Our heartfelt empathy goes out to the family and associates of Grace Millane. Losing one’s child must be one of the most traumatic experiences humans can face. The unpleasant circumstances of Grace’s case can only serve to increase the pain and devastation.
Much of the NZ population has experienced deep sadness, shame and anger. Grace died in NZ when she should have enjoyed her travels. A representative of NZ has been charged with her murder.
The Ministry of Men’s Affairs would rather not discuss this case at this time. It seems insensitive to do so. However, male-denigrating people have shown no such restraint and some response is necessary.
Only police and a few other people closely involved in the case know the details of what is alleged to have happened. But that hasn’t stopped many other people from making all manner of public pronouncements, admonishing kiwi men and associating Grace’s death with domestic violence statistics (even though this was not a domestic violence matter), rape and attitudes towards women.
At the present time all those gender political comments can only be based on assumption, stereotyping and jumping to conclusions. They also seem based on a failure to respect an accused’s right to the presumption of innocence and on forgetting that the prosecution’s claims about what happened are a story often found to be inaccurate under the lens of Court scrutiny. At this stage of public ignorance about the case, gender political proselytizing shows and promotes a witch-hunt mentality under false certitude about what happened.
It’s possible, even likely, that the assumptions leading to all the commentary will turn out to be accurate, but currently we simply don’t know. Instead, it’s possible that the homicide was done in self defence. It’s possible that police have the wrong person and that a woman committed the homicide. It’s possible that Ms Millane died due to drug overdose and her associate freaked out and attempted to cover this up. It’s possible that the offender was insane. At this stage we simply don’t know.
Until we do know, the gender political commentary cannot be justified. The only reason it’s tolerated is because men are the target. Men are readily subjected to all manner of blame, stereotyping and discrimination that would not be acceptable for any other group. A tiny proportion of men commit serious violence yet each violent male is treated as representing all men and male attitudes. We don’t see that happening for Maori; that would be racist and totally unacceptable even though Maori commit a much higher rate of violent crime than do non-Maori. We jump to the defence of most law-abiding Muslims when a few of that faith commit horrific violence towards ‘infidels’. But when it comes to men it seems acceptable to criticize without restraint all men and indeed maleness itself on the basis of the actions of a few. Ironically, this duplicity is based on historical sexism that expects men to just ‘man up’, grin and bear any hardship and to matyr themselves at women’s behest.
The male-bashing commentary around the Grace Millane case parrots statistics in an unbalanced and misrepresenting way. For example, frequent claims that NZ is more violent than most other developed countries are highly dubious and depend on one or a few data comparisons while ignoring others. According to the Global Peace Index 2017, New Zealand is ranked the second-safest country in the world, next to Iceland. Further, the inaccurate statement is repeated that ’13 women’ or ‘up to 14 women’ are murdered each year in New Zealand. That’s not correct; the figure of 13 probably refers to the number of females killed in domestic homicides. For males the figure was 11 but why isn’t that mentioned? About 20% of domestic homicides are committed by women; that’s much lower than for men but it’s not insignificant. False attempts by the Family Violence Death Review Committee to classify female killers of their partners as ‘primary victims’ in the relationships cannot cover up those cases clearly based on jealousy, profit or other common motives.
Regarding homicides in society generally, more men than women are killed through violence each year. In 2016, the last year for which official figures are available, 22 women and 28 men were murdered and 27 women and 31 men were killed altogether including manslaughter. It’s incredible that statistics on the gender of offenders are really difficult to find; one suspects this is a deliberate ploy to hide the proportion of violence committed by women. However, news media accounts make it clear that homicides and other crimes of violence by women are not rare.
Sure, men are more violent physically than women and anti-violence efforts deserve to be focused in due proportion on men’s behaviour. However, the issue is ‘violence’, a phenomenon with many varied causes across its instances, not primarily masculinity, attitudes towards women or other matters that may play a part in some cases.
The prominent NZ women who signed the ‘open letter to the men and government of New Zealand’ should know better than to draw gender political conclusions from their position of ignorance about the facts of the Grace Millane case. The ‘open letter’ is patronizing towards men, amounts to gender discrimination and fuels a dangerous, ongoing war against men. Its publication at this premature stage served to ensure that male denigration is achieved before the Grace Millane case goes through Court, thereby avoiding the risk that the outcome actually won’t justify any male-denigrating generalizations. In doing this the signatories have brought their own cause into disrepute. Because of the stage at which this open letter was published, it will serve to harden the attitudes of many thinking men against feminist ideology and those who are spreading it.