Men’s Rights, lies and persecution fantasies

As the voices protesting violence against women become louder, another kind of voice is rising. Save the Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) is an organization that does NOT aim to save Indian families, but to save families accused of domestic violence from going to jail.

On the surface, it seems what it claims. However, scratching the surface, it isn’t that either. The SIFF agenda does not aim to fight abuse of men in the meaning of “men’s rights” like “women’s rights”. For example, they do not work for male rape victims though they do claim to carry out desensitization against “patriarchy”. They fight “false rape cases” and “false dowry cases” and overall anti-feminism.

Taking apart a typical propaganda article to show the fallacies and how facts morph into fiction to cater to agendas.

The article in question is “NCRB stats show more married men committing suicide” by Vicky Nanjappa.

What the title states is fact. However, does it amount to the claims made in its content? Let’s take a look.

All quotes from the article.

A report by the National Crime Record Bureau shows that in the year 2010, 168 men ended their lives everyday.Vicky Nanjappa reports.

If one were to go by the report released by the National Crime Records Bureau, it seems that in the year 2010, men in India were the weaker sex. In other words, more husbands committed suicide than wives.

Before we get into the suicide statistics, I want to point out the first mindfake. Number of suicides higher means is not the “weaker sex”. While I believe that there is no point labeling stronger or weaker, the idea that an average person of one sex who can normally easily overpower an average person of the opposite sex is specifically labelled weaker does not hold merit, particularly in the face of rising crimes when exactly that happens. One wonders what that specific ploy achieves. The most that could be said if we MUST label like strong and weak is that men are emotionally weaker or less resilient.

This fits in with the cultural stereotype. Men raised in patriarchy with a sense of entitlement have relatively fewer coping skills under stress or deprivation or denial than women conditioned to deal with it. At the same time, they are under stress to constantly prove themselves. This also reflects in the overall overwhelming number of men getting violent – apart from suicides and such.

Regardless of all that, note that physically women by and large are weaker and this cannot be dismissed so casually. The physical harm by women to men remains negligible and is overwhelmingly the other way around.

This is particularly important since these men use these numbers to imply that cases filed under 498A (domestic abuse) are mostly false as well as claim a reverse norm of women exploiting men. So the statistics must show possibility of domestic abuse or abnormally high suicides among married men alone. If a married woman committed suicide when India lost a cricket match, you wouldn’t accept it as suicide due to domestic abuse, right?

Statistics reveal that last year 61,453 married men committed suicide in India while the number of married women who committed suicide was almost half, 31,754. The statistics was only slightly better for 2009. That year, NCRB statistics show, 58,192 husbands killed themselves as compared to 31,300 wives.

The NCRB is a wing of the ministry of home affairs. Going by its report for the last two years, the suicide rate among men has gone up by 5.6 per cent while that among women has risen by 1.4 per cent.

An analysis of the suicide data shows that every 8.5 minutes a man commits suicide somewhere in India. In other words, in 2010, 168 men killed themselves every day.

There is a nice graph provided.

Suicide Ratio

So why are people committing suicide? This table is sortable by clicking on the header to enable easy comparisons (unlike govt data).

[table id=7 /]

Or in other words:

Suicide data for India by causes

It does not tell us much except family problems being a big reason for suicide. What kind of family problem is not specified here. Whether the causes are marital is difficult to ascertain like this. However what is clear is that on the whole, for most reasons, men are committing suicide more and this is not exclusive to family problems even in the highly unlikely case that if they were solely marital. We leave this be, for below (I just wanted to use this very useful and pretty table :p).

The article goes on with some more statistics, but the next concern it raises is:

However, it is in the 30-44 age group where the statistics turns grim for men: 30,444 victims against 14,402 women.

To begin with, we are now not talking about married, unmarried widowed, divorced, etc, but an age group. Fair enough to assume that most are married, and so on, but out of these 30,444 men who committed suicide between the ages 30-44, a mind boggling 16,053 were self employed (and over a fourth of them farmers). This is 49.2% of all male suicides, 52.7% of his target group, and he thinks this data is relevant for domestic abuse? More likely looks like floundering family owned businesses (which could also explain the “family problems”)

In contrast, 51.5 of all suicidal deaths are housewives, though the numbers for men may be more on the whole. Except for things like dowry or pregnancy, everything has more men committing suicide, including things like illness, insanity or AIDs – which can’t even be attributed to any other kind of discrimination for it to be called a “men’s rights” issue.

Then we have:

Virag Dhulia, a men’s activist from Bengaluru who runs several ‘save the male’ campaigns, explains that despite the efforts of groups like his, the message is falling on deaf ears, and blames what he calls “unfair laws targetting men” for this statistic.

I understand that Virag Dhulia has a personal issue with the Dowry Act. Unless I am mistaken, he’s the guy who sued his wife for giving Dowry, when he got booked under the Dowry Prevention Act. That doesn’t sound very helpless to me, but I can understand that he feels strongly about it.

However, the statistics don’t agree that men are doing particularly worse from either domestic abuse or divorce settlements. The table below is Statistics of suicides by marital status (You’re welcome). Looking at it, it is fairly clear that suicides are higher among separated men than divorced men. Generally these settlements are a part of the divorce. If I am to use Virag’s logic, I think this is fairly concrete proof that guilty minds at rest, less men commit suicide after giving away their properties to the evil women? :p

[table id=8 /]

Additionally, in cities – the supposed target group where these supposed malpractices happen of framing the husband, etc The rate of suicide is less among married men than among single men as well as less among divorced men than separated men. If men are dying from spousal abuse, then the numbers ought to be more for married men than single or separated. Also, if men were being driven to suicide by divorce settlements, those numbers ought to be bigger.

In other words, this is gender propaganda invented to incite hate about women by projecting men as large scale victims of them and fueled by pure spite. I would have said lies, but it is actually possible that they liked the numbers so didn’t look too closely at them. Giving them the benefit of the doubt.

There is more about how the laws are unfair, but it moves into the legal aspect and away from suicides, so separate article for them.

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Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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