Sexual violence against men? That's not possible! Man is a perpetrator and woman is his victim. After all, men always want sex and if a woman abuses him, then he should consider himself lucky. And if he gets a slap in the face, then he deserves it. Arne Hoffmann roughly describes in his book "Sexuelle Violence Against Men" the majority thought of our society when it comes to domestic or sexual violence.
Luckily, he doesn't do it instinctively. Unemotional and somewhat dry, the author repeatedly showers his readers with studies and research on sexual and domestic violence. They prove one thing: Men are by no means only perpetrators, but also an astonishingly high percentage of victims of violence - and that also of women. That's always interesting, and sexual and/or domestic violence is always socially relevant – no matter who it's directed at or who it comes from.
However, Hoffmann criticizes that male victims are neither seen nor receive reasonable support. It should be said that the author sees himself as a representative of masculism. This is a movement that, according to its own statement, is about "researching disadvantages, social problems and human rights violations in relation to all people, including men ... and developing realistic solution strategies."
Masculists are accused of anti-feminist and misogynist positions by feminists. And this is exactly where the potential for a bang is buried, which the author only partially explodes. There are no misogynist formulations or ways of thinking in the book. Nor is it about denying or taking away any rights from women. However, the author criticizes that male victims and female perpetrators are not seen. And he refutes statements and claims made by individual feminists such as Alice Schwarzer (more on that later).
From his point of view, Hoffman also provides the answer to the question of why men are denied help in a clear criticism of politics, the media and old stereotypes. The criticism of the policy is surprising. An example: Ironically, the (self-proclaimed) Progressive Parties Greens, SPD and Piraten serve as an example because they block offers of help for men affected by sexual or domestic violence. It is always strange when thinking in old stereotypes for the sake of progress prevents progress towards a new view of men.
Hoffmann also provides examples of his criticism of the media. Sometimes a major news magazine swaps the results of a study on domestic violence between women and men, sometimes male victims of sexual violence are not only ridiculed, but also ridiculed, sometimes a Swiss tabloid has a headline about the abuse of a minor: "Maths teacher seduces schoolchildren (15 ): She taught him sex male sex", sometimes critical comments on social media are abruptly moderated.
The picture that the author draws based on the examples is alarmingly similar to the majority thought presented above. Politicians and the media agree that progressive brands in particular are only too happy to fall into old stereotypes when men are the victims of sexual violence. Of course, there can be no debate on the subject. And where there is no public, there is usually no publisher who wants to publish a book, which is why Hoffmann published his himself. Readers should also know that, self-published books encourage you to be particularly careful when reading.
Which brings us to the old stereotypes in our heads that Hoffmann encourages to break. Men who have been victims of sexual violence don't talk about it because it's not male in the traditional sense. And because men are afraid of not being taken seriously if they report violent attacks. Of course, all of this is difficult to prove, which is why the author often relies on statements from those affected. The interviews of male victims of sexual violence recorded in the book are one of the most readable parts of "Sexual violence against men" and leave a lasting impression on the reader.
On the other hand, Hoffmann criticizes the image of "the woman as the embodiment of pure innocence", which is particularly dangerous when women become perpetrators. The examples of child abuse by women cited are shocking. The author himself speaks of a "blind spot" in relation to female violence. He also criticizes Alice Schwarzer, who, according to Hoffmann, claims in one of her books that 98.5 percent of all abusers are male and the remaining 1.5 percent are women who were incited to abuse by men. The author counters this with several research results, including a study by the University Hospital Eppendorf, which come to a different conclusion than the image of the non-violent woman propagated by Schwarzer. This is probably the reason why some feminists criticize him and/or his activism.
Which brings us to the smaller skirmishes that the author sometimes delivers. In some cases, of course, it is appropriate to prove nonsense as such – especially when it comes to media criticism. On the other hand, the core research results cited are sufficient without going into the hidden worldviews of some individuals. Admittedly, finding a balance here is difficult, if not impossible. But at times the book smacks of a trench warfare between women and men, which sometimes doesn't do justice to the seriousness of the subject.
Equality with a difference. As is the case with our subjective truth, sometimes what we think we know is fundamentally different from what really is. Or as one man put it in an interview from the book: "You only see what you want to see". Bias is what people call it, and Hoffmann tries to do away with it in "Sexuelle Violence Against Men" - also with regard to the cliché of non-violent women. He mostly succeeds in that. His book is of course shaped by his activism. And as absurd as it may sound, breaking gender clichés in particular goes hand in hand with the call for rethinking, which is actually known from feminism. Anyone who sees a two-way street when it comes to equality and overcoming sexism between women and men can read the book and perhaps broaden their perspective.
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