Janice Fiamengo has just written an essay that reflects on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Men with this poignant observation:

Feminists have long touted their concern for victims, yet that is never in shorter supply than in their one-sided discussions of violence, in which the only deaths allowed to matter are female deaths, presented for readers’ contemplation with poignant circumstances, names, and expressions of horrified sadness, as in the above-mentioned article. Dead men remain largely anonymous, and few readers could guess from the typical reports of feminist organizations that women are ever lethally violent.

See entire article, below.

Best Ed
Edward E. Bartlett, PhD
DAVIA: Domestic Abuse and Violence International Alliance
3220 N Street, NW, Suite 114
Washington, DC 20007


International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Men Passed without Fanfare

And the sanctioned indifference is appalling


NOV 23, 2023

The news headline by the CBC, Canada’s state-funded broadcaster, could hardly have been more blatant: “Ottawa had 16 homicides in 2022—and nearly half of the victims were women or girls.” In other words, more than half of the victims, as is always the case, were boys and men, a state of affairs that no one at the CBC has ever found troubling enough to lament or even notice. Only when the female homicide rate approaches gender parity in one (unusual) year is it a “collective crisis,” as the subheading alleges.

It’s not called the gender empathy gap for nothing.

[Author’s note: Perhaps I should have stopped here. What more is there to say about the extraordinary indifference of most people, men and women, to violence against men and the craven desire to deny female culpability? There’s nothing new in this essay, no new angle or stats, no rousing call to action, nothing beyond the marshalling of dreary evidence and sadly sarcastic observations unlikely to change any mind or cause any gynocentric cheek to blush. I had intended to finish it in time for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Men, on November 18, but was stymied partly by a sense of helpless anger, the weight of which pressed down on every sentence. The section at the end, about the death of Benjamin Rain, was the last straw.]

Feminists have long touted their concern for victims, yet that is never in shorter supply than in their one-sided discussions of violence, in which the only deaths allowed to matter are female deaths, presented for readers’ contemplation with poignant circumstances, names, and expressions of horrified sadness, as in the above-mentioned article. Dead men remain largely anonymous, and few readers could guess from the typical reports of feminist organizations that women are ever lethally violent.

Indifference to male suffering and death are the norm all over the world, of course, but the Anglophone feminist movement has markedly increased it, fudging numbers and manipulating language to focus empathy exclusively on women and girls. The CBC article devotes significant space to discussing the risible concept of femicide, a relatively recent coinage that makes no secret of its female supremacism, purporting to highlight how women and girls are killed “simply for being women” and “primarily by […] men,” as if every woman, even one killed by accident (as we’ll see), is evidence of gender bias.

The idea that women are killed because they are women is preposterous, impossible to support with evidence, and obviously intended to solidify the impression that women outnumber men as victims of murderous violence. An organization called the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability provides an elaborate taxonomy of forms of femicide to drive the idea home, deliberately blurring the lines between intimate partner homicide, a favored focus, and other killings of women, which are collectively deplored as “brazen acts of hatred.”

Even a cursory reading of the details, however, exposes the vacuousness of the terminology as well as the sleight of hand by which men’s alleged misogyny is misleadingly linked to the totality of the women’s deaths. Only two of Ottawa’s seven murdered women were killed by current or former intimate partners. One of the dead women was attacked and killed by her two adult daughters (an act called “non-intimate femicide”), while another was the victim of a stray bullet that killed her by accident and was probably intended for a man (if you can believe it, the Canadian Femicide Observatory calls this type of death “associated/connected femicide”).

It is impossible to conclude that all or even most of these—certainly unfortunate—deaths can logically be said to have occurred, as the mantra holds, “due to the existence of gender norms and stereotypes, discrimination directed toward women and girls, and unequal power relations across genders.” The determination to find gender discrimination at the root of all female suffering—and thus to justify yet more programs, initiatives, and taxpayer dollars for feminist organizations, as well as more collective shaming of men—seems unstoppable.

About the deaths of men from various causes, including intimate-partner violence (IPV), there is no mention (with one significant exception, below), and no attempt made to justify a moral calculus that finds a minority of female deaths more “horribly sad” (to quote Insp. Nicole St. John) than a majority of male deaths, though presumably the Ottawa men who lost their lives in 2022 were also “members of our community,” as was said of the women. Men (deserve to) die, so the thinking runs, because (some) men are violent. When 14 of Ottawa’s 16 murder victims had been male in the previous year, no one wrote an article about them.

There is one brief reference to an elderly man murdered by his intimate partner (“Two of the seven Ottawa women were allegedly killed by current or former partners, as was one elderly male victim”). This man was thus one of three victims of intimate partner homicide recorded for the city that year. The death prompts questions about the feminist framing of intimate partner homicide as involving vulnerable women and violent men (literally “unbridled, angry, violent men,” according to a recent Toronto Star editorial on the subject). If women are killed primarily because they are women in a culture that allegedly tolerates and promotes hateful discrimination against them, what does it signify when men are killed? How many men are killed by women? Unsurprisingly, the circumstances of this victim’s life and death, including his name, were not given (he may have been Richard Rutherford, in which case his death doesn’t fit any of the usual parameters).

The feminist answer to such questions is typically evasive. The Canadian Women’s Foundation, while admitting that “All violence is unacceptable and any effort to end violence is worthy,” insists that “statistics indicate that women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people experience violence at higher rates than men [sic], and gender-based violence requires unique solutions.” The website also maintains that “While women’s violence against men in relationships can happen, it leads to less injury and it is less likely to be motivated by a desire to dominate and control. Men are more likely to initiate violence, while women are more likely to use violence in self-defence.”

The dodge-and-weave answer, full of “more likely” and “less likely” equivocations, is patently inadequate for many reasons. Even if it were true that men experience low rates of violence at women’s hands—which is not true; men experience significant abuse, including lethal violence—it would not justify ignoring or dismissing whatever abuse does exist. To say that female violence against men “is less likely to be motivated by a desire to dominate and control,” even if true, is irrelevant. The sentence admits that at least some female violence against men is motivated by a desire to dominate and control. Therefore, the sharp distinction drawn in feminist conceptions between male predators unworthy of compassion and female victims who strike back in self-defense and do not initiate violence, is spurious.

In fact, even the underlying claims about female violence are dishonest. In a significant 2009 meta-study (a study summarizing the findings of many other studies), professor of sociology Murray Strauss demonstrated that most intimate partner violence was mutual, involving both partners, that female-only violence was as prevalent as, or more prevalent than, male-only violence, and that self-defence was a motive for only a small proportion of women’s violence against their intimate partners (less than 20%).

Such findings, though often stressed by men’s advocates, are so damaging to received wisdom and so generally under-reported and disbelieved, that they are worth emphasizing yet again (and for a vivid recent illustration, see Statistics Canada’s findings on intimate partner violence, taking note especially of responses showing that, for the age categories 35-44 and 45-54, men  reported experiencing more IPV “in the past 12 months” than did women. I suspect the numbers of male victims are even higher, with men neglecting to report IPV because they put it out of their minds and don’t think it worth mentioning.) Moreover, as Strauss stresses, “Although females outnumber males as victims of the most severe PV, female perpetration of severe violence is not a rare occurrence.”

It’s particularly hard to argue that women’s violence “leads to less injury,” as the Canadian Women’s Foundation did, when a male victim lies dead. Perhaps for this reason, the number of men who die from IPV every year is almost never discussed by mainstream commentators. Statistics Canada’s “Trends in police-reported family violence and intimate partner violence in Canada, 2022” minimizes male death from IPV, reporting that of homicides in which police identified an accused perpetrator, 46% of female victims were killed by an intimate partner as compared to only 6% of male victims.

The difference in rates of male and female IP homicide seems definitive until one recalls that far more men than women are homicide victims, with men killed at about 3.5 times the rate for women. 6% of 661 men (the total number of men killed in Canada in 2022) is 40 men, while 47% of 203 (the total number of female homicide victims in 2022) is 95. This is an approximate number that does not take into account many variables, such as women killed by male strangers or male family members, or men killed by men at the instigation of women. But if the existence of approximately 95 female victims of intimate partner homicide in one year is worthy of being declared an “epidemic” that requires intensive awareness campaigns, increased government support, dedicated police units, specialized legal terminology, and well-funded academic research programs, shouldn’t approximately 40 male IPV homicides be at least acknowledged and regretted?

That, it seems, is too much to expect. Look at news reports of men killed by women and note the rhetorical contortions through which the woman’s homicidal agency is denied and horror at the man’s violent, undeserved death is minimized. Whenever possible, the murderer will be the one described as a victim, with authorities expressing sympathy and understanding for her actions. The murdered man is often little more than an occasion for an account of the woman’s troubled life.

Such is the case with one of the few IPV homicides of men to make it into the Canadian news last year: a report about the sentencing of a Calgary woman, Mae Tallow, an addict with a long record of violent assaults, who in 2019 “fatally punched and asphyxiated her boyfriend at a southwest CTrain [transit] station.” This news report tells us nothing about the victim, Benjamin Rain, who was pronounced dead of his injuries at hospital. In this article, he is nobody’s son, brother, or friend (though in a different article, his mother is mentioned, as she, rather bizarrely, thanked his murderer for “taking responsibility” for what was done to her son). Not a single detail humanizes him. Everything in the story is about his killer’s victimhood and alleged lack of malign intent.

The female judge in the case, Michelle Hollins, is quoted as saying that Tallow, in her lethal pummeling of the victim, “appeared to be trying to wake up a severely intoxicated Rain by punching him in the face and head over the course of 30 minutes while also lying on top of him.” It is not made clear whether Rain was already dead or near-dead at this point, and one questions how it would be possible to distinguish, from surveillance camera footage, between blows intended to hurt and those intended merely to “wake up.”

In any event, Judge Hollins went further, pronouncing on Tallow’s state of mind during her drunken attack, which, she said, “was brought about not because of any animus but because Ms. Tallow was too drunk to control her behavior and Mr. Rain was too drunk to defend himself.” Acting with “animus” and being “too drunk to control oneself” are usually not considered mutually exclusive.

Judge Hollins, however, is focused entirely on excusing the woman, who had a “difficult upbringing with an abusive father who was a survivor of a residential school” and had “her abilities and opportunities […] completely derailed by her substance abuse.” Tallow is the victim here. The fact that she had “five earlier assault convictions,” not mentioned until near the end of the article, does not appear to have weakened the judge’s sympathy or certainty that Tallow meant well; she seems to have handed down a sentence of “four years and two months” with regret that any incarceration was needed. “But due to time already spent in remand,” the report notes, “Tallow will only need to serve another nine months.” The woman will not suffer too much.

It’s hard to imagine that a man with numerous prior assault convictions who caused a lethal brain hemorrhage to his (barely described) girlfriend by lying on top of her and pounding her in the head would have been similarly excused and commiserated with. Not a soul protested the lenient sentence given to Benjamin Rain’s killer.

Women aren’t taught to control their violence because our culture won’t even admit that women can be violent; and compassion for men is in such short supply that few can even pretend to care.

Organizers of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Men certainly have their work cut out for them.