We will no longer participate in ‘debate’ here because it is not safe to do so given some participants’ tendency to respond with personal attacks, insults and rudeness. We regret this but still see MENZ Issues as an important repository for men’s movement and gender political news, so we will post our significant correspondence and news FYI. Trash our efforts and opinions to your heart’s content, delete our posts if you want. Happy bickering, name-calling and insulting!
MINISTRY OF MEN’S AFFAIRS
MINITATANGA MO NGA TANE
A Community Group because successive governments have ignored the voice and welfare of New Zealand men
PO Box 13130
28 November 2013
Dr Russell Wills
Sent via Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Dr Wills
Re: Your “Open letter: to the men of NZ whose violent behaviour is damaging their children’ released 25/11/2013
We are deeply concerned about the likely effects of your open letter on men, families and children, and about your support for the White Ribbon campaign.
Despite the afterthought in your letter acknowledging “Most men in New Zealand are not violent”, in the absence of any “open letter to the women of NZ whose violent, neglectful, substance-abusing or male-exploitative behaviour is damaging their children’, your letter discriminates against men and implies only men behave violently or damage children.
Your reference to children cowering and becoming frightened around the men in their lives deliberately ignores the extent to which children are damaged by women. Women kill the majority of very young children. Robust research including NZ’s longitudinal studies (as opposed to unscientific feminist advocacy “research’) has shown that partner violence is usually mutual arising out of relationship conflict. Women attack men with weapons, threats, verbal and emotional violence, false allegations, character assassination and parental alienation. They frequently maintain a barrage of complaining and ridicule towards male partners and continue following and provoking even when the male has tried to walk away from an argument. Many men suffer through female domination of families both during relationships and after separation. Women kill male partners at a lesser yet still significant rate and those partner homicides are often acts of revenge or jealous rage rather than any self-defense. Women’s contribution to family and social violence would not be disregarded in any genuinely motivated anti-violence initiative. The fact that you have singled out men for an “open letter’ suggests your motivation is not really to reduce violence or to protect children from related harm, but to earn approval from feminist supporters in their war to denigrate men.
The White Ribbon campaign excludes male victims of violence from concern and implies that violence committed by women is not worth worrying about. Due in part to misinformation from White Ribbon most people hold false beliefs about violence in NZ and are surprised to learn that men are more frequently the victims of family violence including homicide, and that men are much more frequently the victims of violence in our society generally. Other men commit the largest proportion of that violence but physical violence by women is not insignificant, and when it comes to non-physical forms of violence women commit a good share of it. Regardless of who committed the violence, its victims hurt and die the same and there is no justification for deliberately excluding male victims from concern.
It’s perplexing and appalling that taxpayer-funded institutions such as yours should be allowed to support a sexist, socially erosive campaign like White Ribbon. There is no government funding for groups who speak up for male victims, the most frequent victims of violence in NZ. Would you promote a campaign with posters that said “Maori, show you’re against violence towards Pakeha” and would you urge Maori to “sign a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards Pakeha’? Would you publish an open letter to “Maori whose violent behaviour is damaging their children’. Of course not. Even though such activities would be more justified on the basis of violence statistics, you would see them as stereotyping and denigrating of Maori and as amounting to racial discrimination. But when it comes to men they seem to be treated as fair game for all manner of unethical abuse. Why would you think it’s ok to do this to men? Stereotyping and discrimination are socially harmful regardless of the group targeted.
NZ men commit suicide at about 4 times the rate for women. More men commit suicide in NZ than die in road accidents. Your open letter will further reduce men’s status, worth and self-view, contributing to high suicide rates. Your letter will damage the children who will have to live with the consequences of your blaming and devaluing of men: suicide, depression, self-harm, self-neglect and substance abuse by fathers, uncles, brothers and male friends. Among other unintended consequences, your letter will also serve to increase family break-ups as women are increasingly encouraged to blame men and maleness for all problems rather than to seek solutions or look at their own contribution. Family break-ups harm children.
Our community NGO the Ministry of Men’s Affairs promotes a Black Ribbon Campaign encouraging people to show they reject violence towards women, men and children. We urge you to reconsider your support for White Ribbon and to redirect your good intentions towards activities truly likely to reduce violence in NZ and related harm to children.