MSNBC recently did a piece about 10 myths connected to the Super Bowl, ranging from the number of toilets flushing during halftime to the amount of certain foods and beer consumed. It was a light-hearted piece meant to give us the truth about the biggest professional football game of the year.
Striking by its absence was one of the biggest myths connected to the Super Bowl. In the early 90s, feminist groups were citing a study that claimed Super Bowl Sunday was the most dangerous day of the year for women due to the number of incidents of domestic abuse reported. Researchers attributed this shocking statistic to the combination of heavy drinking and overly aggressive men watching football. Once this study was released to the media, the story became the talk of the media. One tiny problem, though.
Not a word of it is true.
Skeptics managed to review the study and found that Super Bowl Sunday was no different than any other day of the year in the number of domestic violence incidents reported. And what did the media do once the truth came out? They ignored it. To make matters worse, they continued to cite the discredited study as though it were fact. Eventually, though, they stopped talking about it altogether. I'd like to say they were finally shamed into silence, but considering the lengths they went to in order to perpetuate the domestic violence myth, I'm not sure I can say for certain that they have any shame.
Regardless, what the feminists and the media did was shameful. Domestic violence is not a joke, nor is it a pawn in the game of life. I'm sure they'll try to whitewash it as "raising awareness of an important issue," but lying doesn't do anyone any good. Besides, it's not the media's job to take up issues. Their job is to report the news and offer commentary only in appropriate forums. Citing a biased and discredited study isn't appropriate under any circumstances.
Feminists, too, should be ashamed that they let a political (and might I add, blatantly anti-male) agenda cloud their judgments on this issue. Women won't be helped by the advancement of false information as truth. Raising awareness, if done properly, is fine. Lying about men with such an emotionally charged issue like domestic abuse clearly isn't proper.
If you are a woman (or a man, for that matter) in an abusive relationship, don't let fear of retribution stop you from contacting the authorities or finding a shelter. Too many people every year die due to domestic violence. Don't let yourself be one of them.