Barry Nolan seemingly wants domestic violence to continue without amelioration.
Or, possibly, he’s simply too stupid to be taken seriously. However, I don’t think that’s the case.
At the start of September 2012, Nolan published an article in Boston Magazine, opening with an item of naked fear mongering.
Angry, radical men’s groups believe males are being victimized by out-of-control judges and politicians. They’re wrong and they’re dangerous and they need to be stopped.
There’s that emotional hot button again, the claim of danger and the cultivation of fear.
Contrasting Mr. Nolan’s idiotic lies, a small detour into another oppositional ideologue’s attack on the MRM is worth revisiting.
“It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit.”  (emphasis mine)
Arthur Goldwag managed dropped this admission in his backpedalling after being pasted by Reason Magazine, Business Insider and the American Spectator for the SPLC’s irresponsible fear-mongering about the MRM of last year.
Barry Nolan’s moronic fantasy that men are not “victimized by out-of-control judges and politicians” depends on a readership completely out of touch with the universally known reality of anti-father bias in family courts.
According to Nolan about the MRM : “They’re wrong and they’re dangerous.”
I guess old Barry doesn’t have any male friends, or perhaps, none of them have been divorced. Must be a small circle he travels in. Of course, Nolan’s piece vacillates several times between sanity and hysteria. He describes several father’s rights activists who, concerned by the anti-male bias they’ve witnessed in the family court system, each regularly participate in meetings of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council.
And hold on to your socks, these terrifying father’s rights activists oppose anti-father policies and rulings. Oh no. Quoting Nolan, “One thing the Fatherhood Council is particularly concerned about is restraining orders, which it insists are used in a way that’s biased against men.“
Nolan paints a picture in which this claim is outlandish. An outrageous fantasy of restraining orders issued frivolously, abused, weaponized against innocent men.
He apparently counts on a total disconnect from reality in his readers. Mis-use and abuse of restraining orders is so well known that a google search returns scores of articles on the topic. The problem is an old one, and even fellow bostonian and libertarian feminist Cathy Young has written about it.
Nolan’s commentary on the political success of men’s and father’s rights activists steers the predictable course of reiterated feminine victimhood, and the tiresome lie that the small successes of these activists have an aim of placing women into danger.
The Duluth Model, a popular approach to domestic violence, relies on a false and cartoonish model of partner violence, that violence has one sex, male, and that victimhood has the other sex, female. The pretend picture of women only victims is of course very effective as an emotional fund raising tool. However, opposition to a model which recognizes only half the perpetrators and half the victims is doomed to inadequately address the problem, but it will keep filling shelters with victims.
A one-sexed one directional approach to domestic violence makes about as much sense as fighting a building fire by only spraying water on north or south facing walls, and letting west and east facing walls burn freely.
The recently stalled renewal of VAWA has in Barry Nolan’s narrative a motive of justified battery against women. In reality, the bill was stalled due to the republican party’s apparent objection to the inclusion of lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but it is the abrogation of legal due process – and the incentivization of fraud by both claimants and prosecutors — which men’s activists most strongly object to. The previous version of VAWA has so much legal and financial fraud built into it that identifying one set of problems is beyond the scope of any single online discussion.
Observing that domestic violence in the real world is most commonly reciprocal, Nolan manages to spin the fact that in female initiated violence women are most often injured, as if this is justification for injury. The abject depravity of this characterization exceeds description. Quoting Nolan: “In other words: She was asking for it, officer.”
Not in other words. Only in Barry’s words.
Nolan lists a number of successes in the activism of Fathers and Families and the Fatherhood Coalition, but lacking a rational rebuttal – elects to cultivate fear. Opposition to unjust and easily abused legislation is characterized by Nolan as removal of women’s protection against violence. Naming a Massachusetts statute, Nolan portrays it’s accurate description in the colors of hysterical hyperbole.
The fundamental idea behind 209A is that men are inherently batterers and women are fundamentally victims.
Absurd as such a view on domestic violence sounds, like many other laws built on the Duluth model of DV – this is an accurate picture of much current DV legislation
Barry Nolan also goes goes back to the source of sensationalist fear-mongering at the ever-more-credible SPLC, noting that “men’s groups are having successes like this all over the country. Citing Rita Smith of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence who apparently told the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report that such groups have ‘taken over the courts’ ”.
This bit of hyperbole aside, father’s and men’s rights groups have succeeded in gaining a legal voice, which is appropriate in a functional society. Compared to previous exclusion of anyone besides gender ideologues, this is a great improvement, but the legal travesties played out against men like Vladek Filler and Gordon Smith are sadly typical in a deeply broken legal system requiring continued attention.
Nolan manages to portray small successes opposing legal corruption in terms of imminent disaster. “They [men's rights activists] have been able to get custody evaluators, mediators, guardians ad litem, and child protective service workers to believe that women and children lie about abuse.”
Imagine the horror, the evil, frightening and dangerous MRAs convinced CPS workers and court officials that some women lie about abuse. Of course, we all know women do not lie, they simply cannot lie, because they’re not really human beings, but perfect pure creatures of divine aether.
The bad men must be stopped! Legal reforms in which men and fathers are afforded consideration as humans with rights must not continue! Somebody, think of the children!!!
But like a good-cop, bad-cop routine, where both rolls are played by the same hammy actor, Nolan breifly takes the responsible citizen tack, creating plausible deniability for himself. Claiming in a moment of apparent opposition to his earlier fear-mongering that “It’s true that the family courts should be better staffed, and better trained to sort out the truth, assess the risks, and ensure that kids are kept safe, happy, and healthy. And men’s groups certainly have every right to try to change the law. That’s how democracy works”. And of course, there is no “war on men”.
In the next paragraph of course, the fantasist is back. Nolan claims that: “women’s groups” need to wake up and get involved, which they’ve apparently been slow to do.
There are two lies here, one of which is obvious. The known anti male bias in family courts didn’t happen by accident, it is the result of decades of vigorous activism. But Barry’s second lie is the use of the term “women’s groups”. The implication is that women’s and men’s interests exclude each other, and that fathers or men’s rights activism is hostile to women, or children or their human rights.
Doubling down on the implied lie, Nolan cites Toni Troop of Jane Doe Inc., a Massachusetts domestic violence advocacy group using the Duluth model of DV. According to Troop: “People see through their rhetoric and their repeated attempts to undermine safety for the real victims of domestic violence.”
I was not, until reading Nolan’s excellent and completely truthful reportage that the men’s rights movement, or indeed, my own activism was built on “repeated attempts to undermine safety for the real victims of domestic violence”.
Well shit, I guess we should all stop doing that, and instead, take up hobbies. Knitting sounds nice.
Nolan re-iterates his double lie that the human rights of women are in danger from MRAs, and that gender ideological activists haven’t dominated family law and domestic violence law for decades.
“More women’s and mothers’ groups need to start attending these meetings and demanding a seat at the table”
The unstated equivalence is that gender ideologues and women are the same thing. Women happen to be people identifiable by their sex, the doctrine commonly using the label of feminism is an ideology; a thing formed from ideas. Ideologies and people aren’t the same, but Nolan apparently can’t tell them apart. Many father’s rights activists happen to be women.
And in case he hasnt made himself clear yet, Barry quotes Mr VAWA himself, repeating Vice President Joe Biden’s flowery and dishonest emotional hype.
Violence against women reflects as much a failure of our nation’s collective moral imagination as it does the failure of our nation’s laws and regulations…it deserves our profound public outrage.
As ever from ideological thinkers, in mention of violence or of domestic violence, the limiting clause is invoked. “against women”.
Although Nolan himself noted earlier in his article that DV is commonly bi directional and reciprocal, the fiction to be preserved is that women are the sole victims, and men are the sole perpetrators. This is the Duluthian view – the one guaranteed to tap into protective instincts from men and generate donations, but also guaranteed to continue the problem of violence by addressing it with a nonfunctional model.
According to Nolan, it’s time after 20 years of VAWA to become outraged “again”. In fact, it’s 20 years past time, because those who’ve controlled the policies of family courts, of VAWA-funded laws and who’ve shaped decades of public messaging on domestic violence with a known fiction did so to keep the funding. And that has kept the violence flowing.
That is the result when ideology is placed in primacy over evidence, and violent behavior is enabled and justified by gender ideologues whose salaries depend on perpetual female victimhood, and the narrative of “male violence”. Giving the problem of partner violence a sex is a sick game of pretend, and it produces real human carnage.
The outrage Barry Nolan calls for is entirely appropriate, but misplaced, and decades late to arrive. And the fear he seeks to cultivate is appropriate for those whose comfortable jobs depend on maintenance of a one sided fiction of male evil and the saccharine sickly fantasy of women as not fallible humans like the rest of us, but perfect, sweet eternal victims.
And to the politicians, the court employees and officials who continue to operate from ideology rather than evidence, and maintain a corrupt, broken system pouring damage, pain and destroying lives of individuals and families, Yes, Nolan is right when he says be afraid.