Preface: Part two includes stats on child custody. The stats from “Debunking MRAs” were used recently at CAFE’s talk by Edward Kruk on shared parenting. This is the dubious research that protesters of men’s issues cite, providing “Debunking MRAs” as their source instead of doing their own research or actually looking at the sources listed. I sure hope this wasn’t done by university students, but it was a UofT event. From the Warren Farrell protest, to “Big Red“, to this:
If you missed Part One, it can be found here
Expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief)
“Debunking MRAs” Debunked
5) Murder: men are murdered at a rate 5 times that of women.
Owen uses his usual tactic of moving the goal posts. Instead of discussing men as victims of murder, he changes the argument to men as murderers, claiming men are perpetrators at 9 times the rate of women. He then claims that this highlights that women are not responsible for the high rate of men being murdered.
This is where his perverse version of a feminist ideology is showing. He feels that one gender’s problem must inherently be caused by the other gender in order for it to matter. Men being 5 times more likely to be victims of murder does not matter to him if men are also the ones committing the majority of them. Let’s add in a little bit of intersectionality to spice this notion up; if black men are only being murdered by white men, is it not an issue? The point is moot; men are murdered at a far higher rate than women. This is in direct contrast to the oft used feminist claim that every space is a safe space for men.
As for men murdering at a higher rate, he provides no citation, but I don’t question its truth. However, what are the stats on women who murder their husbands in self-defence, thus removing any chance for their victims have of defending themselves against allegations of abuse? What are the stats on women who hire or recruit men to do their killing for them? Women who are more successful than Nicole Doucet, who was let go without a conviction despite multiple attempts on her ex-husband’s life, including being caught attempting to hire an undercover RCMP officer posing as a hit man, simply because she claimed her ex-husband, Michael Ryan, had been abusive. Michael Ryan was not asked to testify in defence of these allegations, despite being willing and desiring to do just that, and Nicole escaped conviction because of this, and because the courts felt that the trial process had already been enough of an ordeal for her.
What about incidents where it is a woman’s cry that brings male violence, which is often used to bring violence to another male, rarely another female. Emmett Till, a black man, had the audacity to talk to Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. For this unforgiveable crime, she had her husband and brother-in-law murder Emmett.
Here’s a more contemporary example, a woman calling her “boys” to commit violence on the hosts of the British show “Top Gear” (I recommend watching the whole video, but the incident starts at 4:30): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKcJ-0bAHB4
Owen also cites that 200,000 women suffer serious violence from their intimate partners every year, and seems to feel this is should be reason for more murders by women of their partners. One point of contention, these stats come from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This means that they are only stats of cases that actually reach the justice system; incidents need to be reported to be recorded. In Canada, we have the general social survey, which is a better measurement of intimate partner violence. It places rates of IPV in Canada at 7% and 8% for men and women respectively, but that is a moot point as we are discussing murder.
Yes, women are certainly more likely to be murdered by an intimate partner (it was 241 people killed by their wife or girlfriend, compared to the 1,095 people killed by their husband or boyfriend), but men are far more likely to be murdered by strangers and acquaintances. Ignoring the violence done to men, because it is other men committing the murders, is discounting thousands of victims. Should we not care about intimate partner violence in the LGBT community because it is women abusing women and men abusing men? No, that would be equally unjust, and we should care about all victims.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, also pointed out that for men, in the case of murder, almost half (49.7%) of male-victim offender relationships were unknown (“non-intimate” includes strangers), which means the relationship to the victim is unknown in 5,406 cases. For women, the relationship was unknown in 23.8% (722) of cases of homicide.
Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men are murdered at 5 times the rate of women: 0
Moving the goalposts of an argument is not debunking it.
6) Child Custody: Women receive physical custody of 92% of all children of separation, and men only 4%.
91% of the time, if someone isn’t citing their stats, you can call them on pulling it out of their ass. I choose to not accept this incidence as part of the other 9%.
A lot of the citations in this section seem equally dubious, such as the first statistic that child-care in married households is performed at a 2:1 ratio by mothers compared to fathers. In the traditional family (i.e. father works outside the home, mother works in the home), if a father works 8 hours a day (plus travel time), a mother is taking care of the kids all day, and the child sleeps for 8 hours (sleeping not counting as spent time), then that right there would be a 2 to 1 ratio of parenting time in a 24 hour day. Parenting is, of course, far more nuanced than this. One parent’s increased time outside the home is going to be correlational to the other partner’s increased ability to stay home and spend more time with their children. This is not justification for expecting the primary working parent to maintain their same level of financial support after a divorce in order to support the raising of their children by the stay-at-home parent. The time spent with the children will definitely be skewed in the stay-at-home parent’s favour, but why is the working parent expected to maintain their more-absent role now that their partnership has dissolved?
After this, Owen’s citations get rather bizarre. “Divorce Peers” has two footnotes, but does not mention what specific information they got from which footnote. The first footnote is a book from 1996 titled “Child Custody Made Simple”, and indicates that the author claimed “these results are very similar to those in a national study.” They don’t care to mention what study the author was referencing, as the author probably didn’t either. The other footnote is for a book from 1997 titled “Out of Touch”. Indeed.
The claim that fathers win custody battles 70% of the time is mentioned in passing in a document by the American Mother’s Political Party (I think they might have an agenda!). It focuses on abusive relationships, and not divorce or child custody. The citation Owen had for that snippet of information was from a 1989report of a gender bias study conducted by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. This clearly does not mean 70% of all custody cases. Upon further digging, I found an article which shows that, using the same data, “when mothers sought sole custody, the court granted the request at a rate 65% higher than it did when fathers made the same request.” This article also explained that the 70% was representative only for legal custody, not physical custody.
The last cited source is very duplicitous. The webpage says it is from the American Psychological Association in the top-left corner and, if you click home, it does take you to the APA home page. However, the website is www.nfflp.org, not the APA website. If you type that in your search bar, you get redirected to some site called “The Liz Library”. I was left with the distinct impression it is essentially a feminist court website, rather than a source of objective and relevant information.
For me, this brings the validity of the information into question, but I’ll accept that it is actually from this 1996 report on family violence. All Owen states is that abusive men are among the most likely to fight for custody. This page does not show any numbers, or cite its sources. All it does is make vague and generalized statements such as “recent studies suggest” and “research indicates”. Given that this report is 20 years old, it could very likely have relied upon the 1989 report by the Massachusetts Supreme Court mentioned previously.
There are no studies that one can look at for the rates at which abusive mothers fight for custody, in which an abused husband would likely have all of the same concerns as an abused wife. Again, the rates of domestic violence are almost equal! Furthermore, granted the higher likelihood for women to get either sole custody or, in the case of shared parenting, primary custody, it would be all too easy for a woman to continue emotionally abusing her husband through the manipulation of their children. Such was the case for 10 years for a Toronto father, before a court stripped the mother of her custody rights for her malicious parental alienation efforts.
Falsehoods exposed in the claim women are most often awarded child custody: 0
Now we’re just getting pathetic.
I can’t speak for the United States, as it was difficult to find any accurate statistics on their custody cases. However, up here in Canada, the Department of Justice conducted a national longitudinal study on children and youth and reported that in cases with a court order, mother’s had sole custody 80.8%, father’s 6.6% (page 21). In the other 12.6% that had shared physical custody, 68.6% lived only with their mother, 10.5% with their father, 7.8% mostly with their mother, and 3.9% livedmostly with their father. Only 9.2% wereequally shared.
For more on custody issues for fathers in Canada, I recommend a look at Fathers Are Capable Too
7) Jury Bias: Women are acquitted of spousal murder at a rate 9 times that of men
It absolutely is a matter of bias, despite what Owen claims. The only citation he gives to back up his assertion is the same APA citation he gave to debunk custody victories. As he says, women are sometimes acquitted of murder due to allegations of abuse. Men are almost never acquitted for murdering their abusive wives. This was the only story I could find of a man being acquitted for murdering his wife on the grounds of intimate partner violence. The abused husband was subjected to thirty years of intimate partner terrorism, including being beaten with a fire poker and having his thumb broken, which was described as “hen-pecked” in the media.
In Canada, it has recently been argued that women with abusive partners are morally entitled to murder their abusive partners. Not people, women. That is gender bias. Furthermore, it is not “exceptionally rare for any man to experience a comparable level of terroristic threat from his wife”, it is, however, exceptionally rare for us to hear about it. Here are some links if you would like to hear about it:
Domestic Violence Against Males in the U.K.:
In the U.S.:
Yet we never hear of it being presented in a gender neutral fashion when we hear about one’s “moral entitlement” to murder an abusive spouse. Rarely do we even hear of intimate partner violence itself being presented in a gender neutral fashion.
If you feel that every one of these 1.3 million women (a number your citation doesn’t actually mention), then you should feel that men are equally justified in murdering their partners. I, however, feel it is rarely acceptable. Organizations that work with women fleeing violence usually set up a plan in advance for when they leave their abusive partner. Why not just come up with murder plans, or aid and abet them in murdering their spouses?
Here is a breakdown of spousal murder court cases in the U.S. from 1988, examined in 1995 (so I admit it is dated). It states that “Jury trials ended in acquittal for 27% of wives, and 0% for husbands”. That is a lot more than the “9 times” acquittal rate the original author stated. How many times does 0 go into 27?
Falsehoods exposed in the claim that women are acquitted of murder more than men: 0
There is a lot of information in that last link that is interesting, but your declaration that 1.3 million women would be justified in committing murder certainly speaks to a bias in you, and hints at a larger bias in our society. It is the one-sided perspective of domestic violence that feminism has painted for you, man-abuser/woman-victim, which has left you feeling that murder is justified on that grand a scale.
It is your belief that the worst case of intimate partner violence a man suffers, is still not as bad as the lightest form of IPV a woman suffers, as you state that all 1.3 million women would be justified in receiving an acquittal for murdering their abusive partners, while declaring it exceptionally rare for a man to feel a comparable level of terroristic threat from their abusive partners.
If you were called to jury duty in such a case, are you seriously going to sit there and tell me you would not be biased?
8) Court Bias: Men are sentenced 2.8 times longer than women for spousal murder
This is Owen’s worst argument yet. No citations, no sources, just a simple blanket statement that women’s lighter sentencing is because many of them murder their spouses must have been abused, and they are only given light sentences because no woman would murder her husband for any reason other than self-defence! Well, except maybe for the 66% of cases where there was no evidence of abuse, or that “The average prison sentence for unprovoked wife defendants was 7 years, 10 years shorter than the average 17 years for unprovoked husband defendants”
Then there’s the complication that we would also need to see these cases on an individual basis. What was the evidence of abuse? When a husband is murdered, he cannot defend himself against allegations of abuse if a woman chooses to make them. This was most recently seen in the case of Jodi Arias. First she claimed her husband was murdered by robbers who broke into their home, then she changed her story to one of self-defence from years of on-going domestic violence, for which there was no evidence. No evidence except for her word against… Well, her word.
For a Canadian example, we can just look back to the recent case of Nicole Doucet, who I mentioned previously. For a woman who was abused, and so terrified of her ex-partner that she had to have him murdered, she sure didn’t express it while attempting to hire an undercover RCMP officer to murder her ex-husband. When he asked why she wanted him murdered, asking if it was because he was abusive, she gave a definitive “no”. That is certainly not the song she sang in the court room, where often that is the only evidence of abuse a woman needs to present; her word. Even though it was an attempted murder charge, her ex-husband, Michael Ryan, was not asked to testify in his defence on the allegations of abuse. It is telling indeed that it was the victim in this case, Mr. Ryan, who was actually placed on trial and not even given the right to defend himself. Even though Mr. Ryan was still alive to give testimony, to give his word against hers, Nicole was allowed to still have it be her word, and her word alone. When women succeed in actually murdering their partners, it is guaranteed that their voice will be the only one heard.
And there’s the rub. Women are granted a defence for murder, a battered-woman defence, which is practically never applied to men. That stats page on spousal murder conviction rates listed 44% of women as giving evidence of assault at the time of their murder; men, 10%. It says 56% of those women were convicted, but it does not give a statistic for men, leading me to conclude that they were all convicted.
Falsehoods exposed in the claim that women are acquitted of murder more than men: 0
All 4 of these points, murder, child custody, jury bias, and court bias, had a lot in common. The recurring theme in all four has been the persistent presence of a gendered perspective on domestic violence, a systemic and biased perspective which consistently and significantly disadvantages men, particularly in the courts. Let’s see if we can try and find anything more there.
I decided to take a look back at murders, and the numbers we had for spousal murders. The numbers provided by Owen’s own sources reported that women were victims of murder by an intimate partner 1,095 times, and men 241 times. I granted him that. He also claimed that women, and all women, who have been victims of domestic violence, would be justified in murdering their spouses.
Looking at this stats page once again, it states that the “report’s results are likely to be applicable today”. So let’s apply them today. As I said earlier, it reports that 44% of women accused of murder of their intimate partner, presented evidence of abuse, as did 10% of men.
44% of 241 = 106
10% of 1095 = 109
This shows an equal number of spousal murders which also had evidence of intimate partner violence perpetrated by the victim upon the accused. Owen is still correct in his assertion that women are murdered by their intimate partners far more often than men, while men are murdered more often overall. However, the number of men murdering abusive wives is virtually equal to the number of women murdering abusive husbands. If these stats are marginally transferable, a 56% conviction rate would suggest that 47 abused women would have been acquitted for murdering their abusive partners, compared to 0 abused men. Does that sound like court bias to anyone?