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We men do need to own the violence problem

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, July 5th, 2014 - 246 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, equality, labour, making shit up, Media, poverty, spin - Tags:

The media has this really frustrating practice whereby big issues raised by the opposition are broken down into simplistic analysis of stray collections of words and then this is used as a means of attack.  As we saw this week a Minister can absolutely drop the ball on an important issue involving diplomatic immunity and relations with a friendly nation with no adverse consequence but god help the leader of the opposition if a phrase in a speech can when extracted raise the ire of some.

The practice goes like this:

  1. Find a speech that David Cunliffe or another member of the opposition has made.
  2. Parse the speech for a particular combination of words.
  3. Pluck these particular words out of context and to be sure give them a good spin.
  4. Claim that David is advocating something based on these few words.
  5. Ignore the speech as a whole and whatever you do do not discuss the topic which David Cunliffe was discussing.
  6. Be sure to get the nodding heads in social media both left and right to claim that the particular selection of words were ill chosen.
  7. Stand by as a bunch of indignant RWNJs flood social media with attacks.

It is not as if the right are lacking in brains and are unable to parse a whole speech and only able to understand a few words clumped together.  Matthew Hooton and David Farrar are urbane intellectuals but unfortunately they regularly choose to attack in this particular way.  They obviously believe that protection of an unfettered market is vital and if raising an argument that is effectively intellectually tricky is the price to pay then so be it.

Labour’s anti domestic violence policy release was impressive.  The bottom line, Labour is prepared to put $60 million over 4 years into addressing domestic violence.  That is a lot of money.  The debate should be:

  1. Are the suggested policy
  2. Is this a good spend.
  3. If it is a good idea are the areas where the money is proposed to be spent the best areas.

Instead of this the right wing want us to focus on six words.  Six words in a passage immediately surrounded by 48 other words.  If you read the six words you get one impression.  But if you read the 54 words you get an entirely different impression.  And you can decide to read the whole package and make an informed decision.  Instead the media want us to concentrate on their spin applied to those six words.

And in a further irony it is intriguing that some men are so incensed at David Cunliffe’s six words yet I have not heard any complaint by them that someone had fired bullets at Hone Harawira’s office.

The right is getting tedious.  They wait for a speech, grab a few words out of context, apply large amounts of spin and then set it free in social media to do its damage.

And the press then buy into the spin and keep repeating it.  I make no apology for criticising them.  Their role in our democracy is far too important for them to not do their job properly.

A heading that the Herald could have used for instance came from Women’s Refuge chief executive Heather Henare who said “David Cunliffe’s speech was, I have to say, inspiring”.  But instead it focussed on the six words.

And they were taken out of context.

Here is what David Cunliffe said (thanks Imperator Fish).

“Can I begin by saying I’m sorry,” he said.

“I don’t often say it. I’m sorry for being a man right now, because family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children.

“So the first message to the men out there is: wake up, stand up and man up and stop this bullshit!”

And beat up on David time continues for the media.  Yesterday was fascinating.  At the same time that he was being criticised for adopting such a controversial stance he was also accused by Bryce Edwards in the Herald of being too bland and too close to National. Various sources were cited. Which is it?  Can someone let me know?  Is David Cunliffe too radical or is he too close to National or is he both at the same time.  The lack of thought that goes into this type of media reporting is jaw dropping.

And David is right.  Violence is an issue for all of us because we can address the causes.  We need a more tolerant supportive society.  We need to address poverty, improve the quality of education, treat mental health issues more seriously, address our deeply ingrained attitude to alcohol and provide better role models for our young men.  And most of all our attitude to women needs to change and change fast.  There needs to be a discussion of these issues, and this is far too important for it to be sidelined by right wing spin on six words.

All that I ask is that the media engages their thought processes before reporting right wing spin.  And that we have a real debate about the many important issues that our country faces.

246 comments on “We men do need to own the violence problem ”

  1. Zorr 1

    It is to be expected sadly – even among the progressive liberal males I know a depressingly large percentage are “irked” by what David Cunliffe said.

    After this, the post http://grahamcameron.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/im-sorry-for-being-a-man-sorry-boys-it-is-all-men should be required reading.

    I personally think it’s important to thank David Cunliffe for having the courage as the leader of a major political party to openly address the very serious issue of violence against women within our society in this way.

    I know too many men (and I was one of them) who are incapable of seeing the ways that they benefit from our patriarchal society and the constant threat of physical/sexual violence that women have to endure. I am not ashamed of being who I am, but I am ashamed that every time I read yet another domestic violence case in the paper, every comment is yet another variation of #NotAllMen.


    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      I am ashamed that every time I read yet another domestic violence case in the paper, every comment is yet another variation of #NotAllMen.

      FYI the start of the Slate article on violence and misogyny against women that you linked to uses the example of a recent mass killing in the USA (the Isla Vista killings).

      In the incident, the first 3 people the murder killed were Chinese men.

      • Zorr 1.1.1

        With regards that, they were his roommates. The kid had some fucked up perceptions of reality.

        But, beyond that, what’s your point? You aren’t actually engaging on the issue here but attempting to derail.

        If it’s any consolation, I almost didn’t post anything because last time this topic came up you and various other “identity politics” concern trolls came along.

        • Colonial Viper

          My point is that 3 Chinese MEN were killed up front by this individual and that is being used as an example of misogynistic violence by the Slate writer. What’s your point?

          You say the guy had ‘fucked up perceptions’ well actually, its likely he had full on diagnosable/psychiatric mental illness and had already been undergoing counselling.

          So how is it a “derail” to point out the actual facts of what gender the victims actually were in the case?

  2. Rupert 2

    Alternatively, Labour does not have its finger on the pulse when it comes to what statements are potentially explosive with large parts of the population. Anyone with half a brain in terms of how the population thinks would have said. ”ya know what. let’s leave that bit out of the speech for now. It’s not needed and will annoy the hell out of far more people than it will impress.”

    • Zorr 2.1

      That’s where I disagree Rupert.

      It needed to be said and it’s an indictment of our society that it has taken this long for someone in his position to say it.

    • karol 2.2

      potentially explosive with large parts of the population

      You mean the guys at the rugby club?

      Certainly not the women from Women’s Refuge who attended the conference, nor the women who have survived domestic violence, nor the girls/women violated and abused by powerful men like Rolf Harris (including several women now with quite powerful roles in the media and government).

      Oh, Christ, and now Bryce Edwards is banging his anti-“identity politics” drum on The Nation.

      • Tom Jackson 2.2.1

        As he should. Identity politics is inimical to the goals of the left.

        You don’t have to believe in identity politics to object to domestic violence. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t, since you’re more likely to actually get something done about it.

        • karol

          First, I don’t like the term “identity politics” because of the ways it is used as a smear and reduced to something trivial, separated from the very material impacts misogyny and sexism have on a large number of lives.

          Left politics IS about supporting all marginalised, oppressed and disadvantaged people, and creating a fair, just and equitable society.

          The left is not about supporting conventional masculinity and male power within a narrow politics for only some oppressed, and disadvantaged people.

          • Tom Jackson

            Left politics IS about supporting all marginalised, oppressed and disadvantaged people, and cretating a fair, just and equitable society.

            Sure, but identity politics doesn’t accomplish any of that. It just creates a kind of soft relativism between ill-defined interest groups, which then reduces politics to bargaining between these groups rather than matters of principle, and the right are just fine with that, because that’s how they do politics. The left can’t work that way: it needs a common standard of reason.

            You want to support marginalised people? Give them enough economic security so that bigots and bosses have little power over them. Identity politics just means more brown and more female capitalists and bosses. No thanks.

            • Colonial Viper

              It just creates a kind of soft relativism between ill-defined interest groups, which then reduces politics to bargaining between these groups rather than matters of principle, and the right are just fine with that, because that’s how they do politics.

              It’s been a highly effective tool of the Elite Right to disperse (and sometimes lever for their own ends) the energy and focus of the left wing, while they concentrate solely on the things they care about – political economic, corporate and banking dominance.

              • Ant

                You need to mobilise those interest groups as a plurality when society is fractured. To be effective, a left movement has to walk and chew gum at the same time on this…

                The reality is the majority of people no longer cleanly fall into clear economic groups, this works for the powers that be, sticking with 19th century conceptions of power just plays into their hands. Current conditions were in part devised as a counter to that…

                • Colonial Viper

                  The reality is the majority of people no longer cleanly fall into clear economic groups, this works for the powers that be, sticking with 19th century conceptions of power just plays into their hands. Current conditions were devised as a counter to that…

                  The majority of people DO fall cleanly into clear economic groups. 50% of NZers earn less than $28K pa for instance. An increasing proportion of 30-somethings do not and cannot own their own home. Does it get much clearer than that? The trick that has been pulled on people is on the level of perception. That is, getting them to buy into the illusion that they are all comfortable middle class – or at least that’s what they should aspire to.

                  Re: 19th century conceptions of power. Not sure what you mean, if you are meaning that those conceptions of power are out of date. I think they are still quite relevant. In the 19th century, control over the papers (media), big industry and the big banks was real power.

                  It still is.

                  • Ant

                    It was more a response to Tom. But, I find it’s not clear at all, you can have your traditional conceptions of the middle-class underemployed or on min-wage, working class on 100K, you can have newly immigrated families who are toughing it out for the next generation, then you can have your more traditionally groupings.

                    These mixed groups of people may not consider themselves as being part of the groups they are placed into when viewed in purely economic terms.

                    The left doesn’t have to target all of them but they need to target some of them, economic platforms don’t always account for that and don’t necessarily motivate these groups in the same way, doing away with “identity issues” would be dumb.

                    Like I said walk and chew gum at the same time.

        • Tracey

          certainly wealthy white, predominantly male heterosexual electorate dont like feminism, homosexual, race, discussions…and pretend to only object to the discussion when it is framed in “that” way…

          Look at yesterday, rather than embrace the majority of what he said and read and comment on the whole policy certain men went atomic overload, eager to make it very clear they arent part of the problem.

          I would rather have seen them reading the policy and urging their national party MPs to urge the implementation of school programmes teaching sex and respect in relationships, men for women and women for men… Programmes known to work cos they have been working. Mr Key just keeps dodging this issue. See comments around roast busters incidents, see rugby club comment, see diplomat immunity for domestic violence.

          • Populuxe1

            Meh. There are a lot of people of various genders, economic groups, ethnicities and sexual orientations who hate each other because of them. Targeting wealthy white male heterosexuals, who are a diverse in their views as any other group, is like the story of the blind men and the elephant.

          • vto

            wealthy white males tend to be the most homosexual (and those other things) of the lot tracey so I don’t know what you are going on about there.

            • Populuxe1

              If I could remember how to do an eye roll, I would

            • Vicky32

              “wealthy white males tend to be the most homosexual (and those other things) of the lot ”

              True, odd but true… 🙂

              • karol

                Tell that to John Key, Bill Gates, et al.

                • Vicky32

                  “Tell that to John Key, Bill Gates, et al.”

                  I am sure they know that! I do keep reading about the power of the pink dollar, after all.

          • Colonial Viper

            certainly wealthy white, predominantly male heterosexual electorate dont like feminism, homosexual, race, discussions…and pretend to only object to the discussion when it is framed in “that” way…

            Its prejudice from some of them, yes. But still extremely mild compared to their likely response if you were to increase the top tax rate to 49% or to implement an estate tax or a property tax. Because that’s where their true interest, and interests, lie.

      • Rupert 2.2.2

        I get that your’re annoyed that a lot of people got upset but sneering at those who got upset ( ”rugby club” ), or blaming the media, is not as smart as looking at how Labour deals with certain subjects in an effort not to walk into another minefield.
        ( oops, this is a reply to Karol who replied to my original comment )

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I’m not annoyed that people are upset. Keeping them comfortable and complacent isn’t going to change a damn thing.

          • karol

            Well said, OAB.

          • Tracey

            a BIG nerve was hit yesterday, but its okay, that nice Mr Key came along with a bit of mocking and dismissal and the upset sank back down into their comfort zones.

            • Colonial Viper

              I’m very interested to see if Roy Morgan will ‘randomly’ decide to release their male/female voter intention breakdown next time around…

    • Tom Jackson 2.3

      Yes, but good luck trying to convince this blog of that.

    • anker 2.4

      @2 Rupert. Where’s your evidence that “its potentially explosive”??? What about the counter argument that many woman, including myself are b….y grateful a man has said that.

      Men upset by that………..get over yourselves

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.4.1

        Well said. Howling and whining at their precious privilege being mentioned, let alone questioned.

      • Rupert 2.4.2

        ”Where’s your evidence that “its potentially explosive”???”
        The nearly 300 comments on stuff ( before they closed the comments) were pretty much all slamming Cunliffe. It suggests a lot of pissed off people.
        ”What about the counter argument that many woman, including myself are b….y grateful a man has said that.”
        If it increases the vote for Labour, it is a plus for Labour.
        ”Men upset by that………..get over yourselves”
        When people have issues about stuff, you often get to be surprised by what appears to be a huge over-reaction to a trivial stimulus. If you’re trying to win votes from them it pays to better informed. If you’re not trying to win votes from them , then it is of no concern at all. It doesn’t worry me one way or the other.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Identifying popular false beliefs and pretending to espouse them is only one way to win, and it’s a hollow, Pyrrhic victory at that.

          • Tracey

            plus one

          • Rupert

            if your comment was in reply to mine, then if Cunliffe being sorry he is a man is more important than winning the election under the false pretense that he is not sorry then three cheers for Cunliffe. He is sorry he is a man and he refuses to pretend he is not sorry he is a man just to win a lousy election.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              If that was what he meant you wouldn’t have to quote-mine his statement. Just like I can quote-mine your comment:

              “Cunliffe…is…winning the election.”

              Obviously I just altered your meaning. So, what is the difference between you and a Creationist?

              • Rupert

                ”So, what is the difference between you and a Creationist?”
                Creationists get into arguments online with cleverer people than I do ?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yes, because that addresses your quote-mining how?

                  • Rupert

                    I don’t know what you’re going on about with your ”quote mining” and ”Creationism” references so I’ll leave it at that.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sorry I was being charitable and assuming you would get it immediately.

                      You misquoted Cunliffe then drew false conclusions based on your mendacious (or perhaps naive – there’s that charity again) misrepresentation of his remarks.

                      Like, if you deleted everything after ‘sorry’, you could claim this is an apology.

                      ‘…this is an apology’.

                    • Rupert

                      I got it. I was trying to bow out of a conversation which was getting tedious. Over and out.

    • McFlock 2.5

      Anyone with half a brain in terms of how the population thinks would have said. ”ya know what. let’s leave

      I’m shocked at your poor choice of words. Cunliffe should not have run away while halfway through aspeech.

      • Rupert 2.5.1

        hahahaha !

        [lprent: seems like a pointless argument to me. Read the policy before I kick you off the site for being unable to say anything coherent. ]

  3. bad12 3

    i would have been more happy with a headline of: ”We men need to own OUR share of the violence problem”,

    IF, anyone were to suggest that domestic violence is only a problem created by the male of the species i would suggest that they are sadly deluded,

    Consider for a nano-second, befor the labels begin to be applied, that most domestic violence that emanates from the female side of the family unit is never reported, mostly committed against children, it is not until such children are adults that they ‘might’ feel free enough to talk of this,

    Befor we discuss men’s violence, and, there is plenty of it for us males to ”own”, are we here simply talking of physical violence, there is also recognized in the ”field” verbal/psychological violence and in a situation where physical violence is identified in a family unit an ongoing situation of verbal/psychological violence is usually evident long befor physical violence becomes apparent,

    Such verbal/psychological violence is not confined to the male of the species and the male of the species is not necessarily the instigator of such verbal/psychological violence which later morphs into physical violence, the adult male usually being the instigator against the adult female,(but only,and the true nature of this cannot be gauged by ”reported figures”),only in ”reported cases”,

    Reported cases to CYFS, CYPS, or whatever their present acronym is, is strongly suggestive that when it comes to violence against children, the adult female in the family unit is just as likely to be the instigator, although in such reports where the male is the instigator the violence inflicted upon the children is shown to be more severe,

    My view is that simply ”looking” at men as the sole instigators of violence helps no-one, just as simply looking at physical violence simply ignores a large part of the problem,

    Statistics would suggest that the nuclear family is in fact a major precursor in enabling doemstic violence of any form to flourish…

    • Tom Jackson 3.1

      We men need to own OUR share of the violence problem”

      Yes. Isn’t it terrible that almost anyone who has a go can come up with a better way of expressing the point than David Cunliffe’s speechwriter?

    • Ron 3.2

      For heavens sake violence is a male problem. That is not saying that only men commit violence but by far the biggest perpetrators of violence is by men and is committed against women, and other men.
      Have a look at the statistics of who is taking out protection orders. How many women are killed by male partners. I get the impression that all the outcry everytime men are asked to take responsibility for violence is engineered by those that have a vested interest in maintaining mens privileged place in society.
      It is time that all violence is stopped, in the home, in the streets, on the sports fields and in the work place.

      IF, anyone were to suggest that domestic violence is only a problem created by the male of the species i would suggest that they are sadly deluded,

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        For heavens sake violence is a male problem. That is not saying that only men commit violence but by far the biggest perpetrators of violence is by men and is committed against women, and other men.

        Nope. Stop listening to and propagating the hype and pay attention to what is actually going on. Own species violence is a human issue with some gender relevant aspects. Men do perpetrate a somewhat larger proportion of domestic violence – definitely. But not necessarily overwhelmingly.

        Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.

        Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

        The 2008-09 bulletin states: “More than one in four women (28%) and around one in six men (16%) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. These figures are equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.6 million male victims.”


        • Ron

          That survey you quote from did not distinguish from male-male violence nor did it make clear that many of the male victims of violence are children.
          However you look at it too many people are being hurt by violent individuals and it is time it stopped. Violence by anyone (and that includes law enforcement people) should be stopped.
          DC was referring to a male to female violence and was addressing a group of women who have every reason to agree with his speech. Maybe if the male refuge groups get their act together and invite David to address them he will give a speech that they may find attractive but either way stop shooting the messenger.

        • karol

          The conclusions of that study are refuted here. More particularly, the study doesn’t show how male power is maintained through domestic violence. It ignores issues of social context, and the relationship with the gendered power dynamics in society.

          The claim of gender parity in domestic violence, or at least of much less difference than is conventionally believed, is nothing new, in fact it’s been popping up – and out of the mouths of Men’s Rights Activists – since at least the 1970ies. No matter how often or how robustly ‘gender symmetry’ claims are rebuffed and refuted, its advocates continue to regurgitate their position.
          The main problems with the statistic that a third of reports are by men are

          It is about domestic abuse and/or conflict, not domestic violence

          The data does not differentiate between cases where there is one incident of physical conflict/abuse/violence or those where violence is repeated. If we look at the data for where there have been four or more incidents, then approximately 80% of victims are women

          The data does not differentiate between incidents where violence and abuse are used as systematic means of control and coercion and where they are not

          The data does not include sexual assault and sexual violence

          The data does not take account of the different levels of severity of abuse/violence, ‘gender symmetry’ is clustered at lower levels of violence

          The data does not take account of the impact of violence, whether the level of injury arising from the violence or the level of fear. Women are six times more likely to need medical attention for injuries resulting from violence and are much more likely to be afraid

          The data does not differentiate between acts of primary aggression and self-defence, approximately three quarters of violence committed by women is done in self-defence or is retaliatory.

          • crunchtime

            Mixing up gender issues, power issues and issues of patriarchy and sexism with domestic violence is not helpful.

            A SUBSTANTIAL portion of domestic violence is committed by women.

            I have met a number of male victims of domestic violence and abuse, and they have all been marginalised, dismissed, treated poorly because they don’t fit the stereotype.

            Negative stereotypes of men as all monsters, and having to be “sorry for being a man”, are just as harmful to all of the above – gender issues as well as violence issues – as negative stereotypes of women.

            That’s why David’s “sorry for being a man” was such a big mistake.

            Apologising for what you ARE is saying there’s something wrong with what you are, which makes you – and everyone – powerless.

            Because, short of some gender reassignment procedure, you can’t change your gender! And why should you, if it’s only to conform to a stereotype??

            Apologising for what you DO gives everyone the power to change it.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Why bother pretending that your argument is based on solid ground when you have to quote mine? Who said this?

              To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

              What’s the difference between you and a Creationist?

              • crunchtime

                Sorry, are you replying to me? Because I don’t see the relevance of your post… To anything in this article or these comments, actually.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The only difference between you and a Creationist is that they quote-mine Darwin and you quote-mine Cunliffe. Different texts, same tactics.

          • Colonial Viper

            Firstly, i’m not suggesting there is any kind of gender parity. The UK Home Office statstics I quoted make that clear enough.

            The refutation you point to consistently uses this strategy however- when you look at the worst categories of domestic violence in terms of severity and/or repetition, it is clear that its overwhelmingly about male perpetrators. Also when it comes to formal charges and convictions. Its almost all about male perpetrators.

            What that says to me is that it tends to be the lower level but far more common grades of domestic violence and abuse that women perpetrators tend to be involved with. Perhaps because of this lower severity or lower frequency you dont see this as being as notable, which is understandable.

            And sorry, I dont particularly accept the idea that male victims are generally more likely than female victims to formally report domestic violence.

            “approximately three quarters of violence committed by women is done in self-defence or is retaliatory.”

            What is the difference in definition between self-defence and retaliatory violence, please. I believe that reasonable, measured nonlethal force may be justifiable in a situation requiring self-defence.

            When it comes to the most serious crimes of violence including homicide and rape, agree that men are by far the most common perpetrators..

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I’m not suggesting there is any kind of gender parity…

              Yes, that particular inference was a billion angstroms away.

        • bad12

          What is also not known, especially in this country, besides the huge amount of males that would never dream of reporting to the Police a female assaults male complaint is just how many of the domestic assault arrests were as a retaliation for one of those incidents of female assaults male,

          i have always lived in the decile of society where violence is a currency of discourse, having not lived in the more monied part of town i cannot make any value judgment about the levels of violence occurring in the differing communities have/have nots, although the arrest/incarceration statistics speak for themselves,

          Among the people i know who have been involved in what is termed male assaults female that i have given the ”what happened there bro” to, the reply in many cases, some confirmed by the partner, ”she punched me first”,

          Violence is violence is violence, we can engage in splitting hairs with talk of power imbalances etc etc OR we can tailor the message to include Everybody, Men ,Women and Children, that violence cannot be tolerated, and, They All must stop…

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Or else? Who’s going to police this Utopia of yours, ‘cos violence is already illegal. Where’s the power to make it happen?

            • bad12

              Had little drinkies tonight have we OAB, which Utopia do you see outlined in my comments above,

              Are you suggesting that tossing some more millions at Woman’s Refuge’s, the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff if i ever seen an example, will do diddly squat to address such violence,

              The whole ugly problem of domestic violence is an extremely complex one with a variety of complex causes,

              Simplifying this to ‘man=abuser and woman=victim’ in no way begins to address the issue, nor its complex causes,

              The nuclear family unit, in this country at least, is the most dangerous breeding ground for all forms of violence shall we, Ha Ha, abolish such nests of violence by Legislation…

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The Utopia where because “we must”, we do. You didn’t answer the question: given that violence is already illegal, where is the power to stop it?

                • bad12

                  You’re up early OAB, i could if i took your query in the vein of a stupid question simply reply with a stupid answer in the vein of how the fuck would i know,

                  There you go OAB, that pretty much gives a full and frank answer which encompasses all of your question,

                  Your turn, answer your own question…

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    So what is this message you’re suggesting we “tailor”? Are you here to discuss solutions or just throw your toys?

                    If you can’t identify where the power is I can’t see your tailored solution being a very good fit, but since your opinion relies on you denying there’s any sort of power imbalance at all, that’s hardly surprising.

                    • bad12

                      Where OAB is the power to stop it, you posed the question, answer it,

                      You want solutions discussed, get to it…

                    • bad12

                      By the way OAB, i see no comment where i state that ‘power imbalances’ do not exist in relationships,

                      Such power imbalances are not confined to the male of the species holding a power imbalance over the female, it works the other way too, and, may even spark some of the male violence…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, that’s what I’m talking about: the absurd pretence that there is some sort of equivalence of responsibility for male violence. #notallmen

                      btw, I’m talking about the power imbalance in society. Cluebat: the reason so many people say it’s men who need to change is because it’s men who need to change. But you’re too busy denying that.

                    • bad12

                      Point out these denials OAB, i simply point out that violence, in the family or otherwise isn’t confined to the physical stuff and isn’t confined to being committed solely by the male of the species,

                      Still waiting OAB, answer the question, where is the power to stop it, you simplify everything, as if you live in a world of simpletons, surely you have a simple solution…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Asked and answered. Hint: it’s men who need to change.

                      For example, instead of immediately pointing the bone and saying “she did it too”, you could try moving on from denial and finger pointing and false equivalence and minimisation.

                      Your existing settings aren’t working. Try some new ones.

                    • bad12

                      OAB, the finger pointer tells me i must not point the finger while doing so itself after having firmly shut its mind to the fact that not only men are involved in violence, a grand solution…

                  • BM

                    I know what you’ve talking about, I’ve lived in some pretty rough areas when I was younger.

                    Being a hard arse(both male and female) was what gave you strength and respect within the “community”, reasoning about issues and talking problems through wasn’t really how problems were sorted.

                    And if you rung the police and someone found out, uncomfortable times ahead for you.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      I have yet to see a serious act of violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed and humiliated, disrespected and ridiculed, and that did not represent the attempt to prevent or undo this ‘loss of face’ – no matter how severe the punishment, even if it includes death.

                      James Gilligan.

                    • BM

                      Problem is it’s a cultural mindset, very very hard if not impossible to change.

                    • freedom

                      Would you agree BM that “was” is not all that long ago?
                      Last night for probably far too many!

                      We can all do a lot better and if the important issues people have raised the last few days do not show that what “was” is not how we should go forward, then really what is the point of any of these discussions?

                      I believe people who are violent are capable of change and through that, able to help change those around them. I have witnessed it and personally achieved it and helped achieve it in others. It is difficult, it is dangerous at times, but changing a violent person’s attitude to violence is the only way to rid our society of it. I will support and respect people who admit that and then do something about it in their own life. Despite your recent statement about a quick temper and a fast fist, I think you certainly understand exactly how violence only creates more violence. Do you plan to change your own attitude to violence BM?

                      Open mike 03/07/2014

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @BM: hard, but not impossible: cf: Gilligan’s work with violent prison inmates.

                    • BM

                      OK, I promise to not punch any one in the face any more 🙁

                      I believe people who are violent are capable of change and through that, able to help change those around them. I have witnessed it and personally achieved it and helped achieve it in others. It is difficult, it is dangerous at times, but changing a violent person’s attitude to violence is the only way to rid our society of it.

                      Not everyone, some people are just bad mofos, and they enjoy being bad mofos.

                    • freedom

                      yup some are and some do 🙁
                      edit: i do remember how ‘satisfying’ it was, the release of anger, the sensation of ‘winning’ but in the end it was just hurting people.

                      but what if eh? what if someone somewhere had the guts to try to show them another way? It will take generations and it will never be eradicated, but we can, as individual people, do a lot better. Hope you have a good day BM.

                    • BM

                      Same to you there freedom.
                      Here’s a song to cheer you up

                    • freedom

                      did you miss that little joke the other day 😎

                      Labour plans to win

                      or maybe it just wasn’t that funny 🙂

  4. Populuxe1 4

    If he’s just said he was sorry on behalf of all good men who are ashamed of the violence predominantly perpetrated by the male gender – that would have been fine. But what he in fact said was the equivalent of a woman apologising for being a woman because of Margaret Thatcher. #notallwomen. Of course the media was going to take the piss.
    Also either gender is a social construct or it is not. If gender is a social construct why on earth are we gendering violence instead of taking a stand against all violence, including the lesser reported domestic violence perpetrated by women against men, women against children, and the same violence that goes on in same-sex marriages/partnerships/civil unions. It’s less about men/women than it is about violence/victims.

    • Gender violence serves to reproduce gender relations.
      Gender relations are based on men benefiting from unpaid domestic labour.
      Unpaid domestic labour is still an important benefit to the capitalist ruling class because it represents part of the subsistence of wage workers not paid for by the capitalists.
      Hence, gender relations serve capitalist social relations that profit from wage labour.
      Without implying any of this analysis, Cunliffe in stating that the responsibility for gender violence is that of ALL MEN opens up the full scope of the problem way beyond liberal, social democratic politics.
      Unless all men recognise they are complicit in the reproduction of gender relations, whether or not they personally engage in physical violence, or how much they share housework, childcare etc, then those relations will persist.
      When some men are on the receiving end of violence at the hands of females ask yourself what does that mean in terms of gender relations?
      We don’t have to go far back in history to recognise that gender oppression had its origins in the overthrow of society in which the genders where socially equal, by men controlling herds. Social wealth that had been distributed along kin lines on the basis of need, became accumulated in patriarchal families. Men since then have retained control over their share in the wealth by cultural, and ultimately physical, violence over women.
      Women’s resistance to male wealth and power historically is therefore social resistance to male violence as social oppression.
      Liberal men should get over themselves and understand their complicity in historical gender oppression.

    • miravox 4.2

      ” But what he in fact said was the equivalent of a woman apologising for being a woman because of Margaret Thatcher”

      Seeing as you’re making comparisons…

      If I was standing in front of a bunch of men who had been falsely accused of abusing a woman, and I was going to propose something to prevent that or ameliorate the harm, for a minute or two there I would look at those faces and feel some emotional need to make some kind of personal statement before I started. It may come out in language that doesn’t speak to those outside the audience, but I doubt there would be many men who didn’t appreciate the sentiment. Would I be wrong in thinking that you, vto, cv and others wouldn’t appreciate a personal acknowledgement of harm done by my gender to theirs? Certainly there are men shouting out on this blog for some kind of acknowledgement of their status as victims of gendered violence (especially emotional harm).

      It certainly wouldn’t mean that I have ever falsely accused a man of abuse, or that I expected my gender in general shared the idea that false accusations are the way to go – it would simply be a recognition that those men have been hurt by particular people who belong to the gender group I am identified with and that men are disproportionately (I’m assuming) the victims of false accusations of abuse.

      I fail to see a vaild point in the outrage about Cunliffe’s personal statement in the context of the group people he was talking to.

  5. Ant 5

    It certainly seems to be divisive, will be interesting to see where the pieces fall.

    But, I’ve watched heaps of conversations play out on facebook over the last 24 hours where someone was having a go at Cunliffe’s apology, and then is swamped with support by “men’s rights” crazies going on about lesbians and feminists running everything, PC gone mad, all the evil women etc. The people having a go at Cunliffe’s apology instantly recoiled when they realised the quality of the people who were supporting them (because these guys are fucking crazy).

    Cunliffe’s polemic might have the effect of redrawing a few lines that people had forgotten about…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Yep, when Cameron Slater agrees with you, you know you’ve fucked up.

  6. Observer Tokoroa 6

    Micky Savage

    Your post on this Cunliffe statement is very important.

    Anybody who has deliberately quoted David Cunliffe out of context on the question of Domestic Violence (wife and children horrific assault) should be litigated against.

    I mean it.

    All intelligent grown up males would be ashamed to know that Radio NZ through its host Jim Mora – and panel members slated Cunliffe. It was appalling! The misquotation was wrong wrong wrong! get Radio NZ in court as soon as you can Micky.

    The NZ male is too often a violent bully; and that is held as a sacred talent and gift in New Zealand.

    Let’s hammer bullies with the hardest hammer we can. Take their promoters and defenders to court and display them for what they are.

    • Ron 6.1

      Also important is that Labour needs a really good Broadcasting policy and it needs to be way better than anything we have tried to work with in the past. Radio and Television need to be completely overhauled and this may mean looking at a whole new structures. The current reorganisation of Radio NZ seems to be more an object in removing any moderate voice and replacing with National Party syncophants.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Also important is that Labour needs a really good Broadcasting policy and it needs to be way better than anything we have tried to work with in the past.

        Absolutely agree.

        Labour 5 kept TVNZ as a corporate SOE structure with a 95% commercial focus because Cullen wanted big profits from it (subsequently National found it quite easy to strip away the remaining 5% public broadcasting fig leaf Labour left in place), structured the truly public broadcasting Ch 7 so it was easy to defund which National promptly did, and with RNZ…well, it only took 5 years for the Tories to turn it into a partisan wreck so it can’t have been too robust and resilient to start with. IIRC Cullen’s approach to RNZ funding was one of “maintaining” the service it provided.

        • Ron

          It was more than that. As someone who was closely involved with the changes that came out of Labours Charter the big mistake was appointing someone that was totally incapable of handling a large organisation where management bascially did not support Labour. I agreed with Ian’s charter and values programme and worked hard to support it but mid to top level managers were determined it would fail. It might be un Labour to suggest it, maybe, but taking a leaf out of the Tory’s method of handling broadcasting which involved putting a change manager in who stripped out the top two three levels of management including all their EA’s and PA’s and then replacing those staff with private enterprise right wing people. This is what Ian had to front with and it was not in his style to deal with.

          • Colonial Viper

            Thanks for the insight. The Tory approach is copied from the corporate playbook as you know, therefore it is well rehearsed. When you want to substantially change the direction of the company, you bring in a new CEO and let the CEO go through the organisation to sweep the place out and put in the “right” people.

            Put another simpler way: the Right Wing corporate approach is a revolutionary approach.

    • ianmac 6.2

      Never fear. Mr Moira is going to co-host the News comment/report/interview after 5pm weekdays on National Radio, starting Monday. He will be accurate in his commentary – won’t he?
      Media on Sunday morning is going to look at the revision of National Radio tomorrow. Fearful?

      • Ron 6.2.1

        Trouble is he will whiteant Mary and try to weaken every news item that holds National to account.
        I have a feeling that Mary may decide not to stay at RNZ very long. Time will tell

        Mr Moira is going to co-host the News comment/report/interview after 5pm weekdays


      Well said OT.

      David Cunliffe was not talking on my behalf or any other male in this country.

      He was talking on his own behalf and good on him for that. For the RW press to stretch it to all males shows how desperate they are becoming.


  7. David Cunliffe has spoken the truth and he shouldn’t back away from that even a millimeter. The words he said are the focus and although he said many words the ones being quoted are the most important imo. It is shameful for men that men cannot accept the truth about this subject – I cannot stand the man-up approach but i do believe we must stand up and accept the truth of the situation, be role models for the young males coming through, stop tacitly supporting the culture that allows this violence against mainly women, and work with other males to stop this terrible blight on our society. Good on you David I applaud your courage.

  8. Adrian 8

    Would David Cunliffes speech and policy even have been reported if he had not deliberately started it controversially?
    BTW, I can remember that a lot of prominent women apologised or were embarrassed on behalf of all women for Thatcher.

    • Tom Jackson 8.1

      That’s kind of silly.

      You can apologise for things you have personally done, or you can apologise on behalf of an institution like a corporation or the state (as Kevin Rudd famously did). A gender is neither an individual or an institution.

      What you can do as a member of a group is acknowledge that you are unfairly advantaged qua member of the group. That’s not apologising, and it’s what Cunliffe was clumsily trying to do.

      I doubt that there are very many NZ men who won’t acknowledge that being male means that they generally don’t have to worry about domestic violence, and that there’s something unfair about that. There’s no need to descend into identity politics to do that. Being born male is not a moral fault. Being born male and not acknowledging that there are some unfair advantages to it is a moral fault.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        I doubt that there are very many NZ men who won’t acknowledge that being male means that they generally don’t have to worry about domestic violence, and that there’s something unfair about that.

        Perhaps. Please see my quote above to the Guardian article. While women are usually the victims, in the UK at least in some years, 40% to 43% of domestic violence victims have been men.

        • Tracey

          It would be more relevant if you pointed to NZ data and accounted for karols reported link refuting your study.

          • Colonial Viper

            We men do need to own the violence problem

            as for NZ data – has anyone actually bothered up to this date to ask men how much domestic abuse and violence they suffer from? It appears the UK govt has.

            • karol

              CV, you continue to ignore issues of power and the way it is gendered, within a society where the balance of power and privilege is more int he fabour of men, and those who conform to traditional forms of masculinity.

              The UK report also doesn’t deal with the differences in the gendered social context, or in levels of violence, and physical damage caused by men compared with women. It ignores other gendered differences like how men tend to use physical violence (coupled with emotional and psychological abuse) repeatedly as an on-going strategy of coercion and control.

              There has been evidence produced in NZ, coupled with some additional evidence from Aussie. Again, it’s quite gendered, with it being more about control and coercion when perpetrated by men, and more about retaliation.

              In the case of deliberate child killings, fathers do it more often for reasons of control and coercion, while for women, it’s often part of their own suicide and concerns for their children’s welfare if they leave them behind: ie about them doing it from a perspective of the main carer for the child.

              Some child killings by parents are the result of neglect and physical abuse, where death wasn’t intended – it is most often in a household where domestic violence is ongoing. Men are by far more often the ones charged with domestic violence.

              As the visible tip of the iceberg, family violence deaths are not only a measure of lethality but also an important barometer of the incidence of family violence,” said committee head Dr Julia Tolmie of Auckland University.

              The report found no discernible trend in the death rate. Thirty people died in family violence in 2002 and 27 in 2010, and the numbers in between fluctuated apparently randomly between a low of 17 in 2003 and a peak of 45 in 2009.

              The report does not break down the subset of deliberate “filicides” by gender, but other evidence suggests mothers and fathers are almost equally likely to kill their children. An Australian study of all 291 children killed by filicide there between 1997 and 2008 found 140 were killed by their fathers, 127 by their mothers, and the rest by both parents.

              A sixth of the parents – 24 mothers and 16 fathers – killed themselves after killing their children.

              An earlier study by Waikato University sociologist Dr Jo Barnes found 24 cases of parents deliberately killing their own children and themselves in four Australian states between 1973 and 1992. Twelve killers were fathers and 12 were mothers.

              But Dr Barnes found the reasons for the killings were quite different for men and women.

              With fathers, she found a common theme of “possessiveness and control”.

              Power differences occur between men and women, as well as between parents and children.

              By ignoring gendered power differences, you are reinforcing the existing differences that tend to work far more in favour of men.

              • Colonial Viper

                So this is not a discussion on gender participation in domestic violence, or intimate partner violence at all. It is a discussion on gender power differences i.e. patriarchy, using the lens of those violent phenomena.

                By the way, men relatively rarely choose to kill women or children in domestic or family violence; in NZ they typically turn their anger, frustration and violence inwards and choose to kill themselves instead. Remember that.

      • Populuxe1 8.1.2

        And how much violence is directed at children by women? Or at other women? And why the emphasis on physical violence? I’m pretty sure that if we took into account emotional and psychological violence the numbers would be pretty even.

        • karol

          That old chestnut. Ad if power differences and emotional/psychological violence was separate from physical violence.

        • blue leopard

          Why an emphasis on physical violence? Because it is killing people.

          78% of partner homicides in NZ are men killing their current or ex female partner.
          9% are men killing their ex-partner’s new boyfriend.
          2% are women killing their male partner.

          Emotional vs physical violence needn’t be positioned as mutually exclusive – there should be no false dichotomies developed pushing the view that either one gets addressed or the other. To do so would be both an expression of limited thinking capacity and poor form IMO.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Reality, meet Liberal bias. Oh, I see you’ve already met.

          • Populuxe1

            I’m not the one positioning the false dichotomy that they are seperate. Otherwise I’d probably be ignoring the significant levels of self-harming, depression and suicide caused by emotional and psychological abuse perpetrated by people of all genders. Let me rephrase, why the emphasis on physical violence to the apparent exclusion of other forms of violence, which may take longer to kill or mame, but kill or mame nontheless.

            “78% of partner homicides in NZ are men killing their current or ex female partner.
            9% are men killing their ex-partner’s new boyfriend.
            2% are women killing their male partner.”

            Only 78%? Fascinating. I would have said higher given the rather narrow parametres of “partner homicides” as a category. The 9% are men killing their ex-partner’s new boyfriend seems a somewhat irrelevant figure to tout as Cunliffe wasn’t apologising to men for being a man. On average 14 women, 7 men and 8 children are killed by a member of their family every year – all regretable, but your insistance on melodramatics undermines the violence, abuse, sexual assaults and so forth which are magnitudes vaster in their impact and implications.

            So again, I say, rather than tie it all up in a big bow of gender politics, can we actually conduct a systematic study of all types of violence in our communities – most of which, I am willing to bet, is a product of capitalistic forces or else some really black part of the human psyche, and figure out meaningful ways of neutralising it rather than some reductive blame game that’s not really going to get us very far.

            • blue leopard

              I was answering your question re ‘why the emphasis on physical violence’.

              The false dichotomy is to say that only one thing can be addressed either physical or emotional violence; not whether one asserts they are separate issues or not. I don’t see Labour’s policy as saying they shall, from here on in, ban addressing emotional violence (where do you get that?) – yes the policy is focusing on physical violence, which seems fair because this is addressing an immediate and irreversible* phenomenon of people being killed (*a person can’t be ‘un-killed” for example), however Labour’s approach is very wide and some of their strategy looks very likely to address the issue you raise re emotional violence – i.e. prevention and education.

              It appears it is you making an exclusion in your own imagination, where in reality I doubt it exists in this policy.

              Notwithstanding the above – governments can address more than one issue at a time. To address domestic violence doesn’t mean that poverty, unemployment, tax evasion, food safety, worker safety, health issues can’t be addressed too.

              As for: “The 9% are men killing their ex-partner’s new boyfriend seems a somewhat irrelevant figure to tout as Cunliffe wasn’t apologising to men for being a man.”

              I was showing how many deaths are related to physical violence and partners in order to suggest to you why physical violence was being focused on. These stats are people that cannot come back – they are dead- they have been disallowed a life due to someone else not being able to manage their emotions/actions.

              And also, if you had a partner that was killed by an ex-partner, do you not think it would affect you adversely in anyway? How is citing that statistic not relevant?

              • Populuxe1

                “It appears it is you making an exclusion in your own imagination, where in reality I doubt it exists in this policy.”

                “Doubt”, as opposed to “know” or indeed “care”.

                “And also, if you had a partner that was killed by an ex-partner, do you not think it would affect you adversely in anyway? How is citing that statistic not relevant?”

                Which, by your own goalposts, would presumably come under emotional/psychological abuse of the partner. Given that some people stay in abusive relationships because of threats to family pets, we can probably do this dance all day.

                I am assuming, charitably, that you have never experienced sustained emotional and psychological abuse over a period of many years, because otherwise I doubt you would be so dismissive of it. It’s hell and if you ever escape it leaves scars that last the rest of your life. Death is over fairly quickly.

                • One Anonymous Bloke



                  • blue leopard

                    lol what a good response! I wish I had thought of that one!

                    I have to conclude Populuxe1 is pretty creepy to talk to.

                • blue leopard

                  Well do you know or care? What I have read – the initiative would include addressing emotional abuse issues too – I fail to see how problem could be addressed without addressing such under ‘prevention’ or ‘eduction’ as I have already tried to relay

                  I added ‘doubt’ because I can’t be absolutely sure, can I? without knowing exactly what the particular approaches of the prevention agencies are.

                  Please do not assume things about me – it is far more decent to ask than to make assumptions – and poor ones at that. Considering the levels of abuse in New Zealand your assumption goes against all probability, really doesn’t it? Regardless of what gender I am.

                  Put it this way, I have enough experience of emotional abuse to recognize that you are discussing this subject in pretty serious bad faith.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Well could you actually stick to your predicates then, because you fluff around too much.
                    The suggestion that your gender matters in any way or that I’ve made assumptions about it is flabbergasting given that my point that gendering violent social dynamics is of dubious utility at best.

        • Tracey

          kind of like when it was discovered girls were outperforming boys at high school, not by huge differentials but enough to get nationwiide discussion, educationalist comment and specially directed programmes and funding to redress the imbalance.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    It seems to be largely blokes commenting about this, not so many women. I suspect most women heard the wider importance of what David Cunliffe was saying and just look at the attitudes his policy is up against.

    I hope the decent blokes who feel a little put out by DC’s comment go and have a quiet think. They themselves will not do anything wrong but when the govt says something like
    ” beneficiaries need to immunise children” there are hidden messages framing “deadbeat women”.
    Most people just let it wash over them but some take it as the green light for some awful behaviour.

    During the discussions around the embassy there were a couple of posts on ‘talk about health and welfare instead’ and ‘talking about it is harming the woman involved”.

    Made me wonder if these posters said to their families when something when wrong “lets talk about doing the chores instead”

    Then “talking about it was harming her” completely brushed over of the issue that the first line of reabuse was from those who decided to make this woman’s decision for her and let the man leave the country.

    DC will need all the help he can get with the workforce part of his policy.

    Lastly, I would hope that the discussions that go on around this include a goodly number of people who hold informal or voluntary positions. The very nature of the game of single parent bringing up kids means that these people are not well represented in the decision making corridors of power.

  10. Descendant Of Sssmith 10

    Except that no one is saying that only men are violent.

    We would get much further if men got as antsy about the violence done by men as they do as for instance sole parents bludging, or asian men donating to political parties and so.

    We would get much further if we lifted the incomes of beneficiaries, the low paid and women to remove some of the stresses families were under.

    We would get much further if we recognised that much of the violent behaviour is learned behaviour and that we should invest much more in teaching people that such behaviour is not acceptable and teaching people different ways of dealing with pressure and wrong attitudes. Teaching is quite different from simply castigating them loudly as bad people.

    We would get much further if we valued supports for those who are victims as much as we valued funding a yacht race or an unnecessary road – or if charity didn’t mean the National Party coffers.

    We would get much further if we let people have certainty of housing at a decent cost rather than have poor people at the mercy of predatory landlords – Christchurch being the most obscene example.

    We would get much further if we reduced the ability to get alcohol (both reducing locations and hours) to reduce the amount of alcohol fueled violence.

    We would get much further if we looked after our prisoners well and educated and trained them – recognising that we should at least make lots of effort to make them better people when they come out they when the went in.

    We would get much further if we taught men that it’s not OK to sleep with someone who has been drinking that you’ve only just met – ask them when they are bright eyed and sober.

    We would get much further if we agreed that giving people meaningful work to do is a good thing and that the state should step in to do this because the private sector will never supply sufficient work for people – particularly youth and those ill and infirm – and we should all pay more tax to meet the additional cost of the state doing this.

    And nah it won’t end violence but I’m pretty sure these sorts of things would reduce it significantly.

    • Ron 10.1


    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      And lets have a PM who doesn’t speak of NZ supporting unchecked one-way violence as an answer to some problems (drone strikes).

      • Ron 10.2.1

        Dont get me started. If I had my way I would disestablish the entire defence/army/airforce and replace them with a Coastguard National defence force whose sole job would be to protect NZ. They would be available for all SAR type stuff and be available to help nations in the pacific area.
        But they would not be going into other countries bombing and killing the people of that country. No Way

        • Colonial Viper


          I suggest including integrated capabilities in reconstruction, infrastructure engineering, high risk law enforcement and civil/governance affairs as well.

          This unique approach could be used to project NZ power and influence far and wide.

  11. ropata 11

    Meanwhile, Key chums up with Family first, McCully lets a stalker flee the country

    • Tom Jackson 11.1

      I saw that Gower pointed the FF thing out on Twitter. He was outraged for a change.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1

        Just checked his feed. Head reeling, brain doing somersaults.

        Who are you and what have you done with Patrick Gower?

  12. monkeyhill 12

    Karol, the guys down at the rugby club have their share of Labour voters too. Insulting them is really of no benifit at all.
    I agree that in context what was said was ok, but the problem is if you thought the media would report in context and long form that is a bit delusional. David is a smart guy and surely knows that.
    However I pretty much do agree with what was said, though it could have been put better, of course media are going for short form audio bites that stir stuff up. No it’s not right, but it is reality. It’s a shame that the detail of the policy is a bit lost in all the side show hoo ha.

  13. freedom 13

    As usual, it is difficult not to be offended by Paula Bennett’s persistent abrogation of her responsibilities.

    Your Minister for Social Development highlighted the arrogance and dismissiveness of your government yesterday. After her own presentation she sat beside me on the stage texting and surfing the net on her phone while other parties’ representatives spoke.


    I found this to be a strong post from Miriam Pierard which adds a lot more context to the day, certainly more so than the MSM supplied, and it includes a transcript of her speech.

    • karol 13.1

      Thanks. Yes, very good post. And Bennett sides with the (mostly male) oppressors in her role in the bennie-bashing Nat government.

      • Populuxe1 13.1.1

        So are you saying that she’s only a pseudo-woman with agency because she sides with shitbags, or she’s a defective woman without agency – or, quite radically, can weopine that women aren’t some magical creature and are quite capable of being self-interested, flawed, and even violent (which Bennett’s policies certainly are)?

        • Colonial Viper

          As I understand it, women voted for National ahead of Labour 2:1 in the 2011 election. Most Kiwi women didn’t seem to have any problem voting for a government with 6 females and 14 males in a 20 person Cabinet.

          • Populuxe1

            Which does rather highlight how disingenious it is to go all “no true scotsfeminist” on those 6 women, awful human beings though they might be.

  14. ropata 14

    Apologising is the least you can do

    Just today it was reported that New Zealand is one of the worst countries for domestic violence in the OECD. But of course the focus isn’t on that. David Cunliffe has rightly pointed out that family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children.

    What did David Cunliffe say?

    “I’m sorry for being a man right now, family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children. It cannot continue that women and children are the victims of this kind of awful madness.”

    What did the media report?

    That Cunliffe apologised for being a man. I have screenshots of many of the tweets that went out below. Queue #notAllmen malarkey. Including the Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister actually responded with essentially – well not all men. How absolutely disgraceful.

    (via @slanecartoons)

    • Ron 14.1

      Its also interesting how many people thought that Rolf Harris could not be a sexual predator because he was such a nice man on TV

    • blue leopard 14.2

      +1 Ropata -great link, thanks (‘Apologising is the least you can do’) – it explains it well. I recommend people read this one.

    • Populuxe1 14.3

      If we repositioned that as saying Maori are overwhelmingly represented in child abuse statistics, would you be any more or less pissed off if, for example (not that it would ever happen were he to live a million years) Pita Sharples were to apologise for being Maori right now?

      • ropata 14.3.1

        I think Sharples should apologise for enabling a bankster and his short term media bubble to dupe NZ. The ability to take a long hard look at yourself, and publically admit your own human failings (or those of your group) takes a rare amount of guts.

        Huge double standard from the Right here … they want to be seen as tough on crime yet they don’t do squat about domestic violence and poverty (the driver of most crime)

        • Populuxe1

          Huge double standard from the Right here … they want to be seen as tough on crime yet they don’t do squat about domestic violence and poverty (the driver of most crime)

          That I certainly don’t dissagree with

  15. Tom Jackson 15

    What’s sad about this whole thing is that it just assumes, without much in the way of argument or evidence, that domestic violence is a cultural problem.

    Sure, 50 years ago it was acceptable to thump your wife, but I would hazard that many of the people who actually engage in domestic violence (the majority of whom are not sociopaths) actually think it is wrong, but just can’t help themselves and do it anyway because they lack self control.

    Does anyone actually know many people under 65 who still think wife beating is acceptable?

    I mean compare it with paedophilia. Part of the reason why there are so many scandals now is that in the 60s and 70s our society had a much more relaxed attitude towards sex with children. Now paedophilia is about the worst possible thing you can do.

    Has it stopped paedophiles?


    Our society deeply disapproves of domestic violence, rape and paedophilia, but having a culture that does so does very little to stop people who really want to do it. Other means must be found.

  16. Karen 16

    For a few weeks now I have been thinking the media treatment of David Cunliffe is a lot like the bullying behaviour seen in school playgrounds. This is often led by a small group who are seen as popular – they don’t actually do the bullying themselves but they have wannabes on the fringes who want to impress them. I see John Key as smarmy, smug, cold and calculating – but most of the media adore him and are more than willing to help him with his character assassination of Cunliffe.

    I thought Cunliffe’s speech was very good and was well received by his audience, who all know about the power advantage men have just by being men. Most men do not use violence to overpower women and children, but because some do there needs to be women’s refuges. There are no refuges for men escaping violent women. At all ages women are vulnerable to sexual assault, as are children of both sexes. There are cases of women committing sexual assaults, but these cases are a tiny minority. Rape is used as a weapon of war and it is an expression of the kind of power than men have over women.

    I am not pretending that some women are not also abusive to children and partners, but men do need to acknowledge the power advantage they all enjoy, as David Cunliffe has done.

    • karol 16.1

      Yes. It’s is about power, which is still pretty gendered in our society, though not quite as much as it used to be.

    • blue leopard 16.2

      +1 Karen good points well said.

      “For a few weeks now I have been thinking the media treatment of David Cunliffe is a lot like the bullying behaviour seen in school playgrounds.”

      Ditto. I have been viewing this in exactly the same way. It is entirely reminiscent of playground behaviour to me too. I looked forward to getting older and not having this type of immaturity surrounding me – now it is all over the place – its very disappointing and completely pathetic.

      • anker 16.2.1

        BL @ 16.2…………Yes no matter what DC says, the media will frame it negatively. If we win this election and I sincerely hope we do, it will be despite the media’s campaign to present DC in a very bad light. It disgusts me.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          It’s a measure of how threatened they are by him.

          • blue leopard

            @ Anker – yeah same here.

            @ OAK I just wonder who the ‘they’ is – who are these people that the journalists are taking their orders from.

            I really wish people on the left would stop scathingly characterizing Labour as ‘neo-liberal’ because it would seem to me that there is a strong push from some unknown quarter to ensure Labour/Left do not get in – surely this says something about how threatened the status quo is by Labour – if nothing else 🙁

            I am very curious as to who the people in this ‘unknown quarter’ is exactly. Not just the National Party and probably not solely New Zealanders in that group. All our printed media are foreign-owned for are start. (Aren’t they?)

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              It’s clear from the last twenty four hours that quite a few “average Kiwi blokes” feel very threatened by him. Their fears (more-or-less) are the levers that cause people to vote against their own interests.

              Right wing pundits are adept at stoking and manipulating those fears.

              This is the practical effect of findings reported by Kanai, Hodson & Busseri etc.

  17. Jrobin 17

    I agree Red Baron, many women are fine with what he said including me. There are a whole raft of news items that back what Cunliffe is asserting. Roast busters, Malaysian diplomat, conviction of another ex who brutally murdered a young woman because she rejected him and so on…… We all know examples of women with protection orders who have been attacked or worse.What do thepolice do to back up protection orders? When they are breached nothing happens to the offender!
    TeamKeys response……..cut funding to Women’s Refuge in Christchurch where stress is heightening domestic conflict. They are a heartless bunch of patriarchal dinosaurs!
    Without the controversial headlines this issue and the speech would’ve going unnoticed. Maybe Cunliffe isn’t a master propagandist but good on him for having a heart even if he does get a bit carried away. Better than the cold eyed money trader we have in charge at present.

    • ropata 17.1

      Too right, Key would rather back-slap his boofhead mates Veitch, Jackson, Tamihere, and McCroskrie than admit that NZ has a problem

  18. Hami Shearlie 18

    David said he was sorry for being a man “right now” – yes, right now, because he was looking into the faces of women who had been abused by men and women who help to rescue abused women and their children from violent men – his speech was addressed to this audience. As a woman, I applaud his courage to come out and say how he felt at that moment. John Key implying David Cunliffe wasn’t genuine made me snort out loud – John Key is the most fake and insincere politician I have ever seen! And I think he would win the “Self-Serving” Oscar in a heartbeat!

    • DH 18.1

      “his speech was addressed to this audience”

      Right on Hami. It’s depressing how many people don’t get it. It was said in a context and context is everything. That was a group who had reason to fear men and he was acknowledging it.

      IMO it was an unwise thing to say ONLY because he should have known by now certain parts of the media are gunning for him and will deliberately twist his words at every opportunity.

      • ianmac 18.1.1

        Trouble is if you curtail the words in a speech to avoid the MSM misreporting you become very very bland – like John Key. David has to target his audience and be explicit in the message.
        Maybe the Right lot make such a fuss in order to muffle the strength of David’s message.

    • blue leopard 18.2

      +1 Hami Shearlie – well said especially re “right now”. This part of the statement is regularly being left out when quoting Cunliffe left, right and centre. (by the left as well as the biased right).

      What a drag. It is a fairly big omission because to me it places quite a different slant on what he said, as you relayed.

      What a big fat drag sloppy reporting is becoming.

      Thank goodness for comments like yours, thanks.

  19. Penny Bright 19

    I was there at the 2014 Women’s Refuge Symposium – from 9am till 5pm – start to finish, heard and saw the LOT! If you check out Kiwiblog ‘General Debate’ – I’ve given my considered opinion, and it’s now a HOT debate. Where there is heat – there is often light – and had David Cunliffe NOT made that statement (which has been taken out of context, by removing the words ‘right now’ ) – then full on public debate and discussion on this issue of violence against NZ women and children is unlikely to have taken off … Penny Bright

    • ianmac 19.1

      Yes Penny. Tend to agree. More people might have read and considered the whole message because of the fuss. Even the lads down at the Rugby club might reconsider their behaviours towards their own families.

  20. Once was Pete 20

    When I was a youngster my father tried to cut my mothers throat with a razor blade, over the bath whilst three of us were being bathed. Over the years numerous other scenarios played out and you can imagine the effect on 6 kids. Alcohol and gambling were a toxic mix. Add to that a verbally aggressive (and sometimes physically) mother who seemed to press my fathers buttons. You were always waiting for some type of explosion. And when we two boys were old enough we were the ‘protection detail’ who kept the peace. So I hate domestic violence and I hate bullying. I consider myself to have been a victim of both. Probably far more than most people here.
    I find David Cunliffe to be accident prone. His statement, out of context or not, shows me he has no idea about the dynamic of family violence. his apology was trite, stupid, demeaning and trivialising. What happened? Did he go off script? Did he over empathise with his audience? Did he think that was what they wanted to hear? Or did he not think at all. If this was in his speech, then fire the speech writers. There is a storm over this for good reason. I don’t want a PM who is so clueless, and who displays such a lack of nous.
    No wonder he is being savaged right now in reader comments, on social media and blogs.
    Frankly, the argument about context is weak and does nothing to mitigate the damage of his thoughtless remarks.

    • BM 20.1

      I agree, Cunliffe makes Shearer look like a political genius, he’s that bad.

      Also, bit of a rough up bringing there Pete, hopefully you’ve been able to move forward and put it all behind you.

      • Rodel 20.1.1

        I agree, Key makes Cunliffe look like a political genius, he’s that bad.

        • BM

          So you’re saying Shearer is superior to both Cunliffe and Key.

          Wow, Labour certainly fucked up by giving Shearer the boot., such a waste of talent.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            He certainly sounds a lot happier up against Murray than he did as Captain Mumblefuck.

    • just saying 20.2

      Do you think “pressing someone’s buttons” excuses violence? It seems to me this is victim-blaming suggesting your mother chose to be physically abused.

      You were always waiting for some type of explosion


      Noone is suggesting that men are always bad and women are always good, but we are talking about a specific problem here.

      ps please don’t rush to make assumptions about my expeiences of domestic violence in response to this.

      • Once was Pete 20.2.1

        I don’t know you, so I don’t know your experience with violence, and you don’t know mine. But, please point out where I said’ pressing his buttons’ was an excuse. And no it is not victim blaming. Thats just the way it was. You try being a kid with no defences when your parents choose to go at it.
        And we ‘were always waiting for an explosion’ because thats what happens to kids in domestic violence situations. Lots of kids get put in harms way by intemperate parents, and there is plenty of blame to go around.
        I didn’t like David Cunliffe’s statements, because they were shallow and trivialising. Men per se have no need to apologise. The vast majority of men are decent caring people, who have the emotional competence, to sort out family problems without beating a wife or partner into submission.
        Wider families need to own these problems. I can tell you that if my daughter was in abusive relationship then I would definitely intervene. And women need more help to realise that their only option is not to stay in an abusive relationship.

        • just saying

          You try being a kid with no defences when your parents choose to go at it.

          Again you make assumptions without knowing.

          What you have written about your experience seems to suggest equality of power and equality of responsibility. Is that your belief about the situation?

        • Pascal's bookie

          Fair enough, but what do you make of the fact that the women’s refuge people said they felt inspired by his comments?

    • Ant 20.3

      Please, you’d take exception to what Cunliffe said no matter what. Your comments are overwhelmingly negative towards him. So stop acting like you are some neutral party that is constantly and surprisingly ‘put off by him’.

      Pretty sure Refuge has a broad experience of family violence across a wide spectrum of cases and they applauded what Cunliffe had to say.

      • Once was Pete 20.3.1

        If you are referring to my comment, then you are right, I am not a neutral third party. No one who has been through extreme domestic violence is ever a neutral third party. Some come out the other side, but it remains with them all there lives. It deeply colours your approach to life.
        That is why my reaction is so strong. ‘Man up’ to stop violence. Apologise for being a man. Now that is pathetic. We don’t need self serving platitudes, we need social agencies with more teeth, the ability to remove children more easily from harmful home environments, better protection orders, and a more effective family court system. And women need to be able to access emergency financial support so that they don’t become economically trapped.

        • Ant

          So you pretty much want all the things that David Cunliffe announced in his speech.

          Good to see we are on the same page here. Refuge seemed to love what David Cunliffe had to say as well!

    • ropata 20.4

      OncewasPete you of all people should be aware of the scourge of violence that plagues NZ families, yet here you are abusing David Cunliffe. Pathetic

      • Once was Pete 20.4.1

        Please explain how I abused David Cunliffe. I was heavily critical of his comments. This is not abuse.

        • DH

          “Please explain how I abused David Cunliffe.”

          You’ve deliberately described his actions out of context and then wilfully built a false construct. He didn’t ‘apologise for being a man’ and you know it.

          If you genuinely think context doesn’t matter then you’ve the intellect of a gnat. Pick up the dictionary and look the word up or, preferably, stop polluting the site with your fake sincerity

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Well put.

          • Once was Pete

            Well we could argue back and forth about what constitutes an apology, but that would be pointless.
            I did not say context wasn’t important, I said the posts rationale of context was weak. Speaking of gnats….
            Victims of domestic violence have earned their right to voice their opinion, so suck it up, your verbal abuse has little effect on me. My siblings and I are survivors. Six of us. We have been attacked with screwdrivers, slashers, pots of boiling tea, and my sisters and I have had to pull my father off my 11 yr old (older) brother as he was throttling him. So you can stick you ‘fake sincerity crap’ the same place as Cunliffe’s stupid comment. Family violence is a very complex dynamic it warrants more than simplistic platitudes and meaningless apologies.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I’m sorry for being a man right now. The number of my fellows who are terrified at this challenge to their privilege is staggering.

            • ropata

              Dude I think you’ve been sucked in to the mainstream media narrative. DC was trying to connect with his audience, and his speech wasn’t the dishwater you seem to imagine

    • Paul 20.5

      Concern tr**l

    • McGrath 20.6

      Very powerful words Pete.

    • miravox 20.7

      Change blade for gun, bathroom for laundry and boys for girls and my experience of growing up with domestic violence is remarkably similar to yours, OwP. We all make sense of toxic relationships in our own way.

      In the context of Cunliffe’s audience – how do you tell a bunch of women who know so much more about the personal costs of these relationships – I appreciate his empathy.

      More importantly I appreciate the thoughtful policy focus for reducing domestic violence.

  21. reason 21

    The Herald headline was written with the intent to bleed votes from Labor …… like much of their writing.

    The National party are very ambient and unconcerned about violence and the abuse of woman and children.

    Thats why they have closed the christchurch rape crisis center ( no funding for them ), and just passed alcohol laws which will do everything apart from reduce the consumption of alcohol or its abuse .

    National live and rule through the abuse of power. They accept the abuse of power as being normal.

    And the Herald agrees with them ……………….

    • karol 21.1

      Domestic and sexual violence is very much about the abuse of, and reinforcement of power.

      There is a long tradition of masculine dominance of public space through the use of various forms of physicality. That’s what stands out for me in the Rolf Harris and Saville revelations. There are some things many of us learn as girls and young women, about how public space is masculine, and can often be a threat.

      And some of this also happens in the domestic sphere – the groping male friend of our father, almost in plains sight to others. We learn various protective procedures, which amount to “keeping us in our place”.

      • ianmac 21.1.1

        Maybe the fear of loosing face and losing power is the driver for some to try and regain power with aggression and force.

        • karol

          Yes, ianmac. There’s something in that. I’ve seen guys (usually young guys) in public space react with vicious verbal aggression, and threatening body language when requested politely not to block the public thoroughfare. They dominate the public space with their relative size and physical presence, and don’t take kindly to that being questioned.

          There’s something in the different ways males and females are often socialised, I think. I know I was encouraged to have some concern for male sensitivities, much more than for female ones – to consider relationships and how I communicate. Whereas, I think many young males are schooled in combative repartee and one-up-manship – especially evident among some groups of young males.

          • Colonial Viper

            Whereas, I think many young males are schooled in combative repartee and one-up-manship – especially evident among some groups of young males.

            Status seeking, exploration of gendered energy, and hierarchy positioning. Young males do it within and without their own groups. Young women do it within and without their own groups. Yes to your point – with the guys it often comes out as physical repartee (you characterised it as “combative”) and one-up-manship with both physical and verbal put downs.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Karol’s cite already covered your false beliefs:

          The claim of gender parity in domestic violence, or at least of much less difference than is conventionally believed, is nothing new, in fact it’s been popping up – and out of the mouths of Men’s Rights Activists – since at least the 1970ies. No matter how often or how robustly ‘gender symmetry’ claims are rebuffed and refuted, its advocates continue to regurgitate their position.

          Karen Smith.

          Regurgitate away, Pops.

          • Populuxe1

            The only false belief here is your rather patronising one that women are magical souls who are incapable of the terrible things men are.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              The silly notion that I think that is another of your false beliefs.

              Let’s agree to agree that when it comes to gender politics I think you’re a delusional fuckwit and leave it at that.

              No, wait, it isn’t just on gender politics.

              • Populuxe1

                I wonder, if one day you are able to see beyond the pleasant pink fog of recieved ideological certainties that prevents you from having to look directly at reality and think for yourself, what you might see. Reality, by the way, is the the things that still chills your soul even if you stop believing in them.

                • One Anonymous Bloke


                  Evidence based they may be, certainties they most certainly are not. You, on the other hand, can read my mind 😆

    • Paul 21.2

      The Herald is owned by large overseas corporations.
      They like a country that can be looted.

  22. Jrobin 22

    Thanks for that Karol. So true. These are things you learn not to talk about as a young girl. I remember leaving my first job as a 16 year old after the boss tried to rape me. When my father asked me why I had left a “perfectly good job” I wouldn’t tell him the real reason. You just repress this stuff. I haven’t thought about that revolting incident for years.

    • freedom 22.1

      Jrobin, I hope I am not out of line here but felt compelled to say a few words. When past trauma re-emerges it can trigger complex emotional responses and many are not easily navigated with the existing emotional and behavioural skill sets the person may be in command of. From experiences of my own and those I love, I sincerely recommend you discuss the contemporary emotional reaction as well as the memories themselves with, at the very least a trusted friend and/or partner and if resources allow, the assistance of a professional trauma counsellor. If you choose to tell family that can be a tougher choice and often this is best left until other dialogues have already been worked through. This is for yourself to feel more in control of any resolution you may or may not seek from them. It is hard work, make no mistake. No-one can predict how suppressed trauma will affect them or others and an individual is just that, an individual. Although the process itself can be difficult, it can also be revelatory. Your life today and your perception of your younger self might both yield some benefit. It would seem you have carried this a long time and you may well be handling it all just fine, kudos if you are, but you do not and should not have to be burdened with it alone.
      Kia kaha.

  23. greywarbler 23

    I have just read a Maeve Binchy book The Whitethorn Woods made up of little stories of people affected by a shrine in the Woods.

    One was about a girl who shifted away to get out of her uncle’s sexual-groping hands. She worried about leaving her younger sister unprotected. But she then cleverly devised a stratagem of making his uncomfortable presence very public by saying loudly “Oh there you are Uncle Oliver. What can I do for you then?”

    That ‘s a handy technique for boldly going into the battle for personal integrity against encroaching males and possibly these days, females.

    • ianmac 23.1

      A woman told me about a bizarre reality for her. At least it was bizarre and sad in retrospect. Her mother would tell her to go with her grandfather and her younger sister when he went out to the garage. Her mother told her to keep her sister safe. The grandfather would be on one side of the car with younger sister, while older sister stayed on the other side.
      The bizarre thing was what the older sister thought. She said that she was upset that she was not the chosen one for what ever the grandfather was doing. “What was wrong with me that he chose her and not me?”
      And her mother? Awful really.

  24. Observer Tokoroa 24

    Micky Savage

    It is good to see a good number of sane people responding to your Statement. A relief too that the usual shallow Key trolls are not plastering their verbal scat all over this site.

    I think David Cunliffe needs to introduce the words “Coward Criminal” into legal documents. That way, all our famous bastards now and in the past, who have beaten up their families can be denoted for what they truly are. Let them wear a lifelong truth.

    A bully is a bully, is a bully, Whether the perpetrator is a tomboy member of Parliament, or a rugby playing God,

    Trusted by wives to care for them, and their precious children, the bullies repeatedly break the hearts of violated family. Is there any worse crime? Violating your own family with violence. It is what bullies do.

    Hence Key playing games about Mr Liu was so sick. His followers the trolls, got such visceral pleasure from bullying Cunliffe over nothing. They followed the speculation lies by our sick prime minister.

    A Bully is a Coward Criminal. Bully and Coward are the same identity. Key should be careful.

    • Populuxe1 24.1

      “Trusted by wives to care for them”
      Jesus, this isn’t the 1950s. Pretty sure they’ve done away with the “obey” bit from the marriage vows. The only way to truly do anything to stem domestic violence is not oddly worded and disingenious apologies, but empowering victims so that they can get out with minimum hassle or danger (regardless of gender).

      • blue leopard 24.1.1

        Are you saying that you don’t think abusers should be addressed in any way? No attempt at reform or shifting attitudes in a manner that makes abuse less likely? Just escape routes developed for those being abused?

        • Populuxe1

          I think victims should be empowered – I don’t think working from a pardigm where one partner gives up agency to another is helping at all – quite the opposite in fact. Working from an assumption that one partner is automatically more likely to be abusive because of an arbitrary characteristic (gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, upbringing) is not particularly helpful either. This is pretty much the unspoken fatal flaw in indentity politics – identifying with the role of victim as intrinsic and thereby falling into a passive role as regards your individual destiny. Everything Nietzsche said about Christianity being a slave cult can pretty much be applied to what intersectionality has been reduced to.

          • blue leopard

            I am glad to hear you do think the issue should be addressed – it was beginning to look like that was what you were objecting to.

            I don’t know what you mean by ” I don’t think working from a paradigm where one partner gives up agency to another is helping at all” I don’t know what you are referring to with ‘giving up agency to another’ ? Or how that relates to the policy just released?

            It may be unhelpful if people read the damning stats on men killing women and being ‘all men try to kill women’ or ‘no women ever kill men’ true. Yet 78% of all murders involving partners being men killing their female ex/partners and 87% of that category being men killing their female partners/ex or their ex’s new partner and 2% of murders of that category being women killing their partners. Come on! A government is likely to target the matter of physical violence in a way that relates to the issue as it is being expressed!

            It is almost like a type of ‘PC- ness’ is developing where one can’t mention anything that relates to gender without being accused of being unfair – even if there is a trend that might require certain genders to need certain shifts in attitude. i.e women in general might need to learn certain attitudes and ways of responding to a violent relationship and men might need to learn a different set of attitudes and ways of responding to being violent in a relationship. Obviously if it is the man being attacked then they will have to learn the type of thing the women have learned in the above example – but if an education program aims to teach men how to avoid/respond to being recipients of physical violence in relationships – then it is hardly going to target the largest group who needs that information in order to stop the ongoing killings is it?

            • Populuxe1

              I don’t know what you mean by ” I don’t think working from a paradigm where one partner gives up agency to another is helping at all” I don’t know what you are referring to with ‘giving up agency to another’ ? Or how that relates to the policy just released?

              It doesn’t. I was addressing Observer’s statement. That should be obvious because I quoted it with quote marks and everything.

              It may be unhelpful if people read the damning stats on men killing women and being ‘all men try to kill women’ or ‘no women ever kill men’ true. Yet 78% of all murders involving partners being men killing their female ex/partners and 87% of that category being men killing their female partners/ex or their ex’s new partner and 2% of murders of that category being women killing their partners. Come on! A government is likely to target the matter of physical violence in a way that relates to the issue as it is being expressed!

              It is a cack-handed approach. If it is to change – and yes, obviously men are the worst offenders but not specifically because they have a penis – men are going to have to be brought back into the conversation (something feminism has lost the knack of because shutting down debate is easier, even when not dealing with MRA morons), not shamed. The shaming doesn’t work, it never has, it just alienates.

              It is almost like a type of ‘PC- ness’ is developing where one can’t mention anything that relates to gender without being accused of being unfair – even if there is a trend that might require certain genders to need certain shifts in attitude. i.e women in general might need to learn certain attitudes and ways of responding to a violent relationship and men might need to learn a different set of attitudes and ways of responding to being violent in a relationship.

              You are right, it is a kind of PC-ness. However if there is any validity to identity politics at all, that is the logical conclusion – which is why I personally prefer striving for an egalitarian model of treating assuming everyone is a priori equal and examining inequality as a general principle rather than some oppression olympics where the winner is the one who gets to claim the moral high ground as the most oppressed.

              Obviously if it is the man being attacked then they will have to learn the type of thing the women have learned in the above example – but if an education program aims to teach men how to avoid/respond to being recipients of physical violence in relationships – then it is hardly going to target the largest group who needs that information in order to stop the ongoing killings is it?

              Um, no – because you seem to have just generalised all women as victims who strategise around physical violence and live in fear all time. Here’s the thing, I would be completely incapable of defending myself from a violent attack. Why am I not scared all the time? Probably because society doesn’t socially condition men to be scared all the time. Ergo maybe empower women as men are rather than patting them on the head like perpetual victims.

              • blue leopard

                There was no quotation marks in the comment I was responding to.
                As for the rest of what you wrote: what a load of garbled, poorly thought out, opinionated nonsense.

  25. Descendant Of Sssmith 25

    Aye but there is an attempted reversion to such ideals – attacking DPB which has enabled women to remove themselves from abusive relationships, the continual re-pushing of a nuclear family as the norm,
    the increased ability of men to put their assets into trusts making it more difficult for women to get re-established after a relationship breakdown, the referring of genuine criticism of dis-empowering behaviour as politically correct (actually it’s usually just correct), the rise of the religous right in terms of power and influence quite disproportionate to their actual numbers, the destruction of unions who led much of the workplace activity to make things more equitable.

    In some respects it seems a reversion, in others in seems to be the last dying throes of a generation and a age who currently have the voting power.

    Hard to say which way it will finish up.

    I remember the days of managers in the banks selecting the tellers by their hair colour and breast size, the days of people having playboy posters etc hanging at work, the crude jokes at management meetings, the commenting on the (imagined) sexual proclivities of the staff and customers, the managers who slept with as many of the female staff as possible using the power imbalance for all it was worth, the staff I had who were hit and abused and intimidated, whose husbands would ring up at 5:05 to see if they had left work yet because their control and jealousy was so great, the businessmen doing their banking telling the tellers the crude jokes while their money was counted, and so on and so on.

    I remember standing up and fighting all these things and find it sad indeed that many of these things are wending their way back.

  26. thechangeling 26

    Women have a role in family violence too. Their weapon is the mouth and they use blackmail over access to children and the withdrawal of love and sex as their frequent power/control games/strategies in order to get their own way.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 26.1

      Those awful ISIL types: their weapons are the AK47 and 50-cal mounted on a Humvee – no fair! We only have satellite-guided drone strikes and nuclear weapons.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 26.2

      Yeah cause they should still have sex when you want?

      Ultimately the only behaviour you can control is your own.

      The choice to be violent is ALWAYS one you can choose not to be.

      • freedom 26.2.1

        +1 Descendant of Sssmith

        anger is a healthy emotion, although often destructive in itself
        but violence, even if a learned reflex, is always a conscious decision

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Anger is only valuable as a hint that you’re experiencing fear or pain.

  27. vto 27

    good for mr cunliffe apparently .. shame about the violence ..

    sorry for being a man .. sorry for being a honky .. sorry for being gay .. where does it all end?


    • One Anonymous Bloke 27.1


      If you think he meant that why can’t you quote him properly? Surely not because quoting him properly changes the meaning? That would be you demonstrating dishonesty or stupidity or something.

      • vto 27.1.1

        Well I looked long and hard at the thing and what stuck out most was this … “So the first message to the men out there ”

        why has cunliffe addressed me about this?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Not your problem. I expect you have personal responsibility too. No, wait, you still can’t quote him properly.

          • vto

            There is something inherently wrong about the way Cunliffe went about what he was trying to achieve there. Good aims, incredibly poor execution. And judgment.

            And what do you mean “I expect you have personal responsibility too.”?

            • Tautoko Viper

              There are many times when a leader feels (s)he needs to apologise on behalf of the other members of their group who have brought shame on the group as a whole. Although I am certainly not a leader, there have been several times in my life that I have felt the need to apologise for the racism of some of my fellow pakeha which has brought shame to our ethnic group. I have felt this shame keenly even though I was not responsible. I am sure that David Cunliffe feels a similar type of shame on behalf of his errant fellow men, and this illustrates his sense of connectedness with others. I believe that this is a strength and not a weakness. On the other hand, John Key would probably distance himself from his own hand if it was caught in the till, because I don’t think he can connect with other people other than on a very superficial level.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              @vto: I meant that the Right use the phrase ‘personal responsibility’ as a way to deny the consequences of their incompetence, and that your faux-misunderstanding of being ‘addressed like this’ reeks of a similar self-deception.

  28. vto 28

    methinks much of the misunderstanding about cunliffes approach here (as opposed to the particular issue) is the meaning people take from the event of apology.

    it seems many people take many varied and strongly held beliefs about its meaning … which are of such variance as to lead to conflict in these circumstances

    • One Anonymous Bloke 28.1

      Or to put it another way, a good emotional hook. I have 2041 brass tacks that say it’s a one-off rather than a deliberate strategy.

  29. Jrobin 29

    Vto, if it was so badly executed, then why are we all talking about this issue with such unusual honesty? No one usually talks about this, it gets swept under the carpet because it is painful and hard to deal with. But this seems like a good start to me. And I don’t think most women believe that all men are violent, or that all women are angels. Look at the context of the apology. He was responding to the moment, and his audience were a specialist one who are all concerned with this issue. So he started with a humble attitude instead of being the all knowing male, telling the female audience what they should think and do. I can’t see Key taking risks like this or trying to deal with long term problems. It was courageous. We are a violent culture, physically and psychologically, and all of us women and men, need to take responsibility for how it affects our children. That’s not a personal attack, it’s a general comment.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 29.1



    • JanM 29.2

      And if you want some good examples of what a violent culture we really are you need look no further than the comments made on stuff relating to the article on this subject. It’s enough to make your blood run cold!

    • miravox 29.3

      Beautiful Jrobin. Thank you.

    • freedom 29.4

      “Look at the context of the apology.” Exactly !

      What is being widely discussed in detail, is an apology.
      (mostly at the expense of discussion on what looks to be the foundation for some excellent preventative driven policy)

      Apart from saying I love you’, there is perhaps no human to human communication so utterly dependent upon context than an apology. Context is everything and imho, in this contextual circumstance, the apology was essential for the rest of the speech to mean anything at all.

    • blue leopard 29.5

      +1 well said Jrobin

  30. The (male?) sensitivity over this is bewildering.

    It seems that, today, everybody takes everything personally – I guess that’s the big downside of our huge cultural shift towards individualism and the politics of the self.

    No-one seems to understand structural points and social level analyses.

    Here’s an analogy: A report comes out fingering speed and alcohol for road accidents.

    Some people then start to say ‘Look, don’t blame all drink drivers and speedsters for these tragedies! All this focus on speed and alcohol obscures the fact that the problem is car accidents so let’s stop focusing on just one or two things that correlate with and can be used to understand most car crashes and, instead, let’s focus on what matters – the accidents, irrespective of what causes them! After all, lots of people drink then drive and only a small minority of these incidents end in car crashes. Also, lots of people speed in cars and they don’t crash all the time. So it’s not about speed and alcohol! Stop ‘speedifying’ the issue!’

    I’ve just read Steven Pinker’s book ‘Better Angels of Our Nature: The decline in violence in history and its causes‘ and it’s worth mentioning that in his concluding chapter Pinker points out, quite uncontroversially in his mind, that one reason for the decline of violence in the modern world (yes, he argues it has declined at numerous scales and globally) is ‘feminisation’ of the world.

    He cites the words of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a Japanese man who survived the blast at Hiroshima only to move to Nagasaki in time for the nuclear blast there but who lived to be 93, passing away in 2010. Yamaguchi said “The only people who should be allowed to govern countries with nuclear weapons are mothers, those who are still breast-feeding their babies.

    Pinker then goes on (pp. 684-685):

    Yamaguchi was invoking the most fundamental empirical generalization about violence, that it is mainly committed by men. From the time they are boys, males play more violently than females, fantasize more about violence, consume more violent entertainment, commit the lion’s share of violent crimes, take more delight in punishment and revenge, take more foolish risks in aggressive attacks, vote for more warlike policies and leaders, and plan and carry out almost all the wars and genocides.

    Empirically and structurally, violence is strongly correlated with maleness. Societies structured along, and for, male interests are more violent than societies in which women have more rights, equality and influence. (Pinker connects it to human nature and evolutionary psychology, of course, but the data supporting the ‘generalisation’ is impressive whether or not you buy into that aspect of his analysis.)

    I did not take Cunliffe’s comments as insinuating that all men are individually/personally responsible for specific instances of domestic violence and, therefore, should personally apologise for each such instance. What I took him as meaning was that ‘I’, as a man, am sorry for being a member of the group that carries out so much domestic violence. It’s like saying I’m sorry for being part of a rugby team that won by cheating: ‘I’m sorry, right now, for being an All Black’ – sounds dignified to me.

    I don’t get why so many people seem to have taken Cunliffe’s comments so personally. Is it just an indication of how incapable people are, today, of thinking at the objective, structural level?

    Are we such intellectual prisoners of individualism that we can’t think in any other way?

    • JanM 30.1

      Thank you for that sound and intelligent analysis, Puddlegum 🙂

    • One Anonymous Bloke 30.2

      “…we found that the single most effective therapy in the prisons in preventing violent recidivism after people left the prison was prisoners getting a college degree while in prison.”

      James Gilligan

      Fear. Ignorance and fear, in the violent, and in the violent rejection of responsibility.

    • Colonial Viper 30.3

      1) Also, lots of people speed in cars and they don’t crash all the time. So it’s not about speed and alcohol! Stop ‘speedifying’ the issue!’

      2) I don’t get why so many people seem to have taken Cunliffe’s comments so personally. Is it just an indication of how incapable people are, today, of thinking at the objective, structural level?

      you may actually have answered your own query 2) with 1).

      Speeding and drinking are behaviours. Being male is however, typically, an identity. And that’s why some “seem to have taken Cunliffe’s comments so personally.”

      In your example of road accidents the analogy would be you fingering drivers in general for alcohol and speed caused road deaths. After all, speed and alcohol are certainly common factors behind road deaths, but not nearly as common as being a driver.

      But if you fingered drivers in general for speed and alcohol road deaths, you too might find that plenty of people object to the characterisation quite “personally.”

      An interesting twist – far more men do die on the roads than women, and I am under the impression that men are usually the cause. In the analogy, male drivers should therefore accept responsibility and accountability for what other male drivers do. Even if they themselves do not drink or speed, they should not try and duck accepting some of the culpability themselves. And apparently, they shouldn’t take it personally when they are told that’s what should happen.

      • blue leopard 30.3.1

        Interesting, because if I am recalling correctly a lot of the drink driving ads have male main characters – recently the main characters have been young Maori males. There have been some female characters in these ads but it would appear (if my memory serves me correctly) that a lot of these ads have focused on male characters.

        I assume this must be to do with the initiators of these ads wanting to focus on something going on in male culture- that they are trying to shift attitudes in male culture with regard to the drink-driving issue (?) I know there are women who drink and drive for sure – yet these ads would tell me that whoever commissions the ads feels the way to make the most improvement in drink-driving stats is to focus on men.

        Interesting because I haven’t seen an uproar on how sexist (or racist) that is.

        Why has there been no uproar? Is it that moving pictures bypass sensitivity over identity in a manner that words don’t?

        Or is it that there is a greater awareness of the background conditions to drink-driving (the ‘drink-driving culture’ in NZ culture) and therefore no uproar about targeting men because it is accepted that men are possibly most active in drink-driving or propagating the attitudes that lead to drink-driving?

        So are the objections in this thread due to an ‘identity’ being targeted or, rather, a lack of awareness or acceptance of the ‘cultural aspects’ in our culture that relate with people being killed/maimed by their partners?

        i.e. is there less awareness of the ‘cultural’ aspect of violence, whereas perhaps a greater awareness/ acceptance of a ‘drinking-driving culture’ in our society along with an acceptance of which ‘identity’ is most active in that culture?

        Otherwise why has there not been a corresponding uproar over the ads against drink-driving targeting men?

        • Colonial Viper

          Interesting because I haven’t seen an uproar on how sexist (or racist) that is.

          Why has there been no uproar? Is it that moving pictures bypass sensitivity over identity in a manner that words don’t?

          In taking a line from the feminist argument, and also playing devils advocate, the fact that there is zero uproar over the racism and outright stereotyping demonstrates how racist the background culture actually is – and particularly how invisibly racist the white middle class oriented medium of television tends to be.

          • blue leopard

            You have commented on racism yet appear to have ignored the potentially ‘sexist’ aspect that I pointed to -the focus on men – whereas you and many others weren’t slow to point out objections to what Cunliffe said with regard to gender. Why do you think that is?

            (I don’t fully understand the concepts you are referring to i.e. ‘invisibly racist’ Does that mean racism is ignored?)

            • Colonial Viper

              Yes its like patriarchy to many men – hard to notice, virtually invisible even, because they live in it with privilege and don’t understand that its not the same way for other people

      • Puddleglum 30.3.2

        Thanks for the thoughtful response CV.

        In the analogy with driving I was assuming that the population of drivers was like the human population. Those who speed and drink and drive are analogous to males acting (i.e., behaving) like men.

        That’s why I quoted Pinker’s comment about men, at the population level, being more prone to violent behaviour than women across a wide range of behaviours – they are the equivalent of the more dangerous drivers on the road. But not everyone who behaves as a ‘man’ (dangerous driver through speeding or drinking) ends up committing domestic violence (being in a car accident).

        Being male is however, typically, an identity

        I don’t see the distinction between ‘identity’ and ‘behaviour’ that you seem to see. ‘Identification’, after all, is a behaviour; a process.

        No-one forces males to identify as men. So, ‘being’ a man is actually adopting a particular behavioural ‘form of life’ and its social label (‘man’). It’s not an inevitable state for males. In the way I see it, a ‘man’ is different from a biological male, of course. We don’t ‘choose’ the latter but, because it’s mainly a behaviour, it’s marginally more accurate to say we ‘choose’ to be a man. (Not that I’m big on the idea of ‘choice’ when it comes to how we act.)

        In fact, even most males probably spend much of their lives not identifying as men – simply because much of the time circumstances don’t foreground the necessity for such identification.

        When Cunliffe said “I’m sorry I’m a man, right now” I just thought ‘Well, of course you should be sorry to be a man because men have committed a lot of violence against women.’ If you go to the trouble of identifying yourself with ‘manhood’ then, I’m sorry, but you take the good and the bad that comes from donning that identification.

        Here’s a different analogy.

        I’m English – i.e., I occasionally identify with being English – and when I read a particularly detailed account of some of the things that the English have done in history (e.g., in Ireland, in India, etc.) I do feel sorry that I’m English.

        That seems perfectly reasonable to me – even a bit admirable. That’s because ‘being English’ – and embracing that identification – means embracing some pretty horrific acts done in that ‘name’/identity. When I’m made aware of those acts and that awareness is combined with my tendency to identify as being English then it just seems proper to be sorry to be English (i.e., to be sorry that I tend towards that identity).

        Conversely, I think it would be quite improper in such instances to feel, for example, proud to be English – The English imposed starvation on Irish peasants? Gosh, I’m proud to be English.??? Surely I should feel sorry to be English in that event? (Remember, being ‘English’ is not the same as being me.)

        Once again, I just can’t see why people are personalising this. It’s about, if you like, the ‘identity’ of ‘being a man’ – and what’s that to anyone? (I know, obviously it is ‘something’ to some males.)

        It’s not a personal thing – after all ‘being a person‘ is about the behaviour of identifying with the unique individual that you are, expressed, as it is, through the unique social and cultural biography that serves to locate you in a local ‘social matrix’.

        If that person that you are hasn’t committed domestic violence then that person doesn’t have to feel personal culpability for domestic violence. But, to the extent that that person identifies (through their behaviour/discourse) with being a ‘man’ then I’m afraid they cop what goes along with that. Part of what goes along with that is that men are responsible for a lot of violence.

        Of course, there’s also a lot that’s really good about being a man. Manhood has its good points, which is probably why it’s still around as a behavioural repertoire.

        I’m not sure if that helps clarify my viewpoint, but I hope it’s at least interesting.

        • lprent

          Nicely said. I am a male, with a very kiwi history laden lineage, a programmer, and a quite deliberately obnoxious sysop personality whenever I encounter stupidity that causes me effort.

          All of those things are me, and none of them are me in my entirety.

          I also have a sister, neices, and a aged mother who has worked for woman’s refuge. All at some stage or another have had to deal with dickhead males and their female victims and their children. So have I.

          I have known the odd person who I consider are arseholes amongst women. But they are a minority amongst the people I consider are arseholes.

          Fact of nature and not a fact exclusively of nurture as far as I can tell is that males are inherently more aggressive towards everyone on average. They also appear to me to be responsible for almost all of the violence and aggression in families. Especially after you meet the women dealing with the women and their kids in refuges.

          That I really really want to find the perpetrators and string them up by their balls, does not mean that I should be able to do so. It is just my nature – whichever label you want to put on it. I personally usually label that particular aggressive instinct male. Useful some of the time. Less useful other times.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yep very very interesting. One other point I made elsewhere about male violence that women usually forget. Because they quite naturally think about it in gendered terms to do with violence directed against them. But the fact is that men relatively rarely commit homicide against an intimate partner or former partner. In contrast, men are far more likely to turn their anger, frustration, self loathing or inability to manage emotionally and kill themselves. By something like a factor of 10 or 20x more likely in NZ, to kill themselves.

          • blue leopard

            If your stats are correct, you provide even more reason to address the issue and to focus on improving male coping mechanisms CV.

            Good on Mr Cunliffe for giving the dialogue a boost.

  31. reason 31

    The REAL news in David C’s speech was the $60 million extra funding that Labor was pledging ….

    Especially whne contrasted against :
    “Meanwhile, they’re quietly letting Christchurch’s only rape crisis centre close [audio]. There’s been a 40% rise in sexual assaults in Christchurch since the earthquakes, but National is refusing to fund rape crisis there because it needs government funding to survive (yes, really).” http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/national-shuts-down-christchurchs-rape.html

    I know National have suddenly grown a consonance ( election year ). But how much money have they starved these services for since gaining office??? .

    The booze industry should be fronting up the money for womans refuges …………. and the extra ER doctors ……….. and the extra police & prison guards .

    Make the tax on this drug cover the costs to society from its abuse.

    And men who beat or abuse while sober are just plain mean and evil …… you wouldn’t want your dog around one.

  32. karol 32

    And just to highlight that, while poverty adds to domestic stresses, male violence is often more about power than poverty.

    Here is a case of an appalling level of physical assault by father on son (desribed in a fair amount of detail in the article).

    The father is a well connected business man. Police let him off lightly. But the mother complained. Now we see how the police can support and cover up violence of powerful men.

    And for stuff to headline it as “police mishandling”, is either afraid of being accused of defamation, or colluding with presenting it in a less appalling light.

    The boy’s mother, who has full custody of him, said the apology came only after she complained to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

    “As far as I’m concerned they don’t understand the nature of abuse,” she said. “They say family violence is not OK and yet they do this. It’s easier to let a woman and child take the [fallout] than confront a man who’s connected, with power. It’s the old-boy network.”

    Ruth Money of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, who supported the woman during the meeting with police, said: “In today’s culture of family violence awareness and so-called proactivity, the detective senior sergeant’s conduct here is appalling.”

    In this case the SST seems to be on the right side. And, the well connected businessman got discharge without conviction, for doing something far nastier than the crimes of the son of the Maori King.

    • Colonial Viper 32.1

      And just to highlight that, while poverty adds to domestic stresses, male violence is often more about power than poverty

      I tend to disagree with your statement above and its connection to the events in the news story. Firstly, this story isn’t about the act of violence. Or why the accused chose to deliver physical violence upon his son, or even about the societal or psychological context leading up to this episode of “male violence” (although I would call it ‘family violence’ myself as I believe that the quality of the family relationship between the accused and the victim is more relevant than simply gender).

      Primarily however, the events relayed in this article are about the special treatment given to a well connected and influential local businessman. That is, the power relationships, which you also comment on.

      The father is a well connected business man. Police let him off lightly.

      Yes. The police downgraded the charges and treated the man with kid gloves. It really makes you wonder what the connections between the accused and the police officers handling the case were. Perhaps they have business dealings? Went to school together? Are members of the same clubs or societies?

      But it’s also not quite sufficient for you to declare that the “Police let him off lightly.” While the victim’s family made explicit comment on the “old boys club” it was finally the judge who had power over the case. It was the judge who listened to the man’s QC and gave weight to those comments. It was the judge who decided to agree to discharge the businessman without conviction. The judge was a woman. Could it be that the female district court judge is also part of this ‘old boys club’ in terms of some kind of current or prior relationship with the accused? (In which case she should have recused herself).

      There is a more obvious perspective than the gendered one of course. At the end of the day this case is a clear example of how power and privilege tends to protect its own. It is a problem of the 1% and the 99% far more than your opening statement around how “male violence is often more about power than poverty.”

      One final comment. It appears you picked this news example of a well connected businessman in order to demonstrate the assertion that “male violence is often more about power than poverty.” In doing so, you misunderstand men in that it is predominantly poverty of the spirit and soul which drives males to violence, not simply poverty of the wallet.

    • freedom 32.2

      John Key, July 4, 2014, “no one is above the law”

      but a whole lot of powerfully connected people sure seem to be sitting comfortably alongside it 🙁

  33. Jrobin 33

    Precisely freedom. Key is the biggest hypocrite ever seen. His platitudes make me thoroughly sick, as sick as the man himself looks these days. Politics a stressful job but maybe its time to get back to a job where short term thinking is an advantage John and telling lies doesn’t matter.

  34. Sable 34

    I personally think Cunliffe is wide of the mark on this one.

    The reality is domestic violence is overwhelmingly down to poverty. I have seen this first hand and telling people who are poor, under enormous economic pressure, often suffering from the results of abuse themselves to “man up” shows how reluctant little politicians in general are to address to underlying very difficult issues associated with poverty.

    The jails in this country are stuffed full of people who are mentally ill and traumatized. People who once would not have been sent to jail at all but given the increasingly inhumane perspective on the mentally ill we now have a system that further exacerbates their misery. A system that believes that upon release they are somehow expected to be better “corrected” which of course is not the case. Indeed abuse suffered in these “cages” for the socially undesirable often make matters worse.

    Time for Labour to get serious about underlying issues associated with violence and abuse not just slap a band aid on the problem and hope for the best.

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