Men’s issues not an attack

When men fight for their human rights people call them misogynists


By Benjamin Bassham, Circulation Manager

Do men need rights? The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Do you advocate for men’s rights?

The first standard argument against men’s human rights is that men have no problems and should check their privilege. Second, addressing men’s problems is a misogynistic attack on women. Third, men’s problems are real, but feminism is for men too, so men’s advocacy is redundant. Fourth, women’s problems are worse, so men’s should be ignored.

Shouting “bigot” is easy. Bigots do so frequently. If you convince people your foe eats kittens you’ll trick them onto your side, but opinion isn’t everything. Ad hominem can’t turn right into wrong.

The men’s rights movement is worse than misogynist; it’s competition. If their gender relations monopoly breaks, feminists may have to start keeping their promises, or even share their countless billions in donations and government funding.

Most men like helping women. It appeases that cloud of hormones our brains release at the sight of a neotenous face. But when suicide is the leading killer of men under 50 in the U.K. it’s time to rethink things.

Men have problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say men are 80 percent of suicides.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that 92 percent of workplace deaths are men. Law professor Sonja Starr says men receive 63 percent longer sentences than women for the same crime. California, Kansas and Tennessee forced male rape victims, abused as young as 12, to pay child support.

No one cares about the well being of men, men least of all. Evolution says protect women and children first. Men’s rights are a hard sell; they violate our instincts. People resist the idea of male victims and especially female victimizers.

Erin Pizzey opened the first battered women’s shelter in 1971. Pizzey said women she sheltered were often as violent as the men they left. She observed that domestic violence is gender neutral and usually reciprocal. Pizzey said feminists seized control and threw her out of her own refuges for what she said. She and her family were threatened, their dog was shot and they fled the country.

Today only women’s shelters exist. Rules vary by region, but usually no boys over 12 are allowed, and there are few real services for men.

Canadian Earl Silverman fled a violent wife about 20 years ago. In his time of need the only services for men were anger management. He said, “As a victim, I was re-victimized by having these services telling me that I wasn’t a victim but I was a perpetrator.”

Silverman started a men’s crisis line and in 2004 requested funding for male victims services. After a runaround between various ministries he was told no funds could be given to men.

In 2006 he was repeatedly denied a sex discrimination hearing before the Alberta Human Rights Council. He represented himself against the government and after a four-year investigation it was determined that men don’t have equal need, so it’s legal to give men nothing. In 2009 the organization Statistics Canada reported 585,000 men and 601,000 women were abused by a current or former partner.

In 2010 Silverman opened the only men’s domestic violence shelter in Canada. It ran for three years on Silverman’s dime and donations.

In 2012, to force a hearing, he made a frivolous threat against an attorney. He was arrested, his computers and documents seized. Then he was quietly released to prevent publicity.

Mounting debt forced him to close the shelter and on April 26, 2013 he hung himself.

Karen Straughan, who knew him, guessed this was a final attempt to force his story onto the public record, in a coroner’s report. The police haven’t released his full suicide note.

Men’s rights advocates are among the most maligned people in the world, but by definition all feminists should be MRAs. Advocating equality means standing up for everyone.

Some call for men’s rights but are afraid to call themselves this kind of human rights advocate because of how many people those rights offend. MRA is a slur to them.

When Valerie Solanas published the SCUM Manifesto, calling for the extermination of men, that’s not an indictment of feminism. Feminists called it dark comedy. She shot two men, apparently attempting her genocide on a small scale, but she’s a lone nut. Feminists cite the SCUM Manifesto as an inspiration and in Sweden are performing plays based on it, but I’ll assume with good intentions. Every group has nuts who do more harm than good. The important thing is that the group makes up for it.

So, when are feminists going to do something about the inequalities faced by men?

I’m tolerant, but if you promise me results eventually I’ll demand results. If you don’t have results, you shouldn’t have lied.