not carry the same concern or value as that of women. It also generates a very egregious implication to the young and impressionable minds of our males and females that violence towards males, particularly by females, does not need to be taken seriously.

Radford includes a statement in his critique of the study that is worth mentioning:

There may indeed be “shocking horrors” in teen dating, but these particular statistics do not reflect them. Teen dating violence and domestic abuse are serious issues, and deserve both credible research methods and good journalism.

I can’t agree with him more.

One final note: As far as I can tell, the study appears to have been released to the press before it had the chance to be reviewed by other professional researchers, something that is required to attain credibility in serious research environments. One can only wonder why is was not done.

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