Pease, Bob. 2014. “Theorising Men’s Violence Prevention Policies: Limitations and Possibilities of Interventions in a Patriarchal State.” In Preventing Sexual Violence: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Overcoming a Rape Culture, edited by Nicola Henry and Anastasia Powell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. 22-40.
Isolating sexual violence as a public policy issue does not help situate it within larger frames of gender inequality. Current literature and policies tend to ignore or overlook the advances made in critical men’s or masculinities studies – resulting in the notion that men can transform themselves to be advocates, without really addressing wider societal issues of gender inequality, institutions, etc. Most discourses and representations of sexual and domestic violence seems to take gender ‘out’ of the discussion – where manifestations of patriarchal relations go unchallenged because they go unlabeled. Yes, we want to understand that men withstand and suffer under violence as well; however, Castelino (2010) notes that women work to frame experiences of violence differently when men (even non-offenders) are present. Why this change? Men, according to Hearn (1998), earn benefits from a society that tolerates or even encourages men’s violence – through sexual narratives of men’s power in sexuality (thus justifying and legitimizing rape myths), to extreme heteronormativity – where dynamics of gender are replicated in sexual coupling, further naturalizing exchanges of gender power.
“When violence is identified as the problem to be addressed, the wider context of unequal gender relations tends to be ignored by policymakers. When we focus on sexist and violent behaviours without locating them within their social context, we ignore the social system that constructs them” (24).
Primary prevention in community health programs work to ‘unlearn’ sexual violence’s naturalness – however, posits gender as merely one of a myriad of factors that contribute to violence (others being poverty, mental health issues, etc.) Here, risk is portrayed as knowable, objective, and can be reduced through information/knowledge-acquisition… however, this isn’t always the case (obviously). Reduces sexual violence to the pattern of behaviors within affected individuals, instead of larger social systems.
However, patriarchal interactions and institutions are not just to blame- otherwise, most men would be participating in violence, more frequently. Yet, this does not take into effect the classed and intersectional nature of violence – where middle and upper-class men have other means aside from violence to control women; similarly (same cite), most men are not consciously aware of their power, or pursuit of it (Hunnicutt 2009)
Can feminist advocacy be co-opted through focusing on historical attitudes, rather than gender power? McCaffey (2012) – some women do not use terms or language of patriarchy, as it implicates all men in the oppression of women. However, not using terms may allow men’s privilege to go unchallenged; men’s responses should not be a key determinant of the value or truth of these terms.
Two components of patriarchy: the embeddedness of male domination in institutions, and the personal/collective domination of men over individual and collective women (Ogle and Batton 2009).
While anti-violence campaigns widen the reach of the unacceptability of men’s violence against women, these campaigns compete with social and cultural imperatives of men to maintain male supremacies and entitlements, which help to support men’s violence against women (Dragieacz 2011).
Patriarchy, thus, becomes a useful frame for situating individual interactions within larger structures and institutions – if women’s oppression has no structural frame, it can be easily co-opted and colonized by traditional categories and modes of political thought, reinforcing the oppression it aims to dismantle (Pateman 1988, see also Kivel 2007).
Services to women have been professionalized, moved out of the realm of grassroots and advocacy campaigns. Increasing funding by the state = normalization, but also regulation, depoliticization?
Castelino, T. 2010. “Feminist Audit of Engaging Men in Family Violence Prevention Work.” Unpublished manuscript.
Dragieacz, M. 2011. Equality with a Vengeance. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
Hearn, J. 1998. The Violences of Men. London: Sage.
Hunnicutt, G. 2009. “Varieties of Patriarchy and Violence Against Women: Resurrecting ‘Patriarchy’ as a Theoretical Tool.” Violence Against Women 15(5):553-573.
Kivel, P. 2007. “Social Service or Social Change?” In The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-profit Industrial Complex, edited by INCITE: Women of Color Against Violence. Cambridge: South End Press.
McCaffey, B. 2012. “WTF is Kyriarchy?” The Feminist Anthropologist 19.
Ogle, R. and C. Batton. 2009. “Revisiting Patriarchy: Its Conceptualisation and Operationalisation in Criminology.” Critical Criminology 17:159-182.
Pateman, C. 1988. The Sexual Contract. Cambridge: Polity.