An Open Letter To Eddie McGuire & TripleM

Written by Mark Dent

Dear Eddie,

I am writing to you in the hope that you will take the time to reflect on what I have to say. You seem to be a thoughtful, compassionate man on so many levels and that is why I am so bewildered by your comments and attitude with regard to an issue you claim to feel passionately about – family violence.

During the past week you made a story about a man who was stabbed in the testicle by an angry girlfriend the focus of a series of jokes. You laughed at the idea he would lose a testicle. You laughed as Mick Molloy said that it was a warning to all blokes to make sure they buy the missus flowers next Valentine’s Day, and Luke Darcy made jokes about increasing the size of your replacement penis if it gets hacked off by an angry woman. You laughed about the Lorena Bobbitt incident where she cut off her husband’s penis and joked about penises being flung from car windows. I noted your female host giggled throughout. I’m sure she would find an assault on a woman just as hilarious.

Doesn’t the fact that your clumsy comments about Adam Goodes caused a media frenzy (only because he was an indigenous Australian, not because he was a male) whilst your laughter over a man being stabbed in his testicle didn’t even create a ripple of protest say everything that needs to be said about the status of men in our society?

You often write articles attacking societal attitudes with regards to racism and sexism yet you fail to recognise the contribution you make with your jokes about violence perpetrated upon males.

It truly staggers me that a man with two beautiful sons could be so flippant about the mutilation of a young man’s body by a vicious woman. The young man in question may well suffer ramifications from this assault for many years to come. I am struggling to find any hint of humor in this incident.

What makes your jovial attitude to this assault all the more puzzling is the fact that you have written and spoken at length about the scourge of domestic violence. You have had Rosie Batty as your guest on more than one occasion so one would think the issue would be one you would take seriously.

Sadly, you have revealed a truth that is rarely addressed but clearly evident in our society. Most people (men included) simply don’t believe violence perpetrated on males is worthy of our outrage, compassion or condemnation. This can be seen in our news coverage with headlines screaming –Tragedy at Sea-Twenty Dead, Including Two Women.

Imagine I appeared on your program and during an interview decided to share the story of a young woman who had her breast cut off by an angry boyfriend because she burned his evening meal. Imagine that I then proceeded to chortle and snigger about it for the next ten minutes and made jokes about girls learning to cook better in order to avoid such assaults and the opportunity the girl would have to replace her hacked off breast with something bigger and better. Let’s be serious-I would be thrown out of the studio and I would be facing charges of inciting hatred of women before my backside hit the kerb. There would be a media meltdown. Feminists, male and female would demand my head and the closing down of Triple M. Others would say this is living proof of the deep hatred and oppressive attitudes we hold toward women in our sexist, women hating country.

You know this is true.

Yet your jokes and lack of any hint of empathy or compassion for the young man or condemnation of his girlfriend’s violence gets a free pass-not even an eyebrow was raised in protest.

It is the suffering of men which is very deliberately ignored, belittled or denied in our society. How else would it be possible for a show like The Project to present a story on suicide just this week- a scourge which overwhelmingly affects males in Australia (over 2000 of the approximately 2500 who die each year are males) and spin it in such a way that the words men or males was not mentioned once in the entire story. However, the fact that the number of female suicides in the past year had increased was emphasised in words and graphics and a young female was the subject of the interview.

Imagine this approach being taken with regard to family violence! Females not mentioned, but statistics on men discussed and presented in graphics and a male survivor of family violence as the studio guest. More outrage would ensue and feminists, government ministers and journalists would be frothing at the mouth in outrage at the fact that women were not front and centre in the discussion.

You are a part of this media machine which continually ignores or belittles male suffering.

How can you not be appalled and sickened by these outrageous double standards? I have a son and daughter. Both of them have been physically and emotionally scarred as the result of street assaults by strangers. Do you think for one moment that I shed more tears or felt more grief over the assault of my daughter simply because she is a girl? If so, you are sadly mistaken. My boy’s chest was sliced open and the fact that he is a strong, tough young man didn’t make his skin any less vulnerable when the large knife sliced through it.

If you have never seen the footage of Sharon Osborne doing much the same as you, Luke Darcy and Mick Molloy did this week, take five minutes out of your busy day and have a look at this clip. Perhaps seeing someone else displaying an almost euphoric glee over the fact that a young man had had his penis hacked off by his angry wife will help you to see how truly wrong your behaviour and attitudes are. I heard this man speak when he had his time in court and it broke my heart. He said his life was over. She had mangled his penis after cutting it off. He would never enjoy intimate relations with anyone and on so many other levels his sense of himself as a man had been permanently damaged. Yet I repeat; only a couple of days after he had been assaulted, Osborne and her female co-hosts were cackling with glee over his suffering on a national TV show.

There were no sanctions of these women. They were not suspended or sacked from their positions. Osborne and all of the others continue to appear on TV and one of the women has recently begun her own reality show.

There are many men and boys suffering violent abuse at the hands of women in our society, Eddie. Countless highly reputable studies into family violence repeatedly indicate that at least a third of all victims of abuse are male. It may well be more but many male victims would never make public the fact that they are being abused such is the stigma of shame attached to the notion of a man claiming to be a victim of abuse at the hands of his female partner.

Already this year 3 men have been brutally murdered, 2 by stabbing and at least 11 wounded by knife attacks from females.

Do you think the attitude displayed by you and your co-hosts would encourage male victims to come forward and seek justice or support? Why would they speak up when they see and hear constant reinforcement of the idea that a female inflicting violence upon a man is still the subject of hilarity? This, I might add, in a time when to simply ask a woman out on a date on live TV can see a sportsman fined, banned from playing or even be accused of misogynistic behaviour promoting violence against women.

I understand that anyone who has to speak for as long and often on TV and radio as you do is bound to misspeak, or say something they regret as you know only too well, Eddie. But it is clear that you do not consider laughing over the mutilation of a young man anything to regret or apologise for. In fact I am sure your jokes and laughter over this incident have not been given a moment’s consideration since that show ended. That is the issue.

Please reflect on what I have said. Think about your two sons and how you would feel if one of them was to have his genitals slashed by a female wielding a knife. Ask yourself how much humor you would find in that situation. Well, the man whose assault you found such a source of merriment has a father who loves him just as you do your sons.

I love your passion on so many levels, Eddie. I share your passion for the Pies-they are in my blood till the day I die. I would love to see your passion for justice and a fair go applied to all Australians, regardless of their gender.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, Eddie.

Kind regards,

Mark Dent

Just a few of the many knife assaults by females upon males in 2016

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Photo Source: Flickr



About the author

Mark Dent