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MENZ Issues November 1997: Volume 2 Issue 3

Battered Woman Syndrome to enter NZ Law? Social Security (Conjugal Status) Amendment Bill.

Men’s Centre News Support received from members, funds needed urgently.

Feminist Jurisprudence and Psychology How law is used as a tool to destroy the patriarchy.

Female Violence – the last major hidden social problem? Suppression of information; Erin Pizzey, founder of first UK refuge, New Zealand Hitting Home’ report.

Father-bashing in the media Dads Killing Kiwi Kids?

Battered Woman Syndrome Article about Lenore Walker.

Letter to Editor wins award False sexual abuse claims.

Gay Oakes – mad or bad? Interview with Chuck Bird, spokesman for Families Apart Require Equality on "The Men’s Hour", 8th September 97

Woman not jailed for attacking unfaithful lover Vicious attack leads only to supervision.

Young women and men equally likely to be perpetrators of domestic violence Information from Dr Phil Silva’s Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Study.

Men in Change North Shore weekly support group for men.

Sexual Abuse of Males – New Zealand’s untold story…..or untapped market? Report on DSAC (Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care) September 97 conference.

bag of money

Battered Woman Syndrome to enter N.Z. Law?

The Social Services Select Committee is currently considering the Social Security (Conjugal Status) Amendment Bill, which is intended to facilitate the granting of an emergency benefit "where battered woman syndrome is present or there are grounds for believing it is present".

This attempt to get the syndrome into legislation ‘through the back door’ is intended to deal with the recent successful appeal of a conviction for defrauding Social Welfare. The woman concerned claimed that her partner spent all his earnings on himself, and she needed the Domestic Purposes Benefit to support her and the children. Her lawyer had argued that because she was repeatedly beaten, she was not able to take responsibility for her actions.

Inside, and in future MENZ Issues, articles examine issues around B.W.S., violence in families, the laws and programs supposedly dealing with the problem, and the influence of powerful radical feminists.

Men’s Centre News

Members get in behind committee

The Men’s Centre received over a dozen supportive phone calls after mailing out the October newsletter. The most exciting was from member Craig Wedge, who promised that for the next year he will pay the $45 a month broadcast fee that we are charged by Access Radio. The committee can only do so much – we will survive because of people like Craig who are prepared to regularly spend a bit of money to finance our work. It is a great relief to know that we have this sort of practical support behind us.

We also had a visit from Mike Jones, publisher of Audio Enz magazine, who gave both my wife Felicity (editor of COSA newsletter) and me a lesson on layout and presentation. David Gottschalk, who hosts the Men’s Centre website, has donated free internet access, and another supporter has given us a new CD drive, modem, and some extra RAM.

One Critical Member

We did receive one letter from a member who no longer wishes to be "associated with our biased political views". He thinks "our constant complaints about how badly men are treated is (sic) absolute nonsense," and "as a stance it is puerile and irrational."

We are not in the business of claiming victim status for men. I believe this approach has done untold harm to both women and racial minorities, and probably only really benefits the organisations claiming to represent the oppressed class.

The reality of living in a somewhat democratic society like New Zealand however, is that resources are directed towards groups that successfully lobby those who hold the purse strings. Legislation is influenced by those who make submissions and generate public support.

As far as I can tell, all of the committee personally have rather comfortable lifestyles (and excellent relationships with women). It would be easy to say to ourselves "I’m all-right, Jack", and keep our heads in the sand. After you’ve put a bit of time in talking to men in distress on the phone, or attending male support groups and listening to men’s tragic stories, it becomes obvious that there are some things that must be changed.

"It is only necessary for good men to say nothing, for evil to triumph." Edmund Burke.

John Potter, November 1997.

Feminist Jurisprudence

Over the coming months, MENZ Issues will be examining the effect of recent changes to the law and the way the justice system operates in New Zealand. To understand what is driving these changes, we need to examine the influence of radical feminist theory, and the increasing influence of the psychology profession on our court processes. Writers who criticise radical feminism are typically attacked as "anti women", which inhibits many men from speaking out. However, as Christina Hoff Sommers points out in her book Who Stole Feminism, the radical feminists can no longer claim to have support from women generally, and there is a growing body of excellent writing by women who question the radical agenda.

In both law and clinical psychology, the growth of the number of women in the ranks has been exponential over the last few decades in the USA, and the situation is similar in NZ. Today the majority of American lawyers, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists are women. Psychologist Margaret A. Hagen, author of the 1997 book Whores of the Court-The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice, writes:

‘That the vast increase of the number of women in the mental health profession coincided with the boom years of the women’s liberation movement has had significant consequences for the interface between psychology and law.’

Cathy Young, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, sums up the situation: ‘In the past decade, feminist legal theory has become a formidable presence in many of America’s top law schools. Feminist activism has also had a major impact on many areas of the law, including rape, self-defence, domestic violence, and such new legal categories as sexual harassment. However, the ideology of legal feminism today goes far beyond the original and widely supported goal of equal treatment for both sexes. The new agenda is to redistribute power from the "dominant class" (men) to the "subordinate class" (women), and such key concepts of Western jurisprudence as judicial neutrality and individual rights are declared to be patriarchal fictions designed to protect male privilege.

Many feminist-initiated legal reforms have addressed real wrongs, such as the tendency to treat rape victims more harshly and suspiciously than victims of other crimes, and inadequate protection for victims of domestic violence. But feminist pressure has also resulted in increasingly loose and subjective definitions of harassment and rape, dangerous moves to eviscerate the presumption of innocence in sexual assault cases, and a broad concept of self-defence in cases of battered wives that sometimes amounts to a license to kill an allegedly abusive spouse.

Courts and legislatures should resist efforts to limit individual rights in the guise of protecting women as a class, and reaffirm the fundamental principle consistent with the classical liberal origins of the movement for women’s rights: equality before the law regardless of gender.’

Radical Feminist Theory

Consider how Judith Herman, a Harvard psychiatrist well known in the fields of incest and recovered memory, explains the personal and professional history of writing her 1992 book Trauma and Recovery.

"This book owes its existence to the women’s liberation movement. Its intellectual mainspring is a collective feminist project of reinventing the basic concepts of moral development and abnormal psychology, in both men and women…….The day-to-day practice that gave rise to this book began twenty years ago with the formation of the Women’s Mental Health Collective……..The collective is still my intellectual home, a protected space within which women’s ideas can be named and validated."

Margaret A. Hagen continues: ‘The underlying logic of women’s liberation went like this: Sex is political and politics is about power. Power relationships are either equal or unequal. Power inequity is bad. In our society, men have more power than women, so all sexual relationships between men and women are unequal power relationships, with women on the weaker end. This is bad.

The Dysfunctional Family Model of Life and Society

According to modern [radical feminist] theory, psychological life begins with pathogenic interactions between the Father Rapist and his sexually – and otherwise – abused children. In the natural course of development, these abused children grow up to become Abuse Survivors and Battered Women who will be wives to the next generation of Father Rapists. Mother in this scenario is a long-suffering, saintly soul who is helpless to protect herself, shelter her children, or change her life in any way. Thus has clinical theory transformed the roles of husband and wife and father, mother, and child into a truly hideous domestic scene held to be ubiquitous, if not universal, in America today.’

Expert psychological witnesses in courts

As a developmental psychologist, Hagen has a clear understanding of the limits of what can be scientifically validated. Her book is very critical of clinical psychologists who give expert testimony in court, guided only by their intuition and personal ideology.

‘Our common desperation seems to have produced the common delusion that experts actually exist who really can determine with the unerring instincts of a homing pigeon exactly where the best interests of the child lie, where the child should live, whether and how a child has been hurt, and who is unfit to be a parent at all, who should have the right and the duty to care for a child, who should see the child only under restricted conditions, and who should be kept away from the child altogether.

Acceptance of their expertise has led us to trust professionals to make these decisions for the family court system. That means ultimately that we also grant them the power to make these decisions for our own families. The abstract need for society to protect its children becomes inevitably the rape of the rights of the real parents of individual children. Once again, the institutionalisation of society’s desire to "do good" results in terrible harm for those in the path of the "do gooders".

The marriage of law and psychology has reached the heights of disproportionate power for the psychologists not just in the family courts but in all legal disputes in which a psychological matter is at issue. Judges buy the validity of the expertise of the confident psychological practitioner and no doubt welcome the opportunity to make their own decisions on some foundation other than personal opinion and bias.

It is this understandable desire that has led to the recent explosion in our courts of cases alleging mental and emotional – psychic – injury, all requiring the expert testimony of the psychological witness.’

John Potter

Link to Feminist Jurisprudence: Equal Rights Or Neo-Paternalism?

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-256es.html

Female Violence – the last major hidden social problem?

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Over 25 years ago, the first British refuge for battered women was opened by Erin Pizzey. In her book Prone to Violence, she wrote "Of the first 100 women admitted to Chiswick Women’s Aid, 62 were as violent as the man they were fleeing." She went on to describe how groups of refuge women would go out at night to get drunk and look for fights with men. She also outlined a theory that adults from severely disfunctional backgrounds somehow get the response to pleasure and pain stimulus mixed up, so that they only become sexually aroused when involved in violent confrontation. Pizzey’s main concern was the children involved, who she could see were inevitably becoming the next generation of abusers.

Although at first her work had been welcomed by the local feminists, the book made her persona non grata in the women’s movement. Radical feminist doctrine defines violence as a tool of the patriarchy designed to oppress women. When Pizzey began to receive threats on her life and bomb scares at her house, she was forced to move her family to Europe for their safety.

"My work has been co-opted by academic feminists in search of grant money, and the money is now going to them instead of the women in the shelters who need it." she wrote. "When we opened Chiswick Women’s Aid, we thought we were doing something good for women and children. We wanted to protect the women and children, and to help people, men as well as women, learn to live together peacefully. When I look around and see what the feminists have done with all of it, I’m sorry I even started it."

This deliberate supression of the fact of female violence continues to this day. In 1995 the N.Z. Skeptics awarded their annual Bent Spoon to an official Justice Dept. report on domestic violence entitled Hitting Home which only considered men hitting women. The report was enthusiastically endorsed by women’s groups, particularly Women’s Refuge. Their spokesperson Maria Bradshaw defended the report by claiming that 97% of the perpetrators of violence in N.Z. who come to public attention are males.

Proper studies of domestic violence consistantly find that women initiate just as much violence as men.

The radical feminist agenda has been advanced in the courtroom by well-paid "expert witnesses" who promote pseudo-scientific theories such as Battered Woman Syndrome. Margaret Hagen points out that "Modern psychology, permeating our culture and our legal system, has convinced society that responsibility for behaviour belongs to the background and context in which it occurs, not to the individual performing the action."

If we are serious about reducing the amount of violence in our society, we need to move beyond the "abuse excuse" for women, and the blaming of men for behaviour that is common in all humans. Anti-violence programmes should be designed for couples to learn alternative methods of conflict resolution, and should be required to demonstrate their effectiveness as a condition of receiving official certification and funding.

The intergenerational cycle of family violence will continue until men and women alike learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

J.P.

The book Prone to Violence by Erin Pizzey is now available on the web:
http://www.massey.ac.nz/~kbirks/gender/viol/ptv/ptv.htm

Father-bashing in the media

In August the Sunday News would have made many fathers justifiably angry, and caused unnecessary worry in the minds of many mothers of young children.

From a front-page heading – Exclusive – Men Behaving Badly – Child Killer Special Report – we are led to a series of articles over two pages proclaiming, as the main headline puts it: Dads Are Killing Kiwi Kids – A Shocking Examination Of Child Murders Has Revealed Kids Are Most At Risk From Their Fathers

Other headlines declare Men Have Got To Be Watched and Solo Mum Warns: Beware Friends And Lovers.

The evidence for the main headline is said to come from a study by Sonja Goldsack for her MA at Victoria University in Wellington, who studied 73 child homicides between the eight years 1988 to 1995. We have some serious concerns and questions about the Sunday News coverage.

Closer examination of the paper’s limited figures shows that they simply don’t support the sensational father-bashing tone of the headlines. Allowing that 11 children were killed by perhaps three fathers in mass-killings, then it would appear that about 11 fathers, 10 stepfathers, and 9 mothers killed their children over this period. This translates to about 1.1 mothers, 1.2 stepfathers and 1.4 fathers killing their children each year.

Does this justify the headline Dads Are Killing Kiwi Kids ?? No way !! Just one or two a year, while always one or two too many, is hardly a holocaust.

While this study deals with child homicide, it appears the research did not study infanticide – the killing of a child by the mother while the balance of her mind is disturbed by the effects of giving birth. Accurate figures on this type of death are much harder to come by, but have to be taken into account before wild generalisations about gender are made.

Maori children are hugely more at risk – something like three and a half times more likely to be killed, making up almost half the victims.

Most of the killers had a criminal record, many were under the influence of a drug, and nearly one in five had a mental illness history. Taken with pointers from the recent Otago Medical School Findings About Partner Violence, and other research from overseas, a reasonable conclusion would be that children are safest in stable two parent families with the two biological parents, and that adult risk factors include: being young; unmarried; having a criminal record; being a young single mother; and being Maori.

One figure from the study, but omitted from the newspaper articles, is of particular concern to us at the Men’s Centre – 11 adult suicides followed the killings of many of these children – ALL the suicides were men. We believe this is sending a serious message to both the mental health services and the family courts. Currently nobody seems to be listening.

We want to know why.

Mark Rowley.

Battered Woman Syndrome

The hypothesis of the battered woman syndrome was first introduced in a 1974 book by therapist Lenore Walker, supported by little more than her own clinical impressions. As Dr Barry Kirkwood explained recently on "The Men’s Hour", the theory drew on previous studies of "learned helplessness" in animals.

Five years later,Walker published a second book that promised a more thorough investigation of the syndrome. However this book contained a patchwork of pseudo-scientific methods employed to confirm a hypothesis that the author and participating researchers never seriously doubted. The 1984 book would provide an excellent case study for psychology students on how NOT to conduct empirical research.

In spite of these scientific shortcomings, battered woman syndrome has been increasingly used by ideologically motivated, activist lawyers to absolve women from responsibility for their actions. According to Erin Pizzey, "Lenore Walker’s husband Morton shot himself. He was the first battered man I ever met. When I saw Lenore afterwards and said how sorry I was for her she became very angry and said "That bastard, how could he do this to me?"

J.P.

Letter to Editor wins award

Gordon Waugh’s Letter to the Editor, North & South magazine, October 1997 won a $690 fountain pen.

"Let’s not kid ourselves. Allegations of sexual abuse are used as weapons, and as levers to gain advantage. They are commonly made by women exposed to counselling, in child custody cases, for extortion, by children after suggestive interviewing, for vindictive or mistaken reasons, and to obtain ACC compensation. In the very brief period from 1992-96, ACC handled almost 60,000 claims for alleged sexual abuse, and according to Rape Crisis, over 750,000 rapes were committed.

Illogically, sexual crimes are treated differently from others. Police believe complainants. The age-old requirement for corroboration was removed from the Evidence Act. A complainant’s previous sexual history is inadmissible. She cannot be cross-examined at depositions. Complainants are "victims" and accused are "perpetrators" even before a trial. And that very essence of justice, a presumption of innocence, went out with the bathwater.

Detective Inspector Doyle and others confuse opinion with fact. Opinion: "The criminal justice system has a series of filters designed to ensure innocent men are not prosecuted…." Fact: The 1,570 or so rape prosecutions in the years 1992-96 resulted in about 750 convictions, an unacceptable failure rate of 52%. Some filters are absent.

By saying "Our philosophy is that we set out to prove a complaint is true", DI Doyle declares a clear presumption of guilt. An investigator’s task is to find and balance evidence for and against allegations, from a neutral stance.

Too many trials hinge on witness credibility instead of credible evidence. Too many lives have been devastated by false allegations of sexual abuse. It is time now to correct obvious systemic flaws. Police must do thorough investigations. Politicians must amend the law to reintroduce corroboration, allow trial without jury, establish a 5-year statute of limitation, automatically compensate those falsely accused, and penalise false accusers. And judges should more often exercise their prerogative to terminate trials where prosecution evidence is unreasonable, bizarre or impossible."

Gay Oakes – mad or bad?

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On "The Men’s Hour", 8th September, Bob Mann interviewed Chuck Bird, spokesman for Families Apart Require Equality, about Gay Oakes.

Bob: "Why is FARE interested in Gay Oakes?"

Chuck: "The case is one of custody and access. The ultimate way to ensure that the other parent does not get custody or access is to kill him or her. Not satisfied with brutally murdering her partner Doug Gardner, Gay Oakes has ensured that Doug’s family have no contact with his children. This includes the separation of half brothers and sisters."

Bob: "You said Doug was brutally murdered, I thought he was poisoned?"

Chuck: "He most definitely was poisoned, but he did not have a quick death."(He was eventually suffocated)

Bob: "What is your response to Oakes’ supporters who say she has Battered Woman Syndrome and should be released from prison?"

Chuck: "There are a number of issues here. Firstly, does the syndrome exist? It is impossible to prove something does not exist; it is up to the proponents of the theory to prove their case. They have certainly not proved its existence to the scientific and medical community. Next, there was no evidence that Oakes was assaulted by Doug Gardner, let alone violently and repeatedly, apart from her own testimony. The question of whether she should be considered for early parole if at all should depend on whether she has been rehabilitated and if she presents a danger to the community. Gay Oakes has never accepted responsibility for her actions, let alone showed any sign of remorse".

Bob: "Wasn’t it reported that she had accomplices in burying the body?"

Chuck: "Absolutely! There were media reports that Oakes had help digging his grave from women at the West Christchurch Women’s Refuge. The national organisation subsequently dissociated itself from that group of militant lesbians. Yet Gay Oakes steadfastly maintains she acted alone."

Bob: "What do you suggest needs to be done?"

Chuck: "A thorough investigation is needed of possible accesories to this crime. The recent suggestion by a judge that so-called "battered women" might be permitted to collect the wealth of their victims should be opposed. Normal rules of parole should apply – Oakes should demonstrate remorse and co-operate with the authorities. She should not profit from the book she has written while in jail."

Woman not jailed for attacking unfaithful lover

29 year old Papakura woman Marie Poa planned revenge when she discovered that her de facto husband, Shane Westbury, had been unfaithful. She suggested a sex game and when he was bound hand and foot and gagged in the shower, she tried to pour a jug of boiling water over his genitals.

Fortunately, the scalding water was cooled by the shower, which had run cold, and he managed to deflect the hot water away from his genitalia. Poa then attacked him with a vegetable knife but Mr Westbury managed to free his hands from behind his back and defend himself. He escaped from the house, chased by Poa wielding a barbecue skewer.

Poa, a beneficiary, was found not guilty of attempting to murder Mr Westbury, but guilty of assaulting him with intent to injure. She was sentenced to a 15 month suspended jail term and 2 years’ supervision.

A report from clinical psychologist Dr Gail Ratcliffe claimed that Poa had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time. Because she had a ‘history of being abused’, when Mr Westbury admitted that he had had sex with someone else, she felt ‘dreadfully betrayed’ and hence was not in a state to be aware of the consequences of her actions.

Mr Westbury suffered no lasting physical injuries. The couple have since separated.

Felicity Goodyear-Smith.

Young women and men equally likely to be perpetrators of domestic violence

The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Study involves following a birth cohort of 1000 NZ men and women born in 1972-3. This sample population has been used to study a number of medical and social issues.

Director of the study Dr Phil Silva and colleagues have recently co-authored a paper summarising research on partner violence studied when the participants were 21. They found that women and men are equally likely to engage in violence against their partners, and this parallels results from overseas research. Many foreign studies have demonstrated that both women and men equally engage in physical violence in their intimate relationships, although men are likely to cause more injury than women.

Last year saw the publication of the Justice Department’s $1.5 million research project "Hitting Home: men speak about abuse of women partners", which defined domestic abuse as "abuse of women by male partners" and claimed an alarming prevalence of physical and psychological violence by men against women.

The Dunedin figures demonstrate that partners are mutually involved and that domestic violence is a relationship problem. Only when both men and women recognise and acknowledge the part they play in the conflict will the problem be able to be redressed, and happier, mutually more trusting and co-operative relationships be established. Making men solely responsible for the problem gives women carte blanche to be as vicious or nasty as they like. This will only hasten the demise of their relationships and leave both parties angry and embittered.

Predictably, the National Collective of Independent Refuges slammed the research findings, claiming that the 17 – page report was manipulating statistics and giving men excuses for violence.

F G-S.

Men in Change

Tuesdays 7.30 pm Raeburn House 138 Shakespeare Rd Milford

Ph 307-2405 (day) 418-0750 (night)

One rainy winter’s night a couple of weeks ago I ventured out into the cold to check out this men’s support group. Any feelings of apprehension were quickly dispelled by a warm welcome as soon as I walked in to the room, where a couple of other first timers were waiting. Before long about a dozen guys had gathered, and facilitator Bill Boyle explained the ground-rules of confidentiality and respect for the person talking. Generally, there seemed to be two basic types of problem, which could be categorised as family breakup and mid-life crisis.

Bill seems to be a warm and caring fellow, and this was reflected in the behaviour of the group, many of whom come regularly. Some of the most perceptive and useful comments came from my fellow "clients". I was very reassured to find that Men in Change is a valuable resource for any man who needs some male support and advice, and I can refer men with confidence that they will be treated well.

J.P.

Sexual Abuse of Males – NZ’s untold story …or untapped market?

On 5 and 6 September 1997 about 300 people attended a DSAC (Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care) conference entitled "Sexual abuse of males: New Zealand’s untold story". A cynic might think that the conference was really about "Sexual abuse of males: New Zealand’s untapped market". While in no way wishing to deny that men and boys can and are sexually assaulted, and that this can at times have a devastating effect on them, in my opinion this conference presented a grossly exaggerated, distorted view of the problem.

The overall message was that about one in 7 males are sexually abused, but most goes unreported. Boys and men tend to deny or minimise the abuse. It was emphasised that workers in all sorts of agencies, from psychiatric in-patients to probation officers, should routinely ask their clients whether they have been sexually abused. The assumption was made that if they answered yes, they should all be offered counselling to deal with it, most of which would be covered by ACC.

The seminar began with 2 men telling their stories about having been sexually abused. One of them, "Sam" [not his real name], told how he had spent 20 years in the armed forces; got into trouble and eventually ended up living on the streets abusing alcohol. He then attended a therapist who helped him to access his early memories, and in fact took him right back to the womb. He discovered that underneath apparently false memories of a happy childhood were real memories of terrible sexual abuse and rape by his step-father, which had continued for several years.

Throughout the conference, the two men who had told their stories received accolades for their bravery in sharing their trauma with us.

Auckland University psychology lecturer John Read presented epidemiological figures suggesting an incidence of male sexual abuse up to 15%, although he did not define the term "sexual abuse" at any point. From the studies he quoted, it appears that he is using a very broad definition (including visual exposure to sexual acts, sexual harassment, unwanted genital touching through to anal and oral sexual assault).

He felt that the recent NZ cohort study published by Fergusson (which gave a figure of 4.3% unwanted sexual experiences including non-contact) was probably an under-estimate, and stated that the figure was likely to be at least twice that. He credited COSA and FMSF for much of the cause of the overwhelming under-reporting, because our media propaganda about an epidemic of false allegations meant that boys and men feared that they would not be believed.

He emphasised that sexual abuse should be routinely asked about – he had repressed memories of his own abuse for 10 years, and he could have been spared much pain had someone asked.

Read believes that sexual abuse is a major cause of psychosis, and is concerned that these people are being treated with drugs instead of counselling.

In a panel discussion about statistics, the agencies involved (including ACC; police; CYPS) claimed that most male abuse goes unreported. Sensitive claims manager Eric Metcalf stated that ACC was only seeing "the tip of the iceberg" – of the 8500 claims made in the past year (Jul 96 to Jul 97) 18% (1530) were male, and he was worried that not everyone was getting the help to which they are entitled. Police representative Wendy Miller-Burgering was concerned that the police figures were even lower, meaning that many who made ACC claims were not reporting these crimes to the police.

Visiting American psychologists John Briere and his wife Cheryl Lanktree emphasised the negative sequelae of abuse (suicide, alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression, adult violence, difficulties with sexual identity). The need for early identification and treatment was seen as paramount – it was assumed that therapy can prevent these effects, and Lanktree expressed concern that if sexually abused boys do not disclose, they may repress their memories as adults. It should be noted that to my knowledge, no studies yet have been conducted which indicate that psychotherapy interventions make any positive difference at all in this situation.

Some boys and men are sexually assaulted by women (sadly an adolescent boy might deny or "romanticise" the harmful effects of sex with an older woman), and some offenders are homosexual. However Briere claimed that the vast majority of offenders are heterosexual males who rape weaker males as punishment or to exert social dominance.

Briere expressed the view that all men are innate sexual aggressors. The good news though is that with the correct parenting, and sometimes with "sensitisation" to the pain of others from having survived own’s sexual trauma, men can learn to control their violent selves and acquire more feminine qualities, which Briere believes are good things in a man. I personally have grave concerns about an ideology which views men as inherently bad and women as inherently good.

False allegations were not addressed at this conference. On the odd occasion it was mentioned, it was to emphasise that this is a very rare phenomenon. The conference recommended that men and boys presenting to health and law-enforcement agencies should be asked about sexual abuse, and when alleged, it should be assumed to be true. No-one even mentioned the possibility of over-reporting which might result from such a strategy.

A long list of areas requiring vastly increased resourcing, particularly counselling, policing, and education, was drawn up. Everyone agreed that this new problem everyone had identified was going to create a lot more work, and government lobbying was required to fund it.

F. G.-S.

more on DSAC

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