Equality means equality for everyone.
In my original writing on the subject of suicide in “’Debunking MRAs’ Debunked”, I was being mathematically lazy. Someone at the subreddit “feMRA debates” challenged me on where I got my numbers from. They didn’t agree with how I used an example of 100 male suicides compared to 35 women attempting suicide 3 times. They felt this was also a poor example as it actually meant 100 attempts on both sides. To be honest, I just compared the idea of 100 single completed suicides to 100 incomplete attempts, divided by 3, because it was easier to make reflective percentages. Due to this criticism, I chose to explore the numbers more accurately.
The statement is often framed poorly, such as “women attempt it three times as often”, which does not mean that women who attempt suicide do so three times as often individually, it means 3 times as many women attempt suicide as men. Of course, there are those who attempt suicide multiple times, which inflates their numbers. That is why I originally chose to tackle the numbers from a perspective of women attempting it 3 times, which is inaccurate. Using more lazy math, it probably would have been more accurate to have asked which is more important, 100 male deaths by suicide, or 300 females who have attempted suicide and still alive to seek help for what pushed them to their attempt? Instead, let’s look at the actual numbers that Owen Lloyd had.
According to the source given by “debunking MRAs”, in the U.S., there were 38,364 reported deaths by suicide in 2010, which is approximately one death by suicide every 14 minutes. 78.9% (30,269) of these were male. 21.1% (8,094) were female.
However, the argument that my calculations resulted in an equal number of attempts for both sexes is incorrect. Completed suicides are not counted in the attempts. The source says there is no complete count of attempted suicides, and that they arrive at their numbers by utilizing hospital reports of “non-fatal injuries resulting from self-harm behavior” collected by the CDC:
“In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, 464,995 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior, suggesting that approximately 12 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide. Together, those harming themselves made an estimated total of more than 650,000 hospital visits related to injuries sustained in one or more separate incidents of self-harm behavior.”
They admit that there is no way to distinguish genuine suicide attempts from non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) behaviours. I assume the higher number of 650,000 is due to people making repeat visits, although, as mentioned above, “women attempt suicide 3 times as often” does not mean individual women attempt suicide at 3 times the rate of individual men, so we can’t determine the gender ratio of repeated attempts based on the information given. 487,500, 75%, of hospital visits can be attributed to females, while 162,500 visits can be attributed to men.
When framed in this fashion, it is also hard to make a concrete claim that women attempt suicide at three times the rate of men, as they state there is no way to differentiate a suicide attempt from NSSI with this data. The stats on females being admitted to hospitals at 3 times the rate of males for self-harm behaviour makes sense when considering that “one of the most consistent findings in the research literature until the end of the 20th century was that NSSI occurred 1.5 to 3 times more in females compared to males.” Furthermore, holding a gun to your head or putting a rope around your neck is not likely to warrant a hospital visit if you don’t follow through on what I would still perceive as a suicidal attempt. Statistics do not account for these attempts, for men or for women.
By Andy Thomas
In a rather succinct book, Erin Pizzey gave the world a simple message that should have changed our society for the better. I will never forget the breathtaking sense of clarity I felt as I read its very first page. Her book was called “Prone to Violence”, and in it she documents her experience of running the first ever domestic violence refuge, Chiswick Women’s Aid, which she founded in 1971.
What she wrote seemed incredible to me at the time, but today it seems incredible that it wasn’t obvious before that moment. Indeed, I find incredible that it isn’t immediately obvious to everyone. I realise now, of course, that the reason for this is that our cultural narrative blinds us to the truth, and we must cut through this first.
It was my involvement with the men’s human rights movement which caused me to read Erin’s book and to seek her out personally. Later, it became clear that we shared an ability to view society from an outside perspective, and she and I became good friends as a result. If it surprises you that the woman who set up the first shelter for “battered women” should want to associate herself with men’s human rights, then perhaps that’s an indication that you need to question the things you’ve always been told.
In my case, I guess I could say that it was Sharon Osbourne, the celebrity, who caused me to question things with the degree of seriousness required to jolt me out of my oblivious state. I won’t be thanking her for it, however.
A few years ago, I stumbled across a clip of a television show which Sharon Osbourne Co-hosts, “The Talk”. In this clip,
Osbourne ridiculed a man over his horrific mutilation and torture at the hands of his psychotic wife – a woman he had been attempting to divorce. As Osbourne mocked his suffering, her fellow co-hosts, all women, laughed along with the audience, which appeared to be all female.
I felt sick at the spectacle.
I recognized on an emotional level that what I was watching was very wrong — these women were unable to see this man as a human being. History has shown us time and time again that once we stop thinking of a group of people as human, it becomes acceptable for society to target them. It was the apparent acceptability of Osbourne’s behaviour that disturbed me most and, from that moment on, I began to take on new perspectives and new priorities.
Erin initially opened her refuge for battered wives. What she found, however, was that the abusive behaviour she encountered was often mutual between partners, and that men and boys were equally the targets of violence. Her shelter took in boys, and she often enlisted the help of men to look after her women and children, many of whom had never known good decent men. She also tried desperately to open a shelter for abused men but found that while offers of money for women were forthcoming, no one wanted to help adult males.
Most significantly, however, Erin was perhaps the first to truly appreciate how family violence and abuse is generational in nature, rather than gender based. Both men and women can be equally abusive in their personal relationships, and the significant factor in this is their childhood, not their gender. This is what she wrote about in “Prone to Violence”, and its message stood in stark contrast to that of the feminist movement of the 1970’s which viewed men as the ones who were responsible for all violence, and that such behaviour is intrinsic to them. This is the belief among many within feminism as well as those outside of it, likely due to the influence of feminist thought, some 40 years later.
Consequently, upon trying to bring her perspective to a wider audience, Erin found herself subject to a campaign of threats and violence, including bomb threats against her family. Gender ideologues, using intimidation against her publisher, were successful in having “Prone to Violence” removed from the shelves. Eventually, Erin fled the country in 1981 after feminists managed to take control of the very organisation she had founded.
What remains of Chiswick Women’s Aid today is known as Refuge, the UK national charity. Feminist ideology is now mainstream, and whenever we hear about domestic violence in the media, we are always told that it is “gender violence”, or “violence against women and girls”.
This is a tragedy for us all.
Erin Pizzey was the first person to understand the true nature of generational abuse — that whenever you encounter a damaged or destructive adult, you are almost certainly looking at a battered or emotionally abused child who has simply grown up. In the UK, we express anguish over Baby Peter whose mother, along with her boyfriend, tortured him to death. However, had Peter survived and played out his own childhood trauma in adulthood, society would have a viewed him as a monster — seeing only his abusive behavior as beginning and ending with him. In reality, abuse rarely begins or ends with one person, or with one generation.
This is not about “bad men” or “bad women”; it is about how we treat children. Each generation replays their learned pattern of behaviour to their own children, and the cycle continues. Erin’s work was prevented from ever reaching the full light of day, however, and she often recounts a remark a prison governor once made to her. “Every abused child is a point on my pension,” she was told.
Once you grasp the true nature of generational abuse, you are only a step away from realizing that if we could ever start to eradicate generational abuse effectively, we could transform the lives of future generations of children. What’s more, we would also empty the prisons in the process.
We cannot allow Erin’s legacy to remain buried.
Abuse within families and between intimate partners has always been with us. I can trace abusive behaviour within my own family back to my great grandmother. I suspect that it doesn’t stop there, that it would go back centuries — an echo from times when life was hard, short, and cheap.
The lesson that Erin Pizzey gave the world in “Prone to Violence” is that things do not have to continue like this — if we could stop the echo of abuse from reverberating forward into future generations, we could transform human society forever.
Andy Thomas (aka “Andy Man”) is a campaigner against family violence and gender ideology. He often writes about the harm and prejudice that men and boys routinely experience, but which society refuses to acknowledge.
He is also a tattooed biker with a degree in Physics and a love of old black and white movies. His favourite movies include Now Voyager, Ninotchka, and Something Wild. He loves all things Marlene, and quite likes Siouxsie and the Banshees as well. His personal blog can be found here.
Introducing Toronto’s first Men’s Issue Meetup Group:
Ever wonder why:
* Men are one-third more likely to develop prostate cancer than women are to develop breast cancer, yet 50% more funding goes to women’s health over men’s
* Men and women commit domestic abuse against each other at roughly equal rates (for every level of severity), yet there is 1 men’s shelter in all of Canada
* Men now account for under 60% of undergraduate enrollment while boys are performing significantly worse then girls in grade school, yet affirmative action programs continue to “empower women and girls”
EqualismActivism presents a meetup group for exploring gender issues involving parental and custody rights, violence, education, health, safety & security, poverty, safety and security in the workplace, and media discrimination, from a male perspective. Other topics will be explored at the pleasure of the members.
We will hold monthly gatherings. Join and/or RSVP