BY Jeremy Swanson
2nd of September 2011 (originally published 10 June 2010)
It has now been 21 years since the now rather infamous “Montreal Massacre” of 14 young women at the Polytechnique in that city. As we all know a particularly heinous act of violence and mass murder was perpetrated by a disturbed individual with a hatred for women and this horror haunts our collective memory to this day. Indeed over the years this haunting has taken the form of the anniversary of that massacre resulting in vigils at various monuments and venues across the country,. This should not mean anything more than appropriate and due honour being paid to 14 victims whose lives were cut short so tragically and without the basis of reason or logic. Not many of us can understand why this terrible event took place nor why the recent Dawson College shooting rampage took place either.
Try as we might there is nothing we can do to offer anything that can rationalize what happened. Madness is often present in the hearts and minds of mankind in general and this manifests itself and emerges in violence from time to time according to circumstances which are often beyond our individual control. Unfortunately the anniversary of the Montreal terror comes back to haunt us men more than most and it has been turned into an opportunity that seems to provide the platform for outrageous male bashing, negative gender profiling and attacks on men in general.
Many newspaper editorials speculating on why men kill women in divorce situations is simplistic and so out of touch with reality as to be almost laughable. At least to those of us on the Fathers and Men’s Rights movement who know the situation first hand. the media completely ignores the realities that men have to face and then offer the advice of more ‘experts’ on the issues without even asking a man-especially a divorced father how he is impacted by the system-never mind how he feels. Fathers and Mens Rights activists were similarly excluded from comment. And the public at large remain largely unaware of the true situation or even its gravity,
The general lack of understanding and of research of the root problems is clearly evident. All they do is reinforce more stereotypes. And to top it all the media almost always use feminist and even American figures on home violence rather than Canadian ones. In a strange way that might be a blessing because the Canadian ones are invariably manipulated and purposefully skewed in order to provide a “demon”. And that “demon” is of course, these days, conveniently the man.
Here are some realities though: The suggestion that women have more social support systems to help them deal with the trauma is exactly correct. They have much more. Like 100 % more. Men have none. The ‘system’ however it is seen or whatever it is provides more than enough resources to women to cope with divorce trauma and the possibility of incident. There are no facilities for men. The so-called ‘Catholic Family Services” in Canada (and the equivalent in other countries) might indeed offer programs for ‘abusive’ men but most of these are forced into the program by incidences of false allegations in the court system. They are not willing participants and in the father’s and men’s rights movement we already know that most of them have committed no abuse and thus no crime at all. It is just another exercise to provide a ‘funding feature’ from the province.
“Restraining orders” are granted by the courts almost routinely on the most spurious of evidence and often not even with any evidence required. All that is needed is that the applying partner-normally the wife- to lie or suggest that she might need one. Once that happens, the legal possibilities for equal shared parenting and fair and equal division of assets are gone and the man loses from then on. And the lawyers know this. So they use the restraining order option liberally. It doesn’t have to be the truth; it is merely used as legal strategy to the entire disadvantage of the male partner. Thus many innocent people end up with restraining orders while others do not. Until restraining orders can be taken seriously and used properly according to the law and in full accordance with actual need the option is useless. And truth in family law is already not anywhere in abundance.
Using Statistics Canada and their observation of “jealousy” as motivation for murder is just as useless. Statscan is not a social services organization and they have no ability or source data to provide psychological evaluations of murderers or even suicide victims. Men’s Rights associations might as well similarly say that 70% of all male suicides in Canada are caused by family law situations. W can’t get that data proven by ‘Statscan’ (Statistics Canada) figures either. Besides that, Statscan is a proven tool of militant anti-male feminism and nothing related to men can be accepted as trustworthy.
Trying to work out what men are thinking about when they commit these crimes is as difficult as trying to figure out what women are thinking and why they commit them either (and they most certainly do.) In the case of men it is probable that they do think clearly about what they are doing. They realize they are doomed by their actions but might feel that life otherwise could well be far too painful and terrible to face alive. Indeed the truth behind family law in Canada (and elsewhere like Australia and New Zealand and the USA) and what it does to Fathers and their families in the long term is a terrible story in itself.
Often the knowledge and realization of what they are about to face under a biased, discriminatory and restrictive system is enough to force some men into the awful alternative. So they are faced with options and alternatives which do not give them any advantage and are in many cases are a dead-end. Mental illness has probably very little to do with the reactions of family murderers. Desperation and uncontrolled anger at injustice in the might well be though.
Family killers of either sex will do it regardless of any previous condition or even with a lack of one. And this often in pure hopeless desperation. And as we have seen once the decision of murder and suicide has been taken the killer does not need a gun to commit the crimes but will rather use any method available-more often the knife. Such is the reality of “hopeless desperation”.
Contrary to current simplistic but popular belief, domestic violence is not the exclusive domain of the male partner and it is not overwhelmingly a male instigated and perpetrated crime either. It is a commonly held ‘street’ belief that 99% of domestic violence is caused by men. The real figures, much closer to 57-43% present a far more viable, accurate and understandable situation and is proven by solid research.
Asking relative and friends to “stick their noses” into other peoples affairs as suggested by some newspaper editors when they suspect something is not right in a relationship is not only ludicrous but a complete recipe for disaster. Who is to know and who is to ascertain who is in trouble and who is not? And what will constitute ‘suspicion’? Screaming and the sounds of physical exertion behind closed doors? Oh yeah? Try that one these days. Someone’s over-active imagination? A hostile neighbour with issues? And how will this play out in family court in the already destructive atmosphere of lies and deceit?
What might have stopped the man Frank Mailley’s murderous rampage several years ago would have been a support system for men and fathers which does not currently exist. In our loose and disconnected movement we have nothing to offer in terms of tangible support but Frank might have found a sympathetic ear and some ideas from those of us caught in the same nightmare. He did not find any options in family court-even when his wife was there to voluntarily assist in his application for relief. It was almost definitely the case that he had nowhere else to turn and in his mind he had no other options left. And no-one was listening. People seldom do. The divorce-family law situation is acutely misunderstood and appallingly represented to the public at large. Our simplistic view and our indifference might well be a virtual death sentence to more people caught in the trap. It was so in the case of Frank Mailley. The results as we know are only too terrible.
The reality for men and fathers caught up in divorce is that end of a relationship is indeed often a precursor for losing everything. And as suggested by the media, men do “take the loss more devastatingly than women do” because they know already what they are going to lose in court and the results of court action often reinforce these fears and feelings of disaster. Because quite simply it is just so. Men DO lose everything most times. Starting with their children. They go from being 24 hour loving parents one day to being a parent only twice a month-all at the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen. And then more often than not they lose their property and rights, and are forced into perpetual financial servitude as well. Is it any wonder why men feel they have nothing to lose?
Blaming murder on “testosterone and impulsivity” as some journalists have done is as ridiculous as blaming a woman of murder because of PMS or menopause. We do not need to “figure out how to stop men from behaving abusively and dangerously” or “why violent men do the things they do” we need to figure out what is wrong with the family law system that creates the situations that make and some women do what they feel is the only way out for them. It can not be a good system that allows this to happen. We are acutely aware of this in the fathers and men’s rights movement. Yet when we offered to liaise and consult with the Ottawa Police on these issues we were refused and ignored. I have been told that this is the same in other countries as well. it certainly is the same all across this country.
So it is then that in this awful and worsening situation there is a complete misrepresentation of fact and truth. The family itself is under assault and men are losing everything they love, own and have held dear. They are reacting to a situation that leaves them with few viable options. And that really should be worrying us all. It’s the same thing all over again: we need to seek out the cause and not the symptom.
Fathers and Men’s Rights Activist