The bias of the author of "When Women Attack: Men Who Get Hurt" (April 10) is evident in the first paragraph when she refers to women as "chicks." When such disrespect of women is obvious, how can one hope to get a balanced or honest story?
Deidre Pike's claim that women and men respond to questions about abuse or being abusive at equal rates is simply bogus, as can be shown by looking at any of the statistics provided in our fact sheets, which the author obviously had. Our statistics come from the FBI, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Department of Justice--none known to be feminist organizations, all heavily male.
The author claims the roots of this problem are that society takes a lighter view of women being violent. Again, completely false. The common law in England was that when a man killed his wife, it was as if he had killed his dog. From that springs the statistic today that when women kill men, they are sentenced to a much harsher penalty than are men when they kill women, though women are seven time more likely to have acted in self-defense.
Even American law up to the 1850s said that a man may chastise his wife as long as he doesn't beat her too heavily or kick her about the floor or do it in public. Women are often convicted, even though it is in self-defense, because they used a weapon. But given the generally superior strength and fighting ability of men in our present culture, women must use a weapon to equalize the situation.
The author complains that a woman hitting a man is comedy. If that is true, which I have not seen in my life, it's because it's so rare. We laugh at what is out of context. We don't laugh at car accidents because they are so common. We do laugh when a plane lands on a freeway because it is rare. We don't laugh when women are beaten because it is so common. If people laugh when men are hit, it's because it is an absurdity, a rarity, a reversal of the usual role.
The fact that men may "view" themselves as victims does not make them victims. Often, men view themselves as victims if a woman says no, if she rejects the man's advances, if she bests him in a verbal debate. He is not a victim in those situations, but such situations often lead men to violence, claiming she had no right. Well, we do. Ask a room full of men what they fear most from the opposite sex. They will say rejection. Ask a room full of women what they fear from the opposite sex. They will say rape and violence.
The author has also got it wrong about the consequences for men who batter. Less than 1 percent in Arizona suffer any consequences. In only half of the domestic violence calls statewide do law enforcement even write a report. In only 23 percent do they arrest. In only 10 percent of the cases do they send the reports to the prosecutor. In only 22 percent of those cases does the perpetrator get any consequences. In addition, Arizona has an extremely high rate of dual arrest, centered in Tucson, so victims are being falsely arrested in an extraordinarily high number of cases.
The author's statement that female-to-male violence outnumbers male to female violence on television is so ridiculous as to be laughable. Every crime show is about women who were murdered; the missing persons shows are about women missing; and the news is about women being murdered.
Then the myth of mother custody rears its ugly head, and we see what this article is really about. It has been shown from more than 32 gender-bias studies and more than five studies of court systems that it is a complete myth that women win custody of children in divorce. But that myth has been told and retold so loudly so long that people find it hard to believe that it's a myth. Women get custody in 80 percent of the cases because men do not ask for custody.
Violence is wrong, no matter who does it. The AzCADV serves all victims. Men call our legal advocacy hotline, and they are treated the same as any other call. The three major metropolitan areas do have shelters for men. Tucson and Flagstaff have special groups for battered gay men as well; Phoenix is just getting theirs started. But to suggest that there is equity in violence between women and men is to deny reality. The only reason one would do that is to continue the status quo, the power and control of men over women in a patriarchy.
Director of systems advocacy
Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Finally, an article exposing violence perpetrated by women. As an avid feminist who is also a longtime therapist and social services worker, I have been outraged by society's increasing tolerance of violence by women. Younger women's bravado about their violence is particularly sickening to me since they didn't fight for the equal rights they now enjoy. I don't remember any of us working for equality on personal and social levels so that some actress can strike a man while the canned laughter booms from the television.
And if you want to really talk about women's violence, work in the field of child abuse a few years. But that's another story.
--Phyllis Nasta, counselor
Our nonprofit agency is one of four domestic violence service providers in Pima County: Administration of Resources and Choices. We provide a 24-hour, 365-day crisis line, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, individual and group treatment and other necessary services for disabled and later-life victims of domestic violence--both men and women. Since our services are not gender-limited, we feel that it is important to clarify that our victims are overwhelmingly women, mirroring the nationally available statistics documented by reputable sources: the Department of Justice, FBI, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, American Bar Association and National Center on Elder Abuse.
Since initiating domestic violence services to both genders in 1999, at least 10 females are victims for every one male victim. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior usually based on a patriarchal society and male strength. To date, our oldest victim served is a 93-year-old woman who suffered significant injuries from her 94-year-old spouse--the perpetrator.
Administration of Resources and Choices
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control that one person uses over another in order to dominate. Domestic violence is often manifestation of the oppression called sexism. In other words, it is often men using a sense of entitlement to control their female partner. But all forms of oppression come down to the same core definition: the abuse of power to control another.
Racism and heterosexism are manifested in other forms of social violence including hate crimes and discrimination. Domestic violence also occurs in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities at approximately the same rate as in heterosexual relationships. The same dynamic of power and control is at work.
Women do commit violence in our society, often in self-defense and sometimes in a bid for control. But in my experience, women's violence is sensationalized. When you watch the past news coverage of the rioting on Fourth Avenue, it is men causing the mayhem. But the headlines read something like, "Fans Out of Control." You can bet that if it were all women tipping over cars and setting fires, the headlines would read "Female Fans Out of Control" or "Women Riot." We don't point out male violence because it is so common, and by this omission, we make it invisible.
I feel compelled to point out that, although men commit a tragic amount of violence against women, the majority of the victims of male violence are other men--from schoolyard bullying to street crimes. Rather than slogging through a sensationalist article that preys upon our collective weakness for tabloid-style indignation, I would prefer to read a thoughtful examination of our society's fascination with power. What makes it OK to abuse privilege in order to control others?
Director of development and community relations
The Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services, Inc.
As a woman who was a victim of violence, nearly dying at the hands of her husband, I can feel empathy for men who are abused. I thank you for giving men the opportunity to speak out and I want to tell the author of that article how proud I am of her for speaking out.
When it happens to you, you find out who is truly there for you and who isn't. It is shocking and extremely disturbing. When you are abused, you find yourself isolated. When you walk away from the abuse, you find yourself isolated. All survivors--boys, girls, men, women--should have a voice that is heard and supported. Let us all unite--it all starts with a whisper.
The cover article "When Women Attack" was extremely unfortunate. The article depends on information from men's groups whose agendas have little to do with curbing violence against men and everything to do with Promise Keeper-style family values. If these groups like Men's Rights Inc. were interested in doing something about violence against men, they would realize that most (actually nearly all) violence against men is perpetrated by other men. Why, then, are there not hundreds of men's groups out there trying to stop this type of violence?
Men are remarkably quiet when it comes to doing something about their own behavior. Instead, there are hundreds of men's groups across the country decrying the injustice of women who attack their boyfriends/husbands. The situation is so far out of proportion to reality; why did Deidre Pike fail to mention it in her article? Indeed, you wouldn't have to look very hard at all to discover that most of these groups get their funding and information (the so-called "research" in the article) from the Promise Keepers and other right-wing neo-conservative groups like them. Not that they don't deserve to have their articles published, but to allow them to hide behind this phony concern for domestic violence is manipulative and insulting.
If the Tucson Weekly would care to remedy the gross misrepresentation of the facts resulting from this article, you would need to devote the next 1,000 cover stories to the violence done by men in this society.
Wow! Where should I begin? I guess I will begin at the end of Deidre Pike's article, "Men Who Get Hurt." She quotes Frederic Hayward, of Men's Rights, Inc., who states that, "People need to understand that women are just as human as men. They are just as capable of abusing power as men." This quote seems to be the main argument of her article. Although this article is rife with problems, I will point out three that are particularly annoying.
First, Pike assumes that we live in a gender utopia. What she overlooks is that women must have as much power (power defined as political, economic and cultural) as men across the board in order to abuse that power like men. Women are still denied institutional power today. Women are paid 76 cents for each dollar that men are paid. Things are not equal. This reflects the economic, cultural and social sexism that exists right now. When a man throws a punch at a women, that punch is furthered powered by a long history of patriarchal abuse. When a woman punches a man, that punch lacks the power of institutional sexism.
Second, Pike's article is not only sexist, but it is heterosexist. She assumes that men who suffer violence in a domestic situation are all assaulted by women. Although I am pained to think of Pike--with her low level of social-justice consciousness--dealing with the important issue of gay domestic violence, the fact remains that she does not excuse her heterosexual focus. This is very ironic since she did talk to a representative of the Wingspan Domestic Violence Project.
Third, Pike's article seems to contribute to the growing trend in of white, straight, male backlash. These people--who feel that "femi-Nazis," racial minorities, butch lesbians, immigrants and multiculturalism in general erode their power--don't need anymore publicity. They already run the government and own most media outlets.
The only redeemable point of analysis that I can scrape from Pike's piece is that if a woman in a domestic situation physically hurts a man repeatedly, that man should seek help and support. However, anybody in a violent situation should not suffer and should be protected by the police and the law from experiencing violence ever again.
Deidre Pike's argument that women are capable of abusing power just as men makes the phrase "journalistic integrity" oxymoronic.
I can relate to almost every incident recounted in your article on domestic violence against men: walking on eggshells, waiting for the next violent outburst, knowing that any attempt to defend myself would end in my arrest, being laughed at by social workers, judges etc, all of the people who should have been there to protect me.
We just fought a war to restore the civil rights of the Iraqis, yet we permit and even encourage women to strip their husbands and their children's fathers of their so-called inalienable rights. The chief weapon that they use against us is the American legal system. When will our civil rights be restored?
Thanks again for telling the truth!
Thank you for running the article, "When Women Attack." I have to admit that I can attest to the scenarios presented in the article with personal experiences. However, I think there are two scenarios which could have had more of an emphasis. One would be workplace violence by women, and the other--although it was mentioned--is emotional and mental manipulation by women.
With more women attaining professional status within the workforce, there is more opportunity for violent behavior against men. I have had the opportunity to work with many women. On at least five different occasions, I have been struck by women at work. One time, a woman swung a Polaroid camera and hit me. Another time, a woman repeatedly poked me in the chest with her finger and accused me of over-regulating my clients. On several occasions, this same woman bumped my chair and raked her breasts across my back, just to get a rise out of me.
Women can be manipulative and use their bodies as a tool to get what they want. Out of malice, my girlfriend in high school slept with five of my friends. What about the wife who won't have sex with her husband until she gets what she wants? I had a friend whose wife did not sleep with him for more than four years. They're now divorced.
Women manipulate with their clothing--sleeveless tops and low-cut jeans with the tops of their vaginas hanging out and their butt cracks exposed. When you look, you're scolded. That's manipulative.
Women attack in the home and in the workplace, and they use their bodies as a tool. Our society turns its back to this because the aggression is related to women's independence--something relatively new.
--Allan M. Sanchez