An Open Letter To Todd Minerson, The White Ribbon Campaign, Canada
2 January 2007
Dear Mr Minerson
AN OPEN LETTER TO TODD MINERSON, THE WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN, CANADA
I am writing to express my deepest regret at the misleading and hateful attitudes that your organisation is promoting. I am particularly concerned that you totally ignore women’s violence against men, which is just as prevalent as men’s violence against women.
For many years I have counselled many men who were victims of domestic violence at the hands of women. Few of them dared report their suffering to the authorities. If they were lucky they would be laughed at. If they were unlucky, they would be arrested for the crimes of their batterers.
I have met many men who feared their violent partners, but were more afraid of people finding out they were scared of a woman. The shame of being a battered man is often worse than the actual battering.
Studies undertaken by independent bodies (as opposed to groups with vested interests like the refuge industry) are overwhelmingly consistent in the conclusion that women can be just as violent as men.
We often hear the red herring of physical size, but the reality is that most men would never hit a woman; it is not the done thing for a man. Conversely, it is not rare for a small woman to physically attack a larger man, pull his hair, scratch his face, bite him and kick his genitals, knowing that he will never fight back. On the rare instance that a man does defend himself, he is invariably the one arrested.
Your white ribbon day campaign helps to suppress the grim reality of violence against men.
Male victims of domestic violence do not have national networks of refuges. They do not have state-funded support agencies. Their plight is not the subject of massive advertising campaigns. They are left to suffer in silence.
The very least they deserve is recognition.
Allow me to ask you a question. Would you ever promote a high profile nationwide campaign that only addressed violence by First Nation Canadians? Or Muslims? Or women?
I believe I know the answer.
If I am correct, and your answer is “no”, why then are you promoting a campaign that only highlight’s men’s violence and why will you not be promoting a similar campaign against women’s violence?
By highlighting men’s violence, you are contributing to the invisibility of women’s violence, which is constantly under-reported and over-excused.
I therefore respectfully call upon you to make white ribbon day inclusive to acknowledge of the reality of domestic violence against both women and men.
By challenging the one-sided view of domestic violence with which we are presented, you can make the one step that is needed to really do something about domestic violence. You would show that you genuinely are concerned with violence and not just political correctness.
What a wonderful legacy that would be for your organisation to leave.
Or would such a bold move impact negatively on your organisation’s funding?
Violence is violence, regardless of the sex of the perpetrator, and it is not helpful for groups with vested interests to promote irrational fear and hysterical hatred of half of the population.
Until it is recognised that domestic violence is a two way street, and that women are just as capable of violence as men are, this blight on our society will never be removed.