Chapter 9: Noble Lies

March 16, 2009 | NeW Staff

Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers addresses the false statistics that gender feminists have popularized and used to frighten people. She opens Chapter 9 with this observation: Truth brought to public light recruits the best of us to work for change. On the other hand, even the best-intentioned “noble lie” ultimately discredits the finest cause.

“Richard J. Gelles and Murray A. Straus are academic social scientists (from the University of Rhode Island and the University of New Hampshire, respectively) who have been studying domestic violence for more than twenty-five years. Their research is among the most respected and frequently cited by other social scientists, by police, by the FBI, and by the personnel in domestic violence agencies . . .

Gelles and Straus do find high levels of violence in many American families; but in both of their national surveys they found that women were just as likely to engage in it as men. They also found that siblings are the most violent of all. They distinguish between minor violence, such as throwing objects, pushing, shoving, and slapping (no injuries, no serious intimidation), and severe violence, such as kicking, hitting or trying to hit with an object, hitting with fist, beating up, and threatending with gun or knife – actions that have a high probability of leading to injury or are accompanied by the serious threat of injury. The vast majority of family disputes involve minor violence rather than severe violence. In their 1985 Second National Violence Survey, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, they found that 16 percent of couples were violent – the “Saturday Night Brawlers” (with the wife just as likely as the husband to slap, grab, shove, or throw things). In the 3 to 4 percent of couples, there was at least one act of severe violence by the husband against the wife. But in their surveys they also found that ‘women assault their partners at about the same rate as men assault their partners. This applies to both minor and severe assaults.’

. . .Murray Straus estimates that approximately 100,000 women per year are victims of the severe kinds violence shown in the TV film  The Burning Bed. That is a shockingly high number of victims, but it is far short of Senator Biden’s claim, derived from feminist advocacy studies, that more than three or four million women are victims of ‘horrifying’ violence.”

The false statistics generated by gender feminists aim to convince the public that the everyday “normal” man is a morally defective person who daily gets off on hurting women. As an attendee of Arizona State University’s First Annual Gentlemen’s Showcase – I know that this is not true. Ending violence against women is a noble cause – however, it doesn’t seem that making false statistics ubiquitous would aid the cause. What will?

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