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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Male survivors deserve better

M en’s rights activists around campus have been distributing fliers filled with statistics on male victims of domestic violence. In theory, groups raising awareness about ways in which men experience interpersonal violence is a good idea.

But many of these groups, including A Voice for Men and the National Coalition for Men Carolinas, talk about gender in a way that harms everyone. Men’s rights groups foster violent ideology and use male survivors as objects of propaganda instead of respecting them and offering them resources.

On Oct. 14, feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian canceled a speech at Utah State University after threats of a mass shooting. “Feminists have ruined my life,” wrote the poster of the anonymous threat, “and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all others they’ve wronged.”

The National Coalition for Men Carolinas might not be threatening violence, but like the author of the threats to Sarkeesian, they have a clear animosity toward feminists and anyone who advocates for an end to gender-based violence. Their site accuses UNC of “misandry” and characterizes efforts to end interpersonal violence as a “war on all college male students.” This kind of language doesn’t address any of the very real ways in which men are hurt by patriarchy. It just demonstrates hatred of women.

NCMC is a fringe group with little active support on campus, but its presence still matters because of its main focus of targeting women who come forward about assault.

The group’s site hosts a list of “false accusers,” and a UNC student is at the top of the list. There’s an entire page dedicated to UNC, which refers to one student’s case repeatedly. Would you come forward as a survivor if you thought your photo would be posted on NCMC’s site? This group sends a clear message to female survivors on UNC’s campus: If you speak publicly about your assault, you’re next.

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It is vital to recognize that many men are victims of sexual and interpersonal violence. An estimated 835,000 men are physically assaulted by a partner annually in the United States, according to the Department of Justice. These survivors deserve support and respect. NCMC states its focus is “human rights and gender equality,” but its website and activities on campus do not support this claim. The site has a full page for “women rapists” yet provides no resources for male survivors. True equality means the existence of male survivors is not used to discredit female survivors.

Men’s rights groups are not interested in supporting male survivors of interpersonal violence. They spread hatefulness and resentment toward feminist women and use male survivors as evidence of systemic misandry.

All survivors of interpersonal violence, including men, can call the Orange County Rape Crisis Center’s help line at 1-866-WE LISTEN. The center has help line operators of all genders. Volunteers are trained to assist survivors of all genders and orientations.