Los Angeles, CA–As I mentioned a few days ago, Edmonton Sun columnist Mindy Jacobs wrote a pro-father column last week as a response to protests from our readers over her anti-father column When dad is just bad (9/10/08).
Jacobs’ original column reported that Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, charged that the leaders of some fathers’ rights groups are “abusers.”
I had urged readers to write the paper, and Jacobs noted, “From California to Massachusetts, American men flayed me.”
I liked Jacobs’ follow-up column–Divorced from reality (Edmonton Sun, 9/18/08)–but I didn’t comment directly because I wanted to give readers the chance to express their views without my malevolent influence.
Readers were largely negative about the column. Many of the positive things Jacobs wrote were ignored. These included:
1) Acknowledging the problem of false allegations of domestic violence.
2) Acknowledging the problem of false allegations of child molestation.
3) Acknowledging how women block fathers’ visitation rights and are rarely punished for it.
4) Acknowledging that men are sometimes physically abused by their wives.
5) Acknowledging that police are often indifferent at best to male victims of domestic violence.
To me that’s a rather impressive list, particularly since Jacobs and other Sun columnists are allotted only 550 words for their columns (in most of my newspaper columns I get about 700 and it’s still hard to get things in). Instead, readers chose to focus on the negative. There wasn’t much, but Jacobs did write:
“[T]here is no denying that women are much more likely than men to be the victims of the most severe physical abuse and spousal homicide.”
Most readers’ criticism focused on that statement. It’s a defensible statement, but “somewhat more likely” is probably a better description than “much more likely.”
For example, according to American statistics (I don’t know the numbers for Canada), every year roughly 1,300 women and 500 men are murdered by their current or former intimate partners. For Jacobs to write “much more likely” in reference to this is fair enough, but Jacobs may not be aware of many of the issues behind those statistics.
This apparent 2.6 to 1 ratio is distorted by several blinders which greatly conceal female murders of men–blinders delineated nicely by author Warren Farrell in his book Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say. I can’t blame Jacobs for not being aware of that, though. To learn more, see a couple of my newspaper columns on it here and here.
As for “women are much more likely than men to be the victims of the most severe physical abuse,” the research overall indicates that about a third of all serious injuries are suffered by men. Again, “somewhat more likely” is probably better than “much more likely,” but what Jacobs wrote is defensible.
Re: Jacobs, there were a couple of readers who did agree with me.
Edmonton activist Chris Jones, who has dealt with Jacobs before, wrote, “This is the first time [Jacobs] has yielded.” He wrote:
From Edmonton, I want to thank all those of you who responded to Mindelle Jacobs piece where she “mindlessly” parroted that misandric quote from Rita Smith at the Women’s Shelter Conference a few weeks ago. Like most of the local media she has been deaf to men’s concerns and issues for years. This is the first time she has yielded, and I can only say that I really appreciate the support so many of you showed. It has been a huge boost!
Michael A.Claymore wrote:
There’s little to complain about here. This is what I wrote to her…
“As a regular at www.GlennSacks.com I would just like to say that this is a fair story that gives a good counterpoint to your earlier one. Bet you didn’t think I was gonna say that did you?”
And yes, male partners are more likely to kill females than the other way round.
I think it was good how she ended her piece though. That last sentence should invoke a lot of serious thought about the inequalities amongst the local readership. [Jacobs ended with “If a woman’s ever tossed in jail for the weekend for refusing her ex court-ordered access to the kids, let me know. Now that’s a story.”]
Anyway, thanks to the hundreds of you who participated in our protest. To read my previous blog posts on this controversy, click here.
One more note–as I’ve told you before, this blog does very well in Google Search rankings, and here’s another example. As of today anyway, if you type in “Edmonton Sun” on Google, 641,000 entries come up. My entry about Jacobs and the Sun is 7th. Your comments on our site get pretty good play.