I guess I’m not quite as passionate about this as Peter Finch in Network, but I am getting worked up about the ongoing and ever-escalating efforts of social engineers who, in the arrogant assumption that their word must be taken as gospel, are forcing their activist view of the world and human relationships upon the broader society, starting with its children. Mine is a hardening view, one that began with indifference when the push for same-sex marriage first raised its head. I was not unduly alarmed and, on the whole, saw no great harm in it, supposing it to be largely benign. Then came the Safe Schools program and the revelation that, rather than an anti-bullying initiative, it was actually a coercive taxpayer-funded exercise intended to promote the radical LGBTI agenda. Now we learn of the even more egregious Building Respectful Relationships.
First, notice the mealy mouthed and sanctimonious titles these excrescent programs employ. Safe schools, who could object to that? And respectful relationships, isn’t that what we hope all children will grow up to enjoy? The thing is, though, they are no better than labels to seduce the unwary, deceptive packaging to make the the activism of third-rate academics seem entirely innocuous, not to mention taking the heat off politicians who might otherwise have to explain why they are earmarking tax dollars for classroom guidance in dildo proficiency and techniques to foil parents’ attempts to learn what children are doing online and which sites they are visiting.
The chosen tool, or so it would seem, is the typical activist’s eagerness to play fast and loose with the facts. For example, the Victorian Department of Education’s handbook, Building Respectful Relationships, tells us:
Evidence shows that:
• One in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 (National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Their Children 2009).
• Almost one in five women have experienced sexual assault since the age of 15 (National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Their Children 2009).
• One in four children and young people in Australia witness or live with family violence in their home (Australian Institute of Criminology 2001).
The claim that 1 in 3 women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15 worries me. Think about it. The implication here is that every third woman you know or see has suffered serious and repeated violence. Ditto, every fifth woman is alleged to have been sexually assaulted. These figures are incredible, as in literally unbelievable. In my lifetime, I can think of only three cases of physical abuse against women I have known. No doubt there are cases I don’t know about, but I refuse to believe, as the activists’ numbers would have me accept, that they run to the hundreds.
The National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children 2009 report cited above, examined the cost of such violence. It simply reported the 1 in 3 statistic and attributed it to an ABS survey conducted in 2005, the Personal Safety Survey. Sure enough, the statistics quoted above are mentioned in the survey. What isn’t included are the questions that elicited those responses, nor what hard and fast definitions were used. What is meant, for example, by ‘experienced physical violence’? Does a respondent have to be the target of an attack, or would witnessing a physical altercation on the street between a man and woman be enough to qualify? What about a woman telling her girlfriend about an alleged assault, does that make the cut?
Other, less inflammatory but equally unbelievable statistics are quoted by other activists. For example, Rosie Batty, in her Australian of the Year acceptance speech, said that one woman in six experiences physical or sexual abuse. Recently, writing in The Australian, someone called Mary Barry, CEO of something called Our Watch, claimed that one woman in four will suffer violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes. There doesn’t seem to be rigour or consistency about the fundamental statistics underpinning our current obsession with domestic violence, which Rosie Batty tells us we should treat as seriously as terrorism.
Interestingly, an ABS Media Release ‘Australian Social Trends 2014’ reports (emphasis added):
More than 2 million women and 1.2 million men have experienced emotional abuse by a partner, according to the latest Australian Social Trends (AST) article released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.
This is equal to one in four Australian women and one in seven men experiencing abuse such as a partner constantly insulting them to make them feel ashamed, belittled or humiliated, or trying to control where they went or who they saw,” said Mr David Skutenko, ABS Director of Social and Progress Reporting.
We found that many of these people had also experienced physical or sexual violence by their partners. A third of women and nearly a fifth of men who experienced emotional abuse by their current partner had also experienced physical or sexual violence by them.
This appears to fly in the face of the more oft-quoted statistics. It does not include any qualifier such as ‘in the past 12 months’ so would seem also to fall in the category of ‘since the age of 15’. It does not support the one-in-three and one-in-five claims. Let us assume a woman who has suffered physical abuse also has experienced emotional abuse, a reasonable enough surmise. Or, to put it another way, let’s assume that the number of women who report physical but not emotional abuse would be insignificant. By this logic, and according to the ABS figures above, only one in 12 women would have experienced physical abuse. A deplorable statistic, certainly; but one that probably rings closer to the truth.
Unstated but implicit in all the dubious numbers and general agit-prop about domestic violence is the line that a tendency to inflict violence on women is inherent in every male but can be eradicated by “appropriate” indoctrination. Oh, and not merely men, but white males in particular.
But what if they’re wrong? What if abusers are not just ordinary males whose social education has been neglected, but damaged individuals who are impervious to social norms that most of us take as givens — individuals who, even as they recognise that what they are doing is wrong, nevertheless remain incapable of restraining themselves. You may have seen the ad campaign now running on Australian TV. If not, take 30 seconds to watch the video below and see if you notice what all the perpetrators have in common.
Not that there is anything new in depicting white men, and only white males, as brutes. Ten years earlier, there was this
Abusers do not abuse because they weren’t taught any better. They abuse in spite of what they, or the vast majority of them, know to be socially and morally unacceptable behaviour. Preventing violence against women is not about “more education”, nor does it stem, as the first of the YouTube clips above would have us believe, from fathers’ admonishing sons for “throwing like a girl”. (For what it’s worth, the Mythbusters TV show tested the proposition that men and women throw differently and concluded that they do, but only because boys throw more often and, therefore, get more practice, than their sisters. If the father in that ad wanted to be genuinely gender neutral he would be urging his daughter to throw “like a boy”. That, however, would not fit with the feminist narrative.)
Using questionable statistics, that no-one has bothered to check or question, feminist activists and their male fellow travellers have built a huge domestic violence narrative — a narrative that includes every man as potential abuser — which is easy to sell because the vast majority of men are just as appalled as women at the idea, and examples, of violence against women.
Simply put, that is because most men are ‘normal’.
What has emerged, instead of truth, is a burgeoning industry, not unlike the CAGW boondoggle, which sees legions of rent-seekers create organizations, set up websites and solicit donations and government grants in the name of eradicating domestic violence.
By now readers might be wondering what they can do to get on this gravy train assist. Well, if you’re famous, you might consider starring in a TV ad campaign, tilting your head in that empathetic way and ‘saying no’ to violence against women. Or perhaps you might take an oath never to abuse a woman, even if you have never before abused women and would be only slightly less likely to do so in future than bare your backside in Myer’s window. If a somewhat lesser being, you might contribute some hard-earned to, as the activists put it, ‘raise awareness’. The professional propagandists and gender warriors will thank you when they make their next mortgage payments. Other than that you can signal your virtue easily enough by ‘calling for action’ and, just to make sure everyone knows about the purity of you spirit and nobleness of character, sending out a tweet or two.
If those options don’t strike you as realistic, you could try some tacks that are somewhat more focused, solutions a tad more tangible that pious cliches.
You might, for example, demand stiffer sentences for all murders, including murders arising from domestic abuse. You might urge women in certain ethnic and Indigenous communities with higher, statistically validated rates of domestic violence not to return to their abuses, and also to insist their attackers be charged, tried and punished to the full measure and severity of the law.
Further, abused women could be told to quit abusive relationships once and for all (oops, there I go, blaming the victim) and making it as easy as possible for them to do so. And what of removing children from mothers who refuse to take reasonable steps to protect themselves and their kids, might that not be a good and practical idea? Or registering repeat domestic-violence offenders and, where possible and appropriate, banning them from imbibing alcohol.
Many would deem those measures to be focused and likely, perhaps, to be more effective than a feminist-approved publicity machine warning men who don’t need warnings against committing violence they are most unlikely ever to commit.