Saturday, October 4, 2014

Differing ethical standards bring different results in gender-charged studies

I said I wasn’t going to do it again, but I came across a recent story reported by the Press Association, which I take to be the UK equivalent of the Associated Press, that brought to the fore the hypocrisy I despise so much; the story merely confirmed my own suspicions of what is going on in this country. But before I get to that, I want to first mention that I have just discovered a 2006 National Institute of Justice program that solicited proposals for grants for research into “violence against women.” Grants would go to, among other things, proposals that suggest “solutions” to stop male-on-female violence. However, these proposal must not “suggests” that women “share” blame in violent behavior to be considered for a grant.  

What other studies would not be eligible for funding? 

“Proposals for research on intimate partner violence against, or stalking of, males of any age or females under the age of 12.” Meaning, of course, only adult women. I told you that these people are the most self-obsessed on Earth, contrary to the usual myths. Truth is not the principle function of such studies, but politics.

There are, of course, unfunded “studies” such as a 2001 report by the State University of New York at Stony Brook, which claimed to be a “dispassionate” look at domestic violence by women. On the contrary, it derided studies that showed that women were more likely to initiate violence than men, preferring to cite other “studies” that indicated the opposite. It went on to disregard domestic violence by women, because violence between the two sexes was “asymmetrical,” and it assumed that most violence by women was in “self-defense.” It also made the absurd claim that women were less likely to commit domestic violence because it was, well, “unladylike.” 

Yet in the UK, partisan and politically-influenced “studies” that are deliberately skewed to arrive at pre-determined conclusions are regarded more as propaganda than scholarship.  If one starts off with the “answer” in search of a “question,” there is the inevitable attempt to make the “data” fit the conclusion—or worse, only accounts for data that “confirms” the “answer.”  This is all too often what occurs in the gender politicized U.S.—where anything that suggests that women have any defects is likely to lead to hysterical personal attacks or charges of “misogyny.” 

Careful gathering and analysis of data without regard to personal prejudices is apparently appreciated in the UK, as well as professional ethics. In a study released this past June, Dr. Elizabeth Bates of the University of Cumbria found that contrary to popular belief, women are more likely to be “controlling and aggressive” than men:

Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as arising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women's behaviour, using violence if necessary. This study found that women demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men. This suggests that IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) may not be motivated by patriarchal values and needs to be studied within the context of other forms of aggression, which has potential implications for interventions.

“Potential implications for interventions”? Could this possibly mean making women accountable for and controlling their own behavior too? That women as the “gentler sex” is a media and victim advocate “myth”? I mean, Janay Rice did initiate the violence—and it wasn’t about “self-defense”—and how often is that “missed” or explained away by the media and gender activists? We remember all the “outrage” when singer Chris Brown was accused of striking singer Rihanna inside a car; what wasn’t widely mentioned was that her own behavior in this incident was not that of a passive “wallflower,” either. 

This study also revealed the following:

Women were “more verbally and physically aggressive” with their intimate partners than vice-versa.  

Men tended to display more physical aggression to other men rather than to women—quite the opposite of women, who tended to show far more physical aggression toward men than to other women. 

Women were just as “terroristic” in their abuse as men, pairing “controlling behavior” with “serious levels of threats, intimidation and physical violence.”

This is in sharp contrast to the findings of a University of Michigan in the 1990s, which claimed that “intimate terrorists” were “almost always” men (of course, the university is also the home of Catherine “all heterosexual sex is rape” McKinnon, who once gave a talk as a guest speaker that I was “persuaded” to cover as a campus newspaper reporter. A reporter from the city newspaper and myself were the only males in the packed auditorium, which obviously was too small a sample for her not to go off on misandrist tantrum). Bates criticized this oft-referenced study by Michael P. Johnson, noting that his study was deliberately skewed by examining only men in prisons and women in shelters, rather than gathering data from the population at large—particularly since men are much less likely than women to discuss violence perpetrated on themselves. 

Bates noted that this "wasn't just pushing and shoving. Some people were circling the boxes for things like beating up, kicking, and threatening to use a weapon…In terms of high levels of control and aggression, there was no difference between men and women…The stereotypical popular view is still one of dominant control by men. That does occur but research over the last 10 to 15 years has highlighted the fact that women are controlling and aggressive in relationships too…A contributing factor could be that in the past women have talked about it more. The feminist movement made violence towards women something we talk about. Now there is more support for men and more of them are feeling comfortable coming forward."

Of course, none of this matters in this country; all truth does is inflame the mendacious of mind to greater efforts of hypocrisy. Or a matter of “amusement.” When former Brady Bunch star Barry Williams claimed that over a period of time his intimate female partner repeatedly hit, kicked and attempted to stab him (as well as stealing nearly $30,000 from him),  many in the media, such as E! Online, poked fun at him, contrasting his claims with comic scenes from the Brady Bunch show. 

At the airport I happened to overhear—well, I couldn’t help but overhear, because they were about two feet from where I was sitting—four girls, who appeared to be 13 or 14 years old. They seemed quite knowledgeable about the subject they were speaking about: Girls they knew who they referred to as “gangstas.” Something was mentioned about how a clique from one city felt obliged to prove they were “tougher” than one from another city. There was also made mention that these “girls” thought nothing of fighting “rivals”  to maintain the “respect” of their particular city, and these “girls” also “hit” boys to prove they were “tough” too. Needless-to-say, I was “fascinated” by this conversation. 

But why even bother discussing the problem like “adults” in this country? Even when men call 911 to report being the victim of domestic violence, they—and not the female abuser—are three times more likely to be arrested. 

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