The industry that has grown up around domestic violence (DV), or, as it is more precisely situated these days in research circles, intimate partner violence (IPV), began in good faith decades ago as a legitimate campaign to help women trapped in abusive relationships.
Over the years, as the triumphalist feminist revolution’s long march through the institutions of the West proceeded with eerily unchallenged vigor, DV emerged as a highly politicized touchstone justifying women’s entitlements — legal, economic, familial — at the expense of boys’ and men’s human rights.
A tipping point in the DV chronology, when the focus amongst militant feminists shifted from helping individual women to the more totalitarian ambition of reducing the male population to cultural dhimmitude, can be traced back in time to December 6, 1989, and in space to a school two miles north of my front door.
December 6, 2009, marked the 20th anniversary of a unique tragedy in Western history, the systematic massacre of 14 women engineering students, with injury to 13 others, at Montreal’s École Polytechnique by a lone young gunman, Marc Lepine, who killed himself at the end of his shooting spree.
As an act of violence against women, the Montreal Massacre had no prequel or sequel. Lepine — his real name was Gamil Gharbi, but Lepine chose to identify with his québécois mother rather than his brutal, misogynistic, Algerian-born father — was a sociopath, unaligned with any faith, political movement, or identity grievance group. He was no jihadi. Although one could argue that the massacre presented elements of an honor killing, Lepine’s crime was essentially sui generis.
Ironically enough, if he were a jihadi, feminists would have been stymied in their rush to collective judgment, for the standard reflex following jihadist incidents is to repudiate any linkage of the act with Islam and to warn against expressions of Islamophobia.
But in the case of the Montreal Massacre, a diametrically opposed instinct prevailed. Because Lepine’s only distinguishing feature was his maleness, the tragedy sanctioned unbridled hostility toward all heterosexual men. Indeed, for elite feminist apparatchiks, then in their most muscular and misandric phase, bliss it was in that bloody Montreal dawn to be alive.
Brazenly, without bothering to adduce any substantiating chain of evidence, there being none, feminist spokeswomen linked the horrific crime of a lone sociopath to the general phenomenon of domestic violence against women. Marc Lepine “became” all men who want to control women — eventually all heterosexual men — and December 6 achieved instant sacralised status as a day of national mourning that, for fevered rhetoric and solemnity, eclipsed even 9/11 memorials.
As I wrote in a December 2007 National Post column:
By contrast [to Americans’ lessening interest in 9/11 memorials], the Canadian public never seems to weary of the annual December 6 tribute to the 1989 Montreal Polytechnique shooting massacre of 14 women. Indeed, 12/6’s branding power burgeons with every anniversary: The theme of violence against women dominates the media; new physical memorials are constructed; additional programs decrying domestic violence against women are entrenched in school curricula; masses of white ribbons are distributed; more stringent gun control is more strenuously urged. Their cumulative effect is to link all Canadian men to a global conspiracy against women of jihadist proportions.
Feminists everywhere in the West appropriated its emotive themes to lend greater credence to an already widespread pernicious tripartite myth: namely, that all men — the “patriarchy” — are inherently prone to violence against women, that all women are potential victims of male aggression, and that female violence against men is never unprovoked, but always an act of self-defense against overt or covert male aggression.
The unspoken corollary to these falsehoods is that violence perpetrated against males, whether by other males or by females, is deemed unworthy of official recognition or more than minimal legal redress, and that while female suffering must be acknowledged as socially intolerable, male suffering may not make a parallel moral claim.
In fact, as any number of peer-reviewed research and government statistics make clear, although women are far more likely to report domestic abuse, equal numbers of men and women experience some form of DV during their lifetimes; men and women initiate abuse in equal measure; and far from any inherent “patriarchal” instinct to control women, DV — in Judeo-Christian culture at any rate — is almost always attributable to individual psychological dysfunction (see citation for Abusegate RADAR report below).
For the overwhelming majority of boys and men who harbor no ill feelings toward women and no wish to control them — indeed, whose impulses are largely chivalric; feminists have never explained why all those “patriarchal” and “controlling” men on the Titanic died after voluntarily ceding the lifeboats to women and children — the social and cultural fallout from feminist misdirection about DV beggars any honest observer’s descriptive powers to summarize. The unjust loss of children in biased family courts under judges trained by feminist DV “experts,” lives ruined by unchallenged false allegations of abuse, men’s ineligibility for psychological and logistical services lavishly provided for women — these are just a few of the human rights abuses men routinely endure because of DV industry myths.
At the heart of the myth-propagation problem is the 1991-initiated White Ribbon Campaign, impulsively organized by leftist male Canadian politicians eager to ingratiate themselves with politically influential feminists in the hysterical wake of the tragedy. The “educational” and commemorative campaign, which rapidly spread to 57 countries, is based on scaremongering falsehoods perpetrated by feminists pulling the communications levers of the DV industry, such as the canard that one in three (in some accounts, four) women will be a victim of male aggression in her lifetime, or that spousal homicide is the leading cause of death for women (in fact, it is not even on the list of leading causes).
Credible information on DV is easily accessed, but the largely liberal media compliantly channel the disingenuous “findings” and “reports” churned out by hopelessly biased advocacy groups, whose methodology does not, to put it kindly, meet the gold standard of community-based, peer-reviewed research, or who use definitional ruses, or who collect only male-on-female violence information, or who withhold data on female violence — and I could go on.
The controversial and irrefragably anti-male Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is coming up for renewal in Congress this year. VAWA partakes of exactly the same philosophy as the White Ribbon Campaign and doubtless owes its provenance in large part to the Montreal Massacre juggernaut.
Is there hope for a breakthrough in correcting the public’s perception on DV, the necessary precursor to a gender-neutral approach to support for DV victims by policymakers? One encouraging indicator has surfaced this month in the form of a high-profile Abusegate campaign, organized by a coalition of groups and individuals working to reform domestic violence laws. The campaign will include a concentrated lobbying effort on Capitol Hill explaining how flawed information leads to flawed public policy. It will also feature a series of radio interviews with internationally respected domestic violence expert Dr. Donald Dutton of the University of British Columbia, author of Rethinking Domestic Violence. But Abusegate’s most tangible contribution to public exposure of the DV industry’s willful deception of policymakers and the public is encapsulated in a scrupulously referenced special report drawn up by a reliable research group, RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting): Fifty Domestic Violence Myths.
The report deserves widespread distribution in the media, as well as in political, educational, and legal circles. It completely debunks the received wisdom on many aspects of DV. For example, it tells us that: women are as likely as men to be controlling; fewer than 1% of hospital visits by women — not 22% as often touted — are attributable to DV; the actual annual number of rapes reported by the FBI is 90,427, a tenth the number claimed by feminists; 71% of children killed by one parent were killed by their mothers; and 46 other little-known facts the DV industry would prefer you didn’t know.
This report will not have relevance for everyone: it is only for men and for those women who have, or have had, or may have in the future kind thoughts for a father or male partner or brother or son or son-in-law or male friend or, indeed, any man who has, or may someday, contribute something positive to their lives or to the lives of those they love. So as I say, this report may not be relevant to you, in which case you should not feel obligated to pass it along to anyone else. For those to whom it is relevant, you owe it to the men in your life to share it with others.