Male violence is the worst problem in the world

Cpl. Eric Casebolt manhandles a teenage girl at a the McKinney pool party.

I guess I’m a man-hater, writing a title like that, using my keypad to fire a shot across the bow of an entire gender. #NotAllMen are violent, and some women are, and we all know that, but this conversation is still the Internet equivalent of strapping on a suicide vest and detonating it with the click of a mouse.

There is history. It is recorded and remembered and recounted and it repeats itself. There are studies and there are eyeballs—they reveal the same information. The media is replete with stories of war and genocide and rape and police brutality and mass shooters and ISIS and domestic violence. All of these articles are chock-full of hotlinks that act as supporting data to what is patently obvious. I’m not going to link to a single news story or piece of academic research because anyone who actually needs “proof” has Google, and I’m not doing anybody’s homework for them.

Ray Rice drags his now-wife out of the elevator after knocking her unconscious.
Ray Rice drags his now-wife out of the elevator after knocking her unconscious.

Male violence is the worst problem in the world because it is both catastrophic and undiscussable. For some reason there is plenty of handwringing and arguing over the religion of violence or the race of violence, as if those are the most salient or defining predictors of the brutality occurring on a global scale since the dawn of time. That the most common denominator of all violence — from a single beating to the murder of millions — is under-researched, rarely written about, and aggressively denied is hideous.

Look at me, taking cover under a feminist blog’s masthead, so I won’t be ripped apart by unmoderated male commenters on the vast digital ocean, bleeding out for a circling, hungry man mob. That’s my prerogative, and one I may someday relinquish if I become a glutton for punishment or simply decide that my one little voice is acutely needed…out there. For now, I huddle among the sane and the rational. I speak in a tent as high as the stars, around a fire glowing in the faces of those who wrap that canvas around themselves against an indifferent world where male aggression would tear it all down if left unguarded for only a moment.

This will not be solved in my lifetime or my daughter’s lifetime, or ever, without a serious come-to-Jesus reckoning among ourselves as a species. Until “male-pattern violence” can be spoken and written about openly, nothing will change. After all, if we can’t have a direct and public dialogue about who is committing the lion’s share of human atrocities, how can we ever hope for a kinder and gentler world?

I once read that when we mention “male-pattern baldness,” no one screams, “But not all men are bald!” Of course they’re not. But most people who lose their hair as they get older are male, even though a few are female. I suspect that most of the medical research going into preventing or treating male-pattern baldness is not running up against #NotAllMenAreBald trolling campaigns or accompanying death threats. There’s this thing called statistics, and for some reason men can acknowledge the relative prevalence of baldness among males as compared to females, and they can support research into a medical solution that is based on studying men’s hair loss. And for a lot of them, solving the male-pattern baldness crisis is much more important than solving the male-pattern violence problem. They parade their self-absorption without an inkling of their own shame.

I know a lot of men who care deeply about men’s violence against women and against other men, and I’m so very grateful for them. But too many men consider this a “women’s issue,” and oh my lands, what on earth does that mean? Do these men think we women can stop male violence on our own? If you want to be generous, you could say these folks are clueless or you could say they’re optimistic. Either way, you must also say they’re detached from reality.

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Don’t ever forget it, and don’t ever underestimate it. It’s ruining the world. But I can’t end on that note, so I’ll end on this one:

“Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.” ~Plutarch

So little by little is how we shall take them.

Lori Day is an educational psychologist, consultant and parenting coach with Lori Day Consulting in Newburyport, MA. She is the author of Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More, and speaks on the topic of raising confident girls in a disempowering marketing and media culture. You can connect with Lori on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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  • Miep

    Good writing.

    • Hannah

      Excellent! I loved the baldness comparison!

    • Brylliant

      Yeah.Yeah. It is. male violence is the worst problem. In. the World. That means millennia. That means universally. That means in hidden fashion. That means overtly. That means war. That means chimps organizing hunting parties. That means testosterone masculinizing fetuses in vitro. That menas domestic violence.

      That means sadistic porn. That means domination, hierarchy. That means Thanatos. That means necrophilia. That means warrior culture. That means Valhalla. That means the vigins in Paradise after the bombing. That means Oppenheimer. That means Attila spreading his genes after the burtchery.

      It actually is. The worst. The one. The thing that has to be stopped, because it will never stop on its own. It’s in the genes, but much can be done to manage it. And I don’t mean factories for more violence, i.e. prisons.

      • Brylliant

        Corrections: “menas” means “means”. “Burtchery” means “butchery”.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for writing this! Great example with the baldness. You are so right, it makes me feel ill. When I was in a domestic violence situation, I couldn’t talk about it openly, because everyone wanted to talk about how women also commit violence against their partners. And it just completely minimised my experience at the time. Male and female violence against partners are usually very separate issues, with many differences. And even if they were the same reasons behind them, the severity of male violence on female is so much worse. How often do you hear of a women stalking, harassing, and then eventually killing her partner? If a woman kills, it’s usually after being stalked, harassed and fearing for her life for years on end. It’s pretty telling that any abusive killer women are actually remembers in history too – there’s a few that’s stand out in my mind. Yet with men, there’s just far too many of them to remember. Far too many of them for any one to gain notoriety.

    Thank you for speaking up about this, your one little voice does make a difference, as the more people that speak the truth, the more Women can loosen the chains around their necks that teach them that violence against them doesn’t matter, is their fault, or will never end. Gosh it’s a sad world.

    • Excellent. Bravo. Persist !(if you want !!!!!)

    • L

      “It’s pretty telling that any abusive killer women are actually remembers in history too – there’s a few that’s stand out in my mind. Yet with men, there’s just far too many of them to remember. Far too many of them for any one to gain notoriety.”

      Yes!! Violent, abusive women are interesting because they are the exception not the norm. We need to be able to talk about and tackle the gendered nature of issues. This doesn’t really happen with any other issue, when someone writes a book about childhood cancer, nobody gets upset that the book doesn’t talk about adulthood cancer. We are comfortable with admitting that the issues, problems and solutions around childhood disease and adult disease may not be the same; we allow these issues their own spaces and their own solutions…Why can’t we do that with gender issues?

      (Rachel, based on your comments you seem like you have been through a lot and I sincerely hope that you are healthy and safe!)

      • Rachel

        Exactly! We do allow spaces for other issues, but for some reason anything to do with women also needs a “but men suffer too” response. For some reason women have had everybody’s issues piled onto them – it’s selfish to fight for women alone, so we need to fight for every other cause under the sun too! There are so many causes I would love to dedicate more time too, but often I find they boil down to the patriarchy too. I’m talking more about social issues though, as opposed to childhood cancers.

        Thanks for your comment by the way, I don’t mean to rant and rave too much! I never thought I’d been through much, and have always been so messed up mentally, but now I’m exploring radical feminism things are starting to make sense! I’m sure the comments will be a little less ranty eventually. It’s just a safe place to blurt everything out and have people who understand, rather than the usual “you shouldn’t do this or that, this is your fault, think like this, think like that, that’s nothing, that’s just what men do blah blah blah.” But yes I am fine thank you for saying that!

        • L

          “For some reason women have had everybody’s issues piled onto them – it’s selfish to fight for women alone, so we need to fight for every other cause under the sun too!”
          Women are expected to be selfless and sacrificial; take care of everyone else first and themselves last (if ever!)…its one of our “womanly virtues.” It always kind of bugs me when we praise women who never take even a second to do anything for themselves because they are working, taking care of kids, spouses, the household and etc. I want to start praising women for being selfish from time to time.

          Its not surprising that the feminist movement is being encouraged to be inclusive of everyone and everything. If a revolution includes everyone, its not really a revolution. Eventually, feminism will become so inclusive it won’t even be about women anymore!

          “Thanks for your comment by the way, I don’t mean to rant and rave too much!” I don’t think of it as ranting and raving, I think of it as sharing your experience. You never know who else might be lurking through the comments and going through something like you have been through.

          • Rachel

            You are so right, society does praise selflessness in women far too much. A man so much as ‘babysits’ his own child and he’s treated like he deserves a gold medal. I agree we do need to praise women who take time out for themselves more often. I do a lot more now, and honestly I don’t have the bother to feel guilty about it anymore. Not sure if it’s getting older, or life experience, but I realised being too nice and placating everyone all the time just Lead to being trampled on Even more. I see it so much more in younger women now and I feel for them. True…it is getting to the point where it’s not about women. I’ve read some articles where they propose a change in the label feminism. .

            Yes true, good point. Sometimes it’s just comforting to read a comment from someone who has been through something similar, and see their reaction to the event. Because society tends to pathologize very natural reactions to abnormal situations, as others have pointed out on here before.

          • EEU

            “Eventually, feminism will become so inclusive it won’t even be about women anymore!”

            This has already happened, unfortunately. Feminism isn’t about women anymore. It is about everyone but women. White males have taken over mainstream feminism.

  • Adam Sowa

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:

    Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
    84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
    Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
    50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.

    Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005), available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/fvs.pdf

    From: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/domestic_violence/resources/statistics.html

    • pallygirl

      Thanks for posting those statistics, Adam. How long until trans gender reassignment starts markedly skewing the statistics? This worries me – that the counting of trans women as women in the statistics will start masking the cause: male violence.

      • Takkori

        I find your comment about trans women quite offensive, you obviously have no idea what trans women are like if you think that they are contributing to male violence or that it will *mask* the cause, considering most, if not all trans women would be in the same boat and state of mind as *cis* women. Nothing will be masked, if anything it will make the percentage of males causing violence to go up, as the trans women not contributing to violence and identifying as female will be moved over to the womens side.
        The counting of trans women as women is not something to be taken as joke or any other way other than women wanting to be recognized as women, and denying this fact is the same as being told what you are allowed to do or not do.

        • Morag

          Of course men who transition are contributing to male violence. The same — if not more — than other men. Do you live under a rock, or do you think women are so stupid that we can’t see, and understand, what’s right in front of our faces? YOUR comment is offensive. But, what more can we expect from anyone who believes that “woman” is a feeling, an idea, a construct in the male mind, an identity up for grabs, rather than a female human being?

        • Laur

          Considering that the mainstream left is very aggressively pushing the idea of “trans women” being women, women who have come to the conclusion that trans women are indeed men have done so with much thought. Saying we just don’t know any trans women is absurd. The women on this site who complain about trans women are very informed with the actual violence many men disguised as trans women are committing, the ways transactivists are aggressively saying women can’t talk about female biology, and having the so-called notion of the “cotton ceiling” foisted upon us. If you haven’t heard of it, google it. Not nice stuff.

      • Candi

        Trans women ARE women.

        • amongster

          No, they are males trying to appropriate womanhood.

        • tinfoil hattie

          Only if “woman” means whatever men want it to mean.

      • Trench

        Actually, I don’t think it necessarily will. As a cisgender man with a pituitary tumor causing me to not produce testosterone, I never had any significant violent inclinations or impulses. After beginning to receive testosterone by injection regularly, those inclinations began to appear. Now, they’re not impulses, the inclinations aren’t violent in the male pattern violence degree, and I’ve got more than enough self control to prevent myself from ever hurting someone.

        But I think it’s primarily the testosterone that catalyses the violence. In most cases, transgender women take testosterone blockers and estrogen, so I’d expect we’ll see significantly lower rates of transgender women being violent than cisgender men being violent.

        Besides, transgender women are one of the groups most likely to be the victim of violence.

      • ????

        There aren’t enough trans women to skew the statistics…
        Did you seriously just mis-gender an entire group of people?

        • Regeane

          I fail to see how saying that violence committed by trans women is *male* (sex) violence is mis*gender*ing them? With more and more people being grouped in under the trans umbrella, rather than just the less than 1% with actual sex dysphoria, and with so many people conflating sex and gender and pretending biological sex is just what people feel it is, skewing the statistics of male violence vs female violence is a real concern.

        • Morag

          Did you seriously just feign shock that some women and feminists still don’t obey the dictates of male transgenderists?

      • Priscila

        I understand, but also violence against transwomen is massively perpetrated by men. I don’t think one can really mask male violence unless if in denial of reality.

        • Mar Iguana

          Fact and reality cuts no ice with the delusional.

    • And when women kill partners, it is usually in self-defense.

      • Fred

        Right you are Lori! More people need to see the documentary Sin by Silence too. Brenda Clubine for instance spent 26 years(the best part of her life)in prison merely for defending herself!!!!

        No woman should even be brought to trial let alone spend a day in jail for killing a abusive husband/boyfriend!

        • tinfoil hattie

          And Wendy Moldonado. and her son – detailed in the documentary, “One Minute to Nine,” originally titled, “Every Fucking Day of My Life.”

  • L

    “Male violence is the worst problem in the world because it is both catastrophic and undiscussable.”

    Yes, why can’t we just admit that much of the world’s violence is perpetrated by men?! Saying that doesn’t make anyone sexist, its just stating a fact.

    As you mentioned, we are obsessed with talking about violence as a class issue or race issue, but not as a gender issue. Its just easier to talk about how violent poor men are, or immigrant men are or black men are…but the moment you talk about the violence of men as a class, people don’t want to hear it.

    I wish the whole “not all men” as a response to conversation about gender issues would just die out; it just stifles any legitimate conversation about the problem of male violence.

  • Miguel

    I must ask. Male violence being greater in size than female violence. Universally. Across cultures and continents. Would this mean there is a biological basis for higher male aggression than females? What would this mean for the workplace, the schoolyard, media portrayals, etc etc. Ignoring the studies that say women commit spousal abuse just as much as men. Lets assume those are wrong for the moment.

    • hellkell

      Yes, Miguel, it’s called testosterone, and we don’t have to assume those studies are wrong, they are.

      • Morag

        ” … we don’t have to assume those studies are wrong, they are.”

        Yes. And as far as I know, it was only one study, about 20-30 years ago. It was a small sample that did not examine context or patterns of violence — it was done by telephone, for goodness’ sake (“Hello ma’am, does your male partner ever hit you?”) and it did not distinguish between a woman, say, kicking a man during an argument or an altercation, and a man terrorizing and beating the hell out of a woman, sending her to hospital or a shelter. The study was debunked a long time ago, but MRAs are in love with it.

    • Mar Iguana

      I must answer. Assholes are made not born.

      • tinfoil hattie

        “Because testosterone” is a bullshit excuse. Men harm and kill because they are encouraged to do so. Because women are not human, Because men own women. Because there is a sex class, and men ain’t it.

  • Tracy

    Not the entire male “gender” but the entire male sex 😉

  • Tracy

    “Do these men think we women can stop male violence on our own?”
    This seems to be a day for analogies, so I will attempt one… The best way to fight fire is to remove the combustible material. We females have one single ultimate transcending all encompassing power OVER males, that is reproduction. If we stop creating them, patriarchy will die.

    • Michelle

      Ummm, pretty sure the whole human race would die off if we stop reproducing.

      • Morag

        I may be wrong, but I think the idea Tracy is suggesting is that as many women as possible purposely shift the sex ratio by reproducing fewer and fewer males. By not having children at all, or by choosing to have females when they do have children.

      • vagabondi

        So in your mind category male is identical to category human? Tracy suggested that we stop producing them, ie men, not “the whole human race” as you interpreted her. I think the human race would continue without them just fine.

        Sure, in a thousand years or so we might run out of frozen sperm, but by then we’ll have created a society that can contain a few males safely, say 5 or 10% of the population.

        You can bet if makes could stop reproducing us they’d have done it long ago. They hate us, after all, they’ve been torturing and killing us in every way they can think of for ten thousand years.

        • Cat Fury

          So I have often wondered what would happen if there was an entire generation of males raised who didn’t know anything about misogyny, sexism, or patriarchy.

          An entire generation who were taught that if a person is feeling frustrated, angry, or aggressive that there are certain channels of activity they need to go pour that energy into productively.

          A whole new generation of people who never even heard of the idea that it is possible to discriminate against someone and treat them as lesser because of their gender.

          So there’s this device called a burdizzo… It is a modified surgical clamp used on baby male livestock to quickly crush each spermatic cord and blood vessel leading to each testicle.

          Since there is no incision, it is bloodless. If you use spray on numbing spray and an ice pack to prevent swelling, the animals don’t even seem to be in pain or suffer at all.

          Within a few days, the testes begin to wither away from lack of blood flow. But you can’t really visually tell which animals have and have not had the procedure done.

          But when they would start to hit puberty normally, the difference is amazing.

          They just remain calm and sweet tempered and easy to get along with, they don’t fight and scuffle amongst themselves like most male animals do.

          They grow up as big beautiful healthy animals and lead a normal life. Since billy goats are so completely smelly and obnoxious, many people who intend to sell the males as pets, or as harness or pack Goats, will go ahead and give them this procedure so that they will remain sweet, nice-smelling, and friendly lifelong

          And of course, though some of them retain something of a desire to mate, and may even be able to go through the motions, they are completely infertile as well.

          What if there was some mysterious irreversible contagious “disease” that periodically swept through our population, tragically leaving 90% of male babies sterile and preventing them from going through typical puberty?

          Perhaps there could be some red herrings put out there so that researchers could head off down the wrong trail entirely.

          If genetic testing can be developed to select for male bloodlines that tend to have a much higher percentage of daughters and sons, those could be the boy babies who were chosen to remain fertile.

          Hypothetically, in a very few generations the natural balance of genders between cismale and cisfemale in humans could be altered.

          Depending on research, we might also choose to select for females who tend to be if it larger and stronger then the average, basically minimizing sexual dimorphism between the genders as well to level the playing field physically.

          And yes, as was pointed out in another comment, the idea that women should take responsibility to eugenically redesign the human species DOES just dump responsibility for modifying and correcting male violent and mysogynistic behaviour once again back onto the historical victims of that behaviour unfairly.

          But, there is the ideal theoretical world and then there is the reality we live in.

          For untold generations we have individually and collectively asked men to stop being a source of death, dismemberment, disfiguration, mayhem, rape, psychological trauma, and oppression to our gender.

          In my own lifetime of 36 years, I have seen some countries make some decent forward progress on this issue, others maintain the status quo and others backslide to a terrifying degree.

          In the end, I would honestly say that as a global average we have probably pretty much just maintained our status quo as regards to violence and oppression against women.

          Asking men to stop should work. But it doesn’t work.

          So, as a matter of life and death survival, literally, isn’t it about time we started thinking of some ways to make them stop?

          Eugenic near-genocide of an entire gender, while somewhat satisfying to comtemplate during moments of frustration and anger, probably needs to remain firmly in the category of absolutely desperate last resort.

          But, we definitely need to do something effective that forces men as a gender to guit doing what they are doing, or to remain complacent and thereby complicit while other humans are tortured and murdered and subjugated for no other reason then being born into one of two genders randomly.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I’m not sure I understand. Are you suggesting that testosterone is the problem or that the existence of males is the problem?

          • vagabondi

            The role of testosterone in all this is interesting and not simple. We do know that when men behave competitively or violently, it raises the testosterone levels in their bodies (studies have measured levels before and after, say, playing American football). So testosterone is a symptom as well as a cause. It’s part of a feedback loop, in fact, where bad behavior –> elevated testosterone –> more bad behavior. So if we want to intervene in the cycle, maybe one spot is as good as another? Or maybe we don’t know yet which kind of intervention would be more effective or practical?

            (Side note: as far as I know, no studies have been done to try to figure out if women have the same problem: we do have some testosterone, of course, though most of the month it’s drowned out by our estrogen and etc. It’s only during the premenstrual dip in estrogen levels that we can feel the testosterone, and get all cranky and stuff.)

            It’s kind of like, for global warming, is the problem elevated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Or is it the behavior of corporations and individuals which spews the CO2? Some people think we should focus on one aspect of the problem (renewable carbon neutral energy, carbon sequestration) and some on the other (anti-consumerism, walkable and bikable cities).

            Is testosterone the problem? Well, no, not exactly, at least it’s not the whole story. But it’s definitely part of the mechanism of how the problem plays out.

          • EEU

            Cordelia Fine has debunked the testosterone causes male behavior. Where do researchers measure testosterone? In what part of the body? It turns out there is no way to accurately measure testosterone levels in the brain, let alone the effects of it. It’s all just pseudo-science. There’s just some (mostly) male research doing bad research with really bad methodologies. The conclusions many make are just assumptions not backed by hard scientific evidence.

          • EEU

            I’m sorry for the typos.

          • EEU

            I really hate it when so-called scientists make pretty big assumptions without any evidence to back it up. If they notice a slight difference between males and females they just go “oh but this is because evolution blah blah blah”. They make ridiculous assumptions with zero evidence.

          • Priscila

            Yes! Male scientist are all so proud of being criterious and wary to draw conclusions UNTIL it comes to differences across the sexes. THEN they’re more than happy with a superficial crappy psychoevo explanation. It’s kind of amusing.

          • vagabondi

            Are you saying that testosterone doesn’t affect behavior? That seems like a pretty large claim, considering that we’ve been able to clearly see the difference between, say, steers and bulls, or tom cats and fixed males, for a very long time now.

            Not everything of interest in humans happens in the brain, anyway. Emotions are partly brain based, but also largely mediated by chemicals in the bloodstream. Like adrenaline, think of an adrenaline rush. That’s a body experience, but it definitely affects your mental state and behavior (although as far as I know we can’t measure adrenaline levels in the brain either).

          • EEU

            No. Of course it might affect behavior. It’s also important to note that all hormones play a role/ The mechanisms of the hman brain and body are complicated. Saying that males are more aggressive simply because they have more testosterone is a simplistic claim and unscientific claim. testosterone could play a role but there are other hormones and mechanisms that also could affect behavior. It is perfectly plausible that in females the mechanisms are different and other hormones play a larger role in aggressive behavior. I think this is just another example of male-centric science. They take the male body as default without bothering to examine how the female body works.

          • Deist99

            I don’t think the numbers point to any genocide or near genocide. Females are still 51% of the worlds population. Also even with all the violence over the course of human history we have 6 billion of us here today.

            As far as violence and oppression against women being the same I would have to disagree with that assertion as far as the western world goes. Historically females (and males) have never had it as good as those of us in the western world have it today.

          • Laur

            Men don’t have to be physicAlly wiping women out for their war to be effective. They rely on sexual violence. Even much domestic violence, is related to sexual control and sexual abuse. Sexual violence has long lasting effects, including chAnging how women see and value ourselves, as well as ptsd. In a culture of sexual violence, women even have to negotiate where is safe to walk, be careful walking at night, etc.

    • Priscila

      The problem with this “solution” (beyond the obvious already stated by Michelle) is that it leaves men off the hook – AGAIN. It just assumes men can’t help being violent and switches the responsibility for male violence back to women. Just. Once. Again.

  • Maarten

    I think it’s not just a problem of men being violent, but of our whole society being violent, with the symptoms being economic exploitation, racism, war, environmental destruction, and cruel treatment of animals. Can the problem of male violence be solved in isolation, without looking at these other problems as well?

    • amongster

      It is men who hold all the power, not “our whole society”. If you deny who is in charge and responsible for exploitation and destruction you can’t change a thing.

    • Who controls our societies and creates their violent cultures?

    • Priscila

      Male violence is at the roots of all things you mentioned.

  • DefenderofThemyscira

    You are not being a man hater if you acknowledge the reality that women are living every single day. Saying the truth about someone isn’t hating them. And also you are allowed to hate men as a class. You are allowed to be angry at the things they do.
    Male violence IS a huge problem. And it has many forms. Just look at this trans gender phenomenon which men are using to infiltrate all female spaces and prevent us from talking about how our oppression I’d sex based and biology based by their empty accusations of cissexism. Just look at how pornography and prostitution and BDSM are branded as sexual freedom by men and the women who bow to them, when in reality they are the phenomena that create broken women and violated women, both physically and mentally. Male violence is parasitism of the female body and female psyche. Thus violence is also trivialised and women get blamed for what happens to them. He hit you? You must have said something to provoke him. He raped you? You must have been too inviting. And male violence doesn’t only have a gendered aspect. It has a racial aspect too. Imperialism and racism are no doubt a part of white male patriarchy. Women of color suffer sexualised racism and racialised sexism.

  • cady

    The title of your article alone is one of the most important thoughts on the internet. I would add climate change as the other “worst problem in the world,” because if that doesn’t end all life on earth, then the male violence of the patriarchy will. Though of course they are connected, the domination, manipulation and exploitation of nature connected to male domination and oppression of women. All the violences being connected to the first violence of male violence against women. Thank you for your courage in writing what is the greatest silence of all. Whether it is mass killings/ gun violence which is always explained as being perpetrated by mentally ill PEOPLE. Whether it is acts of “terrorism,” wars, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, dictatorships, trafficking and on and on and on, the fact that it is primarily MALE people who carry out all these attacks is totally silenced. And of course it is true that when a woman comments anywhere else but on feminist site about this, the response is that of piranha fish feeding on prey. I once commented on the Guardian half in jest, but not really, that the solution to gun violence in our armed to the teeth U.S.A might be to only allow women to have guns. The response was expected. Stupid. Great appreciation for this important article. It needs to be repeated forever until listened to or else, I agree, we are doomed. I have been doing so for many decades. Even too many women on the left don’t hear it, but we must not be silenced.

    • Thank you so much. I did actually have a first draft of this post that discussed climate change, because I agree that in a very important way, it is really the worst problem in the world, because it could kills every single one of us eventually. But male violence and patriarchy of course play a role in how we treat the planet and everyone/everything on it, exactly as you say. I ended up removing the part about climate change–the post was getting unwieldy. But your point is very well taken.

    • Hannah

      That’s a really good point, not that I agree with guns at all because they can be taken and used against you but if anyone should be allowed to have guns as self defence, it’s women.

    • L

      “I once commented on the Guardian half in jest, but not really, that the solution to gun violence in our armed to the teeth U.S.A might be to only allow women to have guns.”

      For awhile, the nra/pro gun right types were attempting to appeal more to females…one of the memes on the internet floating around during this time was something like “teach your daughter to shoot because a restraining order is just a piece of paper.” That focus didn’t really catch on, but I have really been thinking about the role that female violence can play in liberating women.

      Is female violence in response to male violence part of the solution? The feminist movement has (for the most part) been a peaceful and nonviolent one, but how often has liberation been brought about through peace?

      • Meghan Murphy

        How on earth will more violence liberate us from violence? I don’t think the response to male violence is to replicate their behaviour…

        • cady

          Totally agree. I am a feminist pacifist (i think the two go together). My point was to take the guns away from men and the world would be a much more peaceful place.

          • christina

            I want a gun. I want a gun to protect myself. From men, rabid dogs, deer in my garden. They have guns that pair up with rings and cannot be fired unless you havethe ring. We could put fingerprint recognition in the trigger. Make the gun so only i can fire it.

          • L

            Cady and Meghan,
            I understand what you are both saying and I am no fan of violence, but I do think its important for people who are oppressed to consider the ways in which violence in their hands (or even the threat of violence) can be a powerful tool for their liberation.

            And I am not talking about random acts of violence; I am talking about women using violence as a mode of self-defense. When women are victims of violence we are mostly taught to run or call on the law; often times that doesn’t really help us. On my local news, here in Texas they just ran a story about how men who had RO’s and who owned guns were not surrendering their guns (as the law requires) and surprise, surprise these men were then using their guns to kill/injure the women who had the RO’s against them.

            I am knowledgeable about violence in US slave rebellions and violence in the black civil rights movement. You know what scared white owners?-black violence against whites. You know what was scary as hell during the civil rights movement? Black men with guns. (Even after the Dylan Roof shooting, there was all this backlash against the #WeWillShootBack movement that was encouraging black people to not be afraid to arm and protect themselves). Would men be more afraid of women if we used violence (or even if men thought we would use violence) to defend ourselves instead of the law?

            This famous line from Ida B. Wells gets at my point: “a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched.”

            I need to do more reading about other rebellions, but I would be willing to bet that violence or the threat of violence played key roles in liberating and improving the lives of oppressed peoples. Do I think violence will magically get rid of violence? Of course not! But I do think as a black woman, I would be remiss if I did not at least *consider* the ways in which violence in my hands (and the hands of other women) could be a powerful tool.

          • Meghan Murphy

            You may be right but I’m not going to use the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house, as it were. Not my kinda politics.

          • cady

            L: It is a complicated and necessary discussion, certainly. Especially now that we live in a nation armed to the teeth, a lawless nation, where now already dangerous men have legal weapons and can, in many states, carry them everywhere they go. Their sense of entitlement, of masculinity gone wild, is now at frightening levels. The attacks on women and people of color even children has made our nation into one of utter and pervasive violence: we are at war with MEN, in and out of uniform, truly. Who do we trust? The problems with the use of guns to protect ourselves from men with guns, is it usually does not work. The black panthers who armed themselves, were cruelly wiped out. The state is too powerful. The two most successful movements in the last century were non-violent: the women’s and civil rights movements. And also the anti-war movement, and presently the climate justice, immigrants rights, and on and on, they all gain successes from non-violence, which of course takes so much more inventive thought then pulling a trigger. But of course you are also talking about the individuals right to protection: a woman armed against her abuser who wants to kill her. Is she really safer? And the question you raised: would blacks, who are, and always have been, under attack also, be safer? Ultimately we need to work toward disarming both the state and the individual millions, for a lasting solution. Violence, ultimately, is a male creation, a male way of interacting with the world. Their simple and cruel violent solution of destruction, of power over, of wiping out really is devoid of thought. As women, as oppressed peoples, we can and must do better. Life on earth depends on us.

          • Grace Alexander

            The main problem with women arming themselves against men is that women invariably get punished for it. Did you know that the original intent of the “Stand Your Ground” law was to protect women who defended themselves – specifically, there was a case in Vermont (I think) in which a woman was attacked while jogging on a wooded trail. The man assaulted her, and she managed to hit him in the head with a rock mid-rape. Killed him. Was prosecuted for murder, because she “should have just run faster” and imprisoned. Of course, it instantly got twisted to allow black people to be murdered with impunity, so yay….

            Women who defend themselves against abusive men are almost never supported by the justice system. It’s a sure fire way to get your kids taken away and end up in prison. Just as whites fear an armed black populace (to the point that in some states blacks are routinely denied gun permits for no good reason and with no appeal), a female armed populace is even more dreaded. Add to that the a woman with a gun is more likely to be killed with it than to successfully defend herself… well.

          • Then there’s Marissa Alexander.

  • Monistaf

    Yes, it is clear that the vast majority of violence in the world is perpetrated by men, but it is also equally clear that the overwhelming majority of victims of violent crimes in this world are also men. Why, then, do we spend so much time, effort, air time and legislation on preventing violence against the demographic that is least effected by it? How come there is no “Violence against men act”? You bring up domestic abuse, but fail to acknowledge that both emotional and verbal abuse, even though hard to prove, are very much a part of domestic violence. It is nice to see that you mention of “Ray Rice”, but do not want to say that his fiancee slapped him first before he slapped her in the elevator. Are men just supposed to take it? At least he paid for his crimes, he even apologized. What about Hope Solo and her domestic abuse of her 14 year old nephew? Why was she not banned from world cup soccer?

    • A few things. Women who aggress against men are often doing it in self-defense, or because they’ve been abused for years and fear being killed. The statistics on female-on-male DV do not distinguish between a smaller woman’s slap and a larger man’s *pattern* of much more violent and physically injurious abuse. Finally, I recall reading a study that said that more women have been killed by men (husbands, boyfriends, strangers) than all people killed in all wars and genocides in all of history. You need to broaden your lens both geographically and historically.Anecdotes like Hope Solo are rare, and in number, do not compare with the six million people killed in the Holocaust (mostly by men) or in other wars and genocides, by mostly male soldiers. I almost didn’t respond to you because I’m not sure if you’re an MRA troll. Bringing up things like Ray Rice’s fiance slapping him first in response to an article like mine is just absurd. Millions and millions of men and women have been killed and tortured and abused for millennia by MOSTLY MEN. End of story.

      • Priscila

        Futhermore, men are never killed for the sole reason of being male, whereas females are. Violence against women has a clearly misogynistic profile while violence against men doesn’t have a “misandric” one.

        • Exactly right.

        • Monistaf

          Where do you get this from? The reasons for violence against women are the same as those for violence against men, typically, love, aggression, money, drugs, provocation, injustice, theft etc. I acknowledge that there has been targeted violence in the past based on belonging to certain demographic like jews, blacks, gays etc, but it has never been about gender. In fact, if it is based on gender, the victims have been male because they pose a threat to invading forces which is still being played out today in Syria with ISIS executing all the men and boys above 14 in the villages they conquer.

          • Meghan Murphy

            If it’s never about gender, explain rape/sexual assault and domestic violence. Explain why women die at the hands of their husbands/boyfriends so often.

          • Deist99

            Trigger Warning.

            There is some evidence that rape may be a evolutionary adaptation. Here is a link to an article that talks about this http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1823152

            For those that don’t want to read it they cite a study that shows that during consensual intercourse a women has a 3% chance of conceiving. During a rape there is an 8% chance of conceiving. I have read other studies beside this one that have come to the same results. What is interesting is that even hardcore biological determinist do not want to say that rape may be an evolutionary adaptation. I however believe in looking at things the way they are not the way I want them to be.

            Now just because this is an evolutionary adaptation does NOT make it right. Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom we have higher brain functions that we should use to control these impulses.

            As far as men killing their wives or loved ones they do it for the same reason they kill men. Feeling disrespected, jealousy, anger for real or perceived wrongs. Now some men maybe more likely to kill a women because they know they can. Just like a male bully who picks on the smaller and weaker males because he knows he can get away with it.

          • vagabondi

            Absolutely not. Remember that part of the difference in strength is cultural: girls are taught to be ladylike, eat less, not move around so much, or we’d be on average stronger than we are. Not as strong as men, but strong enough to be much more of a threat than we are now. Rape pre-patriarchy would have been a pretty dangerous pastime, and there’s no evolutionary advantage to losing your balls.

            Not to mention, if I were raped and conceived, I would have an abortion rather than give birth to a baby rapist. If I were prevented from having an abortion or it hadn’t been invented yet, I would probably kill the infant. Infanticide is common among the other primates; until very, very recently, like only a few hundred years ago, it was for us too.

            Also, trauma can have profound effect on people; some women who have been raped or abused have difficulty bonding to or caring for their children. If you’re concerned about your genetic future, you’d be wise not to sabotage the mother’s ability to raise her children.

          • Deist99

            Differences in strength are not cultural, they are biological. Men on average have 40% more upper body strength than women. No amount of culture will change that fact.
            Let’s look at world bench press records between men and women. The current men’s bench press record(with a bench press shirt) is 1102 lbs. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progression_of_the_bench_press_world_record
            The women’s bench press record (with a bench press shirt) was achieved by Becca Swanson and is 551lbs. http://femalemuscle.com/athletes/powerlifters/becca-swanson-benches-551-lbs/

            There are numerous studies out there detailing the physical biological
            differences between men and women. These differences are the reason that we have seperate male and female sports. This is also why you will never see a female on a professional male team such as football or basketball.

          • Priscila

            You might be surprised. I think we all agree that your environment, upbringing and habits can shape your body and physical abilities to a great extent, even taking genetics into account. Why on earth wouldn’t that also apply to physical differences across sexes?

            As I said above, male scientists seem to be all very proud of their criteriousness UNTIL it comes to male/female differences… isnt’t that interesting?

          • vagabondi

            Notice I said “part of the difference.” And notice I said, we don’t need to be exactly as strong as you to hurt you, badly. If you’re trying to impregnate a woman, there’s a limit to how badly you can hurt her, or she won’t survive or carry a pregnancy to term. If she’s trying not to be impregnated, she is under no such limitations with regards to your health and well being.

            Even if your pulled-out-of-thin-air numbers had the slightest relationship to reality, an 8% chance of conceiving means you would need to commit about twelve rapes in order to impregnate a woman. Do you really think that not one of those women would manage to, say, bite your dick off? Or blind you, thereby decreasing your future ability to rape? Or hit you over the head with a rock and kill you while you’re distracted by your orgasm? Even if your numbers meant anything at all, the application of them to reality (you know, where traits and behavior have to be successful in order to be passed on) would only work if women were completely passive receptacles. We’re not, although you have spent ten thousand years trying to train us to be.

            And notice I made other points, too. Which you ignored.

          • EEU

            Where is the proof that it’s evolutionary? Oh right. There isn’t one. The ‘researchers’ just make assumptions. They have absolutely no proof of that. They just take some data and interpret it the way they want to. That’s not science and I’m saying this as a scientist. Plus, if it’s ‘evolutionary’, why haven’t women evolved to rape men? Weird huh? It would make a lot more sense for women to rape men if there was such an ‘evolutionary need.’ What worries me the most is that people who try to explain social behavior by claiming it’s evolutionary don’t understand how evolution works AT ALL.

          • EEU

            It really takes some basic logic. They take some percentages (who knows how they got those). 1. There could be a million methodological flaws. 2. They are making a claim regarding women’s fertility – they’re saying that women are somehow more fertile when they’re raped. That alone goes against everything we know about female reproductive biology. We have hard evidence about women’s fertility. A bunch of assumptions can’t trump the hard evidence we already have.

          • Rachel

            Exactly EEU. Most people that spout this stuff live to look past the research methodology, because surprise surprise, it supports their own views about themselves. Usually their own masculinity. I would also hazard a guess that if the rate of conception is higher in rapes than it is in consensual sex, I would say it has more to do with the woman being forced into sex, and therefore likely not on the pill etc.

            You make a good point, it rape is an evolutionary adaptation then why aren’t women raping men more often?! It’s us ladies that are so desperate to be impregnated isn’t it? All these studies are generally the ones that gain most public interest. Men love to agree with them and explain common male behaviour with them as either “oh look how good I’m being honey. See I told you men are meant to be perverted rapists. You’re so lucky you have me, I only watch porn because I have suppress this innate urge to rape women when I see them. So really you should deal with it and be happy with it.” The research with sound methodology is always conveniently overlooked.

          • lizor

            “As far as men killing their wives or loved ones they do it for the same reason they kill men.”

            What a load of crap.

            In numerous cases men inflict violence on women who fail to buoy up the man’s sense of control, power and superiority in a way that satisfies him. If he is lower on the totem pole than he wants to be “out in the world”, he believes he can depend on female family members to bow and scrap to his authority. If they fail to do so, they “provoke” his violence – they “make him” do it.

            Quit trying to erase the perilous power differential between the sex classes. You realize that the article you link to includes this little gem: “rapists target women who are particularly fertile based on factors such as beauty and age”??

            Seriously Deist99 – what is your real agenda with this shit?

          • Deist99

            I have no agenda, I just enjoy honest intellectual debate. I completely agree with you that there is a power differential between men and women. The majority of men in a hand to hand fight with a female will win and win easily.
            I know this is anecdotal evidence but I was attending Army Combatives training, which is a hand to hand fighting program based on jiu jitsu, with a female officer I knew. She was very physically fit, a tri-athlete and maxed out the Army physical fitness test. On the afternoon of the second day of class she ran into the hallway crying. Myself and another officer were asked to go and talk to her. When we talked to her she stated that she was just frustrated that she couldn’t even compete with any of the men, even the ones smaller than her. She stated that she had also known that men are naturally stronger than women but didn’t really realize just how true it was till she attended this training. Now she did women up and completed the course but she did not win one match during the training.

          • ptittle

            I don’t know anything about jiu jitsu, but it probably advantages male bodies. (And men, and probably women too, have trouble imagining athletic endeavours that DON’T advantage male bodies.)

        • Rich

          “Futhermore, men are never killed for the sole reason of being male, whereas females are.”

          I don’t know that anything is ever done for a single reason, but certainly the standard way of war has been to separate the men and boys from the women and children, and to kill the former and enslave the latter. We saw it in the break up of Yugoslavia. We continue to see it in Africa and in the Middle East. It is chronicled in the Iliad and in the proceedings of special tribunals and in news stories on ISIS.

          • Priscila

            You guys only ever think about war. It’s astonishing how you seem to NEVER think of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, prostitution and other major causes of femicide until a woman points them out. And even after.

      • So, what then is the point of this story, the fact that most violence is perpetrated by men and that we need to do more to protect women? It is like saying that most violence against the african american population is perpetrated by african americans, so let us just focus on laws and policies that protect non african-american population from african-american violence? Or that most violence in the muslim populations in the middle east is perpetrated by other muslims, so we do not care about that, but let us institute policy to protect non-muslims from muslim violence? Both genders are victims, regardless of who the perpetrators are, let us, fight together to end violence for everyone, including the millions of innocent men who happen to suffer as well.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yeah. Men perpetrate violence against men, men perpetrate violence against women, ergo: male violence is the problem. Feel free to fight male violence, as men, but don’t degender the violence.

        • The gender of the perpetrator is what I wrote about. The victims are both men and women. If we want to stop violence, we must begin by acknowledging that it is predominantly male in nature. if you read my article, you’ll see that I CLEARLY show there are male victims–many of them–and that the problem is we try to pin it on a race or a religion, when the most common denominator is that it is MALE.

    • amongster

      “Are men just supposed to take it?”

      If you are stronger and can walk away from a harming situation you have the obligation to walk away and not let it escalate. Women rarely have the option without putting themselves (and children) in even more danger. The reason why men hit back is because they know they can overpower the women. It is not self-defense, it is male violence.

      • Grace Alexander

        EXACTLY. the MGTOW and MRA movements rejoice in their idea that “equality” must surely mean they can hit women! Yay!

        Because women initiate violence, right? But seriously, (and yes #NotAllMen outweigh, outreach, and have far more upper body strength than women, but on average…) if a 90 lb 5 foot 2 woman slaps a 280 lb 6 foot 2 man in the face is it then COMPLETELY appropriate for him to deliver a closed fist punch to the face and knock her unconscious or break her nose/jaw/neck?

        I keep asking and somehow men keep saying “Of course! She started the fight, I END it!!!”

        Machismo. *sigh*

      • Collieg

        Yes, if you’re bigger than she is you’re supposed to take it. OK, I’ll admit, when I was 5 yo I must’ve hit my little sister because I got the bully lecture. (I don’t remember hitting my little sister, but I remember the bully lecture!) Don’t boys get the bully lecture? It goes like this:
        You don’t ever, ever, EVER. EVER! hit someone who’s smaller than you. I don’t care if she hit you first, you’re bigger than she is, you didn’t have to hit her back. You had other options. (There’s more after that, about bullies being gutless cowards, etc)
        Sorry if this sounds patronizing, but if 5 year old girls can understand it, why can’t grown men?

        • Priscila

          Never, ever, EVER underestimate 5-year-old girls. 😉

    • Mar Iguana

      “…if you added up all the women who have been murdered by their husbands or boyfriends since 9/11, and then you add up all the Americans who were killed by 9/11 or in Afghanistan and Iraq, more women were killed by their husbands or boyfriends.” Gloria Steinem

      “More girls were killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century. More girls are killed in this routine gendercide in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century.” Nicholas Kristof

  • Lili

    “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

    I strongly disagree with this statement. Using violence has nothing to do with being incompetent. Violence has everything to do with power. And the BIG difference between a man who beats the woman who lives with him and, let’s say, a woman who shots her husband after 10 years of domestic abuse is that the violent man knows he can CHOOSE to be violent or not, and that choice is a direct priviledge of his power in patriarchy. On the other hand, the abused women do not have the priviledge of CHOICE : she either uses violence to save herself or she dies.

    Understanding violence, as you do it in this text, as a tool of the incompetent (aka “the dumb”), is so very simplistic and actually erases all the violent actions dominated people do everyday to survive/revolt.

    • Priscila

      I understand your point but I see this kind of violence that can’t be chosen rather as self-defense.

  • man

    Men’s emotionally manipulative arguments in response to clear, obvious points like those being made in this piece are just getting more and more violently extreme in their wretchedness. One can predict that if these ideas were ever introduced into mainstream in some event, for example by a well-known politician, we would immediately hear “arguments” from men like “well violence is more prevalent among black people, I guess that means black people are the biggest problem in their regions?” (when of course everybody knows the real problem is poverty).

    The internet is great in some senses but also terrifying in that it has allowed men to share and practice our tactics at emotional and intellectual abuse in any situation where a woman might argue for her humanity and her perception of reality.

    • Priscila

      I preview another outbreak of “good guys” screaming “what about the evil women” on this thread.

  • Erika

    Excellent blog post, full of unspeakable truths!

  • Zorana

    I don’t understand why you have to apologize for being a ‘man hater’ they are the worst thing in the world why can’t you hate them? I know i do! And I am proud to say it! #killallmen

    • vagabondi

      If we killed them all, I think we might not like what we had become, by the time we finished. Easier just to stop making new ones.

    • Fred

      Zorana would you also kill all male children and infants??

      • atheist

        Why not? There is a high possibility they will also become ungrateful misogynist when they grow up. A lot of male children nowadays practice misogyny at already an early age.

  • Alien Life Form

    Premise Three: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

    http://www.derrickjensen.org/work/endgame/endgame-premises-english/

    • Interesting. What a scathing condemnation of capitalism. I agree with it for the most part, but point out that the entire horrid system was set in motion by men. Thus, male violence–in all of its manifestations–is the problem.

  • Deist99

    Excellent post. To solve a problem you have to correctly identify the problem. I learned many years ago that men commit 90% of the violence on the planet. Now the question becomes why do men do this. I believe that it is a combination of biology and culture. There are countless studies that have proven that testosterone fuels aggression and on average women have 1/7th the testosterone level of men. So do we put testosterone inhibitors in the drinking supply? I could see that causing many other problems.

    Perhaps we can develop a way to genetically change the amount of testosterone men produce. The only problem with that is you would have to insure all men in the world undergo the procedure otherwise the men that had not would quickly rise and take over the world and we could possibly be in worst shape.

    Now culture also plays a role in this, though I believe to a much smaller than extent. It can turn the knob up or down to some degree but I believe is most effective when working with the natural biological tendencies. i.e. Men are naturally more aggressive then women some it is much easier for the culture to increase this natural tendency.

    To end on a positive note if you look at the history of mankind, those of us in the western world have it better than any human beings have ever had.

    I think that ending violence against women, and ending all violence, is a laudable goal but will only be achieved through genetic engineering. The same forces of Mother Nature that hard wired a male lion to kill all the pups of a pride he takes over so the females go back in heat and he can mate with them is also the same Mother Nature that created us.

    • tinfoil hattie

      Shorter: “Men can’t help it.”

      • amongster

        It is sad that women are so powerless right now that men can make such stupid statements as “we can’t help it” and feel safe doing so. I bet they would start blaming socialization and try to change too once they realized that women “can’t help it” either and have to think about drastic measures in order to keep safe from male violence.

  • MegG

    Thank you for daring to express such an important insight. With every tragic mass shooting, it seems the media goes into an effort to find a cause, to find a commonality among people who perpetrate such atrocities. What never gets acknowledged is that the common thread among the mass killings is that the perpetrations are men. I don’t understand why calling out the obvious truth is so threatening.

  • Lana

    Excellent post. Have you read the book “The Gate to Women’s Country”? It deals heavily with exactly the themes you discuss in your post. One of the most interesting books I have ever read.

  • Atticus Franklin

    I just wanted to drop a line to say thank you…

    “I guess I’m a man-hater, writing a title like that, using my keypad to fire a shot across the bow of an entire gender.”

    There is no need to “fire a shot across the bow” and certainly no need to self-sensor. I actually find this article, and the comments posted so far, quite refreshing.

    It is clear that there are multiple streams of feminist thought that have long considered half the population as defective, with all bad acts ascribed to masculinity (internalized misogyny if the actor is female) As far as the “Man-hater” thing, we’re used to the hatred at this point, and the women that question the actions of feminists are used to it as well. Quite frankly, I appreciate the honesty of this post and I salute you for being willing to put aside the spin of many other feminists and speak your mind.

    This may sound trivial, but I also want to thank you for including all males (and trans folks in the comments) Lately, I have seen certain feminists trying blame only straight white males and I was a little bit worried that we would be left “holding the bag,” as it were, but I am happy to see that the whole gender is now back in the same boat. At least now we can commiserate in the condemnation of our gender by the feminist intelligentsia together.

    I hope that you have a wonderful, safe, and happy rest of your weekend!!

    P.S.

    I loved the Plutarch quote, here is a favorite of mine

    “The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil.”
    -Plutarch

    • You seem not to be able to pick up on sarcasm. Re-read my first paragraph. It is pure snark, because the fact is that if I write a feminist article, I am automatically labeled a man hater. I am not being “honest” about being a man-hater, I am being SARCASTIC. And I am sarcastic because people like you are so frustrating.

  • DefenderofThemyscira

    To those people who are saying that male violence is a part of nature, you are being gender essentialist. If male violence was natural we would have no reason to be feminists and the years of campaigning and fighting for our rights and fighting aggression against women would not work. But it has worked, which tells me that this stuff isn’t natural. If it was natural then we would all be masochists who would not cry and struggle and fight back when being raped or beaten or assaulted. We are not masochists. Stop assuming that we want this violence because our very reaction to it tells us that we don’t wave it. Our ‘no’ means something. And people are forgetting the simple fact that perpetrating violence against a class of people is a part of seeing them as inferior and is a tool used to maintaining their second class status. Also violence is not completely a male thing. As a militant feminist you bet I will beat a fucker if I see him smacking or raping a woman. You bet if a friend of mine told me she got raped by someone I would track said rapist and teach him a lesson. I feel like the mainstream idea of non violence hurts feminism more than it benefits it. Like no I actually want to hurt violent men. But I will not be violent towards someone who doesn’t deserve it or on the grounds of their race or whatever they are.

    • Mar Iguana

      militant feminist = oxymoron

    • Deist99

      I don’t think anyone has said that it is all biological. There is a environment/cultural component to it. However, if you look across all cultures through history men overwhelming commit most of the violent acts. That suggest their is a strong biological component.

      I would guess if you had a culture that raised men and women the same and then were able to collect data on aggression that the bell curve for females would maybe overlap the bottom half of the bell curve for men. In the U.S. I would expect that the the female bell curve would overlap the bottom third of the male.

      Now there are also going to be outliers, (such as the ufc fighter Rhonda Rousey though I suspect she may be taking steroids) but these exceptions are not the rule.

      Since aggression is not all biological we as a soceity are able to decrease violence. Over the past few decades in the U.S. all violent crime has dropped since the 80s. This includes murder, rape, assault etc.

      However I would hypothesis that there will be some percentage of men, of all races, whose aggression knob is turned up very high due to their biology that no amount of culture will help them. That is one of the explanations on why crime rates have dropped so much since the 80s, three strike laws. These laws mandate a harsh sentence for a third offense and it is thought that it takes the hard core group of criminals off the streets for good.

      • DefenderofThemyscira

        Um I don’t think that Ronda Rousey is taking steroids. Why is it so hard to believe that strong ambitious women exist in this world? And stop trying to say that men can’t help whatever they do to women. They can but they choose not to or it’s the only thing they’ve been taught about how to treat women. I don’t know why people just love to make excuses for men. There is no excuse, no justification for male violence. NOTHING. ZILCH. NADA. And fuck men if they say they can’t help it. If you can’t control yourself then what the fuck are y’all doing in positions of power?

        • lizor

          “If you can’t control yourself then what the fuck are y’all doing in positions of power?”

          Yes exactly.

          The “we can’t help it b/c biology/science and stuff…” intrinsically states: “Don’t blame us – we’re incompetent by nature!”

          It’s clean logic to conclude that such persons who are unable to control violent impulses are not capable of holding responsible social positions. If it is accepted that men are, by nature, unable to control themselves, then the only socially responsible action is to remove them immediately from all positions of authority (and implement measures to control or alter their destructive behaviour).

          • DefenderofThemyscira

            Those in power will always try to justify why they have the upper hand, even when their arguments venture into rubbish territory. They tried to justify why people of colour, particularly black people are in a slave position and tried to argue that white supremacy is the natural order of things. Similarly men have always tried to justify patriarchy and tried to call it the natural order when in reality that’s not how things fucking work, even in animal species that kill to eat.

      • I know I’m late to the party, but in searching the internet for “men are a problem,” this is one of the first links that comes up. And it’s a good one! Male violence is indeed the most obvious, most undiscussed global health issue we face.

        I think Deist may have been unfairly shouted down here, though. Quite a lot of research points to testosterone as a direct correlative with violent behavior. The more testosterone a man has, the more violent tendencies he displays, and vice versa, in a sort of self-perpetuating loop of violence reinforcing itself. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693622/)

        Saying that “men have no control over this” is a total cop-out, though; with this, I agree. For one thing, we have all those men running around with all that testosterone who nevertheless manage to not rape people or beat them up; there must be a certain measure of self-control available to be cultivated, and that self-control should be taught to men from preschool on up. In my opinion, rape convictions should carry some of the most serious sentences we have available, short of murder.

        But it’s hard to deny the fact that testosterone has a role in encouraging violence. What if we really do, as a global society, want to reduce the total amount of testosterone in play? Some thinkers are beginning to believe that our species is trying to rid itself of excess testosterone via the usual Darwinian mechanisms, perhaps as a last-ditch bid for survival; we’ve outgrown the need for the violent behavior that we once needed for hunting and protection, and now our species is stuck with this stupid ancient mechanism that does nothing but create problems. The declining serum testosterone levels in almost all global societies can be seen in the light of evolution as a good thing for our species (http://www.globalresearch.ca/health-and-the-environment-testosterone-levels-fall-worldwide/30129) Another clue is the fact that excess testosterone often results in removing the individual who has it from the gene pool, either by one-on-one male violence, or larger scale conflicts in which the most testosterone-heavy segment of the make population goes off to die en masse.

        But, we humans are stubborn. We artificially prop up this outdated mechanism and call it “machismo” and drape it with the aura of sexy conquest. When you take a look at all the areas of modern life that exist almost solely for the protection of that endangered species, high testosterone, it’s pretty alarming. For people concerned about violence, those societal systems that protect (and even enshrine!) unnecessary testosterone production become obvious targets for questioning and dismantling.

        But even on a personal level, there are countless ways to reduce testosterone, or at least not to increase it. For men who are concerned about their own violent tendencies, they can, most obviously, not take testosterone supplements. They can also decline to engage in those activities that result in testosterone rushes and feedback loops such as aggressive sports and conquest-driven sex. They can actively seek out activities and philosophies like the Ethics of Care, mentioned several times above. And etc..In fact, a lot of these activities overlap entirely with things men can do even if they don’t care one bit about testosterone.

        BUT. Getting even a small fraction of the population to buy the fact that excessive testosterone is bad? I have absolutely no clue how one would even start. I know exactly how the above few paragraphs sound to many die-hard (oh, the irony) testosterone addicts, and I guess I understand the pushback; it’s an entire way of life being called out here, things that many people are personally proud of. If you’re a man raised to believe in all the manly things that make up a good life, a life that would make your father proud, it’s really hard to listen to people who are basically saying, “You’ve just wasted your entire existence on a pointless lie. Oh, and your dad too.” I can get how that’s…angering. I disagree strongly, but I get it.

        If we’re ever going to get anywhere, we have to start talking about it. Thanks to all of you for the article and the awesome comments!

  • Matt

    There are hundreds of organisations decrying violence by men, men are the biggest victims of violence by men. People just don’t feel the need to separate it from violence by women because the issue is violence not gender. It doesn’t get called out because it’s so blindingly obvious that men commit more violence. What is hard to know is if men are naturally that way or socially conditioned into it. A bit of both I expect.

    You don’t give much rationalisation or criteria for making it the worst problem in the world but I’d still place 3rd world poverty ahead of it.

    • RealityCheckingOut

      Now now.. don’t speak rational truth with this lot, they can’t relate.

      Well said Matt

      • atheist

        Where is truth in what matt said? All I read in him, as well as you, is denial. You men are denial kings.
        Patriarchy? It doesn’t exist!
        Male Violence? Non-existent also!
        Rape Culture? Not true!
        Sexism? Nah, no such thing as that!
        This is how men deny things to retain the status quo that mainly benefits them.

    • amongster

      Do you think poverty has nothing to do with imperialism? And do you think imperialism has nothing to do with war and therefore male violence? Think again.

    • Mar Iguana

      Misogyny causes 3rd world poverty.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Also, poverty ensures there are women available for prostitution/trafficking. Capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, and colonialism are interconnected.

    • Priscila

      1- Violence against men is not gendered. Violence against women is. Read the article again.

      2- Male violence is also at the roots of the poverty in what you call “third world”. Who invented wars and colonialism, again?

      Sincerely,
      a woman from the “third world”.

  • Just came upon this.http://www.gannett-cdn.com/GDContent/mass-killings/index.html#title 96% of mass shooters are male. Can you imagine if 96% of mass shooters had red hair? Were black? Were Jewish? Were from California? Were the middle child? ANYTHING! We’d be ALL OVER IT. But when the common denominator is that they are male, nothing.

    • Ann

      If 96% of women were mass shooters we would never hear the end of it.

      • Ann

        I mean if 96% of mass shooters were women.

        • Exactly! That would stick out like a sore thumb! “Why are they all WOMEN??!!”” “What can be done about the women??!!”

    • Deist99

      I don’t think this is some conspiracy to hide the fact that men commit most of the violent crime. It is just a fact that most people say no duh to. Sorta like fire burns you or that you can drown in water.

      There are many programs to help men cope with their violent tendencies such as anger management classes. As I stated in a previous post I don’t think we will get rid of violence completely without genetic engineering. Though all violent crime in the U.S (murder, rape, assault) has been dropping over the last few decades.

      There are many hypothesis on why that is (three strike laws, changes in the environment, etc.) I think more research should be done to determine why crime rates have dropped so we can use that knowledge to further decrease violent crime.

      • marv

        That is like saying capitalists and labourers are born not made.

        The majority of rapes and assaults by men aren’t reported. If reported ones are decreasing it could be because more women believe it is futile to bother, or other motives. If the decline in aggression is real then it is evidence men can change through penalties, education and rehabilitation. If biology was so powerful men would be irreformable.

        There are many men who are not violent. Does that mean there is something abnormal with their genetics?

      • Rich

        “I don’t think this is some conspiracy to hide the fact that men commit most of the violent crime. It is just a fact that most people say no duh to.”

        Exactly. I don’t see why any man would be offended by the statement that men commit most of the interpersonal violence in the world. It is clearly factual.

  • Lori, thank you for such a thought provoking and honest perspective. I believe it’s the first time I have ever read a feminist article that doesn’t seem to be either morally confused but dogmatically judgmental all the same, or too easy to dismiss on terms of inconsistency or bias, making it that much harder to give valid claims the consideration they probably deserve. I also find it refreshing that you are prepared to point out something that seems so self evident yet unfortunately for many so difficult to register and process like any other piece of information. I appreciate the analogy with baldness particularly for this reason and in thinking about where perhaps it fails there’s more to be learned. I often find that when trying to approach things that seem to be the central issue of a debate there is simply silence. I genuinely don’t know whether this is because I am insane, others are unable to recognize that it is the issue that they must first acknowledge before moving on to the specific manifestations that they are wasting energy on, or that they simply find the cognitive dissonance too excruciating to endure. The important thing for me is as you suggest perseverance.

    There are many issues that come to mind and need consideration; however although you wisely state your reluctance to be drawn into a statistical war, to really make any progress from the point to which you bring us, I feel it is necessary to be clear what exactly is being discussed. Below are some things that I think should be settled before we can get any further in understanding the causes of violence or the best ways to manage its implications:

    What is violence?

    Are we concentrating on the narrower definitions which require it to be the use of physical force against another human with the aim of causing injury or death?

    Are we including psychological violence with the aim of causing suffering or mental illness or self harm? If so is non-physical bullying of the type prevalent among young girls violence?

    Of the roughly 1.25m deaths attributed to violence annually, over half are suicide. Is reflexive violence which in the case of male suicide rates is higher and clearly not targeted at women or anyone else to be included or should we only be considering acts which violate another? There is of course the matter of self harm to consider which I believe is more common among females in western cultures.

    Are we talking about consensual violence? This could be sport as in boxing, or in consensual bdsm in all its forms. This would take both the intentionality of the act and the will of the one against whom it was being committed into account. Can this be violence when the will is not violated, the intention is not to harm and the recipient derives pleasure?

    What about ritualized violence as is common in many cultures? Coming of age ritual suffering undergone by young males for instance? What of female genital mutilation usually carried out by females but sometimes attributed somewhat tenuously to the patriarchal sexual repressiveness of the culture? Do we include circumcision? If non physical abuse that causes psychological damage is to be included does it matter if it is “brainwashing” or exploitation that may take place within an extreme religious cult or a more mainstream religion but arguably just as damaging to the victims future ability to form healthy relationships or develop an acceptance of their own sexuality for example?

    To what extent is violence determined by the direct agent or the more remote? Is the hangman violent or is this state violence? Are the members of a firing squad committing a more violent act than the one who switches on the electric chair?

    Are we only defining violence as that which we condemn? Is violence honorable in any situation? If an onlooker commits a violent act against a rapist in order to liberate their victim is this violence? If we do nothing when we could have, are we committing a violent act against the victim by our complicity or cowardice? What about if we derive a voyeuristic pleasure of some sort? Is that more offensive than someone who is merely too cowardly or unmoved? To what extent is our condemnation motivated by our revulsion of the moral depravity of the perpetrator, or our desire to minimize the harm done to the victim? What of retributive violence committed against someone who murdered your child but at the time of the act poses no threat to you or anyone else?

    Should we ever include violence toward animals? Some legal systems consider property damage to be violent. Is it violence if we destroy infrastructure so that people can not get medical treatment? Is it violence to throw a brick through a shop window and does it depend whether we knew that there was someone inside?

    I understand your article never intended to provide answers to any of these questions so don’t interpret this as a criticism of omission. I am just trying to get a little closer to what might be called truth or a common ground so that people might not need to accuse one another of holding morally unacceptable views when the issue is that they are starting out with profoundly different assumptions.

  • DefenderofThemyscira

    For far too long women have been cut off from their inner warrior. It’s a part of creating docile reproductive machines that can be easily controlled with violence that men perpetrate. Ask yourself, would you not feel burning anger if your daughter came up to you and said she was raped? You would want to kill the rapist. And if you do it, it’s a public service not murder. Some people do not deserve to live at all. Would you accuse the Gulab Gang of India for emulating male violence, when in reality they are doing a public service by beating abusive husbands and rapists? We have got to stop being soft towards men who do this shit. At some point you have to put down the pen and take up the sword. Men who rape may never learn and us killing them is us cleaning the world.

    • Meliora Bachelor

      I resonate with your comment SO much! We need more womyn on this world to think like you, awaken the warrior within, and put the vile male gender in it’s place once and for all.

  • sarahexpress

    Great piece! So many golden points in this. This is stuff everyone needs to understand. So impatient for progress to happen and people to realise they can be part of it…

  • Yavenay Sanchez

    I have been saying this for the longest time. I watched an episode of the outerlimits where all the men had died. Two were had been place in a cryogenic chamber. With all of the men gone, there was abolutely no violence. Within a week of waking one of the men, the first murder had been committed. They quickly put his ass back to sleep. Violence against women, children and animals are on the rise with much of it being committed by men.

  • 1Hattori

    I think a way to solve this problem is just to segregate us from each other. Men and women do not need to live with each other. This whole topic and the comments show that there is no point in discussing it. The traits of men which in the end have put us on the top (or outside) of the foodchain, and enabled civilization, are no longer required by women. Women could have their own society where they live independently and where violence should be a rather minor issue. Reproduction would be in some way compromised, but since there many other societies outside our western one, it is not fatal for humanity if we over the course of time disappear. Of course we men would still be stuck with our problems, but at least women would not have to deal with them. This might be a drastic solution, but lets face it, it is the only one that will work long-term. We just do not get along (as groups, not individuals).

    • Jim Kirby

      Not reality. No way will men and women form seperate societies to solve the issue

      • COlleen Massey

        Men and women may not form separate societies however many women like myself have chosen to live without a man, and raise children even at many times in my life without a man because I wanted to separate myself and my household from that ridiculous violence that a man always would bring into my house and into my life and my children’s lives and I was not having it. It would make me feel bad. The men would also be violent around me and the children towards us and taking his anger out on us because of course if that’s all you watch and listen to all the time that’s what is going to be produced out of you. I found I had much more peace and feelings of self-worth also I felt like I had more control over what I could teach my children in a positive light without a man being around to constantly tell me what to do bring me down and expose us to the constant violence that he listens to music or watches on the television, that would cause me so much Strife inside and give me feelings of helplessness and despair.

  • Jim Kirby

    As a man who clearly sees the violence perpetrated by men I applaud this article. I hope the author over estimates her view of men not owning up to this but I think she’s spot on!
    How do we open dialogue on this? Don’t we have too, to solve the problem?

  • atheist

    Yes, for thousands of years women have been taught to be soft, very forgiving and very tolerant what do women get from that? More violence from men, up until this day and age and it is getting worse because majority of women are still passive and tolerant of men’s violence against them. Anyone who men finds not violent, not aggressive and tend to not fight back, they will abuse.

    • COlleen Massey

      I agree it is all over the media and also this mindset also perpetuates the acceptance of extreme sexuality in the media because violence and sexuality usually go hand-in-hand in most of the shows and it also causes them to be more aggressive and lustful which creates other domestic problems. I believe that is a major reason why the divorce rate is so high at this point in time it is the highest in history ( over 50%.)

  • atheist

    You are talking about a very minority of men like it affects the lives of women. If these minority of men are really doing the change, women’s lives will not be in danger anymore.

  • atheist

    We are not saying that violence will be zero, we are saying it will absolutely and greatly lessen without men. Because if you notice, these violent women are influenced by men themselves.

  • atheist

    It is time for you men, violent or non-violent, to hear the truth. We don’t care if this offends you, it is our lives that are at risk. You, demanding women to prioritize your feelings that could get hurt by women telling the truth over our lived experiences, speaks volumes of you and the likes of you.

  • COlleen Massey

    Thank you for your comment this gives me hope truly

  • Just Passing Through

    Thanx. 🙂 yeah definitely just passing through this crazy world… a bit noncommittal I guess, but oh wells.

  • Just Passing Through

    Yep, sure have!

  • afelinefan

    When the theater shooting happened – before we knew the perp – I commented on Facebook, “Well ONE thing we know: It’s a MAN!” OH! The vitriol I got – nevermind that 98% of mass shooters are men.