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Calgary Herald - June 19, 2000
Brochure spread anti-male bias: panel
Gender-rights crusader hails Alberta ruling on abuse leaflets
Jim Farrell, Edmonton Journal
A crusader for equal treatment of men and
women will announce today what he calls a major victory against
the negative stereotyping of men.
The Alberta Human Rights Commission has ruled
family violence brochures circulated by Edmonton's Family Centre
discriminate against men, Ferrel Christensen said Sunday.
In 1998, Christensen complained to the
commission that the brochures portrayed men as the sole
practitioners of abuse within the family.
"In January a human-rights commission
investigator's decision came down saying our complaint was
justified," said Chistensen, a retired University of Alberta
philosophy professor and spokesman for the Movement for the
Establishment of Real Gender Equality.
"A few weeks ago, the centre said it wouldn't
push this higher."
In effect, the Family Centre conceded the
point, Christensen said: it won't lodge an appeal before the
full panel of the Human Rights Commission and has withdrawn the
Officials from the Family Centre could not be
reached for comment.
Christensen plans to announce at a press
conference today the future targets of his organization's
campaign against negative male stereotyping.
"We will be sending out an announcement to
six or eight other agencies, pointing out the bias in their
literature and asking that it be changed," he said.
Christensen will be joined by Canadian
Alliance MP Deborah Grey, Liberal MP Roger Gallaway and Jon
Lord, a Calgary alderman and Progressive Conservative nominee
for the next provincial election.
Gallaway has gained nationwide fame in recent
years for criticizing what he says is anti-male bias in federal
In 1998, Gallaway was chairman of the joint
Senate-Commons committee on child custody and access, which
recommended that both parents have equal custody rights of
children following a divorce.
He accused Justice Minister Anne McLellan of
blocking the work of his committee when McLellan said the matter
needs more study and changes to current legislation might
require three years or more.
"Roger has sure carried the can on the matter
of child access, and we need to look at some equity," Grey said.
Academic studies demonstrate men and women
are responsible for family violence in almost equal proportions,
Christensen said. Those statistics have been overshadowed by
studies which examine only violence against women. As a result,
the "politically correct" view has pervaded Canadian society
that family violence is a male vice, Christensen said.
Other statistical studies are equally
questionable, Gallaway said.
"The problem is that people are always
referring to conviction rates which are probably 19 to 1 in
favour of women. But the fact is, men don't report family
violence, so conviction rates are not indicative of what is
happening in society -- only what happens in court."
Statistical studies of violence are distorted
even further by a broadening of the concept of "abuse," Gallaway
He said the National Action Committee on the
Status of Women often cites a Statistics Canada study which said
52 per cent of women are subjected to abuse, including physical,
emotional and even monetary abuse in its definition.
"What NAC failed to reveal was that in same
sampling, women said they initiated the same type of behaviour
toward their spouses," Gallaway said. "I'm not sure any more
what abuse is."
Lord said anti-male bias is pervasive in
literature on family violence.
"If you started digging into it, it's the
norm," he said, adding abused men need services just as much as
abused women. "It's one of those dirty little secrets in
Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald