I’M SICK of all men being blamed for domestic violence against women. A small minority of men commit that hideous act, yet the entire male gender is told to shoulder the responsibility. It’s time the vast majority of decent men stood up for themselves.
White Ribbon Australia is an organisation that works to prevent male violence against women. That is a positive thing. Criminal violence in any form — domestic or otherwise — is a blight on society that should be stamped out.
What I do have a serious problem with, however, is some of the language White Ribbon uses to advance its cause.
This week on the News Corp website, White Ribbon CEO Libby Davies wrote an article under this headline: “We stop violence at the source. And the source is men”.
Note the definitive language here regarding the male gender. Not “some” men. Not a “minority” of men. Just “men”, period.
I am a man. I have neither raised my hand to a woman nor do I ever intend to do so. I reject being placed in the same category as violent males who bash their partners. And I feel insulted that White Ribbon feels it necessary to demonise both me and millions of other normal, women-respecting men in this fashion.
White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies (right) with Lucy Turnbull. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Most men I know love their wives or partners. Those lucky enough to have children — both sons and daughters — love them too. Those men by and large work hard, enjoy spending time with their families, try always to do the right thing and would never contemplate hitting a woman.
Such husbands and fathers are the norm in mainstream Australia. They are definitely not the “source” (to use White Ribbon’s own language) of domestic violence.
Sadly it’s become fashionable to blame all men for various social ills. Again, I am heartily sick of this.
Consider some other examples of similarly unfair categorisation. Right now Melbourne is suffering from a gang-related crime wave. The most notorious gang is Apex, which we are told consists largely of African and Pacific Islander youths.
Imagine if the Chief Commissioner of Police stated publicly that Apex’s existence meant violent crime must now be considered an “African” issue. The uproar would be both instantaneous and deafening. The Commissioner would probably receive a visit from a Human Rights Commission armed with copies of Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001. He’d be accused of racism and racial-profiling — and rightly so.
Just because some Africans are criminals doesn’t mean all criminals are African. To suggest otherwise is a gross and irresponsible generalisation. Similarly while the majority of domestic violence is committed by men, not all men are perpetrators of domestic violence.
And what about the cops? Recently Victoria Police officers were accused of inappropriate relationships with bikie gangs, illicit drug use and sexual harassment of colleagues. If true, such activities should not be tolerated. Yet only a very small minority of our otherwise hardworking police force acts in such an appalling manner. Should we tar every person involved in law enforcement with the same corrupt brush?
Or consider politicians. Believe it or not, most enter parliament with the idealistic aim of making our state or nation a better place. Some, however, allow themselves to be seduced by money, sex, power or a combination of all three. Think Labor’s Craig Thomson who used his union-funded credit card to procure prostitutes. The same party’s Andrew Theophanous who was sentenced to six years’ jail for bribery and fraud also comes to mind.
And what about Bronwyn Bishop’s outrageous travel expenses? To varying degrees these three pollies did the wrong thing. But their actions don’t imply that’s all elected officials are somehow wrong.
Pollies actions, including those of Bronwyn Bishop, don’t imply that’s all elected officials are somehow wrong.Craig Thomson’s actions don’t imply that’s all elected officials are somehow wrong. Picture: Josie Hayden
Back to White Ribbon. I get that the charity wants all men to “own” the problem of domestic violence. Fine. If I see a man hitting a woman — or indeed a woman bashing a man (which does happen) — I’ll intervene to stop the assault. Most decent people of either gender would do the same.
What I will not do, however, is take general responsibility for a violent minority whose members can’t control themselves. Just because I possess male genitals doesn’t implicate me in their problems.
Similarly, the Apex gang’s existence doesn’t make it acceptable to denigrate all Africans.
A few bad police apples need not spoil the entire law enforcement bunch.
And dodgy political expense claims shouldn’t make us distrust Canberra
entirely (although they don’t help).
Most men are honourable people who do their best to get ahead. To blame, as White Ribbon did, the entire male gender for domestic violence is both insulting and wrong. This position will cost the charity considerable support.
How can it make sense to denigrate the entire male half of the population?