Cutting to the chase

Why the latest severed penis crime proves that  domestic violence against men STILL isn’t taken seriously (and that women are no less dangerous).

Earlier this week, MailOnline detailed the story of Huaman Julia Muńez: a Peruvian woman arrested for cutting off her boyfriend’s penis and flushing it down the toilet.

Her defenceless victim, 46 year-old Ramon Arias Apayco, suffered the violent assault while sleeping in a hostel.

Currently in intensive care, he will no longer be able to urinate without medical intervention, enjoy sex or father children. The reason? Infidelity. And suspected infidelity at that.

Immediately, the story went viral. News sites across the world re-reported it – some sympathetically, others with glee, as if this terrible assault was karmic revenge for all the hideous sex crimes committed against women since the beginning of time.

It’s not. It’s an extreme form of sexually-related domestic violence – and something which is increasingly common for men across the world.

Last year, Katherine Kieu Becker was arrested in California for drugging her husband’s dinner, tying him to their bed and severing his penis before destroying it in a garbage disposal unit. When police arrived she told them “he deserved it”. Why? Because he’d asked for a divorce.

In December 2011, 70 year-old Virginia Valdez was detained in Los Angeles for savagely attacking her husband’s genitals with industrial scissors. She will now answer to charges of assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse and mayhem.

Prior to that, in 2004, Liverpudlian Amanda Monti was jailed for ripping off – an attempting to swallow – one of her ex-boyfriend’s testicles, simply because he rejected her advances at a party.

And in April this year, Sinead Walker from Bath was arrested for trying to tear her ex-partner’s penis from his body with her bare hands. The unprovoked attack, which was also reported by the MailOnline, happened while her victim was already making a desperate 999 call for help.

Although these cases seem rare – and people will argue that they pale in comparison to attacks suffered by women – the reality is very, very different.

In Thailand, rates of penis removal are so high that doctors are having to specialise in re-attaching severed organs – assuming that patients don’t die of blood loss first. If these victims were women with destroyed vaginas, there’d be an outcry.

This is mine. Especially as these vile crimes have nothing to do with self-defence or survival. They’re about women assuming a right to avenge a broken heart.

The same mis-guided belief, I assume, that violent men feel when they throw acid in their ex-girlfriend’s face.

The difference is, however, that society rightly condemns violence against women – but not men.

I was a 12 year-old boy in 1993 when Lorena Bobbitt became an icon for slicing off her husband’s penis because: “He always have [sic] [an] orgasm and he doesn’t wait for me to have [an] orgasm. He’s selfish.”

The price she paid for this? Not a single day in jail.

The message it sent out? That men deserve everything they get for having the bad taste to be male.

As a child, this incident – and how she escaped justice – resonated with me. Not least because it was celebrated. Intelligent female figures like Jo Brand joked about the matter, creating a culture which cheered violent women.

As someone who was bullied by girls at school (because they knew I ethically couldn’t – and wouldn’t – hit back), I could see the manipulation of my gender on a micro and macro level.

Nineteen years on and nothing has changed. Men – like the boys who will grow up to be abused men – are still fed the same sexist mantra that I was at 12: ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’.

This is particularly dangerous when women they’ll share a bed with believe it.

Twelve months ago, while talking about Katherine Kieu Becker’s case on live television, Sharon Osbourne claimed that it was “fabulous”. The next day, she was forced to apologise trough gritted teeth – but clearly had no idea why her comments were so wicked in the first place.

And this is the root of the problem: dangerous ignorance.

Not least because official statistics prove that men are almost equal victims of domestic violence.

According to charity Mankind Initiative, for every three victims of partner abuse, two will be female, one will be male. Likewise, one in six men and one in four women will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime.

Despite this, the lion’s share of resources – including government funding – only ever serves females. In fact, most shelters actively turn men away.

Don’t believe me? Ask Erin Pizzey – the woman who, in 1971, founded the world’s first-ever domestic violence safehouse. A heroine, she herself had to flee Britain after radicalised feminists sent her death threats for saying that men also suffer abuse. Something which is backed up by fact, after fact, after fact. And death, after death, after death.

The added proof that lesbian relationships experience near-identical rates of violence to heterosexual ones is further evidence that women also communicate with their fists.

But society continues to fail us by turning a blind eye. Apparently, us men already have it too good. Try telling that to Ramon Arias Apayco and his family who were weeping on Peruvian TV.

Yes, my comments will be ridiculed and rejected, but all inconvenient truths are at first. My main hope is that all victims will be offered the protections they deserve: regardless of gender.

Hopefully, in light of this week’s latest tragedy, the law will deliver a clear message that domestic violence is no less horrendous when the attacker is female.

But, if it fails to – like it famously did in 1993 – then myself and other men’s activists will have to step in and fight back.

After all, that’s basic self-defence.

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