‘Men’ have a collective problem with violence, abuse…

‘Men’ have a collective problem with violence, abuse, murder, rape, misogyny – and should do more collectively to address these problems and the ingrained cultures that contribute to the problems.

Obviously not all men are violent, not all men are thugs or rapists or murderers. It can be quite confronting to be held responsible as a gender for individual crimes, rapes, murders, assaults. We are not all responsible for specific crimes. But we are all responsible for the social culture in which they occur all too frequently.

A number of women have been expressing themselves in reaction to the shocking murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. There has been a lot of emotion, and I think that in the heat of the moment some things that have been said maybe be a bit over the top, off the mark and unfair.

But I think we should listen, learn, and resolve to do more to stand up to the debilitating and destructive behaviours that cause so much grief and anger.

WARNING: the following may put some male noses out of joint. But I think that men should read, digest, and consider carefully what is being expressed.

Women, many women, have to deal with problems that most men have to deal with, and that most men are probably largely unaware of.

Kirsty Johnston: I’m angry about Grace Millane’s murder after a year reporting on rape

I was angry before Grace Millane’s death and I’m seething now.

In the days following Grace’s death, I tried to explain this feeling to the men in my life, to tell them why many women felt so upset by her killing.

“It could have been any of us,” I said. “It is a reminder that we aren’t yet equal. She was just a kid. She was just trying to live her life.”

I watched them grapple with this idea, to try not to get defensive. I wondered how it must feel to be on the other end, to be told that you have the power to be frightening. I felt sorry for them, these men who I love. Right now, however, I’m too tired to make it okay for them. It’s been a long year. I’m tired of explaining. I’m tired of feeling second-class. And I’m tired of being angry. It’s a burden none of us asked for.

I have spent most of 2018 writing about rape. It wasn’t planned. It began with a single story about unresolved sexual assault cases handled by the police, and grew, and grew.

After every article, more women came forward to talk to me about sexual violence and their experience with the justice system. For a while, I became part reporter, part counsellor. I didn’t mind. Journalism is as much in the listening as the telling. But unlike with previous projects, this time the stories stayed with me, waking me at night, leaving a deep aching in my chest around my heart. Sometimes, I felt sick, my throat constricted. Worst was when I felt the deep chill of recognition settle in my bones.

It was deeply confronting to realise these women’s long-held secrets were so similar to my own. As I listened to them, memories long-repressed began to bubble to the surface. Small things, like unwanted touches or sexist comments. Bigger things, like sexual coercion or a lack of consent. Other things. Cowering in corners.

With the lid lifted, it felt like I was viewing the world through a new lens. Everywhere I looked was rape culture, the dominance of the patriarchy, ingrained misogyny. Once you see, I said to one victim, you can’t unsee. She said, “I wish I could. I don’t want to be this person.” Same, I said. It’s exhausting. As the year went on my heartache shifted to anger. In June, after a nasty incident at a bar, I wrote a furious column about male entitlement, begging men to think about their behaviour. In response, I got emails threatening rape. My anger twisted to despair.

The only thing that saved me was the kindness of other women.

Wouldn’t it be good if the kindness of men also helped saved people from angst, saved people from violence and abuse, saved people’s lives?

It can, and does. But not enough.

I think that men as a group need to listen more, learn more about the problems they are being linked to and are a part of.

‘Men’ cannot be held responsible for individuals, for individual murders, for individual rapes, for individual assaults, for individual families battered and scarred by violence.

But as a significant segment of a society that is too often violent and dysfunctional I think men have a collective responsibility to stand up and confront the issues more and better.

Many men lead non-violent lives, many men are members of decent families and decent communities. But our society as a whole has a pervading sickness, not just a sickness of violent behaviour, of abusive behaviour, but a sickness of attitudes and behaviours that disrespect, demean, destroy.

This is too prevalent in family and social situations. It is also too prevalent in politics. It is far too prevalent in online forums, social media – as a society we haven’t adapted well to technological changes. Yet.

When it comes down to it we don’t care about women enough. Most men do not know what it is to be afraid, to realise if your worst fear comes true, there is nothing you can do.

We as men can imagine what this may be like but will probably never understand how it feels.

I can’t speak for women, but I can try to understand their angst and anger better.

And as a man I should do more to make our society less violent, better. I think this will benefit from collective action from men.

I admit that some of what I have read lately, including from Kirsty Johnston, got my hackles up a bit, made me feel indignant, dumped on. Maybe that’s in part because I know, I feel, that men are not doing enough to address male problems in our society. Society will only change for the better if we change – change our attitudes, change our behaviours, and change what we do (from little to more) to confront a beast of a problem.


Put “words into action and truly support women”

A thread on Twitter begins:

That’s quite a confrontational and alienating start. What follows is some advice to men, with some questionable comments added (I note that advice to women from men on this issue is unlikely to go down well):

In light of all the not all men idiots still breathing and talking shit, here’s a few ways that you can truly put your idiotic words into action and truly support women who are fearing for their lives right now.

Walk women to their cars and wait for them to drive off before leaving. Same applies to if you’re dropping them home. Wait until they are safely inside. If somebody is inside their car you will see and be able to help.

Wait with women for their taxis/ubers/transport home. Say hello and introduce yourself to the driver, note the number plate, and thank the driver for getting your friend home safely. Tell your friend to message you as soon as they are safely home.

If possible, drop your friends home in your uber/taxi/car. If money is an issue for them and they’re taking public transport, pay for them to get home.

When you see any women looking uncomfortable in a situation with a man, step in. Introduce yourself and say “hi, I’m xyz, is this man bothering you?” and follow up with “are you sure?” if she says no uncomfortably. Alert a staff member if you are in a bar.

If you ever see a woman being harassed by a man in any situation, also step in. introduce yourself, and say “would you like me to wait with you until he is gone?” and also call the police. If it looks like a couple’s fight, make sure the woman is aware there are witnesses & help.

This sort of thing can be tricky to deal with. Sometimes women don’t want others interfering. It risks escalating the situation for the women. It could also put the man who intervenes at risk. I know this from experience.

If a woman is visibly intoxicated leaving a bar with a man, tell security to check on them and also ask if she’s okay. if the man is defensive and aggressive and won’t let her speak, chances are he doesn’t know her, and is planning to assault her. Do not let them leave together.

If you see a male friend who won’t leave a woman alone, go over and say “sorry I’ll let him stop bothering you now” then take him away and explain that she is not interested and he needs to learn to take no for an answer, because women know what they want & don’t need convincing.

I’ve done that, and also done a number of other things that have been suggested.

If your male friends are discussing women in a degrading manner, or describing sexual situations where it is definitely murky as to whether or not she was coerced or consented willingly, ask “did she agree to that?” or “don’t speak about women like that”.

It’s tragic work christmas party season now, and it is very important to make sure the women of your office feel safe. If they look uncomfortable, save them. Don’t let any men abuse their power to assault women. Don’t let men grope women and justify it with ‘banter’.

Generally I agree – but male employees can also be in power imbalance situations with concerns about their careers.

At parties where drinks are flowing and people might not be pouring their own, watch who is pouring them and if they’re putting anything in them. Drink spiking is very common in Auckland and it is very easily done as well. If unsure, tip it over accidentally.

That could potentially raise ire and provoke violence.

Do not touch any women without their permission. Do not approach women from behind if they’re outside and alone. Do not yell at women. Do not chase them. Do not berate them. DO RESPECT THEM.

The presence of another male is intimidating to predators because a: they know that you will not be as easily physically overpowered as a woman, and b: there is now a witness to their indecency. Use your presence to protect women – stand between them with 111 on your dial screen.

Do not centre yourselves in conversations about violence against women. Accept that your part of humanity is responsible for the majority of violence on women. If you have not perpetrated violence you should not feel guilty. If you feel guilty, deliver yourself to the authorities.

Actually it can be pretty difficult.

All men being held responsible for the actions of some is contentious

Men need to realise you are a part of the global system of oppression which is violently killing women every day and work to better yourself and your peers to create a world where women do not fear your existence. Pretty easy to do if you aren’t a piece of shit.

I can understand people being angry, but being angry at all men is unlikely to help the situation.

They are worthwhile causes.

Many men do put words into action, and have been for a long time. Obviously more can and should be done to confront and reduce societal violence. I think that is best done cooperatively and positively.

I’m sure many women don’t like being lectured about keeping themselves safe. Most women (and men) are already aware of prudence and caution required in different situations.

I understand anger and emotion in situations like this, but lecturing and blaming and shaming all men is, i think, more of a problem than a solution.

Addressing male violence involves everyone

There are many reasons for violence, and women and even girls can be violent and can provoke violence, but there;s no doubt that most violence and in particular the most damaging violence is from men, and boys learn from that.

Australian Dr Michael Salter, Associate Professor of Criminology at Western Sydney University, has written in the Sydney Morning herald about the complexities of preventing violence.

A few years ago, I was speaking to an Aboriginal educator about his work with men’s groups. I asked him how he got men to engage with the issue of violence against women. He said that he started every workshop by asking the men, “What kind of father do you want to be? What kind of husband? What kind of man do you want to be?”

He went on to make a comment that has always stayed with me. I return to it again and again in my anti-violence work. He said, “I’ve seen the hardest, hardest, most brutal-looking men reduced to tears in that very moment because everybody, I think, wants to be good.”

Almost everybody wants to be good, to be better.

No boy grows up aspiring to hurt the people he cares about. We all want to live in families and communities characterised by security, warmth and trust.

However, violence destroys these relationships.

Violence is not a strategy in which men win and women lose. With violence, everybody loses.

The reason men and boys need to help prevent violence against women is very simple. For as long as this violence persists, it will continue to eat away at the relationships that sustain us and make our lives

To end violence against women, we need to work with people where they are at: in communities and institutions where change is needed, and even wanted, but hasn’t yet taken place.

This is challenging work, because it means engaging respectfully with diverse groups who have a range of views about gender relations and equality. However, it is by bringing men and boys into the conversation that we can understand what they want out of their lives, show how violence is an obstacle to achieving those dreams, and find non-violent solutions.

Men and boys ‘into the conversation’, individually and as groups, is important. Especially men and boys who are having problems with violence – and also women and girls who are subjected to violence, and are mixed in with violent lifestyles.

The best way that men can help prevent gendered violence is to collaborate with women to build families and communities we are proud to be a part of: where violence and inequality has no place, and everyone wins.

Sounds good. It is difficult to achieve, because intergenerational violence has been a problem for a very long time, and learning less violence, and more equal relationships, will take time to turn things around. This involves men and boys, and women and girls, learning how to deal with violence better, and how to avoid and prevent violence – the things that cause and provoke violence as well as violent acts themselves.

It’s complicated, but we need to get much better at dealing with and preventing violence.

Welcome to some more scary men versus women division

“A compelling new entrant in the contest for the world’s worst IDP article contest being held by Radio NZ and The Spinoff”

Someone sent me that, with a link to this at RNZ: Welcome to the scary party, young men

By Anna Connell

There might be some truth behind US President Donald Trump’s claim that it’s a “scary time for young men”, but not in the way he thinks.

Mr Trump’s assertion that it’s a “scary time for young men in America” because “you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of” comes as his nominee for the supreme court, Brett Kavanaugh, faces several allegations of sexual misconduct.

It’s nearly impossible to argue Mr Trump is referring to a genuine fear with his comments. Simply put, false accusations of sexual assault are rare – only 2 to 10 percent of sexual assault reports in the US are found to be false, and it is equally rare that false accusations lead to convictions.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations in the US, there are only 52 cases where men convicted of sexual assault were exonerated because it turned out they were falsely accused. Meanwhile, it’s estimated 1 in 6 American women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. Welcome to the scary party, young men – it might be a scary time for you now but, as someone on Twitter said, it’s been a scary millennium for women.

Mr Trump is using abstract fear here, tapping into a vein of anxiety about a disruption to a comfortable, ordered way of life. A way of life where boys could be boys and men could be men. Where women knew their place and a slap on the bum wasn’t ‘unwanted sexual touching’. Where white men held all the power and women weren’t making runs at the White House.

This resonates with his supporters because, in the face of rapid societal change (and that is what we’re experiencing), your options are to embrace the unknown or retreat to the safety of the past.

Please don’t burn my feminist card for saying this, but I have some genuine empathy for this position. In this instance, Mr Trump is somewhat right – it is a scary time to be a young man but not for the reasons he suggests.

The roles men and women play in modern western societies have changed at a rapid pace. Where once men had a sure sense of their identity as the breadwinner and head of the family, women now work and sometimes earn more than men do.

Where sex was just something men did to women, with or without consent, it’s now something women insist on enjoying and being an equal party to. Where once men could largely ignore domestic and child-rearing obligations, they are now expected to play a role at home, or even stay there while women go to work.

Let me be clear, this is all a good thing, a great thing, a necessary thing, and plenty of men are wholly comfortable with it. But that change has happened at a rapid rate and I worry that men don’t know how to talk about it without fear. Those who do talk about it often dwell on the past, reverting to values and mores that are fast fading.

Where and how do young men discuss the now and the future? Where do they find good role models? Where do they learn and talk about sex and consent that isn’t a porn site or a sniggering playground conversation?

A lot of men versus women generalisations here.

Many men are excellent role models. Most men don’t sexually abuse or rape women (or other men).

It’s really hard to be empathetic about all this when women are only just gaining some space to make their fears, rightful anger, and desire for change acknowledged. But somewhere in there, I think we have to make some space to acknowledge that many men are full of fear too. That fear might not be justified and it’s hard for many women, myself included, to see it as anything other than entitlement and privilege, but it is fear nonetheless.

It’s a scary time for young men, not because they might be held accountable for their actions, but because their fear is being weaponised for political gain, encouraged by those who gain the most from division and hate. Acknowledging that might just be the first step in diffusing its power.

There is an issue with the possibility that some men might be “encouraged by those who gain the most from division and hate” – but Connell seems unaware that she is also encouraging gender division and hate.


More on ‘ NZ’s failure on sexual misconduct’

I have already commented on a Spinoff ‘Opinion’ by Catriona MacLennan – see Sexual misconduct issue hampered by generalised attacks. I think that sexual misconduct and sexual crimes are complex issues that require a concerted joint gender effort, and generalised blaming is unhelpful.

Another analysis of the MacLennan’s assertions from ‘NaCLedPeanuts’ at Reddit: NZ’s failure on sexual misconduct is much, much bigger than any one case:

It is difficult to put this down to anything other than them not considering sexual harassment to be important.

That’s not quite true. Sexual harassment and sexual violence is a serious issue that a lot of companies, institutions and organisations would rather not deal with when it pops up out of fear that it could spiral out of control and result in a huge amount of damage to that company, institution and organisation. It’s in the interests for sexual harassment and assault allegations to be swept under the carpet rather than aired in public, where the latter will often make uneducated, kneejerk reactions or engage in unscrupulous speculation about who did what.

We’re only at the cusp of these allegations so far, so I’d expect more damaging stuff to come forth in the future.

Sexual harassment – like rape, domestic violence, the gender pay gap and other issues – is pigeon-holed as a “women’s issue”. This means that women are regarded as being responsible for solving it.

Again, not true. The overwhelming evidence with regards to the beliefs and actions of feminists and women elsewhere within both the developed and developing worlds is that yes, it is a “women’s issue”, but that means that women are the victims, not that it’s their responsibility for them to solve it. The rhetoric (for the want of a better word) is that women are the victims, men are the perpetrators and that it’s up to men to solve these issues, or in the case of the popular rape culture theories, for apparently enlightened feminists to “teach men not to rape”.

This of course allows no room for nuanced discussions or action to address this issue.

Men are the perpetrators, but calling sexual harassment a “women’s issue” gives men a get-out-of-jail-free card.

There’s a couple of problems with this. Firstly, “men are the perpetrators” is very, to use a word favoured by the millennial left, problematic. It is problematic because it assumes that only men are perpetrators and only women are victims, something which is obviously not true. Sexual harassment and sexual violence can and does happen to anyone regardless of race, sex and sexual orientation but Western societies collectively struggle to get past the dichotomy which puts men and women as oppressors and victims respectively. This, again, leaves no room for nuanced discussions or actions that consider all victims.

Secondly it doesn’t give men a jail-free-card because, as we’re seeing with #MeToo in the United States and the wholesale embrace of misandry by Western feminism as a whole, men collectively as a “class” are essentially being blamed or held responsible for all the ills of society. As we have already seen, men elsewhere who have been accused have been suffering serious consequences despite the lack of evidence supporting a lot of these allegations. New Zealand generally has issues with recognising sexual harassment and sexual violence as a serious problem as a whole, but to suggest that this is a women’s only problem or that it’s regarded as a problem that only women are willing to solve is disingenuous.

Not a single male lawyer has spoken out about sexual harassment in the legal profession. They have – gutlessly –sat by and left it to women to speak;

Men’s opinions and voices regarding women’s issues, or at least social issues where women are perceived to be the primary victims, are a subject of discussion in of themselves. There’s no real agreement on whether or not men’s opinions or voices are welcome in these circumstances. In addition, reluctance can be assumed to exist because the opinions may be perceived as insincere, that they themselves may be implicated or accused, or simply that there’s enough moral outrage and that their opinion is simply moot.

It seems that it is only when journalists do stories about sexual harassment that employers are forced to deal with it properly;

Because of the damage that could come to employers, who usually had nothing to do with it, that could seriously affect their ability to do business. If your company has an employee commit a sexual crime against another employee, it’s in your interest to resolve that issue as quickly and as quietly as possible. Because you cannot control the damage if it goes public.

As a result of the latest stories, there will be reviews and new procedures.

Indeed. And we’ll likely see a mirroring of those procedures as implemented in places like the United States. South Korea, where #MeToo also has arrived, has seen an explosion of interest in the rule United States Vice President Mike Pence has regarding attending functions or dining alone with women, which he refuses to do. They’re applying it to business environments and that means not interacting or doing anything alone unsupervised with women.

That is because the root cause of sexual harassment is power.

Wait for it…

In our society, it is middle-class, Pākehā males who hold power.

Here it comes…

In their heart of hearts, they view women as inferior.

DING DING DING! Somehow I knew we couldn’t get through this article without someone blaming this phenomena on white males. For someone who earlier was arguing that all these social ills were women’s responsibility she seems to be more than happy blame every single white man in New Zealand for this issue.

But it doesn’t surprise me that we have this kind of idiotic social commentary being published by the likes of the Spinoff. After all misandry is en vogue at the moment. Maybe that’s why all the lawyers aren’t speaking out when they’re being blamed for everything that’s been happening?

Until we not only tackle but actually solve the power imbalance, Pākehā males will continue to believe that women’s bodies are theirs for the taking – whether it is in the workplace or elsewhere.

And how do you tackle and resolve this “power imbalance”? Give women more power! It’s almost like Ghandi was right about “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”.


Sexual misconduct issue hampered by generalised attacks

Generalised anti-men attacks are common in social media – as are anti-women attacks for that matter. Sad but inevitable.

However they are more troubling when attacks are via media. Especially when it involves such a serious problems like sexual misconduct and abuse of power.

Catriona MacLennan (Opinion) at The Spinoff – NZ’s failure on sexual misconduct is much, much bigger than any one case

Sexual harassment is still not regarded a serious issue in Aotearoa.

That is what we have learned since 2014, as a pattern of inadequate responses to harassment has played out in the public and media spotlight.

Not a good start – yes, there have been prominent inadequate responses to harassment played out in the media spotlight, but the fact that they have received so much scrutiny suggests that sexual harassment is regarded as a serious issue by many people.

MacLennan goes on the detail a number of issues that have been given serious attention by media.

There are five common threads running through all these cases.

  • Many employers and other organisations do not have proper procedures for dealing with sexual harassment. It is difficult to put this down to anything other than them not considering sexual harassment to be important. I can guarantee that all of the above organisations have robust procedures for dealing with, for example, theft and would know exactly what to do if money disappeared;
  • The immediate response of a majority of organisations is to downplay sexual harassment and assault, minimising and trivialising it. This is because the key concern of those to whom sexual harassment is reported is with protecting the organisation, rather than supporting the victims;
  • Sexual harassment – like rape, domestic violence, the gender pay gap and other issues – is pigeon-holed as a “women’s issue”. This means that women are regarded as being responsible for solving it. Men are the perpetrators, but calling sexual harassment a “women’s issue” gives men a get-out-of-jail-free card. Not a single male lawyer has spoken out about sexual harassment in the legal profession. They have – gutlessly –sat by and left it to women to speak;
  • The role of the media is incredibly important. It seems that it is only when journalists do stories about sexual harassment that employers are forced to deal with it properly;
  • It is the victims who continue to pay the heaviest price. In addition to dealing with the behaviour to which they are subjected, they are forced to weigh up the likely impact on their careers of seeking justice for what they have endured.

The first two and last two points are fair.

But I question a number of assertions in the middle bullet point.

Sexual harassment is pigeon-holed as a “women’s issue”.

Perhaps in the past, but increasingly less so. It is becoming widely accepted that men need to take responsibility for inappropriate attitudes and behaviour.

This means that women are regarded as being responsible for solving it.

Who thinks that? Male journalists have been very involved in spotlighting issues. Male Labour Party officials were responsible for dealing with Labour current issues. They admit stuffing up, but Jacinda Ardern hasn’t been particularly prominent in resolving things either.

Men are the perpetrators, but calling sexual harassment a “women’s issue” gives men a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Only some men (a small minority) are ‘the perpetrators’.

How many men call sexual harassment a “women’s issue”? I haven’t seen it. This is generalised men bashing, which doesn’t help the issue.

Not a single male lawyer has spoken out about sexual harassment in the legal profession. They have – gutlessly –sat by and left it to women to speak;

That’s just patently untrue. Newsroom:  All six law schools cut ties with Russell McVeagh

Auckland’s Dean of Law, Professor Andrew Stockley, told staff and students today that students “invited to an event or employed in any capacity should expect appropriate and professional behaviour at all times, and that the school would not accept any student being subjected to inappropriate behaviour, pressure, or sexual harassment”.

Victoria University of Wellington’s Law Students’ Society (VUWLSS) also said it was ending its relationship with the firm over the way it handled the misconduct and assault complaints. VUWLSS President Fletcher Boswell wrote on Facebook:

“The assaults should have been reported as an official complaint to the Law Society immediately after they occurred. Russell McVeagh have confirmed that this was not done at the time, and that this still has not been done. From our understanding, this is a breach of what the firm is legally and ethically obliged to do”.

Law Faculty Dean Professor Charles Rickett said the law school withdrew because of concerns over the behaviour of some Russell McVeagh staff.

“On balance, we believe it is suitable to be cautious about the safety and wellbeing of our students and to wait until the outcome of the external review before deciding how to proceed.”

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford confirmed the university had been in discussions with NZLSA about covering any incurred costs.

“Victoria awaits the outcome of the external review of Russell McVeagh and the firm’s response to the review before deciding whether to resume activities with the firm. We believe it is in the best interests of our students and staff to await the external review of Russell McVeagh’s workplace culture and – perhaps more importantly – the firm’s response to the review.”

Waikato University’s Dean of Law, Associate Professor Wayne Rumbles, told Newsroom the university will not be hosting Russell McVeagh on campus, “nor will it be engaging with the firm for student recruitment, at this stage. The University will also be paying for its team to take part in the Client Interviewing competitions this year, rather than accepting sponsorship from Russell McVeagh. While investigations are carried out, our priority remains the well-being of our students and graduates.”

Back to MacLennan :

As a result of the latest stories, there will be reviews and new procedures.

But, fundamentally, nothing will change.

I think that things are noticeably changing.

That is because the root cause of sexual harassment is power.

In our society, it is middle-class, Pākehā males who hold power.

In their heart of hearts, they view women as inferior. They are used to women in their lives deferring to them.

This is generalised ‘middle-class, Pākehā male’ bashing. It is also sexist and racist. And I’m sure that it is false and unfair on many men.

Until we not only tackle but actually solve the power imbalance, Pākehā males will continue to believe that women’s bodies are theirs for the taking – whether it is in the workplace or elsewhere.

I’m quite disgusted by this. Attacking a wide group for the offences of some is wrong, and it ignores the fact that perpertrators are also outside the group that MacClennan is attacking.

This broad brush single colour attack won’t help solve the real serious issues.

Sure, men in general should do more to oppose sexual harassment and attacks, they need to speak up more, and stand up more for decency.

Women also need to do more. Some are, and that’s a good thing.

Some men have been and are doing more too. More need to be encouraged to do more. Tarring them with a generalised brush won’t help with that.

Making this an all men versus women issue is one of the worst approaches to dealing with the real problems that need resolved and that’s what MacLennan is doing here.

I think that fortunately most women don’t share these ‘all men are bad’ attitudes.

There are things that women can do, and there are things that men can and should do, to combat the sexual harassment and violence issues.

Most importantly, good men and women need to work together to improve our society, not see each other as inferior or as enemies.


Diversion, censorship over sexual assault issues

Every blog has the right to allow or not allow anyone to comment in their forums. But how they do this affects their credibility and reputation.

There are different degrees of feminism. I think most people will now support the premise of gender equality in general, but extreme feminism is not for equality, it tries to make women the powerful, and suppress and men.

The Standard has had it’s moments over the years, and I have had my differences with them, but one of the more remarkable examples of attempted message management has taken place over the last couple of days, along with a surge of purging.

The Standard has not had a post about the Labour summer camp sexual assault issue. Instead they have tried to divert from it, including shutting down speech.

The story broke on Monday. The first signs of a clampdown and diversion were after discussion about the issue in Daily Review 12/03/2018 (Monday evening):

Fuck off, you disgusting, sexual assault enabling old prick.

[3 month ban. I’ve been watching your trolling since the election, and you appear to bring little to the site now. What is not ok is starting a flame war in a topic of this nature where many people are vulnerable. Throwing accusations around, using sexual assault to Labour-bash, it’s all the same kind of nasty, macho bullshit that makes it really hard to have meaningful conversations about rape culture on TS. – weka]

A ban may not seem unfair given the comment made, but it was in response to

Crawl back under the rock you came from [Edit. Best not to go there Adam – MS](bm) . How about we let the victims make decisions before we start making accusations.

So a “Best not to go there” edit versus leaving the response and a 3 month ban – not an unusual unbalanced approach to ‘moderation’ at The Standard. This was followed later by a ‘weka’ comment:

My suggestion in general to the men here who want to have a shit fight about this, is to sit down and shut up, and start listening to what women are saying. Women generally understand what the issues are and how to talk about them without making the conversations unsafe or into flamewars.

This is also not an unusual attempt (at TS as well as elsewhere in social media) to shut down male speech.

Then on Wednesday morning ‘weka’ posted Talking about sexual assault:

As news unfolds about the sexual assaults that took place at Labour’s Summer School last month, it’s time for political communities to look at how they talk about sexual assault and rape culture.

This discussed the summer school assaults initially, before widening to a more general topic:

New Zealand is still very bad at addressing sexual assault or knowing how to talk about it, although some spaces are better than others. Yesterday a flame war started up on The Standard in discussing the sexual assaults. I came in late and saw a bunch of left and right wing men having a fight about it.

The ‘left wing man’ had his hand smacked, sort of. The right wing man was banned for 3 months.

Not surprised but still disappointed. So I want us to talk about how to talk about sexual assault, and I want to give a general heads up for moderation going forward.

What is not ok is to make discussions about sexual assault hostile. Women in particular want safer spaces to discuss rape culture and the politics around sexual assault, and when discussions are made hostile many women will simply not take part. Which then leaves the kōrero with men, including men who are either uneducated about sexual assault and the politics around that, or who have an agenda that doesn’t include preventing rape or making spaces safer.

My position last night was that men generally need to sit down and shut up and start listening to what women have to say.

I think that that is often weka’s position.

The main problem with telling men to sit down and shut up is that it’s the progressive and compassionate men that will do so, and they are the ones who are usually more informed and more willing to push back against rape culture. So let me rephrase this. I wrote a post recently about #mettonz and why gender equity matters, and it applies here. If we want to solve the problems that lead to rape and rape culture, then we need to amplify the voices of the people that understand what is going on and how to address it. Women have been at the forefront of pushing back against rape culture for decades.

There are many women who have important things to say, and if the space is yet again taken up by men, those voices get lost.

My request then is this. If you want to understand what is going on, then ask. If you have a good handle on what is going on, then please share from a place of informed opinion, but also please amplify the voices of women, and pay particular attention to making the space attractive for women to take part.

Not just aiming to “amplify the voices of women”, but also to suppress the voices of men.

And make no mistake, feminists know full well that the left is not free of rape culture or sexual assault. So the point here isn’t to bash Labour…

No, it seems to be to suppress criticism.

… it’s to point out that rape culture transcends the conventional left/right divide and all men need to take note of that. Left wing men need to get better at addressing this within their own cultures, and right wing men need to resist the temptation to have a go.

Especially to suppress the voices of “right wing men”.

A long discussion follows, with ‘weka’ prominent throughout via comments. Like

The point is that women have been addressing rape culture for decades, and men have largely been the ones making that harder. Irrespective of the genders of the people being assaulted. There is certainly an important conversation to be had about the impact of sexual assault on boys and men. I just don’t see the men generally in this commentariat having been capable of that either. That’s the problem I am pointing to today. Left to its own devices, this community is hostile to anyone wanting to talk meaningfully about sexual violence and it is actively exclusive (which to my reading is against the Policy).

There are some men here who are good on this stuff, and I encourage them to speak up, and if you see some good commentary by men from offsite, then please feel free to quote and link. I’m hoping that you also amplify the voices of women who know what they are talking about, and generally make this a good space for women. When this is a good space for women, it will be more likely to become a good space for other genders as well.

Discussions about violence towards all genders is welcome, so long as it doesn’t go down a ‘what about the men’ track. That’s a political position which I can clarify if anyone doesn’t understand.

I don’t disagree entirely with ‘weka’, but trying to control and manipulate discussion on one of New Zealand’s major political blogs, a ‘left wing movement’ blog, hints at an attempt at a not moderate feminist takeover.

‘weka’ was also active via ‘moderation’:

[neither post nor tracey are advocating covering anything up. 2 month ban for trolling and ignoring the post – weka]

[you either didn’t read the post, or don’t care about the post. 3 month ban for ignoring the post and moderation. If you want to talk about the sexual assault of men, see my comment on this elsewhere in the thread – weka]

[additional moderation note now that I’ve had time to catch up. When I say I want this space to be good for women to comment in, abusing women commenters goes against that. I will be using this thread as a reference for future conversations, so I suggest people start paying attention to where the boundaries are on behaviour that is acceptable. – weka]

“I will be using this thread as a reference for future conversations”.

[I specifically said don’t politicise this. I suggested people ask questions rather than jump in with reckons and judgements, and I did that for very good reasons that I explained in the post. I’ve also made it clear that I will clarify where the boundaries are if people ask. 1 month ban.

Yes, I am utterly serious about changing how discussions about sexual assault happen on TS, now you know, and it has nothing to do with Labour and everything to do with too many of the men on this site – weka]

“Too many men on this site”.

[if you are unwilling to engage with the parameters an author sets for a post, then don’t comment on it. I gave you the courtesy of not moderating but responding in depth to two of the questions you raised, and you come back with rape denial.

This post wasn’t written for you to write whatever you want, any more than it was written for the RW trolls or other rape apologists. It was written to create a good space for women and survivors of sexual assault (and others) to talk about those issues. If you don’t understand what the point of the post was, despite me making it very clear, I suggest you stay out of such discussions in the future.

2 week ban (double the last one which was for telling authors how to run the site and likewise ignoring moderation. See the pattern there?) – weka]

‘Ignoring moderation’ is weka for not complying with her message manipulation and control.

She was helped by lprent, with some comments moved to Open Mike 13/03/2018 :

[TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

[lprent: How about admitting you are making that up and it is simply you lying. Banned 1 month for trolling. ]

[lprent: The age of consent is 16. The due process is to first ask the victims what they want to do.
Banned for 2 months for being a lying troll. ]

[lprent: You aren’t reading it right. “…sexually assaulted four teenagers, all aged 16…”. What is the age of consent? Duh! 16. It has been even when you and I were kids. It is their choice about reporting anything to parents or police.

Banned 3 months for asking a leading question in a troll-like fashion. I’d suggest that you desist from this style of question because I’m likely to just reduce our workload for a few years next time. ]

[lprent: Age of consent is 16. Drinking alcohol is unfortunately only really controlled for kids and adults in certain kinds of public and non-public places and for being sold to kids – none of which is alleged at the camp..
Banned 3 months for stupid trolling and lying with dumbarse ‘questions’. ]

[3 month ban for politicising sexual assault and using it as an excuse to Labour-bash, and for ignoring moderation – weka]

[another 3 for telling lies about moderation in DR – weka]

[You seem pretty keen on getting banned, so I’ve just doubled your ban in the other thread for telling lies about moderation. – weka]

[lprent: There were some pretty clear warnings by both weka and myself about tight moderation on a post today (probably the one you commented on) because it was likely to attract stupidity from trolls not wanting to discuss the topic posted. And so it proceeded. I think 7 or 8 people today for months as I have limited toleration for ignorant morons ignoring warnings. If you choose to ignore warnings, then it is your own damn fault. ]

So that’s a clear and strong message – comply with weka’s discussion management (it can be difficult to guess what she will find unacceptable) or risk being biffed.

Again, weka and lprent can chose to demand that men keep out of conversations, and they can ban, as much as they like. It’s their blog.

But The Standard is increasingly becoming an anti-men weka dictated ultra left wing forum.

Anyone deemed right wing, and now male is at particular is at risk of not being welcome.

From The Standard About:

We come from a variety of backgrounds and our political views don’t always match up but it’d be fair to say that all of us share a commitment to the values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement and we hope that perspective will come through strongly as you read the blog.

Perhaps that needs revision.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t. I’m just pointing out what The Standard has become.


Abused men

Sexual abuse of women and abuse of children generally now gets a lot of attention and condemnation, but while abuse of boys and men by women may be not as prevalent it can be just as damaging for the victims.

The Herald highlights this in Men who were sexually abused by women tell their stories.

Aaron Gilmore was not even a teenager when he was sexually abused by a family friend he regarded as a second mother.

But when he reported it to police years later they told him they couldn’t see what crime had taken place.

Ken Clearwater was 12 years old when he said he was sexually violated by a woman and asked to do things he could never comprehend and was left scarred, ashamed and broken.

He never reported that abuse or named the woman involved.

Both men carried a deep shame for years, worried that police and society wouldn’t believe that they had been abused by women.

Both men believe this is why males don’t report it.

It’s a big thing for these men to talk about this publicly. Hopefully it will help other male victims to report abuse.

It’s not only men who feel shame and don’t think they will be believed, women and children can have these same problems, but that doesn’t diminish the difficulties faced by abused men.

In 2005 New Zealand law was changed to raise the maximum jail term to 10 years for any “sexual connection” with a person under 16.

Sexual offence law should  generally be gender neutral, abuse is abuse no matter who the victim is.

The police reaction was one he will never forget.

“The officer said ‘I’m failing to see a crime here’ and my partner lost it,” he said.

Although justice was eventually served, Gilmore said it has been a long road to recovery and he still struggles with society’s view of sexual abuse.

He also said people needed to stop thinking men or boys enjoyed such abuse or that it was “good practice” as that wasn’t helping men talk about it.

An important point – trivialising and excusing and joking about it is seriously detrimental to dealing with a serious issue.

Non-consensual sex is serious abuse no matter what the gender of the perpetrators and the victims are.

And female sex offenders are more common than had been thought. The size of the problem has been hidden by societal pressure to down play or ignore the problem.

Female sex offenders
While female sex offenders may seem rare, research released this month showed it’s a lot more common than previously thought.

A survey in the US found that a similar amount of women reported being raped in a 12-month period as the amount of men who were “made to penetrate” a female offender.
A new paper titled Sexual Victimisation Perpetrated by Women: Federal Data Reveal Surprising Prevalence, contradicts the idea that female sexual perpetration is rare.

Researchers used data from four main surveys, including from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, to reach their conclusion.

Using CDC data, they found that women and men reported nearly equal rates of non-consensual sex in a 12-month period.

It found 1.6 per cent of women in the US reported being raped in the past 12 months (1.9 million), which is a similar rate to the 1.7 per cent of men (1.9 million) who reportedly were “made to penetrate a perpetrator”.

Sexual abuse and rape are serious problems for men as well as for women, and for children regardless of their gender.

Ministry of Health:


Everyone in a family needs to feel safe and have relationships that are supportive, nurturing and trusting.

Family violence is when a family member is abusive towards others. As well as physical assault, it includes sexual violence, emotional abuse and controlling behaviour. It can be very unsafe and frightening for those involved.

  • Physical abuse – assaulting an adult or child. Includes hitting, punching, kicking, using a weapon, slapping and pulling hair.
  • Psychological or emotional abuse – includes verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, damage to property, allowing children to see or hear domestic violence, and controlling someone’s contact with friends.
  • Sexual abuse – includes forced sexual contact without a person’s permission, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching.

Family violence is a health issue. Any experience of family violence can result in physical and mental health consequences for victims, perpetrators and children who are witnesses. Exposure to family violence increases the likelihood of other health risk-associated behaviours: smoking, substance abuse, overeating and unsafe sex.

Getting help

If abuse is happening in your family or you’re worried about someone else – a friend, neighbour, workmate or child’s friend – then get help now.

Call the Family Violence Information Line  0800 456 450.

They’ll put you in touch with organisations in your area that can help. The information line is available seven days a week, from 9 am to 11 pm.


Commemorating men’s achievements?

An interesting tweet:

TODAY’S DEBATE: How can we commemorate men’s very worthwhile contribution to our past?

Has men’s contribution to our past been worthwhile?

Or in we in an age where dumping on men is the done thing, and praise is obscene and should be unseen?

Especially white middle aged men – I’ve been as good as (as bad as) told to shut up because of my gender and age and appearance.

Have ‘we’ stuffed everything up and should now keep quiet and let others speak?

Or can we commemorate some stuff from the past?

Why women live longer than men

From We interview You@YCrazyMind 

Why Women Live Longer Than Men… Hilarious

Why women live longer