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MENZ Issues January 1998: Volume 3 Issue 1

Men’s Centre News- Recent Meetings Attended North Harbour Living Without Violence Collective, Well Men – new health initiative, Funding expo, Fathers who Care – Partners in Parenting focus group, Ian Revell MP’s public meeting on health issues.

Destruction of the Nuclear Family Article about the Neo-Marxist, Feminist attack

Should Corporal Punishment Be Abolished?

ACC Payments for recovered memories of Sexual Abuse – Letter to Jenny Shipley.

Family Violence: Guidelines for Providers to Develop Practice Protocols and Health and Disability Sector’s Response to Family Violence: Background paper. Public health Group, Ministry of Health, Sept 1997. – Discussion.

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Men’s Centre News – Recent Meetings

The last few weeks of 1997 saw myself and other members of the committee attending a long list of meetings of various kinds.

NORTH HARBOUR LIVING WITHOUT VIOLENCE COLLECTIVE

After reading in the files that our previous representative had been expelled from this pro-feminist group I was a little nervous about attending, but I was interested to hear Peter Adams and Alison Towns present their paper The Prevention of Male Violence Towards Female Partners, Obstacles to Policy Development and Future Directions so I took Felicity for protection, and went along. Besides myself there were 3 male anger management workers and 25 women. When I told everyone that I was from the Men’s Centre they were welcoming, and I learned a lot about the feminist perspective on domestic violence.

FUNDING EXPO

This was run by the North Shore Community & Social Service Council, and included a series of useful seminars about how to prepare successful funding applications.

WELL MEN

A group of five men including Stephen Gee (who worked on our 1996 Men’s Health Day committee) are in the process of starting a Men’s Health Initiative and are collecting information from interested people. I pointed out our opposition to the idea of using public funds for "changing the social construction of masculinity", which seems to be very trendy at the moment. I also mentioned the need for a prostate screening programme and followed this up by sending them some recent articles from medical journals.

FATHERS WHO CARE – PARTNERS IN PARENTING FOCUS GROUP

This is a research project into New Zealand fathers run by six female researchers at the Commission for Children. Mark and I pointed out how strange it would seem if six men were employed to research mothers, but we were assured that they are all well qualified for the job. At this stage they are mainly identifying the areas that need to be looked at, so we were glad to be able to contribute. We had to agree to keep the discussion confidential, but a written summary will be available in the New Year.

1998 MEN’S CENTRE STRATEGY

On the last Saturday in November the committee (including our co-opted new member Chuck Bird) met at my house over lunch to discuss what projects we want to undertake in 1998 and how we are going to get funding to facilitate them.

IAN REVELL (MP for Northcote) MEETING ON HEALTH ISSUES

Four of us attended this public meeting, as well as John Delamere, associate Minister of Health.

We raised the issues of prostate cancer screening, male suicide, Battered Woman Syndrome and the ACC counselling scam. Mr Revell undertook to look into the matter of prostate screening, so we will report his findings when he gets back to us. (here).

CERTIFICATE IN VIOLENCE AND TRAUMA STUDIES – A.I.T. OPEN DAY

The promotional material about this course quotes co-ordinator Helen Curren as claiming that in the future "there will be more career options with organisations such as Women’s Refuge, Victim Support, access programmes for children and other agencies providing programmes against violence."

Clair Cartwright, acting Head of Department explained that the course was originally designed to give formal recognition to the mostly unqualified people who have been working in the field of family violence prevention. She told us that the course has a theoretical orientation and a pro-feminist approach. She warned me that they are unlikely to accept people unless they have some prior involvement with this kind of work.

John Potter – January 1998.

Destruction of the Nuclear Family

In 1997, families headed by a single mother are the fastest growing category in New Zealand, despite clear social science research evidence that this type of "family" does not lead to the best outcomes for children, and that children living without their natural fathers are at the greatest risk of abuse and neglect. To understand why this situation has developed, we need to examine the social forces and government policies throughout the world that have shaped our current society.

According to Friedrich Engels, who together with Karl Marx issued the Communist Manifesto in 1848, marriage was created to facilitate class inequality and the oppression of women. Later, Sigmund Freud briefly introduced the idea that adult dysfunction was caused by psychological trauma in childhood, as a result of incest by fathers with their children, although he soon retracted this theory. These two ideas in the hands of late 20th century ideologues have created massive social change that many commentators believe are now destroying our civilisation.

INFLUENCE OF FEMINISM

In 1970 Kate Millet published "Sexual Politics: a Manifesto for Revolution" which demanded the liberation of children from what she called "the ancient oppression of the young under the patriarchal proprietary family". She went on to argue for the "professionalization and therefore improvement of their care". Another persistently influential book of the same era by sociologist Jessie Bernard called The Future of Marriage put forward the thesis that marriage was good for men and bad for women. A careful examination of her data in the appendix shows that in fact married women reported being just as happy as men, however Bernard explains that this is only because society expects women to say this. Clearly these poor, deluded women needed to be re-educated.

Radical feminists concluded correctly that the nuclear family provides the foundation for our patriarchal society, which of course they intend to overthrow. They are undeterred by the fact that all human societies studied to date seem to have been patriarchal to one extent or another. Feminists also decided that women’s work such as childcare should be valued equally to men’s work, and feminism became increasingly influenced by Marxist notions of class struggle, with its collectivist and coercive solutions. Clearly the radical feminist goal of destroying society as we know it is best served by public policies which discourage families headed by fathers, reduce children’s contact with men, and which increase their exposure to mostly female staffed state institutions and non government organisations that are susceptible to political manipulation and control.

In the 1980s, some of the most extreme radical feminists became lesbian separatists and attempted to create lifestyles where men were excluded altogether. They believed that most effective way to re-socialise children would be to keep them totally away from male influence. Women-only households were set up and children were brought up solely by females. Sperm could be easily obtained from gay male acquaintances, and educational material on insemination via syringe was made widely available. The outcome of this experiment is unknown. We do know that assaults on lone mothers by their teenage sons (who have never been shown by a man how to treat women with respect), are an increasing problem. It is not clear where heterosexual men fit in to this radical feminist utopia, perhaps in the future someone will come up with a "final solution" to the "male question".

INDOCTRINATION

A recent study that critiques the 20 main textbooks used to teach Americans about marriage and the family concluded that "students who use the information in these textbooks as a basis for their future decisions – as social workers, counsellors, teachers, nurses, family lawyers, psychologists and other professional custodians of the family – will have been consistently misled on important topics, from the risks of divorce to the correlates of child abuse, from the benefits of marriage to the costs of voluntary single motherhood."

By infiltrating existing organisations like the Family Planning Association, lesbian activists have been able to mount massive government-funded educational campaigns aimed at schoolchildren where blatant promotion of homosexual lifestyles is disguised as "affirming diversity". Rape Crisis and Woman’s Refuge workers have begun to run programmes in many N.Z. schools designed to uncover sexual abuse and family violence so that social services can intervene to ‘rescue’ the women and children.

SEXUAL ABUSE HYSTERIA

Of course the family has been under suspicion as the prime perpetrator of childhood trauma since the time of Freud, but its reputation plunged even lower in the early 1980s when workers started uncovering massive amounts of previously unsuspected child abuse. It soon became clear that violent abuse and neglect was largely perpetrated by women (who after all do spend a lot more time with children), and that violent, dysfunctional families often tended to be members of oppressed victim groups who were not accountable for their behaviour according to current dogma.

Accordingly, the focus of official attention shifted rapidly to sexual abuse, which was nearly always done by men and which occurred in all socio-economic groups. Feminist groups which claim to be stamping out the sexual and physical abuse of women and children have now successfully captured a large part of the moral high ground from the religious right. Because they claim to be working to help traumatised children, their programs and appeals are difficult and even dangerous to criticise.

In 1988 New Zealanders watched what was probably the world’s most profitable telethon raise $5.5 million dollars for feminist causes. The massive fundraising campaign used fake statistics supplied by lesbian psychologist Miriam Saphira which claimed that "one in four New Zealand girls are sexually abused before they turn 18. Half of them by their own father." In actual fact fewer than one in 100 girls are abused by their biological father.

All over the western world, widely publicised sex-abuse scandals at daycare centres have made professional childcare a very dangerous and unattractive career for a man. In New Zealand, Peter Ellis of Christchurch and Geoff Scott from Wellington both went to jail after being accused of sexual abuse by pre-schoolers. The common factor in all these daycare cases is that the little children received hours of indoctrination with adult sexual fantasies by sex abuse "experts" before making their "disclosures". Researchers have found that a fear of false accusations is now one of the major factors that explains why so many men nowadays are avoiding or leaving the teaching professions.

IMPACT OF POP PSYCHOLOGY

In their 1988 book Courage to Heal, which has sold almost a million copies, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis resurrected and modified Freud’s theory that traumatic episodes of parental incest could be banished to the unconscious by a mechanism called "repression". Whereas Freud had been referring to unacceptable feelings and impulses, these two feminist writers stated that entire memories of events repeated over many years could be totally repressed, and later "recovered" by skilled therapists using hypnosis and similar techniques. They told women that even if they remembered a happy childhood, "if you think you might have been abused, you probably were."

Susan Forward wrote in her in 1990 book Toxic Parents, "Your parents are accountable for what they did. Of course, you are responsible for your adult life, but that life was largely shaped by experiences over which you had no control." Psychologist John Bradshaw claims that as many as 96% of American families are dysfunctional. He is the author of many books and a frequent TV guest in the USA. He advocates healing your inner child, and runs therapy groups where adult men and women holding teddy bears listen to a maternal heartbeat in an effort to cure themselves of their parents.

In 1996, psychologist Tana Dineen described in "Manufacturing Victims" how the psychology industry continually generates new business and expands its market by uncovering new sources of pathology which were previously considered normal life events".

FAMILY COURTS

The family court has been one of the most effective institutions in the drive to remove fathers from the lives of children. In the decade leading up to 1990 (when they decided to stop collecting these damming statistics) women in New Zealand were awarded sole custody from 84% – 74% of the time in contested cases. In comparison, fathers gained sole custody in only 8% to 13% of cases. Joint custody was awarded around 10% of the time. Everything about the operation of the Family Court is secret, and there are few constraints on individual judges. Justice is never seen to be done. Standards of proof are much lower than in the criminal courts, which in effect means that a totally uncorroborated accusation of abuse is enough to loose a father anything other than supervised access to his children. This is typically an hour and half a month and he has to pay a social worker (usually female) to watch his every move and listen to everything he says to make sure he doesn’t mention any banned topics.

INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM

Matthias Matussek writes in DER SPIEGEL, November 17, 1997 that today German fathers are "Disenfranchised by mothers, who according to a survey of the German Institute for Youths, deny the existence of the love that fathers have for their children, on the basis that it interferes with the upbringing of children. The fatherless society–a radical-feminist futuristic goal is quietly and slowly becoming reality……

Rarely has jurisprudence like that of the German Family Law appealed so successfully to primitive instincts, to the raging wish to destroy and soil with spite. False allegations are seldom prosecuted, to the contrary. The awarding of the right to custody speaks for rewarding them. Separated lone-mothers have secured sole custody of the child for themselves in 75 out of every 100 cases.

In Sweden, a children-friendly country with a children-friendly system of justice, shared parenting is the rule even after separation. In Germany, the child is instead an asset which women overwhelmingly secure for themselves."

A CONTEMPORARY FEMINIST VIEW

Feminists still claim that the state should be ultimately responsible for children, and that if what we are doing is not working, the answer is to spend more money and do more of it. Sandra Coney, writing in the Sunday Star-Times on 2nd Feb 1997, is critical of the first small steps taken to reform what she calls the "Nanny State". She claims that "This changed stance has followed New Zealand’s lurch to the right, reinforced by religious fundamentalism". Ms Coney believes that we are confused about who should be responsible for children’s welfare, and that individual parental rights have been exaggerated. She claims the argument that only parents should provide support for their children reduces children to personal property She disapproves of parents being given the right to choose their children’s schools, or being able to control the type of education they get. She says that these changes benefit only the children of the well-off, although even these unfortunate children still have to "bear the burden of heavy parental expectations. Parents no longer simply want their children to be happy, they want them to succeed". Perhaps wanting your child to succeed is about to become a form of emotional and psychological child abuse!

J.P.

Should Corporal Punishment Be Abolished?

One young neighbour of mine, a doting first-time parent, gushed to me "a child comes into the world perfect, and our duty is not to interfere with it". Whatever else you think of Freud, you will I hope prefer as more realistic his rival slogan: "the arrival of a baby in a household constitutes a barbarian invasion".

What I say to those who utterly oppose corporal punishment is as follows.

If you see your toddler across the room about to electrocute or scald itself, too far away for you to restrain the child physically, do you or do you not want the child to obey your command at a distance? If that child is to act safely (contrary to its own ignorant inquisitive impulse at the time), it will have to freeze or take evasive action in direct, blind, trusting obedience to your order.

I contend that you owe the child such previous conditioning as will cause it to obey.

What background must have been established between you and the child in order for that obedience to be forthcoming when required? In general, the previous history of the child will have included many probings of limits, which were of course met in the first instance by verbal prohibitions. When the child escalated defiance on previous occasions, after several stages of to-and-fro a stage arrived when the parent (or guardian) either used physical force on the child to assert due authority or allowed the child’s will to prevail.

If the child has always been allowed the last word or action, then the child will likely assume the emergency sketched above to be just another opportunity for assertiveness, just another verbal joust in which it can expect to ‘win’. Unless a few previous experiences have convinced the child that an extreme ’emergency command’ tone must be obeyed, the child will likely go ahead and maim or kill itself. Mere verbal exchanges previously will not have ensured the needed obedience.

The parent will thus have failed the child by failing to insist that the basis of running the world is the superior knowledge & wisdom which adults do, by & large, accumulate.

On this approach, the typical child’s upbringing will require a few well-chosen careful applications of corporal punishment. These must be such that the child will understand (insofar as it is able) the justice involved, and will be treated throughout with evident stern love. Many of my friends agree that this type of upbringing served them very well; and they thank, rather than resent, their parents for it.

I am not aware that theorists such as the Ritchies have discussed this well-established approach to child-rearing.

The criterion of the child’s personal safety, which I have relied upon in the above example, is of course not the whole story. Other criteria also apply. A child’s desires cannot be allowed to prevail always over the legitimate needs & desires of the adults it affects. I contend that adults owe children guidance on the limits of behaviour which constitute civilisation. Today over-indulged wilful children are hampering education by sabotaging schoolroom work just for ‘fun’, and the teachers no longer have available to them the stricture of corporal punishment to curb serious persistent antisocial behaviour. This is bad for the offenders as well as everyone else involved.

Worse, Jane Ritchie has for some years been advocating the creation of a new statutory crime: corporal punishment on your own child in your own home. Since starting this campaign, she has stated on radio that she does not envisage any prosecutions after this crime has been inserted on the statute book. She thus reveals a thoroughly confused, if sincere, attitude to the law. It is no proper function of Parliament to pass laws which are not intended to be enforced.

Obviously, important issues must not be avoided – excessive force, let alone habitual brutality without any pretence at justice must be deterred and punished where possible. But a reasonably considered smack is not at all like those excesses. It is the minimal violence which will prevent later, much worse, violence (some of it on innocent third parties such as those maimed in road crashes by selfish young drivers).

I emphasize the concept of minimising violence, as opposed to the modern trend to attempt abolition of violence. It does seem to me that the best we can hope for is to minimise violence. (A fine example is the handful killed by Cook’s men in the first two days onshore at Gisborne, preventing much larger scales of violence which appeared incipient, and causing no detectable resentment.)

The above is only a bare outline of the approach, and no novelty can be claimed for it – indeed I claim for it the virtue of long testing, rather than the risks of novelty.

Dr Robert Mann.

(Slightly adapted from artical published in the N.Z. Herald on 5th Nov.)

ACC Payments for recovered memories of Sexual Abuse

– Letter to Jenny Shipley.

NOVEMBER 97 COSA EDITORIAL

COSA has documentation of numerous cases of children and adults receiving ACC-funded counselling, and ACC lump-sum payment and disability allowance, for alleged sexual assaults that never happened. In some of these cases, sadly people have come to wrongly believe they are victims of sexual abuse and rape; in other cases, they have knowingly made false allegations and hence are guilty of fraud. As Richard Prebble, ACT leader, is quoted as saying last month "The whole question of fraud and accident compensation do appear to go together". Last year Jeff Chapman, former Auditor-General and prior to that the chief executive of ACC, was convicted of fraud, committed both at ACC and at the Audit Office. Chapman’s successor at ACC, Gavin Robins, has now also been charged with fraud. He has been dismissed by the board and is awaiting trial.

Over the years COSA has written to ACC Ministers Bruce Cliffe and Doug Kydd about our concerns (such as ACC not requiring any corroboration of a claim and the huge cost of ‘recovered memory therapy’ incurred by ACC). We also wrote to Gavin Robins when he was the Managing Director. We have received numerous polite responses effectively ignoring the issues and closing the debate. Now that ACC is undergoing a major shake-up, with a new Managing Director and Minister, and hopefully finally prepared to address the issue of fraud, we feel that it is time to start again.

The following letter was recently sent to the (now ex-)Minister for Accident Compensation, the Hon Jennifer Shipley. In the interest of space, the extensive reference list has been deleted.

"DEAR MINISTER,

I have had ongoing concerns about ACC-funded sexual abuse counselling for a number of years now, and have written to previous Ministers for ARCI (Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance) about these.

A primary concern is about the verification of sexual abuse allegations. While many ACC claims will relate to genuine events, I know of a significant number of instances where people have obtained lump sum and counselling payments for alleged events which never occurred. Untrue claims may be deliberate, but are more likely to be inadvertent, whereby someone comes to believe she or he has been sexually assaulted when in fact this has not occurred. This might be due either to frank psychotic illness or through the creation of pseudomemories. The latter is more likely to occur when recall is of long past events. There is a huge body of literature and research on this topic.

Pseudomemories may occur during the process of counselling or in other circumstances where past memories are cued. When some current happening triggers the retrieval from memory of long-forgotten events, there may be increased recall of the details of an actual sexual experience, but there may also be progressive confabulation related to suggestions of friends and family, a counsellor, the media, the hypersensitivity to sexual abuse in our community today, or the desire of patients to find an explanation why their lives are not going well for them. Without external corroboration, clinicians cannot tell the difference between believed-in fantasy and viable memory about the past.

A second concern regards the effects of sexual abuse. There are no specific indicators of a past history of sexual abuse, with the obvious exceptions of markers of past sexual activity such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Adverse events in childhood can result in emotional problems as an adult. Statistically, someone who has suffered sexual abuse in childhood is more likely to develop some sort of psychological problem as an adult, than someone who was not sexually abused. However large numbers of studies have failed to demonstrate that there is any causal relationship between childhood molestation and any specific childhood or adulthood psychological problem.

Furthermore, most people who have been sexually abused do not appear to suffer either short-term or long-term psychiatric harm (although this in no way condones such behaviour). The majority of people are hardy and demonstrate resilience; a minority are vulnerable and develop a wide range of problems, but their response is idiosyncratic and unpredictable.

Prof. Sarah Romans from the Otago School of Medicine reports that about 75% of victims of even the most severe child sexual abuse show no long-term psychiatric problems; most of those with problems also had histories of family violence or emotional neglect as well. She believes that the effects of child sexual abuse have been exaggerated, and many victims have not had life-long trauma as a result.

Her findings are supported by foreign research. A recent meta-analysis showed that only 10-15% of victims get worse over a 2 year period following victimisation. There is no way currently to identify the children who will develop problems.

There is also no evidence to demonstrate that recalling and reliving childhood trauma, either real or metaphorical, is beneficial. Most interventions currently offered have not been subjected to scientific scrutiny. Unfortunately, no beneficial relationship between treatment for child sexual abuse and outcome has been found.

Rather than treating the event per se (ie sexual abuse), when psychotherapy is used it should be directed at treating symptoms if or when they develop.

This view is endorsed by the American Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). In their 1993 Specific Psychotherapy Practice Guidelines outlining the established standard of care, they recommend psychotherapy that is active, time-limited (brief), focused on current problems and aimed at symptom resolution.

Therapies that work best are ones which do not explore the past but which facilitate people to make changes to help them achieve their goals. The short-term therapies shown to be most effective are cognitive, behavioural or interpersonal. These therapies focus on helping people change the way they think about things, the way they act or the way they relate to others, in a direction designed to help them achieve their goals. An emphasis on clients’ histories in explaining their problems is an inefficient form of treatment. Delving into the past to come up with reasons why they have not achieved their goals will be singularly unhelpful. Dynamic psychotherapy which explores people’s childhoods, encourages them to experience their feelings (such as catharsis) and makes symbolic interpretations is likely to lead to the worst possible outcomes.

The claim made by many counsellors that sexual abuse counselling is a long slow process should be critically reviewed. The clear signal from current research is that preferable alternative interventions should be the use of brief, solution-orientated therapies which have been shown to be effective and safe by controlled outcome studies.

Not only has the approach of revisiting the past not been shown to be effective; when someone with psychological problems attends sexual abuse counselling, there is a significant risk that treatment for their presenting or co-existing problems, such as anxiety or depression, is neglected. Dr Romans recently reported that she had seen women have months of ineffective counselling for a sexual abuse history before assessment indicated depression, and once this was treated, worry about sexual abuse disappeared. The focus of therapy should be aimed at the wider contextual background of the client, not just sexual abuse and its assumed effects.

A further long-term concern of mine is that the problem has been compounded by the excessive broadening of the definition of child sexual abuse, which has inflated the prevalence figures, and hence increased expectations by some professionals that sexual abuse has contributed to their clients’ problems. Dr Romans recently shared this concern.

There is considerable scientific backing to the claims above, which I would be happy to provide.

ACC funds sexual abuse counselling but not mental health services in general. This situation has put pressure on both practitioners and their clients to report and focus on sexual abuse issues, to obtain funding support. This may lead to inappropriate treatment being provided which may be damaging and unhelpful for the client, as well as inefficient for ACC.

I submit that legislation should be altered to allow all New Zealand citizens equal access to mental health services, irrespective of the hypothesised cause of their current conditions. Would you please take these issues into account in any future review of ACC legislation.

Signed Felicity Goodyear-Smith"

We are not alone in our concerns. Labour MP Mark Peck is proposing a private members’ bill relating to the regulation of counsellors and ways of holding them accountable for their actions.

Phil Goff, Opposition Spokesperson on Justice, has recently written to Mrs Shipley about issues relating to alleged sexual abuse and ACC payments.

F.G.-S.

Family Violence: Guidelines for Providers to Develop Practice Protocols and Health.

Also, Disability Sector’s Response to Family Violence: Background paper.

Public health Group, Ministry of Health, Sept 1997.

The aim of these two papers is to provide an overview of the issues relating to Family Violence generally, and to inform the development of appropriate responses by social service providers. Cynics might think that another aim is to create all those new jobs the AIT Violence and Trauma studies course is training people for, particularly when they read "that following the introduction of a protocol to elicit a trauma history and ask directly about violence in a Pennsylvania emergency department the percentage of female trauma cases positively identified as stemming from domestic violence rose from 5.6% to 30%".

The guidelines state that "regular and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the service provided to victims is required to enable the identification of emerging issues", and that there should be both process evaluation ("to ensure protocols, procedures and policies were well planned, evidence based and responsive to emerging information about their feasibility, appropriateness and effectiveness") as well as outcome evaluation to determine whether interventions are resulting in improved management of the problem.

These papers are unlikely to assist in achieving these goals. As is common with pro-feminist advocacy material, it is simply assumed that family violence is exclusively perpetrated by men. The authors twice state that "Family violence is a powerful tool in maintaining and compounding social, cultural, political and economic inequality between men and women."

While men do commit most sexual abuse, reliable studies show that women are responsible for the majority of physical abuse and neglect of both children and the elderly (partly because they are more likely to be caring for vulnerable dependents). Women initiate partner violence and kill their children as often or more than men do. Men’s greater strength is more than compensated for by women’s greater use of weapons.

Some researchers are finding that rates of violence by men are now lower than they were in previous decades, whereas it appears that female rates are increasing. Lesbians in particular are renowned for the high levels of violence in their relationships. Although children at the highest risk of all kinds of abuse live in situations where the biological father is absent, there is no suggestion that strategies might aim to reduce the number of solo mothers rearing children alone.

These papers rely on data from unpublished reports (which mean the methods and findings cannot be assessed as to their accuracy), and simply ignore the bulk of New Zealand and foreign research that show results which do not conform to the authors’ bias. Either they do not understand the limitations of the statistics they use, or they are deliberately attempting to mislead policymakers. Data from clinical populations such as women in therapy or staying at refuges cannot be generalised to the population at large. Relying on national crime surveys or police records for data on men is even more distorting, given the fact that current police policy is to charge the man, no matter who is at fault.

The failure of the background paper in particular to refer to the established scientific literature is alarming, and clearly runs counter to the expressed aims of developing protocols, procedures, policies, and programmes which are evidence-based and which take into account available and accurate information.

UNITED NATIONS’ INFLUENCE

The source and political orientation of the people behind this push to make males solely responsible for the world’s problems can be ascertained by reading the following extract, which neatly summarises the areas where feminist efforts are currently directed:

"The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was adopted by the United Nations in December 1993. This was welcomed by the New Zealand Government and outlines the role of violence by men towards family members. Violence is a powerful tool in maintaining and compounding social, cultural, political and economic inequality between men and women. The direct effects are borne by individuals and families but the cumulative loss of potential and erosion of life chances are detrimental to the whole of society.

For example, legislation and justice reform will be required to protect members of society and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions against others. Fiscal reform will be required to reduce economic inequalities. Employment policies need to embrace concepts of employment equity. Education policies need to be examined in order to break down stereo types leading to power imbalances, to encourage healthy communication and relationships, and to deal with racism, sexism and homophobia."

It seems clear to us at the Men’s Centre that these are programmes designed to radically alter our present society, and that they are already having this effect. The implications of an unaccountable, faceless international organisation having the ability to manipulate a democratically elected sovereign government in this devious and dishonest manner are frightening.

We gather that moves are now afoot to allow non-governmental organisations (such as Rape Crisis and Woman’s Refuge) to complain directly to United Nations about "abuses of human rights". Does this mean that investigators backed by blue-helmeted troops are going to start turning up in New Zealand to investigate government officials for failing to carry out "reforms" with sufficient dedication?

It also appears that individuals can complain direct to Geneva when their human rights are abused. In a future MENZ Issues (here) we’ll tell about a man who’s just told them that his were denied by the family court.

J.P.

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