Building a Better Bloke

Male violence

Posted in Violence by Sam de Brito on November 5, 2009

By David Delaney

We’ve all heard the rants before, many times.

Men make wars. Men rape. Men are violent. Well, that’s pretty insulting to the many, many males who have fought for equality between the sexes. Or the males who have fought against various other forms of oppression and injustice, and the males who continue to do so.

Don’t those guys count? Apparently not …

A few years ago in Melbourne, there was a shooting incident . You had one guy who fit the stereotypes of male evil – he was being physically violent to a woman. So, what did the other passing males do? Stand around egging him on? Yell out “give her an extra slap from me!”? No, two of them got involved, risked physical harm to themselves to protect the woman. One died, one was severely injured.

I don’t know how many other men were in the area and did nothing – perhaps there were some, perhaps not. But the incident speaks for itself. Taking it mathematically, this shows that men are at least twice as likely to risk physical harm protecting a woman than to be the one doing the hurting.

I was on a tram, a year or two ago, and I saw, through the window, a couple at the next stop. The male was obviously very agitated, and the female was sitting, staring past him, saying nothing. He seemed to be asking her questions in an angry way. Demanding answers. The tram stopped, she walked past him without a word, got on, and left him standing there looking furious.

As the tram pulled away, I felt relief. Problem solved, I wouldn’t have to get involved. And then I remembered another situation, where I was the guy asking angry questions from a girl who wouldn’t even look me in the face. I didn’t hit her. I didn’t want to. She was never in any danger from me and we both knew it. But I had some very pertinent questions, and she had no answers.

And now here I was, ready to protect the innocent girl against the evil guy, and I had no idea of what the situation was about. For all I knew, he was no different to me, just with some fresher emotional scars. I felt compassion. And I felt ashamed of myself for jumping to the conclusion that the guy was in the wrong just because he was male.

Dave Delaney is a freelance writer based in Melbourne.

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12 Responses

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  1. Male of the Species said, on November 5, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Dave, well you have hit it on the head. I wonder how many years it took you to figure out that the current generation of males are the downtrodden. It took me about 40year ..about 6 months after being made a redundant father (but not a redudant wallet) to realise how society treats men. How it doesn’t respect them, how it doesn’t acknowledge or do anything about prejudice and discrimination against men.
    Take a look at http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,26290562-2682,00.html and you can feel the pain.
    I believe in equality, but I don’t believe in feminism – I loath it, because it is the exact opposite of equality. The stop violence against women campaign… is a vehicle for discrimination and prejudice (it should be Stop Violence Against All). I notice the discrimation now. I see people react negatively towards me simply because I am male. No wonder the male suicide rate is so high. No wonder there are no male teacher’s anymore. No wonder our children are more drunk, more violent, more depressed, more lost. Society has taken male parenting/teaching away, and like anything it is the balance, the ying and the yang, the produces the best outcomes.
    Talk to most 40 plus divorced dads/blokes, its the same. They’ve all got scares, deep, deep scares and in the words of the great Bernard Fanning – nobody hears their hearts break.

  2. This woman's view said, on November 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I too find the Stop Violence Against Women campaign discriminatory. ‘Why not everyone?’ is the first thing that comes into my head in response to those ads.

    An awful lot of un-noticed bias against men goes on in our society: once you become aware of it, you realise it’s everywhere. Bias against women also continues, however it became more noticeable, thanks to feminism (which means many things to many people). I have always wondered why there has been no universal men’s movement to answer feminism; the prescribed roles for men can be just as if not more restrictive and dangerous as the traditional ones for women.

    I’d like to see men stop feeling like there is something wrong with being a man, and instead start trying to be the best man they can be.

  3. Keybored said, on November 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Feminism is not the opposite of equality. It’s the social movement aimed at ensuring equality of the sexes. Fair enough there may be some extreme feminists around flouting ridiculous ideas but 99% are only looking to help release women from the constraints of our patriarchal society.

    Don’t blame feminists if you’re unhappy with the way you’re being treated in society. Instead look at those who are in power… men.

    On another note, there are thousands of women dying unnecessarily at the hands of abusive partners so don’t go around undermining the Stop Violence Against Women campaign. They’re doing noble work over there.

    • NotReally said, on November 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm

      Come off the formulaic feminist jargon, Keybored. Feminism is about advancing the interests of women, and equality has nothing to do with it, except as a sometimes useful notion in advancing the interests of women.

      And…, “those in power” = men? In the formal sense of politicians? Yes, most – but by no means all – are men. Same for judges, etc. There are a lot more women in such positions today than in the past. But that’s still missing the point. “Power” in society is not just held by the Prime Minister. Practically everybody has some degree of power, and is able to exercise it in some way. Women have plenty of power. Ask any man – and most women.

    • NotReally said, on November 6, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      and, not wanting to harp on it too much, but while I’m here, and since the violence against women thing got mentioned, and Keybored refers to “thousands of women” being killed by their partners… it’s not hard to find the actual statistics
      (http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/facts/1-20/2008/2%20selected%20crime%20profiles.aspx#homicide)

      There were 282 homicides (murder + manslaughter) in Australia in 2007. Of the victims, 180 were men and 102 were women. Of these, 18 men and 57 women were killed by “an intimate partner”.

  4. Bob-A-Job said, on November 6, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I used to think that lesbian relationships would be ‘a non-violent affair’, until I had a couple move-in next door to me, in Brisbane.

    It really opened my eyes… It was the most violent relationship I had ever witnessed or heard from across the side fence.

    The daily physical violence, the verbal abuse, the smashing of objects, the screaming…. the police presence … just totally amazing.

    It seems that violence is where you find it….

  5. Just another woman said, on November 7, 2009 at 10:36 am

    The big thing between us though – physical strength. My husband could easily pin me down and do whatever he wanted and there wouldn’t be a thing I could do about it. I have to use my entire body weight just to push him off balance. He works in IT, so it’s not that he’s particularly fit. Men are intrinsically stronger than women. So in any relationship that isn’t going well, irrelevant of why, if it comes down to physical violence the woman is generally going to get the worse end of the stick.

    Homicide is not the only measure of violence. How many men do you know who have been raped? Probably a quarter of the women I know have been sexually abused in some way.

    Feminism is indeed about advancing the cause of women. In some arenas they have gone way, way too far. In others, there’s still a long way to go.

  6. Keybored said, on November 9, 2009 at 10:45 am

    That’s only in Australia NotReally.

    What Delaney seems to be talking about though is breaking through stereotypes. Absolutely everyone would like to give men the benefit of the doubt and trust that they won’t get physically violent towards women during arguments. There are no women out there that play up this issue solely to degrade men. It seems you’re of the mindset that evil feminists are exaggerating a minor issue in order to belittle men.

    The reality is though that it’s usually fathers telling their daughters that men can’t be trusted.

    If I go out on a Saturday night both my father and my brother insist on giving me the “keep safe” lecture. And you know that they’re not worried about me being attacked by a woman.

  7. Delaney said, on November 9, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I like feminists, but for me, there are two kinds of feminism.

    There’s real feminism, which is concerned with equality of opportunity, and there’s “feminism” which is all about being sexist towards males.

    Personally, I don’t believe you can fight sexism by being sexist. Sexism is bad whether it’s directed towards males or females.

    The point of my piece here is that saying things like “Men rape” or “Men control the world” or “Men are violent” is both offensively sexist and patently false.

    I don’t control anything other than my own life. I don’t get a say in how the world is run. I’ve never raped anyone. I’ve never beaten anyone up.

    Men, in general, are much like me in those things. We’re not evil, and plenty of us actually go around doing good in our various ways.

    There are rapists, it’s true. But MOST men are appalled and disgusted by rape.

    Speaking as a male in a western society, when I was homeless and spent a fair bit of time in various Office of Housing departments finding out just how little help there is for a single male, I certainly didn’t feel particularly advantaged.

    When, last year, a relative of mine was jailed and I got to visit several different prisons, I couldn’t help noticing that all of the inmates I saw in the visiting rooms were males. Trust me on this, if you haven’t seen it for yourself: being male doesn’t open any doors for them.

    Most males don’t oppress anybody. Many of us are actually quite nice, if you get to know us. And most of us aren’t any better off than most females.

    Being sexist towards men – making sweeping generalisations about an entire gender based on prejudice – only increases the amount of sexism in the world. It doesn’t help women, it just perpetuates the whole “us vs them” mentality.

  8. Topper said, on November 10, 2009 at 9:47 am

    “When, last year, a relative of mine was jailed and I got to visit several different prisons, I couldn’t help noticing that all of the inmates I saw in the visiting rooms were males.”

    I’m lost. What is the point here?

    • Delaney said, on November 10, 2009 at 11:22 am

      A little joke. Obviously, in a men’s prison, ALL of the inmates are males.

      I like to include little jokes with the serious points. Keeps the punters guessing. Watch out for that.

  9. Vi said, on November 26, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I think what some guys need to realize is well, just because you don’t murder or beat your girlfriend, wife or daughter DOESN’T mean you aren’t contributing to someone else doing it. Through attitude. You can consider yourself the nicest girl or guy ever and still be contributing to rape and abuse culture.

    I think a few people should read Rape Culture 101
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html

    Most men I know contribute to this even if they aren’t your stereotypical villain. And I also know a lot of women do too.


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