Violence Against Women: The Greatest Human Rights Violation on the Planet is Misogyny!

         International Women’s Day – 08 March 2020

The Greatest Human Rights Violation on the Planet is Misogyny!

David Leser | The Sydney Morning Herald

It is no small task trying to unpack the history of any kind of hatred, especially if that hatred is misogyny and the harm men do to women.

For the past 10 days – ever since the horrifying murders in Brisbane of Hannah Clarke and her three children, Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3 – I’ve been trying to come to grips all over again with what it is that men do to women with their fists, their guns, their knives, their petrol containers, their unspeakable acts of violence. And why?

All the women killed on their way home, or in their homes, or just anywhere they happen to be – stabbed in the chest, shot in the head, viciously bashed, set on fire, found in a park, dumped behind a hedge, slumped against a wall, stuffed into the back of a ute – and all this documented with heartbreaking regularity by researchers for an organisation that should never exist: Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women Australia.            

During these past 10 days, I’ve gone through my own hopelessly incomplete rollcall of dead women: Jill Meagher, Eurydice Dixon, Amanda Harris, Larissa Beilby, Qi Yu, Aya Maasarwe, Hannah Clarke … and, yes, I’ve thought, too, about the Serbian “rape camps” during the Balkan wars, and the millions of girls sex-trafficked every year.

I have thought about bride burnings, honour killings, forced marriages, female feticide, genital mutilation, date rape, gang rape, women left bloodied, broken and homeless in their own bodies.

I’ve spent the past 2½ years trying to investigate the historical causes of these universal crimes against women, not – as Bettina Arndt suggested when my recent book was published – because I was trying to “virtue signal” to women. Rather, because in the wake of the #MeToo movement, I’ve wanted to understand better what millions of women were testifying to: Stories of being slapped, stalked, groped, assaulted, raped, degraded, silenced and disbelieved.

I wanted to understand – as a man, a father, a son, a brother and friend to many wonderful women – what causes this murderous male contempt to rage across the world. And I wanted men – even those who profess to be good men – to join me in this investigation, for the simple reason that it is men who are perpetrating most of the violence.

This is the greatest human rights violation on the planet, with the World Health Organisation reporting that a billion women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. Here in Australia, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, 1.2 million adult women have experienced an incident of sexual violence since they were 15 while, according to Our Watch, one woman a week on average is killed by her current or former partner.

Add to this the hundreds of thousands of women requiring medical attention or hospitalisation, who fear daily for their lives, who are controlled menacingly by partners and former partners, whose children are weaponised by their fathers, and this is the national emergency we can no longer ignore, if ever we could.

In his masterful book Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice, the late Irish journalist Jack Holland wrote that “on the depressing list of hatreds that human beings feel for each other, none other than misogyny involves the profound need and desire that most men have for women”.

Jack Holland wrote: “Hatred co-exists with desire in a peculiar way, this is what makes misogyny so complex because it involves a man’s conflict with himself.” 

Moved by the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children on February 19, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said family violence would be on the agenda for the upcoming meeting of state and territory leaders, while opposition leader Anthony Albanese renewed his calls for a national domestic violence summit.

I would like to offer another suggestion – a national education program that starts with boys, perhaps as young as two or three, that teaches them skills such as empathy and self-regulation, and unpacks the crippling stereotypes that socialise boys to feel superior to girls so they grow into men who objectify women and see them as their property.

A program built around a new model of manhood that embraces the work of men such as Tom Harkin at Tomorrow Man, Hunter Johnson at The Man Cave and Arne Rubinstein at the Rites of Passage Institute, as well as the Jesuit Social Services 2018 “Man Box” study, all of which address how boys and young men might be taught to treat girls with the same respect and kindness that they would wish for themselves. A program, that explains to them there is nothing “manly” about dominating others, nothing impressive about pretending not to be in pain, and nothing meaningful in this world without the capacity to be vulnerable.

You start out in life sensitive and full of wonder, open to the world and all its possibilities, but, then, after a certain age, these qualities are shamed, beaten, bullied out of you by the culture and, often, by the men who run our nations, corporations, legal firms, sporting clubs, schools, advertising agencies, film industries and media outlets.

Is it any wonder that men are never taught to deal with their emotions in a healthy way?

Perhaps this is at the heart of men’s rage, whether expressed through murder, rape, domestic violence, suicide, alcoholism, reckless driving or simply sullen withdrawal from the world. If men attack – or are in conflict with – women in the outer world, it is because they are at war with their inner world. Don’t be a sissy. Suck it up. Stop your crying now. All the stock definitions of masculinity that prevent boys from dealing with – as Steve Biddulph puts it – “the storms and subtleties” inside our hearts.

Centuries of patriarchy have raised boys to reject and scorn the interior world where our deepest feelings are lodged. Why should it surprise us, therefore, that boys might grow into men who view women as less than fully human?  

Women are right to feel exhausted and terrified. The body count is rising and there will probably be another woman killed next week, and the week after. What are we men going to do about it? 

Also read

Nine out of 10 people found to be biased against women

Analysis of 75 countries reveals ‘shocking’ scale of global women’s rights backlash

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/05/nine-out-of-10-people-found-to-be-biased-against-women

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  • kamtanblog  On March 7, 2020 at 2:16 am

    Parliament makes/changes the laws of the
    land and the courts institute/enforce them.
    As parliament is “dissolved” for elections
    the courts must decide …democracy in principle
    and practice. Hope the matter is resolved
    ASAP so that “normality” law and order restored

    Guyana is a parliamentary democracy with the
    President as head of state.
    UK is also a parliamentary democracy with HRH QE2 as head of state.
    USA is a republic with president as head of state
    EU is an unelected undemocratic institution
    now a Brussels bureaucracy !

    Brexit the final solution

    Politricks in a nutshell

    Go figure

    Kamtan🇬🇧🇬🇾🇪🇸🇬🇧👽

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 7, 2020 at 6:57 am

    ‘WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM WITH FEMALE AUTHORITY’:

    HOW POLITICS SETS A TRAP FOR AMERICAN WOMEN

    Elizabeth Warren’s departure shines light on a system that is rife with sexism but rejects candidates who address it

    David Smith in Washington | The Guardian UK

    “Gender in this race?” Senator Elizabeth Warren said outside her home on Thursday. “You know that is the trap question for every woman. If you say, ‘Yeah! There was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner!’ And if you say, ‘No, there was no sexism, about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?’”

    Warren added: “I PROMISE YOU THIS. I WILL HAVE A LOT MORE TO SAY ON THAT SUBJECT LATER ON.”

    Warren had just exited the race for US president, leaving the Democratic field with only one female candidate: Tulsi Gabbard, the congresswoman from Hawaii who, with only one delegate toward the nomination, is in effect out of contention.

    There have been female leaders all over the world, including two British prime ministers; an Australian prime minister; a USA-born President of Guyana; the current German chancellor and the current prime minister of New Zealand.

    BUT AMERICA’S GLASS CEILING, FAR FROM BEING CRACKED OR SMASHED, APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN REINFORCED WITH DOUBLE GLAZING.

    IT IS A DISTRESSING TURN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, which nominated Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, harnessed women’s political energy to regain the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, and began the 2020 election with the most diverse field of presidential candidates in history.

    The New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, California senator Kamala Harris and author Marianne Williamson all came and went before the Super Tuesday primaries.

    WARREN’S POOR SHOWING THAT NIGHT, INCLUDING A THIRD-PLACE FINISH IN HER HOME STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS, SEALED HER FATE.

    NOW JOE BIDEN AND BERNIE SANDERS, TWO SEPTUAGENARIAN WHITE MEN, WILL SLUG IT OUT FOR THE RIGHT TO TAKE ON DONALD TRUMP – ANOTHER SEPTUAGENARIAN WHITE MAN.

    Bonnie Morris, a history lecturer at University of California, Berkeley, and author of books including The Feminist Revolution, SAID SHE WAS “FLABBERGASTED” to wake up on Thursday and discover that Warren, for whom she voted in the California primary two days earlier, was out of the race.

    “I BELIEVE WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES WITH FEMALE AUTHORITY,” Morris said. “I think in the same way that some people resented the obvious competence of Hillary Clinton because they ascribed to her a schoolteacher or maternal tone, people have applied these kind of terms to Elizabeth Warren. THEY DO NOT ASCRIBE THEM TO MEN.

    “A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE REALLY THREATENED BY SUPER-SMART WOMEN. IF A WOMAN IS TRYING TO MAKE HER POINT BY SPEAKING SLOWLY, FORCEFULLY AND DELIBERATELY, THERE’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE A COHORT OF MEN WHO REGARD THAT AS BEING SCOLDED BY A MOTHER FIGURE.”

    MORRIS AGREED WITH WARREN’S DESCRIPTION OF SEXISM. “I believe women are stuck,” she said. “They’ll always be subject to comments about their appearance, fashion, tone of voice, style of hair. They’re always asked if they align themselves with women’s issues. If they don’t, they’re not seen as ‘sisterly’. And if they use a word like ‘sisterly’, they’re seen as an extreme feminist.”

    Warren was also subject to “ideological purity tests” that her fellow progressive Sanders was not, Morris argues. “Bernie is able to appeal to a lot of people as the cranky, radical Jewish grandfather,” said the academic, who is herself Jewish. “THE CRANKY PURITANICAL GRANDMOTHER IS NOT SEEN AS ATTRACTIVE TO YOUNG PEOPLE.”

    “It’s devastating and it’s going to be frightening for a lot of women to see how, yet again, it was impossible for a woman to emerge in leadership.”

    AMERICA IS CURRENTLY MARKING THE CENTENARY OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION, WHICH GAVE WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE, ALTHOUGH AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN WERE DENIED EQUAL ACCESS.

    Representation has come in fits and starts. Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic nominee for vice-president in 1984 but the presidential candidate Walter Mondale lost to President Ronald Reagan in a landslide.

    As recently as 2007, a Washington Post fashion article began: “There was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2. It belonged to Sen. Hillary Clinton.” When Clinton first ran for president in 2008, losing a bruising primary to Barack Obama, she told disappointed supporters: “ALTHOUGH WE WEREN’T ABLE TO SHATTER THAT HIGHEST, HARDEST GLASS CEILING THIS TIME, THANKS TO YOU IT’S GOT ABOUT 18 MILLION CRACKS IN IT.”

    Eight years later, Clinton made history as the first female nominee of a major party and won the popular vote, only to be thwarted by Trump, who had boasted about grabbing women’s genitals, in the electoral college.

    Clinton said: “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”

    THE HUGE WOMEN’S MARCH A DAY AFTER TRUMP’S INAUGURATION SUGGESTED AN UPRISING.

    Politically galvanised suburban women, dubbed “resistance moms”, were crucial to Democrats’ sweeping success in the 2018 midterms and elected a record number of female candidates. WHEN SEVERAL WOMEN RAN FOR PRESIDENT IT SEEMED THE MOMENTUM FOR AN ANTIDOTE TO TRUMP’S MISOGYNY WAS UNSTOPPABLE.

    But the dreaded word “likability” quickly emerged in public discourse. Gillibrand, the candidate who most explicitly focused on gender equality – Trump’s “kryptonite is definitely a mother of young children who stands up for herself”, she told the Guardian – was the first to flame out.

    Warren was often the best debater, skewering Bloomberg as “a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians”, yet it was not enough. Many find fault in media coverage. Shaunna Thomas, a co-founder of UltraViolet Action, a progressive women’s group, tweeted on Thursday:

    “VOTERS WANT TRUMP OUT. THAT’S CLEAR. WHAT’S ALSO CLEAR IS THAT THERE IS A GLASS CEILING HELD FIRMLY IN PLACE FOR WOMEN BY A MEDIA WHO RELENTLESSLY SHAPE VOTERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF WHO IS ELECTABLE THROUGH A DEEPLY SEXIST LENS.”

    COMPARISONS BETWEEN WARREN AND SANDERS ARE PARTICULARLY INSTRUCTIVE GIVEN THEIR ALIGNMENT ON NUMEROUS ISSUES. They were once running neck-and-neck amid fears they would split the progressive vote. In early debates, they joined forces to defend policies such as Medicare for All, which would extend a government-run health insurance programme to all Americans. But in the end, the 78-year-old Vermont senator surged to early primary victories as Warren, 70, fell away.

    “We have two candidates that embrace Medicare for All AND ONLY ONE CANDIDATE WAS HOUNDED FOR DETAILS about how her plan would be paid for. The other is a male candidate who’s run before and has never been hounded by the press around that set of issues.

    “I can’t even come up with an explanation. He’s a frontrunner for the race. There’s only two people left and yet he’s never been asked detail. He was just asked the last week on 60 Minutes and didn’t have a good answer. I find the coverage relatively dumbfounding.”

    But just as in 2018, women continue to have a crucial say as primary voters, Neera Tanden noted. “What happened throughout this race so far is in South Carolina and Super Tuesday, in Texas and Virginia and Massachusetts and Minnesota, you saw a real surge of suburban voters, a majority of whom are women. They are powering the primaries. It’s just at this point a majority of women didn’t vote for a woman. I mean, that is a sad fact.”

    The endless debate over women and “electability” appears to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    THE SENSE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY REPRESENTED BY THE NEED TO BEAT TRUMP, AND THE TRAUMA OF CLINTON’S DEFEAT IN 2016, MAY HAVE CONVINCED SOME VOTERS THAT NOMINATING A WOMAN OR PERSON OF COLOUR WOULD BE A “GAMBLE”.

    Tanden said: “I think Trump is a unique candidate and so he creates extra layers of fear among Democrats over who should go up against him and who’s the most electable. But if a Democrat beats him, then maybe America can reset and hopefully women will be a strong part of a new administration – and the next nominee will be a woman.”

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 7, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Iceland Leads The Way To Women’s Equality In The Workplace

    But as our latest ranking shows, there is still progress to be made

    THE ECONOMIST

    IN 1920 AMERICA GRANTED WOMEN THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE. A century on, women still face frustrating barriers to equality. To mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, The Economist has updated its glass-ceiling index, which ranks 29 countries on ten indicators of equality for women in the workplace:

    EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT; LABOUR-FORCE PARTICIPATION; PAY; CHILD-CARE COSTS; MATERNITY AND PATERNITY RIGHTS; BUSINESS-SCHOOL APPLICATIONS; AND REPRESENTATION IN SENIOR JOBS; IN MANAGEMENT POSITIONS, ON COMPANY BOARDS AND IN PARLIAMENT.

    THIS YEAR ICELAND TOPS OUR RANKING, OVERTAKING BOTH NORWAY AND SWEDEN.

    Like its Nordic neighbours, Iceland is particularly good at helping women excel in the classroom – more than half earn a university degree – and guaranteeing access to corporate boards.

    WOMEN HOLD NEARLY HALF OF THE COUNTRY’S BOARD SEATS, THANKS TO A MANDATORY QUOTA OF 40% WHICH CAME INTO EFFECT IN 2013.

    Women also make up 50% of the Icelanders who take the GMAT, the de facto business-school entrance exam. With so many women aspiring for careers in business, it is little wonder they hold 41.5% of management positions in the country. On this measure, ONLY POLAND, at 42.5%, RANKS HIGHER.

    AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR RANKING IS SOUTH KOREA, WITH JAPAN NOT FAR ABOVE. This is the eighth year in a row that South Korea has come last.

    Just 59% of South Korean women are in the workforce, below the average of 65% for the OECD, a club of mainly rich countries. Those who do work earn, on average, 35% less per year than men, the widest wage gap in the group.

    Climbing the corporate ladder, meanwhile, is a struggle: WOMEN HOLD JUST ONE IN SEVEN MANAGEMENT POSITIONS AND ONE IN 30 BOARD SEATS.

    WHAT EXPLAINS THESE DISMAL FIGURES? The country’s male-dominated parliament may play a role – women make up only 17% of the National Assembly.

    Studies have shown that female legislators are more likely to pass laws that benefit women in the workplace, such as generous parental leave.

    MANY COUNTRIES WITH A HIGH NUMBER OF WOMEN IN GOVERNMENT ALSO HAVE GENEROUS CHILD-CARE POLICIES.

    In Sweden, where women hold half of the cabinet posts and nearly half of all seats in parliament, new mums are guaranteed 35 weeks of leave.

    In Finland, which also boasts a near-even gender split in parliament as well as a female prime minister, both parents will soon enjoy 30 weeks of paid leave each.

    In Spain, which also has a strong female presence in government, effective next year, will give parents a total of 32 weeks paid leave.

    WHERE LEGISLATURES ARE LOPSIDEDLY MALE, PARENTAL LEAVE TENDS TO BE MEAGRE. In Britain women constitute only a third of MPs and parental leave for both parents combined amounts to just 12 weeks, less than a third of the OECD average.

    In America, where less than a quarter of lawmakers in the House of Representatives are female, THERE IS NO FEDERALLY MANDATED PARENTAL LEAVE AT ALL.

    In both America and Britain, moreover, child-care costs are more than twice the OECD average, partly owing to weak support from the state.

    THE THEME FOR THIS YEAR’S INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY IS “I AM GENERATION EQUALITY”. BUT, AS OUR INDEX DEMONSTRATES, THERE IS STILL A LONG WAY TO GO.

  • wally n  On March 7, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    There are many many brilliant women around the world quite capable of running any country…. in America today becoming a leader. seems the woman’s first hurdle is likeability, the recent candidates had NONE.
    Me I like Tulsi, but her problem might be, she appears too perfect, There are too many countries where the possibility of having a woman as a leader could be years
    away, international pressure could actually force them to select a woman actually manipulated by men, in the background, this is even worse, effects of this become obvious if you took a look at trudeau, he is a master of this deceit.

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 7, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    “Call it ‘intimate violence’. Call it ‘misogyny-fuelled terrorism’. Speak of it in the active voice. Only then can we address the unique forms of violence faced by women and girls, perpetrated by men.”

    – Anne Kingston

  • wally n  On March 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Growing up in GUYANA never crossed my mind that women were in any way held back, were leaders in all fields (Ok not trades) On the other hand I knew many women suffering from all of the above, whatever is today’s terminology.
    Trying to fast track years of abuse leads to trudeau model, window dressing, my opinion things are already changing, must not forget every country has a unique situation.
    By bringing up the subject helps, especially in social media.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On March 7, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Cyril, thanks for sharing David Leser’s article. I’ve found it a challenge to raise this issue with men who believe that they are not guilty of such misogynous behavior. I was especially interested by Leser’s comment:

    “I wanted to understand – as a man, a father, a son, a brother and friend to many wonderful women – what causes this murderous male contempt to rage across the world. And I wanted men – even those who profess to be good men – to join me in this investigation, for the simple reason that it is men who are perpetrating most of the violence.”

    Tragically for the human species, the good men of our world fail to understand how they, too, are part of an enduring patriarchal system, instituted since the birth of our current human civilization, of inbred male privileges over female bodies and lives. Within the limits of our specific cultural and social environment, we women adapt as best as we can to survive and, wherever and whenever possible, to succeed and thrive.

    • kamtanblog  On March 7, 2020 at 3:14 pm

      Simple Simon says
      Behind every successful man there is a woman
      Also
      Ahead of every successful woman there is a man.

      Guess that makes me a “feminist” !

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