A recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that there’s been an increase in the amount of American men who say they are discriminated against because of their gender. This makes sense, and even correlates with the growing popularity of the men’s rights movement.
In all honesty, I don’t have a problem with the Men’s Rights Movement. In fact, I think men’s rights activists have some valid points. For instance, I think there is a lot of bias in the courtroom when it comes to custody battles. Why should the mother be awarded sole custody just because she’s a woman? And why is female circumcision looked down upon but male circumcision is still widely accepted?
A point that I don’t agree on, however, is that women-only shelters are sexist. I mean, I guess technically, any institution that refuses service to someone because of their gender is sexist. But I think it’s the intent that matters most. Let me explain.
Throughout most of history, women have been excluded from certain positions. The intent behind this was to prevent women from obtaining power. That’s precisely why women weren’t allowed to vote and it’s precisely why many women still aren’t allowed to become priests.
When we think about the intent behind women-only shelters, we soon discover that it’s not about stripping men of their power; it’s about empowering a woman to overcome the difficulties that she’s facing, many of which she is facing because of her gender.
For example, did you know that 85% of all domestic violence victims are female? That’s not to say that men don’t suffer domestic violence too, but women make up the vast majority of victims.
Women-only shelters provide a way for women to overcome that hardship without being re-traumatized by the presence of men. That’s not to say that she will never trust men again or thinks that all men are abusers, but she needs a safe, comfortable environment where she feels supported.
Many women are also rape survivors. Again, that’s not to say that men don’t get raped too, but women do make up the vast majority of rape victims. It doesn’t take much empathy to understand why a female rape victim wouldn’t want to be around men for a while.
And so I leave you with this final thought: women-only shelters are not anti-men shelters, so please do not equate the two.