to: Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities
Re: Your support for compulsory Sex and Relationship Education in schools
The End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition (EVAWGC) in Ref. quotes you as saying, “As both Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women I am wholly committed to tackling violence against women and girls.”
As Secretary of State for Education you must surely be mindful that you have charge over an area in which the disadvantaged sex are boys and young men.
The education gender gap in favour of girls is emphatic at GCSE, and girls outperform boys at A level in virtually every subject. Female dominance of higher education applies across every class of institution. The annual number of women graduates now exceeds the annual number of men graduates by 32%. Current graduate figures suggest that in the near future we can expect female doctors, lawyers and journalists to out-number men by ~50%, whilst there will be three times as many female vets and teachers as men (the latter being virtually the case already). The education gender gap is continuing to widen. In the USA and Canada female graduates outnumber male graduates by nearly 2-to-1, and this is presumably where the UK is heading, and beyond.
As Secretary of State for Education, are you content with this situation?
If not, are you “wholly committed” to tackling it? If so, perhaps you have given some thought as to its cause? I hope this has gone beyond “it’s the boys’ own fault”, for this fails to explain why it was not always thus. That boys start their primary schooling already expecting to fail, whilst girls start expecting to succeed might have something to do with it, don’t you think? I recollect others suggesting previously that societal expectations have a great influence on educational attainment. Do you agree?
But instead of a positive campaign to encourage boys in school it appears that you are intent on adding to their difficulties. Ref. begins, “Following Rotherham…” and quotes you as follows, “Recent events have brought into sharp focus the crucial importance of teaching young people to understand the abuse women and girls can face.”
Are you unaware that over 80 of the abused children in Rotherham were boys (Ref.), or is it that you do not regard it as so “crucially important” to understand the abuse of boys? Perhaps it is because the very title of your office recognises only disadvantage to females? This is a pity in view of the “relatively low reporting of sexual exploitation of young males” (Ref.). The report is particularly critical of the high threshold adopted in the case of male victims as regards being recognised as at high risk and need of social care – even when the boy had been raped. The report pointedly emphasises “the importance of making sure that judgments about child sexual exploitation are consistent and gender neutral, for example by asking if the same level of risk would be acceptable if the child was the opposite gender”. Do you agree? If so, how is this consistent with espousing the explicitly gender-biased agenda set by the End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition?
It appears that there is an intention, by both the EVAWGC and yourself, to lay the blame for Rotherham on all men. The fact that it is well known that the perpetrators of the Rotherham abuses were from a very specific demographic is to be ignored, it appears. The reason is easy to see. It is because it is politically problematical to even talk about the specific demographic without attracting the taint of racism or of belonging to the far-right.
The report into the Rotherham abuses, Ref., states that, “Seminars for elected (council) members and senior officers in 2004-05 presented the abuse in the most explicit terms. After these events, nobody could say ‘we didn’t know’…..
By far the majority of perpetrators were described as ‘Asian’ by victims, yet throughout the entire period, councillors did not engage directly with the Pakistani-heritage community to discuss how best they could jointly address the issue…..Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”
This is what being “in care” means, it would appear – not being cared for at all. Even when, in two of the cases, fathers tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused, they were arrested themselves.
The scandal of Rotherham is that political correctness prevented a known problem from being tackled, for many years. This is clearly conveyed by the report, Ref., which states, “frontline staff appeared to be confused as to what they were supposed to say and do and what would be interpreted as ‘racist’. From a political perspective, the approach of avoiding public discussion of the issues was ill judged.” And also, “Several councillors interviewed believed that by opening up these issues they could be ‘giving oxygen’ to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion.”
This is what happens when a particular demographic is given special protected status. Political correctness then distorts a proper sense of justice and compassion.
You appear to be intent on repeating this mistake.
What is EVAWGC advising should be done about Rotherham, with the support of the Minister for Women and Equalities? They fall back upon blaming their usual demographic of choice: the one that enjoys no protected status, the demographic which is uncomplicated by PC constraints, the demographic which no one will object to being blamed: all males. And in the case of schools, this means that all boys – of however tender an age – will have the guilt laid on their heads.
How convenient that this also aligns with the long standing ideological agenda of the so-called ‘experts’ behind EVAWGC. In view of the number of boys amongst the abused, this is beyond unjust and into the realms of the obscene.
I note that the Rotherham report, Ref., observed that, “…there must be concern about under-reporting of exploitation of young males.” This is a very real concern in view of the prevalence of rape of young boys in Pakistan. There are one and a half million street boys in Pakistan, and almost all of them are rape victims, Ref.. This reference quotes a recent survey of 1,800 men in Pakistan which found that a third believed that not only is raping little boys not a crime, it’s not even a bad thing to do. It would appear that no one knows the true extent to which boys were also victims in Rotherham. The possibility that abuse of boys was even more widespread makes the insistence on blaming boys all the more revolting.
If the initiative succeeds, Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) will become compulsory. It will start at age 5. The guidance to teachers will be based upon the Factsheet, Ref., that you endorse. This is to include “acknowledging the scale of violence against women and girls”. This would be perfectly reasonable were it not for the fact that the Factsheet steadfastly refuses to recognise the scale of violence against men and boys.
That males are substantially more often the victims of violence is indisputable, but unacknowledged in the Factsheet. This is true of all levels of violence, up to and including homicide. And just as men are the main victims of adult homicide, so the homicide of boys exceeds that of girls (39 to 28 in 20012/13, Ref.). Moreover, two-thirds of homicides of children are committed by a parent or guardian, and roughly equally often by a male or female parent/guardian, Ref.. In the USA, mothers kill children significantly more often than do fathers, and boys are killed significantly more often than girls, Ref.. Child abuse short of death is not a gendered issue, with gender symmetry in both perpetrator and victim up to age 18, Ref.. This is also borne out by data from the USA, Ref..
Even confining attention to partner violence, which the Factsheet presents as exclusively the victimisation of women, in truth men are comparably often the victims of partner abuse, perpetrated by women (Ref.). This has been known for decades but is denied for the same reason that the Rotherham abusers were not exposed: women are a demographic against which it is not PC to raise accusations.
A further purpose of the Factsheet and the proposed compulsory SRE is to “unpick harmful stereotypes that place responsibility on girls to protect themselves from violence and abuse“. In view of the comparable, or even greater, victimisation of boys, it is worth considering whether it would be sensible or desirable to, “unpick harmful stereotypes that place responsibility on boys to protect themselves from violence and abuse.” Because boys have no other choice than to attempt to protect themselves – often in vain – since no one else is going to assist – certainly not the authors of this appalling Factsheet with its unidirectional compassion.
Hence, there is simply no rational basis for confining attention to “violence against women and girls”, nor basing countermeasures on the presumption of male perpetration alone. The EVAWGC Factsheet is wilfully blind to half of human suffering, the motivation being ideological gender prejudice.
The Factsheet lists a range of other forms of abuse, every one of which can be cited as a cause of male victimisation as well as female – but this is not mentioned. I make just a few brief points as illustrations of the issues.
FGM is indeed an abomination which needs stamping out. But we live in a culture in which genital mutilation of boys is not merely legal but regarded as benign, even beneficial. But the truth about male genital mutilation is that it does, and was always intended to, result in diminished sexual function, Ref.. It is frequently carried out on babies or children too young to give meaningful consent and is therefore a human rights violation – a fact which is being universally ignored. Circumcision of males is completely unregulated in the UK. Anyone – you, me or the local barber – can set up a business cutting off baby boys’ foreskins (£100 is the going rate). Even in the USA, where the mutilations are generally carried out in clean conditions, over 100 boys die each year from a procedure which is entirely unnecessary, Ref.. And in Africa the situation is so bad as to defy comprehension. In the Eastern Cape and Limpopo regions of South Africa alone, at least 419 boys have died and more than 456,000 have been hospitalised as a result of brutal genital mutilation in the last 6 years, Ref..
A further purpose of the EVAWGC Factsheet is to “challenge notions of male sexual entitlement”. The presumption that there is a specifically male attitude of sexual entitlement is a political credo which is flatly contradicted by research data, for example Refs.[12-20]. These academic studies make clear that men are subject to unwanted sexual encounters, including intercourse, to a comparable degree as women. The past inaccurate perspective on male sexual victimisation has been largely a result of ingrained gender biases. For example, Ref. concludes that, “more men than women had experienced unwanted intercourse.” Ref. is a review of 42 research papers addressing the sexual coercion of men. In virtually every case the level of sexual coercion against both men and women was remarkably high. Ref. concludes that, “…surveys detect a high prevalence of sexual victimization among men—in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women…..We recommend changes that move beyond regressive gender assumptions, which can harm both women and men.” The presumption of the Factsheet, and the proposed compulsory SRE, is an example of just such a “regressive gender assumption“, namely that sexual misconduct is always the fault of the male. It needs to be borne in mind that if men were treated equitably in law, “unwanted intercourse” would be rape.
The Factsheet states, “Sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men and boys against women and girls they know.” Whilst the association of sexual assault and rape exclusively with female victims is in line with public perception, for this very reason any programme of education should be aimed at correcting this false belief. Rape is defined in English law as non-consensual penetration using a penis. The essence of the matter is consent, or rather lack of consent. And yet, in practice, the issue of consent in a heterosexual encounter is only ever questioned as regards whether the female consented. So ingrained is our cultural bias in sexual matters that even the notion that the consent of the male might be required appears quixotic. But data emerging from the USA is revealing that males are coerced into penetrative sex with females against their wishes with comparable frequency to that in the reverse direction, Ref.. And under the US definition, boys in the USA are raped with comparable frequency to girls, Ref.. I would quote the UK data but the corresponding surveys in this country are not sufficiently concerned about males to even ask the relevant questions.
The Factsheet details the incidence of sexual violence against women and girls. But no consideration is given to that in the reverse direction. This merely reflects societal prejudice that male sexual victimisation by females does not happen. But “prejudice” is the right word here. There is a steadfast refusal by society as a whole to recognise male sexual victimisation by females because the very idea runs counter to perceived gender roles. The perception is that women and girls are precious and vulnerable, whereas men and boys are neither. This pernicious untruth would be deliberately reinforced by Sex and Relationship Education based on the Factsheet.
The motivation behind the planned compulsory Sex and Relationship Education is not to make young people aware of the truth, or to alleviate prejudice, or to encourage equitability in compassion – but the opposite. The intention of the SRE programme based on the EVAWGC Factsheet is to reinforce the anti-male prejudice which is already endemic in our society. Its purpose is to further enhance the myth that all society’s ills may be laid at the door of men and boys and to further deepen the divisive victim-villain narrative of the sexes.
The stark and hideous intentions of this programme are betrayed by the Q&A associated with the Factsheet on the EVAWGC web site, which states,
“Delivering good SRE to every child will in fact increase disclosures of abuse. Teachers need to be trained to respond to this and support needs to be there for survivors as well as adequate interventions for boys who are at risk of abusing.”
Only boys are acknowledged as potential abusers. One shudders at the totalitarian mentality behind the phrase “adequate interventions” – not for boys who have done anything, but for those who are deemed “at risk” of doing something – as judged, one presumes, by people with suitably approved ideological purity. It is presented to us as a fact that more abuse will be reported. It will. The very process will ensure it, and is intended to do so. God help our boys. They will be forced to play the role of the bourgeoisie in our very own Cultural Revolution.
- Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997 – 2013, by Alexis Jay OBE, available at, http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham
- Office for National Statistics (2014) Focus on: violent crime and sexual offences, 2012/13, Chapter 2 – Homicide, Coverage: England and Wales, 13 February 2014, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_352260.pdf
- http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/statistics/child_homicide_statistics_wda48747.html see Brookman and Maguire (2003) Reducing homicide: a review of the possibilities (PDF). London: Home Office. p.16.
- “Child Maltreatment 2011”, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Lorraine Radford, Susana Corral, Christine Bradley, Helen Fisher, Claire Bassett, Nick Howat and Stephan Collishaw “Child abuse and neglect in the UK today”, NSPCC, 2009 (see Fig.3.2).
- Leonard B Glick, Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America, Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Dan Bollinger, “Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths”, in Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies, Vol.4, No.1, 78-90, April 2010.
- The South African Health News Service, http://www.health-e.org.za/2014/06/25/half-million-initiates-maimed-knife/
- Charlene Muehlenhard and Stephen Cook, Men’s self-reports of unwanted sexual activity, Journal of Sex Research (1988) 24, 58-72.
- Cindy Struckman-Johnson, Forced sex on dates: It happens to men, too. Journal of Sex Research, Vol 24, 1988, 234-241.
- Adrian Coxell, Michael King, Gillian Mezey, Dawn Gordon, Lifetime prevalence, characteristics, and associated problems of non-consensual sex in men: cross sectional survey, British Medical Journal, 318, 846-850 (March 1999)
- Barbara Krahe, Eva Waizenhofer, and Ingrid Moller, Women’s sexual aggression against men: prevalence and predictors. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, September 1, 2003. http://business.highbeam.com/435388/article-1G1-107203500/women-sexual-aggression-against-men-prevalence-and
- Philip Cook and Tammy Hodo, When Women Sexually Abuse Men: The hidden side of rape, stalking, harassment and sexual assault, Praeger, Oxford, 2013.
- D.A.Hines, Predictors of sexual coercion against women and men: a multilevel, multinational study of university students, Arch Sex Behav. 2007, 36(3):403-22 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17333324
- Martin Fiebert’s compilation of sexual coercion of men http://www.dottal.org/LBDUK/references_examining_men_as_vict.htm
- French, Bryana H.; Tilghman, Jasmine D.; Malebranche, Dominique A., Sexual Coercion Context and Psychosocial Correlates Among Diverse Males. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Mar 17 , 2014. Obtainable from http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2014/03/25/4-in-10-high-school-boys-young-men-report-coerced-sex/3421395770501/?spt=sh
- Stemple, L., & Meyer, I. H. (2014). The sexual victimization of men in america: New data challenge old assumptions. American Journal of Public Health, E1-E8 (2014) 301946. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2014.301946?journalCode=ajph&&
- Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010 Summary Report, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011, http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf
- S.R.Dube, R.F.Andfa, C.L.Whifield, et al (2005) Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 28 430-438
- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2739799/Why-millions-Pakistani-children-falling-prey-vicious-paedophiles.html (reporting on the Channel 4 documentary “Pakistan’s Secret Shame”)