Men's & fathers' rights

28 May 2010

Myth:

  Women routinely make up allegations of domestic violence and rape, including to gain advantage in family law cases. And women use protection orders to remove men from their homes or deny contact with children.

Facts:

  • The risk of domestic violence increases at the time of separation.
  • Most allegations of domestic violence in the context of family law proceedings are made in good faith and with support and evidence for their claims.
  • Rates of false accusations of rape are very low.
  • Women living with domestic violence often do not take out protection orders and do so only as a last resort.
  • Protection orders provide an effective means of reducing women’s vulnerability to violence.
05 Feb 2010

Feminism’s achievements regarding violence against women are a key target for the fathers’ rights movement. This article provides an overview of the impact of the fathers’ rights movement on men’s violence against women. It documents the ways in which fathers’ rights groups in Australia have influenced changes in family law, which privilege parental contact over safety, particularly through moves toward a presumption of children’s joint residence. They have attempted to discredit female victims of violence, to wind back the legal protections available to victims and the sanctions imposed on perpetrators, and to undermine services for the victims of men’s violence.

08 Sep 2009

Twenty years ago I joined my first anti-sexist men’s group. I’ve had a passionate commitment to profeminism ever since, nurtured through men’s anti-violence activism, Women’s and Gender Studies, editing a profeminist magazine, and now pursuing a career in feminist scholarship. Men’s violence against women is an obvious area for anti-sexist men’s activism, as it’s one of the bluntest and most brutal forms of gender inequality. I’ve organised campaigns in groups like Men Against Sexual Assault, run workshops in schools, helped run a national White Ribbon Campaign, designed violence prevention programs for athletes and others, and done research and writing on violence against women. But I’ve also been forced to critique and confront anti-feminist men in ‘men’s rights’ and ‘fathers’ rights’ groups. Their efforts are having a growing influence on community understandings of, and policy responses to, gender issues.

06 Aug 2009

By Ben Atherton-Zeman, with Lorien Castelle and Casey Keene

August, 2007

I was thrilled to perform my one-man play, “Voices of Men” for the San Diego Men’s Leadership Forum.  I flew to San Diego and was driven to the auditorium where the event was to take place – my hosts told me there would be over 300 men in attendance, many of them from the nearby military base.  All the men had committed themselves to taking the initiative to stop men’s violence against women.

As my host drove us up to the event, it became clear we were not the only group of men there.  I was greeted by signs saying “Man-Hating Conference Here,” “Domestic Violence Law is a Feminist Scam,” and “Save Our Troops from Feminist Man-Hating.” 

11 Jul 2009

The following is a compilation of examples of bomb threats, other forms of abuse or harassment, actual bombings, and other criminal behaviour (such as planned kidnapping) committed largely in the UK but also in Australia, by fathers’ right activists. It also includes some cases where fathers’ rights activists have convictions for domestic violence, although it concentrates on the use of bomb threats and other forms of public violence. These news reports demonstrate that fathers’ rights groups have used tactics of intimidation and violence, such incidents are well documented, they are being used now rather than only in the past, and at times they have resulted in injuries or deaths.

20 May 2009

March 2005

Myth: Women routinely make false accusations of child abuse or domestic violence to gain advantage in family law proceedings and to arbitrarily deny their ex-partners’ access to the children.

Facts: Allegations of child abuse are rare. False allegations are rare; False allegations are made by fathers and mothers at equal rates; The child abuse often takes place in families where there is also domestic violence; Allegations of child abuse rarely result in the denial of parental contact.

20 May 2009

August 2005

Fathers’ rights groups have attempted to: Wind back the legal protections available to victims of violence; Wind back the legal sanctions imposed on perpetrators of violence.

While fathers’ rights groups often claim to speak on behalf of male victims of domestic violence, these efforts undermine the policies and services that would protect and gain justice for these same men.

Fathers’ rights advocates also: Make excuses for perpetrators; Act as direct advocates for perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of violence against women; Use abusive strategies themselves; Work to undermine and harass the services and institutions that work with the victims and survivors of violence.

20 May 2009

The fathers’ rights movement is defined by the claim that fathers are deprived of their ‘rights’ and subjected to systematic discrimination as men and fathers, in a system biased towards women and dominated by feminists. Michael Flood provides a critical assessment of the impact of fathers' rights groups on family law and their claims regarding violence.

13 May 2009

Men have responded in complex and contradictory ways to the profound changes of the last three decades, changes set in motion by the women’s movements, changes in family organisation, economic and social shifts and other forces. Small numbers of men have responded by mobilising in support of feminist goals, changing their own behaviour and working with women to shift gender relations in progressive directions. Yet other men have mobilised in opposition to feminism and the changes in gender with which it is associated, forming “men’s rights” and “fathers’ rights” groups. An organised backlash to feminism is now visible among men in Australia, as in most other Western capitalist countries.

13 May 2009
We have reached a pivotal moment in terms of fathers’ roles in families and communities. There is, at present, a significant opportunity for fathers to develop stronger, more intimate bonds with their children and to enhance their roles within their families. Indeed a growing number of fathers are embracing this situation. But the opportunity is in danger of being lost. The unhelpful agendas of some participants in fatherhood debates, and continuing economic and cultural obstacles to paternal involvement in child-rearing, threaten to limit men’s positive involvement in parenting.