MoMA: Letter to Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills
We will no longer participate in ‘debate’ here because it is not safe to do so given some participants’ tendency to respond with personal attacks, insults and rudeness. We regret this but still see MENZ Issues as an important repository for men’s movement and gender political news, so we will post our significant correspondence and news FYI. Trash our efforts and opinions to your heart’s content, delete our posts if you want. Happy bickering, name-calling and insulting!
We have written to the Children’s Commissioner following his ‘open letter to NZ men’ in support of White Ribbon (also see here).
MINISTRY OF MEN’S AFFAIRS
MINITATANGA MO NGA TANE
A Community Group because successive governments have ignored the voice and welfare of New Zealand men
PO Box 13130
28 November 2013
Dr Russell Wills
Sent via Email to [email protected]
Dear Dr Wills
Re: Your “Open letter: to the men of NZ whose violent behaviour is damaging their children’ released 25/11/2013
We are deeply concerned about the likely effects of your open letter on men, families and children, and about your support for the White Ribbon campaign.
Despite the afterthought in your letter acknowledging “Most men in New Zealand are not violent”, in the absence of any “open letter to the women of NZ whose violent, neglectful, substance-abusing or male-exploitative behaviour is damaging their children’, your letter discriminates against men and implies only men behave violently or damage children.
Your reference to children cowering and becoming frightened around the men in their lives deliberately ignores the extent to which children are damaged by women. Women kill the majority of very young children. Robust research including NZ’s longitudinal studies (as opposed to unscientific feminist advocacy “research’) has shown that partner violence is usually mutual arising out of relationship conflict. Women attack men with weapons, threats, verbal and emotional violence, false allegations, character assassination and parental alienation. They frequently maintain a barrage of complaining and ridicule towards male partners and continue following and provoking even when the male has tried to walk away from an argument. Many men suffer through female domination of families both during relationships and after separation. Women kill male partners at a lesser yet still significant rate and those partner homicides are often acts of revenge or jealous rage rather than any self-defense. Women’s contribution to family and social violence would not be disregarded in any genuinely motivated anti-violence initiative. The fact that you have singled out men for an “open letter’ suggests your motivation is not really to reduce violence or to protect children from related harm, but to earn approval from feminist supporters in their war to denigrate men.
The White Ribbon campaign excludes male victims of violence from concern and implies that violence committed by women is not worth worrying about. Due in part to misinformation from White Ribbon most people hold false beliefs about violence in NZ and are surprised to learn that men are more frequently the victims of family violence including homicide, and that men are much more frequently the victims of violence in our society generally. Other men commit the largest proportion of that violence but physical violence by women is not insignificant, and when it comes to non-physical forms of violence women commit a good share of it. Regardless of who committed the violence, its victims hurt and die the same and there is no justification for deliberately excluding male victims from concern.
It’s perplexing and appalling that taxpayer-funded institutions such as yours should be allowed to support a sexist, socially erosive campaign like White Ribbon. There is no government funding for groups who speak up for male victims, the most frequent victims of violence in NZ. Would you promote a campaign with posters that said “Maori, show you’re against violence towards Pakeha” and would you urge Maori to “sign a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards Pakeha’? Would you publish an open letter to “Maori whose violent behaviour is damaging their children’. Of course not. Even though such activities would be more justified on the basis of violence statistics, you would see them as stereotyping and denigrating of Maori and as amounting to racial discrimination. But when it comes to men they seem to be treated as fair game for all manner of unethical abuse. Why would you think it’s ok to do this to men? Stereotyping and discrimination are socially harmful regardless of the group targeted.
NZ men commit suicide at about 4 times the rate for women. More men commit suicide in NZ than die in road accidents. Your open letter will further reduce men’s status, worth and self-view, contributing to high suicide rates. Your letter will damage the children who will have to live with the consequences of your blaming and devaluing of men: suicide, depression, self-harm, self-neglect and substance abuse by fathers, uncles, brothers and male friends. Among other unintended consequences, your letter will also serve to increase family break-ups as women are increasingly encouraged to blame men and maleness for all problems rather than to seek solutions or look at their own contribution. Family break-ups harm children.
Our community NGO the Ministry of Men’s Affairs promotes a Black Ribbon Campaign encouraging people to show they reject violence towards women, men and children. We urge you to reconsider your support for White Ribbon and to redirect your good intentions towards activities truly likely to reduce violence in NZ and related harm to children.
Good Job. Great letter. Hope things change.
There are some chinks in the position, pro-male views are getting some traction.
Casey E, Carlson, J, Fraguela-Rios, C, Kimball, E, Neugut, T, Tolman, R & Edleson, J. Context, challenges and tensions in global efforts to engage men in the prevention of violence against women: An ecological analysis. Men and Masculinities. 2013; 16(2): 228-251.
Baker, G. (2013). Effectively involving men in preventing violence against women. Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, University of Auckland.
This was the big splash issues paper for White Ribbon this year
MOMA – a very succinct and accurate portrayal of precisely why the white feather movement is an abject failure. Removing women from the violence equation removes any possibility of either avoidance or remedy of the issue. Why can you (and most men) see this, yet the so called “experts and academics” are so resoundingly blind to the base truth of the matter?
‘Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.’
Ã¢â‚¬- Albert Einstein
With the MoMA’s consent I would like to post this on the Open Facebook Group “White Ribbon Day Debate” This group will NOT delete or alter posts unles they are obscene or abusive.
I prefer not to repeat without permission.
Yesss! I just got told by WR today to go away unless I change my views to support theirs.
I have not given up hope however…
One of the participants has indicated a desire to discuss my views and the other enjoyed reading the other side of it. And both of them began by disagreeing with me. Persistence, and being firm but fair (and non-threatening) will pay off – I’m sure of it!
Sooner or later NZ will see sense.
Because then someone may insinuate they would be wise to take their fingernails out of the boardroom table and put them back into the kitchen sink?
Just a guess…
Great letter MoMA.
Replacing ‘Men’ with ‘Maori’ clearly reveals the White Ribbon Campaign to be hate speech, in my opinion.
As a doctor and paediatrician, Russell Wills must be well aware of the scientific data which shows that the abuse and neglect of children can not be blamed solely on men.
Ignoring and minimising female violence simply perpetuates the problem, to the political and financial advantage of agencies and organisations which falsely claim to represent children’s interests.
Maleness is not the problem here.
Dr Wills should be ashamed of himself.
Hi Rachel; I suspect it has more to do with the misandric zealots looking for easy, on-going handouts to navel gaze; i.e. the “snouts in the trough” syndrome. They don’t want to find answers and solutions; they only want a platform to falsify facts and apportion blame.
Great letter MoMA. I sure wish I could be a fly on the wall in his office to see his reaction. A paediatrician is moulded to see perfection as ‘mother and child’. It is an emotional perspective and it makes these doctors prime candidates for emotional groups like WRC.
On the subject of your posts being responded to with an undercurrent of latent violence brings to mind how different the women’s moment operates. I remember way back when in an Auckland woman’s meeting there was a demand that a baby boy was to be ejected as it was an all female event. This incident could have had dire consequences for the women’s movement but participants were determined to stick together and not allow smaller issues to fragment the cause. The media attempted to beat it up but to no avail.
I don’t understand why there is a need to be aggressive to fellow men who are only attempting to put forward opinions as to how we can change a system and public consciousness on how men should viewed within out society. With our lawyers, psychologists, social scientist and child care fraternity all being indoctrinated in our universities with anti-male dogma ( I know this from experience) we need to support one another if change is to ever come about. No one person has the answer and only by open debate can we come to a fair solution to a very serious problem.
As the originator of the Facebook Page “White Ribbon Day debate” I invite all here to join and comment.
If WR supporters want to join and comment THEY WILL NOT BE BANNED.
If a lively debate ensues, then so be it.
My response would be “I cannot support an organization which condones Domestic Violence”
As a one time Catholic boy, I recognize a religion when I see one.
Religions are based on faith, not facts
Religions can be very lucrative, if you can convince people to give you money to redeem their sins. (The Catholic church used to sell Indulgences to take time off your stay in Purgatory)
This is how I see WR, and how they operate.
So do not expect to win over WR supporters with logic. Shame might work better.
Thank you John. A well put reply! it is highly noteworthy that who support WR, the Refuge, and like organisations are restricted to Females (Who must “Toe the line”) Whereas those supporting open dabate and Gender free Human rights can be anybody!
What they seek and the means they choose is actually something which could cause violence where it otherwise might not occur.
This should not surprise. Their normal refrain to information that three quarters of victims are male is that it’s mostly committed by other males. All male victims, including those totally innocent of anything, are rendered invisible in their thinking. The violence itself becomes invisible.
Their pledge entails a promise to action. They are expected to intervene even where they don’t know the participants in a situation. They are expected to take sides based on the sex of the participants. Because they have rendered male on male violence invisible they have no capacity to understand how their own actions could be so easily causal.
I’ve recently been looking over the Victorian (Australia) Judicial College’s “Family Violence Bench Book”. It is effectively the instruction manual on family violence for judges and court officials and probably police in some settings.
I read this from the perspective of one who experienced a sexual assault by a partner which ended a relationship of about one year’s duration during the late nineties. Whilst I was always aware of it having been a sexual assault it wasn’t until about 2008 that somebody else pointed out that it was also domestic abuse. My interspersed comments will obviously be jaundiced by that previous experience.
5.4.5 – Responding to men who claim(1) to be victims of family violence
While men can be victims of family violence, men are more likely to be harmed by a stranger than by a family member.(2) Quantitative research(3) clearly indicates that the majority of incidents are perpetrated by men against women and their children.(4)
The following sections look at things judicial officers should bear in mind, and some of the questions they can ask, when assessing a situation in which a man claims to be a victim of family violence.
1. References to female victims almost never use the verb “claim”. The likely purpose of the framing is to invite scepticism.
2. This is an invidious comparison. It says nothing about how many males are victims of family violence. It seems only to minimise them as a group by contrasting them with larger, but irrelevant in this context, groups.
3. “Quantitative research” not cited. It could easily be something akin to the ABS Personal Safety Survey from 1994 which didn’t ask boys and men if they’d been abused. (Or something created by Michael Fl**d quite possibly.)
4. Language positioning men as primary abusers of children – untrue – as well as of women. I’m uncertain as to whom the possessive pronoun “their” applies. Australian politspeak almost always positions children as the possessions of women. ie “women and THEIR children”
As guidelines to apply to possible victims every effort is made to reduce that possibility in the eye of the user. The actual male victim will encounter a system that is instructed to disbelieve by default.
188.8.131.52 – Incidence of abuse towards men(1)
The research evidence and experience of family violence professionals unambiguously demonstrates that relatively few men in heterosexual relationships are solely victims of intimate partner violence.(2) The majority of women who use some form of violence towards their partner have been subjected to (worse) violence by that man before, or on the same occasion.(3)
Often, men who are genuinely victims of family violence experience the violence from a same sex partner, carer or a male relative.(4)
Men who are the principle users of family violence often try to present as a victim or the victim of violence. Sometimes they succeed in convincing themselves, police and others. This is because:
many men try to avoid responsibility by seeking to justify the violence (directly or indirectly) or to blame their partner – perhaps for Ã¢â‚¬Ëœprovoking’ an attack or for Ã¢â‚¬Ëœgiving him no way out’;
many men try to make their account of the situation seem more believable or credible by portraying their partner as being Ã¢â‚¬Ëœhysterical’, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœirrational’, and Ã¢â‚¬Ëœa danger to themselves’ or even Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmentally ill’ – while they present as calm, charming, eloquent and Ã¢â‚¬Ëœin control’;
many men claim injuries (such as scratch or bite marks) inflicted on them by their partner in self-defence as evidence of their victimisation – self-defence actions can also be presented as Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtit-for-tat fighting’, perhaps by saying that Ã¢â‚¬Ëœshe gives as good as she gets’.(5)
It is important to remember that people experiencing fear or terror will sometimes make bad decisions, which might add to their portrayal as being Ã¢â‚¬Ëœhysterical’ or Ã¢â‚¬Ëœout of control’.(6) Women, if they feel safe enough, may undertake small acts of retaliation, which can be construed as Ã¢â‚¬Ëœevidence’ of a pattern of violence on their part.(7)
1. Don’t hold your breath anticipating any actual numbers.
2. Very difficult to unpick. It could be asserting that the majority of heterosexual men are victims of IPV AND of other abuse. I strongly doubt that is their intent however. There is “unambigously” high quality research saying the opposite to their guideline.
3. If HE experienced violence at her hands HE probably did worse to her.
4. “Often, men who are genuinely victims of family violence experience the violence from a female partner” would be equally true. The instructions explicitly obscure female violence.
5. The man in front of you, scratched, bitten, bruised or broken, is more likely a perpetrator than a victim. His claim to being a victim is probably a manifestation of his own abusive behaviour. If he gives a lucid account of violence, no matter how severe, this is also abusive on his part. He is controlling.
6. This is NOT referring to the putative male victim. It’s served up as a mitigation of what was done TO that individual.
7. The previous reference to “people” morphs to “women” in mitigating even persistent abuse.
Remember that this section is ostensibly about the “Incidence of abuse towards men”. The actual male victim will encounter institutions which have been instructed to assume it’s very unlikely to be true and that, if it is, he is the more likely abuser and, possibly, deserves his fate.
184.108.40.206 – Establishing whether a man is a victim(1)
There are a number of questions a judicial officer can consider asking when a man presents as an affected family member (even in a police application), including:
Have you ever been violent towards your partner?(2)
Were you at fault, in any way in causing her violence? This question serves two purposes. First, to assess whether he did anything that caused her to act in self-defence, or to retaliate.(3) Second, people who are genuinely the victims often excuse the perpetrator to some degree and blame themselves for the violence.(4)
Are you afraid of her? What are you afraid that she might do? If a man does not feel significant levels of fear, then this raises questions about his victim status.(5)
Describe exactly what she did to you.
Describe the frequency and any patterns of the violence. (6)
What has held you back from seeking help earlier or trying to escape the situation? People who are truly victims might have felt too frightened to seek help earlier. They might have lacked access to money, resources, information and support to leave. They might have felt trapped. Note that they might also feel ashamed for not having sought help earlier.(7)
In addition to responses to the questions above, judicial officers might also wish to consider the following questions and issues:(8)
Has the man had any history of criminal behaviour or allegations of such behaviour, particularly involving violence?
Has the man had any intervention orders taken out against him in the past?
Is there evidence of the man using controlling attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, or having rigid attitudes towards gender roles?
If the accused woman has attended court, has she ever felt the need to apply for an intervention order?
Does the woman say that she was defending herself, or is there any other evidence to suggest this was the case?
If in any doubt about whether the man is the victim (or the sole victim), judicial officers can refer the man to the Men’s Referral Service who can assess the situation further(9) and make appropriate referrals (note that the Men’s Referral Service will not provide reports to the Court).(10)
1. After having established already that it’s almost inconceivable.
2. I’m incredulous. The first question one does NOT ask somebody who presents as a victim of violence is one positioning them as the abuser.
3. To this point this manual has taught that the individual male presenting as a victim to these institutions is probably lying or has been subjected to violence he has earned or provoked.
4. Here is the first possible inference that the man may be a victim. However I don’t believe it was meant that way. I suspect that “people who are genuinely the victims” means somebody other than the man in question.
5. Very useful given how men and boys are encouraged so much by our society to be a quivering mess when they need help. Keeping an abuser from regularly physically attacking you is a physical and intellectual need as well as a psychological need.
6. It takes until this point for any enquiry into the actual violence experienced.
7. I’m not sure why this is here. I’ll keep my suspicions as to their intended context to myself. The logical answer is that there is nowhere for them to go. Not even here.
8. Back to business as usual. We now need to get corroboration that this man is a victim from the person doing it.
9. The MRS works ONLY with men who are perpetrators. This is an instruction to send VICTIMS to them.
10. Independant, fourth party corroboration seems necessary for a man to prove he’s a victim of his female partner.
This is a textbook example of how not to treat a victim of abuse. However it is their default approach for any man who is being abused by a woman. The premise that there are very few of them begs the question. The set of men “who claim to be victims of family violence” will include those who actually are. How many actual victims will they treat this way before a different approach is sought? How many will they abuse in this way before they wake up to themselves? In many ways those victims have more to fear from the system than their actual abusers.
220.127.116.11 – Men who are victims(1)
Men who are genuinely victims of violence from female partners or other family members (e.g. adolescent or adult children) might be assisted by:
the Men’s Referral Service (which has a database of services for both users and victims of family violence);(2)
the Victims of Crime Helpline;(3)
the Victim’s Assistance and Counselling Program (see also VOCAT assistance); and
their local community health service.
1. Assuming any of them have stayed around for the denoument.
2. Counselors of my acquaintance would not refer a male victim to this service under any circumstances.
3. Why is somebody reporting – believably – to court officials that they are a victim of violence being referred to community helplines rather than assisted by court officials?
In the final analysis any man who owns up to being abused by his female partner is to be sent elsewhere. This institution isn’t really interested unless you can get somebody else to independantly say it happened.
Dear gwallan, thank you for bringing this to our attention. Victoria Australia Family Violence Bench Book.
Proper medical treatment, is to give the particular patient the treatment that will help their medical problem. Any doctor who refused to give the proper treatment, because most people don’t suffer that disease would be found incompetent and laughed off the register of doctors.
Apparently, such a standard is seen as acceptable by the Victoria Law Commission?
I understand that NZ judge’s competence is at a similar level.
Such an approach is contrary to the judicial oath, but maybe that is long forgotten?
When you think of it, if treatment is standardised to the extent that women get one treatment and men get the other, you don’t actually need a judge at all. A clerk or a monkey could deliver a better standard of judgement, they couldn’t do worse if they tried. Even a dice could do as well!
From all accounts, judges in NZ are working by that standard. I wonder if judges will come out publicly and clarify that they don’t work by such incompetent standards?
If we pay judges at a salary assuming they will deliver judgements with social value, then we are the monkeys!
Time to turn these placeholder judges into mincemeat and use them for something that they can do successfully.
More to the point, we need to employ judges who have relevant skills, integrity and have basic competence with weighing and assessing evidence.
It is safest to appoint judges just for the case being heard. Subsequent reappointment would then depend on satisfactory performance and lowest price tendering. MurrayBacon – axe murderer.
There’s one way to find out what New Zealand does and that’s to witness the work of the newly created, “Domestic Violence Court”. Male and female victims alike say it’s a joke because male and female perpetrators get a slap on the hand and sent to a program.
The main thing is to get a job. Everything else is second.
I read the first line of the letter and then decided I had read enough hate speech for one day!
My open letter in reply to Dr Russell Wills. I’ll be sending him a copy…
Dear a dad, beautiful!
An absolutely brilliant letter! SHAME the man! Deserves wide circulation indeed! The pen is mightier than the sword!
Editor’s mail or comment on the actual web page of the newspaper would be greatt!! …so that people can read.
A copy was sent to a number of media outlets including to the jounalist who published the open letter in the herald. I am very sceptical of NZ press so am not expecting anything to get published. Would be nice though…
Great letter. Still fuming…all my comments got scrubbed along with Rachel’s on WR facebook page. Often feel like we rattle around out here on our own. but that is easy to feel when we are confronted by such blantant dishonesty from the major DV voice in NZ as they continue their radical feminist ideology and keeping themselves in employment for ever more.
I have been doing some musing on issues. Including connecting some dots between radical fems and neo liberal agenda along with Gloria steinem and the cia from 1959 onwards. I think when you start looking at the much bigger picture you see why the current grass roots fight (word used deliberately) over DV and what is obviously a campaign to continue the gender war or divide seems so difficult to shift to a place of resolution. We are just puppets dancing around on the strings.
You add to this manipulation of our society by vested interests the actual abused people and the pig shit thicks (well covered in books like Deer Hunting with Jesus-why dirt poor underemployed rust belt people vote for republicians) and wow we will still be here in ten years.
Good to see another facebook page for comments on WR…see you there.
Keep up the work people we all want a more caring society for our kids.
Greetings Max, You are welcone to post on the facebook page “White Ribbon Day Debate“. It is uncensored! Presently there is a discussion on the female killers among us.
I wrote to Dr Russell Watts. As yet I have received no response.
“Dear Dr Russell Watts
Can we expect a similar open letter to the women of New Zealand imploring them to not be violent to their children as the letter you sent to the men of New Zealand.
Not doing so can only be construed as a gender bias by yourself and your office which I find offensive by a government agency.”
I encourage everyone else to write similar letters to the children’s commissioner.
Meant to say I made a complaint through BSA on the Q&A interveiw with Boshier and his WR promotion a few months back. Naturally it was not upheld but at least it wasted TV1 and maybe Wood or whoever might actually ask some challenging questions one day…we live in hope.