“Georgia Today”, a weekly English-language newspaper, ran the following front-page headline: More women acknowledge their rights when oppressed and abused. The picture on the cover was a woman cowering in the corner (covering the back of her head) and the clinched fist of a man. While the article has a few positive points, it is basically full of many of the same lies and one-sidedness we have sadly come to expect in North America, Western Europe, and Australia. I intend to write the following email to “Georgia Today”:
My name is Carl Augustsson. I am a triple US/Swedish/Georgian citizen who came to Georgia by marriage to a Georgian woman. I have been working as an assistant professor of English and Political Science at Caucasus University since 2008. I am the Liaison Contact for The National Coalition For Men (NCFM) here in Tbilisi. The National Coalition For Men is the oldest and largest Men’s Rights group in the US, and perhaps the world, with chapters in other countries as well.
I am writing to you regarding your February 10th-16th cover story “More women acknowledge their rights when oppressed and abused”. While your article did have some positive points, I take issue with a number of statements in it. For the sake of brevity, I will only point out a few. First of all, I highly doubt the claim that one-third of all households in Georgia experience domestic violence. I have seen such exaggeration in North America/Western Europe/Australia (i.e. the “core” Western countries) and have come to be highly skeptical of such claims. For one thing, I know numerous Georgian families and I simply do not believe the number can be anywhere near that high. I would also like to point out that I know for sure that in the core Western Countries, the most common form of domestic violence is actually between siblings, followed by parent-to-child. Intimate partner violence is a distant third. I have no reason to believe Georgia is any different in these regards.
The line I found particularly offensive is “Even the most perfect men can become aggressive”. It is sexist to suggest that inside of all men lies a ticking time-bomb of aggression. Also, for years in the core Western countries feminists claimed that male victims of domestic violence did not exist. Such men were forced to suffer in silence with even fewer resources (if any!) available to them. What’s worse is that feminist would (and to some extant continue to) angrily deny that such men even exist. I know they exist because NCFM has helped such men. No where in this article was the existence of such men acknowledge. I am certain such men exist here in Georgia as well, just as there are no doubt violent women in Georgia too.
I also take issue with the idea that Georgian society is “patriarchal”. We at NCFM believe that Western societies (including Georgia) have never been either patriarchal or matriarchal. Instead, both men and women faced discrimination, only in different ways. Feminism has been way too one-sided. It has failed to address (or even acknowledge!) sex discrimination faced by men. Here in Georgia the two biggest examples include a sexist conscription policy, along with a higher retirement age for men.
The good news is that Georgia, unlike the core Western countries, has a chance to get it right the first time. We could fight for equality for both men and women at the same time, minus the needless, radical bitterness that has sadly become so common in the core Western countries. If you are at all interested in balance, I would greatly appreciate an article about our efforts to start a chapter of NCFM here in Georgia.
Liaison, National Coalition For Men, Tbilisi, Georgia