Not only are men discriminated against, according to these groups; they are demonised as a consequence of feminist influence: ‘Violent women are treated more leniently than violent men. . . This is a result of the demonisation of men by radical feminists.’[676] Men and their interests are also marginalised: ‘Giving women equal value to their voice is one thing, making their voice more valuable than the wisdom and voice of men is quite another. Today a growing number of feminists have devalued the voice of men.’[677] Moreover, ‘[g]ender feminists have become a formable (sic) obstacle in raising the real needs of the male victim’.[678]

Feminists are said to have a disproportionate and dangerous level of influence over academics, policy makers and law makers. The Mankind Initiative deplores what it regards as the ‘corruption’ of research by radical feminists and by feminist ideology.[679] It argues that the Law Commission is unduly influenced by ‘femi­nist ideology that has no regard for the rights of men’[680] and it rails against discrimination:

After decades of feminist ascendancy in society, men in generally (sic) experience sex discrimination in many ways… In the recent past, the Law Commission itself has been highly responsive to the radical feminist activists, who have begun to secure privileges for women (in respect of sexual and domestic violence, and family law) at the expense of men’s basic human rights.[681]

‘The problem with the “domestic violence movement” ’, says Fontes,[682] ‘is that it has become a feminist political movement’. ‘Gender politics’ ensures that all the available funding goes to women victims[683] at the expense of men. UKMM,[684] in turn, proclaims that:

There can be no greater folly or degeneracy than to provide further support, via Ministers for Women etc. to the most privileged group in our society – women – while denying the disadvantaged, suppressed and persecuted group – men – any representation at all… The question of whether ‘feminism has gone too far’ is perhaps less important than ‘why feminism was established at all’. Feminism is an aberration, like Nazism and communism – a blight on our society.[685]

The zero sum game in which many of these campaigners and groups see them­selves as involved extends to embrace money, power and the fate of the traditional family.[686] As one piece appearing on the website of the Equal Justice Foundation, an American website, states:

[T]he feminist matriarchy has had considerable negative influence on domestic tran­quillity in the form of Draconian Big Sister laws that. . . are destroying families. . . Are we the only ones who regard the present unsubstantiated, radical social engineering based on the destruction of the patriarchy as extremely dangerous?[687]

Conclusion

In the context of domestic violence, the search for equivalence is intended to divert attention from male power and to seek acceptance for a construction of women as aggressive, controlling and out of control. It casts doubt on the veracity of women’s allegations and seeks to shift concern from men’s violence to women’s mendacity; it is the latter, rather than the former, that warrants the attention of the law. It minimises the extent and severity of men’s abuse of women, suggesting that it is something that has been exaggerated or that men are unfairly blamed for violence they do not commit. In addition, and most importantly, it is an attempt to make men appear safe; they are no more dangerous than women and per­haps less so. To deny men contact with their children is therefore an irrational over-reaction and unjustified.

The main concern of most men’s groups is not to gain victim status for abused men in an effort to secure help and resources for them. What seems central to their campaign is the drive to establish perpetrator status for women, so that they cannot be believed or trusted to make decisions regarding their children or to keep them safe. Within this account, fathers are central to their children’s well-being; it is only they who can provide some protection from mothers’ cruelty or at least fecklessness and the consequences of their undiscriminating sexual appetites. With this strategy, men’s groups seek to re-assert the place of the father in the nuclear or bi-nuclear family, as well as to counter the ‘rampant’ feminism that is undermining men’s rights and that must be brought under control.

References