Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Offensive Yes, But Not The Way You Mean

Recently the Family Place, a Dallas non-profit organization that provides shelter and counseling to women and children who are victims of domestic violence, launched a campaign that features their ads on the side of DART buses. The ads are pretty bracing; one features a little girl with the text "One Day My Husband Will Kill Me." Attention getting, no doubt, but the attention to issue of family violence is long overdue. Of course, the fact that women and children are routinely beaten and killed by their husbands, boyfriends and partners is something that those with delicate sensibilities would prefer not to forced to think about as their driving to work (or well, anytime) so there have been quite a few complaints about the ads. And of course, there are a men who want to whine about the unfairness of these ads, such as this "father's advocate":

A domestic violence shelter's ad campaign on Dallas city buses has drawn the ire of a fatherhood advocate who said Monday that the campaign is "hostile to fathers."

One ad shows a smiling young girl wearing a tiara next to the caption, "One day my husband will kill me." Another features a boy next to the caption, "When I grow up, I will beat my wife."

A Dallas Area Rapid Transit spokesman said the agency has received nearly 1,000 form letters by e-mail since Sunday night from readers of advocate Glenn Sacks criticizing the ads and calling for DART to remove them.

"They are offensive to fathers and to families," Sacks said. "Imagine your average father going to work on a DART bus, working hard and supporting his kids. He has to go there and be insulted by these ads."

Sacks said a third of all domestic violence injuries are suffered by men, and that women are just as likely to strike men as men are to strike women.

"I think they should take the ads down," Sacks said. "Domestic violence is still a problem that affects women more than men, but it affects them both. I can guarantee you if the genders were reversed, there is no way DART would have accepted those ads."

So if you can follow that logic...because some men beat and kill their wives and children, ALL fathers everywhere should be insulted by these ads. And oh yeah, women beat men too so really it's not even fair. Frankly, anyone who thinks this is a jack-ass. I'm a father, and I'm not insulted by an ad that says men beat and kill women and children; I'm insulted by the fact that men beat and kill women and children and I'm offended and irritated to no small amount by men who think that opposing the stating of such a blunt fact is somehow "protecting" the rights of fathers. I don't really understand why this bozo thinks that ads that try to bring attention to this problem will cause men everywhere to be untreated fairly, even men who don't abuse their wives, girlfriends and kids. But if you can stand to read any of Sacks' blog, you'll see that it's mostly full of the kinds of rantings that are enjoyed by exactly the sort of men who have issues with women; a selection of post titles includes "Ok, it's not always the man who's the idiot in TV commercials", "Women remember every negative thing said about them", "Remember, women don't lie about rape and abuse" (highlighting the weird Ashley Todd case that has nothing to do with either) and "We take rape seriously but refuse to take allegations of rape seriously" (that's news to me.) Sacks isn't an "advocate" for father's issues; he's a zealot. He's not interested in fairness for father's; he wants to minimize and diminish the issue of family violence because he appears to believe that it's not that big of a problem. He's wrong, utterly and incredibly so. In 2006 alone there were almost 200,000 incidents of family violence in Texas, and a hundred and twenty women were killed by their partners. Despite his ridiculous assertion that women are just as likely to beat men as the reverse, nation-wide women are the victims of in a domestic violence incident 85% of the time, and 1,200 women a year are murdered by their partners. But nobody should launch a blunt ad campaign to inform the public of the severity of this problem because that's "offensive" to fathers. What's really offensive to fathers is weak and insecure men who have issues with women like Sacks and his readers. He and his letter-writing fanatics shouldn't be allowed to bully DART into removing these ads. If you agree, write to DART using their customer feedback form and tell them that these ads are valuable, that you support this ad campaign and that they shouldn't cave to pressure from zelots like Sacks. Or if you prefer a more direct approach (recommended) send an email or call directly the DART officials helpfully listed by Sacks on his blog (scroll about halfway down.) 

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