I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why feminists need to take the “men’s rights” movement seriously


August 11, 2009: EQUALITYJANUARY-FEBRUARY 2009
By Alex Molotkow

Feminists need to listen to the "men's rights" movement.

Feminists need to listen to the "men's rights" movement.
It’s hard to listen to someone who compares feminism to “the historical rise of Nazism in Germany,” a phrase once written by prominent men’s rights activist David Shackleton. But while the men’s rights movement does have more than its share of extremists, that doesn’t mean feminists should dismiss the whole cause.
I believe that some moderate activists have made some sensible points and that we feminists ought to engage with our detractors if they’re willing to engage—reasonably—with us. Comparing their arguments with our own ensures that feminism remains relevant to our time and place.
One such argument is the concept of equal parenting: the idea, advocated by many men’s activists, that both parents should be equally involved in their children’s lives postseparation. Some feminist critics find it a dubious concept. Pamela Cross of theOntario Women’s Justice Network has pointed out that equal parenting doesn’t account for domestic violence issues and is often accompanied by questionable ideology. Still, changes in family structure—and skepticism about the women-as-nurturers assumption—make the issue worth considering. “You’ve got women who I’m sure would love to have the opportunity and the freedom to enter into the workforce on a full-time basis, who are being saddled with full [custody] … It should be a joint responsibility, as well as a joint right,” says Kris Titus, national coordinator of Fathers 4 Justice Canada.
Another popular cry in the men’s rights movement is that domestic violence affects women and men equally. A 2005 Statistics Canada survey did find that 653,000 women and 546,000 men had been subjected to spousal violence over the past five years. Feminists have since questioned the study’s methodology and critiqued its numbers as deceptive (women are more than twice as likely to suffer an injury or be the target of frequent attacks, and far more likely to be murdered). But while flawed, the study does highlight that men can be victims, as well as knock down the stereotype that women are never aggressors. With some 90 per cent of shelters refusing to admit men, it’s clear the issue warrants serious consideration.
Undoubtedly, misogyny (or pure bitterness) motivates much of men’s activism, but beneath the often ludicrous rhetoric are some legitimate issues that we feminists shouldn’t be wary of addressing. The trick is to figure out where fanaticism stops and the real arguments begin.

Comments

COMMENTS (14)

(this will take a few posts) 

I am an MRA and while this article does, finally, START to highlight what MRAs are about - it tap dances and misaddresses who we are. 

I do not speak for all MRAs, nor claim to. But, that said I can address some of the topics. 

I came to be an MRA for 2 reasons. 

1) First I was a child denied his father (who was demonized by my mother) and who lost out on a lot because of that. What I lost out on would take pages to describe, but it galls me that if a girl lost out on being with her mother due to a father the empathy and understanding from women would be evident, chronicled on Lifetime, the subject of books and essays, and have laws named after her. It's not different for boys. 

2) I was falsely accused of rape in college. I am not ashamed of what happened to me. Like women who went on a date with the wrong guy, my "crime" was to trust someone who betrayed me in an incredibly intimate way.
Now, as to MRAs - "where fanaticism stops and the real arguments begin." 

Hmmm, mentioned in the article is how men are denied access to 90% of the shelters. I've heard ALL the arguments as to why this is "necessary". Most are ideological and indefensible. Even the ones that sound logical can be taken apart and easily solved if the shelter organizers WANTED it solved. In areas where men's and women's shelters have been set up, without the "Duluth Model" "male perp/female victim" ideology at the core - these problems were solved, and solved quickly. 

Anyone who can ONLY find problems with setting up shelters that can take help protect both men and women or who "it's being talked about" is at best delaying for the sake of delaying (to keep the status quo) or is flat out unable to see men as victims of DV or as real human beings in need of help.
One quote from this article does explain some opposition to shared parenting, a serious concern for MRAs: 
"Pamela Cross of the Ontario Women’s Justice Network has pointed out that equal parenting doesn’t account for domestic violence issues and is often accompanied by questionable ideology." 

The fact that DV is even alleged in very few cases and yet still women get more than just a vast majority of custody cases in their favor shows how this is viewed through the lens of those in power in gender advocacy groups. Bring up shared parenting and DV is brought up immediately. 

It's a valid point, in a SMALL % of cases, but not in over 90%. So, in an honest discussion let's lay out some facts and reverse some things.
Depending on where you live, and accounting for all factors like that, less than 1/2 of all restraining orders even ALLEGE violence. Look it up. And many, many, many of them, just coincidentally are alleged at the beginning of divorce proceedings. Now, some may say "well, genius, duh, that's why she's divorcing him". Fair enough. But, then how come when children are not involved there are less restraining orders and less often applied for during a divorce? 

To many MRAs the unpunished tactic of some women to use allegations of abuse, done with impunity by some women, is pure evil. And it's an evil that no one goes to jail for, pays a fine for, and certainly is not penalized by removing the children from a person who's moral compass is so screwed up that they have no business teaching/nurturing children to grow into productive members of society that values other peoples rights.
Most MRAs I know got into this not because of any pre-felt misogyny, but just like women who endure abuse and become advocates, they want to stop what happened to them from happening to others. Do some of them sound angry? Sure. You betcha. And why is that hard for the "empathetic gender" to "get"? I mean, when women are angry or hurt people ask why.... not so much from most women, and especially not so from feminists in leadership/policy positions. Give THAT some thought. Either we are as as feeling, frail, scared, angry, and human as women who are mistreated, or we're not. And those that think that men are not - well, that's bigotry and dehumanization. 

And if we want to have an honest discussion we need to address some basic things - men and women commit their wrongs or their violence in different ways. Men tend to be more direct in their violence, while women tend to be more indirect.
Women who abuse isolate their men through different methods than men who abuse do. Women tend to abuse and then play the victim - assassinating the man's credibility so that if he reports the abuse he'll not only not be not believed, but possibly face punishment AS the abuser. It's pretty twisted. 

We've had our talk about men and violence - now maybe with honesty and openess we can discuss equally the way women abuse, how to stop it, and how to recognize it. It's not pretty, it's uncomfortable, and it'll take introspection. 

Men have been asked to do this - programs set up, education in schools and at work, prime time specials, movies - but we have yet to have the same honest discussion about women's violence, and it needs to be addressed. 

In the future - it might be your son or friend who suffers through it - and is even jailed after it happens. 

I hope I have added to this discussion. 

L. Steven Beene II
I think it would be wonderful if feminists listened to MRAs. I too think they are speaking up about issues that are relevant and unfair. 

Yet I don't think feminists can listen to MRAs when the feminist movement is based on radical assumptions of women being victims to men. No matter what negative action a woman makes, it is always a man's fault. And any move a man makes in questioning a woman is abuse. 

I do consider myself a supporter of men's rights and have been for a couple of years now. I started becoming active when I listened to the men's side and I have discussed this matter with women's refuges and other women and children's services. 

It's going to be an uphill battle to stop radical feminist ideology but I for one am going to continue to say something should be done. I passionately don't want our children dragged into this in primary schools. 

http://tinyurl.com/mpadqt 

I do hope you will keep looking at the situation. It's very sad to see the discrimination. IMO
+1
Denis Pakkala's avatar
Denis Pakkala· 13 hours ago
LSBeene, you have made some very important points. Thank you.

This article essentially admits the very real discrimination established and maintained by ideological feminists and then accuses their detractors of misogyny. 

Why should anyone be surprised that men want the same equal rights as women and to be treated as lesser beings.

What feminists fail to realize is that anger is a very natural reaction to discrimination against men in Family Law and treatment for Domestic Violence. 

Anger at ideological feminists who support the status quo of discriminating against men should not be confused with misogyny. I have met very few people claiming to be feminists that have any empathy for the plight of men and fathers. 

BTW, feminism is a socialist theory promoted by Karl Marx, it has very little in common with Naziism.
+1
Mike Murphy's avatar
Mike Murphy· 12 hours ago
I would challenge your assertion that misogyny is what drives most men's activism. The corollary of that is most women's activism including feminism is misandrist. I don''t think anyone believes that. I'd like to see the study to give rise to the credence of such an assertion. 

The motives behind fathers asserting equality as parents post separation and divorce are simply the passion and love of their children. It is no more complex than that. They are driven by this passion because like most they believe it is discriminatory. Did Martin Luther King hate whites to get emancipated or did he do it because discrimination is wrong? Did he take direct action to draw attention to his cause because he was a radical. I don't think so although many tried to paint him as such including the FBI. 

Your 90% figure related to DV shelters is a bit low. Of the over 550 tax supported shelters in Canada I am not yet aware of one that provides similar services for men. If you are this information would be very useful and I will ensure it gets out across the country immediately. I understand there may be 2 privately funded DV shelters in Calgary for men. As a person who has suffered financial, emotional and physical abuse I can attest there are no services for men in my city. 

On the whole your column takes a more reasoned approach than does the mainstream tax supported feminist movement. Their view that DV is problematic with equal parenting is fallacious and quite simply a canard. More children are killed and abused by their moms than by biological fathers as evidenced by statistical analysis in the USA and Australia. A commenter earlier discussed Canada. Women are equal or greater instigators of DV (in one study by the CDC it showed a rate of 71%) and recent studies show their injury rate is reduced if they simply arne't the first one to start beating on their partner. 

These kinds of red herrings prevent reasoned discourse on the equality of genders when it comes to equal parenting for fit moms and dads after divorce. The proposed legislation has the fitness aspect built in to prevent children coming to harm and it applies to both partners. 

Although your article still contains misconceptions about the motivations behind fathers and many moms and grandmoms, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters who want equal-shared parenting with co-residency it is much closer in tenor and tone to parties being able to present a case reasonably. 

The other parties I've mentioned are extended family members who also want to see it so they can participate in the lives of their kin again as many dads cannot see their children at all because of gatekeeping. and alienation. (this is not gender specific as some of the small number of custodial fathers - about 7-8% in Canada - do the same thing). In fact some of the most passionate members we have are second wives who directly see the emotional impact on their male partners and are wanting to change the system. 

Here's to more discussion like this.
+1
Bob's avatar
Feminists need to do much more than just listen to MRA folks. They need to realise that we are not looking for concessions or to discuss things in a debate about who has it worse. Equal treetment under the law, fairness in family court proceedings, equal access to health care, and reproductive rights (just to name a few items) are things that all people have a right to demand!
The statistics on Domestic Violence show that it is nearly gender neutral with women more often the victims of severe physical violence (a small percentage) and the CDC study shows that 70% of Domestic Violence is reciprocal. There is no access (except for the shelters mentioned by Mike Murphy) for most male victims of domestic violence, while the majority of female clients at shelters have few or no physical injuries, only stories. 

Considering the Family Law statistics that in over 90% of disputed custody cases, full custody is awarded to the mother and that domestic violence against women is taken very seriously, while male victims are ignored. It only seems obvious that many female perpetrators of domestic violence are using the courts to further punish their victims. 

It is not in the best interest of anyone, especially children, to give full custody to abusive women with a vengeance. Ignoring male victims and female perpetrators of domestic violence only perpetuates the cycle of family violence which is taught to children. 

Feminism is quickly losing credibility in Canada because of the discrimination that it supports.
Alex, I suggest that you and your feminist allies engage in intelligent debate rather than continuing your campaign of slandering your detractors.
0
Eric Tarkington's avatar
Eric Tarkington· 1 hour ago
The chief thing that some feminists have to worry about is men's increasing awareness that they have been the butt of cruel discrimination for their whole lives. I started campaigning in 1997/1998 for equal parenting, not men's rights, because it is in the loss of their rights to give their lives to their children that you can find the heroic motive that might move men to stop "taking it like a man" and start understanding themselves as an oppressed minority. A man won't stand up to the power of the government and the scorn of society to protect himself, but he will stand up, and struggle for decades against impossible odds and unbearable pain to protect his children from losing him, if he only understands how to do it. The ironic thing is that the early form of feminism also saw men as oppressed by gender stereotypes, and saw their liberation as indispensable to the goal of human rights and dignity for women. 

There are still feminists who refuse to see freedom and the realization of human potential as a zero-sum game. This kind of feminist has nothing to fear from the equal parenting movement. This kind of feminist has lived to see his or her loved ones abused by gender bias against men, or suffered abuse personally. In fact, this kind of feminist should be looking for the opportunity to sign up with an equal parenting organization. 

There is also a kind of feminist who has something to fear from the idea that men might have human rights that are violated by a power structure that often sees them as subhumans, worthless for everything but their money. That kind of feminist trades on women feeling a resentment and fear of men and boys that is totally irrational and that actually diminishes women's lives. That kind of feminist has political office, or a tax-funded job in a biased bureaucracy, or an academic position that pays for his or her political beliefs. Nobody else in society is funded for their politics in quite this way, that kind of feminist feels entitled, and that kind of feminist stands to lose an advantage, for sure. 

We are never perfectly in balance. Everyone has grievances in addition to receiving the benefits of membership in society. We are almost all intrinsically good, good for our communities and good in particular for our children, who need both parents. Any movement that loses sight of this perspective runs a terrible risk of becoming oppressive. 

I'm getting older, but I feel like I have looked over into the promised land, because I see men and women becoming clearly aware of the situation, and starting to react. They are saying everything better than I ever could. I hope to live long enough to see the suffering largely subside, but whether I see it or not, I do believe that we will get there some day.
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Mark Bogan's avatar
Mark Bogan· 1 hour ago
The time has come for gender equality. The misandry must stop. Children have the right to be raised equally by both parents. Domestic violence must also be treated properly and fairly. It takes two to tango. 
All this bias in the Courts is not5hing shy but UN-wanted wasted taxed based dollars. Fix these systems and you will see healthier communities and moneys available to address other social problems..

1 comment:

renold said...

Why is it that feminists actually have such a problem acknowledging the level of female domestic violence. Do they really think that ignoring female domestic violence is actually going to reduce male domestic violence? In South Australia we have a Government and a Public Service that implemented Maternal Alienation instead of Parental Alienation. Turned out that the inventor of this "new" form of abuse against women and children was in reality some extreme lesbian feminist of whom it was proven falsely accused the father of her children to have sexually abused them. As a consequence of her faslse accusations she lost her children and then she became a "victim" of Maternal Alienation. The consequence is that neither fathers or mothers and their children subjected to alienation will get any help or assistence by the authorities. When will feminists actually become aware that they are a major problem with their man bashing