"Equality!" | HBR Talk 51

On October 10, 1993, when the Violence Against Women act of 1994 was under debate in the Senate, the Toledo blade published an article about the methods feminists were using to push for the bill to become law. On page 8, Blade staff writers Nara Shoenberg and Sam Roe described a key aspect of the process; how feminists create data to support their narrative.

“Researchers say they can just as easily design a study that finds 1 in 4 women have been raped as 1 in 50. A slight change in the definition of rape or the way questions are worded can yield dramatically different results. Scientists responsible for the highest numbers are passionate advocates who believe rape is very common. This troubles even some in the field.

One scientist is a self-described radical feminist. Another conducted her study with the backing of Ms. Magazine, for years a leading voice in the women’s movement. Still another helped open one of the  country’s first rape crisis centers. All told, some critics conclude the rape numbers are inflated. They charge this has been done to boost support for the cause.”

This is not anything new. The movement did the same thing in the 70s, prior to getting the Family Violence Prevention and Services act of 1984 passed. In 1978 during hearings before the House of Representatives subcommittee on select education, as the 95th congress debated HR 7927 & 8948, feminists did the same thing while testifying on the topics of intimate partner and sexual violence. They cited Susan Brownmiller’s writing to support portraying violence against women as a defining male characteristic. They even cherry-picked Erin Pizzey’s work, using what would support their female victim narrative while excluding everything she learned about gender parity in partner violence. They lied to congress, saying there was no available evidence on male victims, when they knew from the very writings from which they quoted, that Erin Pizzey had sheltered male victims and counseled violent women in her shelters. 

They strove to get a gendered law passed, but their efforts at the time failed. FVPSA passed as Title III of H.R.1904 - the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984. This was passed by the 98th Congress and signed into law by then-president Ronald Reagan. It created grants to be distributed to state governments for the establishment, maintenance, and expansion of programs and projects to: (1) prevent incidents of family violence; and (2) provide shelter and related assistance for victims and dependents of victims of family violence in order to prevent future violent incidents. Local agencies, nonprofits, and tribal organizations were eligible for such grants as long as they could show a demonstrated record of serving victims of family violence, domestic violence, or dating violence, and their children. The law did not include any gender specificity. Organizations that helped men were not excluded from funding. In fact, gender discrimination in the application of policy related to this funding would make applicants ineligible for receipt of these federal funds. 

This is where federal funding for shelters for victims of family violence originated - not with VAWA, but with FVPSA. What VAWA did, in addition to increases in funding that could have been passed in a simple update, was gender the wording of FVPSA to designate women as victims and men as perpetrators, allowing for the exclusion of men from victim’s shelters and other programs not geared toward modifying perpetrator behavior. Shelters were renamed in the law, from “domestic abuse shelters” to “battered women’s shelters.” Victim’s advocates to accompany domestic violence accusers in the courtroom were also funded by VAWA, as well as data collection from the now women-only shelters, to create a body of evidence supporting the continued gendering of the law. There is funding in the law for training to impose the now-discredited, gender-biased duluth model of handling intimate partner and sexual violence on the entire criminal justice system from law enforcement through the courts and into the prison system. As I pointed out previously, every one of these federally-funded initiatives is administered by gender studies majors, with jobs created in the resulting industries going to gender ideologues. 

This meal ticket for feminist hatemongers was achieved by demonizing men as a population of sexually predatory and callously domineering thugs. In their 1978 congressional testimony, feminists cited Susan Brownmiller, from her book, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape: 

“As the first permanent acquisition of man, his first piece of real property, woman was, in fact, the original building block, the cornerstone of the ‘House of the Father.’ Man’s forcible extension of his boundaries to his mate and later to their offspring was the beginning of his concept of ownership.”  In fact, studies have shown that wife abuse has its roots in the very structure of society and the family where the husband is expected to play the role of leader. If this position is threatened, many men fall back on their ultimate resource of physical force. The widespread existence of wife beating today underscores the fact that these societal expectations are still prevalent.

To get the data used to promote the Violence Against Women act, Mary P. Koss designed and interpreted her research with such bias that her conclusions were in contradiction to approximately ½ of her subjects’ stated evaluation of their own experiences, and to approximately ¾ of her subjects’ post-incident behavioral evidence. She later added to her writings on the topic a statement intended to justify excluding female perpetration against male victims from her work:

“Although consideration of male victims is within the scope of the legal statutes, it is important to restrict the term rape to instances where male victims were penetrated by offenders. It is inappropriate to consider as a rape victim a man who engages in unwanted sexual intercourse with a woman.”

Feminist rape culture theory has been used to promote changes to state and federal law that have chipped away at due process rights for accused men. These have included protections for accusers proved to have criminally exploited the justice system as a tool of abuse, exclusion of certain types of potentially exculpatory evidence, and policy designed to reverse the burden of proof in so-called “gender violence” cases.

This same formula is how feminists created a similar wave of new positions on university campuses with the sexualizing of Title IX, the passage of the Clery act, and more recently, the Campus SaVE act. Koss’s methodology has become the standard in feminist-led research that influences the creation of law and policy, with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence survey, which cites Koss’s prevalence research standards as one of its sources, producing data that was used to promote both the Dear Colleague guidance and the Campus SaVE act. 

Feminists have started quite a few hashtags on social media in an effort to use a multitude of female victim anecdotes to further spread the impression that men as a population are sexually violent. When #MeToo broke, they were appalled to see male victims of sexually violent women posting in it, and reacted with outrage and venom. This, the men were told, was not for them. How dare they #manterrupt a moment for #WomenEmpowerment! Get your own hashtag, feminists whined. Leave ours alone.
Of course, as soon as #MenToo was coined, that was invaded with angry accusations that it was created to distract from #MeToo.

We in the men’s rights movement are constantly admonished that feminists do not hate men. In fact, feminist writer Lindy West penned an entire article full of myths and misconceptions, and dripping with false condescension, to explain this to us. Unfortunately for her, Suzanna Danuta Walters, professor of sociology, director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University, and editor of the gender studies journal Signs, didn’t get West’s memo. Her article, Why can’t we hate men, was just as filled with myths, misconceptions, and contempt, but at least she was honest about one thing.

Feminism is absolutely misandric. No, the movement isn’t just about hating men. Its entire ideology and the commercial enterprises it supports all rely on that hatred. It is the bread under the movement’s butter, the foundation upon which the victim narrative its practitioners exploit rests, without which not one thin dime would be raised for their initiatives. Male guilt fuels that narrative, and the narrative fuels their every sales pitch in one of the longest-running scams in modern history.

This is why today, we’re seeing feminist animosity and antagonism so ramped up. This is where the panic you can hear in the sound file we’ve been listening to, with the speaker revisiting the history of that scam and wondering what went wrong, comes from. The hysteria we’re seeing today among proponents of gendered law and policy on sexual misconduct is very telling. This is the first time in decades that their scam has been challenged and they have lost ground. They had taken academia, gained another market for accuser’s advocates and services, and secured control over the educational and living environment on university campuses. The DeVoss walkback of the Dear Colleague guidance isn’t just a minor setback to them. It’s a slap across the face to a couple of generations of feminists who have seen nothing but administrative coddling throughout their years of activism. I believe this is only the beginning of what will prove to be a long, darkly comical tantrum, and folks, we’d better have our facts and our popcorn ready, because it’s gonna get interesting.