Violence and Abuse Happens to Men too
By Sarah J. Merry
Cordell & Cordell Divorce Lawyer
Whether it is the “deadbeat dad”, the stupid and lazy husband, or the violent criminal, the mass media is full of distorted and negative portrayals of men. While cognizant of the distorted portrayal of men in the media, it is beyond disappointing that this twisted portrayal has made its way into the Public Service Announcements for the “No More” campaign.
The “No More” campaign is a movement to end domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault. The commonly aired PSAs which many times involve the characters of NBC’S hit series Law & Order SVU immediately leave the viewer asking “what about men…men are abused and raped too. Why are they only referring to women?” A search for the PSAs on Google or YouTube yields one particular segment entitled “Engaging Men.” The first thought after reading the title may be “finally! Light will be shed on all of the cases of domestic violence, abuse and rape against men”. Not so.
The PSA, which can be viewed here, begins on a high note by addressing the misconception that men are not the victims of violent crimes or sexual assault by providing statistics on these crimes against men. It takes a fast and downward turn, however, when Stephanie March, the actress who plays the role of the Assistant District Attorney, Alexandra Cabot on Law & Order SVU begins her sentence with “while women and children represent the majority of victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, men are affected as well . . .”. The statement that women and children represent the majority of victims is not only debatable but it is unnecessary and only further demeans men – especially those that are victims. Further, using the word “affected” to describe the impact of sexual assault on men severely minimizes the actual impact of these crimes against men – or against anyone for that matter. Why not simply state: “Domestic violence and sexual assault happens to men too”? The segment gets worse as Ms. March goes on to say “Men are witnesses and bystanders to violence, and sometimes, they are the perpetrators.” What about female witnesses and perpetrators? We all know they exist, yet they go unmentioned.
A review of the “No More” campaign print ads which exist are also overwhelmingly biased against men with catch phrases such as “he said he was sorry” or “she was asking for it” and “boys will be boys.”
While there may be a positive intent behind the “No More” campaign and the foundation associated with it, the Joyful Heart Foundation, the mission for which is to “heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues”, the campaign, and particularly the movement to “engage men”, only works against the men’s rights movement and leaves men to continue to suffer the consequences of the media’s distorted portrayal of them.
I filed for divorce after my wife became abusive to me and our young child. Screaming hysterically,punching holes in walls, calling me names all in front of our child. After I filed she made a false restraining order and took our child. I was a stay at home dad, she has cut me off financialy and goes out every night leaving our child with friends for days. Now I find that when she had full custody she got a DUI and said nothing. Nobody does anything about it and she takes no responsibiluty for her behavior. She refused counseling and is very selfish yet seeks custody to abuse me further and the courts help her. I am very depressed and victimized by a system that doesnt work. She is spending down assets with excessive litigation and travel to leave me destitute with no way to stop her. After 17 years of marriage , I will be 52 years old and broke.
I’m sorry to hear that. Are you sure you can’t get help in getting back your kid? Is there anything you can do like say video tape her abusing you and your child?
I feel you Jim, my wife abused me for 8 long years doing everything you said above. She stole my children, my dog, and my house, alienated me from my family, destroyed our business, and got me fired from my career. She’s been holding a restraining order over my head and threatened to have me involuntarily commited for the last six months to keep me from taking custody of my kids.. Good to know I’m not alone but my heart goes out to you and the many other abused fathers out there
your story sounds all too familiar. After 17 years of marriage, I too left an abusive wife. After the split I found out she had abused our daughters for years. But she was the one who hasn’t worked and now I am facing a tough fight to not only protect my children but convince a system biased against me that this woman is a victimizer, not a victim. She refuses to work and is trying to cash in on an imaginary pot of gold she has convinced everyone exists in the form of a business I had to close down because she mismanaged the money so bad and carefully acquired debt in my name. Society doesn’t care about abused men.
Women can be emotionally abusive. My ex wife put me through years of trauma. Thank god I did not hard her or harm myself.
Family Division is one part of the court system where a man’s Cnstitutional rights do not apply. My nightmare is over, but memories of how she manipulated the system to have the court take my personal property from me while effectively banning me from retrieving my personal property and repeatedly violating the visitation order are still vivid. A man attempting to get something done after being threatened with “I could kill you and get away with it because I know people” is ludicrous, while the woman can have the man jailed just because she said so.
The law is the original “fifty shades of gray”, and men are nothing more than scum with paychecks to take.
I have been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of the mother of my two minor children, often times the abuse that a male endures goes unreported. The negative behavior does not stop when you finally realize that you will never make her happy and get the strength to get out. Little did I realize is that she was just getting started and continues to use the children as tools of abuse.
This is just one more example of how feminists actually deal with the reality of male sexual assault and dv victims-they marginalize them.
In ANY discussion of the subject feminists invariably feel the need to insert a conditional “but….” clause followed by statements which make it clear that they do NOT, in fact, care about male victims and that in reality their acknowledgment of those victims is nothing more than lip-service.
Dear Ms. Merry…
There was always something negative that stirred inside of me each time I saw one of those “No More” commercials. They always sounded so phony, so duplicitous. Like a dupe defending his swindler while all the time believing he is acting as if his defense were a righteous cause. Where was the, “No More false accusations”… where was the, “No More, ‘You deserve a slap’”… where was the, “No More, ‘He is not allowed to lose his temper, ever’”…. Where was the, “No More,‘On her whim, he is guilty’”? There have been many female stars who have come out openly with anti-male rhetoric. And have been met with not reprimand, but applause. It has become so ingrained in our society that men gleefully join in in degrading and humiliating themselves… as if that is to be expected of them. Societal mindset needs to be changed. Men are of tremendous value. Masculinity is of tremendous value. Male hatred and male denigration should not an acceptable attitude. What irks me is that not only is male vilification acceptable, it is celebrated… and by men! I am completely dumbfounded as to how many male screenwriters and male directors find it an admirable undertaking to include male inferiority and female superiority in their films. Men are being cuckolded into fear and confusion by believing their role in society is to accept whatever abuse comes their way joyfully and to, at all costs, maintain complete composure while being taken advantage of. The “No More” ads only add fodder to such harmful and false attitudes.
Thank you for your article, I cannot tell how much of a breath of fresh air it truly was to me.
Your last name sums up my reaction to your piece… Merry ……
My son just lost his job due to his involvement with a young woman that I believe tried to take his life. This is not the first time that she has caused him physical harm, yet she continues to paint herself as the victim. My son has always told me he wants to be in his children’s lives, they are his responsibility and, he wants to be the one to provide for them. He has left her on more than one occasion, I’ve actually heard him tell her to leave him alone yet he went back to her. I don’t know what she said to get him to go back to her, I just have a very bad feeling about her. I never thought women could or would ever be abusive to men until my son became involved with her. I am a mother of 2 sons and I do stand up for men’s rights. Had I not seen it I never would’ve believed it. To all men FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS!
I was not surprised about SVU cast as they were on that PSA. The show itself has shown bias against men. I have observed them being quick in arresting a man who allegedly committed a crime but when a man victim points a finger at a woman, they have to investigate thoroughly first. There have been times they also searched for an excuse for the female suspect.