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What would it take for men to stand up and support us in our fight against male violence against women?

(49 Posts)
AWholeLottaNosy Sat 15-Nov-14 22:55:01

Been thinking about this recently with the controversy about Ched Evans, the amount of support he has received and the few men who have come out against him ( Nick Clegg, Piers Morgan and now Billy Bragg). I also know that Will Young, Gary Ramsey and - bugger can't remember his name, but the actor who played Jean Luc Picard who was in Star Trek have also spoken out against domestic violence.( I know two of those were victims of it as children). Owen Jones has also written some very powerful
Articles in The Independent about sexual violence. However, that's it, to my knowledge. Why are there not more high profile men who are willing to stick their head above the parapet and say to other men, this is wrong? Is it because they are scared of their popularity being affected or is it because they just don't care..,? Or is it because they don't want to lose their own privileges?

Am genuinely curious and perplexed by this. It's not like famous men don't come out in support of lots if causes they are in favour of..,

What do you think?

Maybe you are aware of more men than I am who are standing up
Against male violence against women, would love to know who they are.,,,

TwllBach Sat 15-Nov-14 22:59:51

I think it's like the crowd mentality thing, and the desire not to rock the boat.

I think if questioned individually and in private most men will agree that domestic violence and rape are heinous things... Biut society as a whole is so used to minimising the issues, especially rape, and making them into humour, that to call other men on it makes you vulnerable - as a man or a woman.

It's like if a woman dares to stand up to someone groping her in a night club instead of seeming grateful - she's unreasonable. If a man pulls a friend up on a rape joke, I imagine they'd lay themselves open to ridicule.

I know there's more to it than that, I'm just not very eloquent...

AWholeLottaNosy Sat 15-Nov-14 23:02:41

No I know what you mean. I know a lot of men who privately are appalled by VAM but would never actually do anything about it, I'm sure for some of the reasons you have said.

AWholeLottaNosy Sat 15-Nov-14 23:07:50

A slight aside but one of the best feminists I have ever met is ( complicated) a transgender woman. ( who has now decided to detransition). He was one of the most strident feminists I have ever met, as, having lived as a man he fully understood male privileged and was outraged at how he ( and therefore all women ) was treated. He had a very powerful viewpoint as most men cannot imagine or experience what it's like to even spend one day as a woman. Is that it, just a lack of empathy?

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 15-Nov-14 23:11:15

Because they don't see it as a 'men as a class' problem but a problem that SOME men have (not them, not their friends, not guys like them). And that it's an individual issue, not something related to gender.

My DH is like this. He does identify as a feminist but sometimes he e.g. says a lot of 'Everyday Sexism' is not sexism but individual assholes behaving badly / one-off incidents. It's hard to explain.

YonicScrewdriver Sat 15-Nov-14 23:23:20

Patrick Stewart is jean Luc Picard, OP.

Will say something more intelligent tomorrow. Hopefully!

TwllBach Sat 15-Nov-14 23:24:37

Yes Tondelayo like it's not a society wide thing, it's 'well dave jones is a dick, not everyone is like that' when actually it's a viewpoint held by and exacerbated by the powers that be and ingrained attitudes and history and tradition <depresses self>

AWholeLottaNosy Sat 15-Nov-14 23:25:26

Thanks for that Yonic, I just couldn't remember his name and couldn't google it as I was on my phone! blush

SanityClause Sat 15-Nov-14 23:30:12

I have recently signed two epetitions started by men. One was to have Julien Blanc's UK visa revoked (the Avaaz petition; the one was started by a woman) and the other was to have Dapper Laughs taken off ITV (which has happened).

That's two men who care enough about violence against women to really make a stand about it.

SanityClause Sat 15-Nov-14 23:40:12

Also, what about Pete Saunders, the founder of NAPAC? Okay, that's sexual violence against all children, not just female ones, but still a pretty major stand by a man about a kind of domestic violence, I would say!

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 15-Nov-14 23:49:11

Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, who as a senator sponsored and helped author the Violence Against Women Act signed into in law in 1994. VAWA has made a huge difference, especially in the funding of domestic violence programs, and incorporates the feminist analysis of violence against women into law.

Outfield Sat 15-Nov-14 23:51:51

Does Tom Meagher have much of a profile in the UK? He is the husband of Jill Meagher, the Irishwoman who was raped and murdered in Australia in 2012. He has commited himself since her death to challenging men's violence against women in ALL its forms, and he has refused to allow the horrific crime that was committed against Jill (which neatly fits the 'stranger lurking in an alley' archetype to which the public is most sympathetic) to be used in a way that deepens the public's perception of false distinctions between 'innocent' victims of violence and those who are accused of having 'put themselves at risk'. In his own words:

"What would make this tragedy even more tragic would be if we were to separate what happened to Jill from cases of violence against women where the victim knew, had a sexual past with, talked to the perpetrator in a bar, or went home with him. It would be tragic if we did not recognise that Bayley’s previous crimes were against prostitutes, and that the social normalisation of violence against a woman of a certain profession and our inability to deal with or talk about these issues, socially and legally, resulted in untold horror for those victims, and led to the brutal murder of my wife.

"We cannot separate these cases from one another because doing so allows us to ignore the fact that all these crimes have exactly the same cause – violent men, and the silence of non-violent men. We can only move past violence when we recognise how it is enabled, and by attributing it to the mental illness of a singular human being, we ignore its prevalence, it root causes, and the self-examination required to end the cycle. The paradox, of course is that in our current narrow framework of masculinity, self-examination is almost universally discouraged."

I, and many other women in Ireland, have been very moved by how well he is honouring his wife in what must be a terribly painful new reality for him. He has said that Jill was a feminist and these were issues they had discussed at length during their marriage, and he will not allow her to be seen as a more virtuous, innocent "other" kind of victim of male violence, than the women with whom she felt such solidarity during her life.

I don't have an answer to the OP, but on the subject of men who "get it" and who are standing up and urging other men to do the same, Tom Meagher is someone who deserves a mention. Here's the article the above quotes are taken from.

TwllBach Sat 15-Nov-14 23:55:35

He sounds like a very brave, strong man Outfield I'll be reading that link in the morning.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 16-Nov-14 00:01:25

Joe Torre, probably not known in the UK, but a famous baseball player and manager in the US.

AWholeLottaNosy Sun 16-Nov-14 00:18:05

Wow that's fantastic, I'd not heard of those men before. Guess they don't get much media coverage. Is very heartening, would love to know if there are more..,

Outfield Sun 16-Nov-14 00:28:11

He's wonderful, TwllBach. It's so cruel, the reason why he's in a position of some authority on this subject, and so truly heroic, what he's choosing to do with it. I'm sure she would be so, so proud of him.

PetulaGordino Sun 16-Nov-14 03:08:35

I agree that it seems to be a minimising thing for many men (not me, not my friends, not men like me, just a handful of bad apples). They also fail to recognise the ripples and knock-on effects and ingrained responses to male violence (many of which benefit them but it is not immediately obvious perhaps). So they would have to see themselves as complicit in order to take that on board and that would horrify many so would be inconceivable.

MyEmpireOfDirt Sun 16-Nov-14 08:46:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BobbyDarin Sun 16-Nov-14 15:23:13

He had a very powerful viewpoint as most men cannot imagine or experience what it's like to even spend one day as a woman. Is that it, just a lack of empathy?

I'm sure a lack of empathy is part of it - some of it is also just having a different experience of life. I've never been groped, so I don't know what that would be like. The video of the woman walking through NY getting cat-called every few steps was also shocking, because however much I knew that this sort of thing happened, it's hard to know how often it happens and what impact that has. I feel the same about food banks, or losing a child, or racism. I'm very lucky to not have experienced those things either and however much I try, I can't truly understand what they are like.

As far as what it would take for more men to stand up - well, I think most men probably think it's easier just to not engage in the first place, rather than risk having their motivations questioned (by men or women, feminists or not), or be ridiculed for screwing up in some way.

Nojacketrequired Sun 16-Nov-14 16:46:37

Because most activism is driven by personal interest. How many times have we seen mighty fundraising efforts from an individual who has been personally affected by a disease? Don't get me wrong it's a fantastic effort to run a marathon or climb a mountain in order to buy a machine to treat cancer. But I am yet to see anyone raise £100k for a cancer ward after their partner has died of MS.

How much interest would anyone here have in feminism if they were a man?

OutsSelf Sun 16-Nov-14 17:10:37

See, I have white privilege but post about racism, and do the same sort of petition signing and am a member of intersectional groups, so I'd like to think that I would not just regard it as someone else's problem if I was a man. I don't think racism is someone else's problem. Actually IME white men are more likely to challenge racism than sexism. So I don't accept that point entirely, hijacker, and I think your analogy is off, because sexism isn't an unfortunate disease that may or may not strike your loved ones. Sexism is the ongoing reality that oppressed the women around you, and you either fight against it or collude.

PetulaGordino Sun 16-Nov-14 17:27:15

that's the problem, though, isn't it. they don't see it as something that affects them or their loved ones, until/unless it is actually waved in front of their nose, and even then that's often not enough

how many men come to this section saying "now that i have a daughter, it's become clear to me...". and i often think, did you not have a mother, sister, female partner, female friends, any female of your acquaintance really, and you didn't see that sexism was counting against them? really?? now you're worried about the way that men talk about women when women aren't around and you couldn't see that as wrong until you realised that the fruit of your loins was also female and might be affected by this? etc

don't get me wrong, it's always a good thing when someone sees the light, but unless a man is out and out misogynist, there must have been a heck of a lot of minimising, othering, and possibly wilfull blindness for the light not to have been reached before that point

Greysanderson Sun 16-Nov-14 17:34:28

Nojacket has a point how many people on this thread petition or are directly involved in causes such as racism or discrimination against disabled people, without having a personal interest? I imagine even less of the general population do so.

I think we are all guilty of seeing problems which mainly affect us and placing other peoples problems on the sidelines or we don't see them at all if they don't directly effect us. Also people often feel it isn't their place to fight for a cause they don't feel a part of.

Then you get those that would think that men kill and attack more men than women so why would they be so specific about the sex of the person when they themselves are just as likely to be a victim of violence (although not sexual violence, assaults and murder yes.)

Nojacketrequired Sun 16-Nov-14 17:38:00

I like hijacker grin .

I was referring to activism, which is why I made the analogy. I think people do pull each other up about unacceptable language in all sorts of situations, especially online. I've had some right old ding-dongs about feminism and racism on predominantly white, male forums. When we come across it, people generally challenge stuff - but of course this is only my personal experience. But most fight it on a personal level.

I think also that men see violence as a phenomenon as part of the human condition. I know this discussion is not about male-on-male violence, but a man's perception is that you can encounter it pretty much anywhere if you are unlucky, and you take steps to avoid it - don't go to certain pubs, certain parts of town, certain sections of the football ground etc etc. So while those situations are NOT comparable to violence in the home, we tend to view the phenomenon as something that just happens, because some people enjoy doing it. And while we might intervene in some situations, in others it just isn't possible. At a societal level, in my view men don't attach the same level of importance. Is it because we are supposed to stand up for ourselves, to be able to handle ourselves, to 'sort the other guy out'?

PetulaGordino Sun 16-Nov-14 17:38:31

you would think that would make them more not less likely to want to end male violence

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