According to the ABC, a mens’ rights group have claimed a victory because an Ombudsman directed that an anti domestic violence ad be withdrawn.
A national men’s group is claiming victory over what it calls a feminist agenda on domestic violence.
Apparently the website in question showed statistics that Mens’ Health Australia didn’t agree with. Studies of domestic violence tend to be controversial. Some of the reports are available through the Parliamentary library or DV clearinghouse. Those available on the Australian Bureau of Statistics site are years old, the last study on womens’ safety being done in 1996 and as the Review of relevant literature reminds, most incidences of violence, particularly sexual violence, against women go unreported. Criminology studies are frequently only available to those who subscribe to journals. Studies reporting high levels of violence against women are often disputed by mens’ rights groups as ‘having a feminist agenda’.
From the 2005 survey the ABS estimated that in the previous 12 months:
* 363 000 women (4.7 per cent of all women) experienced physical violence; and
* 126 100 women (1.6 per cent) experienced sexual violence.
The ABS further estimated that:
* 2.56 million (33 per cent of all women) have experienced physical violence since the age of 15; and
* 1.47 million (19 per cent) have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
From this it is possible to estimate that approximately one in five women (19 per cent) have experienced sexual violence at some stage in their lives since the age of 15 and one in three women (33 per cent) have experienced physical violence at some stage in their lives since the age of 15.
At issue, however, is the reason why some men think that mens’ rights must come at the expense of women? If corrections need to be made or further research needs doing, fair enough, but how does telling men not to rape and beat women infringe on mens’ rights?
In a second story about the same ad, the head of Mens Health Australia complains that the website did not mention violence against men. Perhaps this is because the vast majority of violence against men is committed by other men? The one in three campaign states that one in three victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse are male… This includes young boys who are abused by fathers and other family members. This is dreadful, but how does this mean that a campaign against sexual violence should be cancelled?
The objection that the ad was motivated by a feminist agenda is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. Feminism is about women being treated as equals to men, women being treated as fully human and not subject to outdated religious ideals or other vested interests that would enforce subservience or inequality. Why is an agenda for women to be human a problem? The mainstream corporate media has a vested interest in presenting feminism as a folk devil since they make enormous profits both from advertising that depicts women as objects and on reporting sexual violence as if it were pornography. This is just another overlearned stereotype and not exactly a secret.
That a group of men supposedly motivated by the health of men in general should take exception to a campaign that aims to reduce violence against women, on the basis that it infringes mens’ rights, is confusing at the very least. Unless these men consider it their “right” to beat and rape women.
White Australia was founded as a convict colony, based on abuse, violence and murder. For many years there were 200 men to every woman. Our culture is still very much a “locker room” mentality. Only a couple of years ago did Australia catch up to the normal global gender balance of 51% female population, and it hasn’t made much difference. Images of women as sex objects are prominently displayed in many public fora in advertising and on magazine covers. Perceptions of women as possessions of men are prominent in many political agendas because of the disproportionate conservative religious influence in Australian politics.
Defining any human rights as being dependent upon consigning more than half the population to being treated as less than human is a pretty screwed up way to define rights.
Of course the military industrial complex relies on violence to enforce conformity. We can’t have a population of humans able to define and maintain their own personal boundaries, or every time some dick in a suit wants to attack another country people would say “Why don’t you learn to manage what you have and stop being so bloody greedy.”
The media, government and big business are a closed loop of spin and feedback maintaining this agenda and if they have to do it at the expense of men, women and children who suffer violent crime, too bad.