The Jump Up, near Itjinpiri in the Pitjantjatjara Lands

Is it Just Men who are Violent?

Are Women Just as Violent as Men?

When I first began these pages I was startled to receive a number of emails telling me that men were not really as violent as they were made out. In fact, these people claimed, women were just as violent as men! I was unaware then of the growing male backlash against domestic violence awareness. I was told that there was careful research showing that women were just as violent. I received another such email recently:

I read over what is in your messages and what I see is subjective opinions without the benefit of research. They are obviously ideas that you have in your head and hardly go beyond that. If you want to back up the content of your ideas, it would be helpful to use real research. For example, feminists like to constantly talk about domestic violence and assume that it is something that is done basically by men. But careful research using impeccable research methods and research designs show domestic violence to be equal between the genders ("Dark Star", August 28, 2000)

As it happens I did a trawl through the news groups, and through web sites, the first time I was attacked on this issue. There seemed to be a number of characteristics about the argument.

1. There are indeed some people who want to deny that women can be violent. This is ridiculous. You only have to watch in the local supermarket to see the falsity such claims.

2. There are some men who are reacting against the claim that essentially "all men are bastards", and violent bastards at that. I can't help but sympathise. It hurts to go into a place and be treated with suspicion, if not contempt because you are male. One of my friends went to pick up his kid from childcare, and as women grabbed children unchallenged, was given a proper grilling about who he was. He was rightly furious. Women do horrible things to children too. They also kidnap their own and other people's little children.

3. But there was also something else happening in the newsgroups I was reading. There was a tone, an accent I couldn't quite put my finger on and define. It reminded me of my 12 year old son and his friends. Nothing was ever their fault. They were not responsible. They were always being treated unjustly and wrongly blamed. I decided that the tone of these postings was often just plain childish avoidance of responsibility.

There is no doubt that there are times when men are lied about and falsely accused. I reckon there are times when family courts get it wrong. But I reckon that a lot of the time we men just don't want to... indeed won't... accept that we are violent and abusive and need to do something about it. There will never be a solution to the horrifying violence in our societies while we men try and deal with it by saying "Well, the women do it to!" This is especially so when the so called " careful research using impeccable research methods and research designs" does not show women are just as violent as men.

Recently in Australia our government has refused to sign a UN treaty on discrimination against women. One commentator (Paul McDermott Good News Week) said some people are saying the Australian Government is picking up its ball and going home on this issue. But really he said, the government has no balls at all. I think when we say the women are just as bad, we leave ourselves open to the same claim!

Sept 2000


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