MALE PRIVILEGE – Who Gets Free Lawyers in DV Cases, and Who Doesn’t


This is the first article in a new category, Male Privilege. The category will consist of examples of systemic, institutional and pervasive discrimination against men – disprivilege – for use in rebuttal to claims of male privilege.

This first example has to do with lawyers provided free of charge to victims of domestic violence in Windsor, Ontario. The university there has a group that offers legal aid, Community Legal Aid.

“Community Legal Aid will no longer represent anyone accused of domestic violence — as long as that person is a man.If it’s a woman facing the same accusation, the organization will try to find her a sympathetic lawyer who will work for free, or take on the case themselves.
The recent policy change by the student legal aid clinic — which is run by the University of Windsor’s law school — has stunned and outraged local defence lawyers.”

So who came up with this new policy, and how? It seems to have been the Dean of Law, Camille Cameron, and it seems she and her committee acted pretty much on their own, without consulting any of the usual partners. (You can see the bland, smiling face of bigotry by going to the article; her picture is about two thirds of the way down.)

Read her justification – she thinks so little of opposition to this move that she can’t be bothered even to put together a coherent explanation of it.

A measure of the cluelessness that went into this decision is a statement from a professor of law who sat on the committee, David Tanovich:

David Tanovich, a law professor at the university, was part of the committee behind the policy decision.
“Asked why the policy treats women differently than men, Tanovich said there are “systemic issues” in the justice system.
“For example, the woman calls 911, saying ‘My partner has assaulted me.’ The police arrive, and they make credibility assessments that are biased, and they end up charging the woman — not the man.
“That’s a social justice issue that the clinic wants to investigate,” Tanovich said. “We’re a social justice law school. We have a social justice mandate.”

That’s Professor Tanovich’s justification. Does he really think it passes the laugh test, that bit about the woman getting arrested? Does he really think that a man gets even that much of a hearing when he calls 911 and says his partner has assaulted him? Would he care to try saying that with a straight face?

So there it is – a group funded with public money offers a service to one group and denies it to another. Is that systemic enough for you, institutional enough?

And the discrimination is based solely on a person’s sex. That’s the face of male privilege.

Jim Doyle
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Jim Doyle

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="2936">11 comments</span>

  • The justice system is biased in favor of thinking women the physically agressive party? What world does this guy live in.

  • Great piece Gingko. I am willing to bet that other places around the country would have similar policies though often they may be hidden and unwritten. The most surprising thing about the misandry that you have revealed here is that anyone is actually complaining about it. I think the norm is to yawn and accept the default as being “women and children first.” Thanks for posting this.

  • Yeah, I am mostly surprised by the people who were complaining about this decision. Although I imagine it would be an outrage if it were the sexes were reversed.

    At any rate, I really, really want to know where they got their info for making this decision. In what world are men given the benefit of the doubt in DV situations? Crazy. Things like this should be backed up by concrete data (and this one isn’t because it can’t be).

  • “At any rate, I really, really want to know where they got their info for making this decision.”

    “Info”? As in “information.” My dear ES,clearly this decision was based on absolutely no information. It was based purely on comfortable myths.

  • What I don’t get is the imbalance of awareness of the dis-/privilege. I mean, most men, on some level realize that their gender is the 2nd class citizenship. Most will not openly admit it because that creates more problems and solves none. Some will not admit it to themselves because it’s easier. And then most others will just accept it without a complaint much like one accepts bad weather with the kind of attitude of “well I can’t do anything about it anyway”.

    But women? How in the world do so few of them manage to realize how much better their gender is off? Sure, there are fanatics, then there are those who do actually have it bad. But what about the majority who live comfortable lives in the West? Are they really so shielded from reality?

    Any suggestions?

  • “Any suggestions?”

    The privileged are blind to their privilege. Plus they have feminists telling them that men have better lives because men comprise more of the infrastructure of the society we live in.

    Even a politician is just a servant. Our leaders are our servants because they take the burden of regret off our shoulders. And tyrannical leaders can do this best of all.

    A society of people who cannot stand regret will chose a tyrant–a single one or a bureaucracy full of them–to lead so they can avoid the burden of feeling it.

  • “But women? How in the world do so few of them manage to realize how much better their gender is off? ”

    They get the same indoctrination that men get? That women must be protected at all costs, that their feelings are more delicate and more valuable and that approval from a woman is the highest good a man can experience? That’s the message boys grow up with; why would girls be immune to that?

    It’s a sweet but poisoned deal for women, and it’s only a few that have the discernment to see past those blandishments. When you consider how few men see through this system, even though it exploits and damages them, it ‘s a wonder that any woman ever does. Good for the ones who do. Usually it’s whe they see the system damage some male they love, that’s when it clicks for them.

  • You know, I can sort of forgive the average woman for being completely blind to their privileges

    But feminists? The ones who use “Privilege is blind to those who have it” as a freaking club? How unselfaware does one have to be to not realize that that saying *applies to them too*?

By Jim Doyle

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