Here comes the festive season, and the NZ Herald is at it again with a new campaign of male-bashing under the heading of ‘family violence’. This week they published a video called ‘Family violence over the festive season: the facts’ but those ‘facts’ were unreferenced, misleading and unbalanced with strong femaleist bias.
The first claim was that “On a normal day in New Zealand police respond to a family harm or violence incident every five minutes”. Well, the five-minute statistic for domestic call outs may be accurate (though no evidence is provided) but those call outs are not necessarily ‘family harm or violence incidents’. A good number of them will involve false allegations, variously warranted fears about the possibility some family member might become violent, concerns from overly-anxious and indoctrinated neighbours regarding normal arguments they can hear next door, non-violent breaches of ‘protection’ or ‘safety’ orders such as someone dropping off a birthday present in their child’s letter box, and other events that actually involve no ‘family harm or violence’ at all. We’re not saying the police should not have been notified in these cases (except the false allegations) but we do accuse the NZ Herald of spreading false propaganda by claiming that every call regarding alleged, suspected or potential family violence actually involves such violence.
The video went on to claim that “Over Christmas and New Year they’re called much more often than that”. Well, this may be true but without a figure that can be compared with ‘one call every 5 minutes’ it is difficult for readers to judge the validity of the ‘much more often’ claim. The video went on to state “Last December police investigated 10,645 incidents of family harm”. This figure would equate to one call every 4.2 minutes but the video did not provide that statistic. That’s a common propaganda tactic: quoting figures in inconsistent ways to prevent easy comparison or evaluation of related ideological claims. Although the December rate is higher than the claimed rate for a ‘normal day’ it’s a judgement call whether that amounts to ‘much more often’, and there are no figures provided for other months or days to allow consideration of normal variation. The claim concerning the higher December rate also included a repeat of the falsehood that every call investigated by police actually involved family harm.
The video then stated “Financial stress, drugs, alcohol and family pressure are often the triggers”. The Herald deserves applause for issuing this unusually truthful sentence rather than trotting out the longstanding, vacuous ‘patriarchal power and control’ explanation.
Unfortunately, that was the end of any responsible reporting in the video. It went on to claim that less than 20% of family violence offences are reported. Figures about unreported events will always be estimates of unknown reliability and deserve to be reported as such rather than as confident facts.
The video went on to state “That means there are thousands more women and children being hurt in our community”. Here the authors really show their cards as femaleist propaganda merchants. Male victims of family violence are completely ignored as if they don’t exist or don’t deserve any concern. For example, we know that on average in NZ over recent years 13 women, 10 men and 9 children were killed each year through family violence, so how on earth can it be justified to treat male victims as not worth mentioning? How would people react if, for example, an article on increased burglary over the holidays stated “That means there are thousands more white citizens coming home to find their homes burgled”? There would be outrage about the racism inherent in that statement but as usual, similar discrimination against men is thought acceptable. To us it’s not acceptable.
The video goes on to assert “Everyone deserves a safe and happy festive season”, “Everyone has the right to be free from fear” and “Violence is never OK”. Well, everyone has the right to their opinions but these assertions are merely opinions and quite shallow ones. Why everyone would ‘deserve’ a safe and happy festive season is unclear; what about reckless adventure sportspeople, drunk drivers, burglars and child molestors? Then, the idea that we have some ‘right’ to be free from fear is ridiculous. Fear is a normal emotion crucial for survival. While the message in the context of this video is understood, it’s more than academic to question it. Sure, if someone is being subjected to significant violence or threats it’s important they protect themselves by putting a stop to that behaviour one way or another. Fear is in fact an important source of motivation for such self-protective action. However, encouraging people to develop unrealistic beliefs about their rights is not helpful to them. They are likely to become foolishly dissatisfied with reality. If someone feels fear at home in response to something a partner did or said, that fear will actually arise from many factors including the sensitivity of the person’s own inherited emotional system, the person’s beliefs, thought patterns, interpretations and previous experiences that had nothing to do with the partner. Encouraging people to blame their partner for their own unhappy feelings is likely to increase relationship conflict and the risk of violence. Ironically, this is likely to impair their ability to have a safe and happy festive season.
The ideological slogan ‘Violence is never ok’ is equally shallow and irresponsible. The food we eat almost always comes from violence towards an animal or plant. If we are threatened with violence it’s important to believe it’s ‘ok’ to use whatever violence is necessary to protect ourselves. People benefit from becoming clear about the law, their legal rights and socially responsible moral codes, for which shallow ideological slogans don’t help. Instead, the vast expansion by femaleist campaigners of definitions of ‘violence’ has led to confusion and muddy thinking making it more difficult for people to achieve sound moral codes. For example, when any expression of dissatisfaction to a female partner that she doesn’t like to hear is categorized as ‘violence’, that will only impede couples’ ability to work through differences and resolve conflicts, leading to real violence such as the trashing of children’s family units.
The video ends as usual with a list of organizations that viewers/readers can contact if they are ‘in danger’. As usual, the list includes only women’s services. As usual, men don’t matter.