The Devil’s Advocate, serving you a cocktail of humour, wit and sarcasm
Misconception, misperception, misinterpretation… why men’s issues rarely come into focus
The title of this article will shock most people and if you are reading this article over chai, you probably will choke on your pakora.
In Australia, about 150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Breast cancer survivor Rod Ritchie says “We get bombarded with the pink message, obviously to raise awareness of the disease in women, but what about creating awareness about the fact that men can also get breast cancer.”
A more shocking title could be, “Woman thrusts a knife into her partner and kills him in a domestic violence incident”. Fiction? Unfortunately, not!.
The largest group affected by domestic violence in Australia is the one comprising of aboriginal women
On 17 February 2017, Cathrina plunged a large kitchen knife into her fiancé, David Walsh’s neck and killed him in the presence of his friends, in Padstow, Sydney. She has since then pleaded guilty. Most of us may not be aware of this incident because it didn’t get splashed across news media.
Domestic violence against women (DVAW) is a national shame. As per statistics, one woman gets killed every week, at the hands of a man. Despite the millions of dollars thrown at it for solving this crisis and community/government/media support, the scourge does not seem to go away. The largest group affected by domestic violence in Australia is the one comprising of aboriginal women, though.
Judging by the number of DVAW campaigns kicked off by the local Indian communities, this issue has reached epidemic proportions. Why are Indian men bashing their women? What are the root causes for this behaviour? Hoping research studies have been done on this issue to find a solution.
Men are taking to the streets and forming Men Rights groups to combat the rising cases of domestic violence they are facing. Domestic violence against men in India is not recognised by the law. The Domestic Violence Act excludes the men as victims and treats them only as perpetrators
But back in “patriarchal” India, men are taking to the streets and forming Men Rights groups to combat the rising cases of domestic violence they are facing. Domestic violence against men in India is not recognised by the law. The Domestic Violence Act excludes the men as victims and treats them only as perpetrators. According to Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), every year, an estimated 150,000 fathers in India are losing access to their own kids due to marital problems and separation from spouse.
Deepika Bhardwaj, a female activist, is taking a leading role in fighting for these abused men. She has made a documentary, Martyrs of Marriage based on the false cases of dowry harassment, under the protection of Section 498A, and false rape levelled against men and subsequent suicides by men. Judges across India have warned against misuse of Section 498A and the Delhi Commission for Women has said that 53.2% of the rape cases filed between April 2013 and July 2014 were found to be false.
The One in Three Campaign in Australia (www.oneinthree.com.au) on its website states that up to one in three victims of sexual assault and at least one in three victims of family violence and abuse is male. Also, 75 males were killed in domestic homicide incidents between 2012-14, which equates to one death every 10 days.
Men face the same forms of abuse as women in domestic violence situations. Men are less likely to come forward to report incidents due to shame, embarrassment and social stigma. Most men suffer in silence and their “macho-ness” is getting in the way of seeking help.
Are statistics available for domestic violence against Indian men in Australia or is this issue non-existent?
“…the woman who insults his manhood, his sexuality and sensuality, his fathering role, his opinions and contributions, sexually manipulates him or uses various forms of intimidation and manipulation to ‘corner him’ does terrible damage to a man’s self-esteem. It’s a form of social and domestic abuse that’s difficult to detect and even more difficult to defend against” — Elizabeth Celi, psychologist & author
Are women capable of domestic violence? Says Elizabeth Celi, a psychologist and an author on men’s health “Women may not be able to pack a punch like a man might, but some women’s sugar-coated viper tongue can maim and damage a man’s identity and self-worth. A man’s health is wrapped up in his identity. Therefore the woman who insults his manhood, his sexuality and sensuality, his fathering role, his opinions and contributions, sexually manipulates him or uses various forms of intimidation and manipulation to ‘corner him’ does terrible damage to a man’s self-esteem. It’s a form of social and domestic abuse that’s difficult to detect and even more difficult to defend against.”
Domestic violence against men (DVAM) does not appear to get the same kind of attention and community/government support.
A social experiment carried out explains this clearly. In the video, which is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M0MW6ON484, a young man and woman are shown walking in a busy part of the city. The man is shown pushing, shoving and shouting at the woman. As soon as this happens, people around jump up in defence of the woman and break up the fight. The women threaten to call the police and the men are angry with the man. In the second half, the roles are reversed. The woman is shown slapping, abusing, beating and pulling the hair of the man. No one comes to the rescue. The women are having a giggle and the men are looking the other way.
The Red Pill is a 2016 American documentary film directed by Cassie Jaye. The film explores the men’s rights movement, and the social issues faced by men. The film and Cassie both received hostile reception by rabid feminists all over the world, who tried to block its screening, including in Australia. Ironically, Cassie is a feminist who was able to see the issues faced by men and made the mistake of sympathising with them. Are men are not even allowed to express and discuss their problems?
International Women’s Day is celebrated with great fanfare all over the world. Men too jump into the action and bask in its reflected glory. But when the International Men’s Day (IMD) comes along, the men are missing in action. Most men don’t know IMD exists and those who do, fall into two groups—the first insulted and embarrassed to know such a day exists, the second ROFLs.
Why are social issues looked at from a gender and statistics perspective? Isn’t a man’s life as important as that of a woman’s? Even though men are from Mars and women are from Venus, they live next to each other. Their issues intersect and overlap. Why are issues being dealt with in isolation instead of a holistic approach? Is it only the squeaky wheel that gets the oil?
If statistics and gender are the only considerations that will command government/community support, listed below are a few “men’s issues” that are larger than “women’s issues”.
- In 2017, about 75% of people who died by suicide were males
- The number of men who die of skin cancer is double that of women
- In FY2009-10, 111 people died in workplace incidents, with the vast majority (95%) being men
- Percentage of men population in prisons in Australia is 92%
- Prison rapes of men is higher than that of women
- Men death numbers are larger in homicides, road accidents, wars, conflicts etc
- The number of cancer deaths in men is larger than that for women (For 2018: Men 27,552; Women 21,034)
- The number of deaths from prostate cancer in men is more than the numbers of deaths from breast cancer in women (For 2018: 3500 men, 3128 women)
- Women live longer than men by an extra 4.2 years
This trend is similar all over the world. Men are dropping dead like flies! Women are killing men. Men are killing men. Men are killing themselves. Their macho male identity is killing them. Who says we don’t have “men’s issues”?
Men, vilified as rapists, killers and wife-beaters, are also loving husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.
Let’s give “men’s issues” a fair go!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.