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January 13, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Wouldn’t we all have thought that articles like this one were things of the past (Toronto Star, 1/11/17)? At long last, don’t we have enough information on domestic violence to stop pretending that only men do it and only women are victims? For that matter, why pretend, as the writer Heather Mallick does, that violent men are smiled upon by the criminal justice, civil and family law systems? Mallick’s piece is sosodden with false and misleading notions that it could almost qualify as that recently-discovered phenomenon, “fake news.”

From its headline, “Why do we coddle violent, abusive men?” to the very end, Mallick’s is an exercise in agitprop, utterly devoid of any sense of the reality of domestic violence or the treatment violent men receive. Given that, it’s no surprise that she has no concept of the harm articles like hers do and have done for over 40 years now. Seen in its proper light, Mallick’s piece, like so many others, is a hearty vote for a dysfunctional status quo. By misrepresenting the realities of domestic violence, the only impact her article can have is to impede application of real solutions to the problem with which she supposedly deals. In brief, Mallick is perfectly happy with the current level of domestic violence. She wants no change, no reform except perhaps to see men treated even worse than they already are.

How else to describe a piece that takes three tragic incidents and attempts to conflate them with DV generally? Amazingly enough, her first “example” has nothing to do with domestic violence by any definition. There, one Marco Muzzo apparently got drunk operated a motor vehicle and killed three children, their grandfather and seriously injured two other adults.

Muzzo’s crime is a terrible one. He richly deserves to go to prison (he’s already there) and to pay damages to those remaining alive (he’s been assessed a $25 million civil judgment). No serious person holds Muzzo in anything better than utter contempt. His behavior was outrageous, its consequences appalling.

But Muzzo incurred Mallick’s wrath because his lawyers have recently asked the court to reduce the amount of the civil judgment by $10 million. Whether the judge will do so remains to be seen, but the mere request sent Mallick off the rails. Muzzo behaved abominably, but his actions were grossly negligent, not intentional as the words “violent” and “abusive” suggest. No matter, Mallick has an agenda and she’s not allowing facts to get in her way.

After all, Muzzo is doing prison time for his crime, as he should and, whatever the outcome of his motion to the court, will end up paying his surviving victims a huge amount of money (he comes from a wealthy family who’s able to pay).

Mallick stumbles on to recount a Canadian army veteran suffering from PTSD who killed his wife and daughter and then himself. Mallick is horrified that, among the many press accounts mourning the deaths, some paused to mention the man’s good points.

He was “a hero,” “one of our go-to guys” who “always had a smile on his face.” “He was just the guy to light up a room.” One story referred to his “tragic unravelling.”

Mallick can’t stand the notion that we don’t live in a world where half the people wear black hats and half white. Anything more nuanced is an outrage to her. But apparently the man was in fact considered a fine man by many to whom his crime and his suicide mostly demonstrate how awful PTSD can be for some. Mallick doesn’t care. For her, the only treatment this man deserves is pure vilification.

Needless to say, she nowhere mentions or even alludes to women who slaughter their children, their husbands or boyfriends. Where are the terrible stories like this one in which a mother starved her daughter to death (USA Today, 1/11/17), or this one in which a mother kept her son locked in a bathroom with no light and little food for two entire years (KUTV, 1/12/17)? Where is the British mother who killed her daughter rather than allow her to live with her father who had custody of her (Daily Mail, 1/10/17)? Where’s her outrage over eight-year-old Ottawa native Teagan Batstone who was found dead in the trunk of her mother’s car? Or this gem of a mother who’s charged with having her 12-year-old daughter raped before killing and dismembering her (KTRE, 1/9/17).

A.W.O.L., that’s where. Mallick of course has probably heard of all those women or mothers who kill or do the most despicable things imaginable to the most defenseless among us. But she doesn’t care enough to alter her virulent misandry to accommodate well-known facts.

My point is that we can all play the game of “list the atrocities.” For every horrible act committed by a man, there’s one committed by a woman and maybe more. But playing that game is a pointless exercise. What’s important is to understand the facts about domestic violence because until we do so, we can’t possibly address the problem competently.

And it’s exactly those facts about which Mallick hasn’t a clue and likely wouldn’t admit if she did. The facts of course are that women commit at least as much DV as do men and that the leading cause of DV against women is their initiation of violence against their male partners. That’s why I say Mallick is content with the status quo. Until people like her and the DV industry generally get around to admitting the truth about DV, we’ll only be able to conclude that they like things just the way they are, thank you.

Mallick’s only concern is to denigrate men. If she were truly interested in saving women from DV, she’d encourage them to not hit first and, in so doing, avoid getting hit in return. But no, for people like Mallick, actually helping women stay healthy must take a back seat to demonizing men.

About this time last year, the Canadian government reported its data on DV over the previous five years. Has Mallick read it? How does she explain the fact that 55% of DV incidents in heterosexual relationships are committed by women and that DV among lesbians is far higher than in any other group? How does she explain the fact that the vast majority of child abuse, including child murder, is committed by women? She doesn’t explain because she simply ignores the facts.

And finally, where does she get the notion that someone somewhere “coddles” male perpetrators of violence? I suppose she hasn’t read the multiple studies demonstrating that, at every stage of the criminal justice system, from arrest to charging, to temporary detention to the setting of bail to plea bargaining to trial to sentencing to parole, men are treated far more harshly than are women, all other things being equal. Why would we expect someone whose opinions are so at odds with the facts to be aware of those facts?

Plus, the DV industry teaches police and anyone else who will listen that only men perpetrate and only women are victimized in DV incidents. How does Mallick believe that such a false and anti-male system could possibly “coddle” men?

Mallick isn’t just wrong, she’s subversive. She’s subversive of every healthy inclination we have to bring down levels of domestic violence. She peddles a false narrative that holds no potential for making matters better. What it can do though is keep sending more and more men to prison, ensure that abusive women receive no help for their problem and increase the odds of both women and men being hurt by an intimate partner. For the Heather Mallicks of the world, that’s just as it ought to be. After all, to do otherwise would require her to look at her own bigotry and she’s not about to do that.

 

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#domestic, #violence, #misandry

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