Not All Men v Yes All Women

Warning: the content of this blog might be triggering or upsetting for some people.

One Saturday morning in 2007 I was contentedly sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper, when I came across an article which spoiled my day. It was so shocking that it made me feel sick and it made me want to cry. The story was about a fourteen year old girl who had been gang-raped and sexually assaulted by several different boys in various locations around a council estate in Hackney. During the assault she was dragged between locations while more boys were invited by phone to come and join the party, and some passers-by ignored her plight. I was so upset by the story that I can remember exactly where I was sitting when I read it, down to the details of how the light from the window fell across the table where I was sitting. Some people have memories of where they were when they heard of President Kennedy’s death, or the destruction of the twin towers, but mine are of a teenage gang-rape.

This may well be because I am a woman, and can identify with a girl’s feelings, and maybe this is more difficult for men to do. I have been reminded of it in the last couple of weeks because two stories in the news have frustrated me with their lack of understanding of the effect of male violence on women. The first story was the mass shooting by Elliot Rodgers in Santa Barbara. In this case, despite the gunman’s own words in his manifesto, the mainstream media failed to attribute any misogyny to the crime, and when some feminists began to point this out they were quickly shot down by male apologists crying ‘not all men’, as though they were being personally attacked by the simple telling of a truth. It was seen as a bit aggressive to say that Rodgers didn’t like women: the official line was that he committed his crime because he didn’t like *people*. The second story was of a video produced by men’s rights group Mankind Initiative which went viral, attracting millions of You Tube views. The video sought to show that men suffer from intimate partner violence just as women do, and it ends with the statistic that 40% of domestic violence victims are male. Again, in the debates following, it was deemed to be almost rude to suggest that the statistic was flawed, as though in doing so you showed you didn’t care about male victims.

What the hashtag ‘notallmen’ and the 40% statistic are trying to do is to show us that women are violent too, and that men are victims too, and while that may be true in some cases, violence is undeniably gendered. It seems that we cannot accept that fact. It is a little  previous to start a ‘me too’ bandwagon before the initial fact has even been acknowledged. Surely you have to *know* the rules before you can begin to challenge them? I have read so many posts this week purporting to have some previously unrecognised statistics to hand, which all prove that women can be just as violent as men, and don’t need special treatment such as refuges and the like, which just make men feel discriminated against. I am not persuaded by these statistics, and to back up my opinion in an entirely non-scientific way I have made a list of some of the news items which have been in the media in the years since that horrific gang rape I started with. This is what I remember, in an order which is only vaguely chronological:

  • Steve Wright murders five women in Ipswich, in the events reported as the Ipswich Prostitute murders.
  • John Warboys, known as the Black Cab Rapist, is convicted of 12 rapes, with possibly hundreds more undetected.
  • Joseph Fritzl is sentenced to life imprisonment for keeping his daughter Elizabeth in a dungeon for 24 years, raping her and fathering seven children by her.
  • A man in Essex is dubbed the Essex Fritzl after being convicted of enslaving his daughter, raping her and fathering two children with her.
  • Historic cases of sex abuse come to light in children’s homes in Jersey, North Wales and other locations.
  • Child sex abuse scandals are investigated in the Catholic Church
  • Tia Sharp, aged 12, is sexually abused and murdered by her stepfather Stuart Hazell.
  • The Jimmy Savile enquiry finds possibly hundreds of cases of sexual abuse against children and young girls, in care homes, hospitals and at the BBC.
  • Operation Yewtree, in the wake of the Savile scandal, names many more celebrity sex offenders including Dave Lee Travis, Stuart Hall, Max Clifford and Rolf Harris.
  • Reports from the African Republic of Congo describe how rape is being used systematically as a weapon of war.
  • In North Wales five year old April Jones is murdered by Mark Bridger.
  • American journalist Lara Logan is gang-raped during the Egyptian uprising in Tahrir Square, alongside reports of sexual assault against women joining men in the Arab Spring protests.
  • Suicide of soldier Anne-Marie Ellement after an alleged rape and bullying, at the same time as sexual assault in the army is being highlighted as a problem.
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn has to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund because of rape allegations, then further allegations of aggressive sexual conduct towards female co-workers and of pimping.
  • In Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford, grooming gangs are found to have been sexually exploiting teenage girls from care homes. Similar enquiries are going on in other cities and towns in the UK.
  • Joanna Yeates, a landscape architect, is murdered in Bristol by Vincent Tabak.
  • In Italy Silvio Berlusconi is charged with paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
  • Raoul Moat shoots his former girlfriend and kills her new boyfriend before going on the run and finally being killed in a stand-off with police.
  • In Pakistan 15 year old schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is shot in the head by the Taliban for the crime of believing girls should have an education.
  •  Catherine Gowing, a vet who lived in North Wales, is murdered by Clive Sharp.
  • In Steubenville, Ohio, two footballers are found guilty of raping a girl who they dragged round, filming her abuse.
  • Frances Andrade, a victim of historic sex abuse by her music teacher, Michael Brewer, commits suicide as a result of the cross-examination she suffered at his trial.
  • An 11 year old girl is raped in a park in broad daylight on her way home from school.
  • A number of women begin proceedings against the police over sexual relationships they had been ‘tricked’ into by undercover officers infiltrating groups of political activists.
  • Teacher Jeremy Forrest is found guilty of abduction after running off to France with a 15 year old pupil.
  • Anni Dewani is murdered on her honeymoon in South Africa, her husband Shrien is suspected of organising a contract killing.
  • Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins is jailed for child rape.
  • In Cleveland three young women escape from the house of Ariel Castro where they had been kept in captivity and repeatedly raped for years.
  • In California Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped at the age of 11, is found 18 years later, with two children fathered by her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido.
  • Sheffield united footballer Ched Evans is jailed for raping a 19 year old woman in a hotel room.
  • Oscar Pistorius goes on trial accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
  • In India a student is gang-raped on a Delhi bus and dies from her injuries.
  • Serial killer Levi Bellfield is found guilty of the murder of Milly Dowler.
  • Savita Halappanavar dies after being refused an abortion at a hospital in Ireland.
  • More than 200 schoolgirls are abducted from a school in Nigeria by Islamist group Boko Haram, who then threaten to sell them.
  • Nigella Lawson is photographed in a public place being assaulted by her husband, Charles Saatchi.
  • Two teenage girls in Pakistan are gang-raped and hung from a tree.
  • Elliot Rodgers goes on a shooting spree in Santa Barbara.

Alongside these ‘famous’ cases (and my memory is not perfect so the list is not comprehensive) there have been countless other rapes and murders, alongside news reports on FGM, femicide in India and China, sex trafficking, forced marriage, online child abuse, increasingly violent pornography and so-called ‘honour’ killings. Sometimes the evening news has seemed to be entirely full of hatred and violence towards women and girls. The sheer scale of it and the variations world-wide of this kind of abuse is sometimes difficult to comprehend.

There have been crimes in this period which don’t target women and girls of course. Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway after writing a manifesto of neo-Nazi beliefs, which were acknowledged to be the reason for his crime. Soldier Lee Rigby was hacked to death on a London street because of extreme, radicalised, religious beliefs, endlessly examined by the mainstream media. And in Tottenham Mark Duggan was killed by the police in an incident which not only caused riots but also, quite rightly, a degree of hand-wringing about race relations. Then there were the true ‘isolated incidents’ – the murder in the Alps and the shooting spree by Derrick Bird in Cumbria for example. But nowhere do we find the targeting of men *because they are men* except for the one example of Joanne Dennehy who killed three men in 2013. Aside from racist or homophobic attacks, men are hurt and killed by other men of course, but often this happens in incidents where men fight eachother, eg in gangs, or pub brawls, not just because they happen to be walking home alone down a dark street.

The effect on ordinary women of all this world violence is that it helps us to know our place: it disempowers us. It is assumed by some men that western women must feel lucky that we are not living under some oppressive foreign regime, and indeed should be grateful for the freedoms we have. It can actually have the opposite effect: we know from these world examples that our position is tenuous, hard-fought and liable to change. It engenders insecurity: we don’t take our rights for granted, we know that what can be given can be taken away. I imagine that gay people are not ’empowered’ much when they see that their sexual preferences might get them executed in a different country or culture. It’s a reminder of your position in the pecking order, and in the case of women, those reminders happen on a daily basis. In the crimes listed above, which have been a backdrop to my life over the past few years, the common factor is the violent control of women, their sexuality and their reproductive capacity. It’s about sex, but more than that it’s about power. In the case of domestic violence I am sure that the fact that there is ‘worse out there’ is a huge factor in keeping women in abusive relationships. In a world where the overwhelming majority of rapists and murderers are men, better to stick with the one you’re with rather than risk something worse. Men can and do use the appalling abuse by other men to boost their own sense of superiority – an especially popular pasttime when those other men are of a different cultural background to themselves, such as the Asian grooming gangs (but not the white British ones, which get overlooked). This is an aspect of gendered violence which is simply not there in men’s experience: however much a man may believe that all women are bitches, there are simply not the examples out there to back him up. For women there are all too many.

When men’s rights groups try to suggest a parity between the genders when it comes to violence they are completely and comprehensively missing the point. Violence against women and girls affects all of us because it is so normal, it is endemic and it happens everywhere, in all parts of the world, in all races, religions and social classes. Poor people do it, rich people do it, famous people do it, people in positions of power and influence do it, the people next door do it. When I say people I mean *men* of course, but I really don’t want to upset all those great men out there who don’t do it. However, when you look at the cost to society of male violence (98% of sexual offences are by men), and the cost to the tax-payer of all that policing (90% of homicides are by men), all those prisons (95% of inmates are male) and all those A&E departments, it is absolutely astonishing that certain groups of men would begrudge women a little bit of money to ourselves for some rape crisis centres or some domestic violence refuges, WITHOUT HAVING TO THINK ABOUT THE MEN.

If things were really so equal between men and women regarding violence against eachother, then I’m surprised there is not more outcry about the unfairness of having a predominantly male prison population. Are female offenders just getting away with it in vast numbers? Why aren’t there more female mugshots on Crimewatch? It’s either really really unfair or it’s just reflecting reality… In order to be truly equal women need some special treatment to level the playing field: we need protection and recovery from male violence, however much it costs, and it should not be just down to women’s groups to pick up the pieces. Men need to get in on the act too, particularly those in power, through proper policies, education and funding, and above all through a real recognition of the problem, without which there can be no proper solution.

Yes, all women are affected by male violence, and no, not all men are doing enough about it.

 

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26 thoughts on “Not All Men v Yes All Women

  1. Cathy June 15, 2014 / 12:51 pm

    So, your ‘final solution’ is to blame the men who don’t commit horrific acts for those who do. Because of course, those that do will take any notice of those who do not.

    That will work. Not.

    It is obvious you hate men, for whatever reason, and that is the driver for many of your articles.Its been indoctrinated in you and to present a case to you otherwise would be a waste of time, because you would just dismiss it.

    It really is #notallmen, as much as you desire that 95% of men were in prison (as oppose to 95% of the prison population) and that you would like 90% of men to be murderer’s rather than 90% of murders being committed by men.

    Your sexism is a way of getting back at the sexism we have and are being subjected too. But ‘revenge’ is not the answer.

    • Not The News in Briefs June 15, 2014 / 6:19 pm

      I’m not sure what I say that makes you reach your conclusions but it’s clear this blog is not about hatred of men, and nowhere is it about revenge. In fact you have proved my point in a way, that we are not allowed to name the problem without it generating abuse. By your choice of phrase ‘final solution’ I assume you consider me to be a ‘feminazi’.

    • mottyl July 4, 2015 / 11:05 pm

      I do not see hatred of men in this article. I see concern for the violence that women and girls are experiencing at the hands of men and boys, and nowhere do I see anything resembling revenge. Those perceptions may make you popular but they do nothing to stop what is actually hatred towards women and girls, unwarranted hatred. This article is not only refreshing, but extremely valuable because it discusses an issue that all women and girls experience when they speak out or do anything to stop male violence towards females, that issue being men and boys screaming “injustice!” when any healing or recompense is offered or suggested for women and girls.
      I have shared this article on facebook, twitter, and google+ and thank the author for writing it.

  2. Susie June 15, 2014 / 11:47 pm

    I’m afraid i have to agree with Cathy. Your ‘feminism’ seems derivative, reductive and infantile. I can only assume that you’re still quite young. The world, and the context for all acts of violence, is rather more complex than you make out. This isn’t to deny misogyny but I would recommend that you read more widely and discover a more subtle analysis. Concepts such as ‘male violence’ will get you nowhere in terms of actually understanding the world but everywhere if all you want is a distorted self-serving dogma that is as essentialist in its view of men as the worst type of reactionary sexism.

    • Not The News in Briefs June 16, 2014 / 10:16 am

      Thank you for your patronizing comment. Of course the world is complex and of course I know that. It doesn’t excuse the willful minimizing of some quite simple facts, and it doesn’t mean that pointing out these facts is sexist or distorting. What is it about these facts that you can’t handle?

    • snowbunnie1980 October 11, 2014 / 1:41 am

      Hey Susie
      Please could you show us some statistics? Are there more examples of violence by females that have been suppressed?
      If you could show us those figures then we could understand where you’re coming from.
      Thank you.

    • mottyl July 4, 2015 / 11:09 pm

      How would you have her “react”? Should she go to church and pray for the strength to forgive? it seems by the links to real life stories that she posted that she, in fact, is widely read and presents real evidence. What have you presented? The usual, condescending nothingness. That is what I would call reactionary.

  3. Cathy June 16, 2014 / 7:57 am

    I drew my conclusions by reading your blog. Many others will do the same. For whatever reason(s), you hate men. You simply just cannot deny that or try and make a bizarre point that me calling you out on it is proving it

    I have not dismissed that violence is a problem. But ‘feminazi’ behaviour is also a problem.

    • Not The News in Briefs June 16, 2014 / 10:11 am

      I don’t hate men. There, I’ve just denied it. I’m sorry you drew the wrong conclusions. If you think there is anything factual wrong with my blog please tell me, and if not please tell me why it is wrong to point these facts out.

    • mottyl July 4, 2015 / 11:11 pm

      She doesn’t hate men, she loves the human race and is intelligently addressing an issue that is heinously degrading the human race. Is Cathy your real name? Do you dress in drag as well?

  4. stephaniedaviesarai June 16, 2014 / 7:20 pm

    Wow, I really don’t understand how this blog has caused so much anger. Cathy, you have just made things up to accuse her of, and Susie, who are you to tell anyone what their feminism should look like? You obviously both have personal agendas and are unable to read what is actually written here.
    All this blog does is set out some facts that are usually obscured, I think it’s brilliant and I know many men would agree with me.
    Cathy and Susie, can I suggest that next time you comment on someone’s blog you are more respectful and less personal and nasty? I’m sad to see feminists attack other feminists, there’s really no need.

    • mottyl July 4, 2015 / 11:14 pm

      I don’t think Cathy is a feminist. By the way, the term “feminazi” is actually a male fantasy that depicts women who speak out against them in black net stockings and holding whips. Sorry, it’s ok if you don’t post this comment.

  5. Cathy July 11, 2014 / 6:43 pm

    Stephanie. I have not made things up. I have no personal agenda and I am not sure why you are insulting me.

    You think the blog is brilliant, I do not. You will have to deal with that.

    Can I suggest you are less offensive when reacting to other people’s comments. We are not duty bound to agree with each other.

  6. Not The News in Briefs July 12, 2014 / 9:28 am

    To be fair Cathy, you started it. You DID make things up and you were offensive rather than critical. You used extreme terms like ‘final solution’ and ‘revenge’, and the whole of your first comment is a personal attack on me. I am a man-hater, I ‘blame’ the men who don’t commit crimes, I have been indoctrinated and would only dismiss any other argument, I ‘desire’ 95% of men to be in prison (?!) and I would ‘like’ 90% of men to be murderers (???!!!). Finally I am sexist and a feminazi. Every single point you made is either an invention or an insult or both, and when I invited you to tell me what was factually wrong with my blog you declined to answer. Can I suggest you are less offensive when reacting to other people’s blogs, and as you know nothing about me can I also suggest you are less personal and patronising in future. Otherwise it really does make you look as though you have an agenda.

  7. stephaniedaviesarai July 12, 2014 / 6:20 pm

    Cathy, if you think my comment was ‘offensive’ perhaps you could re-read your own.

  8. snowbunnie1980 September 20, 2014 / 3:01 pm

    I think this is a great blog, there’s absolutely no evidence of man hating here, there is simply a pointing out of the facts.
    I would politely invite anyone who disagrees with this blog to disagree using facts and evidence because to debate, you can only rely on facts and evidence. As a great friend of mine (a man no less!) said ‘it’s fine to have an opinion but if you’re going to air it in public during a debate then you need to be able to back it up’.

  9. Cathy October 10, 2014 / 7:35 am

    Stephanie. You need to understand the word ‘offensive’ before using it in debate. The fact that my opinion from yours is not offensive, and you are at liberty to oppose it. A right which you have clearly exercised. As for my comment, I know what I had written, I do not need your invitation to re-read it, as I stand by what I said.
    Not the News in Briefs. The agenda is all on your part. The evidence is plain to see on your twitter feed, and to accuse me of invention is delusion on your part. I did not set out to offend you. It is very telling that you seem to think that was my modus operandi. It is clear you do not have any time for people who dare to have a different opinion and challenge you. A trait not uncommon in most twitter women playing feminist.

    Snowbunnie1980. The author’s twitter feed has all the evidence you could possibly want.

    • Not The News in Briefs October 10, 2014 / 8:47 am

      You’re not really Cathy Brennan are you? If you are going to stalk my Twitter timeline and suggest others do the same, then you should be honest about who you are so I can check up on you too. My Twitter feed is not full of hatred, but it is feminist and I’m not ashamed of that. The fact remains that this blog presents a list of facts, and you responded with a list of opinions and personal abuse .I am happy to have a debate with people expressing different opinions, but I do not have to listen to abuse. I’m sure Stephanie understands the word ‘offensive’ so there’s no need to be patronising: you expressed your ‘opposing views’ in an offensive way. That’s why it was offensive. I dare you to tell me who you really are, you obviously don’t think you have anything to be ashamed of.

    • mottyl July 4, 2015 / 11:17 pm

      Troll

  10. snowbunnie1980 October 11, 2014 / 1:36 am

    Cathy I’m sorry but if you want to disagree with this particular blog then I personally think it is important that you bring facts to the table. Also, please let everyone see your own Twitter feeds etc so everyone can compare your other views on the world in the same way you have done with this writer. If we judge then we need to be prepared to be judged ourselves.
    We all have a personal opinion on these things, of course we do. But the writer has brought 38 separate examples of male violence and could have gone on.
    We live in a patriarchal society and I genuinely cannot understand how anyone could realistically disagree with this. White men have ruled the earth for a very very long time.
    This has not done either sex any favours at all, in the same way that if we lived in a purely matriarchal society – this would not be good either. There needs to be a balance between people. Whether they identify themselves as being masculine or feminine does not matter.
    But I feel that we do need to address the imbalance of what the current patriarchy does to damage our society.
    Cathy I will read the Twitter feed to understand your reaction to this particular article. But as an article it does stand up with actual evidence and examples of male violence.
    Men and women are both amazing and if we all worked together to redress this current imbalance that we live in then I’m sure we could all move on.

  11. Cathy October 11, 2014 / 7:47 am

    Not The News in Briefs. There is more than one Cathy Brennan in the world. I don’t have a high opinion of the one that you refer to, if that helps you. Twitter is a cesspit and I am generally above it, but very occasionally I see people like you who have their own blog to peddle their hate speech.

    You have continued to be offensive and patronising, whilst I just gave you my views. You really cannot handle opposing views, but that is not my problem. You post crap on the big bad internet, you have to accept that people challenge you. You are part of a cohort of pretend feminism as evidenced by your little twitch hunt yesterday, by tagging in like minded (and equally deluded) people who would share your views.

    Equally, you do not understand how twitter works. You do not need to have a twitter account to view twitter. It is a public forum. It is viewable to absolutely anybody on the planet, unless the user chooses to make their settings private and viewable to followers only. Simply reading a twitter account is not tantamount to stalking. I read the BBC website very often, is that stalking too ? I have no medium in for you to check up on me, which funnily enough sounds like your wanting to stalk me.

    You are incapable of debate. This is evidenced by your dealings with Mitchell Wells, who whilst persistent, offers you pertinent questioning most of the time, but time and again, you do not answer. Before you ask, I have no connection to him and he has no connection to me. You have no time for anyone who has an opposing view. Yet you continue to lie on here and say that you do. You are transparent. You are offensive. You are a man hater. These are facts.

    • Not The News in Briefs October 11, 2014 / 8:12 am

      Well that’s cleared that up then.

    • mottyl July 4, 2015 / 11:25 pm

      Isn’t it wonderful how a troll can steer the discussion away from the issue presented in the original article. Cathy, the issue isn’t you, nor is the issue the author of the article. The issue is the confounding amount of violence being perpetrated on women and girls by, yes, men and boys. Some of us know that that is a reality and would like to get on with solving that problem rather than “debating” with trolls like you about whether or not it is even happening.

      • Not The News in Briefs July 7, 2015 / 4:04 pm

        Hi, thanks for your supportive comments. I now believe the troll above is Mitchell Wells who has consistently trolled me and a group of other women on Twitter for over a year through multiple accounts. These days I look out for him everywhere, but when this blog was published I hadn’t yet got to that point, and took the comment seriously. It’s such a waste of time for all of us to be dealing with this shit instead of debating the real issues we are concerned with.

      • mottyl July 10, 2015 / 4:32 am

        Well, I guess now we’ve nailed him, bugaboo on the wall, we’ll wave him away, lol. Great blog.

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