Privilege?

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Why is it some people never grow up? Okay, people do grow up in a physical sense, but the same playground politics still exists in so many people beyond leaving school and its child centred understanding.  Let me give you an example. There are two children in the playground who fall out (it happens) and one child says to the other “my house is bigger than yours” or “my dad is bigger than your dad” and so on. It’s almost laughable in its simplicity and innocents. Yet I am bereft and incensed that it does indeed carry on into adulthood.

I have lost count the amount of times I have heard or read terms and ideas based on ‘male privilege’. I don’t know if I am actually missing the point, but where can I find this privilege because I’ve looked for it and it only seems to be found in fairy tales, feminist agenda propaganda, narrow minded and flawed media stories or certain sections of society with a negative plan aimed at promoting their own ideology at the expense of another.

1 Miscarriage, cot deaths and infant mortality

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

In an organic way I want to start at the very beginning.

Whilst studying emergency medicine I came across an article about miscarriages, cot deaths and infant mortality.

Baby boys are more likely to die than baby girls and medical advances have actually increased the gender gap, a study released on Monday 22nd January found.

24% more likely to die

An analysis (by VR Sreeraman on  March 25, 2008 at 11:22 AM Child Health News) of infant mortality in 15 developed countries (The 15 countries analysed include Sweden, France, Denmark, England/Wales, Norway, The Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, the United States, Spain, Australia, Canada, Belgium and Japan). The study found that baby boys are 24 percent more likely to die than baby girls. This is down from a peak of 31 percent in 1970, but double the rate in the days before the development of vaccines and public health measures like improved sanitation dramatically improved infant mortality rates.

“During the great historical improvements in infant mortality, the rising male disadvantage in infancy revealed a level of unexpected male vulnerability,” the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded.

Girls have a stronger immune system while boys are 60 percent more likely to be born prematurely and to suffer from respiratory problems, among others. Boys are also more likely to cause risky or difficult labour because of their larger body and head size.

Germ theory

When poor sanitation and nutrition weakened all babies and mothers the male disadvantage was less noticeable: from 1751 until 1870 the gender mortality gap was about 10 to 15 percent. But the development of the germ theory dramatically cut infectious disease rates, making complications of childbirth and premature birth more common causes of death.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers at The University of Southern California, said baby boys are more vulnerable because their bigger size raises the risk of a difficult birth, they are more likely to be born prematurely and they also have weaker immune systems.

The study of three centuries of birth and death data in countries spanning three continents clearly showed boys to be more vulnerable in the early months of life than girls.

In the 1750s, baby boys were ten per cent more likely to die than girls, but by the 1970s the gap had widened to over 30 per cent, despite major advances in public health.

The University of Southern California researchers said that while both sexes had benefited from modern healthcare, girls had benefited more than boys.

Before 1950 poor hygiene and nutrition weakened all babies and mothers, making the gender gap less visible because death rates were high for both girls and boys. But by the 1970s vaccination, antibiotics and better hygiene had cut deaths from infection, which made birth complications and premature babies the leading cause of death, and these potentially fatal problems are more common in baby boys.

Since then improved treatment of premature babies and increasing use of Caesarean sections for risky births have narrowed the gap to 24 per cent in 2000.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?
Infant mortality rate per 1000

Nature also works against the trend of male infant mortality by selecting more males. In western nations 105 boys are born for every 100 girls.

Stress

However, stress can affect the gender ratio, with studies showing fewer boys are born after stressful events, for example in New York after the September 11 attacks, or to mothers with stressful lifestyles. It has been suggested that higher levels of stress hormones may make it more difficult for male embryos to implant in the womb, or somehow increase the likelihood that male foetuses are miscarried.

The gender gap rose steadily as infant mortality rates plummeted and only began to reverse with the increased use caesarean sections and improvements in neonatal care. Only about five percent of babies born prior to 1970 were delivered by c-section while more than 20 percent of births in the 15 developed nations studied are now performed by c-section.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

2 Women can get away with domestic violence.

Time again I have seen and witnessed a female hitting a male and, more often than not, will not face an repercussions. Roughly 40 to 50 percent of domestic violence victims are male, as reported in a study by Parity. That being said, only 25 percent of domestic violence arrests are female. The majority of these female-on-male crimes go unreported, ignored, or even result in ridicule towards the man. “Be a man,” or “grow a pair,” seem to be a common solution to the problem.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

It is a terrible fact

To be balanced in my approach it has to be recognised that women are three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by their male counterpart than vice versa. Though those numbers are indeed frightening, they do not mean or even suggest that women are completely innocent when it comes to domestic violence.

Every 37.8 seconds

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

More than 830,000 men fall victim to domestic violence every year. A man is the victim of domestic abuse every 37.8 seconds (this is according to statistics provided by the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men). These numbers are not inconsequential, and the frequency is far from insignificant. What is of further concern is that these numbers are only of those of whom are willing to report the abuse in the face of dismissal or ridicule.

Jan Brown, executive director and founder of the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men, stated that “domestic violence is not about size, gender, or strength. It’s about abuse, control, and power, and getting out of dangerous situations and getting help, whether you are a woman being abused, or a man.”

In 2001, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health collected data about the health of a nationally representative sample of 14,322 individuals between the ages of 18 and 28. The study also asked subjects to answer questions about romantic or sexual relationships in which they had engaged during the previous five years and whether those relationships had involved violence.

From this information researchers found that of the 18,761 relationships, 76 percent were non-violent and 24 percent were violent. Of the 24 percent that were violent, half had been reciprocal and half had not (reciprocal meaning there was violence inflicted by both partners). Although more men than women (53 percent versus 49 percent) had experienced nonreciprocal violent relationships, more women than men (52 percent versus 47 percent) had taken part in ones involving reciprocal violence.

This statistic was undoubtedly the most striking: in committing acts of domestic violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, in the 71 percent of nonreciprocal partner violence instances, the instigator was the woman. This flies in the face of the long-held belief that female aggression in a relationship is most often predicated on self-defense.

Further, while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships that featured reciprocal violence men were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than women (20 percent of the time).

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

Great Britain’s Office of National Statistics also showed that while 1.2 million women experienced domestic violence, 800,000 men did as well — in the U.K., men comprise 40 percent of those who suffer from domestic violence.

The Department of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach, compiled a bibliography that examined 286 scholarly investigations, 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses demonstrating that which we are reluctant to discuss — the uncomfortable reality that women are as physically aggressive, or even more so, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.

But let’s put this into perspective, a significant amount of the findings regarding male-as-victim intimate partner violence came about as the result of studies and surveys that were aimed at understanding domestic violence against women. These are not studies conducted by rabid anti-women men’s groups or right-wing think tanks. They were conducted by organizations like the Centres for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, the American Sociological Association, Psychology of Women Quarterly and the American Journal of Public Health, to name a few. In essence, no anti agenda was evident from the outset. Just a quest for the truth in a balanced approach.

And yet, these numbers seem to have prompt a unqualified backlash. Accusations such as “You’re saying abused women are asking for it,” or “You’re blaming the victim,” get hurled. No victim either female or male is asking for it, and no victim female or male should be blamed for what is done to them. I’m merely opening up the conversation to readily available statistics and facts.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

If the authorities are serious about addressing domestic violence to its fullest, then they must deal with all of the manifestations of the realities of domestic violence and be seen to pick and choose what is right to feed a politically correct agenda. By feeding the falsehood the imbalence will be allowed to persist. And that kind of conclusion benefits no one – and never will.

In recent months we’ve seen that the police and the CPS have a confused policy with regards to domestic violence and abuse. For quite some time we’ve known that our court system has had a confused policy about female domestic abuse and the handling of evidence. Their confusion, lack of understanding of male victims and target setting does not reflect our societal misunderstanding of domestic violence and our muddled perceptions about gender. In fact, they have refused to accept the idea that women can be violent as it does not fit an expected stereotype when the reverse does. It is men who are seen as being violent and so the perception and dishonesty continues to exist. It appears easier to state this than to try and re-educate an already brainwashed society.

Man up – but only to a point that is allowed

Time and again, in my role as a paramedic I have witnessed the police dismiss an obvious case of abuse for this very reason. Yet, it is only when the man is found with a knife in his back or a hammer hanging out of the front of his head do the police feel compelled to do something. It seems to be all too much of an effort until something gives – and have witnessed the loss of a life to be that catalyst.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

I am afraid that we are placing people in gender based stereotypical straightjackets. This leads to two very important questions;

  1. Is a woman ever responsible for a physical altercation that takes place between her and her male partner?
  2. And, does a man ever have the right to tell a woman to not put her hands on him and expect her to respect that?

Statistical and anecdotal evidence says the first question is barely acknowledged, and the second is treated by and large as a joke of which would be foolish to even comprehend.

Everyday observations tell us that the same abusive behaviours and tactics demonstrated by men (physical, verbal and emotional threats and intimidation) are also demonstrated by women. And the fear and shame that is felt as a result of being abused, as well as the excuses made to cover up the abuse, are not gender-specific or equally balanced. Additionally, a fair percentage of men who call the police to report an abusive spouse or partner, are, in turn, arrested for domestic abuse.

Child abuse

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

According to child welfare studies (mainly in the USA), mothers are almost twice as likely to be directly involved in child maltreatment as fathers. I can personally vouch for this having suffered physical punishments at the hands of my ‘mother’. Mothers are more likely to abuse their children than fathers. I agree and consider it fair to argue that these numbers are as such because women are usually more involved with their children. But it dismisses the solid idea that mothers are solely loving, caring and protecting of their children.

And these abused children, half of which are male, live with that pain and become adults. As men, they are told to not talk about their pain or acknowledge that a woman hurt them. This continues into adulthood and overflows into their own experiences of being abused by their partners.

The male privilege rests with the fact that any male at any age cannot be accepted as being a victim at any point. The National Centre for Victims of Crime states that 14 percent of child molestation perpetrators against boys are women. These women are not viewed the same as male perpetrators. Male victims are told to “man up” or are belittled for “not liking it.”

People will assume that the male victims of molestation “wanted it” or “didn’t mind it,” resulting in zero or little prison time and far fewer social consequences for the female predator.

Rape, in any scenario, is a serious and malicious crime and should be treated as such, regardless of whether the perpetrator is female or male. However, the victimisation of females is hailed, promoted and publicised to its fullest whilst the man is painted as the instigator and perpetrator of such actions and events. The male privilege exposes us to no protection in law to sexual assaults by women.

Is a woman every bit as capable as a man?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

In terms of domestic violence, the conversation is always overwhelmingly pointing its finger at men and boys. Indeed, I agree that we do need to talk to boys and men about having respect for our partners. Yet, it’s only part of the problem. Our girls and young ladies need to be taught what appropriate behaviour is and that any form of violence instigated by them is also equally wrong. It is not and never has been right to proportion blame to a convenient, set of masculine values.

In “Are Girls Closing the Gender Gap in Violence?” Meda Chesney-Lind states;

“Between 1989 and 1998, arrests of girls increased 50.3 percent, compared to only 16.5 percent for boys, according to the FBI’s 1999 report, Crime in the United States 1998. During that same period, arrests of girls for serious violent offenses increased by 64.3 percent and arrests of girls for ‘other assaults’ increased an astonishing 125.4 percent. In 1999, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reported that the female violent crime rate for 1997 was 103 percent above the 1981 rate, compared to a 27 percent increase for males, prompting the statement that increasing juvenile female arrests and the involvement of girls in at-risk and delinquent behavior has been a pervasive trend across the United States.”

From my perspective I consider that if we talk about female-initiated violence, then it takes away the impetus of addressing violence against women by their male partners. It feels that we can’t have one without the other. And as one section has learnt to put up and shut up about it the truth can be hidden easier.

The male privilege is one whereby we are not afforded the same protection in law as our female counterpart. Our status is inferior of which is not a privilege at all.

3 Women win the children in custody battles.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

Divorce is alarmingly common in today’s world. More alarming than that is how the court system is prone to giving the children of divorce to the mother. A 2009 study by the United States Census Bureau found that 82.2 percent of custody battles are won by the mother. In most cases, the woman is assumed to be the primary caregiver without careful analysis.

Just how mothers win custody battles is pretty obvious. Unless fathers can successfully prove that a woman is unfit, the courts will likely award physical custody to a child’s mother. Even women who are not the perfect stay-at-home Mom have an advantage over men applying to become a primary caregiver.

The nurturing nature of most females goes a long way in convincing a judge that the children will be properly cared for. Since the beginning of time, a mother’s love has been acknowledged to be the strongest bond in human relationships. Even in nature, the female of the species will die to protect her young; and so it is with most human beings. From the time a child is conceived, its mother provides physical and emotional nurturing to help the baby thrive.

It is no small wonder how mothers win custody battles–they are just presumed to be a better nurturer than fathers. However, we have also previously discussed the fact that children are more likely to be assaulted by their mothers than their fathers.

So the presumption is always that ‘Mother is best’ and it is for the father to prove otherwise. Why cannot the reverse presumption best fit? Okay, there are the obvious biological differences but a fathers love is no less or irrelevant than the mothers.

Much of the issue is about access to a safe home. Like domestic abuse refuges there is utterly no chance of securing accommodation after a split. Unless of course it is in privately rented accommodation. Of course, as in my case, once you leave the family home you are often still burdened with the expense of the old home of which you no longer live in. This is further compounded by the fact that the police will always opt to remove the male regardless of what is alleged or proven.

According to the Homelessness Resource Centre, 62 percent of the homeless community is male. Men are often viewed as intimidating or as a threat, so other individuals will not feel liable to help them out. Women are seen as vulnerable and helpless.

The only male privilege evident here is the loss of his children and home and the continued abuse from strangers. That is no privilege at all.

Celebration

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Privilege?

I believe and have always believed in equality in every form possible. Time and again I have celebrated the achievements of women in the face of outdated and unfair bias. I have also supported organisations that aim to combat abuse in any form. I firmly believe that men and women should receive the same treatment and hold the same responsibilities whilst having the same access to rights protected in law. But we don’t. We don’t have that privilege at all.

I also want to witness people having the same access to a range of opportunities that our parents didn’t have in their lifetime. However, men and women are still being treated differently and the whole argument about gender privilege is an outdated, inaccurate, ill-educated and blinkered view. My privilege is no more or less than most people but, as a man I don’t want to be fed inaccuracies based on untruths and privileges that just do not exist when actually exposed to scrutiny.

Based on my own experiences (of which in my eyes become facts) I did not have the same access to resources, services or protection that my female counterpart had.

I could go on about the loss of male lives in conflicts, the ever increasing rise in male suicides or the lack of equality in the provision of cancer care for example. But I think my case has been made. I am sorry, but if I am missing the point about my male privilege then I would love to know.

If the state is going to continually and blindly preach about “male privilege,” and blame men for all of women’s problems, then they are not pro equality. In fact, they are sexist and ignorant. My blame lies with those of whom flatly refuse to accept there is something wrong with the status quo. The real criminals, abusers, perpetrators of those of whom refuse to address the problems because they like things to remain as they are.

2 Replies to “Privilege?”

  1. Can never get this technology to work. 200 words of comment just dropped out. I was abused as a child. My main abusers were my mother and younger sister. Section two of the article really spoke to me. Keep up the good work.

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