The Global Campaign for Men and Boys
Glen Poole continues his look back on 2013 with part two of his pick of 50 top stories highlighting the many different inequalities that men and boys in the UK and beyond face….
9. More male victims of rape come forward in wake of Jimmy Saville case
It’s difficult to find anything positive to say about the Jimmy Saville sex scandal but one upside appears to be that more male victims of rape and sexual abuse are reaching out for help. The trend was revealed in an interview with Duncan Craig who set up Survivors Manchester in 2009 after he was turned away from local rape support services himself for being a man. Duncan’s doing great work in Manchester and tragically the majority of towns and cities in the country don’t have a local support service for male victims.
10. 92% of false allegations are made by women
Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, confirmed that false allegations of rape can and do happen and must be treated seriously and that in 92% of cases people suspected of making a false allegation of rape or sexual abuse are women.
Allegations can ruin reputations and devastate lives, Starmer added. “Such cases will be dealt with robustly and those falsely accused should feel confident that the criminal justice system will prosecute these cases wherever there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.”
However some campaigners were concerned that Starmer downplayed the scale of the problem of false allegations.
11. Male nursery worker subjected to sexism from female colleagues
Sexism cuts both ways and in March John Warren, who is a regional manager for a chain of children’s nurseries, revealed how he was the victim sexism in his early career.
John was bullied throughout his training by his teacher for being a man; he was unable to do a required placement in a special baby unit because he was a man and after applying for 42 jobs without getting an interview before being told that “mothers didn’t want a man looking after their children”.
Fortunately John stuck with his career choice and is now a champion for boys in particular to have more time with male role models.
12. National Union of Students wages war on lads
The National Union of Students declared war on lads after a self-selecting survey of female students came to the conclusion that sexism, laddism and sexual harassment are such serious problems on campus that the Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson should “convene a summit on ‘lad culture’.”
Meanwhile the NUS remained silent about the fact that women are now a third more likely to get to university and the gender gap is widening. According Mary Curnock Cook, the head of the university admissions service, Ucas, the “gap between males and females” is worrying and they are “beginning to look at men as looking more like the disadvantaged group”.
Meanwhile Patrick Hayes at Spiked Online revealed that the NUS’s survey sample was unrepresentative with participants being around 9 times more likely to be feminists than the rest of the population.
13. Men in the criminal justice system are treated more harshly than women
The Guardian commentator, Ally Fogg, delivered an excellent response to plans to treat women in the criminal justice system less harshly. Fogg supported the idea of prison reform but was at a loss to understand why these reforms should only apply to women. In a thoroughly researched article Fogg revealed that:
“Women make up more than a third of formal police cautions and nearly a quarter of court defendants, but fewer than 5% of prisoners. Even when all other factors are taken into consideration, women are significantly less likely to be imprisoned at all, and receive shorter average sentences than men for the same offences.”
A similar trend is seen with boys who account for “81% of child offenders, and 95% of those in custody”.
14. Men in Europe dying 7.5 years sooner than women
Research by the World Health Organization revealed that the life expectancy gap between men and women is 7.5 years on average in Europe. While life expectancy is improving, men have not yet reached the average rise in years of life that women enjoyed back in 1980.
Prof Alan White, chairman of the Men’s Health Forum and professor of men’s health at Leeds Metropolitan University, said: “men are not programmed to die young. Although the survival gap between men and women has always been present it does not have to be so wide.”
Previous research by Professor White’s team had found that men in Europe are twice as likely to die before the age of 65.
15. Labour Party supports mums but not dads
The Labour Party, which aspires to be a “one nation” party, revealed itself to be more of a “one gender” party in March. The party responded to news that the the Coalition Government is making a real terms cut in both maternity and paternity pay from 2013/2014 by launching a #MumsNotMillionaires campaign and ignoring dads in the process.
I responded to the news on my Helping Men blog as follows:
“The #MumsNotMillionaires campaign sits within a much broader campaign to present Government cuts as having a greater personal impact on women than men.
“Whether it’s The Fawcett Society describing the Government’s austerity measures as the biggest threat to women’s rights in “living memory” or Unison campaigning “to stop women being ground down by the government’s devastating cuts”, the idea that the cuts are a gender issues is a political meme that has taken hold.”
This is inspite of the fact that the number of men in work fell at nearly 50 times the rate for women from 2008-2012 (with 387,000 fewer men in the workplace compared with 8,000 fewer women).
16. Disgraced MP highlights archaic law that only women can use against men
The bizarre case of the disgraced MP, Chris Huhne, who avoided a driving ban by asking his wife to take a speeding fine for him, brought to light the archaic and sexist law of marital coercion. Under the law wives (but not husbands) can claim that they only broke the law because their spouse coerced them.
Huhne’s ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, brought the matter to light after the couple had split. Both Huhne and Pryce received eight-month prison sentences after it emerged that she had taken driving penalty points for him a decade ago. The former energy secretary pleaded guilty on the first day of a planned joint trial in February, and economist Pryce was later convicted by a jury. Both have now been released from jail.
In a bizarre twist in the tale, Britain’s most high-profile black woman judge, Constance Briscoe—who was a friend and neighbour of Vicky Pryce—was accused of working with a Sunday newspaper to bring down Chris Huhne.
Briscoe has now been suspended and charged with perverting the course of justice and will stand trial in January 2014.
17. £4 million Government funding ignores 4 million male victims
Charities helping male victims continued to be excluded from the Government’s Rape Crisis Fund in 2013. Minister Helen Grant announced £4 million in funding to open four new rape crisis centres and secure 65 existing centres.
Martyn Sullivan, the chief executive of Mankind Counselling in Brighton, said: “We welcome any funding that supports victims of rape and sexual abuse but it saddens us that yet again little thought has been given to adult male survivors of sexual crimes.
“The Government’s own figures estimates that 1 in 9 males have suffered childhood sexual abuse and 1 in 29 have experienced rape in adulthood. With this decision, they have chosen to ignore the 3.8 million actual men and boys that these figures represent.
18. Charity sector blocks family law reform
Karen Woodall, formerly of the Centre for Separated Families, continued to be one of the fiercest critics of the way we deal with family breakdown in the UK. In March she claimed that Government plans to reform family law had been blocked by the charity sector saying:
“It has taken less than three years to arrive at a place where all the voices speaking for fathers, whole family support and collaborative services to separating parents have been silenced at the policy tables.
“There is a massive mismatch between what governments believe happens to families when they separate and the reality. That mismatch is created and furthered by a ‘sector’ which sits around the government.
“Despite administration changes, business as usual continues. And that business as usual has got absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with supporting fathers or ensuring that children maintain their relationships with both of their parents.
“Despite its promises of a brave new world, this government has created an illusion that something has changed, whilst changing nothing at all. Apart from removing all the voices that spoke for change and silencing all the support for separated fathers”.
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