It was with a heavy heart that I read your article in the Independent. Writing about abuse in schools, you headline your piece “Why We Must Educate Our Sons to Save Our Daughters” and continue it with the most flagrant disregard for the truth that I think I have recently encountered.
You write of the hurling of insults and the way in which teachers are concerned for the well being of girls and you use as your evidence this:
According to the Children’s Commissioner there is clear evidence that violence in young relationships is growing. The British Crime Survey shows girls aged between 16-19, are most at risk of domestic violence – over 10 per cent had been experienced violence or abuse in a relationship.
Examining the evidence that you seek to rely on to convince us of this, however, it is clear that violence in the world at large, in the family, in the home and at school, is almost equally likely to affect boys as well as girls. In fact men are more likely than women to experience violence per se and almost as likely to experience domestic violence. Don’t believe me? Here is the evidence from the source you quote, the British Crime Survey.
The CSEW showed that young men were most likely to be the victims of violence. The profile of victims of violent and sexual violence varied according to the type of offence. In 2011/12, as in previous years, more than two-thirds of homicide victims (68%) were male. In contrast, women Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2011/12 | 07 February 2013 Office for National Statistics | 2 were more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse. Some 7% of women and 5% of men were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in the last year, equivalent to an estimated 1.2 million female and 800,000 male victims.
Whilst you can of course point to the 2% difference in the rate of experience of domestic violence as being evidence that more women than men suffer, it seems to me to be utterly disengenous to simply dismiss 800,000 incidents of domestic violence against men as being either of no consequence or no proof that violence is something that is suffered by men AND women and enacted by men AND women. And yet in your speech this week you consistently and deliberately maintained the illusion that only women and girls suffer violence and only men and boys are to blame.
It is simply untrue. Violence, in the home and in the world around is not a gender issue. Though it is the fervent goal of feminism to convince us that it is.
Our failure to understand this and our belief in what feminists tell us, leads us to witness the creeping emasculation of our boys which, if you have your way, will enter their consciousness in the early days of their education, in the form of your proposal to turn boys into “confident feminists.”
I don’t think I can properly express how I feel about your proposals, to bring in new laws to safeguard women and girls, which are based upon lies, stereotypes and the self interested proclamations of young women who consider themselves to be ‘oppressed.’ In your piece you quote the organisations who you feel should be supported by your party and the way in which these are leading the way to freedom for women and girls. You end your list of these with the movement 1 billion rising, the brain child of Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues and the infamous scribe of the scene in which a young girl of 13 is raped by an older woman, ended with the words “if that was rape, it was a good rape.” And you proclaim that these are the inspiration behind your proposals that boys are educated out of their inherent masculinity.’ I could not feel more sickened.
In my view, the Labour party in the United Kingdom and all of its supporters should know the truth of the matter which is that feminism is a political doctrine which teaches not equality, but that the rights of women must come first, last and always. As part of that process, the emasculation of men and boys is seen as a desirable outcome.
Making boys into girls starts early in their childhood these days, with primary education being more likely to be taught by women and good behaviour in children being seen as that which is displayed by girls, whilst dysfunctional behaviour is more likely to be viewed in boys. The notion that boys and girls are different but equal in their value, in their learning capacity, in their behaviour and in their general demeanor appears to have simply been erased by the idea that, in the words of Glen Poole from Equality4Men, girls HAVE problems and boys ARE problems. This narrative, which is evident in your behaviour Yvette Cooper, is shaped by women who have control over family policy and and who see the needs and rights of children as being indivisible from those of their mothers.
But the rights and needs of children are NOT indivisible from those of their mothers. The rights of boys are equal to those of girls and it is not for feminists to determine what makes a ‘good boy’ or a ‘good girl’ either for that matter. Feminism is not synonymous with equality, much as the feminists would have us believe that it is so and it does not and cannot solve the problems of the world in which we are raising our children and grandchildren.
A world in which the following is true (Taken from the Equality4Men website):
Men and boys in 99% of countries are more likely to kill themselves than women and girls
Men and boys account for 4 out of 5 violent deaths in the world ever year
Girls in nearly 100 of the world’s leading economies are more likely to get a better education and go to university than boys
Fathers all over the globe are less involved in raising their children than mothers for all sorts of personal, cultural and political reasons
…which is just a snapshot of the reality that we face in terms of helping boys to grow to be healthy and happy people. How does your proposal, to turn boys into ‘confident feminists’ offer us any kind of road map for the health and wellbeing of boys as well as girls? Put simply it doesn’t. What it does is lie to the electorate about the reality facing our children and prey upon the anxieties whipped up by half hysterical women who believe that dancing around the world proclaiming their oppression is somehow about equality. Pity our boys, because what is being done to them prevents their ability to believe in their own inherent sense of self, prevents their ability to trust themselves and others in the world around them and inculcates shame at the earliest age about what it means to be not a girl.
The facts speak for themselves. Your closing words speak only for you and those like you –
For years we have talked about the importance of empowering our daughters, giving them the confidence to challenge abuse and bringing them up as feminists. If we are going to achieve a real-step change in tackling violence against women, we need our sons growing up as confident feminists too.
Women like you have created a world in which educating boys to be ashamed of their masculinity is seen as desirable instead of cruel, and about equality instead of what it is: An oppressive, discriminatory reality.
As parents and grandparents, practitioners and ordinary people, we will hold you to account for your crimes against our children and our grandchildren. I hope I stay alive long enough to see the day.