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Abused women “demand” their abuse: How MRAs make the abusers’ arguments for them

Arrestreport

An Orlando man, Faron Thompson, was recently charged with battery and child neglect after an altercation in which he allegedly tried to force his fiancée to swallow her engagement ring when she tried to leave him. (More details here.)

This sort of abuse is depressingly commonplace when women try to free themselves from abusive and controlling men; indeed, if I posted every news account along these lines on this blog I wouldn’t have time to do anything else.

No, I mention this case because something that Thompson reportedly told police reveals a lot about the mindset of abusers. When they arrested him, police say, Thompson complained that:

Women always claim assault, but never accept responsibility for provoking someone.

That is how abusers think.

It’s also how a lot of MRAs think.

Indeed, when I read Thomson’s reported remarks, the y immediately brought to mind something written not that long ago by Karen Straughan, the YouTube videoblogger who goes by the name of Girl Writes What. Straughan describes herself in her A Voice for Men bio as “the most popular and visible MRA in North America,” and given the rapturous reception her videos get on You Tube and on Reddit, this may not be an idle boast.

In the rather revealing Reddit comment I’m thinking of (which I blogged about earlier), Straughan suggested not only that abused women regularly “demand” the abuse they receive, but that many of them also get some sort of sexual charge from it. Oh, I’m sure she’ll deny that she really meant all that, but I can’t see any other way to read the following.
fmragwwdv1

Oh, and in case you were wondering what article she’s referring to in the last paragraph — the one she says isn’t “seriously ethically questionable” — it’s a post from the repugnant Ferdinand Bardamu arguing that men should “terrorize” their partners because that’s the “the only thing that makes them behave better than chimps.” For more about that charming piece, titled “The Necessity of Domestic Violence,” see my post here.

I’m having less and less of a problem with calling the Men’s Rights movement “the abusers lobby.”

I’m sure there are some MRAs who are as repulsed by Straughan’s argument as I am. If you’re one of them, and want your movement, such as it is, to be remembered as something other than “the abusers lobby,” you need to call out all those MRAs who make such arguments. Might I suggest that you start by challenging the “the most popular and visible MRA in North America,” otherwise known as Girl Writes What?

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A Gill
A Gill
9 years ago

But remember, MRAs never advocate violence!

eline
eline
9 years ago

Hair-raising. That’s a horrifying way of exaggerating “post-argument sex”, which in itself isn’t even a thing for many. I’m actually quite disgusted, because (TMI now) I’m familiar with the feeling, but it has everything to do with reaching an agreement and getting over the argument and thus reaffirming affection, probably combined with the more alert state thanks to adrenaline. Nothing at all to do with violence and the argument itself. Doesn’t happen here if an argument remains unsolved, either. Jesus Christ, to use that as an excuse for violence is just disgusting.

Joanna
9 years ago

Ugh! I was reasonably sure that my housemate’s boyfriend would start a fight with her because he preferred the sex afterward. Jesus, he was an almighty gobshite.

gem
gem
9 years ago

So abused women are responsible for their abuse because they provoked it, and they should take responsibility for that and stop provoking it and stop, I don’t know, existing? I tried that when I was a little girl and saw my mother do the same. Didn’t work for her, didn’t work for me, doesn’t work EVER and is wrong. NO.

*goes back to reading and not commenting, also known as lurking*

blitzgal
9 years ago

The first murder of 2013 in my town is a man who burst through the glass patio door of his estranged wife’s apartment in the middle of the night to shoot her dead, then went back to his home and killed himself. Their divorce was to be final today.

No matter what women do, they are constantly told that they are responsible for the abuse they receive. They chose the wrong man, they instigated it, they stayed with him, they left, etc. It literally does not matter what they do — they will be judged “wrong.” But again and again, another man feels entitled to commit murder because he feels “wronged,” and no one questions that attitude or tries to figure out why he felt entitled to commit that act. The violence itself is viewed as inevitable, and again, we judge the woman’s actions and try to piece out what she did to “cause” it, or to “bring it on herself.”

Bullshit.

cloudiah
9 years ago

gem, sorry you had to go through that.

GWW is an amoral cheerleader for abusers. She exists to make them feel better about the wrong they are doing.

Stacey Westover Martin

GirlWrites WTF is more like it.

I know how those fights go. The silence after the hitting is the victim trying to not get killed. Usually followed by attempt at protecting themselves via submission, while victim thinks how the hell to get outta there forever, and the abuser apologizing. Once the immediate fear is gone, they try to be normal and go for a walk, because no one wants to feel like they are “those people”. If it’s calm long enough, victim thinks “maybe it will be OK this time”. Rinse, repeat, until someone leaves, changes, or dies.

Note to MRAs: if someones yelling at you and stomping, the correct response isn’t to beat them. Please, just leave the situation. Take a walk. You can also leave that person if this happens a lot, or learn to communicate better in the first place. Hitting people is the wrong direction to go with it. It won’t fix anything, it just makes you a violent abusive jerk.

Back to lurking now.

Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte)

I’m a little unclear why, if you were against domestic violence, you’d side with MRAs, honestly. It can’t be because you want to help men get past stifling gender roles, as feminism is there for that. It can’t be because men are oppressed, because that’s stupid. The only thing that really is left is their claim that men are entitled to having the woman of your choice have sex with you and be your wife. And that this entitlement should be enforced with measures such as terminating a man’s legal responsibility to care for his children if he’s not getting sex and housework as “payment” for meeting the basic financial responsibilities of parenthood. That level of entitlement is in and of itself a form of abusiveness, as it presumes that women own men their bodies. Adding domestic violence to the mix isn’t a stretch. In fact, domestic violence is, as this example shows, usually a result of men feeling entitled to control their partner’s bodies.

Shaenon
9 years ago

The first murder of 2013 in my town is a man who burst through the glass patio door of his estranged wife’s apartment in the middle of the night to shoot her dead, then went back to his home and killed himself. Their divorce was to be final today.

According to GWW, that’s the fault of our society and its silly “never EVER shoot a woman” mentality, which forces men to shoot women in anger. If that man had just been allowed to shoot his wife on a regular basis, whenever he felt she was asking for it, he could have learned how to shoot her in non-vital spots, and she could have learned how to take a bullet. Folks, the solution to this tragedy is to more shootings of women, not fewer.

And by tragedy, I of course don’t mean the woman’s death; I mean that the man didn’t get any scorching post-fight sex.

Dani Alexis
Dani Alexis
9 years ago

Women always claim assault, but never accept responsibility for provoking someone.

I remember this. I’ve lost count of the number of DV defendants I’ve heard this from (not always about “women,” always about their victims) during the time I worked in criminal law, on both sides of the aisle.

The victim doesn’t have to “accept responsibility for provoking someone,” because assault is by definition an intentional crime. What the victim says or does up to the moment where you assault her does not ever matter, because it is your fist and you alone are responsible for what it comes into contact with. The victim didn’t hit/slap/punch/grab/scratch/shake him/herself with your hand; you did.

/ rant

Dani Alexis
Dani Alexis
9 years ago

That “her” should be “him or her”; I had a few DV cases where the victim was male and the defendant blamed him for “provoking.”

yutolia
yutolia
9 years ago

Every single time I had a fight with my ex that ended up with him “teaching me a lesson” usually resulted in my mulling over my own behavior and wondering what I could’ve changed about my own behavior so that I wouldn’t have set him off. He would always say something like, “I’m so sorry, but when you [do so and so] it makes me so mad [bla bla bla].” I believed him that it was my fault. It didn’t occur to me until after the relationship that even if I did make him angry, no responsible, sane, mature, non-psychopathic person should have reacted the way he usually did.

It was the same when I had a stalker. My internal dialog for so long even after the whole thing was over always went along the lines of, “Well, maybe I led him on – maybe if I didn’t go out that night [I wouldn’t have run into him] – maybe if I hadn’t lived in that area – maybe if I didn’t wear [whatever I was wearing].

So don’t fucking tell me about not taking responsibility, MRAssholes…

yutolia
yutolia
9 years ago

Sorry about the cursing. Not sure if I need to edit to * stuff out (and I’m not sure how!)

Any way, someone let me know, please?

:o)

Falconer
Falconer
9 years ago

According to GWW, that’s the fault of our society and its silly “never EVER shoot a woman” mentality, which forces men to shoot women in anger.

We’re sorry, Falconer 8 encountered an error and had to restart.

Falconer
Falconer
9 years ago

Cursing’s generally fine around here.

We have victim-blaming and sexist bullshit to confront, harsh language is no problem.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
9 years ago

I’m commenting to add my little voice to support the others who say that abuse isn’t about what the woman does. I’ve had 3 abusive ex’s (2 of whom I got to know and partnered with because close female friends said, they’re really nice guys). I left one when I realised the only reason I was staying was because he hadn’t hurt me hard enough to put me in hospital, and that my thinking there was sick. The second, we split up but not before he raped me twice. The third was one I never lived with but, again, any time we had a relationship issue it was “my fault”. With the last two, I had the joy of waiting the 3 months post relationship to get a HIV test (thankfully, clear each time).

Fuck this shit. Men can push emotional buttons, I’ve had 3 that have done it to me. One was blue-collar, and the other two were highly respected and qualified white collar professionals. “I’ll leave you if you put on weight” is a great one.

Finally, in NZ law, we got rid of the fucking provocation defence. It was used in court to “justify” physical abuse, including murder, typically of women and gay (or suspected gay) men. In one case I heard about, the guy ran over his partner with his car, then reversed over her, then ran over her again. His defence in court was that she had provoked him by making a disparaging comment about the size of his penis.

This case was the final nail for the provocation defence in New Zealand: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/62633/killing-result-provocation-defence Just to be clear about it, he stabbed Sophie >200 times, including enough to cut through a nipple and a huge number of attacks to her face, including to her eye. This was all done with scissors. I have no doubt that he absolutely hated her when he did this, but for fucks sake, this is not what a “reasonable person” would have done if they were in that situation. And that’s where fucking juries got it wrong time after time, because reasonable people don’t commit apocalypse levels of violence when someone says something mean to them.

LBT
LBT
9 years ago

But… that’s not how consensual violence works. I mean, if you DID indeed enjoy beating the crap out of each other, wouldn’t the smart thing be to discuss it and then rig it up so as to avoid scaring or permanently injuring each other? I think if it was that consensual, people wouldn’t be fleeing to shelters, generally.

I realize I’m probably hurtling off in a totally wrong direction here, but I’d actually feel really bad if these people honestly enjoyed hurting each other and yet went about it without ever actually discussing it with each other. That’s just Russian roulette, y’all.

drst
drst
9 years ago

“You made me do it” is such a bullshit argument. It’s so childish. A grown-ass adult makes choices. I snapped at a relative via email last night after some passive aggressive comments. Zie didn’t “make me.” I did it because I was angry and I can’t stand this particular person so I didn’t care about hurting hir feelings.

Nobody makes these horrible people hurt and abuse the people around them. They make a choice to be that way and to not get help.

*hugs* for any of the folks here who’ve been through this, if they’re welcome.

kamilla1960
kamilla1960
9 years ago

I am currently in a dangerous situation with my elder brother, and this article comes at the right time.

josephmax
9 years ago

/un-lurk

Dani: “That “her” should be “him or her”; I had a few DV cases where the victim was male and the defendant blamed him for “provoking.””

This describes the situation I was in some years ago. I’m glad it never escalated to the point of the law being involved, but when the line was crossed into physical violence – comparatively mild as these things go, but still – I made plans to break off the relationship. (Admittedly, I procrastinated but ultimately it was ended.)

And in my experience, the fights very rarely ended up with “make up sex”, scorching or otherwise. It actually took a while before we could get over it and bond again.

However, I never became a whiny-ass baby about my precious manhood and privilege being denied, or went into an open-ended sulk in MRA-land. In fact I took the feminist position and drew the line at physical abuse, period. I refused to play that game, and though it was hard to do, I left. Truly, the woman had anger problems not just with me, but with everything. (Eventually she got the help she needed, but that was years after I left her.)

This is what pisses me off about MRAs. I was in the position that they whine about so much, but I didn’t blame “feminism”. In fact, feminism is what guided me out of it.

Dani: “The victim didn’t hit/slap/punch/grab/scratch/shake him/herself with your hand; you did.”

That got me thinking about hearing Judge Judy yelling at a defendant, “You put your hands on them! It doesn’t matter what they said or did, you can’t put your hands on them. At all!”

/re-lurk

eline
eline
9 years ago

@LBT

In the case of consensual violence, yup, it would require some communication agreeing to it. Or should, legally, to differentiate from non-consensual violence.

I can actually see a relationship based on tension and passion both, but it’s abuse (mutual or not) if it’s not expressly communicated.

The funny thing is, I have no problems accepting that these people described by MRAs and GWW actually exist. There’s probably a handful of women that get off on that kind of thing. But they are the extreme, rare cases and you never, ever base common principles or laws on the extreme examples of anything. Because majority of people do not behave like that. There are people who want other people to eat their genitals. Literally, I mean, not in oral sex sense. Should we treat every case of cannibalism as “consensual” as a result? That’s a bit bizarre example, but you could say exactly the same about murder. Or domestic violence. We don’t base the laws on the extreme lifestyles or preferences. Or the social norms, for that matter. Because most people just do not enjoy having their genitals cooked and eaten, or being beaten senseless by their partners.

But that’s preaching to the choir. Maybe someone who’s sitting on the fence on this reads this and comes to their senses.

Tina
Tina
9 years ago

I am a victim-blamer/rape apologist. Trouble that I’m having while learning new ways to view and think about this issue is that I’m now victim-blaming men. I’m wanting to ask them the same questions/give the same advice/blame them the same way. This is something I do not want to do. It shouldn’t be done to women so it shouldn’t be done to men either. I’m having trouble controlling my temper with the MRM/MRA types who victim-blame and then want attention and sympathy for their own abuse. I want to add men into the new thinking, not replace women with the men as they seem to wish to have done.

chocominties
chocominties
9 years ago

My mom has issues. She’ll suddenly get in this mood where she NEEDS to pick a fight, and nothing pisses her off more than refusing to engage. If you leave she’ll yell and threaten and follow you. If you ignore her she’ll start saying really vile things about you or people you care about.

And yet … my dad has never hit her. Ever. Fucking amazing how that works.

The funny (?) Thing is that when I was a kid my brother would seriously abuse me for no reason. Anything could set him off. And my mom’s reaction was always “You said something to provoke him!” Took years before she realized this wasn’t the case at all …

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

I’m having trouble controlling my temper with the MRM/MRA types who victim-blame and then want attention and sympathy for their own abuse.

I think it’s perfectly acceptable to want bad things to happen to bad people, but those bad things shouldn’t include abuse and/or rape. I personally want the average MRA to get carpal tunnel syndrome so he can’t spew vile online, and for his brain to get anti-Tourette’s (in which he can’t say anything bad at all.) :p

I’ve found that if you find agreeable (to yourself) ways to wish unpleasant consequences on people that helps you stop wishing inappropriate violence on them. Like “I hope you step on Legos every morning of your life” instead of “I hope your girlfriend bites your dick off” — tempting as the latter may be.

LBT
LBT
9 years ago

RE: Tina

I’m a male abuse survivor. Honestly, what’s helped me a lot is realizing that for most instances of ‘man’ or ‘woman,’ replacing it with ‘person’ will work just fine and be equally true.

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