Bettina Arndt, The Spectator 17 March 2023
Tomorrow, when NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman visits early voting centres in his local electorate, he’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Midst the usual Cronulla crowd of political supporters, he’ll find a group of women, from Mothers of Sons, entertaining the crowds with their spoof video featuring a smiling housewife showing off her bottle of ‘new coercive control’.
‘Partner won’t pay for a new kitchen? That’s coercive control.’
‘Keeps asking for sex? That’s coercive control.’
‘Get that male sent to jail with new coercive control!’
Take a quick look at the video on the Mothers of Sons website now. It’s less than a minute long.
Speakman is a conservative politician who delights in pandering to the women’s vote, yet he won’t be happy to see a large banner giving him credit for pushing through these draconian new laws that appear to target men so unfairly.
Perhaps some Sydneysiders would like to come along – Saturday, March 18 from 9.30 – 1.00 PM outside the Caringbah Senior Citizens Centre, 376-382 Port Hacking Rd, Caringbah. It could well prove an interesting morning.
The video is just the start of Mothers of Sons’ coercive control campaign, a means of alerting people to the audacious con job that’s so effectively hoodwinked our politicians and lawmakers. After decades of watching our justice system systematically tilted to favour women, it’s hard not to be blasé about each new feminist power grab.
But this one leaves you reeling. A deep dive into the history of coercive control and how it found its place in our criminal law system has left the Mothers of Sons team astonished at such monstrous chicanery.
It’s taken months putting together the true story, complete with supportive evidence, links, and references. That’s all up on the Mothers of Sons website now – ready for you to use as a resource.
Here are some of the absolute gems.
Let’s start with where ‘coercive control’ comes from. Oh yes, coercive control was only invented in 2007, not that long ago. It was proposed – not by an eminent criminologist or similar expert – but rather a feminist academic working in women’s studies.
In a book called Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life, it was argued that the domestic violence industry was running into problems because of mounting evidence that men and women are equally violent. The book took ideas that had been floating around in the domestic violence industry about patterns of ‘patriarchal terrorism’ and invented a brand-new form of domestic ‘violence’ called ‘coercive control’. This idea claimed men started to use ‘coercive control’ to control their relationships after society moved on from the systematic, widespread ‘wife torture’ of the past, due to women’s liberation eroding men’s sex-based patriarchal privilege.
Even though everyone knows that both men and women use controlling behaviours, it was argued that people should ‘take on faith’ that ‘the pattern of intimidation, isolation, and control … is unique to men’s abuse of women’.
Worse, this was being promoted as a new criminal offence, which made these laws a far more effective weapon to use against men than the old violence protections orders used for domestic violence. On the basis of the flimsiest evidence describing behaviours that can’t even be properly defined, and that victims may not even see as a problem, men would be sent to prison.
Within a decade, these ideas were being incorporated into new laws criminalising coercive control across the UK, and many were pushing for similar laws in Canada, New Zealand, and here, in Queensland and NSW
Interestingly, the laws were a dismal failure when first introduced. In Tasmania they went to all the effort to get laws criminalising this type of emotional abuse introduced in 2004, apparently a world-first, and they sank without a trace. There wasn’t a single prosecution in the first three years after enactment!
It turned out everyone had great difficulty proving a man guilty when no one was really sure what he was supposed to have done wrong. Lawyers weren’t keen on getting involved in fighting over these slippery cases and overburdened police actively resisted having another bucketload of work land in their laps.
It was only when local lawmakers tinkered with the legislation to try to clarify what they were talking about and introduced training programs to teach the police to target men more efficiently that numbers of convictions gradually started to go up.
In the UK, the situation was more complex. Similar laws were introduced in England in 2015, making coercive control punishable by up to five years in jail. By 2020 these laws resulted in 24,000 ‘incidents’ but only 300 convictions. That meant an incredible waste of police time for almost no result. Even though the laws were supposed to be gender-neutral, 97 per cent of those convicted were male.
Here too, the new weaponry against men only really started to work when police were trained to focus on men. In England, there was a 40 per cent increase in arrests after police and staff were trained to identify coercive control behaviour – although after eight months the effect wore off and the training had to be repeated.
Our powerful Australian feminists had a new trick up their sleeves when the time came for trying to push through coercive control legislation in Queensland and NSW. They exploited public concern about family homicides to claim these would not have happened if coercive control laws had been in place.
In my opinion, this too was a total invention. The alleged link to homicide wasn’t promoted when coercive control was first introduced in other jurisdictions (such as Tasmania and the UK) and there’s no evidence from these places that coercive control laws have had any impact on the safety of women.
But naturally we can count on the inventiveness of feminist bureaucrats to rectify that problem. When the NSW government set up their inquiry into proposed coercive control legislation, Speakman came out with a sensational claim from the 2017-19 report of the NSW Domestic Violence Review Team that 99 per cent of domestic homicides were linked to coercive control. No convincing evidence was provided to support that claim, let alone any details about how their ‘research’ was conducted.
The truth about this absurd claim was exposed in an excellent speech in November 2022 to the NSW Parliament by One Nation’s Mark Latham, who pointed out this Review Team had produced a string of reports since it was established in 2010, clearly demonstrating that socio-economic factors are key to explaining domestic homicide: poverty; mental health issues; Aboriginality; cultural factors; drug and alcohol abuse and past criminal records.
But then a new head was appointed to the Review Team and suddenly all that socio-economic data disappeared to be replaced by what Latham called ‘politically-laden advocacy’. According to Latham, the 2017-19 report was an example of what he called ‘mission search’ namely, ‘an organisation retrofitting its research in response to a newly fashionable theory’. The Review Team were told to look for examples of ‘coercive control’, which unsurprisingly they found 99 per cent of the time. (Note to NSW readers, Mark Latham deserves our vote in the upcoming election for his brave advocacy for fair treatment for men.)
Naturally when coercive control became part of the criminal law of NSW, the government congratulated itself for having passed this ‘life-saving’ law reform. Note that in NSW, coercive control can be punished with up to 7 years jail, compared with 2 years for common assault. The Attorney General’s Second Reading speech makes clear that coercive control need not involve violence and can even be totally harmless. How does this make sense?
Now for the latest twist in this incredible saga. The ABC recently ran a story from Tasmania about family violence orders backfiring on women, warning of a ‘growing misidentification crisis’ where police have ‘mistaken the victim for the perpetrator’ and charged women with criminal offences. The article claimed police had failed to analyse ‘complex patterns of coercive control’ – which means they get confused about who’s actually in need of protection.
So, despite strenuous efforts to train police to focus on men, some brave officers had the guts to examine the evidence and determine where the blame truly lay in the troubled relationship.
And read this sensational headline last month from the Dailymail.co.uk: ‘Female prison reform boss is jailed for “worst case of coercive behaviour” judge had ever seen: Senior manager subjected husband to 15 years of daily wine-fuelled beatings, verbal humiliation and even made him clean up her faeces.’ The female perpetrator was jailed for four years.
That’s the feminists’ weak spot. Everyone knows women are past masters at emotional control as abundant academic research shows. See here, here, here, here, here. Even the Australian Bureau of Statistics concedes that men experience emotional abuse at the same rates as women.
The truth will out. The fascinating recent development in NSW was that after the laws were pushed through Parliament, the pause button was hit after women’s groups spoke out warning of possible ‘misidentification problems’ unless police and the judiciary are properly indoctrinated. And that’s precisely what’s happening now in Queensland and NSW – they are rolling out endless programs and procedures to train police and judicial officers, installing DV officers in police stations and indoctrinating the judiciary.
Clearly there is considerable nervousness that their scheme will turn around to bite them, if male victims start coming forward and women end up being charged. So that’s what we need to make happen. It’s the key to forcing this whole ghastly plot to unravel.
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