The Inconvenient Victims: Ride that donkey!

Michelle Roberts
4 min readMay 27, 2020

Response to “The Myth of the Battered Husband Syndrome” By Jack C. Straton

Most of us have witnessed this before, it’s really nothing new. Men are the problem. Those dastardly fiends need to be reprogrammed or something so they can stop abusing us women. Sure there may be some male victims, but they need to suck it up because we gotta focus on the problem: them. Sometimes I find articles like the one I am writing in response to that make male victims seem mythical, just a fantasy dreamed of by vicious misogynists. “The biggest concern, though, is not the wasted effort on a false issue.” Helping men and boys is a wasted effort.
It is a common enough assertion for some to say that the advocates for men’s rights want to diminish the issues that women face. Mothers love multiple children, individuals can love many through their lives, children can love both of their parents. MRA’s posit that we too can have compassion for both sexes.
But how can we do this if we don’t understand the scope of the problem?
Well, lets start by admitting that there IS a problem.

The author suggests that there is a very small number of male victims, and unfortunately I could not verify the sources and look at the data myself. From the offset the author misrepresented the data presented by Steinmetz, and I have summed up the key passages from the study.

Summary of different points from the study:
1a. 3% of 600 husbands reported physical abuse as a reason for divorce.
1b. 37% of wives mentioned physical abuse
1c. Women complained nearly twice as much as men
2a. Random samples of police data shows 7% of wives are victims of severe physical abuse
2b. Men were .6 percent of severe physical abuse
3. The sexes parity each other in throwing objects, pushing, shoving, hitting with the hand or object. Similar data has been reported by the CDC

I have plenty enough data to argue that the amount of victims is far higher than 4%. I would think that was a typo, except the author describes the amount of victims as “tiny”, because the actual number is over 43%. This is only one of many pieces of pie of male victimization, but even without the added totals of other types of victims, it is untrue to say that very few men face intimate partner violence.
It doesn’t end there though. Part of the overarching cultural belief is that men are invulnerable, and the equally appropriate lack of resources that are available for men is adequate. I have thus far found two shelters for men, which isn’t to say that there are not any dual sex shelters, but it does emphasize that there are very few “safe spaces” for men to go to for healing.

One unsung hero, Earl Silverman, tried with all his might to open a shelter for men in Canada. He could not make any headway with the Human Rights Committee on the grounds of discrimination (there not being an equal need for shelters for men and boys); his next tactic was to be charged with extortion, but because the facts of the case would show clear discrimination, the charges were dropped. Of course, at some point he did manage to purchase a home and run a shelter out of it briefly but the financial burden made it a short lived endeavor. He took the fight all the way to his grave, as he is still highly regarded among many in the men’s rights movement. True to the cause, Silverman killed himself so that advocates may use him to further the cause.

Men are not people, men aren’t even human. They are perfect, infallible monsters. That is what it seems like when people claim that male victims are a myth. Its what it seems like when men aren’t afforded the resources to protect themselves and their children. Initially I was baffled by the comment about how in Canada the number of assaults of males was too low to provide any estimates, but given the time frame of what he was sourcing (1981–1987) it made sense as to why no men were assaulted in those years- the Canadian government didn’t want to put out those findings. For those studies to be placed into the public domain it would have to have gone through the Minister of Status of Women (now Minister of Women and Gender Equality) who has the authority to throw away those findings.

Now for the whole donkey thing…
A tactic used a century ago to shame “henpecked” men was to parade them around on a donkey so that the whole community could come together to add further insult to injury. Abused by a woman, the man would then be made to be ashamed of his abuse. Don’t fret dear reader, it isn’t victim blaming. Men are not victims.

I would like to end this with an unverified quote from a woman who would not interview with Silverman.

“So much as showing up to discuss male victims would only lend legitimacy to the fact that they exist.”

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Michelle Roberts

I recently decided to try my hand at writing, to get my foot in the door in the online world. I enjoy controversial topics, the ancient world, and more.