“The Red Pill” in Manchester

or how people in the past were mainly focused on survival and bettering the lot of their family and didn’t really have time for oppressing their next of kin.

angel-meadow

Just a very brief post on the poignancy of the screening of “The Red Pill” tonight in Manchester as I think that it is the most apt place to have the film screened. This is where the biggest and most abrupt historical change in men’s and women’s living circumstances happened. That the industrial revolution altered our lives as never before in human history is a fact that feminists and the general public like to completely disregard.
I was lucky to have spent an Erasmus year as an exchange student at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2007/8. I didn’t consider myself lucky at the time as the university was substandard in general and I and the other German exchange student were supposed to only take courses at the Languages Department, where we as advanced students of English and American Literature and Culture would be learning about the geography of the British Isles and how to analyse a text.
I wasn’t having any of that and while we were barred barred from the English Department I got us into the History Department and the wonderful lectures of the amazing Terry Wyke. One series of lectures took us to a different historical site in or outside of Manchester every Monday morning where we would get a very vivid image of the events that took place there in the 18th/19th century. One of the things I learned during that year was that English women really enjoy having cold feet. Otherwise why would they wear ballerinas in January when you have to stand outside for two hours?
In addition to that bit of cultural studies I got a real sense of what it meant that people’s life expectancy jumped and child mortality dropped within a life time. Moreover, how the migration from the countryside into the suddenly emerging cities changed the family structure.
I had surely learned about these things from books before but what you really need if you want to understand something is the theoretical knowledge, the bare facts AND the practical experience. Then you correlate one with the other and check the various connections.
Back then I didn’t enjoy my time in Manchester as it was always damp, my fellow students at MMU were very immature and the city was still as congested as Engel’s has described it. But in the years following my time there the close encounter with the Industrial Revolution really helped me on my way to understanding why the feminist view of history and male and female relations is so obviously misguided and yet why many people find it so easy to believe and so hard to question.
Now enjoy a snippet of Terry Wyke’s lecture in Castlefield Basin about the arrival of the Rochdale Canal 🙂

“Invisible Violence”: Translation into English of the article “Die verschwiegene Gewalt”

This is a translation into English of the article “Die verschwiegene Gewalt”, published on 8 September 2016 in the Reutlinger General-Anzeiger by Markus Hehn. Because articles of this quality about men affected by domestic violence and the people who try to help them are a rarity I decided to make this article accessible to non-German speakers.

Advice: The Pfullingen (town in South Germany) psychologist Sandra Hermann supports men who have been beaten and humiliated

PFULLINGEN. The girls night is in full swing and the chick flick on tv is reaching its dramatic peak. With feverish excitement the four women are holding each other by their hands as the pretty woman is having a go at her husband. When she suddenly slaps the guy the women in the sofa scream in delight.

And while one woman quickly rewinds the movie for another round of fun the other three dig in to the sweets on the table in front of them. The scene ends with a cheerful off-stage voice saying »Always a moment to celebrate«.

While Sandra Hermann gets the commercial’s punchline she does not think it is funny at all. Just imagine a group of men roaring with laughter when a woman is slapped on tv, she points out: „Would we still laugh if the roles were reversed?“

Fear of being seen as victims

For the psychologist from Pfullingen the video is just among instances of violence against men being portrayed as admissible. In her daily work she witnesses men suffering from physical and emotional violence, happening most of the time in their own homes.

»Many men do not even seek counselling though«, she says, »because they are worried that they will not be believed.« The stereotype of men as the dominant sex makes it harder as well to admit to themselves that they are being battered. »At all ages men receive less help which makes them think they have to go through it alone.« When a victim does come round to seeking help and consults Sandra Hermann her first concern is to explore all options while being an active listener. Whether a police report will be filed or whether he will come to therapy with his partner depends on the individual case.

Hermann points out what can be done, »what will be done will be decided by her clients though« Her clients are generally 30 years and above. There is no upper limit though, neither when it comes to age, nor the types of violence with which men see themselves confronted.

This ranges from physical violence in nursing care to emotional violence in relationships and includes insults, such as »You loser«, threats, such as »If you do that you will never see your children again« or frequently monitoring the mobile phone.

Men’s counselling network

In order to be able to help more men Hermann joined the »Men’s counselling network« in April this year. Its website lists contact points that are free of charge across the whole of Germany. Sandra Hermann is one among three in Baden-Württemberg, who are offering these entry point consultancy services on a voluntary basis.

Since the other spots are in Karlsruhe and Heidelberg, Hermann’s catchment area from Pfullingen is substantive. It’s only the absence of publicity that keeps her from being overrun.

The importance of publicity

Hermann though works on changing that. Public outreach is a major part of her efforts. »It’s a top priority«, she says. In that the 42 year old is supported by Andrea Sautter. The lawyer heads the Reutlingen branch of the »Weißer Ring«, a German non-profit that supports victims of crimes and their families – that obviously inludes men.

Sautter – together with Sandra Hermann – wants to create public awareness for the issue of violence against men. »Even the people affected often have a distorted image«, she says. Practical actions include displaying leaflets at police stations. »That is so important«, Hermann adds, »in order that people know that they are not alone and that help is available.«

It is important for the two women to emphasize that this is no backlash against the services for women. They use the example of shelters to stress this point. While the roughly 400 refugees for women across Germany are publically funded the four accommodation facilities offered by the men’s counselling network are funded exclusively through private donations. Hermann and Sautter state that there are not too many services for women but too few for men. They would wish for more support on the part of the public authorities, but there seems to be a lack of funds and political will.

That is why not much research is carried out in this area. Conversely the lack of knowledge is used to justify that there is no need for domestic violence shelters for men. Argumentatively, a vicious cycle, Herman states with disappointment. The problem: »There is no lobby and studies are costly.«

At this point Hermann recommends a look at our European neighbors. In the Swiss town of Brugg exists a men’s shelter where public funding is working. Clear-cut figures are proof of the demand: there are 60 to 70 monthly requests.

Breaking a taboo

Sandra Hermann has mixed feelings when looking at the future. The topic of male victims of violence is still taboo. She knows that it will take time before the general public will become receptive to this issue. »I am hoping for everyone affected that things will change«, says Hermann. »Because as things are right now it’s all distorted and one-sided. But when people want to live together help can never be one-sided.« (GEA)

http://www.maennerberatungsnetz.de

Canadian domestic violence in Pakistan

Last week I saw this article from a respected Pakistani newspaper pop up on my facebook newsfeed. How anyone could ever think that domestic violence was an issue that affected only women as victims and only men as perpetrators is beyond me but now that countless studies have proven (what is obvious to any common sense person) that men and women lash out at each other at equal numbers it really pains me to still see the old narrative being peddled.

My hope here was that it was just done to get people to click and that the actual article would address how both men and women suffer in cousin marriages. But the actual article turned out to be biased to the bone.

Dawn article

The article opens with this strange assertion:

For centuries, parents of young Muslim women have forced their daughters into arranged marriages, often with their cousins, to protect land holdings or conform to their tribal customs.

and ends with a similar statement, coming full circle and thus ensuring that the reader leaves with an image in their mind of a young, helpless women being pushed by their evil parents to a similarly evil man who can’t wait to subjugate her.

Despite the evidence showing less infrequent abuse in first cousin marriages, women should not be forced into marriages against their wishes so that they may avoid spousal abuse. In a just society, people are kind to all, and not just to their blood relatives.

It is strange, people, feminists in particular keep reiterating that women are objectified. Yet, the person in this article, who is completely stripped of any humanity is clearly the man. According to the view of this journalist, he has no desire for a partner together with whom he can go through life, who desires him as much as he does her. Apparenty all he needs is a female that he can stomp his foot on. As anyone who has ever met a male human being knows this is not true. So, how come the journalist is not at least bothered by men who are forced into marriages against their will? They say there is no respect for women, anywhere, but especially in South Asia. But when the situation of men being forced into a marriage is not even mentioned it really makes me wonder how much respect there is in the so called male dominated society. Women forced into marriage is seen as a problem. Men forced into marriage is not even worth a mention.

It comes as no surprise then that in the comments people will justify violence against the husband by the wife.

Violence aginst husbands is just fine So, this is what the archetypal patriarchy looks like. Men justifying women lashing out at their husbands. It is not really anything that surprises me as blaming men for violence they endure from their wives is also common in western countries. This is once more an area where people in the East and West do not differ from each other. Needless to say that in the rest of the comments men are trying to outdo each other in their proclamation of how they are condemning any mistreatment of women as if that would make them somehow special. Then there is the usual Pakistanies accuses Indians of mistreating their women and vice versa. Basically a miniature version of the age old “Muslim men mistreat their womenfolk”, said by Western men and “Western men mistreat their women folk”, said by Muslim / Asian men. A competition between different cultures and nations about who treats their women best?
It’s almost as if treating women well was an inherent part of masculinity

https://www.facebook.com/dawndotcom/photos/a.250924510441.295677.86398345441/10155863606225442/?type=1&theater

http://www.dawn.com/news/1197110

Another curious part of the article was that it revealed that the study was financed by USAID and conducted by Canadian researchers. It’s almost as if colonialism never ended. Once again theories that have proven to have done more harm than good in the native population and are nowadays being openly challenged by many are taken to foreign lands and are engrafted on people there.