Man shaming and victim blaming: The A-Z of male suicide in the UK

I caught the end of the Panorama Programme on male suicide in the UK last night.  Whilst I know something about the statistics around male suicide and understand some of those things which stack up against men, causing loss of hope and a spiral into despair, even I was shocked that 100 men are killing themselves every week in the UK.

100 men every week.  It is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 50. It is happening in our country right now and yet, apart from the exhortation to ‘talk about it’, we have, as yet, no national strategy, no national awareness of what is happening and no real idea of what to do about it other than telling men they need to talk about it.

So it’s all their fault then and if only men would be more like women and talk about it, all would be well.  Is that our strategy? Make men more like women and all will be well?  According to Calmzone’s CEO Jane Powell it is.  Powell, who ended the programme last night by saying

the answer is in…simply talking about it..in that sense, the answer is free.

and then went on to talk about how there had been a massive cultural change for women over the years with the implication that if men would only get on and talk about it, the rates of suicide amongst men would drop and it wouldn’t cost a penny.

Was I the only one whose jaw dropped to the floor on hearing this?  My first reaction was laughter at the nonsensical idea that all men have to do is talk about their feelings and they won’t feel like killing themselves anymore.  My second reaction was serious concern which grew into anger at the realisation that the sole idea that was being put foward in this documentary was a feminist construct that if men were more like women and talked about their feelings, their despair would not drive them to death.  So let’s look at what talking about it does for the men who are most at risk of suicide in the UK.

Men under fifty whose lives are fragile and based upon the whims of the woman they live with and her approval of him being a good enough husband or partner.

If he fails to live up to this and his wife or partner decides that the marriage is over, what happens to our man under the age of fifty?

a) his behaviours are routinely analysed as being based upon his inherent advantage under the rule of patriarchy.  He is judged wanting because he is a man because men are advantaged and women are not.

b) he is asked to leave the house he lives in.

c) leaving his children behind

or

d) he comes home one night to an empty house, his wife and his children are gone

e) he is regarded as a perpetrator, it must be his fault because he is a man

f) he faces systemic discrimination in the services he turns to for help, including even those services set up to support him it would seem, as their core belief is that if he just talks about it he will feel less like killing himself. Meanwhile he is homeless, forcibly separated from his children and

g) forced to pay 20% of his gross income to support the children he can only see if their mother is willing to allow that

h) when he enters the housing system he is told he has no priority and so he spends much of his time sofa surfing in his friends homes or lives with his mother and father, alternatively he goes onto the streets and becomes one of the invisibles, the ones we don’t care about because if they are on the street it must be their fault mustn’t it?

i) When he tries to see his children, using the family court system he pays for it financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically.

j) He applies to see his children using a C100 form and is asked to attend mediation which he does.  His children’s mother however refuses because she has reconfigured their relationship through her ‘consciousness raising’ as being abusive…he is doomed but he doesn’t know it yet.

k) He goes into court and secures that which is afforded to him now that he is regarded as deficient as a father, contact. Contact with his children, those kids who he held in his arms on the day of their birth and promised them the world. He is now allowed to have ‘contact’ with them.

l) ‘Contact’ is stopped when allegations are made and the criminal court takes a year or more to conclude that he is not guilty.

m) now his kids don’t want to see him anymore, he is too sad, too bad, too not what a dad should be.

n)  He goes in to the court system believing he will get justice and comes out shredded, bullied, coerced and shamed.

0) He suffers from PTSD

p) his working life has suffered for a very long time, now he faces losing his job.

q) losing his job is the final straw, now he is homeless, childless, jobless and worthless.

r) he asks for help from one of the local services who tell him that all he needs to do is talk about it.

s) he staggers out into the street and wonders why he doesn’t just throw himself under that bus, who would care?

t) he drifts listlessly from one day to the next, his friends have given up on him, or been turned against him by his ex

u) his mother is seriously concerned about him but cannot get through to him

v) he starts planning how to end the pain

w) he wakes up one morning after a night drinking to kill the pain of the loss that he has suffered and the post traumatic stress that causes his brain to spin around the same questions over and over again…what did I do that was so wrong?

x) he cannot cope with it anymore, he has talked it and walked it for too long.

y) he knows his mother is not in the house today

z) he takes the rope from the garage

If only he had talked about it….

Telling men who face external barriers and obstacles to those things that keep them mentally well and healthy to talk about it is like shouting into a force 10 gale and thinking the person over the other side of the hill can hear you.  The sickening thing about telling men who face these levels of discrimination to ‘talk about it,’ is that it is like sticking a plaster over open heart surgery in the belief that it will heal itself  eventually.  What we are doing to men is wrong, it is not healthy and it is very definitely not about equality.

For those who believe that when I write about men that makes me a men’s rights activist and those who believe that because I have abandoned feminism for what it is, a discriminatory cult which is about women’s rights and not equality, I am biased against women.  Let me tell you that I am not an activist for anything other than equality, that which is based upon enabling men and women to be who they are and different, not the same. What I also am is someone who believes that if we are to be a truly equal, just and fair society, in which our boys and girls can grow up to have choices across the whole spectrum of their lives, we have to undersand that victim blaming is not just for women, it is for men too. And victim blaming is something which starts when we see the struggles of men and women as being of their own doing.  This is exactly what is happening when we tell men who face systemic barriers to their wellbeing that they will feel better if they simply ‘talk about it.’

What happens when men do talk about it is that we collectively start a process of man shaming.  When men clmb on buildings to highlight their plight they are irresponsible wasters who clearly should not have anything to do with their children, when they march for their rights, we say they are bullies and are showing their true colours and when they kill themselves we say that if only they talked about it, all would be well.  Man shaming. It is rife in our culture. It is wrong and it is killing men at the rate of 100 per week in the UK.

Instead of telling men to talk about it, isn’t it time that those of us who want a fairer, safer, more just world for our children, got on and did something about it?

And I don’t mean talk about it.

80 comments

  1. jeffers1974 · April 14, 2015

    Another great article Karen. I missed the Panorama programme last night but I will try and watch it via iPlayer over the next few days.

    One thing I will say is that ‘talking about it’ (counselling) can help. I went through counselling myself some years back. i found the whole process very empowering and it changed my perceptions and outlook on life. That first step in admitting that I needed help was the hardest and it is what most men will fail to do for many reasons. Most of which are related to the fact that they should just ‘man up’ which is an inherently wrong attitude.

    Sadly by the time people realise they need the help in a lot of cases it is too late. They have been failed by the system so many times why do they think that system will be there to help them now?……

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      I think counselling has a powerful role to play Jeffers and I am not saying that people should not talk about it at all. What I am saying is that if the only answer we have to 100 men per week killing themselves is that if they talk about it all will be well we are not facing the reality of what we have done to men in our society. We have built barriers to their wellbeing so high that for some they are impossible to scale. We are all responsible for changing that and I would like to see those things being dismantled as well as men talking about it. Then we can say we are taking an equalities approach, then we can say we are fighting for a fairer world for all of our children.

      Like

  2. CG · April 14, 2015

    Karen
    No words about those terrible statistics – I’m living with the fear.
    I wonder if you’ve read ‘The Way Men Heal’ by Tom Golden.
    “Golden begins by introducing the masculine side of healing which involves “action”, and describes how this differs from the feminine mode which involves “talking” or openly expressing grief. While men generally tend to use the masculine mode when dealing with pain, Golden is keen to stress that people cannot simply be pigeon-holed according to their sex — both men and women can use both modes. However, as Golden explains, much of psychiatry is based around “talking about emotions” and, in effect, focuses solely on the feminine mode of healing while ignoring the masculine mode.”

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      Yes, I too fear the future for the boys and men in my life Cathryn. I will have a look at the book you mention, I have long known that talking is not how men heal and have adapted much of what I do with that in mind. K

      Like

      • CG · April 14, 2015

        I didn’t pick a great quote – this one is better

        “Golden goes on to discuss the reasons behind this difference, including how men’s suffering is invisible and taboo in our culture, and how they can often face prejudice in their grief. If you can’t picture how this can be so, he gives the following example:

        “Imagine you are being seated in your favourite restaurant. As you are walking toward your table you see a woman at a corner table crying with her head in her hands. What is your first reaction? I have asked this question to thousands of people in the workshops I give. The most frequent response is “She’s upset,” “Poor dear,” “She needs support.” Think of what your own response was. Think too of your raw gut reaction to seeing this woman crying. Now erase that image start a new image. You are walking in the same restaurant and as you are seated you see a man at the same corner table who is crying. What is your first reaction? Most people respond that they are very leery of him: “There’s something wrong with that man,” “He must be drunk” or other phrases conveying the sense that this man needs to be avoided.”

        Golden describes how, instead, men deal with their pain privately — usually by doing something rather than by open expression. Typically, this will take the form of practical or creative action, such making a pilgrimage of some kind, dedicating a memorial or a piece of work, or simply listening to music which holds some special meaning. In the final chapters, he discusses how best to help men deal with their pain and provides suggestions for therapists.”

        I live with a “do-er”.

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      • This YouTube video features Tom Golden talking about the way men “talk” differently from women – great video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7yaH-DVbYQ

        Like

    • Anonymous · April 16, 2015

      Instead getting books on healing what about ending the systemic discrimination by courts? Screw books.

      Like

    • Nick · April 16, 2015

      Instead getting books on healing what about ending the systemic discrimination by courts? Screw books.
      Did you not read the article?

      Like

  3. mark gee · April 14, 2015

    Karen,an excellent piece as always.just one minor point with point g)its not disposable income its of gross income the 20% is taken from.living costs for the man are as CSA put it” not our concern”

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      Thanks Mark, even worse than I thought, will amend now. K

      Like

      • Yvie · April 14, 2015

        As the CSA will readily quote, ‘we are taking 40% of your salary leaving you with 60% to spend as you like’. How thoughtful of them.

        Like

      • jeffers1974 · April 14, 2015

        To clarify on the maintenance rates. The Basic rate is 12% for 1 child, 16% for 2 and 19% for 3. This is on your Gross Weekly income AFTER Personal or Occupation Pension contributions are taken off (and applies to a Gross weekly income of between £200 and £800).

        If you have care of another child then the rate gets discunted. if you have contact then you get a further discount. CM rates are a nightmare to work out but to say 20% under the current scheme is factually incorrect. I think it used to be 15% or 20% of Nett under the older schemes.

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  4. Sean44SS (@Sean44SS) · April 14, 2015

    The simple, disgraceful truth is that we live in a society where misogyny is condemned and misandry encouraged. Until the time arises when sufficient people complain that that is an unacceptable and unjust situation, the war against men will continue.

    The BBC programme can be viewed for the next 29 days at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05rcrx0/panorama-a-suicide-in-the-family

    Thank you, Karen, for writing this article.

    Like

  5. karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

    It has to be said Sean, if no-one calls it for what it is which is victim blaming to use the feminist construct, all that will happen is nothing. It is an unacceptable and unjust situation and the war against men will go on until enough of us do something to stop it. And if we are really interested in a healthy, just and equal society, stop it we must.

    Like

  6. Vincent McGovern · April 14, 2015

    I was chairing an Fnf meeting in Cen Lon last night so could not see the programme. Yet again the systemic institutional anti dad and child discrimination within the system was brutally exposed at last nights meeting. In secret of course as it is illegal to reveal family court systemic failings of children and esp their relationship with fathers. It is a mockery of either childrens welfare or natural justice.

    Yesterday I re-read Bob Geldofs brilliant foreword to The Custody Minefield. It should be part of the national curriculum just as Karens post above should be. It is the hope that one day someone in power will listen and drag us from the dark ages into the 21st century that keeps some of us going. And articles such as the above need much better publicity. I won’t hold my breath where the mainstream media are concerned. They don’t listen to men except in the main to portray as violent/feckless/aggressive/abusive/controlling/partriachial/alcoholic or prone to suicide because of their uncontrollable aggression.

    The suicides are a desperate plea for help. Who is listening??? Who wants to!

    Vincent McGovern.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      I am listening and others too…all is not lost…there is hope. Whilst there exists even one person on the planet who understands, there is hope.

      Like

  7. PapaMissingKids · April 14, 2015

    Great article Karen.

    I know I could very, very easily have ended up the way you have outlined. Fortunately, I have a supportive family, supportive friends AND FORTUNATELY I MADE CONTACT WITH AN ANGELIC KAREN WOODALL. Else I know suicide is an option many of us consider at the thought of not being able to see our children.

    I suppose talking helps if it’s with the right person. At a time when I thought the whole world is against me because of the campaign the other side ran against me, you actually understood me Karen, and that’s what helped. Consequently, no thoughts of suicide any more and not only am I rebuilding my life getting it ready for when the children come back (always living in hope and positivity), apart from some setbacks, I’m actually enjoying myself and nowadays have even begun wandering at the lovely world we live in.

    I write this because there must be other men AND WOMEN who have been alienated and visit this blog for hope and tips.

    People, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it really does get better. Or more to the point, it can get to be not so bad.

    If I were to have committed suicide then my children would be at her mercy forever. However, I am here and I am trying to be as well as I can, so that when the time comes I’ll be ready and waiting to welcome them with open arms and a smile and they will feel safe and secure with me.

    I don’t think this “talking about it” stuff will help as it has been presented in the program (admittedly I haven’t seen it) but what needs to happen is taking feedback from those that have tried suicide and fortunately failed and others in that boat. Ask them. Talk to them. Enquire of them. And then see what comes out. Note that Karen did a LOT more than simple talk to me and listen to me. Her whole holistic PROFFESIONALISM made a difference.

    Sorry got carried away writing today. I’ve been there. Wish I could help these people. Good wishes to everyone

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      and good wishes to you PMK it is lovely to hear from you and lovely to know that your world is rebuilding and you are on your way so much so that you can wonder at the world again. Wishing you well always and always here if you need me. K

      Like

  8. Just me · April 14, 2015

    I am thinking carefully about whether to write something here.

    I think about ending it all every day. I have kept going for years because I have children that I would not want to hurt and an elderly mother who has had enough to deal with in her own life. But it is hard.

    I endured an abusive marriage for many years. I survived in it for my children even though I expected one day I would wake up with a knife in my chest. I longed for it to come soon just to free me.

    I left eventually because I realised after years of abuse that my wife had discovered – as she told me – that now all she had to do was call the police an make an allegation about me and I would be in the cells.

    I did leave at that point and discovered how quickly friends and state agencies were not only willing but eager to believe the new Alice in Wonderland narrative that it had to be my fault. I was lost because I had always been brought up to believe that if I told the truth things would work out. It turned out to be the opposite. The more I told the truth the angrier the professionals got.

    I learned quickly, as Karen establishes in her A-Z, that it was going to get even worse for me if I really talked. With my ex’s help I became totally isolated.

    I did get some counselling which helped a little but I would say only allowed me to survive from day to day – and therefore keep on pretending to my kids that I was as strong inside as I appeared on the outside – but it wasn’t enough to ‘heal’ me. I’ve not felt human for getting on for 30 years.

    Talking only works if people want to listen. The Panorama programme message that it is about the inability of guys to reveal their emotions just feels like piling another failure onto men who already feel that everything is their fault.

    it is very hard.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      What you have suffered is insitutional discrimination Just Me and it is about as damaging as it gets. This is the reason you think about ending it all every day. This is the reason why you mustn’t. You are staying alive for your children and your elderly mother, you must fight to stay alive for yourself, for you, for your right to live free and human like the rest of us. Those things that you face are NOT you, they are NOT your fault and they are NOT your responsiblity either. It isn’t you it IS them/the state services/the blind professionals/the callousness of those who operate this system. You are not on your own. People do understand. Your fight is our fight.

      Like

  9. Woodman59 · April 14, 2015

    Both are very much true. Men in general have been conditioned for millennia to expect and accept (and glorified) all kinds of dangerous and unpleasant life conditions as a basis of manhood (exemplified in the warrior figure) where talking about this would be a complete contradiction – undermining what it has traditionally meant to “be a man”. The key point is that this way men have been – has been determined as much by women – as men themselves.

    Maybe a world is possible where everything that needs to be done – is still done, and yet men being sensitive and articulate is a new norm – but we are hardly there yet. It is a massive project.

    When anyone goes to counselling and their essential problem is the way they are being treated by others – the first thing they are told (if the counsellor is at least straightforward) is that there is no way for the counselling to change anyone but themselves.

    Of course we can all improve – but if this is not actually the fundamental problem, while the range of factors Karen describes, ARE, and will NOT be addressed – then the entire counselling exercise is a huge waste of time and money…a band-aid on the wound. Currently, then – unfortunately, as often as not – this WILL be the case. To the extent that it affects to be help when actually it cannot – the counselling industry will actually be making things worse.

    Outlawing the current inequity in family services is paramount – ADDITIONALLY, creating humanistic community environments in which it is possible for people to be emotionally and morally challenged (a kind of wider informal societal group counselling, in essence) which can replace the vacuum created by the decline of religion – will be essential.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      A) we need to clear away the external barriers and obstacles that cause men to struggle in their lives.

      B) we need to provide the kind of therapeutic assistance that suits men’s needs instead of expecting them to change to fit what we deliver

      C) we need recover some of our own lost humanity as a society and recognise that men are people too

      D) we need to stop letting women boss us into believing that if only men were more like women all would be well.

      I could go on endlessly and do a whole A-Z of what we need to do Woodman and so could you, so many of us who know what difference we need to make and how to make it and so little attention paid to the reality. You are bang on here, thank you for posting. K

      Like

      • woodman1959 · April 14, 2015

        Thanks, Karen. I’m obviously hoping that the Community Sound Project will prove to be a platform where women and men can gather to address these issues…hopefully it will be a complete family environment. Hope to complete an explanatory video by June. Interestingly, it’s very much a combined “doing” and “talking” approach – it was very good to hear about that…makes complete sense.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

        Please come back and tell us more about it Woodman when you have time. It sounds ideal. K

        Like

  10. padrestevie · April 14, 2015

    Calmzone’s Jane Powell imparted her wisdom by telling us:

    “the answer is in…simply talking about it…in that sense, the answer is free”.

    According to the Guardian here’s her 2012 CV:

    Age 51.
    Lives Ryde, Isle of Wight.
    Status Married, one daughter.
    Education Ryde Convent; Ealing College of Higher Education, humanities BA Hons.
    Career 2005-present: founder and director, Calm; 2000-04: career break; 1997-2000: national rollout co-ordinator of Department of Health’s Calm pilot; 1992-2000: worked on a variety of events/campaigns for Power Inquiry, Charter 88, Greenpeace, Clear Communication, Family Rights Group, Low Pay Unit; 1990-92: head of campaign department, CND; 1988-90: membership officer, Charter 88; 1985-88: joint campaign co-ordinator, Peace Tax Campaign.
    Interests “Anything I can do with my hands: cooking, DIY, sewing, gardening.”

    When I heard her on Panorama I felt demeaned, denigraded and devalued (not unlike being the target parent in the abusive process of alienation funnily enough). But when I saw the CV I also felt badly let down by the BBC for not even bothering to find someone with at least a substantial research background in such a complex subject. Next I read this:

    https://www.thecalmzone.net/2012/09/a-word-from-calm-director-jane-powell-gender-suicide/

    In this article Jane casually and stridently dismisses various ideas and extolls her various beliefs. And, “believe” is a word that gets used a lot as she cherry picks her way through the subject because there is absolutely no stated factual basis for what she says.

    Call me old fashioned if you like but I would prefer to hear about serious disorders, which I have suffered from, being deliberated upon by someone that is at least qualified to express a meaningful opinion. Even football programs contain commentary from footballers. Why couldn’t we hear more from appropriately experienced psychologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists on the issue of male suicide? To be honest the views of a career campaigner were worse than useless. What next? Claudia Winckleman on cosmology?

    I suppose, “the answer is free”, because any properly funded and scientifically conducted research would almost certainly divert cash away from this particular gravy train.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      The potted history of Jane Powell says everything PadreStevie, the acceptable face of helping men. And we wonder why nothing changes. K

      Like

  11. Erik van der Waal · April 14, 2015

    Thanks Karen

    Last week I received a heartbreaking call from a familymember of a man, who was divorced and father of an eight year old girl he loved the most and was his life.
    This father killed himself april 2nd, the day after hearing from childsupport that his ‘visitation’ was going to be adjusted (much less) so he would’nt see his daughter for a long time, starting the upcoming weekend.. This was too much for him to handle after a long time struggling to be part of his daughters life.
    He was broken, stopped talking, stopped living..
    It’s happening, It’s real..
    This girl lost her father because he loved her so much and wanted to be part of her life, in his way, helping raising her, enjoy life with her, just to be her loving dad..
    Last week at the funeral her tears were pouring when holding his coffin and saying goodbye to her daddy she loved so much, for the last time..

    Erik van der Waal
    The Netherlands

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      I can hear the feminists now, reconfiguring that and saying how selfish he was to kill himself and leave his daughter. Such disconnection from humanity, such distance from the real lives of real people. My heart weeps for this man and his daughter. What have we done to our world?

      Like

      • Erik van der Waal · April 14, 2015

        Thanks, your’e right, it’s looking to blame,
        not feeling, willing to understand, no compassion for another human being, a man, a father, brougth in despair..

        Like

  12. Jay · April 14, 2015

    Having carefully worked my way through the list now at least to o), with elements of p) q) r) s) and t) thrown in for good measure, I cannot express just how patronising it was to hear those words from Jane Powell ‘the answer is in…simply talking about it..in that sense, the answer is free.’

    As a man who has no problem ‘talking about it’ or expressing his emotions, I can tell Jane for ‘free’ that whilst just talking about it might bring some temporary relief to the symptons, only actions to redress the imbalance and injustices which riddle the system can treat the cause and make any real difference.

    It never ceases to amaze me that the statistic of two women per week being murdered by their partners is constantly trotted out to support an argument for more DV services for women and children, yet the fact that many times that number of men are killed, albeit indirectly, by their ex partners is either ignored, or blamed on the victims!

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      Yes the two women per week who are killed statistic which has been proven over and over again to be untrue but which is still, as you say, trotted out. The Independent recently ran an article in which it said that women being murdered by a partner was the leading cause of death for women in a certain age group, quickly proved wrong and quickly challenged by many, but still allowed to stand.

      And this statistic, 100 men per week. PER WEEK. And we say not very much at all other than if only men talked more about their feelings.

      It is frankly disgraceful that anyone feels able to freely tell men that talking about their feelings is the way forward whilst so much systemic discrimination against men exists.

      And just for anyone who doesn’t know this. Systemic discrimination against men in family services DOES exist. I know. I undertook a gender analysis of it for the Oxfam UK Poverty Programme a few years back. It exists alright. The legislation which governs family separation is predicated upon deliberate discrimination. Which we have been saying for the past 15 years, which we have been showing for the past 15 years, which we have shoved under the noses of every person in government we can think of and more. Anyone who would like to understand the reality of the discrimination that exists can contact us for our briefings on it. We don’t work with government anymore, we decided we could no longer go on banging our heads against a brick wall when so many families needed the help we could give that was unadulterated by the demands of feminist lobby groups in government. You see what is absolutely ignored by is that feminism, which dominates the family services sector, is a political construct which is not about equality. THAT is why men suffer (and actually why a lot of women suffer too as unintended consequences of a gender neutral legislative framework). Gender neutral delivers gender biased outcomes and catches women in the net and prevents us from being able to treat people in the way that they need to be treated in order to get them the help that keeps them alive. Gender neutral persuades us to ignore the blocks and barriers and treat people the same. Gender aware on the other hand delivers tailored outcomes that give people equality of opportunity. In a gender aware legislative framework men would not be disposable.*****

      Like

  13. Dexter · April 14, 2015

    Excellent perspective article as usual Karen. I woke up and this was my first email of the day, the figures of 100 men committing suicide daily shocked me, but then I read your article and thought there by the grace that could have been me or many of my friends who have had to go through the torturous break up with a vindictive ex who uses the child as a weapon of pain and means of financial gain. I could relate to each and every point you made either personally or through the experiences of close friends. I talk my problems (probably to the point of boredom for the listener 🙂 ) but I know most of my friends tend to lock it up inside……

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      the point is even if men talk about it, which I absolutely recognise helps them to let off steam, what is the point if nothing changes and the blocks and barriers are still there? That is what I want to see change. I want to see us shifting those blocks, arguing the points, demanding change.

      Like

  14. padrestevie · April 14, 2015

    I apologise in advance Karen but this issue has really struck a nerve that is still raw.

    In this article Jane Powell lists just three reasons why men and boys are more likely to commit suicide:

    https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/suicide/

    Here they are:

    “They feel a pressure to be a winner and can more easily feel like the opposite.

    They feel a pressure to look strong and feel ashamed of showing any signs of weakness.

    They feel a pressure to appear in control of themselves and their lives at all times.”

    It is not encouraging to see the self appointed mouthpiece for male suicide getting it about as wrong as one can. Judges are not normally noted for their emotional intelligence but the way I actually felt was well articulated by a judge in this case last year:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11294438/Father-treated-like-Kafka-character-by-Family-Court-top-judge.html

    The judge remarked of the petitioner:

    “All in all, Mr R could be forgiven for feeling like the hapless protagonist in Kafka’s ‘The Trial’”.

    He was referring to Franz Kafka’s novel, published in 1925, in which the main character is caught in a nightmarish world, on trial for an offence he knows nothing about in which the rules are hidden from even the highest officials. The tale is one of woe and helplessness.

    I am an eternal optimist by nature and I always see the glass as half full. However, I had never experienced feelings of such abject hopelessness and utter despair in all my life. So called, “talking therapies”, where the well intentioned counselor sat across the room, nodded understandingly and asked me, “how did that make you feel?”, actually heightened the wretchedness of it all. Without me having said a word a good friend simply put his arm around me, patted me on the back and said, “Fuck me mate, you look lower than a snakes arse!”. At that point nothing mattered less than the way the world saw me.

    But, here’s the point. Jane and co. seem to think that there is something wrong with people that feel suicidal. They could not be more wrong. Just like its precursor, depression: it is sometimes a justifiable and easily understandable feeling and natural reaction to a world that really is absolutely crap sometimes. It is seldom more so than when a Dad is prevented from seeing his children and the state colludes to make that happen. Under those circumstances even someone like Jane could be tempted to reach for the bottle of spirits and painkillers.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      Bang on PadreStevie and why our therapeutic work with fathers is not about sitting them down and getting them to talk about it, what does that do other than confirm how bad it really is for them. Change the culture not the men. Remove the blocks and men’s health will improve. Men are as scared, worried, uncertain, overly compensating with cocky and aggressive behaviour, dysfunctional, coping, strong, weak, wild, constrained and struggling as women are but they don’t all need to talk about it, they just need a level playing field. Equality means upholding your right to be different to me and fighting for you to have the same opportunities as me. And when 100 of you are taking your lives every week (EVERY WEEK…) doing something about it not blaming you for it.

      Like

  15. Paul D Manning · April 14, 2015

    Hi Karen, long time no see. (Was forced to drop in after reading this great stuff)
    Read every word of this and it brought tears to my eyes. Karen this is a truly great posting. Con-Grats!

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

      Glad you found it Paul, hope your world is well K

      Like

  16. ian findlay · April 14, 2015

    Karen’s last line strikes a chord with me. Let’s do something about it. Well I think we are. In our branches all over the country we introduce innocent fathers to court bias, C100s, CAFCASS, the crass effects of gender feminism gone mad, position and witness statements, hope for the future, collective support and encouragement, a plan and most important a practical way of doing something about it.

    This is exactly what we are doing about it. And it works. I have seen suicidal Dads, drinking too much and drifting from sofa to gutter and they have been raised back to their previous confident, proud and hard working selves by the support and encouragement of our regulars at our meetings. The only tiny problem is our meetings are getting too big to give all that support consistently. To help more people we need more activists at branch level, more branches and more people willing to give up their time.

    Lets not get dispirited by what we always knew was a problem. Let’s do something.

    ianF (FNF)

    Like

    • ian findlay · April 14, 2015

      I can hardly believe the coincidence. Following the above contribution I read the social worker s7 report on a FNF member. The social worker, having obtained the members therapy reports through a court order, has now announced he is suffering form “suicidal ideation” and proposes a cut in his contact down to indirect contact only. I hope she saw the Panorama programme!

      Like

    • Dexter · April 14, 2015

      Ian that is the whole problem here, men do not stick together. All we see are statistics bounded about, as the 2 women die every week shows, god how many times have I heard that one!!! I would not wish harm let alone death on anybody but what shows consistently is the far more powerful women’s lobby(?) which therefore gets broader coverage. Same could be said for the Breast cancer versus Prostate cancer figures against actual coverage of the problem.
      If every person, man or woman, that had been through the horrors of the Family Court system, and all of the add on extras that are usually entailed with the process i.e. Cafcass and social services, stood up and were counted together and marched or voted with their feet then perhaps the hapless politicians in this country would do something about it?? Perhaps reaction rather than pro action may be the way forward for change?

      Like

    • Anonymous · June 10, 2015

      I would be interested in setting a local branch up.

      Like

  17. karenwoodall · April 14, 2015

    when FNF works it works very well, good to hear you are doing something about it Ian. K

    Like

  18. daddybones45 · April 14, 2015

    Excellent stuff. Sadly, so few people realise that feminists have successfully lobbied Whitehall for decades to legally prevent funding for support, shelters and safe spaces for men, while taking tens of millions of pounds for their own charities and agencies which actually perpetuate the cycles of abuse that lead to prison, the streets and suicide for men, and suffering for children.

    While the rates of assault and abuse of women by men have plummeted to their lowest levels in recorded history, the feminist business leaders have had to ramp up their lies and fake advocacy “research” to dupe the public and the government they fund, blaming only men for a crisis that the doctrine of feminism itself has caused.

    And who cares? Almost nobody. There’s simply too much money to be made from the false paradigms surrounding human suffering. This attitude kills women, too, of course. But it kills mostly men and men are not important. Hardline feminist-supremacists have been pushing at every angle to kill off as many men as possible and they have done STERLING work, in both senses of the word.

    Like

  19. Dexter · April 14, 2015

    In addition to the problems of suicide men are now being told not to go to the Doctors and be diagnosed if they have depression because it will be used against them in their battle to have contact with their children/child. This I have just witnessed being (unsuccessfully) used against a close friend of mine.
    And I defy any person who has been put through this process to deny that they did not feel even the slightest bit depressed during it all!!! And this comes at the time of the great 1 in 4 argument/debate concerning mental health and well being….. see statistics again!!
    Actually the quote of ” Lies, damned lies and statistics” sums up the rigmarole of the Family Court process rather well don’t you think?

    Like

  20. Mirror · April 14, 2015

    Thanks Karen. I knew the male suicide rate was very bad. I also know that nobody talks about it, and that if you try to talk about it, you get a sock shoved in your mouth. I am suprised that there was even some program covering this.

    But I didn’t know that it was 100 men killing themselves a week. Surely that must be attempts rather than accomplished suicides?

    The other thing to mention here is that if you are male and want to talk to someone about your pain, it is about 30 pounds an hour. Maybe cheaper or higher in some other places. A lot of us don’t have that disposable income since it is being paid to the resident parent, who is the only parent that matters.

    The other thing to say here is that if you resort to suicide, it is automatic proof that you are all the bad things that the system says you are, and it is good riddance to another monster. No wonder we don’t have the death penalty. We don’t need it. We kill more without it.

    Just as those with money ceaslessly fail to understand why some of us don’t have any, so too do those who have had a more comfortable life fail to understand how sorrow can get so bad as to cloud judgment.

    I think our society is really sick. That sickness starts at the top and spreads down.

    Like

  21. Darryn Thurtle · April 14, 2015

    This really paints the truth from start to finish x

    Like

  22. Highwasp · April 14, 2015

    Prediction: As the misandry bubble continues to expand and male shaming / victim blaming intensifies the suicide rate will increase. As a result of the wholesale abandonment of men and masculinity escalates, the male suicide scenarios will increasingly come to include murder as well.

    Like

  23. padrestevie · April 14, 2015

    Mirror. Heres a link to the Guardian article which links to ONS. The numbers are for 2013. There were 6023 suicides (not attempts) in people aged 15 and over. Of these 78% were male. This gives 90.35 male suicide deaths for each week of the year. So you are right it is not 100 but it is bloody close!

    Like

  24. Nick Branson · April 14, 2015

    If the BBC is promoting gender discrimination, it will to some degree carry responsibility for the outcomes expressed by peoples lives lost. Showing us our beliefs about gender that we use today. To question our prejudices and the worthiness or otherwise of those ‘beliefs’. Not subjectively but against the best scientific knowledge gained by years of research. Or did the BBC leave those gender prejudices untouched and the costs to our society unaccounted for so they can operate on another day?

    I’ve not seen the documentary yet but the solution of men ‘talking more openly’ or being ‘counselled’ indicates the BBC’s choice to hide the real disadvantages that people live with unexplored, instead to go against scientific consensus of the commonality of people and instead push that special ‘gender magic’ button. This example of gender magic:- men don’t talk enough.

    The solution the BBC offered the appropriate one? Then every experience of any disadvantaged group can be ignored- Palestinian refugees- encourage them to talk more and seek the services of a councillor and it’s their own fault because talking is the solution. Is the BBC’s thoughtful conclusion- live discriminated against, any discrimination is irrelevant, instead learn to talk more?

    I’ve got garrulous male friends who talk openly about their feelings and quiet female ones who hide them far away. The premise of a gender demarcation line on how ‘openly’ a gender expresses themselves is laughably bogus.

    Reality and the facts that expose discrimination- deaths post separation over a 12 year period:- male- 8500, female- 3500 (Department for Work and Pensions). No enquiry into the differing rates of death or causes and no research by any government department. How many more years will pass until P.C gets replaced by ‘callus’ within these institutions that choose to keep silent about such unwanted outcomes?

    The selective ‘blind eye’ of gender discrimination so often used by our institutions. Was this highlighted as a serious issue? What about the culture within the media of ‘negative programming’ by gender and why it’s spurious? What about the cultural shift brought by political pressure groups of family life away from one gender and why it’s spurious?

    I look forward to seeing the documentary and hopefully being proved wrong.

    Like

  25. Kat · April 14, 2015

    A month or so ago I thought of a friend I had lost contact with and though I would find him. I googled his name to find out if he still worked the same place. Instead I found links to numerous news articles detailing his suicide. Reading the article I understand why he did it: Nothing to do with family courts, he was not a father, but everything to do with the expectations society puts on men to be successful.

    Like

  26. Thank god I’m not the only one who was stunned by the Puerile and Dangerous views expressed by Calmzone’s CEO Jane Powell.

    It’s one thing to tell guys to speak up, but it also requires people such as Powell to F##ing well Listen and take her patented Feminist Filtering Earmuffs OFF!

    Like

  27. Pingback: A #Suicide in the Family ~ @simonjacktoday @thecalmzone | World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum.
  28. Brian · April 14, 2015

    Another great post Karen. For me it’s not about talking it’s about feeling appreciated, feeling wanted, needed even. What better purpose in life can there be than being a parent. When that’s taken away, it’s no wonder some find it too much to bear.

    I’d echo Vincent and Ian’s comments there is a significant therapeutic value to talking about the issues, or just findout out you’re not alone, but then the people who come to FNF meetings want to know what they can do? How can they get a relationship with their children again? They’re not asking for sympathy, they’re asking for a change in their situation, a return to being valued as a parent.

    Like

  29. padrestevie · April 15, 2015

    Firstly, here’s a link to the ONS site that provides the source data for the various figures being bandied about:

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_395145.pdf

    Secondly, I apologise for relying on press figures previously. As one might expect they were up a gum tree.

    According to the ONS, in the UK during 2013 there were 6233 suicides.
    78% of these were males >15 years old. So the weekly average for the year was 94.

    According to the ONS, the situation in Wales is much worse than anywhere else in the UK. The male totals were up from 257 in 2012, to 317 in 2013. That is a shocking 23% increase. In that same time the number of female recorded suicides dropped by 1 from 77 to 76. So in the time that the Welsh Assembly Government was ruminating over the ridiculously gynocentric and discriminatory VAWG bill, Suicides amongst males shot up from 3 to 4 times that of the female population i.e from 5 males and dads taking their lives taking their lives every week to 6. And, that is in Wales alone.

    Talk about “fiddling whilst Rome burns!” This is a disgrace.

    Like

    • Mirror · April 16, 2015

      Thanks Stevie. This is really sad.

      It seems like it is not only the family courts and lawyers, but the CSA and DWP that have an awful lot of blood on their hands.

      What is sadder, perhaps, is that the average person has no clue. We tend to walk through life so blind, until something like this happens to us. And then when it does we are labeled exceptional cases. We are told that only 10% of separations go to court, or that only 10% of cases need to be dealt with by the CSA. The people that fabricate those false statistics, in order to trivialize what is happening, have a lot to answer fo.

      Like

  30. Anonymous · April 15, 2015

    In this context losing the family would seem to be the reason why a parent would take their own life. Of course some kill their partners and others kill their children, and any combinations of the above.

    I don’t really understand how the concept of gender specific equality as applied to family therapy would work, but I do know that if both mother and father maintain a meaningful relationship with their children post-separation then there is hope for humanity.

    In as much as it is possible to support a family through the upholding of laws which stand up for the relationships between parents and their children post-separation, then the women’s equality lobby has to be contested.

    All political parties seek the vote of women whether it be through getting children more free places and longer hours in a crèche (managed by another band of women), or preferential treatment in male dominated jobs (such as politics and finance).

    Conversely men do nothing to advance their social and emotional development on the political arena. I seem to be on my own in talking about men’s equality with perhaps the exception of http://equality4men.com/

    In western society whilst women, their worries, desires and aspirations are given constant media attention from women’s mags in the dental surgery to “women’s hour” broadcasting on our national airways we hear relatively little of the feelings, wants and desires of mature men. A survey of the net may cause you to find “Dad’s on the air” a radio programme devoted entirely to the heart and mind of men.

    http://www.dadsontheair.com.au/shows/one-paycheque-away-from-homelessness.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+followdota+%28Dads+on+the+Air+News%29

    This is something needed in every western country; it is a voice that reflects the viewpoint of men; men who have for far too long been silenced by an overbearing subjugation. Whilst we devote our lives to the protection of vulnerability amongst women, placating her desires with the granting of her wishes, we neglect the feelings and wishes of our men, our children and our society at large. Vulnerability is not exclusive to women and as has been shown, men without their children are in most need of our care. The best care they can be granted is a “shared parenting plan” not a contact arrangement to suit Mum.

    If anybody is interested in starting up a radio programme along similar lines to “Dads on the air” I would be happy to hear from you.

    Kind regards

    Like

  31. Christopher Wedge (@N7Kopper) · April 16, 2015

    I knew this one would be heart-wrenching, so I tried reading it while playing some Smash Bros. in an attempt to blunt the impact somewhat… I had to put the game down and cry a little.

    Not that any of this bollocks has ever impacted me, or anyone I know. But, really. Does that matter!?

    Like

  32. Worried · April 16, 2015

    your last line is do something more than just talk or get them to talk -what do you suggest?

    Like

  33. MalcolmL · April 16, 2015

    Hi Karen

    Thank you so much for this.

    My first thought after seeing that documentary was the one you touched on briefly at the end of your post.

    It is not that men won’t talk. It’s that few people will listen.

    A friend who is struggling through a painful contact dispute told me he’d been given a stern word of advice from another friend: “STOP talking about your problems with your daughter – you’re starting to lose friends over it”.

    So – that’s what happens if you “talk about your problems”.

    Like

  34. Jeremy Hutchinson · April 16, 2015

    Societies attitude & behaviour towards men, & thereby at me via female colleagues and else where in life drove me to suicide talk. The old fashioned labels & stereotyping still placed upon men but greatly altered and reduced towards women over the last 30 years didn’t help. Society dictated what it expected of me by its expected rules and labels, it was my wife, male Doctor that led me to a female Counsellor that stopped this talk of mine and guided me to the person I am now, happy, free, content but at the end me. I have always talked about my concerns but others told me to man up, men don’t behave like that etc. My wife was duty bound to follow these critics via peer pressure. This didn’t just include my skirt wearing, oh sorry, society label towards men I should say womens clothes.

    I believe in talking and now far more assertive thanks to these three in my life. I did watch the Panorama programme and yes it was said that it would help if men talked more. I know many men who carry “baggage” their lives darkened because they will not talk or make a stand to those who insist on still applying the labels and expectations of being a man. I also noted that Jane Powell also said that their needs to be a cultural change within Society with it’s expectations of men just as there has been for women.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 17, 2015

      I thinkthat what you are saying sort of sums the whole thing up really Jeremy. What I am talking about is the structural barriers to men’s health and well being. What you are talking about is cultural attitudes to masculinity. One is not acceptable in terms of changing, the other one is. Talking is good but it doesn’t get your kids back, find you a house, help you keep your job and prevent men from killing themselves when they face violence in the home but no-one believes them. The underlying cultural attitudes, which are that men don’t suffer violence because they are violent inherently and therefore deserve it or that men should not be supported to care for their children because they are dangerous are those things which keep structural barriers in place. I am sure many men carry baggage in their lives because of not talking and yes some people do not make a stand against the expectations of being a man, but what about the men who just want to be men. Unadulterated, unchanged and unashamed men? I totally get that changing cultural attitudes so that men can wear skirts and dress how they please and do what they like is important but you find people like Jane Powell totally comfortable with that because that is about changing the face of acceptable masculinity. All the while, men who are just men, find themselves not acceptable, ridiculed, blamed, shamed and not helped. We have entered a period of time where the people who are the least visible, the least listened to, the least cared about, the least understood are men who just are men. We have demonised masculinity and elevated all aspects of what it is to not be an ordinary man to that of being somehow more highly evolved. Well it is not more highly evolved to be not a man, it is just different and difference should be recognised, respected and revered, whether that be because you wear a skirt or wear trousers, whether you are on the far edges of masculinity or smack bang in the middle of the spectrum. In equalities work you cannot pick and choose who is equal, either we all are equal or we are not and some are more advantaged than others (or acceptable) and in real terms, men who are just men, are currently, in the world I work in, very much not in that place of advantage. That is because of structural barriers which are held in place by cultural assumptions. That is not equality and that is why I thought that the programme was flawed and skewed by a feminist agenda. K

      Like

      • Jeremy Hutchinson · April 17, 2015

        I do agree men do have structural barriers, many and in many aspects. My initial comment to your article was to emphasis generally on behalf of the male gender about societies attitudes towards men generally keeping it brief. Many aspects that society are very negative towards men about thankfully do not affect me, and I’m not being selfish here. I do sympathise in these situations and say how would I feel if I was and support those as best I can knowing that in many areas I do not have direct experience. However I and many men like me do have one that society is negative towards mainly by women and yes some men. In this respect I have regular contact, mainly via my site asking how I wear skirts in public, they would like too but cannot because of peer pressure from men and women because it is not it is not traditional/expected for men. It makes these men become recluses within themselves and society. I had one this week via Twitter!

        It takes a lot of reasons to drive people to suicide, men or women. I brought my circumstances into my comment as that was my direct experience of being suicidal and that talking prevented that from happening and it was not just about my choice of clothes. Several aspects of society as to how I was to behave, do, types of jobs, become a father, be the bread winner, what sports I should be in and watch, look after my wife in the traditional way etc. My wife and I are both modern in outlook, open, liberal minded, each on an equal footing, team players etc and it was hard. Many prejudge us, especially my wife because we are childless but at no time do they think why or ask why before passing comment. We made a large organisation move in our lives in 1998, live in the country, away from towns, cities even large villages. I went self employed created my own business from scratch my wife continued as an employee but in a new environment. It helped but societies issues upon me, a man, it’s perceptions upon me as a man, portrayal by some women very negatively forced me to seek professional help and yes choice of clothing was included. For me it worked, I’m positive it would for others because these three people in my life that supported me, two professionals 2010/2012, enabled me to see things in a different light, even things I could not change like the structural barriers within society because I’m still a man, and yes even not in a skirt, women do prejudge me, including in the presence of children because as you say all men are inherently violent, men do not have issues, etc. I could not and still cannot change these structural issues within my life in society but developing strategies to cope with them via talking has. They are still there, but I have changed within to cope.

        I do see what you say about Jane Powells comments and why she advocates that society needs a cultural change towards men but I still stand by my support for her comments. Perhaps because I have seen how a change within me, I must stress it is not my clothing choice here I’m talking about, has allowed me via talk, to cope with structural barriers that I cannot alter as an individual. It is one of the reasons why I have a website, blogspot and Twitter account all since 2011, Twitter since 2013. It expresses my views, reasons, not to convert would be skirt wearers but to add to many voices to shout out, why not, but what if, to add a small voice to mens rights issues even if I’m not affected directly by some. Via talk, I as an individual approach life, people in a different way to how I use to. It’s a cultural change but at an individual level. My life is richer and more positive for doing so. I’m not talking about my skirt wearing here.

        Talk may not bring back my kids, keep my house, job etc but it can help me deal with reality to enable a firm base to rebuild and know that I would have support. There are no support groups for men in skirts but there are for many other life’s issues and these are all based upon talk but sadly most of these are targeted towards womens issues even though men share the same issues. I do still believe that Jane Powell’s point about society needs a cultural change in attitudes towards men as this would wipe out many if not all structural barriers. I do not see it as weakening masculinity. If you meet me, see me, get to know me, you would know that I am not demeaned as a man or my masculinity. It is still pointed out to me that what I do and say is “typical of a bloke” and preferences on the whole are still gender different and related compared to my wife and many other women. I embraced a cultural change as an individual for my own sanity and yes that included my choice of clothes but this latter point is purely a personal preference just as it is and has been for women to drop their expected labels and stereotyping in clothing. They are still women. I’m still a man and apart from choice of clothing I am no different to most real men, unadulterated, unchanged and unashamed men. All our friends continue to embrace me, even new ones with my individual cultural change and I’m not only talking about choice of clothes.

        Men need to move with the times and reinvigorate a modern image, just like women have done from being viewed by society as being secondary, submissive and a lot of the times worthless. I admire this change for and by women and I support it. I am not saying that all men should change clothing styles, become stay at home partner, drop all aspects of masculinity etc If society and womens campaigns have created attitudes towards men as being inherently violent or don’t suffer violence etc then men in this modern era should re-brand themselves, shake off aspects that create this image by the few in the male gender and accept that good old fashioned masculinity with its associated perceived images does not sit like a hand in a glove as perhaps it once did when society was dominated by macho men and for the last several hundred years. Men via Mens Rights campaigns should be more effective with getting their message over as effectively as campaigns like Feminisim and HeForShe have. I acknowledge that Feminism was valid and had a purpose and some aspects of life still need tweaking and I also hear they and now HeForShe manipulate statistics and facts to suit the message they want to portray in their aims and ambitions for the future. Men to me just look back, stay as individuals, compete with each other. Men do not rally as a group especially if another man is different, has something different etc. Men have multiple campaign groups, women too, but they have feminism and HeForShe as focal points. I do not see a similar focal point here for men to portray a real image for men and masculinity. If men stuck together as the sisterhood for women do, even though as a group we differ in appearance and personality, just as it is for women, the image of not all men are violent etc would come forth. Times change, people change, aspects of life change like transport, communication, etc and so too must the male gender. Things that don’t change as time moves forward become extinct or at the least left behind. Look at the human race in all aspects through the millennium.

        I firmly believe a majority of male suicides would be prevented if the roles, expectations, beliefs and ethos of men were to have a cultural change and still retain the male gender and masculinity. It needs to be a society cultural change because men must reinvent themselves in this new era that we are in, it will not go back to how it was and also because women need to stop placing these old fashioned and outdated labels and stereotyping upon men because in this new era that we now have in society it simple does not let this co-exist. Feminism, HeForShe, society still expect the old labels/and stereotypes of men yet criticise the same men for being outdated, old fashioned, not forward thinking, not respecting feminism etc. Men must re-brand themselves, as men, as masculinity but with a modern touch, not what it has been since the industrial revolution. Women are nothing like they were within society 30 years ago, let alone the industrial revolution, yet 99% of women still have femininity, the female touch, preferences and I will not avoid making reference to their choice of clothes these days compared to a few years ago, the male wardrobe has been assimilated but they are still women. The latter is personal choice/preference, the rest is down to us men. Part of the problem is also us men and women do not have a problem with themselves or the determination to not get left behind or walked upon, Good for them I say.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · April 18, 2015

        tis with a heavy heart I read all of this Jeremy. It speaks of the freedoms men are told they should fight for, not the freedoms many men want and need. I don’t have time to go through your reply stage by stage but I will say this. I would fight to the death for your right to wear a skirt but you don’t need me to because your skirt wearing is about challenging notions of acceptable masculinity and you are acceptable as man in a skirt to the people who want masculinity to be at least controlled if not changed forever. Changing cultural assumptions WILL NOT give a man the right to love his children from the cradle to the grave, we have changed our cultural assumptions about what men do but the structural barriers to the right to love their children from birth onwards, uninterrrupted by whether or not they are in relationship with the mother of their children. They do not have that right, to love, to provide, to fight for, to die for…the only ‘right’ they have is reframed as a responsibility..to pay for their children..about as 1950’s as it gets. Men can wear skirts but they have no inherent right to care for the children they begat…..what kind of cultural change is that? How does that free men and how does it allow them to live their lives in freedom? Men are nothing like they were thirty years ago, but the structural barriers to their relationships with their kids are ten times harsher now than they they were then. And men do collectivise, they do campaign, they do fight for their rights – look at F4J the biggest single issue campaign since the 1970’s bar green peace etc…what do say of those men? We say they are bullies, neer do wells and they deserve to be kept from their kids. When men are men we shame them, when they are acceptable men – ie more like women, we laud their courage. Either we fight for equality and that means equality for all or we fight for acceptable equality which is not equality it is feminism. I know which side I am on.

        Like

  35. Ed Bremner · April 17, 2015

    Thank you Karen

    Like

  36. Eric D. Tarkington · April 18, 2015

    Karen Woodall presents a quick but thorough description of the horrifying path that leads so many ordinary, good fathers to the only escape they can find. I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that some of these men are making a rational choice, because the pain is too severe, they will never recover from the psychological damage in their lifetimes, and the rest of humanity truly won’t ever come to help enough to make a difference.

    I don’t have the right or the power to decide how much pain another person’s life is worth. Think of a person hanging in a high window of a burning building. Would you condemn someone in that situation for letting go when the heat becomes too much and there’s no hope of rescue?

    For many men, the key reason for staying alive is the idea of a slim chance that they might be able to save or help someone else. I can’t think of anything more noble, but millions of men are doing it while nobody knows and nobody cares.

    Like

  37. Jeremy Hutchinson · April 19, 2015

    Karen

    I never disagreed with your blog. The issue of mens right to freedom of choice of clothing was never the intention to be the dominance on the relies of suicide. I mentioned it initially as a direct experience of suicide tendencies on my part and I know a lot of male suicides are not simply over jobs, children houses etc. A recent Government survey (March 2015) states 34% of all male suicides are in the LGBT community, by the way I’m not LGBT but as I said before I show interest in other areas even if I am not directly involved.

    My example I mentioned about my suicide experience is a structural barrier to men like me when we get a lot of “hassle” from society, men and women so in effect it may be a right on paper but not in practice but lets not dwell on this.

    I do know there are mens campaigns, I monitor quite a few. What I was trying to point out is that I do feel that mens campaigns are fragmented unlike womens and I do feel a focal point like women have generated is needed. For years men have voiced about loss of rights but they never seem to make progress unlike women.

    For years I have muttered and moaned about men being pushed backwards. I have always talked of true gender equality. I am not as active on this subject as you or many people are but you will note in my twitter line apart from men in skirts I do raise true gender equality and have brought many mens discrimination (not skirt wearing) to #feminisim, #heforshe and at times everyday sexism. 99.9% are ignored at times I get abuse back and I do feel alone. Yes alone because many men and women once they see my twitter title or know I wear skirts dismiss me as being a nothing, nonintellectual or like in this situation, my issues is not one for concern. I may reflect on future involvement.

    I have noted Peter Lloyds article in the online mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3044380/The-denigration-men-Ridiculed-abused-exploited-triumph-feminism-today-s-men-second-class-citizens-argues-deliciously-provocative-new-book-s-time-chaps-fought-back.html and this echoes many of my own thoughts even though many do not directly apply to me. Perhaps a focal point for men may be forming.

    I am a man and a complete heterosexual one at that, I get a fair degree of ‘man bashing’ by society so I do sympathise with the plight of mens rights. I did stress in my replies that if not directly involved I put my self in that position and say to myself, how would I feel and try in what ever way possible to lend support. I do not see that to often by others.

    We appear to have differing interpretations but I have supported the campaigns for mens rights as best I can, but I look at ALL mens rights, freedoms and discrimination either via a right or no right, directly involved or not. I also embrace true gender equality for all, even if I’m not directly involved. Selecting who has a right or not, which are important or irrelevant based upon others perception is to me similar to the policies of feminism and HeForShe comparing their rights to mens rights.

    I will draw a close to this, and move on.

    Like

    • Jeremy Hutchinson · April 19, 2015

      Two spelling mistakes:

      1) Para 1 Line 2. ‘relies’ should be replies

      2) Link re Peter Lloyd should be MailOnline

      Like

  38. Jeremy Hutchinson · April 20, 2015

    Karen

    It is obviously clear our interpretations of true gender equality & its relevant inclusions are different. Our replies have concentrated on choice of male clothing as being one even though I was also talking generally about mens rights discrimination but having slept on your last reply to me I need to take direct issue with one particular aspect:

    “you don’t need me to because your skirt wearing is about challenging notions of acceptable masculinity and you are acceptable as man in a skirt to the people who want masculinity to be at least controlled if not changed forever.”

    I do not wear skirts or what society labels as womens clothing to be controlled by the people who want to change masculinity forever. I wear skirts out of choice, preference, for character and personality, comfort and ease of wearing a garment for a male body. My choice of clothing is actually no different to the 99.9% of women who have ditched their clothing expectations of society for a preference they prefer. Following your remark it is obviously fair to say that that these women who wear trousers and other male style clothing want to be controlled by those who want to maintain the strict doctrine of masculinity and feel they need to reflect such an image to succeed in life. I’m sure it’s not, but simply preference and freedom of choice/expression. They can wear and appear how they like without question of intellect, ability, gender question, motives etc. They can appear where ever and how ever without question on any platform, discussion or aspect of life, I certainly cannot even though I do wear one. Those within society that do openly mock me for the clothing choice I prefer are 99% women and 99% of these are women in trousers & male style clothing, so who is actually controlling me to change masculinity? It cannot be these women. I do not see feminism or HEforShe putting men like me on center stage in their campaigns to demean masculinity.

    Mine and the many men who I have spoken to and read about choice of clothing on social media are restricted, are denied and do lead a very restrictive life due to society and its perceptions. I have spoken of some experiences I am aware of and the effect it has on mens lives but these appear to have been ignored in our discussion of relevance. It is only a few like me who actually stand up to society and it’s narrow and at times self centered expectations which concentrate on issues pertinent to them, not as a real and true drive for inclusive true gender equality for all.

    My replies have only generated discussion on why mens clothing choice is or not a structural barrier and being nothing compared to real mens problems. It’s a bit sad as I raised it as an example of my suicide to an article about male suicide when I felt it missed out other valid reasons.

    Our discussions have to me clearly indicated that you, like so many, do not really understand the difference between freedom of choice/expression between women and men and the effects it has upon women and men. They have also clearly indicated that men and their problems have to be true old fashioned masculinity otherwise its not a real issue. Too many in society prejudge and judge a book by its cover. I may not have this old style masculinity but I am a man, portray masculinity and do not reflect female gender personality at all. Check out my site and blogs. Its only the medical profession I rely on in life!

    I will continue to show support for MRA’s via Twitter but only for those who respect. Interestingly I do have a few who follow me on Twitter!

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 20, 2015

      I think you just don’t get what I am saying Jeremy to be honest. I know you don’t wear skirts to please anyone else or to be controlled by others, I know that. I also know that masculinity can be a whole range of things, just as femininity can be, that is not in question. But your right to wear a skirt and to express yourself in a skirt or to take comfort in wearing a skirt or to feel that you are wholly a man in wearing a skirt is not the same (in my view) as the structural barriers that face men who don’t want to wear a skirt but do want to have the right to care for the kids they brought into the world but can’t because they don’t have that right. Moreover, those men, when they fight for their right to care for their children, are dismissed as bullies and big mouths, they are not taken seriously and they are shamed largely, for being nothing other than men who want to care for their children – which is about as different to the stereotypical 1950’s man as you are only they face legislative barriers to their freedoms, whilst you face cultural barriers – the two are very different things.

      I am not dismissing your courage and tenacity in wearing a skirt however your skirt wearing is acceptable to feminists and as feminists rule much of our society, particularly around body image, health, the family etc, your struggle is seen as something which is pushing the boundaries of masculinity towards what these women regard as being acceptable masculinity. That doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the impact of doing that on you or others like you but it does mean that I understand the difference between that and what the men who face being shut out of caring for their children face and the two things are different. One is structural and unchanging and the other is cultural and open to change.

      You can wear a skirt and you can challenge acceptable notions of masculinity but men who want to care for their children can’t. They can’t because when they do a collective process of blame and shame ramps up to stop them. The most notable of which happened in the last five years when feminists put a stop to changes in law to move towards a more egalitarian legislative framework for post separation parenting. They did this on the basis of feminist beliefs that all men are dangerous to children until they prove otherwise. That prevents all men from having the security of knowing that if their relationship ends their caring relationship with their children will not.

      That is very different in my view to facing cultural assumptions about wearing a skirt. It is not about saying that all men have to be true old fashioned style masculine – most of these men are about as far away from the 1950’s stereotype as it is possible to get…they want to care for their children…you want to wear a skirt. I respect both of those things but one has a structural barrier to it which is set firmly in legislation and is kept there by shame and blame and the other is acceptable to those who want to keep the structural barriers to men caring for children in place. Skirt wearing being a challenge to standard masculinity is acceptable to feminists…caring for your kids is not which is why there are no legislative barriers preventing you from wearing skirts and comprehensively designed and managed barriers to prevent men from caring for their children.

      This is not about anything other than reality. I am not dismissing your struggle, I just do not think it is the same as the struggle I am describing in my article and I do not think that Jane Powell has the first idea of the structural barriers facing men, which is why I wrote it in the first place. K

      Like

  39. 999Flynn · April 20, 2015

    If Dads were Dolphins the spike of suicide would go down. Rather than look at how men heal from abuse we should look at how they are abused. Women hit men b/c they know that the man will not hit back. This same woman also understands the power of aiming a child at a mans temple. Society doesn’t want to talk about the real issues b/c it would have to change the narrative that is working for so many women. The people who kept to their death on 911 are not classified as suicide but murder. If we were to look at the very real issue of how men are abused we would have to accept that women are equally capable of being sociopathic and the courts would have to hold them accountable for the crimes. Rape someone of what is most sacred to them and then force them to pay extortion fines is how the system works. We can not ask the dead men 40-50 but you can ask any man who pines for their justice. DeadBeat is a nice term for someone who doesn’t pay the extortion and Narcissism is too flowery a word to explain someone who molests the mind of a child because they have divorced the father. Many will stay in a relationship b/c they are afraid to suffer the loss of the child.

    Blaming these men and suggesting they have a chemical imbalance provides further evidence that the “mental health” experts are lying to you. The fact is they have no idea of the normal values. This is lie that is perpetuated and swallowed as the truth by the general public.

    The Spike in suicides is a new shift that has a direct correlation to the invention of the DeadBeat dad as is the spike in teen suicide. The press coverage is also molded to fit the needs of the mother so you will note how the press covers the “Single Mom” around the 2006.

    Good Dads only exist because of Good Moms and women who molest the minds of children are not a parent. It is not a sexist argument yet many will attempt to pull it into one. The courts are devouring the children and I am speaking for many and for your children. Those who are exploited by this system are going to grow up to abuse or be abused.

    What I speak of is not a theory but a fact and 50/50 shared parenting that does not address the underlying issues will only result an increase of the demonization of men. The closer you come to the sociopaths prey the more vicious they will become.

    Look to the ones who defend the Myth because they are the ones who need it the most.

    Wish I was a Dolphin and thanks for listening

    Like

  40. Jeremy Hutchinson · April 20, 2015

    I understand more than you are giving me credit for. With our replies I also understand what was said and what wasn’t. What was ignored and what wasn’t. What was concentrated on and what wasn’t. I also note what was answered, what wasn’t and how.

    Your blog title is Man Shaming and Victim Blaming: the A-Z of Male Suicide in the UK which implies comprehensive reasons of male suicide. Perhaps I could enhance my understanding if you could provide me with a link that backs up your blog that male suicides are centered and primarily on what you say – the title of the blog. I don’t deny that these are causes but not the only ones. To me raw statistics are very open so I look for reports that give flesh to the bones including areas that don’t affect me so I was very interested in noting the one from the Royal College of Nursing on male suicides specific to LGBT being 34% of male suicides. Reports into specific areas of cause are hard to find so it was natural for this to catch my eye. This and other examples I mentioned in my comments was simply saying but there are other factors, talk does help (from direct experience), and with regards structural change and barriers, well let sleeping dogs lie here.

    I find intriguing your obsession of my skirt wearing within your replies. Yes I retorted on this aspect which probably exacerbated it but this was simply due to your many comments on that aspect, certainly in your first reply to me. Look at my very first comment, it was a passing reference only not the main aspect of what I was raising.

    What I don’t understand is your interpretation, and you said it twice, that my skirt wearing is acceptable to feminists and those who want to control masculinity and for ever. I challenged you directly on this point giving direct facts and personal experience for my challenge. I do understand though why you declined to answer.

    All the best with your campaign for men and their children. From what you say on egalitarian legislative framework it is a wrong that needs correcting. I am intrigued how my brother who got divorced has their child living with him 60% of the time and 40% with his ex. Yes he does pay towards his child’s upbringing but as he says, it is his child as well.

    Thanks for the conversations, from a bloke who is as concerned about societies negativity towards the male gender on all aspects.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 21, 2015

      Jeremy, your line as follows says it all…

      From what you say on egalitarian legislative framework it is a wrong that needs correcting. I am intrigued how my brother who got divorced has their child living with him 60% of the time and 40% with his ex. Yes he does pay towards his child’s upbringing but as he says, it is his child as well.

      Now what does that mean I wonder? What it means is that your major interest is in your own personal experiences and your brother shows you that this legislative framework is not exactly what I say it is….your intimation is that men don’t get to see their kids because they don’t pay for them….I think you are exactly the kind of person who falls for the narrative voiced by feminists that good men pay child support (and wear skirts).

      Open your mind…question your own personal belief system….I support you wearing a skirt…you come back and quote LGBT statistics at me as if they are the only stats that matter…I tell you your skirt wearing acceptable and you tell me I am obsessed by your skirt wearing…you were the one who came on here talking about skirt wearing not me…you are the one who identifies as the skirted man not me…so if you label yourself as such, forgive me for talking about you as such.

      Your comment at the end of this reply says it all for me. We live in different worlds Jeremy,you in a world where structural barriers and change are best left like sleeping dogs, I in a world where men are losing their relationship with their children daily…all for being men.

      Like

  41. 999Flynn · April 21, 2015

    Million Dads March #2015

    Karen – I want to thank you for this wonderful discussion and the opportunity to post my rant. Male suicide one of the symptoms and the most lethal one. Not having my children in my life has left me without a sense of purpose and I suspect this is a commonality.

    Perhaps something like a million Dad March might be a good idea to help men find that purpose that we have lost. Arguing with the “feminist” about this subject should not be part of our movement as we have nothing to do with them. This is not their fight and it is not a battle of the sexes. If I can’t save my kids I can save the others and set a good example for what I am as a Dad.

    Jeremy’s remarks are intended to be inflammatory and in the interest of moving our discussion forward I suggest he be encouraged to google LBTG support. We are familiar with the tactics employed and it is essential that we resist the temptation to argue with the sun.

    How do we move forward as Men and avoid the fragmentation?

    Thank you,

    Flynn

    Like

  42. woodman1959 · April 24, 2015

    Today I’ve been catching up with and reflecting on the comments here because I would like to share Karen Straughan’s latest YouTube video,

    In this unusual piece Karen S. tackles a fellow YouTuber who has produced a video that minimizes male suffering while maximizing her own. Without specifically setting out to do so, from 6.48 in particular she does a brilliant job of explaining the background to male suicide – and also why it is largely ignored.

    A few of the key points she is making:

    1. “Men have long been expected to distract themselves from their own suffering and not bother others with it”, developing “emotional and psychological callouses”, instead.

    2. How these traditionalist attitudes, far from being challenged…are made infinitely worse by the ‘feminist’ treachery – now men are damned for NOT expressing feelings – but damned even more…when they DO.

    (Feminist’ is in inverted commas because personally I believe that those being referred to should be termed ‘female supremacists’…and are NOT actually feminists at all – another part of their deception).

    3. Since emotional expression by men invariably leads to such considerable punishment (severe social disapproval) males will tend to respond by suppressing feeling and denying suffering – while completely on the contrary…women are often heavily invested in, and rewarded by – exaggerated perceptions of hurt NOT based in fact. Karen S. is scathing of her own gender insofar as female feelings have come to eclipse objective reality.

    It is moving when she talks about the negative attitudes she sees being directed at her own sons assumed as being inherent oppressors of females right from infancy unless stopped in their tracks, and how – just because women DO sometimes become victims of men (and she has been one herself) that it simply does not then follow that things are ALWAYS worse for women – at all.

    The reality Karen S. reminds us of – is that men fare worse than women on all the standard sociological measures that are used (even when omitting to put suicide on her list!) although this is something that would immediately be highlighted and addressed if we were comparing any OTHER two social groups.

    Karen S. describes one of the worst features of being assaulted as the lack of “agency” – that is, the power to do anything about it. This is EXACTLY the devastating structural problem we males face in terms of the onslaught against us in regard to family…whereas actually she identifies for the woman concerned – quite a number of empowering individual strategies that women CAN use to prevent and deal with sexual assault, for example.

    A very relevant point in another video Karen did,

    was that men who tend to fail to acknowledge male disadvantage and to over-protect women are doing so trying to “prove their manhood – to feel strong and brave and macho” by “coming to the rescue” of women…who these men pretend are “much weaker than they are” – so by this means “overcompensating for a lack of real or perceived masculine status”.

    It is helpful for her to articulate this, as I have seen, but not so well understood – this characteristic in many of the men who do work in institutions alongside women, and who will often be used to form a major part of the attack on us at any point…to confuse and disguise as to where the attack is most profoundly coming from.

    In response to Flynn – I think we do now need to have a “million men” march, if it was at all possible. A true egalitarian feminist like myself is in fact as much a target by the supremacists as any traditional male – probably even MORE so…as we are seen to be directly invading the “female territory of childcare” – which the more traditional male would tend to wish to leave well alone, as much as possible. So the more “liberal” man is as much or more at threat – than the more “conservative” one, and there are a lot of us now – all in this together.

    Difficult to get unity, true – hopefully this film has been a start…but I suspect what is needed is some much harder hitting films to be made – to help act as a rallying point.

    Is there a film-maker out there who is up to this challenge?

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 24, 2015

      woodman, you are watching Girlwriteswhat 🙂

      Like

      • woodman1959 · April 24, 2015

        Of course! Delivery a little wooden at times, but content is SO impressive – ‘more detailed’ than Camille Paglia usually is, and able to be even more irreverent, while ‘equally dedicated’ as a Christina Hoff Sommers. She easily shares a platform with Warren Farrell. There are many others stateside – Kathleen Parker ‘Save The Males’, Cathy Young – ‘Ceasefire’ – all are simply egalitarian and against female supremacism, that’s all.

        It would be great to see some more of such voices over here…I know the US is a big place, but it’s still rather puzzling as to why UK women are generally so, SO intimidated about openly voicing an even-handed stance!

        Like

      • karenwoodall · April 25, 2015

        well you see Woodman when we do, there’s a whole lot of folk who jump in and tell us that we are really feminists and so we end up having the ‘yes but that’s what feminism is for’ argument….:) it is tiring arguing against the orthodoxy, especially on this small isle where the forces for feminism are many and so well funded and too many people are terrified of being told that they are somehow being ‘political’ when they argue against feminist orthodoxy driving family services – as if feminism isn’t political!

        Too many people are scared of the backlash if they come and say that equalities work and feminism are two different things.

        Like

  43. Pingback: Man shaming and victim blaming: The A-Z of male suicide in the UK – loveyoubuddy
  44. Anonymous · March 1, 2016

    For me, I stay alive for my kids, to be there for them.
    It’s going to be complicated growing up for them.
    I have a son and daughter and worry for their future in this world.
    Already my son is asking questions about men and women and all the complexity that goes with it and TBH, I don’t know what to say anymore.

    Like

  45. Pingback: The Non-Binary Code with Coffee Pot and Bird Beak! | KitchenWare

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