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Brian Gardiner defends White Ribbon Hate Campaign

Filed under: Domestic Violence,Gender Politics — JohnPotter @ 4:46 pm Thu 27th September 2012

Yesterday’s RadioNZ Nine to Noon featured an item about the recent release of Police family violence statistics. I strongly recommend MENZ readers listen to this online while it’s available.

Lynn Freeman interviewed Professor David Fergusson of the Christchurch Health and Development study at the University of Otago, who has been researching child abuse for more than forty years, along with White Ribbon spokesperson and National Network of Stopping Violence Chief Executive Brian Gardiner.

Professor Fergusson accurately presented the mainstream, accademic view of child abuse:

“If you are talking about the common, main run of physical child abuse, it is certainly the case that women are more frequently perpetrators than men.”

Gardiner’s spin-doctored responses are revealing, and worth preserving so that readers can judge for themselves how much credibility he deserves. If you’re listening, pay particular attention to his tone of voice when he prevaricates.

“I agree with David. I suppose the really concerning thing for me as a dad is that as men we spend significantly less time with our kids, but we’re at least hurting them half the time.”

Well the professor certainly doesn’t agree with you Brian, and in the real world that’s considered a FAIL.

Gardiner continues:

“What’s worried me about these figures is that we’ve ended up focusing just on mums and violence, when we haven’t talked about some of the other things that are there; that 80% of the violence that those women were subjected to was by men. We’re not talking about couples having conflict; we’re talking about repeated use of violence to maintain fear and intimidation and power in a relationship. So David, I think people often talk past each other.”

Gardiner deliberately confuses two different groups – he’s focused only on what can be called ‘intimate terrorists’ (a very small group of relationships) when we are supposed be concerned with all child abusers. This is not just comparing apples with oranges; it’s comparing apples with fruit. The person ‘talking past’ the other here is not David Fergusson.

Professor Fergusson outlined his objection to the White Ribbon Day campaign:

“My criticisms of White Ribbon Day were simply that it didn’t provide adequate coverage of the population of people engaging in physical domestic violence. Gender is not a strong predictor of any of these outcomes; there are far stronger predictors.”

But Gardiner stays on-message, albeit somewhat confusingly:

“It’s hard to argue it’s not a gender issue when 80% of murders of women were by men, while most violence that’s experienced by women and men is from men, when 90% of protection orders are taken out against men, when the majority of people in jail for domestic and family violence are men. I don’t know why we’re not able to face up to that and people like Family First are able to get behind that and say we really care about families, we really care about men, let’s make a difference. When we hide these figures, and I’m not sure who that serves, because men can handle it …then we hide the solution.”

Most protection orders and prosecutions involve men because the system is run by people who share Gardiner’s ‘men are always to blame’ ideology. If you don’t agree with this you are obviously deficient in some way, you are not ‘facing up to it. Family First don’t really care about families or men, apparently.

I fully agree with what Gardiner says about hiding figures making the solution unattainable. I’ll leave it for readers to assess who might be hiding things, and how they might benefit from this.

Professor Fergusson isn’t swayed:

“I’m in profound disagreement with this. The driving idea behind these arguments is that it’s something to do with maleness that’s causing all of these problems. When one actually does heavyweight research into child abuse and so-forth, you really find that it is high levels of family dysfunction and difficulty that are causing these issues, and it is those issues that are being obscured by a trite focus on gender as the main driver…gender comes a very long way down the list of causes of domestic violence.”

Fergusson outlined the strong predictors of abuse such as single parenthood, changes of parent, drug and alcohol problems, conduct disorders and anti-social behaviours in males and females, frequent changes of partner, and the whole set of family adversity. He than described researching Early Start in Christchurch which has cut rates of child abuse by 50%.

Unfortunately that was all the time Professor Fergusson had available, so Gardiner was given the remaining half of the interview to attempt some damage control. Notice that now that Fergusson has gone, he doesn’t claim to agree with him any more, in fact he directly contradicts what the Professor has said:

“when it comes down to a competition about who’s more violent than who, I just want to shake my head…I disagree with Professor Fergusson, the research that I’ve seen shows that one of the best predictors around violence is that the fact that you’re male…what it’s saying is that often we’re socialised to be in charge, we’re socialised to be the boss, we’re socialised in some unhelpful ways around how we do relationships and how we do child raising.”

The unnamed ‘research’ Gardiner is referring to is not remotely comparable to the research that Professor Fergusson and his collegues have been involved in for decades, and the interviewer should have picked him up on this. Papers published in women’s studies journals and other feminist publications promoting the destruction of patriarchy do not magically cancel out mainstream science. Note that the real goal here is ‘socialising’ the population to move away from the traditional male-headed nuclear family as the primary method of raising children.

At first I was very impressed with some of the questions Freeman asked, which showed a pretty clear understanding of the issues. As the interview progressed however, I felt increasingly irritated by her failure to challenge Gardiner’s slick evasions and hypocrisy.

“you need to not be blind to things, and that includes what the figures are telling you about who’s more likely to do what…for us, we know that it is a gendered issue, we know that there are more men who are using violence in their relationships to stay in charge; and that’s what they’ve been trained up to do…as a country we have appalling rates of child abuse and domestic violence rates, and we don’t seem to be denting them in the way that we need to, and when we argue with each other, often about who’s worse, it’s really unhelpful.”

Yep, being blind to things is bad. Perhaps that’s why the billions (?) of dollars spent funding hate campaigns like White Ribbon, and anti-male groups like Stopping Violence Services have failed to make a difference? Yep, it sure is unhelpful to argue about who’s worse – so why continue doing it?

“Countries like Canada, Australia and the UK have developed domestic violence policies that talk about violence to women and girls. They’re not frightened about naming the issue, what we’re saying is let’s name the issue…and understand it, and then we can really make a difference.”

I hope this was just a Freudian slip, and that Gardiner isn’t really suggesting that we should stop worrying about the abuse of boys. It would probably drop the abuse rate well over 50% though!

“What I’d like us to be able to do is to look clearly at the research, and not just pull out little pieces of research that back up our opinion, but look at the research as a whole. Gender is an important piece of information that lets us know.”

Here Gardiner is implying that Professor Fergusson, and anyone else who challenges the radical feminist party line is presumably so ‘frightened to name the issue’ that they are unable to see the research clearly, and are mis-representing the facts to suit their own agenda.

When Freeman asked him whether all the money put into anti-violence campaigns are actually working, Gardiner revealed his real concerns:

“I worry when I see good campaigns like ‘It’s not OK’; when we’re starting to generate conversations and the powerful change in families and then the funding shifts to another place. My that we consistently keep funding this issue because it costs this country billions of dollars.”

Gardiner said that it’s fantastic to have media opportunities where David Fergusson and him could come on and “look more deeply” behind the issues, but when it was put to him that they would have to agree to disagree he replied:

“I don’t want to disagree with him, I want to say how do we work alongside each other, because I don’t think any of us can argue against safety in our families. So we need to think are we talking about the same thing or are we talking past each other?”

My only comment about Gardiners last statement is that it has considerable truthiness:

“There is an expectation that if you’re a mother, then you’re going to protect this child at all costs, and the research tells us that the most protective person in children’s life is overwhelmingly their mother.”

The most annoying thing for me was that statistics for fathers and stepfathers were conflated (joined together) throughout the interview, and in the data presented by the police. Clearly there is a huge difference in risk between these two groups.

I guess they don’t want to show that biological fathers are the least likely group to abuse children.

If we accepted that we might wonder why, overwhelmingly, when the state intervenes to remove a child’s parent, supposedly in the interest of ‘safety’, it is the dad.


  1. It certainly was an interview of 2 parts. I stick by my original view, of about 50/50% of genders being perpetrators. Unfortunately there is not a clear dividing line. I will NOT support White Ribbon Campaign until it recognises ALL family violence.

    The winners are always the lawyers. Police and other agencies through justification for further finding. The children always loose 🙁

    Comment by Gwahir — Thu 27th September 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  2. Professor David Fergusson is a smart man. Brian Gardiner is a man attempting to keep the funding carpet from ripped from under him.

    Comment by golfa — Thu 27th September 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  3. Gardiners statement that mothers are “overwhelmingly” the most protective parent is crap. I know of a case where a child mentioned to his non custodial father when they met by accident at a sports event that he had been physically assaulted by 2 teachers at school. The mother would not discuss the claim with the father and the school likewise refused to talk about it on the basis that it was school policy not to communicate with a non custodial parent! The father made a formal complaint with the Police to ascertain the facts. He had to chase them about the matter after not hearing anything for a few weeks. He was told that they had spoken to the mother who said she didn’t want the matter pursued (the child by that stage having left the school for another). The father siad that the mother’s wishes were not relevant as he was the complainant. The father was then roundly abused by the Police the gist of the abuse being that they had no time for fathers who had nothing to do with their kids for the most and only wanted to foment trouble and give grief to the mother! Needless to say nothing further was done!!! This is the dark side of the issue that gets lost in the main focus.

    Comment by Non custodial Dad — Thu 27th September 2012 @ 6:58 pm

  4. Yes, thanks John, it’s certainly worth listening to. And thanks for transcribing key statements. Professor Fergusson spoke well, Gardiner was full of waffle and slogans. Gardiner disagreed with Prof Fergusson’s description of what the research shows. The professor does the research, has it published in the best scientific peer-reviewed journals and his job pays him to be completely up to date and thoroughly familiar with international research related to his studies! Oh but Mr Gardiner knows better.

    Gardiner is correct though that men’s physical violence is considerably more injurious on average and men kill their partners much more often than women do. I agree with him that men should take responsibility for their undue level of physical violence. I disagree with his formulation about the most significant reasons for domestic violence or for men’s violence, and I strongly disagree with his support for programmes that treat women’s violence (in its various forms) as too insignificant to worry about, and that treat violence against men (whether caused by men or women) as unimportant.

    Note that Prof Fergusson by focussing a treatment intervention on factors scientifically supported as causal in child abuse has achieved a 50% reduction in such abuse. Gardiner was unable to cite any results from the numerous ‘stopping violence’ programmes that have been running for decades, but referred to waffle such as ‘starting to generate conversations and the powerful change in families’.

    Gardiner repeatedly defined domestic violence as overwhelmingly due to men wanting to exert/abuse power over women and families; essentially the unscientific, ideological Duluth patriarchal power and control model. Every man forced under threat of imprisonment into Gardiner’s network of ‘stopping violence’ programmes is immediately assumed to abuse power and control. Any action a man took to voice his preferences in his relationship, or (God forbid) to try to change his partner’s undesirable behaviour, is then fitted in to that model. For those many participants who clearly are there only because of lies by their partner to gain advantage in Family Court proceedings, the programme occupies them in a search for the many subtle ways in which even they exerted power and control. Failure to play along with this little game will see the man kicked out of the programme, for which he can also be imprisoned. The ‘stopping violence’ programmes never honestly report that a good proportion of their forced participants are actually fair-minded, non-violent men whose reactions were no more controlling or violent than their partners’ reactions in the context of relationship conflict. Instead, the programme leaders congratulate themselves that they have enlightened another batch of men about the many ways they were violent and exerted power and control, and this is an important public service regardless of the guilt or innocence of those men. Unfortunately, they are unable to point to any good research in support of this belief. They behave much like a flat earth society that keeps interpreting incoming information only in ways that fit their belief.

    I have lately suspected that feminists are so committed to the patriarchal power and control model because they are actually the ones who want power and control; they want things the way they prefer them. Lack of cooperation by men or any assertiveness from a man trying to have his preferences met is highly threatening to the women’s need for power, so it’s convenient to define such male insubordination as ’emotional violence’ and ‘power and control tactics’ thereby neutralizing the man’s influence.

    A small proportion of relationship violence situations involve men dominating their partners abusively one way or another, more often using their physical size and strength. In my experience and consistent with the research, a similar proportion involve women dominating or controlling their partners, more often using other methods such as emotional manipulation, dishonesty, children and state officials.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Thu 27th September 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  5. Thanks JP.
    Gardiner is the one turning this issue into a competition between the sexes, not Professor Fergusson.
    Pure projection there.
    Professor Fergusson is talking rightly in inclusive terms about dealing with violence perpetrated by both sexes, whereas Gardiner goes on like a broken record spewing out the feminist party line – men violent, men violent, men violent.
    Gardiner is being terribly condescending with his statement suggesting great long term (several decades) researchers like Fergusson don’t see “the bigger picture”.
    I’d like to see him open up his mind and practice some research and listening skills.
    However, knowing he’s a feminist on the abuse industry gravy train he fully lives up to my expectations.

    Comment by Skeptic — Thu 27th September 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  6. Very interesting,

    I disagree with “White Ribbon” and I will not support it because it is sexes, bias, one-sided and makes out that it is the Father or Husband/Partner that is violent in the Family towards Women and Children.

    I have read these books “Raising Boys” by Steve Bidulf (Child Psychologist) and “Bringing The Fathers We Know To The Children We Love” by Warren Farrell (Child Psychologist) both have said that Mothers are more likely to abuse their Children than Fathers and in the United States, Warren Farrell in his book gave some statistics where Children have been hospitalized through abuse, in majority of cases the Mother was the perpetrator.

    I will go on to say also that Children (Boys and Girls) do better at school academically when they are living with their Father than if they are with their Mother and Girls are more likely to get pregnant early in their age when they are living with their Mother and the girls get pregnant later in life when the girls have been living with their Father.

    Fathers provide boundaries and security for their Children and give mental stimulation that the Children are craving for that Fathers naturally provide where Mothers can not.

    Comment by Train Driver — Thu 27th September 2012 @ 9:38 pm

  7. Very Valid point Skeptic. When you see a male magnifying domestic violence I will bet that he is somewhere on the gravy train!

    Comment by Gwahir — Thu 27th September 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  8. NZ DV courses, that are funded by familycaught$ sending customers under compulsion, have never been evaluated for effectiveness at reducing violence.

    If violence was the real issue, then quality of outcomes would have been evaluated.

    Reduction in violence has never been evaluated, thus the real purpose of these courses is something else, other than reducing violence.

    Is it to keep drivelling, depressed course trainers off the streets? Maybe?

    Is it to create evidence of violence, that may be used in later hearings as “proof to a legal standard”, that violence has occurred? [This is creating evidence of no evidential value, to use in a court of no child or adult protective value.]

    I rest my case, m’lord?

    Cheers, MurrayBacon – axe murderer working with precious little evidence.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 28th September 2012 @ 6:38 am

  9. @ MurrayBacon – axe murderer working with precious little evidence.

    LOL – That’s got to be your best one yet…

    Comment by Down Under — Fri 28th September 2012 @ 8:10 am

  10. It is commonly regarded by educators that unwilling learners are the most difficult to teach. The first bit is they have to come to realise is that there is something in it for them.

    In one “Anti Violence” course anyway I am aware of on the last session to enable the “Students” to “Graduate” they have to write a letter to the course provider, thanking them for teaching the error of their ways. Such a letter could reasonably be said to be written under duress?

    Equally, is it likely the student would have learnt anything at all, except to despise the system that sent then there,

    Comment by Gwahir — Fri 28th September 2012 @ 9:14 am

  11. People internationaly are noticing the inherent misandry in NZ’s feminist based abuse industry.

    Comment by Skeptik — Fri 28th September 2012 @ 10:27 am

  12. Thanks John for a valuable analysis. Unfortunately the abuse industry is in control in this country. Right now the distortions and half-truths from the likes of Gardener have sway. He has learnt his lines from the feminist left well, if you turn your brain off he seems to do a good job.

    The ‘facts’ as stated by Ferguson will not be listened to by policy makers till we do a better job of presenting them.

    The stats that NZ women kill children as often as men puts paid to the myth that the children’s and the mother’s welfare are bound together, and that mothers must be better treated and given custody because they are the superior protectors of children.

    Comment by Bruce Tichbon — Fri 28th September 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  13. Dear Bruce, the police admitted that their facts were based on a limited sample. Can we trust the police, even if they are trying to tell the truth? Inspector Hutton and his Police Commissioner come to mind, they swore to the truth and told unabashed lies under oath..

    50% of their sample data was missing. Books on statistics and running surveys make clear that research requires at least 85% good data, anything less is of limited indicative value, but no more. Filling in the gaps for missing data, by looking at overseas research, the fraction of children homicided by their mothers is probably noticeably over 50%.

    Lets directly face the uncomfortable truth, both parents can destroy children, fathers and mothers. Lets look at each case with honest eyes and look carefully and openly at the mother and the father and any other adult present.

    John Key has employed Sir Peter Gluckman to tell him to listen to evidence and maybe one day he will actually listen to the evidence.

    In the meantime, unfortunately he is in the position of trying to distract from what the evidence says about GCSB’s attitude to “honest evidence” and the “rule of law”. Although John Key himself hasn’t breached the law, the idiots, dreamers and malcontents that he is “responsible” for, have earnestly deliberately broken the law, to curry favour with our “american fiends”. Who do these Playboy readers and pie eaters owe their loyalty to? I seem to remember a Londoner/Pakistani immigrant to NZ catching these window peepers out and as taxpayers we paid out a fraction of a $million to him. It is these detestable foreigners who are protecting NZ’s freedoms, not our american/uranium/plutonium fiends, or our self precious/expensive valueless “judges”.

    As Sir Peter Gluckman says, listen to the evidence.

    John Key has admitted that GCSB have broken the law with respect to Sir Dot Com and could just as easily broken the same law with any number of other new NZers.

    I seem to remember Basil Fawlty telling his cook “I don’t pay you, to tell me to take it easy”. It seems to remind me of John Key, in his present predicament.

    Anyway, more to the point, if John Key and the GCSB don’t concern themselves with keeping within the law, NZ “judges” don’t bother themselves about keeping within the law – as seen from careless issuing of search warrants, then NZ needs citizens to maintain the rule of law and order, by mercilessly culling off incompetent “judges” and civil servants who stray far outside of the law.

    I remember asking the previous Principal Family Caught “judge” Mahoney for some information under the Official Information Act. I even quoted from a Justice Department leaflet, which pointed out that judges when acting judicially, are not covered by Official Information Act, but otherwise are under the Official Information Act. My request related to administration of familycaught$, thus to issues in which judge mahoney was not acting judicially. In his refusal, he was challenging me – a father paying child support – to take him to caught and force him to follow legislation set down by Parliament. How pathetic! Is he worth a judicial appeal, or hot lead?

    In response, I suggest that in the face of deliberate criminal actions by civil servants, and toyboy “judges”, Mr. Pike in Dad’s Army had the best solution. “Shoot him, Captain Mainwaring”, he would say. This is the remaining practical option to take, in the face of corrupt, worthless and incompetent “judges”.

    As I see these “judges”, they have lost all credibility as judges in the pay of the Government who have signed the judicial oath and they have lost all credibility as professionals in any sense of a person who delivers social value in return for their wages.

    MurrayBacon – axe murderer.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 28th September 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  14. Or as Breaker Morrant was heard to say, “I used rule 303 sir, rule 303!

    Comment by Gwahir — Fri 28th September 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  15. #13 Murray, you hit the nail right on the head. One of the worse experiences of my 50 yrs of life was to enter the Family Court and endure the most trivial and moronic questions from lawyers that appeared happy to pick up my wife’s feaces and throw them at me and then lick their fingers in glee. Even more shocking was the judges condoning of this behaviour and encouraging more of it. It is a disgrace to NZ society and so are all the lawyers, counsellors, shrinks and woman’s groups who live off it. I once interviewed a pedophile and asked him why he felt compelled to destroy young girls and boys. He spent the next 30 mins trying to convince me that far from destroying them he was helping them to enjoys the fruits of life. His adamant denial of facts made me fell sick inside for weeks. I find the same sickening experience when i hear some people, who should know better, defending the Family Court decisions because it has the interests of the children at heart. The legislation, the Court and those that work within it are festering scabs who refuse to view many facts regarding the welfare of children that fly directly in the face of feminist dogma. Those who buck the system simply will be turfed out so keeping the status quo is the name of the game. Respect for any institution is based on justice being accomplished in a majority of cases. I have zero respect for the Family Court, just absolute contempt.

    Comment by Triassic — Sun 30th September 2012 @ 7:06 am

  16. Just for clarity I should mention that I was metaphorically speaking with regards to feaces throwing:)

    Comment by Triassic — Sun 30th September 2012 @ 7:15 am

  17. There are times I wonder if Lawyers, during their studies, must complete a paper “Inane Questions 101”

    Comment by Gwahir — Thu 4th October 2012 @ 8:47 am

  18. Triassic – Totally agree with you – I also have nothing but contempt for the charade – the total sham that is the family court. legalized corruption – lawyers deliberately keeping conflict alive – because it pays them a very good income, never wanting to actually address the CAUSES.

    The family court sees the SAME issues effecting parents and children – year in and year out – and yet have we ever seen the legal profession develop new legistlation – which actually made BAD BEHAVIOR accountable? With penalties, tied in with accountability and consequences? NOTHING.

    Most businesses have to improve there services – but not the family court – BEST PRACTICE by these parasites on good parents, who allow children to be used in an evil game – have done nothing in all these years to help prevent CONFLICT and to actually protect children from HARM.

    I have direct evidence of a system which has allowed a child to be psychologically fked over with absolutely NO CONSEQUENCE to the person who caused it – the mother, and absolytely NO consequence to any of those in the legal profession who allowed it to continue – protecting process, encouraging conflict, provoking a man to react so he can be for ever labelled – abusive, violent agressive – the same old MANTRA .

    Care of Children ACT – should be renamed for the lawers benefit – CARE OF LAWYERS AND PROCESS ACT, while allowing good parents and children to be damaged for ever.

    yes CONTEMPT of such a corrupt system is the only response.

    If the Family court were a plumbing service that you engaged to help fix a leak in your home – after ten years they would still be there charging a fortune, creating more leaks than you had when they first attended. NO other service profession in the world gets away with such deliberate incompetence.!!!!!!!!!!!! and refusal to help fix the CAUSE!!!!!!

    Comment by hornet — Thu 4th October 2012 @ 9:36 am

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