Verifiable Facts About Male Privilege in Canada

Male Privilege in Canada


1/8: Research Brief:
Suicide

In Canada in 2011: 2781 men committed suicide and 947 women. In Canada historically, men have consistently commited suicide at 3 to 4 times the rate of women. In other countries around the world the ratio is as high as 7.5:1. Caucasian men and aboriginal men commit the highest rates of suicide. Older men commit suicide more than younger men, with the peak age of 40-59. 90 percent of suicides involved someone with mental health or addiction issues and 60 percent of that was depression. Single men were more likely to commit suicide.

Suicide is an undeniably gendered issue. In the seminal study Suicide, Emile Durkheim noted in the year 18xx that men killed themselves at greater rates across all countries he studied. It is a universal and long-term pattern.

There are 6 major causes for suicide that often intersect and overlap: Mental illness, addiction, marital/relationship breakdown, financial hardship, physical health problems and a major loss. Each factor represents its own unique problems.

In 1968 the Divorce Act was passed, leading to a 128 percent increase in the divorce rate in 1969. The suicide rate for men spiked at the same rate.

‘Stoicism does not make ‘strong men,’ it makes brittle men who are prone to crack. Men are socialized to suppress their emotions and ‘be a man.’ Strength is desirable and weakness shunned. Male culture encourages isolation and suppression of any sign of helplessness. Self worth and identity are tied intimately to ability to earn wealth and be physically capable. Instead of coping by using social support, they snap. Dramatic losses in relationships, wealth or abilities can result in sudden, violent self-inflicted death by men.

The ‘gender paradox’ of suicide refers to the fact that women attempt suicide at twice the rate of men but men commit suicide 3-4 times the rate in actuality. Men use more violent and fatal methods. Hanging in 46 percent of men’s suicides and guns in 20 percent. In contrast, women most frequently use poison. Men chose methods that are very likely to cause a fatality.

In accounts of women’s aborted suicide attempts, they cite their concern over family relations depending on them. Accounted narratives of men’s final moments describe fatalistic determinism in the face of seemingly insurmountable issues. Women have an ‘ethic of family’ while men have an ‘ethic of justice.’ Instead of appealing to social ties and emotional bonds, men are compelled to take their lives if presented with a certain trigger event.

Having children reduces suicide for women but not for men. It is likely that if men were more connected and involved with their children’s lives there could be reduced suicide.

Childhood sexual abuse may be a highly significant but largely unreported factor in male suicide. There is a culture of male silence. Isolation, loneliness and social rejection can all be triggers for male suicide.

Men have maladaptive coping mechanisms for trauma or mental health problems. Men use illicit drugs and alcohol at higher rates than women. Instead of relying on friends, family, community or state support, men isolate themselves and consume psychoactive substances to escape.

Women have access to more mental health and social support services. Single, childless men have a significant lack of access. Women are encouraged to seek mental health support while men are stigmatized for it. The female identity is not threatened by getting help for depression while for men it is a sign of weakness and contrary to masculinity. Substance abuse and alcoholism are frequently more stigmatizing for women so men have higher rates of both, which lead to mental health and addiction issues.

Further Reading: Suicides in Prisons: A Gender Based Perspective


2/8: Research Brief:
Violence Against Men

In Canada, men make up 75 percent of total homicides. In the five-year period between 2004-2009, more men were killed with firearms than all women by all methods combined. Men account for 65 percent of all robbery victims. Men are three times more likely to suffer aggravated assault and twice as likely to be assaulted with a weapon. Men are three times more likely to be assaulted in public places and are more likely to be harmed by a stranger or acquaintance. Men commit the majority of extreme violence in Canadian society. 95 percent of the prison and criminal justice population is male. Men experience additional violence in prison, with homicide and assault rates significantly higher in prison.

Men experience violence from women while in domestic partnerships. For more information on domestic violence against men please visit our Campaign to End Violence Against Men.

Sexual violence committed against men and boys is unreported and unknown due to stigma. In times of widespread warfare or periods of lawlessness, men die at a rate of 1.3-10 for every woman. If you are male, you are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime. Preventing men from committing violence and reducing violence against men are incredibly important humanitarian goals.

Further Reading: Sexual Assault Against Young Males in Prisons and Detention Centres


3/8: Research Brief:
Boys’ Education

Compared to their female counterparts, boys and teenagers score worse across the board in literacy and writing, display significantly higher behavioral problems and are far more likely to drop out of high school and not attend university.

There is also a severe lack of male teachers, especially for early childhood education. Considering the rates of female led lone parent households, there is a strong need for positive male role models. 85 percent of elementary and kindergarten school teachers are female. Women make up 60 percent of secondary school teachers. 97 percent of early childhood educators are female in Canada. 56% of all university students are women. It is reported that 1 in 7 male teachers were falsely accused of inappropriate behavior and there was a lack of resources to protect the rights of teachers.

From the age of 1-4, boys are hospitalized at rates of 7800 per 100 000 compared to 5700 per 100 000 for girls. Between the ages of 1-3, 12 percent of boys are identified as having advanced motor and social development compared to 21 percent of girls. 16 percent of 4-11 year old boys showed aggressive behavior compared to 9 percent of girls and 14 percent of 4-11 year old boys displayed hyperactivity compared to 6 percent of girls the same age. By age 15, 20 percent of boys score in the top 25 percent in reading compared to 30 percent of girls in the top 25 percent. In 2010, 10 percent of young men and 6 percent of young women had dropped out of high school. Many young men report dropping out because they are not engaged in school and experienced low academic achievement. One in four dropouts have trouble maintaining steady employment. 88 percent of women graduate high school compared to 82 percent of men.

Across all developed countries, women graduate at greater rates than men yet there is a lack if concrete policy solutions to correct the issue. 40 percent of people with no high school degree experience low levels of employment and poverty. Girls on average receive substantially higher GPA averages in high school than boys. Research has shown that Canadian boys are 4 times more likely to be labeled with a social, emotional or behavioral issue. There is a strong gender gap in reading and writing ability. On average, high school aged girls scored 32 points higher on standardized English tests.

Masculinity norms such as a lack of impulse control, the need to earn income as fast as possible and a disregard for academics leads to poor reported attitudes about school. Boys take longer to read, read less and comprehend worse than girls and express negative attitudes towards reading across the board (significally more males identify themselves as ‘non readers’). Stereotypes of men as jocks, workers and a negative influence from peers and harmful substance use all contribute to male school failure. Girls are emphasized to seek help for school, display good manners and try hard while boys misbehavior and failure can be chalked up as ‘boys being boys’ ‘fitting in’ through destructive behavior and priority placed on athletic or economic labor achievement.

Further Reading: The Need for an Inclusive Quota System in Teachers’ Education and the Teaching Service in Manitoba and Across Canada

LINKS:
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/dai/smr08/2014/smr08_190_2014
http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/false-accusations-growing-fear-classroom
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/131127/dq131127d-eng.htm
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-004-x/2010004/article/11339-eng.htm
https://educhatter.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/the-attainment-achievement-gap-what-do-rising-canadian-graduation-rates-actually-prove/


4/8: Research Brief:
Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is the termed used when a child unreasonably rejects 1 parent as the result of conscious or unconscious negative influence by another. The alienating parent cultivates an attitude of obsessive hostility in the child towards the alienated parent. The hatred the child holds towards the alienated parent usually extends to that parents entire family, often negating any positive benefits from being part of the extended family. In relationship breakdowns that involve infidelity or does not end mutually, one parent frequently uses the child as a weapon to hurt the other parent.

Since the vast majority of custody cases favor the mother, the father is far more frequently the alienated parent. While there is some criticism of the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) that it excuses abusive men, family lawyers, psychologists and social workers all support the concept as something that happens frequently in practice. A case where a child naturally prefers one parent to another does not count as pathological alienation.

Parental Alienation Syndrome does not extend to fathers who are legitimately abusive or demonstrably unfit. Children are aware that they are genetically made of 50 percent of their mother and 50 percent of their father. When one parent verbally denigrates and dehumanizes the other parent in front of the child, their emotional and psychological identity is damaged, as they can come to believe they are made of the same terrible qualities.

There are many documented negative effects of fatherlessness and if the father is not harmful to the child’s development, they should be involved as much as possible. While economic support is very important, social and emotional support to a child’s development and well being is essential. Spite, vindictiveness and spousal relationship baggage should not extend to the parent-child relationship. The alienated parent frequently faces increased rates of substance abuse and depression.

The age of the child at divorce, alignment of other family and institutional workers, and presence of siblings can all affect the likelihood that a child will become alienated from a parent.


5/8: Research Brief:
Fatherlessness

Recent research has shown that parental deprivation and fatherlessness during times of development alter the neurological brain chemistry in children and cause them to be prone to risky behavior and substance use. There are roughly 150 000 lone parent families in Canada, with 80 percent of those being female lone parent families. Female lone parent families made up 13 percent of all census families while male lone parent households were only 3.5 percent. There are many negative effects of fatherlessness on children, ex partners and society in general. Men are not socialized to value fatherhood the same way women are encouraged to embrace their identity as mothers.

There are many causes to men being absent from their children’s lives and development, ranging from being purposefully absent, in jail or being an unfit parent to being willfully excluded and prevented from having contact by ex partners and the current legal system. Several studies have shown that the main reported cause of fatherlessness is the fact that the father did not want to get divorced and the relationship with the mother deteriorated in the aftermath. Post relationship breakdown, many women report they see little value in having the father around and many attempt to deny visitation or other rights in spite of court orders. Marriage has been the main social institution to tie fathers to their children and the steady rise in divorce rates in the last half of the 20th century has partially lead to our state of rising lone child families.

While measurable negative effects of fatherlessness on their children are difficult to separate from other determinants such as poverty, American research has shown growing up without a father is tied to many negative psychological, social and physical issues. Children from fatherless families are 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 4 times more likely to be raised in poverty, twice as likely to commit suicide and 9 times more likely to drop out of high school. 70 percent of teen pregnancies occur in a fatherless home and girls are 9 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in a home without a biological father. Stepfathers and boyfriends pose a much higher risk of sexual predation. 60 percent of accused rapists came from fatherless homes and those raised in fatherless homes are 11 times more likely to engage in violent behavior and 20 times more likely to be incarcerated at some point.

The official government statistics reveal that fatherlessness is a pressing issue in society and contribute to a host of social problems. Fatherhood should be praised and encouraged as a source of pride and meaning for fathers, not just as being in the role of ‘bread winner.’ Sensitivity to children and child rearing has largely been deemed the female domain and as a result, many men do not necessarily value or covet being a father and instead opt to spend time away from offspring earning money. The stereotype that men are intended to protect and provide income and women are intended to nurture and love are based on sexuality and gender and are powerful social constructions.

A positive male father figure is clearly vital in the social and physical development of boys and girls. Lone parent households do not give the same benefits as homes with both mother and father. The ideology that women and children do not greatly benefit from male partners or fathers is false and harmful to children and society. While there are many ways to make a family, the empirical benefits of having a two parent household is compelling. Widespread American studies show that children raised by two biological parents had far less internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems. The current legal model is adversarial and usually does not foster post divorce healthy co-parenting.

While mothers of course are necessary for children, their strict primacy in custody causes challenges healthy shared parenting. Making policies to support single mothers only does not address the effects of what happens to children raised in lone parent households or contribute to more fathers being involved in their children’s development. Even if there is a relationship breakdown between parents, there is still a pressing need for children to have substantial contact with their fathers. It has been argued that fatherlessness affects the personality and attachment style of daughters and women especially. Children who are deprived of fathers have less economic benefits, supervision, guidance and protection as well as suffering from less emotional support and feelings of abandonment.

Further Reading: Fathers’ Involvement and Health Outcomes of Children

LINKS:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2518247/Growing-father-permanently-alter-BRAIN-Fatherless-children-likely-grow-angry-turn-drugs.html
http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-312-x/98-312-x2011001-eng.cfm
http://www.fathers.com/statistics-and-research/the-consequences-of-fatherlessness/
http://www.ancpr.com/effects_of_fatherlessness_on_chi.htm


6/8: Research Brief:
Legal Policy & Misandry

The purpose of this research brief is to explore and summarize the realities of gender inequality in our public policies and legal system.

There are certainly areas in which women face bias and in which the disproportionate victimization of women justify victim services that overwhelmingly support females.

But that does not require us to neglect the systematic gender inequalities that elsewhere disadvantage men. The fact that more men than women are perpetrators of crime in no way justifies public policies or legal procedures which rest on the sexist presumption that men are as a group guilty. Each individual man or woman deserves the same treatment, whether it’s an accused enjoying access to justice and to unbiased legal protections or it’s a victim requiring service and support.

The emerging sentiment among leading academics, statisticians, and government committee reports is that men are unfairly treated procedurally by police, courts and correctional services. From our criminal justice system to our family courts, incorrect myths and stereotypical over-generalizations regarding the nature of men abound.

The serious consequences have been felt across the legal sphere, which we will explore further in this review:

1. Differing sentencing rates between male and female offenders,
2. Lack of victim services for men who have encountered sexual assault, domestic abuse and violence,
3. Labour laws and ambiguous sexual harassment legal codes contributing to polarized relations between men and women
4. The Divorce Act, child custody practises and family court culture and traditions contributing to
systematic bias against fathers following family break-up.

Criminal Justice System

Criminal Sentencing

Empirical findings:

Multiple reinforcing studies support the conclusion that gender is the most significant bias in determining whether or not someone will be charged, prosecuted, indicted or sentenced, as well as determining the severity of the sentence.

Offender gender and sentencing studies have for many years now demonstrated that women tend to be less likely than males to receive prison or jail time (see Farnworth and Teske, 1995; Ghali and Chesney-Lind, 1986; Gruhl, Welch, and Spohn, 1984; Johnson, Kennedy, and Shuman, 1987; Mustard, 2001; Nobiling, Spohn, and DeLone, 1998; Spohn, 1999; Spohn and Beichner, 2000; Spohn and Holleran, 2000; Steffensmeier, Kramer, and Streifel, 1993; Steffensmeier, Ulmer, and Kramer, 1998; Ulmer, 2000; Wooldredge, 1998).

A study published in Justice Quarterly in 1986 examined 181,197 felonies in California and found that for the same crime, being male increased the chance of incarceration by 165 percent. Being black, in comparison, increased the chance of incarceration by 19 percent.

Another study, published in Crime & Delinquency in 1989, examined non-accomplice crimes and factored together the number of charges, convicted offenses, prior felony convictions, as well as the race, age, work history and family situation of the accused. It found that gender differences, favouring women, are more often found than race differences, favouring whites. Similar conclusions were also drawn by researchers Matthew Zingraff and Randall Thompson in their study published in the International Journal of the Sociology of Law. They also concluded that being male increases sentence lengths more than any other discriminatory variable.

A 2009 University of Washington (UW) study analyzing the state’s system for imposing court fees, fines and other legal obligations found that men are given higher court fees and fines than women. The report was commenced when the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission hired UW to analyze the state’s system for imposing fees, and was undertaken by Professors Katherine Beckett and Alexes Harris, who combed through each of the 3,366 cases adjudicated by Superior Courts through the state in January and February 2004.

More recently, an assistant law professor at the University of Michigan, Sonja Starr, found that men are given much higher sentences than women convicted of the same crime in federal court. The 2012 study, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases, found that men receive sentences that are 63 per cent higher, on average, than their female counterparts. It also found that females arrested for a crime are significantly more likely to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.

Rebecca Kong and Kathy AuCoin’s Female Offenders in Canada government report summarizes the prevalence of crime by females, as well as the nature of their criminal behaviour. In Canada, women are arrested by police at a much lower rate than men. According to official data from nine provinces (under the Incident -based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey), females are apprehended by police for crimes against the person at a rate 5 times lower than males (see Chart 1).

Exhibit 1.png

Moreover, the study shows that in the adult court system, women had their cases stayed or withdrawn more frequently than their male counterparts and were less frequently found guilty. In 2003/2004, 51% of all cases against women ended in a finding of guilt, compared to 59% for men. A further 44% were stayed or withdrawn while the same was true for 34% of cases against men. Women found guilty in adult criminal court are less likely than men to receive a prison sentence and are more likely to receive probation. Females found guilty of crimes against the person in 2003/2004 were half as likely as their male counterparts to receive a prison sentence (19% versus 38%). The same was true for crimes against property with 24% of women and 45% of men being sentenced to custody.

In comparison to men, the lower proportion of women sentenced to prison time held true regardless of the severity of the crime. For instance, in cases of major assault (assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm), prison sentences were handed down to one-quarter of women and nearly half of men who were found guilty (48%). Differences in sentencing were found with most other serious crimes such as robbery (62% versus 76%), break and enter (41% versus 61%) and fraud (20% versus 40%).

The bias applies to victims as well as the accused. Edward Glaeser of Harvard University and Bruce Sacerdote of Dartmouth College examined 2,800 homicide cases randomly drawn from 33 urban counties by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. They found that the victim characteristics are quite significant. Offenders who kill male victims receive much shorter sentences. Killing a female instead of a male increased sentences by 40.6 per cent. Glaeser and Sacerdote write that one interpretation of these results is that male victims are more likely to have initiated the conflict. To address this interpretation, they examined only murders where the offender was the aggressor, and in those cases the victim’s gender is still a key variable.  

Theoretical findings:

Theoretical research has been dedicated to explain the facts and figures introduced above. This plethora of research has sought to explain how and why female offenders tend to receive milder sentences. Two main theoretical strands have emerged: the chivalry thesis dating back to the 1970s and the theory that looks at judicial decision making.

The chivalry thesis is premised on cultural stereotypes about gender and posits that gendered stereotypes about men and women both influence sentencing outcomes according to the sex of the offender. Women are deemed in need of protection and not fully responsible for their actions. When these stereotypes play out in the arena of criminal justice, they will result in preferential treatment for female offenders from predominately male police officers, prosecutors and judges (Crew, 1991; Farnworth and Teske, 1995; 320 Social Science Quarterly Parisi, 1982; Rafter and Stanko, 1982).

The theory based on judicial decision making proposes that the relationship between gender and sentencing is the byproduct of human error expressed in judicial outcomes. According to this view, judges are limited on the amount of time they can spent on individual cases, and they generally receive incomplete information on cases. This time constraint and other factors mean that judges and other court players make contextual attributions about the defendant’s culpability, character and potential recidivism on three focal concerns: blameworthiness, dangerousness and practical constraints. So they may attribute certain risks to one gender more than the other. Females can be viewed as less of a risk (Albonetti, 1991) and males as more culpable (Baumer, Messner, and Felson, 2000; Steffensmeier, Ulmer, and Kramer, 1998).

Men & Sexual Abuse/Assault

Domestic Law:

Canadian criminal law resources acknowledge that males, both as children and adults, can be victims of sexual abuse and assault.  There is also nuance in the fact that the majority of victims of sexual assault are female. There is a significant body of research from many disciplines examining the criminal and civil justice systems and female victims of sexual violence. Meanwhile, research on male victims is much more limited. Various government publications attribute this lack of research on male victims to the smaller numbers of male victims and challenges recruiting representative samples. More often than not, male victims are less likely to report incidents in which they were sexually assaulted and abused (this problem has been best highlighted by the difference in police reported data versus self-reported data).

Tewksbury (2007) provides a summary of the reasons men chose not to report assaults, nor seek help services. These include: stigma, shame, fear, and having their sexuality questioned. While men may try to find services, they will quickly find that sexual assault/rape crisis centres may only provide services to women or that though they can access services, there are none specifically designed for men. Several years ago, Fuller and Smith (2008) undertook a scan of support services in Canada available to male survivors. At that time, there were only three organizations in the country dedicated to providing services to male survivors. The myth that men do not suffer sexual assault means that few, if any, help centres and government resources are designed for them. There is a lack of advocacy and awareness to assist and encourage these victimized men to come forward and both report the crime committed against them, as well as seek the appropriate male focused help services.

The overall lack of research on male victims of sexual abuse undermines police officers efforts and other instrumental members of the justice system in understanding and adequately responding to these cases.

The research study undertaken by Susan McDonald and Adamira Tijerino and published by the Canadian Department of Justice in 2013, examined the experiences of male survivors of both child sexual abuse and adult sexual assault via a series of interviews and other research methods. Participants of the study recommended that government and/or advocates raise awareness about the issue as they believe that professionals working in justice, education, health or child protection and the general public are still not as aware as they could be and continue to be influenced by myths regarding sexual abuse/assault of male victims. Along these lines, participants recommended training for all criminal justice professionals on the dynamics of sexual abuse/assault as well as interviewing and investigative techniques. The ease of public reporting and the perception surrounding an incident can impact whether a criminal incident becomes known to police and subsequently reported to Statistics Canada through the UCR Survey (Brennan 2012, 12).

Zooming into the legislature, we can instantaneously see how one gender is over emphasized. While it is understandable that women will be emphasized, given that they constitute the majority of victims of sexual violence, it is important that men are also acknowledged. For instance, consider the Government of Ontario’s November 19, 2015 approach to dispelling myths about sexual violence:

Exhibit 2.png

Most of the myths being addressed are women centric, without a single myth dedicated to male victims of sexual abuse. The Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan also does a poor job at including men as potential victims of violence:

Exhibit 3.png

Exhibit 4A quick benchmarking exercise brings to light a variety of ways one can address domestic violence and sexual violence to be more inclusive of men and approach the issue with the goal of improving gender relations between men, women and families. For instance, the Province of Alberta focuses on family violence in its publications and awareness fliers. It explicitly recognizes that women are largely victims of domestic abuse, but in its Framework to End Family Violence in Alberta 2013- 2018, the government also recognizes that men and boys are mandatory partners in forming a solution to domestic violence issues. As part of the Framework’s goal to “promote gender equality, respect and healthy relationships,” the Province shall “develop, promote and support a comprehensive provincial strategy to engage men and boys in family violence prevention.” Moreover, “men need to feel valued and supported to model and coach boys to respect women and girls and themselves.”

By framing domestic violence as a problem that affects the entire family unit, the government immediately becomes more inclusive of both men and women as possible aggressors and victims.

It is emphatically not the purpose of this brief to argue that women should be less represented as victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and/or sexual assault in government resources and advertisements, but rather, that men who are also victimized be included in the conversation as well.

International Law:

Sexual abuse against men has gone under investigated, under prosecuted and ultimately under punished internationally as well. An article published by the Wisconsin International Law Journal in 2012 by Harvard Law Professor Dustin A. Lewis casts light on the international law aspects of a largely unrecognized occurrence in armed conflict: sexual violence against men. As with sexual violence against women, exact numbers regarding the incidence of sexual violence against men are difficult to ascertain because of underreporting and non recognition. Despite this, in one assessment, of the 5,000 male inmates at a concentration camp in Sarajevo Canton, 80 percent reported being raped.  It argues that to reduce and prevent sexual violence against men in conflict settings, international law should be interpreted, applied, and enforced in ways that delegitimize the prejudicial and discriminatory conceptions of gender, sex and homosexuality that often fuel such violence in the first place. Prof. Lewis suggests that to enhance protection, treaty drafters should explicitly recognize men as a class of victims, and a postulated jus cogens norm should be expanded to include all forms of sexual violence against men, women, and children.

Labour Laws and Sexual Harassment

The rules:
 
The Canadian Labour Code establishes “an employee’s right to employment free of sexual harassment and requires employers to take positive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Code defines sexual harassment as any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee; or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.”

Exhibit 5.png

The issues:

Foremost researchers into misandry, Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young, argue that to protect themselves, various institutions such as universities and corporations, have established quasi-legal sexual harassment codes. Aside from instituting definitions that are overly broad and ambiguous, these codes often ignore due process, which contributes to worrisome and even polarizing effect on relations between men and women. 

Civil Law: Legal Bias against Fathers

There is evidence to suggest that fathers are being treated unfairly by the legal system governing divorce, child custody, and support payments. In addition to the emotional and psychological pain typically associated with separation and divorce, the current legal system forces parents to fight one another for child custody. The judge decides on whose custody to place the child after inviting both partners to the witness stand so they may have the chance to vouch for themselves while simultaneously providing open space to produce or recount stories that detract from their partner’s character.

This litigation motivates parents to produce hurtful evidence of each other’s deficiencies, making it very hard for them to work together in the future and on the best interest of their child(ren). This procedure is rooted in the gender neutral doctrine of “the best interest of the child.” The application of the law grants judges broad discretion to consider almost any factor thought to be relevant to the custody decision and the best interest of the child, even relying on harmful gender based presumptions or stereotypes. This can be alarming for fathers considering that the judge’s assessment and decision will determine who receives custody of the child, the type of custody (whether sole or shared), visitation rights, and the child support amount that the father must pay.

Determining which parent is responsible for child support is usually based on the living arrangement of the child(ren). Parents pay child support if their children primarily reside with the other parent. According to Statistics Canada in 2011, almost two-thirds (64%) of non-resident parents reported that they were currently paying child support, most of whom were fathers (92%). On the other hand, child support was received by 41% of resident parents, and off these recipients, 93% were mothers. Child support payments are based on the “40-per-cent-rule”, meaning that if a father has the child(ren) more than 40 per cent of the time, he can seek a reduction in payments. If the mother has the child(ren) for more than 40 per cent of the time, she is entitled to full support. Fathers who seek more time with the kids are often looked at with suspicion under the presumption that they are merely interested in reducing their support payments, rather than on spending quality time with their child(ren).

According data from 2000, after separation, mothers were given custody of the children in the overwhelming proportion of cases. As we can see below, close to 80 percent of children under the age of 12 were placed in their mother’s custody under court order. One-quarter of the children visited their fathers irregularly (once a month, on holidays, or at random). Fifteen percent of children never saw their fathers (although a small number had letter or phone contact with him).

Exhibit 6

Source: Selected Statistics on Canadian Families and Family Law: Second Edition, Prepared by the Research Unit of Family, Children and Youth Services at the Department of Justice Canada 2000 http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/famil/stat2000/p4.html

While the courts are charged with determining the best interest of the child, they are routinely removing entirely or substantially one parent from the life of the child. Historical and recent studies show children are best served by having two active parents regularly involved in their lives.

A study undertaken by University of British Columbia Associate Professor Edward Kruk argues that one size does not fit all and that sole custody is not in fact in the best interest of the child. Kruk highlights the following research findings for support: Sole maternal custody often leads to parental alienation and father absence, and father absence is associated with negative child outcomes. 85 per cent of youth in prison are fatherless; 71 per cent of high school dropouts are fatherless; 90 per cent of runaway children are fatherless; and fatherless youth exhibit higher levels of depression and suicide, delinquency, promiscuity and teen pregnancy, behavioural problems and illicit and licit substance abuse (Statistics Canada, 2005; Crowder and Teachman, 2004; Ellis et al., 2003; Ringback Weitoft et al., 2003; Jeynes, 2001; Leonard et al., 2005; McCue Horwitz et al,, 2003; McMunn, 2001; Margolin and Craft, 1989; Blankenhorn, 1995; Popenoe, 1996; Vitz, 2000; Alexander, 2003). These studies also found that fatherless youth are more likely to be victims of exploitation and abuse, as father absence through divorce is strongly associated with diminished self-concepts in children (Parish, 1987). This research into the consequences of fatherlessness control for socio-economic condition. 

Reference Information

Note: Links to sources cited have been provided throughout the research brief.

Are female felons treated more leniently by the criminal justice system? William Wilbanks  Justice Quarterly Vol. 3, Iss. 4, 1986

Child Custody, Access and Parental Responsibility: The Search for a Just and Equitable Standard. Edward Kruk. 2008.  Commissioned by the Father Involvement Research Alliance. http://www.fira.ca/cms/documents/181/April7_Kruk.pdf

Dispelling the myths about sexual assault. Government of Ontario. Updated November 19, 2015: https://www.ontario.ca/page/dispelling-myths-about-sexual-assault

Differential sentencing of women and men in the U.S.A. Zingraff, Matthew; Thomson, Randall. International Journal of the Sociology of Law, Vol 12(4), Nov 1984, 401-413.

Effects of Sexual Assaults on Men: Physical, Mental and Sexual Consequences. Richard Tewksbury. 2007. International Journal for Men’s Health, Volume 6, Number 1.

Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases. Sonja B. Starr. 2012. University of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018.

Family Violence Hurts Everyone: A Framework to End Family Violence in Alberta 2013-2018. Government of Alberta. http://preventdomesticviolence.ca/sites/default/files/Framework%20to%20End%20Family%20Violence%20in%20Alberta%202013-2018.pdf

Federal Labour Standards: Sexual Harassment. Government of Canada. Last modified 2016-01-05: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/labour_standards/sexual_harassment.page

Female Offenders in Canada. Rebecca Kong and Kathy AuCoin. 2008. Juristat. Vol. 28, no. 1. Statistics Canada Catalogue no.85-002-X.

Gender Differences in Criminal Sentencing: Do Effects Vary Across Violent, Property, and Drug Offenses?  S. Fernando Rodriguez, Theodore R. Curry, and Gang Lee. 2006. Social Science Quarterly, Volume 87, Number 2.

It’s never okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence Harassment. Government of Ontario. March 2015: https://www.ontario.ca/document/action-plan-stop-sexual-violence-and-harassment

Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination against Men. Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young. 2006. Mcgill-Queens University Press

Male Survivors of SexualL Abuse And Assault: Their Experiences. Susan McDonald and Adamira Tijerino. 2013. Research and Statistics Division Department of Justice Canada

Neither Conflict Nor Labeling Nor Paternalism Will Suffice: Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Family in Criminal Court Decisions. Crime & Delinquency January 1989 35: 136-168

On Cash and Conviction: Monetary Sanctions as Misguided Policy.  Katherine Beckett and Alexes Harris. 2011. Criminology & Public Policy 10, 3: 505-37.

Parenting and child support after separation or divorce. Maire Sinha. Statistics Canada, Publication 89-652-X

Scan of Support Services Available to Male Survivors of Sexual Assault. Fuller, S. and N. Smith. 2008.  Atlantic Evaluation Group Inc.

The Determinants of Punishment: Deterrence, Incapacitation and Vengeance. Edward L. Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote. 2000. Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper #1894.

Unrecognized Victims: Sexual Violence against Men in Conflict Settings under International Law. Dustin A. Lewis. 2009. Wisconsin International Law Journal.


7/8: Research Brief:
Misandry in the Media and Pop Culture

Misandry

Negative and ‘flawed’ images of men are perpetuated by most genre of popular culture – books, television shows, movies, greetings cards, comic streeps, ads and commercials and more. Men and boys are widely represented as violent and aggressive thieves, thugs, murderers, wife and girlfriend bashers, sexual abusers, molesters, perverts, irresponsible deadbeat dads and philanderers, even though, in reality, only a small proportion of men act out these roles and behaviours. Media discourses are powerful and shape perspectives of social attitudes. While much literature space has been dedicated to understanding how media influences the role of women in society, little work has been dedicated to media and the portrayal of men.

Media sources have a tendency to deny, minimize and at times ridicule male victimization such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and emotional trauma to name a few. The message we give to male victims is that they either “deserved it”, “asked for it”, and/or are “lying”. Violence towards males is normalized in our society, and so are the images that reinforce harmful stereotypes about males and masculinity. The male voice is further stifled by the media’s portrayal of the “butch man”, meaning that if a male victim wishes to complain or report an incident, they will be “whining” because society expects them to “take it as a man”.

Prison rape, injury to a man’s genitals, sexual abuse of boys by women under the guise of initiation and other behaviours, easily identifiable as physical or sexual abuse and assault when they happen to girls or women, are exploited for humor so regularly that they have become a norm in comedy films and entertainment.

Male sexuality faces a growing trend towards objectification in mass media strikingly similar or parallel to the objectification of women which has been widely documented. Among many other examples, pause to consider the mass appreciation of movies such as “Magic Mike”, shirtless photos of sexy male celebrities in Cosmo, or the “14 photos of hot guys who have great butts” on Elite Daily. The reality is that images that objectify, demonize and devalue men have negative consequences for men, women, and gender relations itself.

The very notion that men have a unique set of issues and concerns including fatherlessness, increasing suicide rates and declining post secondary enrollment rates has been met with criticism. Conferences with titles such as “What makes a man: Drawing a new map to manhood,” which seek to define the “right” kind of masculinity, would surely be considered simplistic and offensive – had males not been the topic discussed – are attended in large numbers. On the other hand, events with titles such as “From Misogyny to Misandry to Intersexual Dialogue”, or “Boys to Men: Transforming the Boys Crisis into our Sons’ Opportunities”, seeking safe spaces for men to discuss uniquely male problems across university campuses are protested. Misandry exists, and it is has become pervasive enough to enter academic, legal and political forums.

Misandry Hatred of Men Prejudice.png

[ For more example of hate propaganda against men and boys, go to click here. ]

References

Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture (Montreal, Quebec, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001).

Jim Macnamara, Media and Male Identity: The making and Remaking of Men. (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2006) http://www.archipelagopress.com/images/ResearchPapers/Men%20in%20Media%20Paper.pdf

Femiano, S., & Nickerson, M. (2002). How do media images of men affect our lives? Retrieved June 25, 2004, from Center for Media Literacy Web site http://www.medialit.org/reading_room/article39.html

Andrew Bock, Dumb stereotypes take heart out of boys’ hopes. September 19, 2003 http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/18/1063625153160.html?from=storyrhs

The Conversation US Pilot, For father’s day give us men who aren’t shown as fools or clowns. September 4, 2014. http://theconversation.com/for-fathers-day-give-us-men-who-arent-shown-as-fools-and-clowns-31170

Kristin J. Anderson, Melinda Kanner and Nisreen Elsayegh, Are feminists men haters? Feminists’ and nonfeminists’ attitudes toward men. June 2009. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2009.01491.x/abstract

Joshua Hart, Peter Glick and Rachel E. Dinero, (2013), She Loves Him, She Loves Him Not: Attachment Style as a Predictor of Women’s Ambivalent Sexism Towards Men, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Vol. 37: 507-517

Benatar, D. (2012), The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys, Malden; Wiley-Blackwell.

Synnott, Anthony (2009), Re-Thinking Men: Heroes, Villains and Victims, Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 1409491951.

Rosenblum, Darren (2010), “Beyond Victimisation and Misandry”, International Journal of Law in Context, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 114–116.

Kathleen Evans, Media Representations of Male and Female ‘Co-Offending’: How female offenders are portrayed in comparison to their male counterparts. 2012. http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Evans_Media_Representations_of_Male_and_Female_Co-Offending_IJC_Dec_2012.pdf

The Invisible Boy: Revisioning the Victimization of Male Children and Teens, Health Canada
Vice, We went to a Men’s rights lecture. April 2013. http://www.vice.com/read/we-went-to-a-mens-rights-lecture-in-toronto

Canadian Association for Equity, Media coverage and response to Dr. Warren Farrell Event The Protesta and the Aftermath. November 22, 2012 https://equalitycanada.com/cafe-response-warren-farrell/

Canadian Association for Equity, Dr. Warren Farrell on “Boys to Men: Transforming the Boys Crisis into our Sons’ Opportunities”. October 21, 2012. https://equalitycanada.com/warrenfarrell

Sarah Boesveld, What makes a man? As male icons fall from grace, regular guys struggle to identify ‘right’ kind of masculinity. The National Post November 21, 2014 http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/what-makes-a-man-as-male-icons-fall-from-grace-regular-guys-struggle-to-identify-right-kind-of-masculinity


8/8: Research Brief:
Men’s Health

There are many physical and mental health issues that are unique to men. Some of these pronounced problems lack public awareness. Many men’s health issues are products of behavioral and cultural factors.

Due to harmful culture of silence and stigma on weakness, men’s mental health issues are particularly ignored. Depression, anxiety and many other issues are often suppressed. Traditional masculinity norms are a barrier to improving men’s mental and physical health.

Undiagnosed depression is prevalent amongst men. The ‘culture of silence’ and stigma of admitting forces men to suffer in isolation and to not seek help. Women are far more likely to seek out social or psychological resources for depression.

Since childhood, males are encouraged to engage in aggressive and risky behavior. ‘Boys will be boys’ ‘toughen up’ ‘be a man’ ‘don’t be a pussy’ are all gender specific phrases intended to demean or ignore men’s physical or mental pain experiences. Men must be socialized to express themselves and cultivate social and psychological support.
Men are disproportionally more likely to die on the job in Canada. In 2013 902 people died on the job. 844 were men and 57 were women. 152 000 men were injured and 90 000 women. Between 2-3 people die every workday in Canada, 90 percent of them male.

Men are more likely to be overweight. In Canada, 26 percent of men are obese and 23 percent of women. There were 8 million men classified as overweight or obese compared to 6 million women. A lack of fitness causes increased heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a host of physical health problems.

Men are more likely to heavily consume alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. Men exceeded the chronic risk guidelines for alcohol consumption by 22 percent and women 15 percent while men exceeded the acute risk guide by 17 percent and women by 10 percent. Men use illegal drugs at double the rate of women. The prevalence of smoking in Canada is 20 percent for males and 15 percent for females. Men are heavier smokers than women, smoking an average of 3 more cigarettes per day than women. Around the world, 48 percent of men smoke and only 12 percent of women smoke. Escaping from personal or mental health problems through substance abuse and being encouraged to engage in risky and self-harming behavior is a socially constructed, harmful part of male gender.

Single adult males aged 25-55 make up 47.5 percent of the chronically homeless population in Canada. This demographic group has high rates of disabilities and addiction and a myriad of social and psychological problems. Men make up 74 percent of the homeless emergency shelter population. There is a serious lack of resources for the single adult male homeless population.

Further Reading: HPV Vaccine for Boys: The Rational for a Country-Wide Policy


For more examples of verifiable facts about the so called “Male Privilege”, make sure to visit Canadian Association for Equality.


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