a voice for men actual activism advocacy of violence domestic violence facepalm men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA not-quite-plausible deniability paul elam

The Men's Rights activist behind a fraudulent White Ribbon website accuses the real White Ribbon Australia of fraud

Sydney's White Ribbon Day walk this year
Sydney’s White Ribbon Day walk this year

November 25th is White Ribbon Day in Australia, a day devoted to ending domestic violence against women. This year – the 25th has already drawn to a close in Australia – there were reportedly hundreds of White Ribbon events held across the country, including a massive march in suburban Sydney that drew thousands of participants.

White Ribbon Australia, which describes itself as “Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women” calls on men to “swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.” It helps to coordinate events in schools and workplaces, and has gotten support from police departments across the country as well as from various branches of the nation’s military.

It’s also gotten the attention of the folks at A Voice for Men.

Not that long ago, as you may recall, everyone’s favorite Men’s Rights hate site set up its own phony White Ribbon website in an attempt to push its own noxious views on domestic violence, undermine real White Ribbon organizations worldwide – and to do a bit of fundraising of its own. (AVFM, perhaps fearing legal reprisal, has since taken down the “donate” button it used to have on the site.)

Now AVFM has decided to take White Ribbon Australia on directly, declaring November 25th to be “White Ribbon Fraud Day.” That’s right: the group that just set up a fake White Ribbon website is accusing the real domestic violence awareness group of fraud.

AVFM’s head boy Paul Elam declares in his typically overheated prose that

Profiteers have now industrialized battered women, reducing them to storefront mannequins for the sake of lining their pockets. …

One of the most deplorable examples of that in existence today is the so-called “White Ribbon Campaign.” … Their modus operandi is to paint a false picture of the problem, identifying its sole source as abusive men and its sole victims as helpless women. It is a calculated deception that flies in the face of virtually all known credible research on the issue, but it is a financial windfall because female-only victims and male-only perpetrators have proven to provide the best incentive for inspiring well-meaning people to give money.

Perhaps the worst of the worst in this worldwide consortium of con artists is the White Ribbon Campaign in Australia.

Never mind the actual domestic violence survivors (not mannequins) who show up and speak out at White Ribbon Day events. Never mind that Elam’s notion of “credible research” on the subject of domestic violence is considered by most DV experts as seriously flawed.

And never mind that Elam himself seems to think that the best “solution” to domestic violence perpetrated by women against men is for men

to beat the living shit out of them. I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles.

And then make them clean up the mess.

This isn’t the only time that the truculent Elam has fantasized publicly about beating up women.

So the idea that Elam is some sort of moral authority on the issue of domestic violence is laughable.

But let’s hear him out anyway.

Elam’s “smoking gun” against White Ribbon Australia? That after a cursory examination of the group’s publicly available financial records

we have found no evidence that White Ribbon Australia has ever contributed a solid nickel to a single service for actual victims of domestic violence. That includes female victims.

Well, Paul, that’s probably because THAT’S NOT WHAT WHITE RIBBON AUSTRALIA DOES. There are numerous groups in Australia that do provide direct support to victims of domestic violence; White Ribbon Australia links to many of them on its website.

But, as the group makes plain on its website, it doesn’t provide direct assistance. Instead, it “work[s] to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence against women.”

What does this mean? Well, in addition to White Ribbon Day events (and other events held throughout the year), the group organizes programs in schools and workplaces, recruits and works with corporate partners, and trains Advocates and Amabassadors to speak out against violence against women.

The efforts of White Ribbon Australia and other DV organizations to raise awareness are bearing fruit; indeed, the Australian government earlier this year pledged $100 million to step up the fight against domestic violence.

A Voice for Men, meanwhile, has set up a phony website to undermine these efforts.

I think it’s pretty clear who the real fraud is here.

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7 years ago

that helps, but it still doesn’t quite make sense. people are waking up to the lies, which are different from the white knights? people are not waking up to the white knights? i mean, i agree that lies and white knights are different, and it’s true that i don’t wake up to a white knight, but i don’t know how that helps convey information in this context.

You might wake up to a white night if you happen to be in some sort of magic-induced coma.

7 years ago

Or it’s snowing. I woke up to a white night just a few days ago, when I got up to pee, and looked out at all that frozen crap sifting down on the deck I’d shovelled earlier.

7 years ago

Unimaginative – that reminds me of werewolves in Pratchett’s Discworld. Instead of being humans with lycanthropy, they’re an entirely distinct creature with two different somatic manifestations – one of which is almost indistinguishable from human, the other an enhanced version of wolf.

7 years ago

Belatedly, @Sarity:

Whoops, sorry about that!

Also, is manpurse a synonym for mangina now? That’s about as much sense as I can make of it, anyway.

7 years ago

A little late to the sociopathy discussion, but can I just say how weary I’ve gotten of the whole term? Lately, it seems to me all antisocial behavior is being attributed to sociopathy. No doubt the fascination with villains and antiheroes in fiction has something to do with it, but whatever.

Even if we go with the “sociopath is a handy term for an antisocial person” thing, it still carries the idea that people who act in this manner are incapable of empathy, and are therefore not fully responsible for their actions. They are “born that way.” Whatever your personal definition for the term, sociopathy still carries the social stigma of mental illness, so insisting on using the term as a meaningful descriptor for all antisocial behavior will only muddy the waters and give society a free pass to keep othering those of the privileged groups who act out their entitled, boundary-ignoring power fantasies.

As long as there is a deliberately vague descriptor, such as sociopath, to describe those who carry out acts that are the natural consequences of privilege and a deeply instilled sense of entitlement, society needs not examine the link between privilege and violence. In other words, it’s only handy when you wish to keep ignoring the larger problem in favor of just looking the other way when problems caused by the fucked up value systems of our society blows up in people’s faces.

That a large part of serial killers and mass murderers are part of privileged groups should make society question what our culture is telling our privileged to make them act that way, instead of pretending the actual cause for the behavior lies in non-privilege (such as mental illness). That the victims are often members of non-privileged groups may help explain why there seems to be no actual effort to deal with the problem; Just say that a certain percentage of the population are “born evil” and be done with it.

Phew, end of rant.

7 years ago

Agreed. I’ve seen a lot of people call Bill Cosby a sociopath lately. Maybe he is one, maybe he isn’t. I don’t know. Sociopathy does not explain why he’s been able to get away with his predatory behavior for decades. He gets away with it because of male privilege, our culture’s horrible indifference towards any rape that isn’t a stranger attacking their victim in an alley, and our culture’s celebrity/wealth worship. Our culture makes it easy to abuse women, it doesn’t fully acknowledge that women are individual humans. How can we explain away rape and misogyny with sociopathy? They aren’t outliers. They’re common.

7 years ago

Yeah, Cosby’s ability to get away with this shit isn’t a problem with his personality, but with the people around him who could have put a stop to it and didn’t.

7 years ago

It’s unsettling that “sociopath” seems to be the new, more clinical-sounding “real men don’t rape”. It’s just another No True Scotsman that shifts the blame from a culture that condones and outright rewards rape and abuse to the (often completely imaginary) Chaotic Evil individual, who can be othered very easily by claiming they’re an outlier, a “bad apple”, not the product of the culture around them.

Therefore, calling rapists, abusers and other assholes “sociopaths” only serves to punish those who get caught by othering them, sending the message that it’s not the action that’s wrong, but the ‘getting caught’ part. It’s there to allow the same shit to continue elsewhere.

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