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Listen, Men: About Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Misogyny and Exclusion

By Dr Stewart Hase

Dear fellow men,

I’m writing to you at this moment in time because of the recent media frenzy about sexual abuse in the snake pit that is Federal Parliament. However, the issues currently headlining all our various forms of media is a daily, yes daily, problem in our supposedly egalitarian, good onya mate society.

What I’d also like to say, in support of my fellow writer Dr Jennifer Wilson, is that males writing about sexual abuse (in all its forms) is about the same as asking hungry fox to provide advice on how to build a fox proof henhouse. So, a few notes from a bloke to other blokes.

The most important thing you (as a man) need to recognise is that when it comes to rape, sexual assault, abuse and harassment of women, misogyny and exclusion is that you don’t understand. You don’t get it. If you get that you don’t get it, there is the possibility that we might understand, or at least as closely as we can.

One of the reasons we don’t get it is because it is not in our best interests. We’ve been taught from birth, that women are goods and chattels, second class citizens, handmaidens, someone who will serve our needs, whether it is in the house or the workplace: even the street. We get this from our families, from the major religions that teach, through text written by old men in caves, and from ourselves.

Fellow blokes, it’s about power. To be brief, there are three types of power when it comes to the sexual, physical, verbal, symbolic abuse of women.

The first type of power is exercised by those men who are socialised as above, and never come to question what they are doing. Sounds apologetic (to women who are reading this) but it is perpetuated because it is in our best interests. We are selfish. Glass ceilings, the ‘tea lady phenomenon’, assuming male superiority in all things, and ‘she was asking for it’ rather than accepting that men need to control their impulses, are just a few examples of how we exert power.

Then there are men in positions of power who think that they can get away with anything they want. Mind you, they do this with all aspects of their lives, not just with the appropriation of women. Note the word appropriation. It means ownership. They assume that it is their god (and I mean god) given right to take.

The third type of power is what I call impotent power. These are men who have appallingly low egos or sense of self. They want to take control of women, to appropriate because it makes them feel better about themselves. This is the bulk of female abusers of all types.

And to be clear, blokes, it is not just overt violent power that underpins rape, and physical and sexual assault.

One women a week, on average is murdered in Australia by her partner or former partner is murdered in Australia. One in 5 women have experienced sexual violence, 1 in 3 physical violence, and one in six women have experienced stalking since the age of 15.

It is also the subtle ways in which we (yes you) downplay women, denigrate them, portray them as less equal, diminish them, and appropriate them. And don’t just point the finger at Prime Minister Scott Morrison and friends, the Labor Party or Barnaby Joyce and his mates. It is alive and well in your local golf club, bowls club, in football clubs, on the cricket field and on all forms of social media.

Let me try an analogy to get my point about power across. Imagine getting into the ring with a really skilful boxer or martial arts exponent. It starts with a lot of shuffling around the ring, a bit of feinting, and the occasional jab to the ribs-taunting you. This results in you being exhausted in about a minute. You’re starting to feel a bit helpless because you can’t lay a hand on him. Then the big punches start. Not enough to knock you out but enough to start you bleeding, close your eyes, make your breathing difficult to catch because of broken ribs. He just keeps jabbing away. There are rest breaks between rounds, and some respite as he dances around. But he keeps on coming back. You are totally helpless and your power is completely taken away.

This doesn’t nearly cover the way in which women’s power is taken from them in rape, in sexual and physical assault and in their appropriation because, often, women’s power is taken away forever. After the boxing match, you can recuperate. Women are frequently scarred forever.

Another analogy may help. I work with a lot of returned service personnel who have PTSD and other problems. They remind me most of women who have been abused because they too have had their personal power seized from them by fear, being overwhelmed and, most of all, helpless in the face of what is happening. Their power has been stripped away.

To fix this problem needs leadership. From us blokes. It would be great if it came from our male Federal Parliamentarians but it looks like we may as well piss into a force 10 gale. So, it’s up to us.

Speak up and, better, fucking stop it!

Stewart is a psychologist with a special interest in how people adapt and also learn. He’s written widely in these areas. He continues to consult, and annoy people who misuse power. Twitter: @stewarthase

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

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98 comments

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  1. Lurline

    What a fantastic analogy. I’ll be sharing this, I hope everyone else who reads it does too. Male, female, intersex, non binary, every possible gender and sexuality needs to shoot this from the rooftops.

  2. ROBERT BRUCE

    SOLIDARITY COMRADES,……. STAND TOGETHER AND STAY STRONG …………….. and learn “the Internationale” it unites the human race.

  3. Geoffrey Kyle

    “One of the reasons we don’t get it is because it is not in our best interests. We’ve been taught from birth, that women are goods and chattels, second class citizens, handmaidens, someone who will serve our needs, whether it is in the house or the workplace: even the street. We get this from our families, from the major religions that teach, through text written by old men in caves, and from ourselves.”

    Indeed Doctor, what you say seems to be the general case. But you should have mentioned that not all men are like this. I’m 70 now, and have had an adult lifetime in analytical chemistry, working in remote places. During those circa 50 years, I worked with, supervised, and recruited many female chemists. From my agnostic, public school upbringing in middle class suburban Sydney, I found no difficulty in ignoring apparent cultural or gender distinctions and evaluating people on the basis of professional competence. The same appreciation of individual differences within a general equality applied naturally and logically to family life.

    The point is that there were times and places where young people were not inculcated from birth with the handicaps on their humanity that you describe so accurately. What should be under study is why that is not so common nowadays. What changed?

    I’d also comment that there are many decent older blokes I know who feel tarred with an inappropriate and undeserved brush. The critics should acknowledge that there exists a – perhaps minority – group of men who are not guilty. But one would not know that from the media – including AIM.

    (Doctor Wu in the Northern Territory.)

  4. DrakeN

    Said the father, beating his son with the buckle end of his belt: “A good whipping never did me any harm.”

  5. Kaye Lee

    Geoffrey Kyle,

    I absolutely agree that men are not all the same. The vast majority of men in my life have treated me with respect which they also deserve returned.

  6. Michael Taylor

    I wish I could say the same about me, Kaye.

    Growing up on Kangaroo Island such things like sexism and racism were unheard of at school. But when I moved to Adelaide, oh how quickly that changed. By the mid 90s I was as sexist and racist as a bloke could get. It’s obviously the environment we are in, that produces the person we are.

    Going to uni changed all that. Sexism and racism weren’t tolerated, besides, you soon learn that women and black people aren’t that bad after all.

    Whilst ashamed at the person I once was, I now pride myself for not having a sexist or racist bone in my body.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Actually, the politicians I admire the most are all women.

    Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Kristina Keneally, Jacinda Ardern, Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland First Minister), Angela Merkel, Kamala Harris, AOC, Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, and Katrin Jakobsdóttir (Iceland PM).

  8. Michael Taylor

    PS: Before someone picks me up on it… Stacey Abrams is not a politician, though she was a candidate for the Georgia governorship in 2018.

    Her campaigning for the Georgia run off elections in January was instrumental in getting the two Dem Senate candidates over the line.

    And by all accounts she was on Joe Biden’s shortlist as his running mate. To me, she’s an ‘honorary politician’.

  9. Henry Rodrigues

    Michael T……. Can I add, every woman you named is worth ten times their parliamentary counterparts, mostly conservative. Reason is these women look after the under priviledged where as the others are their to look after themselves, their parties, their donors or their class.

    Consider: Bronwyn, Mikaelia, Linda, Bridget, Susann, Ruston, Gladys, Julie..and that ghastly woman from South Australia whose name escapes me.

  10. Henry Rodrigues

    Michael…. I forgot Mandy, but there was another one who lost her seat, a most disgusting creature if ever there was one. Just can’t recall her name.

  11. Michael Taylor

    Henry, I can think of one in Victoria who I believe was nasty to the core: Sophie Mirabella.

  12. Vikingduk

    Just wondering, the alleged rapist of Ms. Higgins, anyone know where’s he’s got to? Police spoken with him yet? I also wonder if that payne woman has been reminded that not only is she a woman but she is also minister for women. Thought she might have something to say you know, all these alleged rapes, misogyny, bullying, etc. though she may well have done, I’m generally ignorant of the latest MSM dribbles.

    Inbuilt conditioning, blokes got to be aware, got to change, got to wake up. Though some of the men I have known, worked with, surfed with had the most revolting attitude towards women. I’m sure if women knew how some jerks regard them they would have nothing to do with any of us.

  13. Anthony judge

    Does nobody care to comment on the unquestioned polarization of this exchange? Men bad, wrong and guilty. Women, good, right and innocent. Great generalization!? Is that how we move forward?

  14. Arnd

    I’m not sure that Stewart’s harangue is particularly useful. It might have some effect as a deliberately forceful conversation starter. But even that value is limited since those men who most urgently need to involve themselves in such reflections are by the same token the men least likely to take any note of this article, and feel cornered or be offended by it if they ever do.

  15. Anthony Judge

    In response to Kaye, no one questions those stats in terms of what they cover. Does that end the discussion? Men bad, women innocent? Men seriously need to get their act together; women do not need to change their attitude in any way whatsoever? Other than to promote to a higher degree the constraint on men’s behaviour? As a man do I experience no harassment by women whatsoever — maybe of a form not covered by the stats and therefore to be treated as irrelevant to this discussion?

  16. Arnd

    That is an interesting and indeed curious question you are asking here, Anthony.

    Replying in the negative – no, women do not have to change, only men do – carries the implicit assumption that men do wield greater agency and greater responsibility than women. Which assumption is widely and resolutely denounced by feminist advocates of gender equality.

    Replying in the positive – that both men and women have to change their outlook and behaviour – leaves us with the question what it is that women have done to contribute to the present state of affairs. Which question invites accusations of victim blaming.

    Bit of a Catch 22, innit?

    Having previously run up against this dilemma, I know how I eventually resolved it. But I am interested to find out what others think.

  17. Kaye Lee

    “Replying in the negative – no, women do not have to change, only men do – carries the implicit assumption that men do wield greater agency and greater responsibility than women. Which assumption is widely and resolutely denounced by feminist advocates of gender equality.”

    Absolute rubbish.

    It carries the ‘implicit assumption’ – read fact – that men are responsible for 97% of all sexual assaults. Feminism isn’t about equal rights and opportunities to rape people.

  18. Henry Rodrigues

    Michael….Mirabella was the one. How could I forget that creature. Thanks for reminding me.

  19. Arnd

    “Absolute rubbish.”

    Thank you!

    Let’s try that again, shall we:

    “… men are responsible for 97% of all sexual assaults.”

    On its own, that observation is about as useful as stating that 100% of all smokers die. That’s terrible statistics, of course. And true! But also patently useless!

    Your earlier post also quantifies actual official offender rates: 102.9 per 100,000. That’s 1 per one thousand men. Even allowing for a high rate of unreported sexual assaults, and also allowing for incidents which do not cross the threshold of “criminal behaviour”, but nevertheless carry serious, far-reaching and cumulative detrimental effects, that still does not categorically implicate all men regardless.

    And you said as much in your earlier post: “The vast majority of men in my life have treated me with respect …”

    How many men are directly implicated? 10%? 20%? 30%

    So what is to be gained by adopting Stewart’s Roundhouse attitude that deliberately denounces all men and will not admit any differentiations, no matter how instructive they may be?

  20. Kaye Lee

    Anthony.

    The message isn’t “men bad”, it’s “sexual abuse bad”.

    ” As a man do I experience no harassment by women whatsoever — maybe of a form not covered by the stats and therefore to be treated as irrelevant to this discussion?”

    Violence and harassment by anyone is unacceptable. But surely it is necessary to ask why it is overwhelmingly men who commit sexual assaults and look at what in society contributes to this.

    We could go to the bible…

    “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband… a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”

    Jewish men pray each day..

    “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman.”

    Muslim men are promised virgins as a heavenly reward.

    Or look at the law on rape in marriage…

    “A husband cannot be guilty of rape upon his wife for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind to her husband which she cannot retract.”
    It was – within this framework – legally impossible to rape one’s own wife, in both British and Australian jurisdictions. In cases of more general violence, a woman was technically offered some protection under laws of battery, but a husband could be charged only with physical, and not sexual, assault. That was the case until the 1980s (1994 in the NT)

    Men made laws that women could not vote or own property. Men made laws that women had to stop working when they got married. Men made laws that women may not use contraception and may not terminate a pregnancy.

    Discussing the historical, legal, societal, and behavioural factors contributing to the power imbalance that contributes to sexual assault does not mean all men are bad and all women are perfect.

  21. Dave G.

    I have a lasting memory of Mirabella & that monster I only remember as “Iron bar” shouting from the balcony in Parliament house as Kevin Rudd gave his Apology speech.A more despicable pair it would be impossible to encounter.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Arnd,

    Stewart’s article doesn’t “deliberately denounce all men”. That’s the David Leyonjhelm line of attack. It denounces male power imbalances and the violent sexual behaviours that can result from a sense of entitlement (or inadequacy).

    Dismissing statistics as useless is disingenuous. They show that it is almost universally men that commit sexual assault. If you consider 1 in 1,000 teenage boys being convicted of sexual assault trivial, I beg to differ.

    This behaviour is not solely confined to men as shown by the Malka Leifer case. Would you wait until it is 30% of school principals sexually assaulting children before you called out the structure that allowed this to happen?

  23. Anthony Judge

    Thanks Arnd for the subtlety of:

    “that both men and women have to change their outlook and behaviour – leaves us with the question what it is that women have done to contribute to the present state of affairs. Which question invites accusations of victim blaming. Bit of a Catch 22, innit?”

    I happen to be interested in variants of the concept of “structural violence”, succinctly characterized by the phrase “physical violence is for amateurs, structural violence is for professionals”. So what forms of non-physical violence are the responsibility of women in contrast with the non-physical violence of men (as so readily recognize by feminists)? Quoting stats on physical violence does not help the discussion.

    Many religions have responded to the dilemma by constraining women in ways now widely condemned. But there is a need to put on the table by what the men involved have felt harassed — rather than dismissing that sensibility as “rubbish”, however misguided. Is the membership of those religions to be condemned outright — as some would have it? I can identify by what I feel harassed. There is a whole industry designed to exploit my vulnerability to an attraction I might otherwise not welcome. Am I misguided in my irritation at such exploitation?

  24. Geoff Andrews

    Still have heard any reasoned argument for the “Many men bad; no women bad” and how this proposition (yes or no) allows us to address the current problem of assault by men on women. I can think of a set of circumstances where both parties to the “Porter” affair are telling the truth.

  25. Kaye Lee

    I would very much like to hear how you think women have contributed to the present state of affairs and how you think women should change.

    We may have areas of agreement. Would you like to join my campaign to ban stilettos?

  26. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee,

    The only thing I think of when I see stilettos is the potential for ankle breaking and knee to toe muscle, tendon and bone problems (among other medical issues) from long term use of the horrid things.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Not to mention the damage to floors and lawns or other people’s feet when stepped on inadvertently.

  28. Anthony Judge

    I note the preference for framing the discussion around physical violence, although there is some implication that harassment includes non-physical violence. Hence references to “culture” in the snake pit. Kaye Lee would like to hear “how you think women have contributed to the present state of affairs”. In that mode I would like to understand why it is seemingly impossible to imagine how women might have contributed to the present state of affairs. Does it take two to tango? Is the physical violence of which men are primarily responsible matched by some form of non-physical violence of which women may be responsible — hence the male-dominated strictures of religion? Why is one considered worthy of consideration and the other not? Any stats on soul-destroying non-physical violence engendered by women? Any issue of denial in that respect?

  29. leefe

    Anthony:

    Can you clarify precisely what you mean by “soul-destroying non-physical violence”? Because what you’re saying sounds a great deal like a flashed up version of “she made me do it”.

  30. Anthony Judge

    Leefe

    I am not sure whether anything non-physical can be clarified satisfactorily. Perhaps use of “soul” is meaningless to many who do not experience existential pain. As to “flashed up”, I checked out “psychological violence on Google and got:

    Wikipedia: Psychological abuse, often called emotional abuse, is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder

    ThoughtCo: In a first approximation, psychological violence may be defined as that sort of violence which involves psychological damage on the part of the agent who is being violated. You do have psychological violence, that is, any time that an agent voluntarily inflicts some psychological distress on an agent.

    ScienceDirect: Psychological violence can be defined as the intentional act against a person or collective force that results in physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social harm, including insults, threats, attacks, verbal abuse

    HealthyPlace: Psychological abuse is common and yet few understand the psychological abuse definition enough to spot it. Without the visible signs of physical abuse, psychological abuse can stay hidden for years. Psychological abuse, though, can be just as devastating as physical abuse.

    HealthLine: 64 Signs of Mental and Emotional Abuse: How to Identify It

    And of course it is not just women on men, it includes men on men and women on women.

  31. Kaye Lee

    It is not me who has suggested that women have contributed to the current state of affairs. And I am genuinely interested to hear some substance put to that.

    leefe, I agree. The “ït takes two to tango” is a common one but “There is a whole industry designed to exploit my vulnerability to an attraction I might otherwise not welcome.” is scary. She turned me on. She was asking for it?

    Anthony, I note you don’t want to talk about sexual violence. Psychological abuse is also definitely a problem. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about sexual abuse and why it happens.

    “And of course it is not just women on men, it includes men on men and women on women.” No men on women mentioned?

  32. Geoff Andrews

    Kaye,
    Attempting to answer the challenge of “what changes do women have to make?”, would immediately elicit the response of “victim blaming”.
    Some men, a sad little minority to be sure, are interested in breasts, women’s breasts. A small minority of women are unaware of this interest. When these pathetic males encounter a lady determined to prove to other ladies of similar disposition that “mine are better than yours” by displaying a very fashionable neck to navel cleavage, his fascination is met with, “Wadda you staring at, ya pervert?”
    Which he is, of course; it’s so unnatural. Anyone should be able to dress as attractively as they please in public without attracting attention.

  33. Arnd

    Kaye,

    “Dismissing statistics as useless is disingenuous.”

    I didn’t! I called out the ham-fisted use of statistics. “(Practically) 100% of all rapists are men” is a long way from “100% of all men are rapists”! Yet that is the impression many advocates in this discussion seem only too happy to inform debate. A sort of lefty-progressive version of tough-on-crime and law-and-order rhetoric that attracts well-deserved progressive oprobium whenever the right-wing tries it on.

    “Stewart’s article doesn’t ‘deliberately denounce all men’”.

    Oh? You could have fooled me. I mean, the headline begins with “Listen, men …” It doesn’t start with “Listen, all blond and blue-eyed men …”, or “Listen, all men with an annual income over 100 grand …”, or “Listen, all alumni of private boys schools …”, or “Listen, all men who ever thought that ‘There is, of course, nothing wrong with a husband, faced with his wife’s initial refusal to engage in intercourse, in attempting, in an acceptable way, to persuade her to change her mind and that may involve rougher than usual handling.’
    (Thank you, Justice Derek Bollen) …”

    No! Stu didn’t differentiate at all.

    And he keeps going in his insistent manner: “… males [that would be all males?) writing about sexual abuse (in all its forms) is about the same as asking hungry fox to provide advice on how to build a fox proof henhouse.

    Am I really as existentially dependent on abusing women as foxes are on eating chooks? That’s news to me!

    “[Y]ou (as a man) … don’t get it!” Really? I mean, ok, I have no personal experience of sexual assault, so on that basis he is correct. But on that basis there is a whole raft of issues pertaining to the human condition at large which I “don’t get”, and, in the words of one outspoken Holocaust victim whose name I do not recall, of which I “speak like blind people speak of colour!” Two things: as a sighted person, I might actually be surprised to hear blind people speak of their perception of colour! And second: if I don’t speak about the Holocaust – or sexual assault on women – how am I to process such matters at all?

    I have considered Wittgenstein’s imperative “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent!” (It is even more imperative in its German “Ve haf veys” original version.) But I dismiss it: Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must learn to speak!

    Stu continues at pace: “One of the reasons we don’t get it is because it is not in our best interests.”

    That’s bullshit! Read in conjunction with the picture above the headline, Stu insists that, objectively speaking, it is in my interest to have the women in my life cowering fearfully in the corner whilst I menace them with clenched fists. I honestly have to inform my fellow correspondents that I never once in my life laboured under that particular misapprehension, or versions of it. Nor do any of the men I know. For the most part, it is “Happy wife, happy life” – which can, of course, manifest in mildly patronizing ways … – but which can just as easily tip over into “matronizing” and hen-pecked dynamics. Most couples I know manage to negotiate these issues successfully, and certainly without descent into assault and rape. Some couples unfortunately don’t, and consequently break up.

    By the looks of it, Kaye mostly agrees: “The vast majority of men in my life have treated me with respect …” Are we really to work off the assumption that most, if not all men who we know and with whom we interact, understand full well that their own interests would be best served by exploiting, abusing and violating women, and that it is only through heroic acts of altruistic self-denial that they don’t act on that understanding? Of course not. But that is what Stu’s article is saying!

    And so on …

    The problem I have with establishing male aggression as base line is that it validates and normalises that aggression, and maintains its fundamental validity as legitimate currency in human exchange. I consider that profoundly unhelpful, especially for impressionable boys and young men in their formative years. Yes, we need to recognise and grapple with the pervasive and astounding human capacity to inflict cruelty and violence on one another. But we must not declare it as the original natural condition.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Geoff,

    It all comes back to consent.

    I understand what you are saying and it is a pet peeve of mine the ridiculous lengths some women (and men) go to to appear attractive, hence my stiletto comment. I deplore the amount of time and money wasted on the beauty industry and the damage it does.

    But nothing condones sexual assault. Unless the other person is able to give informed consent, then no-one has any right to physically force sexual contact.

  35. Arnd

    Kronomex,

    “… the potential for ankle breaking and knee to toe muscle, tendon and bone problems …”

    I am reminded of Jung Chan’s account of the Chinese practice of foot binding in her book “Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China”. A practice that, apparently, was imposed on daughters of the aspiring middle classes by their mothers. Mothers who were left with the choice of breaking their little daughters’ feet, against their painful cries, or put up with their young adult daughters’ remonstrations for having destroyed their marriage prospects by not crippling their feet.

    The responsibility for all of which is routinely laid at the feet of the evil patriarchy (I’m rather proud of that pun) – except I fail to see what benefit I might derive from my wife having crippled feet so she can’t walk, or drive, or go shopping (for Pradas, say – no, just kidding, she wears “sensible shoes”!)

    I did try to imagine myself as Chinese pater familias opposed to the practice. Not sure that I might have had all that much hope overruling my wife and daughter. Dissenting with firmly established custom and mores inevitably comes at a price, and endorsing them is a particular kind of virtue signalling that may bring great rewards: would Julie Bishop have risen to foreign minister wearing Birkenstocks?

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/julie-bishops–bold-let-them-wear-red-high-heeled-shoes-statement,12164

  36. Kaye Lee

    ““(Practically) 100% of all rapists are men” is a long way from “100% of all men are rapists”! Yet that is the impression many advocates in this discussion seem only too happy to inform debate.”

    Once again, absolute rubbish. NO-ONE, including Sarah Hanson-Young, or ANY commenter here, EVER said all men are rapists.

    That you use that decades old quote from a judge that there is nothing wrong with “rougher than usual handling” of one’s wife if she refuses sex is telling.

    It is also telling that, to make your argument, you deliberately misquote the article.

    “Stu insists that, objectively speaking, it is in my interest to have the women in my life cowering fearfully in the corner whilst I menace them with clenched fists. ”

    What he actually said was “We’ve been taught from birth, that women are goods and chattels, second class citizens, handmaidens, someone who will serve our needs, whether it is in the house or the workplace: even the street. ”

    I see no point in continuing such a dishonest conversation.

  37. Geoff Andrews

    Kaye, I wasn’t commenting on the necessity for consent (“can I have that in writing before I proceed?”). Nor was I trying to defend the lame excuse, “She was asking for it.”
    All the current debate about the subject of consent needing to be taught in schools is passing the buck from parents to teachers. The moment my parents realised that I was awash with hormones, I was firmly exhorted and reminded continually to treat girls with respect. They made it very clear how disappointed they would be, for me not to do so. I had an extended family (7 aunts and uncles, 13 cousins) and the thought of my bringing shame on them kept me on the straight and narrow

  38. Kaye Lee

    Respect for another person’s rights should be a more pertinent motivator than fear of another’s disapproval. But I agree, family attitudes are extremely important in teaching us all to be respectful of each other.

  39. Anthony Judge

    In my argument for appropriate recognition of non-physical abuse (humiliation, intimidation, degradation, erosion of self-esteem, etc), I note the point: “There is a gap in the literature exploring sexual harassment outside of the male perpetrator and female victim narrative” (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-019-09682-8). It “recognises most sexual harassment occurs from men to women, and acknowledges criticism of focussing otherwise when resources are limited, noting this risks obscuring the enduring power differentials between the sexes. It contends that exploring a controversial issue, such as male experience of sexual harassment, might help bystander programmes by developing ethical subjectivity in undergraduate students. Exploring sexual behaviour as a spectrum may lead to counter hegemonic discourses to emerge”.

    What does it take to engender a “snake pit” culture? Is ignoring one dimension of it part of the problem?

  40. Arnd

    What Stu actually said was: “One of the reasons we don’t get it [rape, sexual assault, abuse and harassment of women, misogyny and exclusion] is because it is not in our best interests.”

    How much clearer can he get?

    And when he says that: “We’ve been taught from birth, that women are goods and chattels, second class citizens, handmaidens, someone who will serve our needs, whether it is in the house or the workplace: even the street”, maybe he should talk for himself? Because that’s not what I’ve been taught.

    But maybe I am an exception. Perhaps even one of those exceptions that prove the rule?

    Maybe I just have to learn to better humour and tolerate the insistence by both sides of the political spectrum to have at one another with false dichotomies in extended displays of moral superiority, rather than resolve them through deeper reflection.

    “I see no point in continuing such a dishonest conversation.”

    This present occasion is certainly not the first time that calling out and trying to draw attention to false dichotomies has earnt me insult and invective. Look – suit yourself. I’m still not going to pick unquestioning political correctness over unquestioning retrograde obstinacy, or vice versa

    “That you use that decades old quote … is telling!”

    Just out of interest, Kaye: what, exactly, are you insinuating?

  41. Anthony Judge

    Kaye rates as “scary” my point that “There is a whole industry designed to exploit my vulnerability to an attraction I might otherwise not welcome.”. But later indicates “the ridiculous lengths some women (and men) go to to appear attractive… I deplore the amount of time and money wasted on the beauty industry and the damage it does”.

    Given this reference to the advertising industry, for a laugh I checked out use on the web of “irresistible” in relation to “clothing” (19,100,000). “cosmetics” (3,710,000), “dress” (34,100,000). “fashion” (36,500,000), perfume (9,210,000) and “hair” (52,700,000). Of course many may imply irresistible to the buyer alone — really?

    But I wonder at what happens (or is intended to happen) when someone enhanced in this way encounters someone who is “indifferent” or “resistant”. I note “clothing is NOT consent”. So what is the intent of being “irresistible” in such circumstances?

    Could it be argued that any advertising using “irresistible” is encouraging harassment by women of men — unless carefully phrased to preclude that implication? Could the Australian Ad Standards authority be taken to task for neglecting its complicity in this process?

    Should people in parliamentary snake pits be strongly advised against enhancing themselves “irresistibly”?

    Might a useful complementary piece be titled: Listen, Women: About Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Misandry and Exclusion? Remember “rape” can also be used as a powerful metaphor

  42. Arnd

    Hey, Anthony, I do get your reasoning.

    Except that mysogynistic violence is absolutely rife in countries where women have the most impressive restrictions imposed on their behaviour, their dress and appearance, and their participation in public life in general. Niqab and burka do not protect women from abuse and assault.

    I don’t know the statistics, and whether they even exist, but I believe skimpy bikini-wearing surfie girls on Bondi Beach to be somewhat safer than house keepers doing the daily shopping in in some outer suburbs of Kabul.

    I could be wrong, though? But even then, insisting that all female surfers wear the burkini does NOT strike me as a convincing solution.

  43. Kaye Lee

    “Just out of interest, Kaye: what, exactly, are you insinuating?”

    I did not insinuate anything at all. I observed that, in response to my comment about rape in marriage laws, you thanked a judge who ruled, thirty years ago, that it was ok to use rough handling to coerce one’s wife to have sex. The fact that you had to go back so far to find someone to thank might indicate that both society and the law no longer consider that ok.

    Anthony, do you think if someone makes themselves attractive, that they are harassing you, that it is their fault if they are assaulted? Do you think the term “irresistible” is literal – that men are stripped of choice and agency about their own behaviour?

    In the complimentary piece you suggest, what would you like to say to women about rape?

    I wish I was surprised that so many men are offended by the statement of fact that it is almost exclusively men who commit sexual assaults. However, being a 63 year old woman, I am used to male outrage whenever their dominant privilege is questioned.

  44. Michael Taylor

    I’m confused.

    If a woman ventures into a park in a seedy area late at night and she is raped, then many men will scream that she encouraged it by venturing into a park in a seedy area late at night.

    If a man ventures into a park in a seedy area late at night and is murdered, nobody says he encouraged it by venturing into a park in a seedy area late at night.

    True, in the chain of events people are taking risks by venturing into a park in a seedy area late at night, but they should not be held responsible for their fate.

    Nobody blames a parachutist who dies (because his parachute fails to open) for jumping out of an aeroplane.

  45. leefe

    “Stu continues at pace: “One of the reasons we don’t get it is because it is not in our best interests.” ”
    To clarify this: No-one is saying that any of the fine, upstanding and understanding blokes commenting here have, behind closed doors, “the women in my life cowering fearfully in the corner whilst I menace them with clenched fists.” What the author means is that having some other men do that, along with the impossibility of knowing whether a man is going to be one of those who does it, works to the advantage of all men. If nothing else, it makes those who are not actually physically abusive look better in comparison, even if they are controlling, coercive, lazy etc. One particular person may not be guilty of harassment, so they get a pass on other negative traits. They might not be violent, so they get a pass on other problematic behaviour. The bar for men is low. Far too low. You don’t deserve a gold star for doing the bare minimum expected of a decent person.

  46. Anthony Judge

    Kaye, I understand that in your view I am mistakenly focusing on a wider context to clarify the challenge of “assault” and “abuse” — despite my reference to a survey paper which makes just that point. That is what renders this exchange pointless — as some are indicating.

    You now focus on “attractive”, but what exactly is the expectation from rendering oneself attractive? What do women expect men to do once they have rendered themselves attractive? And what if the man has no inclination to be attracted, is irritated by it, but is subject to attractive forces, carefully designed by the advertising industry (with guarantees or misinformation)? At what stage does forcing one’s attractiveness on another degrade into harassment — deniable by the harasser, however it is experienced by the harassed?

    As to what I would like “to say to women about rape”, I would rather ask the question whether they believe that a women could “rape” a man by non-physical means (by which I means intimidation, etc, etc). Here I am referring to metaphorical use of the term — well-recognized in the action of powerful groups on the powerless within a country — or by developed countries against developing countries. Which developed countries are innocent of such rape?

    You go on to repeat the “fact that it is almost exclusively men who commit sexual assaults”. I question that, having quoted the incidence of “irresistible” which you dismiss as having no “literal” significance. It is strange that it is almost exclusively women who desire to be irresistible (from the ad industry perspective) — but to what end? So a question for women would be why do you want to be irresistible?

  47. Jennandco

    I have wondered for decades why arnd’s arguments have always bothered me. Thank you Kaye Lee for pointing out the anomalies!

  48. Arnd

    leefe,

    “What the author means is that having some other men do that, along with the impossibility of knowing whether a man is going to be one of those who does it, works to the advantage of all men.”

    Thank you for clarifying, and I still insist that that is not to my, or any other man’s advantage. I do not want, and absolutely abhor the idea of a woman clinging to me merely because I probably won’t beat her up or rape her. I would consider that cloying, depressing, and utterly demoralising.

    I do appreciate that a large part of our contemporary gender dynamics are still predicated on very substantial power imbalances. As are practically all other social, economic and political dynamics. And I observe that, some incidental improvements notwithstanding, forty years’ worth of relentless neo-liberalism have exacerbated these power inequalities.

    It is for that reason that I am so insistent that Stewart’s exhortations about how individual men are to use and refrain from abusing those power inequalities are only less than half the story. At best!

    “Power corrupts!” Invariably! It is for that reason that I insist that we need to take steps to identify and deliberately deconstruct such structural power imbalances, and not just satisfy ourselves with however well-intended, but mostly vainglorious endeavours to better manage them.

    I do not want power over “my womanfolk.” I do not want to hold the capacity to abuse them at my digression. And I don’t want to be cornered into having to act as their patriarchal protector, or have my waking hours dominated by the need to provision myself for the eventuality that I might have to do so. Even only the possibility of this occuring imbues relationships with the dynamics of dependence and domination which have the very real potential to poison everything – and, I guess, frequently do.

    I appreciate that: a) turning around the dynamics of power concentration will be difficult; b) that deconstructing such power accumulation as exist now will take time and effort; and that c) in the interim, better and more effective management of such power imbalances, quite in the manner suggested by Stewart, is important.

    But I also hold that, probably since the late 60s/early 70s, politics and society at large has been allowed to slip backwards, and that that slip has gathered pace. And in that respect, I genuinely consider Stewart’s approach not just unhelpful, but counterproductive.

  49. Arnd

    Jennandco,

    for decades, hey?

  50. leefe

    Arnd

    You seem to have missed the next bit of what i wrote: the not-so-bad men get away with other things because they don’t do the worst things. That is very much to your advantage, however much you deny it. Abhor it all you want, that does not change the fact.

    “But I also hold that, probably since the late 60s/early 70s, politics and society at large has been allowed to slip backwards, and that that slip has gathered pace. And in that respect, I genuinely consider Stewart’s approach not just unhelpful, but counterproductive.”

    OK, again, please clarify. In what ways have society and politics slipped backwards? (not that I disagree with the bald statement, but the devil is in the detail) And in which ways is the author’s insistence on men taking ownership of, and fixing, the problem ‘counterproductive’?

  51. Arnd

    … both society and the law no longer consider that ok.

    But somebody obviously does, or else it wouldn’t happen anymore.

  52. Arnd

    leefe,

    you can’t ask whether I “missed the next bit I wrote”, then tell me that I can’t deny it, and the then tell me that my abhorence of it doesn’t change the fact. Which of the three is it?

    And yes, my individual abhorrence of power inequalities, between genders, and elsewhere – is ineffective. But if enough of us wake up to them, we could actually do something about them.

    “And in which ways is the author’s insistence on men taking ownership of, and fixing, the problem ‘counterproductive’?”

    Because the way he goes about it, it relies exclusively on individual men’s moral excellence, in the face of unidentified, unacknowledged, and exponentially growing structural adversity! He does not name the beast behind all of this, let alone collar it – or at least think about how it might be collared.

    “OK, again, please clarify.”

    Sorry, leefe, but I have to pass on this one. If you have not tweaked to the increasingly panicked ways in which we keep pavingbover paradise since Joni Mitchell lamented it fifty years ago, then I don’t think I can help you inside a single AIMN post.

  53. Kaye Lee

    Anthony,

    I read your survey paper of one UK study of 15 hand-picked university students who formed a focus group who were asked to discuss “Atypical Sexual Harassment as a Controversial Issue in Bystander Programmes”. I am also used to the most archane references being dragged out to try to back up one’s argument or moreso, to deflect from the topic at hand – that it is men who commit sexual assault.

    You ask” what if the man has no inclination to be attracted, is irritated by it, but is subject to attractive forces”. Let’s get real here. The notion that men can’t help it is not helping your argument. Are you suggesting that someone can be so irritated by a woman ‘flaunting herself’ that they cannot help but assault her?

    “You go on to repeat the “fact that it is almost exclusively men who commit sexual assaults”. I question that”

    So you feel harassed by women who deliberately ‘tempt’ you and equate that to sexual assault? Do you not understand that you have choice in that exchange? By all means be disgusted by women wanting to look pretty but do not for one second try to pretend that that EVER excuses sexual assault.

  54. DrakeN

    “And in that respect, I genuinely consider Stewart’s approach not just unhelpful, but counterproductive.”

    For my part, I find it just so and also soundly based on bullshit.

    The point that 97% of rapes are of men on women is also a statistical nonsense – it should read: “97% of reported rapes…”
    Most men would not wish to lose face amongst their peers by admitting that a bunch of women gave him an erection and took advantage of it by holding him down and rough-riding him.

    Now look at suicides: https://www.aihw.gov.au/suicide-self-harm-monitoring/data/deaths-by-suicide-in-australia/suicide-deaths-over-time – which might indicate much higher levels of societal pressures on men, particularly younger men, which get completely ignored in this topic.

    To date, this whole debate has been far too simplistic and superficial to be worthy of any further discussion.
    The lack of deeper understanding of human behavioral imperitives and the effects of artificially imposed constraints on it renders most of this discussion irrelevant in my reckoning.

  55. Kaye Lee

    “The point that 97% of rapes are of men on women is also a statistical nonsense ….Most men would not wish to lose face amongst their peers by admitting that a bunch of women gave him an erection and took advantage of it by holding him down and rough-riding him.”

    You think this is a common occurrence? More common than a woman getting raped by a man she knows?

    I have looked at the suicide stats you linked to….they don’t mention sexual abuse but hey, feel free to use whatever deflection you need. it’s standard practice.

    Let’s be clear here. Rape is NEVER a “behavioral imperitive”.

    Fuck this is exhausting. Help make change instead of trying to justify what you surely know is a scourge on our society.

  56. Arnd

    Henry David Thoreau’s “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”?

    How prevalent are they, really? I mean, most men do not go and shout their despair from the roof tops, do they? And even if they do, so what? If they are lucky, they might get a few partially tax-payer funded psych sessions. How is that going to pay the bills and alleviate the threat of pending homelessness due to well-documentef housing stress?

    But yes, it occurred to me that correlating male suicide rates with male assault rates might offer a few pointers. None of this is to say that stress and suicidal tendencies excuse assault. Nor am I saying that despairing and suicidal men are more likely to assault women.

    But there could be some overlap and separation simultaneously: some depressed men may assault women, some aggressive men assault women and drive some other men to utter distraction and suicide, and some men just drive others to distraction whilst remaining blithely unaware that that’s what they doing, and without ever themselves assaulting anyone.

    Something like that. A starting point to ask a few more penetrating questions that go beyond “Just don’t do it!”

  57. DrakeN

    One of the scourges on our society is the folk who are so certain of themselves that they gaslight: “…feel free to use whatever deflection you need.”

    Presentation of factual material is not “deflection”, even if it does not statistically include specifics to a point, but rather indicates an absense of wider implications within a discussion.

    You are demonstrating a very closed and blinkered mind, here, Kaye.

  58. leefe

    Arnd:
    “you can’t ask whether I “missed the next bit I wrote”, then tell me that I can’t deny it, and the then tell me that my abhorence of it doesn’t change the fact. Which of the three is it?”

    OK, I had thought what I said was clear, but obviously not sufficiently so.
    The bit you appear to have missed – or ignored – is HOW it is to your advantage. The bit you denied, is that it IS to your advantage. capisce?

    “Sorry, leefe, but I have to pass on this one. If you have not tweaked to the increasingly panicked ways in which we keep paving over paradise since Joni Mitchell lamented it fifty years ago, then I don’t think I can help you inside a single AIMN post.”

    As I said, I don’t disagree with the statement per se, but whether I agree with how you are using it within this particular discussion depends on the detail. Reactionaries say that (because they don’t like environmental activism, social responsibility, identity politics etc) and others say it because we are into the activism/responsibility/etc. Given our opposing views on … shall we say, certain feminist issues? I have no way of knowing where you stand on that particular spectrum.

  59. DrakeN

    leefe; “Can you clarify precisely what you mean by “soul-destroying non-physical violence”? Because what you’re saying sounds a great deal like a flashed up version of “she made me do it”.
    Try the current meme of ‘Coercive behaviour’ as an example.
    It is a very common occurrence across the whole of our community, at every social stratum, gender, business, religion and politick.
    There’s a lot more to violence than physical assault.

  60. leefe

    Henry David Thoreau’s “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”?

    You think women don’t? When any complaint is minimised, dismissed, ignored, reversed … have a look at the studies and stats on how women fare within the medical system (as patients), for instance. How they are dealt with by the legal system. If women now seem louder than men to you, maybe it’s because you are so accustomed to the prevalence of male voices that hearing women so much is a shock.

    There is just so much wilful blindness here. Anything rather than admit to being part of a problem and, more importantly, trying to fix it.

  61. Michael Taylor

    Why do so many find it difficult to step in the shoes of a woman and imagine – even for a minute – what it is like to walk in their shoes?

    How many times in our lives have we been in discussions and not thought; “Why can’t this person see things from my angle? How hard could it be? Why do they missing the point?”

    Sure, have your differences and have varied opinions: we encourage that. But we don’t encourage closed minds – from males, from females, from progressives, from conservatives.

    It might just be me, but I like to think I learn from listening to people. It’s one of the things in life I am truly grateful for.

  62. Anthony Judge

    Well I am checking out of this exchange. Kaye has only one very narrow point on which she is focused and expects men to listen to it when she has no desire or ability to hear any other perspective.

    I agree with DrakeN ‘s points: “You are demonstrating a very closed and blinkered mind, here, Kaye.” and “There’s a lot more to violence than physical assault.” and “The lack of deeper understanding of human behavioural imperatives and the effects of artificially imposed constraints on it renders most of this discussion irrelevant in my reckoning.”

    I have endeavoured to engage and it is a waste of time. A good lesson

    On this special AIM forum I wonder how many would agree that many Australian citizens are effectively “raped” by their government. The failure to recognize the nature of political, social, psychological, emotional and ethical rape is matched by the narrow focus of Kaye’s preoccupation with what men do with their penises without the consent of women.

  63. Kaye Lee

    Until men admit there is a problem it is very difficult to move forward.

    When I look at data that suggests that women have overtaken men in filicide statistics, I don’t think ‘that’s bullshit’. I don’t feel insulted. I don’t feel personally accused. I don’t try to argue that it’s the kids’ fault. I start thinking about what we can do to help prevent that through early intervention and support.

    Anthony, I know you and others want a different conversation and there is certainly room for it but this article was titled “Listen, Men: About Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Misogyny and Exclusion”. Accusing me of having a closed mind makes me feel like you don’t want to hear what I have to say on the topic of the article but want me to talk about what you want to talk about. Write another article about whatever you want. And then we can discuss that.

  64. Michael Taylor

    Anthony, maybe Kaye is focusing on those things because this is what the article is about.

    But don’t be too harsh. I’ve known Kaye for a long time now, and whilst you and her have found no point to agree on, I can say, without fear of contradiction, that she would have appreciated your exchanges with her.

    (Kaye, strike me down if I’m wrong).

  65. DrakeN

    “Why do so many find it difficult to step in the shoes of a woman and imagine – even for a minute – what it is like to walk in their shoes?”

    That’s a two way street, Michael, and it pisses me off no end when only one view of a topic becomes acceptable.

    As you know, and as I have repeated ad nausium, I’m old, been incapacitated physically for many decades, and have spent a great deal of that time doing the ‘scientific’ thing of “studying the world around us” without seeking academic accolade.
    This has lead to a degree of intolerance toward narrow-mindedness and fixed opinion.
    I spend a lot of time listening to people, both face-to-face and via the plethora of means which modern civisation has provided – books, podcasts, sites like this one etc. and prefer to keep my silence on topics of which I have little or no knowledge.
    But, I react strongly to people who quote selected ‘statistics’ without discrimination in order to ‘win the point’ and in order to reinforce their particular slant on things.
    Hearing/reading such opinion, I’m inclined to resort to reviewing published material on the topic – especially where my own opinion is at variance. (That’s the blessing, and possibly the curse, of the availability of serious study and conclusions of people far better qualified on the topic. When I say ‘curse’, my days often disappear before I’ve had time to contemplate the possibility of getting out of my dressing-gown before tea!)

    So, just as Ms Arndt actually had little to no concept of what actually drive the male ego when she presented her weird views on the topic, many of the faux feminists who deride the ‘evil intents of men’ have little appreciation of the salacious and predatory minds of many of the women that they claim to represent.

    A two way street in the wickedness that is “The evil that men do” was of course intended to include “those of the fairer sex”.

    Herein, I bow out of this discussion in fear for my elevated blood pressure.

  66. DrakeN

    PS and off topic, Michael, whenever I edit my scrappy writings, it results in a loss of paragraphing and consequentially context.

  67. Michael Taylor

    Yes, Drake, it is a two way street. I used the line I did because it was within the theme of this article.

    And there have been times in my life I was angry at some women for their lack of understanding. Namely, one day in Adelaide I went to see my father march on ANZAC Day. As he and the other old blokes marched down the street there was a large contingent of women along the footpath yelling out “Rapists”. My anger was palpable.

    But that was long ago and I’ve moved on.

    And on the 15th of this month I will be marching with the woman.

  68. Kaye Lee

    No Michael, I am not appreciating these exchanges. I am unbelievably disappointed, bordering on disgusted, by them.

    “faux feminists who deride the ‘evil intents of men’ have little appreciation of the salacious and predatory minds of many of the women that they claim to represent.”

    WTF is a faux feminist? How the fuck does abhorring sexual violence equate to “deriding the evil intents of men” rather than those who choose to commit sexual violence? I don’t claim to represent anyone but myself. And if the proposition is that it is “the salacious and predatory minds of women” that causes men to sexually assault them then I call CRAP. Are men that fucking weak? Are women that masochistic? Why do men always say any discussion about sexual assault is an attack on all men? Why does it always get turned around into ‘evil women tempt me’?

    I reiterate, there is NO justification for sexual violence.

  69. Michael Taylor

    My error, Kaye. And I apologise for my stupid words.

    It was my intention to give you support, which as you know, I will always do.

  70. Kaye Lee

    You are a good man Michael. I know that. As I am sure are the other men commenting here. I am just so tired of the excuses that stop us from actually addressing sexual assault.

  71. Arnd

    You think women don’t?

    Oh, I am absolutely certain they do. But statically speaking, women do have a tendency to turn that despair into self-destructive behaviour, whereas many men – but by no means all men – should probably be expected to convert that despair into aggression against others.

    If women now seem louder than men to you, maybe it’s because you are so accustomed to the prevalence of male voices that hearing women so much is a shock.

    Nice try, but no cigar! Motormouth Scotty From Advertising alone is enough to drown out a dozen AOCs. And then some.

    Where do I stand generally? In broadest terms: I agree with the Marxist description, analysis and critique of capitalism, and with his materialist conception of historicism. As to Marx’s conclusions and recommendations, I am somewhat less convinced! And that is before we pick through the mistaken recommendations ascribed to him by his followers, and the fraudulent ones by his detractors.

    Identity politics drives my nuts! Yes, the white working class does not exactly have a particular proud record of inclusiveness – see for example Labors’ cooperation in the White Australia policy. Anyone who would sing the praises of Socialisme sans doctrine, as Albert Métin characterised the Australasian working man’s paradise before WWI, would do well to reflect on the fact that that paradise was erected on the continuing dispossession of indigenous populations, that it precipitated the sending of tens of thousands of young men to fight an imperial war on the other side of the globe, and that it didn’t last through the Great Depression anyway. As for the workers’, and student revolutionaries’ reception of feminism: even as recently as the 70s, women were there to make tea, whilst the men engage in deep reflections over the People’s Front of Judea vs. the Judean People’s Front.

    And yes, the Frankfurt School and it’s successors grappled extensively with the manifold failures of the working class to actually go after their own interests, and identified the need to deal with problems of false consciousness. That, paired with the plausible strategies around entryism, set off Rudi Dutschke’s Long March through the Institutions.

    But that was over fifty years ago, and it is patently clear to me the progressive side of politics has totally gotten lost, side-tracked and/or been assimilated and co-opted the institutions they set out to subvert. Showy BLM and 99% demonstrations notwithstanding.

    So, yes, there is a lot going on at once, and a few common themes should have become apparent to some of the more inquisitive minds … – but evidently haven’t.

    Hence my insistence: the idea that mysogynistic violence at the population level is solvable through developing and building on individual men’s heroic moral excellence is, to me, as ludicrous as “sustainable capitalism”; or Aboriginal reconciliation predicated on granting Aborigines equitable access to the very power structures that developed on the back of their dispossession in the first place. It’s just not going to happen. It can’t.

    Any worthwhile change, now, depends on pursuing whole-of-system paradigm change. The first step towards this aim is to acknowledge both the necessity and possibility of such a change, and get a handle on some of the details.

  72. Michael Taylor

    And I will put my cards on the table: I too am a feminist.

    I am neither greater or beneath no man, and I am neither greater or beneath no woman. We are all equal.

  73. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, Kaye. That makes me feel better.

  74. DrakeN

    Arnd; “But statically speaking, women do have a tendency to turn that despair into self-destructive behaviour, …”

    Check the suicide statististics, please, and the alcoholism and drug taking figures.

  75. Kaye Lee

    And the sexual assault figures – or is that just a “statistical nonsense” as opposed to the figures you would like us to consider?

  76. Arnd

    And you go and check incarceration statistics, Drake!

  77. leefe

    DrakeN:

    If you do check the suicide figures, you will find that women attempt suicide at the same rate as men. They succeed less often as they generally use less violent and lethal means.

  78. Kaye Lee

    Incarceration stats for what? Sexual assault? Or something else that you would like to change the topic to?

  79. leefe

    “And the sexual assault figures – or is that just a “statistical nonsense” as opposed to the figures you would like us to consider?”

    Don’t be silly. Stats are only relevant when they can be used too support HIS position.

  80. Arnd

    General incarceration rates for starters, just to illustrate the point that delinquency is more prevalent amongst men than women. I haven’t checked, but I suppose it is, by quite some margin.

    Then we can narrow it down to violent crime. I suspect similar discrepancies.

    And then we can go to sex crimes. Again, I suspect, without actually checking, that male numbers outstrip female numbers by at least one order of magnitude.

    Now, I may be mistaking which way this discussion is going, but my encouragement to Drake was in response to what I take as his critique of my assertion that men in stressful circumstances beyond their control are significantly more likely to convert that anger into aggression against others than women.

    I kind of expect such claims to be neither particularly controversial nor a particularly egregious change of topic rather than an attempt to provide some context to the one under discussion.

    But I half expect you to disagree, Kaye. Just because!

  81. Arnd

    leefe,

    what would be the point of attempting suicide with “less lethal means?”

    All of a sudden, all sorts of questions spring to mind. About trees falling over in the middle of forests, and suchlike.

  82. Geoff Andrews

    Kaye, (@12.12pm)
    Respect for the girl and fear of bringing shame were, and are, powerful arguments to do the right thing. You are probably too young to remember the public screenings in the suburban cinemas of a series of sex education films (almost 70 years ago!!) The screenings alternated nightly between “father & son” and “mother & daughter” nights. I’m pretty sure they broached the subject of right & wrong behaviour between a young couple. Attitudes then were so different from those of today. A Swedish film “One Summer of Happiness” was shown nightly in arty cinemas to alternating male & female audiences. The hot scene that had excited the censors so much was that of a naked girl running away from the camera across a beach and diving into a lake 50 metres away.
    I don’t want to start a new thread but I suspect girls were treated with a lot more respect then(?) Sixty years ago, my naive sister of 17 was petting with a private all boys school lad who went the Trumpian grope and appeared to not understand “no”. Remembering advice given to her by a girl friend, she drove her knee firmly into his groin and was amazed to see this First XV teamster drop like a felled ox and lay groaning & writhing on the floor! I don’t think the profound effects of even a sharp flick of the finger, let alone a well-aimed knee, to the testicles had been covered in the Mother & daughter educational film. I wonder if he was able to sire a child or learned a lesson in respect that stood him in good stead for the rest of his life after that fateful night. Or both.

  83. leefe

    Arnd:
    Men are more likely to use guns, speeding cars and jumping from heights. Women tend more to go for drugs and wrist slitting. It’s rather difficult to have buyer’s remorse once you’ve pulled the trigger or stepped off that bridge, and intervention by others also tends to be too late at that point..
    Perhaps I should have said less immediately lethal means.

  84. Arnd

    leefe,

    Yes!

    So what you are saying is that even in suicide, men are from Mars, and women are from Venus.

    So far, we seem to be in furious agreement.

    Where do our views diverge?

    And why?

  85. leefe

    No Arnd,

    I’m pointing out one result of the different socialisation of boys and girls. It’s not about innate differences; there are few, if any, genuine widespread, genetically determined differences in behaviour between XY and XX people. It’s about teaching, social pressure, expectations, indoctrination and so on.

    “Any worthwhile change, now, depends on pursuing whole-of-system paradigm change. The first step towards this aim is to acknowledge both the necessity and possibility of such a change, and get a handle on some of the details.”

    Agreed, to a great extent. And that means we need to stop excusing bad behaviour. No more “boys will be boys” bullshit.

  86. Arnd

    leefe,

    now I regret not having persisted: when tapping out my previous post, I was about a dozen lines into addressing the existence of diverging ideas about the origins of gender differences, disputes about nature vs nurture, socialisation. acculturation, implications, naturalistic fallacy …

    We can discuss these at great lengths. I do hold certain views about that subject myself, some of which are more contingent and speculative than others, and all of which are subject to continual review and re-evaluation. In short, I am happy enough to compare notes on possible and likely origin, trajectory and destination of gender dynamics, and to which extent, if any, they might have been, are now, and/or increasingly will become, the object of deliberate human design.

    It’s about teaching, social pressure, expectations, indoctrination and so on.

    Maybe! But if so, you still need to explain how and why multiple societies all over the world have repeatedly and independently from each other converged to patriarchal social orders of one stripe or another.

    Kaye above made reference to old men in caves concocting fairy tales to advance that nefarious agenda. A veritable left-wing conspiracy theory. But let’s say they did: how did they get away with it? How come our ancestors didn’t call bullshit on those frauds and tell them to go jump in the lake?

    I reckon it was for the same reasons we, as a population, are not now calling bullshit on Morrison, Dutton, Porter, Tudge and Cash. Which means that there is some cultural unpacking to do yet.

    No more “boys will be boys” bullshit.

    Agreed, to a great extent. Namely to the extent to which we have to acknowledge and find ways of dealing with the inescapable fact that rapists and sex offenders don’t give a toss whether leefe or Arnd consider their behaviour excusable or not.

  87. Kaye Lee

    “Kaye above made reference to old men in caves concocting fairy tales to advance that nefarious agenda. A veritable left-wing conspiracy theory.”

    No, I referenced historical texts on which many of our laws and social mores are based.

    As to how did our ancestors get away with it? Why did patriarchal societies develop? When men make and enforce the laws and own the property, and physical force is legitimised, they get to have a lot of power. And I can assure you, women have been calling bullshit for centuries.

  88. Arnd

    And I can assure you, women have been calling bullshit for centuries.

    As have many men. Didn’t always end well for either of them, what with hangings and drawings, and ducking stools and gibbeting.

    So where to now?

  89. Arnd

    Besides, those “historical” texts: they weren’t always historical. Someone must have written down the original at some point in time. Whether sitting in a cave or a palace, or chiseling away on stone tablets on mountain tops.

  90. Kaye Lee

    And they have been translated and altered by men to suit the ruling bodies of the times.

    eg “The alteration was no doubt made by a scribe who was concerned to emphasize that women should have no public role in the church, that they should be silent and subservient to their husbands. This view then came to be incorporated into the text itself, by means of a textual alteration.”

    https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/2006/03/did-scribes-edit-women-out-of-the-bible.aspx

  91. Arnd

    Thanks, Kaye. Great link!

    And yes, I am aware of disputes over erroneous and fraudulent Bible translations and interpretations. So some mysogynistic prick took it upon himself to alter God’s Word. May he roast in hell.

    But let the record also show that it was a man – Bart D. Ehrman – who took it upon himself to painstakingly investigate and correct the record.

  92. Kaye Lee

    Arnd,

    I don’t hate men. leefe puts it very well (and a lot more succinctly than you or I).

  93. Michael Taylor

    It is true. Up until relatively recent times wives were legally “owned” by their husbands. They were property. In English Common Law a woman was legally considered her husband’s chattel, and her property became his.

  94. Peter F

    Any individual who reads religious texts does, by the very nature of reading, place their own individual interpretation of what they read. This can often relate to the needs of the reader.

  95. Kaye Lee

    Peter F,

    As a prize I was given a bible readers concordance when I was a teenager. it was fascinating. You could look up bible verses by topic. You can find a quote about pretty much anything. And another to counter it. Google makes that even easier of course.

    That’s why I get worried that so many of our lawmakers seem to be religious – blurring the separation of powers.

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