By Bettina Arndt

“Partner won’t pay for a new kitchen? That’s coercive control.”

“Keeps asking for sex? That’s coercive control.”

“Get that male sent to jail with new coercive control!”

Take a quick look at the video on the Mothers of Sons website now. It’s less than a minute long.

Speakman is a conservative politician who delights in pandering to the women’s vote, yet he won’t be happy to see a large banner giving him credit for pushing through these draconian new laws designed to target men. Let’s hope he gets to see the people lining for selfies with the coercive control spray bottles, or reading the flyers exposing the lies he has promoted.

The video is just the start of MOS’ coercive control campaign, a means of alerting people to the audacious con job that’s so effectively hoodwinked our politicians and lawmakers. After decades of watching our justice system systematically tilted to favour women, it’s hard not to be blasé about each new feminist power grab.

But this one leaves you reeling.  A deep dive into the history of coercive control and how it found its place in our criminal law system has left the MOS team astonished at such monstrous chicanery.

It’s taken months putting together the true story, complete with supportive evidence, links and references. That’s all up on the Mothers of Sons website now – ready for you to use as a resource.

Here are some of the absolute gems.  

The effrontery of Evan Stark

Let’s start with the man who made the whole thing up. Oh yes, coercive control was only invented in 2007, not that long ago. It was proposed not by an eminent criminologist or similar expert but rather a feminist academic working in women’s studies.

Evan Stark’s reason for concocting coercive control is most revealing. In his bookCoercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life, Stark argued the domestic violence industry was running into problems because of mounting evidence that men and women are equally violent.

So, he decided to come up with something new. He took ideas that had been floating around in the domestic violence industry about patterns of “patriarchal terrorism” and invented a brand-new form of domestic “violence” he called “coercive control” which he claimed men started to use to control their relationships after society moved on from the systematic, widespread “wife torture” of the past, due to women’s liberation eroding men’s sex-based patriarchal privilege. How’s that for barking mad ideological claptrap?

Proposing new laws for coercive control proved a brilliant career move – Evan Stark quickly became the pinup boy for the feminist movement, travelling from country to country promoting this inventive means of targeting men.

Even though everyone knows that both men and women use controlling behaviours Stark declared that people should “take on faith” that “the pattern of intimidation, isolation, and control . . . is unique to men’s abuse of women.”

But the real power in Stark’s idea is that he was promoting this as a new criminal offence, which make these laws a far more effective weapon to use against men than the old violence protections orders used for domestic violence. On the basis of the flimsiest evidence describing behaviours that can’t even be properly defined, and that victims may not even see as a problem, men would be sent to prison.

Within a decade, Stark’s ideas were incorporated into new laws criminalizing coercive control across the UK, and he was playing a key role in pushing for similar laws in Canada, New Zealand, and here, in Queensland and NSW.

The laws didn’t work

Interestingly, the laws were a dismal failure when first introduced. In Tasmania they went to all the effort to get laws criminalizing this type of emotional abuse introduced in 2004, apparently a world-first, and they sank without a trace. There wasn’t a single prosecution in the first three years after enactment!

It turned out everyone had great difficulty proving a man guilty when no one was really sure what he was supposed to have done wrong. Lawyers weren’t keen on getting involved in fighting over these slippery cases and overburdened police actively resisted having another bucketload of work land in their laps.

It was only when local lawmakers tinkered with the legislation to try to clarify what they were talking about and introduced training programs to teach the police to target men more efficiently that numbers of convictions gradually started to go up.

In the UK, the situation was more complex. Similar laws were introduced in England in 2015, making coercive control punishable by up to five years in jail. By 2020 these laws resulted in 24,000 ‘incidents’ but only 300 convictions. That meant an incredible waste of police time for almost no result. Even though the laws were supposed to be gender neutral, 97% of those convicted were male.

Here too, the new weaponry against men only really started to work when police were trained exactly how to target men. In England, there was a 40% increase in arrests after police and staff were trained to identify coercive control behaviour – although after eight months the effect wore off and the brainwashing had to be repeated.

The Hannah Clarke masterstroke.

Our powerful Australian feminists had a new trick up their sleeves when the time came for trying to push through coercive control legislation in Queensland and NSW. They exploited the grieving parents of Hannah Clarke, a young Brisbane mother killed with her children in a family homicide. This tragic older couple were persuaded that their family members may not have died if coercive control laws were in place. They soon started appearing in news stories, spear-heading the feminist campaign, and using their new foundation to warn of the dangers of coercive control and its link to domestic homicide.

This too was a total invention. Even Evan Stark didn’t endorse such claims. The alleged link to homicide wasn’t promoted when coercive control was first introduced in other jurisdictions (such as Tasmania and the UK) and there’s no evidence from these places that coercive control laws have had any impact on the safety of women.

But naturally we can count on the inventiveness of feminist bureaucrats to rectify that problem. When the NSW government set up their inquiry into proposed coercive control legislation, Speakman came out with a sensational claim from the 2017-19 report of the NSW Domestic Violence Review Team that99% of domestic homicides were linked to coercive control. No convincing evidence was provided to support that claim, let alone any details about how their “research” was conducted.

The truth about this absurd claim was exposed in an excellent speech in November 2022 to the NSW Parliament by One Nation’s Mark Latham, who pointed out this Review Team had produced a string of reports since it was established in 2010, clearly demonstrating that socio-economic factors are key to explaining domestic homicide: poverty; mental health issues; Aboriginality; cultural factors; drug and alcohol abuse and past criminal records.

But then along came a new Review Team head, Teresa O’Sullivan, and suddenly all that socio-economic data disappeared, to be replaced by what Latham called “politically-laden advocacy.” According to Latham, her 2017-19 report was an example of what he called “mission search” namely, “an organization retrofitting its research in response to a newly fashionable theory.” The Review Team were told to look for examples of “coercive control,” which unsurprisingly they found 99% of the time. (Note to NSW readers, Mark Latham deserves our vote in the upcoming election for his brave advocacy for fair treatment for men.)   

Naturally when coercive control became part of the criminal law of NSW, the government congratulated itself for having passed this “life-saving” law reform. Note that in NSW, coercive control can be punished with up to  7 years jail, compared with 2 years for common assault. The Attorney General’s Second Reading speech makes clear that coercive control need not involve violence and can even be totally harmless. How does this make sense?

The misidentification hiccup.

Now for the latest twist in this incredible saga.The ABC recently ran a story from Tasmania about family violence orders backfiring on women, warning of a “growing misidentification crisis” where police have “mistaken the victim for the perpetrator” and charged women with criminal offences. The article claimed police had failed to analyse “complex patterns of coercive control” – which means they get confused about who’s actually in need of protection.

So, despite strenuous efforts to indoctrinate the police to target only men some brave officers had the guts to examine the evidence and determine where the blame truly lay in the troubled relationship.

Funnily enough that same week a story broke about a former Tasmanian Beauty Queen, Labor MP Kathryn Hay who appeared in court charged with 46 offences of  extreme abuse and coercive control of her male partner over the course of a decade, including cutting him off from his family and telling him he was ‘worthless and useless.’

And read this sensational headline last month from the“Female prison reform boss is jailed for ‘worst case of coercive behaviour’ judge had ever seen: Senior manager subjected husband to 15 years of daily wine-fuelled beatings, verbal humiliation and even made him clean up her faeces.” The female perpetrator was jailed for four years. 

That’s the feminists’ weak spot. Everyone knows women are past masters at emotional control as abundant academic research shows. See here, herehere, here, here.  Even the Australian Bureau of Statistics concedes that men experience emotional abuse at the same rates as women.

The truth will out. The fascinating recent development in NSW was that after Speakman pushed his laws through parliament, he then hit the pause button after women’s groups spoke out warning of possible “misidentification problems” unless police and the judiciary are properly indoctrinated. And that’s precisely what’s happening now in Queensland and NSW – they are rolling out endless programs and procedures to train police and judicial officers, installing DV officers in police stations and indoctrinating the judiciary.

Clearly there is considerable nervousness that their scheme will turn around to bite them, if male victims start coming forward and women end up being charged. So that’s what we need to make happen. It’s the key to forcing this whole ghastly plot to unravel.

Bettina Arndt is an Australian writer and commentator who specialises in sex and gender issues. Starting as a sex therapist, she established her career in the 1970s publishing and broadcasting as well as writing several books. In the last two decades she has abandoned feminism and attracted controversy with her social commentary and her stances on sexual abuse, domestic violence and men’s rights advocacy; flying in the face of billions of dollars of government funded propaganda on women’s issues.

You can follow her work on her Substack page here.