The self-described ‘Men’s Human Rights Activists” at A Voice for Men have shown time and time again that they have approximately zero interest in actually promoting human rights, but would rather devote their time (and the more than $100,000 the site collects in donations annually) to attacking feminists and women in general.
The latest bit of evidence? The “meme” above, designed not to actually raise awareness of child abandonment but as a sort of “gotcha” aimed at one of their favorite targets, the “Don’t Be That Guy” anti-rape campaign that has been credited with significantly bringing down the incidence of rape in at least one major Canadian city.
AVFM’s Paul Elam introduces the “meme” with this little bit of vitriol:
For those unfortunates who did not get the memo that the Don’t be That Guy meme campaign was offensive because it painted all men as potential rapists, then perhaps this meme will drive that point home. Remember, Don’t be That Hypocrite.
If we pretend for a moment that AVFM’s meme is intended to address a real social problem — child abandonment — do Elam’s claims of hypocrisy make any sense?
Rape is widespread; roughly 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Men (outside of jail) also face the risk of rape, mostly from other men, though the numbers are much lower; the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign addressed that issue as well. (Incarcerated men — and women — face a much higher risk of rape, at least in the United States, where prison rape is treated as a joke; LGBT prisoners are disproportionately targeted.) Most rape victims know their attackers, making the “date rape” focus of the awareness campaign doubly appropriate. RAINN reports that there are more than 200,000 victims of sexual assault in the US every year.
While the number of rapes is obviously higher than the number of rapists, there’s still a tremendous number of rapists in the general population — and a lot of people who witness rapey behavior, and who might be inspired by the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign to step up and step in to stop it.
Child abandonment, while horrific, is not widespread. While solid data on the actual number of babies abandoned is scanty, the numbers reported tend to be in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands, per year. One 2011 story in the New York Times, for example, noted that 63 babies were abandoned illegally in Illinois over the previous ten years. One article I found on the Columbia Journalism School website cited “an unpublished 1999 report by the Department of Health and Human Services [that] found that 108 infants were abandoned in 1998 out of 4 million births.”
In any case, anyone who was truly interested in reducing the numbers of babies illegally abandoned, quite possibly leading to their deaths, would have provided information about “safe haven” laws (which exist in all 50 states in the US) that allow parents to legally give up their babies while ensuring that they will be cared for.
Rape is a crime of entitlement; child abandonment is a crime of desperation. Providing young mothers who are feeling overwhelmed to the point of panic about an alternative to dumping their baby illegally seems a somewhat more sensible approach than shaming them. AVFM’s meme graphic of course provides no such information.
That’s no surprise. As Elam’s intro makes clear, he and his fellow “Human Rights Activists” don’t actually give a shit about abandoned babies. The comments about this new meme are, well, instructive in this regard. For most of the commenters, it seems, this dead baby joke of a graphic is a most hilarious form of human rights activism.
Some selections from the comments:
And apparently only the thought of me “twisting” their words kept some of them from making even more blatant dead baby jokes.
Truly the most important Human Rights Movement of the 21st Century.