BY EFFIE DEANS
If there is a terrorist attack committed by a British Muslim, we are not allowed to make generalisations about Muslims. For instance, if I wrote a sign saying “End Muslim violence” this would be considered to be Islamophobic and racist. If there were a murder committed by someone who had arrived in Britain from Turkey, it would likewise be considered xenophobic and racist if I wrote a sign which said “End Turkish violence” or if I linked the murder to immigration. But if a murder is a committed by a man, it is considered perfectly permissible to write a sign saying “End male violence”.
Why is it wrong to make generalisations about some groups but not others? All prejudices are wrong except those about men so long as they are white of course.
We get a very false picture about murder in Britain from the way that it is covered by the media. In the last year for which figures are available, 2020, there were 695 victims of homicide in England and Wales. 39 of these suffocated in a lorry which arrived from abroad to Grays, Essex. This is a rate of 11.7 per million. Britain has a murder rate that is one of the lowest in the world. So, while you might have a 1 in 6 chance of dying from a heart attack and a 1 in 13,000 chance of dying from electrocution you have about a 1 in 100,000 chance of being murdered which is slightly less than your chance of dying because you were hit by lightning.
Women are less likely to be murdered than men in Britain. There were 506 male and 188 female murder victims. Very few women indeed are murdered in the street by a random stranger. The risk of this happening to any one of us is so small it could be compared to to the 0.27 fatal accidents per million flights, except considerably fewer women are murdered in the street by strange men than die in plane crashes.
Every few months there is a high-profile case of a woman who is murdered. Most other murder victims are reported in the local press or only get a few mentions on the TV news. Each murder, indeed each death, is a whole world ending for those involved, but news coverage gives a false impression of the actual danger that each of us faces when we walk home. You are far more likely to die from any number of illnesses in the next year than be murdered, you are indeed more likely to drown in the bath, but while we worry about the one and demand something must be done, we happily stand up in a slippery bath tub without a thought. There are no candlelit vigils for those who trip and kill themselves falling down the stairs not even if they were pushed. We barely notice the name of someone knifed in gang related violence. Some murders are more equal than other murders.
Most murderers are caught and sent to prison for a long time. The best way to deter crime is if a person feels that it is likely he will be caught. The police already put huge resources into murder cases and usually they do a good job. Improving the standard of living in Britain might affect the number of people murdered as would improving education and opportunities. Poorer countries tend to have higher murder rates than wealthier ones. But it is not at all obvious what people writing “End male violence” would like to be done that is not being done now. Trying to make men feel guilty for things they didn’t do is unlikely to lower the murder rate.
The vast majority of murderers are men (93%). But this still only means that there are around 600 murders in Britain each year. This amounts to only 1 in 100,000. Imagine if we condemned all Muslims if only 1 in 100,000 was involved with terrorism. This would rightly be considered outrageously unacceptable, wrong and racist. But it is considered to be not merely acceptable, but progressive to condemn all men for the crimes of such a tiny minority that in a city the size of Aberdeen there might be only one of them. If feminists condemned Muslims in the way they condemn men they would be racists.
Why are men so much more likely to be murderers than women? I imagine it has something to do with men being stronger and often more aggressive than women. The traits needed for hunting in ancient times and warfare in the Middle Ages are the same traits that make it more likely that men are physically able to murder. It was the aggression of men that made the “life of Man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short” before civilization and law tamed him and channelled those energies into more useful paths. Men are different from women, but the characteristics which make them different are needed by society and most women are attracted to them, preferring strong men capable of forceful action to wimps.
But even if the nature of men makes them more likely to be murderers (I can think of no other reason) it still remains the case that only a 0.001% actually become murderers. What do those who wish to “end male violence” practically want to do to the 99,099 men out of 100,000 who will never hurt any women. Perhaps they wish to turn them into women, or educate them from childhood to have only female character traits. But do women really want men to be like themselves and for the sake of a risk that is less than dying in a plane crash?
There are certain groups that we are not allowed to criticise no matter the truth. We are not allowed to generalise from black people making up 21% of convicted criminals, but only 3% of the population that black people are more likely to commit crimes. It must all be due to racism. But somehow, we are allowed to generalise from the tiny number of women who are murdered by strange men and turn this into the responsibility of all men. The word for this is misandry.
Whatever the explanation for the majority of murderers being men, it is not the responsibility of those men who have murdered no one. They have no reason to feel guilty, because they are not guilty. It is mere prejudice to condemn the group as a whole for the actions of a tiny minority. When we do this about people of a different race it is called racism. It is no better when we do it about half of humanity.
The excellent Effie Deans writes at Lily of St. Leonard’s here.