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Domestic violence expert Lundy Bancroft: Men’s Rights philosophies make angry and controlling men even worse.

Or any other time, either, I’m guessing,

Lundy Bancroft is an expert on abusive relationships and the author of Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds Of Angry and Controlling Men, a book I’ve found very helpful not only in understanding abusers but also in understanding the behavior and “activism” of Men’s Rights Activists.

In a recent post on his blog, he warns about the ways in which “Men’s Rights” ideologies can justify, and made worse, abusive behavior from men who are already abusive, or who have abusive tendencies.

In the post, entitled “The Abuser Crusade,” he writes

When a man has some unhealthy relationship patterns to begin with, the last thing he needs is to discover philosophies that actually back up the destructive aspects of how he thinks. Take a guy who is somewhat selfish and disrespectful to begin with, then add in a big dose of really negative influences, and you have a recipe for disaster. And the sad reality is that there are websites, books, and even organizations out there that encourage men to be at their worst rather than at their best when it comes to relating to women.

It’s not surprising that a philosophy rooted in male entitlement would appeal to men who already feel pretty entitled – and often quite bitter that the women in their lives, not to mention the world at large, doesn’t seem to regard them as quite so deserving of adulation as they think they are.

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to think it was unfair to label the Men’s Rights Movement “the abusers’ lobby,” as many domestic violence experts have done, because I felt that the movement did raise some issues that MRAs at least seem to sincerely believe reflect discrimination against men. But the more experience I’ve had with MRAs, the more I’ve begun to see the Men’s Rights Movement not only as an “abusers’ lobby” but as an abusers’ support group, and an abusive force in its own right, promoting forms of “activism” that are little more than semi-organized stalking and harassment of individual women.

It’s not that every MRA is literally a domestic abuser, though I wouldn’t be shocked to find domestic abusers seriously overrepresented in the Men’s Rights ranks; it’s that the Men’s Rights movement promotes abusive ways of thinking and behaving.

In case anyone had any doubt about which groups Bancroft is talking about, he gets specific:

Some of these groups come under the heading of what is known as “Men’s Rights” or “Father’s Rights” groups. Their writings spread the message that women are trying to control or humiliate men, or are mostly focused on taking men’s money. They also tend to promote the idea that women who want to keep primary custody of their children after divorce are evil. The irony is that we live in a country that has refused to pass an amendment to the constitution to guarantee equal rights for women; yet some men are still out there claiming that women have too many rights and that men don’t have enough.

Bancroft also warns about groups preaching a return to patriarchal values:

Other groups don’t use the language of “rights”, but promote abusive thinking by talking about the “natural” roles of men and women. These groups teach, for example, that men are biologically programmed to be the ones making the key decisions, and that women are just naturally the followers of men’s leadership. These philosophies sometimes teach that men and women are just too different to have really close relationships.

In the end, Bancroft urges women whose partners are picking up new philosophies that seem to be making their behavior worse rather than better to start researching the subject themselves, and reaching out to other women in the same situation, in order to better understand what their partners are getting into — and defend themselves against it.

I’m curious how many readers here have had personal experience with men who’ve embraced Men’s or Fathers’ Rights philosophies (or any of the varieties of backwards Manosphere philosophies), or who know of women whose partners have.

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8 years ago

RE: Kittehs

I wonder if surviving the moment even came into the thinking of Mr Not Very Scientific Survey Dude? He’s on about being _happy_ by focussing on the moment. They don’t seem related things, to me – using the same tool/method, yes, but not at all the same situation.

I can sooooort of see it? I mean, I’m generally happiest when I’m focusing entirely on what I’m doing, because it means if I’m unhappy doing that thing, I will realize it and work towards doing something else. (Note that this can take years, and maybe never happen, but I’d rather try to do something more enjoyable than just pretend that change is impossible and continue not thinking about what I’m doing.) But then again, I’m a dissociative, so not spacing out is vital for my health and long-term happiness.

RE: katz

Why couldn’t they have tested whether mice remember where to get treats or something?

Freemage is right. In humans, at least, trauma makes permanent changes to the brain that apparently are different from other responses. It’s probable that mice are similar. That said, I too am repulsed by torturing animals.

RE: Howard Bannister and emilygoddess

Eek, I hadn’t even thought of that. I would never, ever want to be circumcised myself, but hubby was as a baby and has told me he’s unbothered by it. If it works for him, I’m not going to complain. (That said, we mutually decided that if we ever have a baby with a dick, we won’t do it unless there are health complications like what y’all mentioned.)

8 years ago

if we ever have a baby with a dick, we won’t do it unless there are health complications like what y’all mentioned


8 years ago

In general I don’t have strong feelings on the circumcision issue, but one thing that I don’t understand is why, in any culture where pretty much everyone is going to have it done, they’d wait until the boys are 10-ish to do it, like they do in say South Korea. That just seems like the worst possible timing – still too young for the recipient to make the decision for themselves, and it’s not like their opinion is being asked, but old enough that they’ll definitely remember it and that it may well overlap with the period during which spontaneous random erections are a thing, which really does not seem like it would be fun if one was recovering from surgery. I’m not saying that I think that routine infant circumcision is a great idea, but surely if you’re going to have it done to most kids anyway and you’re not going to give them a choice then doing it when they are too young to remember is the kinder option.

8 years ago

LBT – I’m thinking of focussing vs mind wandering in banal circumstances, like being at work; that’s not something one has a lot of choice about doing, and I think Mr Survey is silly to conclude that focussing on something like that, something you do all the time just because you need the money, is going to make you happier (general you here, obvs). He seems to be drawing far too general conclusions when people’s characters and circumstances vary so hugely, and that’s just in the everyday situations, not the dreadful ones he seems to have ignored (no surprise in his self-selecting survey).

I just really side-eye stuff like this that comes across as some random person telling me how to be happy.

Survivor of abuse
Survivor of abuse
11 months ago

I have just finished reading his book. And it really put a lot of pieces together regarding domestic abuse. I have currently read at least a dozen books on the subject since I’ve been dealing with domestic violence situation myself for years. And I find his book very helpful. It is honest and gives you the truth about abusers. It gives you prove that most of the time they will not change. I also find some people criticizing him and I am almost certain those are the abusive men themselves who hate to hear the truth about them. People who are not willing to see their own faults and work on them are usually abusive or especially with the personality disorders. His book really gives you a lot of information about all those topics and is honest with you. It does not give you false hope about your partner. It is refreshing to see a man writing this book becauseIt really described my situation really well. It was nice to learn that he worked with abusive men and pretty much understood how they operate. There is one article written by a PhD man who is using weak strawman arguments about his book. He doesn’t even read the book correctly and it’s pretty obvious that he finds this book personally attacking him so he was trying to discredit the author. This abuser wrote the article titled that Lander thinks all men are abusers. That is not true obviously. Only abusers are abusers and clearly abusers themselves will hide the contents of this book. Since they see their fault and I’m not willing to admit them.

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