MEN TOO Documentary Exposes Inconvenient Truths About Domestic Violence
By Sean Bw Parker
November 24, 2023
Odette Van Rensburg is a South African documentary filmmaker, whose last two pieces have been Disconnected(about suicide) and The Bonfire of Agreed Terms (false allegations) released by Dogs On The Run films. In MEN TOO – Domestic Violence Against Men, Rensburg turns her laser focus to this most egregiously under-reported of subjects.
Odette often prefers her work to speak for itself, and in the words of its own subjects. MEN TOO opens with Erin Pizzey, founder of the Women’s Refuge movement in the UK. Pizzey was discredited and disowned by the wider political-feminism movement when she dared suggest that as many men were coming for her help as women. Pizzey speaks in a non-partisan and direct way throughout, pointing out uncomfortable realities relating to how sexual politics has unfolded over time.
She is echoed by Phil Mitchell, an academic researcher and public communicator on the theme of violence against men; and from across the pond by John Davis, the man behind the Gender Studies for Men group. There is a golden thread of pain through MEN TOO, and that is the blithe deafness of the mainstream media to the plight of abused men. The stats are 50/50, weighted to women often being the main instigators when psychological abuse and coercive control are taken into account.
But this statistical reality is inconvenient for heavily-funded VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) charity programmes around the world, be they Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis or UN Women. ‘Positive Conclusions’ gives his heartbreaking testimony in disguise; Australian wokeist’s nightmare Bettina Arndt clearly hasn’t read the Sisterhood memo, and is having none of it.
The golden thread running through Rensburg’s own work is ‘stigma’, whether that be of suicide (often in the family) or living through the injustice of false allegations. These false allegations are the low-hanging fruit of VAWG, and believe the victims policies across the world (notably chronic in India, Spain, Argentina and Australia of late) have weaponised them to the hilt. Though VAWG policies are now firmly embedded in the mainstream, their shills on television and social media are acting as if they’re still in the first wave of feminism, flinging themselves in front of racehorses no matter how many Equality Acts are passed.
The reality is that reality itself is seen as obstreperous to the cause, as unnecessary as the men themselves in this deliberately concocted mirror-world. Released on International Stop Violence Against Men Day, MEN TOO is a tight, snappily edited and compelling piece of visual education – and seeing Erin Pizzey keeping it brutally real after all these years is genuinely empowering.
Sean Bw Parker is a an artist and writer on cultural theory and justice reform.