J. Soltys's Weblog

November 13, 2008

Men’s Day At Community College

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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

 

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November 11, 2008

International Men’s Day Begins

male-symbol1               International Men’s Day – 19th November 2008

International Men’s Day will have its inaugural celebration in Australia on 19th November 2008.

Russian President, Mikhail Gorbachev, first called for an international day to celebrate men in 1999 at the United Nations in Vienna. International Men’s Day is celebrated on many different dates around the world with varying degrees of success.

To help standardize International Men’s Day and increase its success the Indian ‘Save the Family Foundation’ launched an international campaign and called for the celebration of International Men’s Day on 19th November along with Pakistan, Trinidad and Tabago.

Australia is joining with India, which has the second largest male population in the world, to call other countries around the world to make 19th November 2008 a day to honour men for the contribution they make to their family, friends, work, community and nation.

Warwick Marsh, from the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation said, “We contacted the leaders of the Save the Family Foundation in India, the leading advocates for International Men’s Day, before sharing the vision with several leaders in the Australian men and father’s movement at the National Shared Parenting Conference in Gosford, NSW on 14th June 2008. The response in Australia for an International Men’s Day has been really positive. Already in Australia we have watched the phenomenal expansion of Movember, which promotes men’s health, so it’s great to see all these things happening for men in the month of November. Movember is exploding in influence around the world.”

Mr Marsh continued, “The 19th November is historically a day of great significance for every Australian. In 1941 it was the day that the HMAS Sydney II was lost. The 19th November 2008 commemorates the loss of 645 men when the HMAS Sydney sank off the coast of Western Australia, the greatest loss of men’s lives on any one day by Australian forces in World War II.”

“The theme for the International Men’s Day 2008 is ‘Honour and Sacrifice’. This commemorates what our Aussie men, sons, fathers and grandfathers, both past and present, have sacrificed for their families, communities and nation,” Mr Marsh said.

“We call on other countries to join in solidarity to celebrate the positive contribution that men make to the world on International Men’s Day, Wednesday 19th November 2008.”

For more information please contact Warwick Marsh at:

Fatherhood Foundation
 http://www.fatherhood.org.au/index.html

 
(Re-distributed from Mensactivism.org)

Contact:

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

November 10, 2008

I Am Venturing Into New Territory

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I didn’t have a chance to write anything last week because I was preparing to traverse into two new avenues.

First, I have a new home on BlogTalk Radio. This website offers amateurs like me the opportunity to host their own talk show about any topic of one’s interests. The beauty of this new technology is that it allows one to broadcast live over the internet, and I can chat with my audience by way of live on-air phone calls and instant messages during the show.

I produced my first live show over the weekend, however, I didn’t promote this show because I wanted to focus on getting the “feel” for it, and working out the kinks. The show can be listened to at my home page on BlogTalk Radio (Click Here). This is also where one can check to see when I am scheduled for my next live broadcast.
The only negative I find with this live show is the audio quality. The sound is not the best, but I’m working on delivering the best sound quality the software can provide.

Also, in conjunction with my live show, I have created a new website called DigitalTestosterone.com. This website will be a collection of audio and videos related to men’s and father’s issues. The live audio shows that I produce will be recorded by me in a higher quality format than that used by BlogTalk Radio, and will be archived at DigitalTestosterone.com, in addition to BlogTalk Radio’s automatic archiving of all my work. If you missed my live show, or would like to hear the show in a higher quality format, it can be listened to or downloaded at DigitalTestosterone.com.

If you know anyone (including yourself) who is currently involved in men, father, and gender issues, and you think he or she would make an interesting guest on my show, please contact me by email. Or if you know of some event related to men and father issues happening in your town and would like me to promote it, please pass the information on. And of course, if you just want to call in to express an opinion during a live show, feel free to do so.

Also, should anyone come across any great videos or audios in relation to men’s and father’s issues that they feel would be appropriate for DigitalTestosterone.com, please send them to me. Or if you come across a news story that you feel would be a great topic on my live show, please forward it.

Links for both websites can be found in the sidebar on this page.

 

Contact:

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

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

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.

    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

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
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