Trudy W. Schuett is an Arizona-based online veteran with 10 years in cyberspace; an author and multiblogger. She has held workshops on blogging, writing, and promo for writers at the New Communications Forum and Arizona Western College, and has participated in world blogging events such as Global PR Blog Week. She is also an advocate for unserved victims of domestic violence. She is is the author of three novels, two how-to books and eight blogs. Note: Books are currently out of print, but two appear in blog form. She currently publishes New Perspectives on Partner Abuse at She has a video at her site that provides a look into the circumstance of a few men. Entitled, Husband Beaters It is in five parts and was part of the Secret Lives of Women series on the WE network. She publishes the AZ Rural Times and New Perspectives on Partner Abuse , she is on Twitter and Facebook She lives in Yuma AZ, with her husband, Paul. or E-Mail..

You can give underserved victims of domestic violence a lifeline

Getting people to vote for a community effort is every bit as hard as getting people to contribute cash. Maybe even harder, because so many figure the internet is so big, there are so many people – surely plenty of other people will take the time, and my single vote won’t mean much.

That’s really not true, because in this case especially, we have a small group to begin with. People just don’t realize the extent of the need for this project. Neither do they realize how much one person can do to help it along.

Without going into a complex explanation of how things like blogs, Twitter and Facebook work, what I will say is this: each person voting has the potential to influence hundreds, or even thousands of others. That’s because the Pepsi Challenge has provided several ways for each voter to also engage their blog’s readers, their FB friends, their Twitter followers, who in turn have their own networks of different people.

In other words, you don’t have to know a lot of people online, because you have friends who do.

So, you already know the importance of your help in this, but what is this project, anyway?

Jan Brown says it better than I ever could:

“Studies show that men who are in relationships with abusive partners do not see themselves as victims of domestic violence . Domestic violence has been so narrowly defined in our society that most people, including abused men, believe that it begins and ends with men beating their intimate female partners.

Many men who suffer physical, emotional, psychological, financial, and/or sexual abuse at the hands of their intimate partners do not realize that this, too is domestic violence . They will usually write it off as their partner having a bad day or feel that they must have done something to deserve the abuse.

Further, agencies that offer a myriad of supportive services and shelter to victims of domestic violence do little to encourage abused men to come forward and seek help. Few offer outreach to male victims.

The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women is hoping to change that with the first national public awareness campaign on male victims of domestic violence. We have entered the Pepsi Refresh Project. We are seeking a $250,000 award from Pepsi for our project idea to bring public awareness to male victims of domestic violence. This funding will enable us to send outreach materials (brochures, posters, booklets and placards) about male victims to 7,500 agencies that work with victims of domestic violence across the country.

In order to obtain this $250,000 award we need your help. The public determines, through voting on their favorite project ideas at the Pepsi site, who wins. Please click on this link to vote for our project idea!

Voting goes from Aug.1st to Aug. 31st. Remember to vote DAILY and ask your friends and family members to do the same. Thank you for helping us to bring awareness and services to victims and their families.

Because abused men need awareness and services too.

We already know that this information is wanted and needed. A good percentage of calls to the Helpline come from those very agencies Jan mentions, whose main experience has been working with women. They want to know what they can do for men.

Because of the antiquated laws and policies in place, DAHMW does not get any of the billions of dollars that flow to domestic violence programs each year. They must rely on private donations and campaigns such as Pepsi Challenge in hopes of keeping services for men available.

If this effort succeeds, it has the potential to cause a sea change in the way the public at large sees domestic violence, and thousands of families nationwide could begin to heal.

The Domestic Violence Industry’s War on Men

Barbara Kay, an outspoken Canadian voice of reason, illustrates how a single event in Montreal — the incident at École Polytechnique in 1989 when 14 female engineering students were gunned down by a sociopath — was hijacked by radical feminists as an example of all men’s violence toward all women.

Writing at Pajamas Media, she says:

Feminists everywhere in the West appropriated its emotive themes to lend greater credence to an already widespread pernicious tripartite myth: namely, that all men — the “patriarchy” — are inherently prone to violence against women, that all women are potential victims of male aggression, and that female violence against men is never unprovoked, but always an act of self-defense against overt or covert male aggression.

The unspoken corollary to these falsehoods is that violence perpetrated against males, whether by other males or by females, is deemed unworthy of official recognition or more than minimal legal redress, and that while female suffering must be acknowledged as socially intolerable, male suffering may not make a parallel moral claim.

Investigate Abusegate! Call Sen. Orrin Hatch Today!

Each year, 2-3 million restraining orders are issued in the United States. But according to one study, 70% of those orders are unnecessary or false.

The Violence Against Women Act bankrolls the issuance of millions of restraining orders, for which there is little proof of benefit, and which, according to the Independent Women’s Forum, only “lull women into a false sense of security.” This week our lobbyists are working Capitol Hill, asking our elected officials to “Investigate Abusegate!”

One of the key supporters of VAWA over the years has been Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. Sen. Hatch views VAWA as one of his legacies. Really? Then Sen. Hatch should be leading the charge to find out exactly how the Violence Against Women Act got sidetracked.

TODAY! Call Sen. Hatch’s office at (202) 224-5251. Or send him an email. The message to Sen. Hatch only needs to be 5 words long: “Investigate Abusegate! Fix VAWA Now!”

Scotland: domestic violence against men is frequent and often unreported

The results of a major piece of government research on partner abuse in Scotland slipped out relatively unreported before Christmas. The new Scottish findings mirror much Australian and international domestic violence research showing family violence against men is frequent and often goes unreported.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2008-09: Partner Abuse was published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician on December 15th 2009. The research was conducted with 16,000 interviewees and represents the most comprehensive investigation to date into the extent of partner abuse in Scotland.

Interviewees were asked about their experience of physical or psychological partner abuse both since the age of 16 and within the preceding 12 months. The findings included:

• 18% of adults who had had at least one partner since the age of 16 reported having experienced at least one form of partner abuse. The figure for women was 20.9% and for men 15.3%.

• However, in the most recent 12 months the figure for both men and women was 5%.

• The data for the last 12 months showed that young men aged 16-24 experienced physical and/or psychological abuse more often than young women and more often than any other demographic group.

• For persons experiencing partner abuse in the last 12 months, 48% of the perpetrators were male and 45% were female.

• Police came to know about 35% of incidents of partner abuse reported by women in the preceding 12 months but only 8% of incidents in which a man was on the receiving end. 40% of men told no-one compared to 21% of women.

One in Three Campaign spokesperson Greg Andresen said “Much Australian, US, UK, NZ and Canadian family violence data also shows that at least one in three, and perhaps as many as one in two victims are male. It reveals that men are much less likely to report family violence against them than are women.

“The Australian National Crime Prevention Survey found young people aged 12 to 20 were just as likely to report seeing mum hit dad, as they are to see dad hit mum. These young males and females were also equally likely to report experiencing domestic violence themselves. The Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Survey found that females were three times as likely as males to report being abused to the police.”

Scottish journalist John Forsyth said, “To date most Government pronouncements and campaigns have insisted that male experience of partner abuse is minimal and insignificant. This data completely contradicts these assertions. It is hoped that the Government will now review their meagre support for male victims of domestic abuse and their children.

“The research has to be commended for its rigour. When asked whether they had been subject to domestic abuse since the age of 16, only 3% of men and 14% of women said yes. However, when asked to report specific conduct by a partner that falls within the definition of partner abuse, the number for men rose 5 times to 15% and for women by half to 20.9%. This is hardly surprising given the tens of millions that has been spent by successive Scottish administrations on campaigns, support services and organisations targeted at women, encouraging them to recognise and report domestic abuse. In the same period precisely nothing has been spent on efforts to encourage men to recognise and report domestic abuse.”

The One in Three Campaign is calling on the Australian Government to take heed of the new Scottish data when it continues its review of domestic violence policy in 2010, urging that any new policies, services and campaigns support victims of both sexes in order to comply with Australia’s human rights obligations.

When a man is a victim of domestic violence

If there’s anything I’ve learned in 10 years of advocacy for unserved victims of partner abuse, it’s that men don’t tell.

Yes, the U.S. Dept. of Justice says there are about 840,000 male victims of domestic violence each year. But those are just the ones who’ve reported it.

Not that the numbers really matter: What matters is that it’s happening, and it’s no joke.

There’s a popular presumption that men should somehow be able to “control” the woman in their lives, and if they can’t, then they deserve what they get. But the fact is that today a man who tries to defend himself is more likely than not to end up in jail… Read the rest of the story by New Perspectives publisher Trudy W. Schuett at New Jersey’s Cliffview Pilot

Note: In Arizona, A New Leaf in the Phoenix metro area is one of the few agencies nationwide to provide services for male victims. In San Diego the California Men’s Centers, home of the National Coalition for Men, also provides aid.

ABUSEGATE: Investigate!

Literally billions of taxpayer dollars at the federal, state, and local levels are being poured into programs that are based on little more than feminist “thought.” There is no supportable evidence that these programs have any merit, or provide meaningful services for the communities they serve.

The following articles illustrate how the Abusegate scandal came into being.

Trudy W. Schuett: Abusegate: A Generation Deceived
Carey Roberts: Abusegate: The Mother of All Scandals
Barbara Kay: The Domestic Violence Industry’s War on Men

Abusegate and Children

President Obama’s 2011 federal budget, a nearly $4-trillion monstrosity, includes an increase of $117 million for domestic violence programs — a 22-percent increase. It is time to shine the light of truth on so-called “domestic violence” issues. Instead of “spousal abuse,” the broader term “domestic violence” provides cover for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to spawn widespread distortion of data that is used for political ammunition to hold taxpayers hostage to the VAWA Mafia — all those bureaucrats and social workers whose existence depends upon convincing the public that husbands are dangerous to their wives and children. In fact, the mothers’ boyfriends are most often the perpetrators of abuse deaths, and mothers are more often responsible for the neglect fatalities.

The interesting thing about this essay is that it has been written by somebody outside the list of those who would normally be writing such a piece. In other words, the term “Abusegate” is starting to be recognized!

Urge your representative to vote against H.R. 4116

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) FVPSA is a little-known federal funding source directly dedicated to domestic violence shelters and services.

These programs provide little or no practical assistance to anyone, and they have not made any changes in step with changes in society since their inception.

Since it was first authorized in 1984, FVPSA has been instrumental in the destruction of millions of families experiencing this crisis.

These federally funded programs are at the heart of our nation’s misguided response to domestic violence – providing only feminist “education,” disinformation, and hysteria at a cost of untold billions of dollars.

Contact your representative today and urge them to vote against H.R. 4116, a bill to reauthorize the FVPSA. Please do not allow this damaging program to continue!

KSU expert says male college students also victims of violence at girlfriends’ hands

Thinking about a typical victim of college dating violence, you’re probably imagining her, not him.

Researchers often think the same way, according to a Kansas State University expert on intimate partner violence. Sandra Stith, a professor of family studies and human services, said most research has looked at men as offenders and women as victims.

“In the research on college students in particular, we’re finding both men and women can be perpetrators,” she said. “In our growing-up years, we teach boys not hit their sister, but we don’t teach girls not to hit their brother.”

She and a K-State research team are looking at the impact that being a victim of violence has on male versus female college students in heterosexual relationships.

“Most research shows female victims having higher levels of depression, anxiety and school problems than nonvictims,” Stith said. “Our research indicates that both male and female college students are being victims of violence, and we want to see how it affects both.”

In 2008, Stith and her former student at Virginia Tech, Colleen Baker, published research in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma that found the biggest predictor of whether male and female college students would use violence against a partner was whether the partner was violent toward them.

“It’s a dramatically more important factor than anything else,” Stith said. “If your girlfriend hits you, that dramatically increases the likelihood that you’re going to hit her, and vice versa.”

In general, Stith said there are lower levels of violence among college couples than among married or cohabiting couples, and the violence is more likely to involve shoving and pushing by both men and women.

“Previous research indicates that as young people grow up, the violence may become less frequent or severe or it may be eliminated,” Stith said. “Sometimes it’s about immaturity.”

Although alcohol is often a factor in violence among older couples who are married or in long-term relationships, Stith said drinking — particularly binge drinking — plays a big part in college student violence. Other factors include a lack of anger management skills and having grown up with parents who are violent with one another.

“When students get angry with their boyfriend or girlfriend, violence sometimes seems to be the normal thing to do,” she said.

Stith said when researching alcohol problems, she found that college students often had different standards for themselves when it came to what constitutes a drinking problem. Whereas they see themselves as just partying and participating in normal college life, they would say an older, professional adult behaving the same way has a problem with alcohol.

“I think they might be normalizing their aggressive behaviors, too,” she said. “They may think that when they’re drinking and get angry and she slaps him and he grabs her, that it’s not domestic violence. They may think that domestic violence is what happens in married people’s lives.”

Stith said one of her basic philosophies is that society needs to work toward ending all violence, not just male violence.

“We need to address female violence, too,” she said. “We need to say that when you’re in a relationship with someone you care about, you don’t hit and you don’t kick.”

Stith’s research team that is looking at the impacts of dating violence includes the following family studies and human services students and researchers: Yvonne Amanor-Boadu, post-doctoral research assistant; Marjorie Strachman Miller, doctoral student; Josh Cook and Michelle Gorzek, master’s students; and Lauren Allen, a junior from Olathe and a 2007 graduate of Olathe Northwest High School.

Tell Senator Hatch to “Investigate Abusegate!”

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah often says one of his proudest legislative legacies is passage of the Violence Against Women Act. Apparently Sen. Hatch is unaware of the uncounted falsehoods, ignored male victims, and broken-up families that are the true legacies of VAWA. Ironically, Sen. Hatch also counts himself as a stout defender of Constitutional protections such as due process, probable cause for arrest, and equal treatment under the law.

WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS, Sen. Hatch needs to receive thousands and thousands and thousands of phone calls, emails, and faxes with the very simple message, “Investigate Abusegate!”


Twitter – @OrrinHatch
Telephone: 202-224-5251
Fax: 202-224-6331

All your message needs to say is “Investigate Abusegate!”

On Boston Med the joke of the night was domestic violence

The other day, Doc Helen remarked that there were so many more positive portrayals of dads right before Father’s Day, and hoped things were changing.

I’d hoped so too, given the advances and growth in men’s orgs such as the National Coalition for Men, Fathers & Families and Michigan’s Father’s Rights Coalition.

Well, maybe those advances aren’t as large as they seem, as last night viewers of ABC’s Boston Med were treated to a national display of misandry and discrimination seldom seen even in a reality program. While most of the media focus has been on the double lung transplant in Episode #1 of this eight-part series, those who watched the whole thing saw something else, too.

The series follows doctors at three hospitals — Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital Boston. It’s not all “feats of medical brilliance” as promised in this ABC press release.

At first we see ER resident Pina Patel in this light, taken from the show’s website:

Pina Patel is in her fourth and last year of an Emergency Medicine residency. A graduate of Ohio State, she struggles to gain confidence in a training program filled with colleagues toting Harvard degrees. After failing to perform a standard medical procedure and being criticized for her leadership abilities, Pina questions whether she is cut out to go the distance and become an attending.

The viewer wants to connect with the idea that all docs aren’t necessarily superheroes. Then this ER student physician is faced with a stabbing victim. While treating the patient, Dr. Patel is all business. Then later, she discusses the case with co-workers, and this all-female group finds something quite amusing in the fact their male patient was stabbed by his wife.

“I know I shouldn’t laugh,” Dr. Patel says, while barely suppressing a giggle. The group agrees they should not laugh, but that is exactly what they are doing.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the doc then goes on to opine something to the effect that the incident should have been a lesson to the man not to mess with his woman. In other words, this particular patient deserved a life-threatening assault because of his gender.

While it’s well-known that Massachusetts is one of the worst states in the union for male victims, due to the malignant Jane Doe, Inc., which is in charge of most of the “domestic violence education” for professionals in the state, one would think a medical doctor could put aside personal bias and treat a patient without the kind of judgment demonstrated by Pina Patel.

If she questioned her own abilities, she was certainly on the right track, as this person has no business in a discipline where a number of her patients would likely present an issue she feels strongly about. It is unknown as of this writing whether the patient received the same quality of care extended to others, or if anyone in authority at Harvard Medical School took any steps to correct Dr. Patel’s aberrant behavior. The suspicion has been raised by the doctor’s wholly unprofessional performance that perhaps this kind of conduct is acceptable at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

After all, the doctor is currently employed at Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Clara Medical Center, in the Emergency Medicine department. Kaiser Permanente would never hire a physician that was so clearly prepared to discriminate against a patient for any reason.

Or maybe they would.

Had the victim been female, there would have been no laughs, no expression that the patient somehow caused their own injury. Is not blaming the victim the Number One sin in the domestic violence field?

Or does Harvard Medical teach that some kinds of discrimination are just fine and to be engaged in whenever possible?

Sen. Reid cherry-picking the research, experts say

Sen. Harry Reid’s claim about male unemployment and domestic violence is misleading and false because it selectively chooses the data, otherwise known as cherry-picking, according to domestic violence experts.

On February 22, Reid claimed on the Senate floor that “women aren’t abusive, most of the time. Men when they’re out of work tend to become abusive.”

Now, 16 groups and publications are calling on Reid to issue an apology for unfairly stereotyping men.

Over 250 scholarly studies show women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their male partners, according to Martin Fiebert, professor of psychology at California State University.

Mainstream researchers have documented how domestic violence advocates often misrepresent the research:

- Advocates have “let their ideological commitments overrule their scientific commitments” – Murray Straus, PhD, University of New Hampshire

- New research data “are largely overlooked or discounted.” – Miriam Ehrensaft, PhD, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

- Widespread domestic violence myths may be “harmful to women, men, children, and the institution of the family.” – Richard Gelles, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

“Sen. Reid’s one-sided comments are the latest example how persons slice-and-dice the data to mislead the public,” according to Marty Nemko, PhD of the National Organization of Men. “If Sen. Reid truly wants to help unemployed men, he should stop unfairly vilifying them as abusers and make sure his new jobs bill targets those in greatest need.”

A recent Special Report, Fifty Domestic Violence Myths, documents that many assertions of the domestic violence industry are one-sided, unverifiable, or false.

Now the Abusegate, Investigate! campaign is requesting a Congressional probe into the misleading claims and falsehoods espoused by industry representatives.

Two years ago Carol Burger of Boynton Beach, Fla. became unemployed and broke-up with her live-in girlfriend Jessica Kalish. On October 29, 2008, Burger attacked Kalish with a household screwdriver, stabbing her 222 times. Then Burger took her own life.

Days before the murder-suicide, Berger emailed a friend about her financial quandary: “I was really annoyed when I found out that Jess let her life insurance lapse for lack of payment.”

Research confirms that unemployment and financial strain can increase the risk of partner violence but does not, as Senator Reid alleges, result in more violence from men than women.

Senator Reid: Apologize for sexist remarks!

Groups are calling for Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada to apologize for sexist remarks made yesterday. Reid’s comments served to stereotype men as “abusive,” while ignoring the well-established scientific fact that men and women in partner relationships are equally likely to be violent.

Reid’s remarks on the Senate floor can be seen below.

Over 250 scholarly studies show women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their male partners, according to Martin Fiebert, professor of psychology at California State University.

“Senator Reid’s bizarre and unfounded statement reveals an unimaginable disconnect from the millions of unemployed Americans who are not abusive. These persons are understandably frightened about their futures and the security of their families,” notes Paul Elam, editor-in-chief of “Mr. Reid needs to apologize immediately.”

Numerous political leaders have highlighted the existence of male victims of domestic violence:

– “Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance.” — President Barack Obama

– “Domestic violence cuts across all races, all income brackets, all levels of education – and both sexes.” — Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell

– “When we think of domestic violence, we think of the women as being the victims. But it’s also men victimized as well.” — Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL)

The “Abusegate, Investigate!” campaign is requesting the government launch a probe into the widespread fraudulent and illegal practices of the domestic violence industry.

Many believe current domestic violence laws unduly infringe on Americans’ civil liberties. The Washington Civil Rights Council has termed domestic violence programs the “biggest civil rights roll-back since [the] Jim Crow era.”

The following 14 groups are demanding that Sen. Reid issue an apology for his sexist statement: CPF/Fatherhood Coalition, Dads and Moms of Michigan, Fathers’ and Children’s Equality, Fathers for Equal Rights of America, Illinois Fathers, Men and Fathers for Justice, Men’s Equality Conference, National Organization for Men, Petition for Child Support Reform, Shared Parenting Works, TABS (Taking Action against Bias in the System), Utah Father’s Rights Meetup Group, Washington Domestic Violence Press, and the Washington Civil Rights Council.

CBC: not just women who are victims of partner abuse

In the almost 40 years since the first shelter for battered women opened its doors, we have made noticeable progress in dealing with and denouncing domestic violence.

Nevertheless, much still needs to be done and the biggest challenge, in my view, is what to do about men.

Not men as perpetrators — there we seem to have a handle on things. Rather, I’m talking about the hundred thousand or so confirmed male victims who are, often violently, abused by their female partners every year.

Domestic violence is not a gender-specific reality. Women are capable of hitting, beating, abusing and killing their male partners.

Just how prevalent these attacks are depends on what statistical study you choose to highlight.

But based on what we know, there should be no argument that female violence against men is at least a problem worthy of much greater consideration than we have given it so far.

Gender neutral

According to a large-scale Statistics Canada study in 2005, the likelihood of a man being the victim of violent abuse by his female partner is almost the same as it is for a woman.

A \A “red silhouette” campaign to mark the 32 individuals killed by family violence in South Carolina in 2007; 28 of them women. Begun by Minnesota art students in 1990, the campaign has spread to 18 countries, including Canada. (Associated Press)

In this study, an estimated seven per cent of women and six per cent of men surveyed had encountered some form of spousal violence over the previous five years.

This means, StatsCan said, that roughly 653,000 women and 546,000 men considered themselves the victims of violence at the hands of a current or previous spouse or common-law partner, an estimate that was unchanged from an earlier study…

15 years of the Violence Against Women Act: its tragic consequences

As the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act arrived last month, supporters from the president and vice-president, to people in charge of small, local programs lauded the Violence Against Women Act as something special – as if it was a real solution that was vitally necessary.

From the beginning, VAWA was based on little more than anecdotal evidence and supposition, provided in ample quantity by the set of horror stories collected by then-Senator Joe Biden’s staff at police stations, battered women’s shelters, and rape crisis centers. Then they took that information, ignored the fact it was often incomplete, had been collected under unusual circumstances in truly isolated conditions, and applied it to the entire population of women in the United States. The report generated by Biden and his staff in this exercise was entitled, Violence Against Women: A Week in the Life of America.

Biden says in his autobiography, Promises to Keep, “If we could have included unreported crimes it would have been 7000 pages.” This is one of many statements he makes demonstrating his ignorance – of not only the issue, but of information gathering as well. What local non-profit agency of any kind would not be entirely happy to tell a Senatorial aide precisely what he or she wanted to hear? What police department, sensing future availability of funding, would not be honored to cooperate by sharing any information they happened to have, even if it was raw data with little or no supportive information?

On another page in this book, he conflates animal shelters with women’s shelters, which is not even an “apples and oranges” statement. It’s more like comparing apples to computers; as the only thing the two items have in common is that the same word is sometimes used to describe them. Somehow the fact that there are more animal shelters than women’s shelters is less than compelling, when one recognizes the lack of relationship. One could also say there are more bus shelters, but that likewise has no relevance to women’s shelters.

VAWA establishes feminist pork

Despite the fact that no one has ever been allowed to challenge VAWA in various Congressional hearings since they began, VAWA was rejected several times by Congress, and in late 1991 Chief Justice William Rehnquist warned that the law would be used as leverage in divorce cases. Yet Biden rejected that idea out of hand. His worry of the time was the American Bar Association would not approve of VAWA. Like the feminist organizations that ignored VAWA until very late in the game, the ABA also began to see dollar signs and the opportunity for much money to be made. Of course they came on board, too.

When it was finally signed into law by President Clinton, it unleashed a veritable army of radical feminist operatives onto an unsuspecting American public. In those days their numbers were comparatively small. Today they are probably not much fewer in number than the 300,000 federal jobs eliminated in the political scheme outlined in Biden’s book to mollify the Republicans at the time of the initial passage of VAWA.

Suddenly, feminists with no training or qualifications for work of any kind became employable with nothing but a previously-worthless college degree in feminist studies to recommend them. There were federal, state, and local agencies to be staffed; indoctrination programs to be devised. Women who had devoted their lives to the destruction of their mythical “patriarchy” were now able to exercise their anti-male, anti-family agenda with the blessing – and paycheck – of the government. The philosophy that men are pigs and women are idiots, and only feminists know what is best for everybody was now considered not only reasonable, but a viable means for approaching a problem affecting a much smaller number of people – men and women alike – than these political zealots ever wanted to believe.

The lives of Americans have never been the same. In July 1995, Joe Biden entered a statement into the Congressional Record, among other things apologizing to the men in Bosnian concentration camps, apparently blissfully unaware he had set in motion the possibility for the same future conditions for American men. One cannot help but wonder how someone so disingenuous, so gullible, could ever attain the position of Vice President of the United States. Unless, of course, there was another agenda behind this piece of legislation.

Progress interrupted

I have no doubt that Sept 13, 1994 was a day of mourning for many in the developing field of intimate partner abuse.

In shelter programs and research facilities across the country, a realistic picture of the issue had begun to coalesce; one that showed both sexes equally likely to abuse and be abused. The shelter model itself was beginning to be questioned as less than effective, as was the dogmatic “Duluth Model” of dealing with men designated as batterers. After all, society had made great changes in the time since the original programs were founded. Perhaps something less drastic, less damaging to families, while at the same time more successful than the methods of the day was on the horizon.

With programs based in equality and compassion; helping families to overcome their difficulties without interference from highly politicized government programs, much progress may have been made in dealing with the issue. We will never know, as the new view of the issue was diametrically opposed to the restrictive and hopelessly outdated picture VAWA created.

At a remarkable level of arrogance, the feminists in charge of the public policy response to what was now being called, “domestic violence” styled themselves as “experts” in this field that was still new enough that expertise was something very few could realistically have attained. Setting aside such things as scientific method as “masculine,” “of the patriarchy,” and therefore suspect, these self-proclaimed experts began churning out reams of documents they called “studies,” which inexplicably all came to the same conclusion:

Men are pigs; women are idiots. Only feminists know what is best for everybody.

Hundreds, if not thousands of these bogus studies and reports are to be found here. While there are a few objective, properly conducted studies in this group, the percentage of those constructed only to reinforce the ideology is overwhelming.

When an indisputable fact outside the basic dogma appeared, such as women who seek out abusive partners time after time, despite all efforts at intervention, or male victims with enough witnesses and verifiable proof that cannot be denied; or even the fact of the variety inherent in human experience, the feminist brain trust has explained these away with rationalization and that peculiar, circuitous illogic unique to feminism. Researcher Murray Straus has commentary on this procedure here.

The inner workings of VAWA

From the Abstract of Violence Against Women: A week in the life of America: "The Violence Against Women Act signals that crimes against women must be a national law enforcement priority, focuses on domestic violence, creates a civil rights remedy aimed at violent gender-based discrimination, highlights the unique problems facing young women on campuses, and recognizes the role the judiciary must play in providing an effective response to violent offenders."

VAWA is almost entirely theoretical in nature, with little or no consideration given to its effect on the individual, families, or the immediate communities in which they live and work. It is all about controlling large groups of people from a national level. Notice in the previous statement that domestic violence is but one of several issues deemed to be part of the vague “Violence Against Women” category.

Immediately following the passage of VAWA nearly 700 laws relating to this heretofore nonexistent concept of “gender-based crime” were passed at the state level, with many more to come in states and municipalities across the country. What is notable is that at no time has there ever been any consideration or discussion of whether these “gender-based crimes” have any basis in fact; or has there been a search for evidence they exist.

The emphasis of VAWA has been on involving ever more community agencies, public and private, and in making the basic message of feminist ideology palatable for the masses. Over 2 million people were indoctrinated by either OVW grantees or STOP subgrantees between 2004 – 2008. About 600,000 of those were law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and court personnel, though the identities of the remaining individuals is unknown to me as of this writing. Also unknown is the total number of students in this off-campus feminist studies program over the last 15 years.

Apparently the public is supposed to take the assertions of the feminists regarding partner abuse at face value and accept them, lest they be accused of misogyny, collusion with the patriarchy, or worse. In their zeal to “protect” women from these illusory “gender crimes,” the VAWA Army has compounded mistake on mistake until the situation for victims of intimate partner abuse has nearly come full circle; back to the age where there was no help available for anyone.

Partner abuse and social engineering

VAWA has never been about assisting individual women who are seeking aid; it has always been about laws, crime and punishment. VAWA ignores men’s rights – and women’s as well, in favor of establishing a right of government programs to orchestrate personal relationships.

Women have been considered to be too stupid to recognize when they are being abused, or to make their own decisions regarding their welfare and that of their children. Thus, “no drop” laws have been put into place in some areas to protect women from themselves. These laws prevent a designated victim from withdrawing charges of domestic violence, and provide for penalties should she not cooperate with law enforcement.

There is also a movement afoot to allow government officials who decide a woman is “at risk” to enter her home and make their own assessment. Historically, VAWA-trained officials have simply relied on coercion, threats and bullying to force women out of their homes and into shelters where it is believed these designated victims belong.

Little or no attention has been paid to the daily operations of shelters, which do almost nothing but provide some women a place to live and those seeking a divorce with free legal aid and instruction in radical feminist ideology. Even when the federal Office of Management and Budget evaluated VAWA programs in 2004 as “not performing,” nothing was done to improve shelter programs, nor were improvements even considered. A woman’s personal choices or even needs are almost universally ignored by VAWA. They are but pawns in a much larger game of political acquisition.

While there are no clear winners in this game, at least not in the general populace, the biggest losers have been men. VAWA – and the agencies it spawned – have instead provided a convenient excuse for a level of human rights violations unprecedented in modern times. Not since the Jim Crow laws of earlier times, has one group of people been targeted for such demonization and vilification. In this case, it’s not even a minority group, it is half the population of the world.

Once VAWA was established, with men designated as perpetrators, such things as due process of law and the right of the accused to confront the accuser were simply ignored. Forget the concept of “innocent until proven guilty,” which still applies even to accused serial killers. It seems a man accused of a “violence against women” crime has no rights at all. To their credit, law enforcement and the courts initially did what they could to uphold the letter of the law, but between the mass of new laws contradicting the rights of the accused and the constant run of propaganda, they were powerless against the VAWA Army and its message of retribution and revenge against the "patriarchy."

No one knows how many thousands of men and women have been left impoverished, battered by an uncaring system, and alone after mistakenly believing in the aid offered by the VAWA Army. How many children have been permanently damaged by the destruction of their homes and families in the name of “social justice,” because their parents were forced to take actions that strangers (with no interest whatsoever in the child’s welfare) insisted were for their own good? This is not even to consider the harassment and character assassination of little boys that is routinely conducted in shelter programs.

Today, both marriage and the family are in deep trouble. VAWA, and its destructive policies, have certainly played a part in this larger issue, as divorce and separation is the unfortunate first strike in this tragically incorrect “response to violent offenders.” It has never been any kind of solution to the problem of intimate partner abuse, because the problem itself was never defined or even partially understood before ambitious politicians in collusion with dangerously ignorant radicals seized the issue for their own purposes.

This quote, found at the website of the West Virginia Coaliton Against Domestic Violence is particularly chilling, once one recognizes what this "violence against women" issue is all about:

"...I believe it is most urgent for this movement's future to declare that violence against women is a political problem, a question of power and domination, and not an individual, pathological, or deviant one. Continuing to make violence against women public is itself a crucial continuing task. We also must become a movement led by battered women, women of color, and working class women. We must develop a progressive agenda, a long range vision of what kind of society is needed so that violence against women would not exist, and to ally with groups sharing a vision of a just society..." - Susan Schecter

If the VAWA Army is allowed to continue its war against the family, there will soon be no families left to destroy. They are already about halfway there. It is time we started fighting back.

Farrah Fawcett's Burning Bed legacy

Farrah Fawcett will mostly be remembered as a Charlie’s Angels chick and a pinup girl, but her performance in the Burning Bed was a durable, yet regrettable legacy. Sadly, the 1984 made-for-TV movie that portrayed premeditated murder as not only excusable, but heroic, won’t go with her.

Of course, Fawcett herself should not blamed for the establishment of a myth that propelled a skewed view of domestic violence into the forefront of public consciousness. She was, after all, only an actress playing a part, and playing it well.

The movie however, helped establish a framework for dozens of later theatrical and TV movies that depict men as dangerous, violent abusers and women as saintly victims with nowhere to turn for help. Even after 25 years, this story of a single extraordinary case, exaggerated for effect, has become omnipresent. The male character is generally accepted as typical, and murder is sanctioned if not openly encouraged as a solution to the problem. Later films such as Sleeping With the Enemy starring Julia Roberts, built on the myth and added the aspect of relentless stalking, also extraordinary in the real world. Other movies added more, and there is now a whole TV network devoted to almost nothing but the theme of awful, despicable men vs. glamorous female victims.

The book by Faith McNulty and the movie opened the door for feminist political ideology masquerading as scientific theory, fully applicable to all cases of intimate partner abuse. When Lenore Walker created the “Battered Woman Syndrome” around the same time as the release of the movie, it was accepted as gospel and formed the basis for public policies and laws that eventually would attempt to hold women blameless for a wide range of crimes, from shoplifting to 1st degree murder.

Also around the same time, give or take a few years, the Duluth Model for dealing with abusers, (exclusively male) was developed by a small group of previously-abused women who were attending feminist consciousness-raising sessions at a shelter founded by feminist lawyers. This model holds that abuse is a deliberate choice, and all men have to do is recognize what pigs they are and they will stop their incorrect behavior.

Ten years on, in 1994, the federal Violence Against Women Act codified into law the entire package of myth-making and storytelling relating to Battered Women Theory, and called it Domestic Violence. Holding men “accountable” for their repugnant actions through a system of legal sanctions depriving them of their human rights, homes, their children and often their livelihoods, VAWA allows women and feminist organizations to get revenge, and profit by it. As it is a law focused on the destruction of men, with single-pointed precision, the negative effects of the law on children and yes, even women go unconsidered.

One wonders what the next ten years will bring.

In 1984 cable TV was still new; the majority of households got off-the-air broadcast TV, and so viewers of any particular program would number in the tens of millions. Even if most people of the time saw it, certainly there were many more factors than a single movie involved in the evolution of the way society deals with intimate partner abuse today, but I have no doubt The Burning Bed was a catalyst.

A hundred years from now, perhaps historians will look back in wonder at the bizarre events of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and speculate why it was that society turned on itself in this way.

When will we have hated men enough?

These are very strange times we live in. On one hand, we have the murder of a high-profile sports figure virtually ignored by mainstream media, since the apparent perpetrator was a woman; on the other, we have somebody like Cathy Young speaking out in the Boston Globe on behalf of the large – and growing – number of domestic violence victims who are male.

While a nominee for the Supreme Court gets away with expressing an obvious bigotry against white males, in San Diego County efforts are being made to correct the damage done to its citizens by that same kind of bigotry.

In the comments section at my old Examiner site, I saw readers (both male and female) express a surprising degree of hatred against men I haven’t personally witnessed in years. One man even expressed a notion I’d thought had long ago been debunked – that anyone showing any sympathy for male victims of DV must secretly be supporting the patriarchy in their efforts to systematically beat women down. Talk about old-hat conspiracy theories! I figure the guy has an org to support and needs the attention.

Another commenter (a girl this time) suggested I only need to read some feminist blog to see the evidence of the evil men do. Sorry, dear, but 57 years of living with and around actual men, (three of those years spent around Marines) tells a quite different story. Many different stories, in fact; when the feminist blog has only one, repeated time after time, often with facts altered to suit the running narrative.

At some point the idea of causing as much damage as possible to half the members of society on ideological grounds must be recognized as damaging for society as a whole. The troubles in Ireland, Protestants vs Catholics, were certainly not progressive or healing, neither were the clashes between Serbs and Croats in eastern Europe. While the current war against men has not resulted in open conflict, with bombs and active combat, there are still casualties, with deaths, physical injuries and unlawful imprisonment among them.

Dragging people with serious troubles in their relationships into a war not of their making, forcing them to become supporters of a political cause, is not only dishonest but immoral.

If you believe that the current DV industry has any kind of mandate to provide realistic help for battered women or anyone else, you need to read and comprehend this statement made by Barbara Hart, professional victim and divorce lawyer, whose lucrative legal practice was for many years run on referrals from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, until somebody noticed that might be inappropriate.

She says:

"As long as we as a culture accept the principle and privilege of male dominance, men will continue to be abusive. As long as we as a culture accept and tolerate violence against women, men will continue to be abusive.

All men benefit from the violence of batterers. There is no man who has not enjoyed the male privilege resulting from male domination reinforced by the use of physical violence . . . All women suffer as a consequence of men's violence. Battering by individual men keeps all women in line. While not every woman has experienced violence, there is no woman in this society who has not feared it, restricting her activities and her freedom to avoid it. Women are always watchful knowing that they may be the arbitrary victims of male violence."

This outrageous and entirely unsupportable statement was featured on many state coalition’s websites, including that of my home state of Arizona for some time. Almost any woman can negate or disprove this statement from her own experience, yet this is the basis on which most of today’s DV programs were founded, and continue to operate, using your tax dollars to do so. It is little more than a conspiracy theory, with more than a dash of hate in the mix.

Try this alternate statement:

As long as we as a culture accept the principle and privilege of female dominance, women will continue to be abusive. As long as we as a culture accept and tolerate violence against men, women will continue to be abusive.

All women benefit from the violence of batterers. There is no woman who has not enjoyed the female privilege resulting from female domination reinforced by the use of physical violence . . . All men suffer as a consequence of women's violence. Battering by individual women keeps all men in line. While not every man has experienced violence, there is no man in this society who has not feared it, restricting his activities and his freedom to avoid it. Men are always watchful knowing that they may be the arbitrary victims of female violence.

In 2009, the second statement makes somewhat more sense, as in a way it depicts the direction things are headed, but it is still divisive and does not actually address the issue as experienced by the vast majority of today’s couples.

Those currently running the DV industry benefit directly from keeping the status quo. Many whose jobs are in the industry only have degrees in women’s studies, which are virtually useless in the job market, and therefore would not have jobs otherwise. Others have spent years building careers on the feminist philosophy of DV and would not last long in an industry based on DV as a human, non-gender-related, apolitical issue. Still others have simply become addicted to the power and control their positions give them over women and their families.

Consequently, they will continue to misrepresent the issue, even when that misrepresentation directly violates concepts such as gender equality and peace they claim to support.

It is true that partner abuse is an uncomfortable, complicated, subject. However, to continue to allow those claiming expertise, while only operating out of self-interest and bigotry, to manipulate and control the fates of thousands of families every year is something we cannot allow to continue. It is up to those of us who do not directly benefit from the industry-implemented war against men to point out the many weaknesses in the industry, among them the fact of little or no return on investment, or the fact that no appreciable change or progress has been made in this industry in decades, while nearly all other human services have evolved and advanced.

We owe it to ourselves and our neighbors: we need to stop hating men, as it will never be enough for those who live on our hatred, and benefit from the misery it causes. We need to realize only those with an agenda say we should hate and despise half our world, while ignoring the needs of the other half.

Invitation to participate in groundbreaking online event

As I’m sure you know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year I’m going to be running a month-long special project. As someone who has been an activist in the field for nearly 10 years, I have never seen a discussion of this kind occur online or anywhere else.

I’ve asked professionals in the field and others to answer a single question:

What would the ultimate domestic violence program look like?

I very much believe this event could well set the stage for future reforms and changes that are desperately needed, if publicly-accessible programs are to fully serve the public. Past events such as the conferences sponsored by the California Alliance for Families and Children were excellent starting points in evidencing the need. Now it is time to begin to discuss what form positive changes in programs could take.

Visitors to the site are encouraged to take part in the discussion. Since I realize comments may be shorter than you need, you may also e-mail ideas to

For this event, the rules of the comments section will be slightly different than usual. Under normal conditions, I allow almost anything but spam and profanity. In this case, anything interpreted as a personal attack against any of my guest posters will also be removed. I’ll be monitoring the site closely, so please be respectful of these people who’ve so graciously contributed their hard work and time to the issue of making life a little bit easier for families affected by intimate partner abuse.

Increased prison populations a result of incarceration without prosecution

Stephen Baskerville has a surprising article on the reasons behind the growing numbers of those incarcerated.

Liberals rightly criticize America’s high rate of incarceration. Claiming to be the freest country on Earth, the United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than Iran or Syria. Over two million people, or nearly one in 50 adults, excluding the elderly, are incarcerated, the highest proportion in the world. Some seven million Americans, or 3.2 percent, are under penal supervision.

He also says:

Feminists, despite Gottschalk’s muted admission of guilt, did lead the charge toward wholesale incarceration. Feminist ideology has radicalized criminal justice and eroded centuries-old constitutional protections: New crimes have been created; old crimes have been redefined politically; the distinction between crime and private behavior has been erased; the presumption of innocence has been eliminated; false accusations go unpunished; patently innocent people are jailed without trial. “The new feminist jurisprudence hammers away at some of the most basic foundations of our criminal law system,” Michael Weiss and Cathy Young write in a Cato Institute paper. “Chief among them is the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.”

Feminists and other sexual radicals have even managed to influence the law to target conservative groups themselves. Racketeering statutes are marshaled to punish non-violent abortion demonstrators, and “hate crimes” laws attempt to silence critics of the homosexual agenda. Both are supported by “civil liberties” groups. And these are only the most notorious; there are others.

Feminists have been the most authoritarian pressure group throughout much of American history. “It is striking what an uncritical stance earlier women reformers took toward the state,” Gottschalk observes. “They have played central roles in … uncritically pushing for more enhanced policing powers.”

What Gottschalk is describing is feminism’s version of Stalinism: the process whereby radical movements commandeer the instruments of state repression as they trade ideological purity for power.

What does this have to do with partner abuse? Everything. That’s because the feminists in control of the multi-billion dollar domestic violence industry claim that perpetrators of domestic violence must be “held accountable” and often that means jail time. Nobody has ever bothered to find out how that is supposed to help, or who it is supposed to help.

Keep up on the latest at the Domestic Violence Examiner

There are three ways you can be informed of the latest posts at the Domestic Violence Examiner.

1. You can get e-mail alerts. Right up at the top of the column by my photo there’s a link you can click on for that. You can choose to get other e-mails from Examiner or not. The privacy policy is here .

2. You can follow me on Twitter. I use the same Twitter feed for both this site and the Arizona Rural Headlines Examiner, so you’ll be updated on both. I’m not one to post general stuff, like what I’m having for lunch. I got that out of my system when I started blogging years ago!

3. Go up and click on the red bar that says, “go to Trudy’s homepage” then bookmark the page. If you’re new to the site, the homepage has all my past posts. With a bookmark, of course, then you need to remember to check it.

Whatever works for you! Everybody’s got their own ways of keeping track of things, which is why I like to have more than one option.

Portion of 2005 "Call to Action" poster from PCADV. Note: while the above poster for 2005 Domestic Violence Awareness Month includes a few men, there is no mention of specific aid for male victims elswhere at the PCADV site.

Domestic Violence 101: The personal vs. the political Part 1

Human relationships are not a matter of political solutions. Any country that has tried to create a political solution to human problems has ended up with concentration camps and gulags. – Erin Pizzey, founder of the international women’s shelter movement

The 2005 document put out by the NCADV with federal funding to suggest themes for Domestic Violence Awareness Month is entitled, Action for Social Change. For 111 pages, this PDF goes on about things like the language used to talk about the issues, finding new groups of victims to claim, and items such as graphic diagrams of the special ways handicapped and elderly women, even babies are victimized. There are sources cited that once again blame men and the “patriarchy” for the continuing oppression of women.

One article is entitled, Social Change to End Violence Against Women (or to Reclaim Women’s Sovereignty) The title says it all. This is the first time we’ve seen a publicly-available document that alludes to the truth behind this movement.

These kinds of documents often seem as if these groups are trying to convince themselves, if you can find your way through the circuitous illogic and often simply meaningless discussions. If you are expecting anything of a practical nature relating to news of successful new programs, progress in research and the like, forget it. It’s a slightly different arrangement of the same old song, which ultimately has nothing to do with helping people in toxic relationships and everything to do with promoting a Marxist political agenda at any cost. Read the entire document if you can, because it illustrates in a way that is undeniable that this document was written by people with extremist points of view.

A few years ago it was obvious that programs for adults under 65 were quite different from those for children and the elderly. Child and elder abuse programs made no differentiation between who could be a victim and who could be an abuser. They reflected the reality that these are not gender issues, or political issues, but human problems and were dealt with as such. As time goes on, however, these programs are beginning to see the effects of feminists and their misandric notions that only females are abused and only males can be abusers. This will no doubt have disastrous consequences if we continue to believe that the feminists in place in today’s programs are experts who have any idea what they are talking about.

One particular passage stood out:

Advocates working with victims and survivors of domestic violence see the extreme manifestations of the culture of patriarchy – physical abuse, psychological terror, sexual assault and coercion, emotional and mental cruelty, intimidation, stalking and severe humiliation.

This is the backdrop against which they do crisis intervention, safety management and resource juggling, often on a daily basis. In such an environment of emergency response and demand, it may be difficult to see the inter-connected dimensions of violence against women as they relate to individual battered women’s experiences. One way to breach this gulf is to go beyond what we have always known about domestic violence, survival, advocacy and community organizing and look for evolved definitions and re-evaluate existing models for support and safety. (emphasis mine)

In other words, if you begin to think maybe some women aren’t being battered under current definitions, make something up.

A 2006 or any subsequent issue did not appear; publicly, at least...

When feminists began their shelter programs in the 1970s, they were often started by groups with legal or political focus. That is why most all the agencies we have and the approach we use has been thru laws and government programs. Feminists simply have no other way of approaching any issue. Perhaps they truly believe that the intervention of the state, and laws dictating the way human relationships should be conducted, is feasible and desirable. It is difficult to ascertain what it is that feminists do believe, as there is so much contradiction there, if you’ve read a variety of feminist writers. In any case, approaches to both victim and abuser include solutions that require the government to deal with the issue. The concepts of self-reliance, personal desires, or individuality are actively discouraged, even prevented, once a couple finds themselves under the control of a system that provides the same solution for all regardless of the nature and severity of their problem.

To give you a bit of insight into the mindset that has prevailed, here is a quote from lawyer and activist Barbara Hart, taken from a speech she made at a 1999 gala to honor her accomplishments in the field. In addition to a copious amount of written material on DV, she was also the Legal Director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence , Associate Director of the Battered Women's Justice Project , and was part of what is often described as the “birthing” of the NCADV .

I am also a battered woman. I am a freedom-loving woman. I am also a battered woman. We are a freedom-seeking people. I am a woman with great rage. I am also a battered woman. We are a people enraged against the tyranny of violence against women. I am a revolutionary woman. I am also a battered woman. We are political people intent on changing the world to end violence against women. I am a woman filled with love for battered women, children and their allies. I am a battered woman. We are a people with great compassion and great capacity to love those oppressed by male violence. I am a hopeful woman. I'm also a battered woman. We are a people hopeful that men who use violence to terrorize and dominate their partners, their children, and those who are different from them can learn respect from the women and all the oppressed people and can stop their violence. I'm a visionary woman. I am also a battered woman. We are a people of richly diverse races, cultures and national origins. I am an old woman. I am also a battered woman. We are a people spanning many generations. I am also a battered woman. I am a daughter, sister…I am a woman of action. I am also a battered woman. We are people acting daily in small and enormous ways to end the violence and bring justice and safety to battered women.

One must recognize that her abusive relationship ended decades before the speech, because it may appear she is talking about a recent or current problem. For whatever reasons, she chose not to move on or put the issue to rest; rather, she chose to allow the fact she was once abused to define and color her life and vocation. This is typical of many of those in the women’s shelter movement.

Domestic Violence 101: The personal vs. the political Part 2

Batterer's programs

Power and Control Wheel

Today, even the definition of “help” is not what most people think it is.

We haven’t said much about how we treat abusers in this enlightened era, so we’ll tackle this subject here.

What is widely used is something called “The Duluth Model ,” which is based on supposition and feminist ideology, with a bit of revenge-seeking added in. Here’s the philosophy behind it:

By 1984, DAIP staff, battered women, and advocates had serious concerns about anger management as a treatment model. The theory that anger causes violence simply didn’t resonate with most battered women’s experiences, nor did it help offenders get to the roots of their beliefs about entitlement and the use of violence to settle conflicts. DAIP stopped using anger management, and developed the Duluth curriculum. It helps offenders to understand how their socialized beliefs about male dominance impede intimacy; that violence is intentional and a choice designed to control their intimate partner; that the effects of abusive behavior damage the family; and that everyone has the ability to change.

We agree with the NIJ researchers that changing offenders’ attitudes towards women is extremely difficult. We still live in a sexist society where women are devalued, where many men still believe they are entitled to be in control in an intimate relationship, and where men who batter believe they have the right to use violence. While it is a goal to change the attitudes of men who batter, the ultimate goal of the Duluth Model has always been to ensure that victims are safer by having the state intervene in an accountable way to stop the violence.

Much of the re-education aspect of the model is based on the “Power and Control Wheel,” (above) a graphic which provides a pat “analysis” of men’s violence against women. It has become an icon of unquestionable validity in treatment programs, even though it ignores the human factor and any concept of relationships being interactive. It is as if women have no influence whatsoever on their relationships, and are passive observers of their own lives. Yet it has generated reams of research papers, spawned other wheels related to child abuse and that abuse deemed specific to Indian reservations.

In addition to re-education, designated batterers are often given jail time, probation, or other punitive solutions applied to “hold the batterer accountable.” Keep in mind this program is a product of the early 1980s, and no significant change has been made to this approach since then. It disregards any established scientific methodology relating to behavioral modification, or societal changes over time. It is also beginning to be recognized as less than effective, to the point where DAIP has what was once a section in 2006, now a pdf (significantly edited) on the website now defending the program. That is where I originally found the above quote.

You might think that when the promotional literature talks about treatment for batterers, this is likely to be something devised by professionals with expertise in the areas of human behavior. Far from it. The Duluth Model was actually conceived by advocates for battered women and battered women, with not an objective observer among them.

Imagine, if you will a handful of victims of theft, sitting in a room. Among them are a former Madoff client, a blind woman who lost her dog, a college student whose roommate regularly takes his sodas from the communal refrigerator without asking, a composer whose magnum opus was plagiarized, a homeowner whose neighbor borrowed his lawn mower and didn’t return it, and a priest who discovered the proceeds from a bingo game had gone missing. There is also an insurance company official present.

Quite different people in quite different situations, wouldn’t you agree?

Now imagine this group being able to entirely design and control, at all levels, for the whole country, a single response for thieves that would be in effect for decades to come, and one can begin to understand what the Duluth Model is all about.

Domestic Violence 101: The personal vs. the political Part 3

“Getting Tough” on domestic violence

You probably have seen that statement in local media, as a headline or lead-in to a story where local law enforcement, perhaps a county or city attorney, and the local shelter programs congratulate each other on new laws intended to punish perpetrators of DV crimes. It’s as if they think that somehow these laws will deter domestic violence simply by their existence.

However, making a law about something relating to personal behavior issues doesn’t make the problem go away. If that was the case, and laws were effective, there would be no need for a “war on drugs.” Making the laws tougher, with more severe penalties, does not have a corresponding deterrent effect, as has been seen in that situation. Those who are going to ignore the law, and those who will abide by them are pretty much the same groups of people there were before those laws were enacted.

In many cases of DV, a primary abuser is a person who doesn’t think the same rules that apply to everyone else apply to them. Arrogance and narcissism tend to be common traits among those who abuse. There may be no deliberation or conscious choice at all when they do something their partner feels is abusive. To think that these people will change their behavior just because a law passed shows how little those writing these laws know of the psychology and dynamics of abuse. The only actual value garnered from making laws in this way makes those who enact the laws feel like they’re doing something, and those victims who are of a nature to seek revenge can see that happen. Of course there may be additional grant money coming to administer those laws, so that makes the potential grantees happy.

While laws will vary from state to state, here is a copy of the Massachusetts law.

"ABUSE" is defined by M.G.L. c. 209A, § 1 as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

1. Attempting to cause or causing physical harm;
2. Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; or
3. Causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.
4. Where there is no battery, a warrantless arrest for abuse may properly be made by effecting an arrest for simple assault under c.265.13A. The most relevant definition of abuse closely approximates the common law description of the crime of assault.

The crime of assault can be committed in the following ways:

(a) by an attempted battery, i.e. the defendant took some overt step to commit an intentional battery;
(b) an immediate threatened battery must include an overt and menacing gesture, the conduct of which reasonably caused the victim to fear an imminent battery;
(c) an act placing another in reasonable apprehension that force may be used. Mere words alone are not sufficient without an overt act on the part of the defendant.

However, it is important here to note that there need be no apparent marks or injuries to the victim. An overt act is sufficient to place the victim in fear of serious physical harm. Hence, the arrest and/or the ensuing assault complaint, would be based on the application of G.L.c. 209A and G.L.c.265.13A.

Family or household members Includes same sex relationships.

1. Persons who are or were married to one another;
2. Persons who are or were residing together in the same household;
3. Persons who are or were related by blood or marriage;
4. Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; or
6. Persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship

Among all crimes, domestic violence is alone in having a pre-determined victim and perpetrator. Deliberately avoiding reality, there is always a clear victim and abuser, with the man presumed to be the abuser. He is guilty until proven guilty, and in many cases has no recourse for defending himself.

While it is important to ensure blame is placed firmly on the designated abuser, it is even more important never to blame the designated victim. There can never be any suggestion that she may have done anything at all to contribute to the problem. To question the victim’s veracity or suggesting she should produce proof of any claimed abuse is tantamount to “blaming the victim,” and is not to be tolerated. We have in fact, bent over so far backward to avoid blaming any victim that no progress has been made in serving justice, (if that is the intent) and victims once again find themselves in a situation entirely out of their control.

In the mid-20th Century, women had a difficult time seeking solutions to problems of domestic violence through the criminal justice system, as it was considered a private family matter. Today, specific domestic violence and “stalking” laws on top of more-traditional laws regarding assault and battery include “must arrest” policies and “no-drop” laws. “Must-arrest” policies ensure that someone is always arrested when police are called in a situation of DV. “No-drop” laws mean that once a charge is filed, it cannot be withdrawn. These were instigated by feminists who felt they knew better than their designated female victims how to handle their own situations.

“Must arrest” policies ensure that no immediate solution for the conflict at hand can be arrived at between the individuals without the arrest of one or both parties, depending on local policies. This can extend and worsen the conflict.

“No-drop” laws again limit the ability of couples to make up or resolve the conflict on their own, and in some cases, may escalate conflict or violence. In cases where a designated victim refuses to cooperate with a court case, the designated victim can be subject to penalties for being in contempt of court.

Once police intervene, an argument is extended far beyond one incident, and the effects of that moment in time can resonate for years, in aspects of the family’s lives that may not previously have been affected. Zero tolerance policies, in the military, professional associations, and as laws for the general public in some locales may prevent an accused abuser from continuing to work in his profession or trade, or obtain government security clearances even at the lowest level.

It could be argued that victims are no better off than before.

It is ironic that while battered women were allowed to give so much input into the fabrication of the “Duluth Model ,” they are almost universally ignored when it comes to their own needs in shelter programs. Feminists have decided for them what their needs will be, and how those will be addressed. There is no requirement for any further discussion or exploration of differing approaches or solutions, as feminists have already determined both the nature of the problem (oppression by the Patriarchy) and how it should be handled. (by removing men from women’s lives, and substituting government programs where possible.)

The current system does not respect victim’s needs, or give them any tools with which to approach their individual problem in their own way. Those battered women who fall in the favored category allowed to access shelter services are then expected to accept divorce and relocation as the solution, take the training in feminist doctrine, and submit their children to the same. In the jargon of the shelter movement, this constitutes “empowerment.” The battle cry of “choice” for women that is so evident in other causes does not apply here.

Meanwhile, the laws in place allow total strangers to decide for women what their fate will be. There has recently been a media campaign in my area and others urging people to turn in their neighbors, friends, and relatives if they suspect domestic violence. A neighbor, hearing noise from a nearby house can phone police about suspected “domestic violence,” and regardless of the facts, set in motion an unstoppable sequence of events that may well be to the detriment of the family involved. Advocates have imposed a set of ever-more Draconian laws, and in their arrogance a sexist and bigoted belief system on people who are vulnerable, in pain, and in need of realistic methods to help them cope with their problem. In some cases, a problem has been created where none existed before.

These laws are beginning to function in ways unintended by their original authors. Women are being arrested and charged with domestic violence more that they used to be . Maybe some law enforcement professionals didn’t get the memo. In any case, these laws are intended to be implemented in concert with the doctrinal training programs provided by the state coalitions, and it would seem sometimes laws are imposed before the coalitions can get to everybody. (We recently spoke to a judge who says he avoids their informational sessions, and routinely discards any materials sent by mail.) The result is that cops in the field sometimes use their own judgment and try to be egalitarian, because their experience teaches them that domestic violence is an equal opportunity problem. It would seem logical that the most-obvious aggressor be the one to be arrested, right? Unfortunately, not in this case, as these laws were intended to arrest more men.

The “experts” on domestic violence are backpedaling furiously , engaging in all kinds of linguistic acrobatics claiming that women only use violence to defend themselves, and/or are given no choice but to use force by their designated batterer. There is now a movement afoot for laws that make it harder to arrest women for anything, so watch for bills to be quietly introduced in local, state or even federal legislatures that appear to be for the purposes of assisting battered women.

Domestic Violence 101: The personal vs. the political Part 4

It’s all about the language.

Unfortunately, it is often the case that a man calling police for aid is himself arrested, as it is now very hard for a man to press charges of domestic violence against a woman. The half-hearted attempt by most organizations to use gender-neutral language in promotion gives a false message, and some men have found themselves in handcuffs, while their abusive wives continue to assault them, right under the view of police. These men have made the mistake of expecting equal treatment in a situation that allows for nothing of the kind.

What then, about the idea of refraining from blaming the victim when the victim is a man? The rules don’t apply here, because only women can be designated as victims. No matter how gender neutral the language may be on the front page of the organization’s website, or their paper handouts, the principle under which these organizations function is still man = perpetrator, woman = victim. That is why I was less than optimistic when VAWA 2005 included some language that allowed for help for male victims.

As Jan Brown of DAHMW has seen, a handful of renegade agencies, who actually intend to aid victims of domestic violence rather than using their programs for other, political, purposes, reacted to the change by asking her for assistance in treating male victims. Yet the major organizations have been mostly silent on this change, possibly because they believe it can be safely ignored. Their past experience has shown them they may continue their sexist practices, as long as the language they use for public consumption appears to be “gender-neutral.”

This is just one example: In April of 2005, I was alerted to an article at the ASU student newspaper entitled, Controlling love subtitled: Women throughout the world and at ASU cope with physically and emotionally abusive relationships

As usual in most publications, this piece focused on the female point of view, but did give a nod to the fact that men are also victims. This is all right as far as it goes, but then their “expert” consulted on the issue made the following erroneous statement:

"The truth is, there is just as much support for male victims as there is for female victims of abuse. It's a myth that most domestic violence programs exist only for women. If a center receives any local, state or government funding, it must work with victims of both sexes." Christina Walsh is the spokesperson for the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

I recognized that there is little or no support for male victims in Arizona or anywhere else. “Support” for male victims in AZ consists of a handful of beds at a shelter in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb, and one or two isolated discussion groups, which cannot provide practical assistance. Even though we alerted the newspaper of the factual error, and provided indisputable evidence to verify the truth, no correction was ever made, nor did I ever get so much as a response to my e-mail.

It may be interesting to note the way the statement from Ms. Walsh was framed. “It's a myth that most domestic violence programs exist only for women. If a center receives any local, state or government funding, it must work with victims of both sexes."

She says “must work with.” She does not say “provide equal services to.” Certainly, shelters all over the country “work with” male victims. They hand them a voucher for the No-tell Motel out by the freeway, and send them on their way. This cannot, however, be construed as equal treatment by any stretch of the imagination.

Note that she refers to a “myth.” Shelter advocates frequently use this word to counter anything that disagrees with the standard party line. We believe this is done because it takes the discussion out of the realm of hard facts and logic, where the standard party line tends to collapse. It also provides a subtle implication that perhaps anyone considering the myth may well believe in fairytales.

My two decades of experience with social/human services programs in general tells me they tend to provide a service that deals directly with the issue they’re intended to address. Food banks provide food, literacy programs teach people to read, adult day care programs provide respite for caregivers. Reasons why their clients need those services are secondarily addressed, if at all, since they recognize the necessity of dealing with the immediate issue first, in the way they can. When they talk about their programs to the public, the language is generally direct and clear about what they do. Domestic violence programs are quite another matter.

By taking the issue of partner abuse, re-framing it as “violence against women”, and placing it into the political arena, it is no longer possible to address it on a human level. Reducing the issue to the simplistic, and quite inaccurate terms in use today is too little; assigning the same value to all cases is too much. By insisting only women are victims limits the overview to half the problem. By treating all victims as if they were in immediate danger for their lives is a knee-jerk overreaction that simply leads to confusion and unnecessary anguish.

Meanwhile, treating all men as if they are physically battering their wives or girlfriends, consciously choosing to do that, while believing they have some “right” endowed on them by a “patriarchy,” is far beyond rationality. Those in charge of devising solutions have not bothered to find out what makes an abusive relationship tick; in favor of choosing to believe they somehow know all the answers already. Feminists have always been very good at projecting their own beliefs and emotions onto others.

The approach is all wrong, from start to finish. The actual people involved here seem to be left out of the equation, in all the talk of power and control, oppression of women, and patriarchy. One might think this whole issue is just a smokescreen for something else.

If you look at a number of websites devoted to the issue, what you will find is much the same information, from site to site. They are all about fundraising, expanding their networks, public policies, community. It's as if they fully expect that with enough organizations and public policies the issue will magically go away.

Let's take a look at what a few of these agencies have to say about themselves.

The Mission of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is to organize for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives.

NCADV believes violence against women and children results from the use of force or threat to achieve and maintain control over others in intimate relationships, and from societal abuse of power and domination in the forms of sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, able-bodyism, ageism and other oppressions. NCADV recognizes that the abuses of power in society foster battering by perpetuating conditions, which condone violence against women and children. Therefore, it is the mission of NCADV to work for major societal changes necessary to eliminate both personal and societal violence against all women and children.

The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCDSV ) designs, provides, and customizes training and consultation, influences policy, promotes collaboration and enhances diversity with the goal of ending domestic and sexual violence.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH ) was established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress, NDVH is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families.The Hotline answers a variety of calls and is a resource for domestic violence advocates government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public.

There is quite a lot of material on all these sites devoted to convincing women they are in dire, immediate, danger, and the only solution is to let one or more of these agencies help them. You might find some insight into the way potential victims are treated by reading the press kit for NDVH .

What is missing from all these major national orgs is any mention of research and development, or seeking new solutions. There is never any whisper of addressing the issue within the context of the relationship. It seems fairly clear that what they want is for society (and the victims in it) to change to suit them, rather than being responsive to the needs of society.

Here's a statement from a group called the Battered/Formerly Battered Women's Caucus :

In order for the domestic violence movement to facilitate effective and positive social change in our society, it is imperative that Battered and Formerly Battered Women have a clear presence and a loud voice to direct and guide this movement. We have a commitment to provide compassionate, respectful support to the women we serve. As a movement, it is in our best interest to consider survivor's wealth of knowledge and resources, as well as represent those who have been silenced.

As Battered and Formerly Battered Women we fight against the stereotypes dominant culture forces on us. Then, we turn to the Battered Women's Movement that purports to validate and support us to find we must continue to struggle and educate. We refuse to have our experiences, reactions and our history pathologies. We will not be defined as having a psychological malady that caused, created, or attracted abuse to us and to our lives. We will not be defined as having a psychological malady because we have been battered.

The Battered and Formerly Battered Women's Caucus of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence call upon all Battered Woman's Projects, Organizations and Workers to stop using clinical language, and mental health/social work models in their work with Battered Women and Children. These approaches were embraced to gain respect and support for the battered women?s movement, but they have failed to do so. While this approach may have gained respect and financial advantage for some battered women?s workers, this language has done so at a cost of revictimizing, disrespecting and demeaning Battered Women. It has also inadvertently aided batterers using institutional systems to persecute Battered Women, in areas such as child custody proceedings.

The Battered and Formerly Battered Women's Caucus of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence call upon all Battered Woman's Projects, Organizations and Workers to recognize that it is your day-to-day advocacy and interaction with Battered Women and children that create social change. Focusing on mental health/social work models that promote the idea that Battered Women need treatment distracts from our most immediate work and deepest belief: the needs she brings to us for safety, support and justice and her inherent autonomy to direct her life and define her identity.

The Battered and Formerly Battered Women's Caucus of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence call upon researchers and academics within the movement to make their primary focus the cultural and systemic basis of abuse to women and children. We challenge researchers and academics to step up as partners in promoting social change to end battering and sexual assault. We also challenge them to reevaluate current practice that focuses on the outcomes of such research that concentrates on creating and perpetuating the concept of domestic violence as individual psychopathology and/or as caused by alcohol/drug abuse. We recognize past research has increased funding and validity for some; however, we believe the interpretation and implementation of such findings has aided in the suffering and death of the very individuals the research was intended to serve--Battered Women and Children.

I don't think it can be any more clear this group is resistant to change.

Here’s some commentary from Erin Pizzey :

1969 saw the first meetings of the feminist collectives in England. At the same time I was opening my refuge the feminist movement was looking for funding and a just cause. The feminists redefined the Marxist goalposts and declared that it was MEN (the patriarchs), not Capitalism, that held power advantages over women and minority groups (the proletariat), and that all men were now the enemy. Family life was a dangerous place for women and children because men used physical and emotional violence to maintain their power advantage, and women only ever reacted violently in self-defence.

Harriet Harman, Anne Coote and Patricia Hewitt expressed their belief, in a Social Policy Paper called The Family Way: 'It cannot therefore be assumed that men are bound to be an asset to family life, or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social harmony and cohesion'. These sentiments encouraged the radical feminist movement to claim that ‘all men and boys were potential rapists and batterers’.

She also says:

…A gigantic hoax has been perpetrated and unsubstantiated statistics have been produced to feed a damaging and disastrous political ideology which was now a billion-dollar world-wide industry that discriminated against many innocent men and fathers...

I don't think I can put it any more plainly than that.

Domestic Violence 101: The personal vs. the political Part 5

Conclusion: Proclaiming the “End” of domestic violence

The concept that there can or will be an “end” to domestic violence is as absurd as it is impossible. You may as well claim an end to bigotry, or disloyalty, or unfairness. You could literally put every man on the planet in jail, and every woman (even working women, and moms with boys) in shelters, and that would not solve the problem. It is still a complex human issue that can only be approached in human terms, and by those who understand human behavior. (Or at least have a better degree of understanding than most.)

Institutionalizing aid for those in need cannot change the need itself, but only change the process by which that aid is provided. It de-humanizes the process. As we’ve seen in the case of the structure of HMOs and their method of “distributed healthcare,” which have caused major problems for individuals, this kind of rigid structure is not always effective or helpful. Bureaucracies that attempt to address complex problems restrict the ability of the service provider, at the bottom rung of the ladder, to deal with individuals in a way most suited to their needs.

Criminalizing behaviors that in other settings, are not considered criminal acts but selfishness, or arrogance, or callousness, is not the answer. Bullying and scolding abusive people into changing their behavior is no cure, either, especially when the abuse has no intentional cause. It must be recognized that there are many causes for violent, and abusive behavior, and the two things don't always exist together in every bad relationship. Sometimes the behavior can be corrected once the cause is known; not to seek a cause does every family affected a disservice since the only option available to most people today is to destroy their family first and ask questions later – if ever.

For many people, their marriage license means much more than a piece of paper on the same level as any other issued by the government. It is not to be compared with a building permit or driver's license; it is a sacred trust. Often both parties in an abusive relationship want to work things out, but in today's political climate they are not allowed to do that. The option simply does not exist, once current services and programs involve themselves.

So much damage has been done to people, their children and their lives because the system has intervened with bad solutions, in the belief it is protecting people from themselves, it is simply unconscionable.

There is some hope this terrible system can be put right. There are whispers of change coming from many directions. In the UK, their government decided this year DV services must provide truly equal help for both men and women, or face de-funding. In San Diego County, The California Men's Center was instrumental in making changes to a training video, allowing law enforcement professionals to better comprehend the real nature of domestic violence. Also in California, a conference was held in June featuring many of the best-known researchers, advocates and providers of aid discussing New Perspectives approaches. Cathy Young talks about it in the Boston Globe, here. These are but a few of the encouraging things that are happening in the field now.

More recently, Governor Schwarzenegger of California has eliminated state funding for DV services. Robert Franklin of Fathers and Families, said about the funding cut at Glenn, "[W]hatever the motivations behind the governor’s decision, remember that he’s a politician and, whatever else may be true, he considers it politically safe to cut 100% of state funding for DV shelters."

It's an old axiom that communities tend to support the most successful social services and agencies. The current DV industry cannot even demonstrate usefulness, let alone success.

This does not mean we can expect the entire industry to go away any time soon. Perhaps those of us who advocate New Perspectives approaches will need to redouble our efforts to ensure families troubled by abuse can get realistic, practical assistance suited to their unique situations. While it is not reasonable to expect an end to intimate partner abuse, it has become reasonable to expect an end to unnecessary suffering at the hands of those who claim to do good, while using the issue as a vehicle for less-admirable ends.

A step forward in San Diego

I'm always encouraged to hear about positive changes in the way intimate partner abuse is viewed by public officials.

In March, several groups and individuals sent letters to the San Diego District Attorney objecting to a new domestic violence police training video which the District Attorney funded. In brief, the video minimized female abuse and stigmatized males, used false and misleading information, created a wrongful appearance that domestic violence usually involves a male perpetrator and female victim and implied that only female, or primarily female, deaths result from domestic violence.

After several phone calls and a face-to-face meeting between Harry Crouch, who is a member of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and Assistant District Attorney Pat McGrath there is now an edited version of the video. McGrath noted that this effort changed the way DA’s now view some aspects of domestic violence, particularly within the domestic violence unit. While all failures of the video were not repairable some were, as incorrect statistical information has been deleted.

The DA will send a copy of the revised version, along with a letter of explanation to all law enforcement agencies in San Diego County as well as every government and private agency in receipt of the first version and request that the first version of the video be replaced with the second version, including on departmental intranets.

The DA will also send a letter to the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and will send a representative to a regular Domestic Violence Council meeting to explain the failings of version one.

According to Harry Crouch, Director of California Men's Centers , "It always amazes me how much can be accomplished when working as a team, and this was a team effort. This type of victory and working together in my view accelerates change within what most view as an unapproachable bureaucracy."

Among those participating in the project were Harry Crouch, Marc Angelucci of NCFM , Charles Corry of the Equal Justice Foundation , Phil Cook, author of Abused Men: the Hidden Side of Domestic Violence, Richard Davis , researcher and author; and Ed Bartlett of RADAR .

What is the Violence Against Women Act about?

Yesterday, I noticed in my Google alerts the latest of a long line of hateful screeds directed at anyone who dares challenge the validity and/or usefulness of the Violence Against Women Act. In it, I found the usual litany of attack phrases about bullying and stupidity, not to mention the veiled accusations of criminal activity.

For the most part, I am fairly used to these, and not particularly distressed by them. They are much fewer these days, as the intended audience is much smaller, and in general more sophisticated in their choice of pundits and commentators. For the most part, the only thing accomplished by these poorly-constructed condemnations of heresy is that the writer so often gives such a clear picture of her ignorance of the issues, and the opposition, while making no considered argument for the points she is attempting to make. Sometimes – actually more frequently than one would expect – there is no point beyond, “these are bad people, and because I say so you should support VAWA and anything else I say is about ending domestic violence.”

Occasionally I’ll see criticism leveled at the anti-VAWA group for using some of the same arguments the pro-VAWA people use, and that’s always good for a (very) small bit of comic relief.

I have yet to see any argument in favor of this particular piece of legislation that did not contain some level of hysteria, obscure logic, or prevarication. Radical feminists, of course have become proficient at all three over the years, because I believe that if the general public recognized the true essence and purpose of VAWA and its hundreds of associated laws, it would soon be as dead as today’s generation of fruit flies.

That’s not what I’m thinking about right now, however. There was something else that struck me about the particular work I read, something that has been nagging at me for some time. I wasn’t clear on exactly what that was, and so I looked back through the works of this individual, those on her blogroll, and then through the websites of some of the so-called “coalitions against domestic violence.” (I use the quotes because that is not essentially what these orgs are about.)

Then I went through a few of the websites for shelter programs. It took many hours, but eventually that elusive “thing” began to emerge. Probably the reason it was so hard to pin down was the fact that this is an absence of something.

What is lacking in every single program, website, and written work I looked at is this: empathy. One could also view it as a lack of compassion.

In all of the material, I saw not one word of concern for the unique individuals that make up the present and future clientele of these agencies. They were all very proactive; all about making somebody, whether it be a group or a person, do something the agencies want them to do. Even that “empowerment” business is really about substituting the presumed direction of the designated “batterer” for the direction of the program. Never did I see anything about making a victim comfortable, allaying their fears, being responsive to the unique situations of people.

Entirely forgotten in all the talk of power & control, advocacy, and community organizing is the human element; the recognition that no two people have the same situation – or the same opinions and reactions. Wherever you look, there’s this cookie-cutter view of the issue, that when considered in the light of assisting families, of providing help, makes no sense whatsoever.

There is no respect for the individuality of the human beings dealing with a human issue in these programs; neither is there any respect for the desires or choices of those human beings.

My years of work in the field of social services and private charities tells me that this is about as wrong as it gets for an agency dealing with the problems of people in the community. Respect for the individual and compassion for their trouble is paramount in other agencies, so much so that these concepts are often addressed in such things as formal mission statements.

Not so for agencies that work with victims of domestic violence. For example, here is the first line of the mission statement for NCADV: “The Mission of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is to organize for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives.”

Their primary concern, then is “to organize for collective power.” If you read the whole thing, you find they’re all about leadership and laws and community, etc. There is absolutely nothing about recognition of the autonomy or independence of the individual. Of course, this is a national agency, so let’s look at what we find on the state level. (Please note, I’m including snippets only: links are provided to original material.)

The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a statewide, non-profit organization of domestic violence agencies and individuals working to eliminate domestic violence through:

  • Acting as an educational and informational resource to our member agencies and the community;
  • Advocating for domestic violence concerns in Delaware;
  • Providing a strong, unified statewide voice for victims of domestic violence and their children, domestic violence programs, and victim service providers.

AzCADV Mission Statement:

To lead, to advocate, to educate, to collaborate, to end domestic violence in Arizona.

Nothing with respect to the individual there, either.

Let’s try local:

Sojourner Center in Phoenix has no Mission Statement, rather it has what they call an “Empowerment Philosophy,”

Empowerment centers on the belief that women and children can break the cycle of domestic violence through supportive intervention because they posses [sic] the ability to make decisions that foster healthy, violence free relationships. This philosophy acknowledges a women’s [sic] competency and offers her support, resources, advocacy, information, and education, always striving to equalize power between a woman and her environment.

At first glance this seems encouraging, but then one realizes the language is frankly rather odd, and seems to contradict itself. If women and children “possess the ability to make decisions that foster healthy, violence free relationships,” then why do they need “empowerment” from this program?

While I did note a graphic apparently representing some artwork at the shelter with the words, “tenderness,” and “understanding,” I found no recognition of these concepts elsewhere on the site. Their approach is exactly the same as other programs otherwise: divorce and relocation.

Cape Cod Center for Women

To assist and support battered women and their children in leaving a violent environment and transitioning to independent living fully connected to a network of community support and with a lifelong safety plan.

I could go on and provide dozens more examples, but I think I’ve made the point here, which I’ll repeat: There is no respect for the individuality of the human beings dealing with a human issue in these programs; neither is there any respect for the desires or choices of those human beings.

That is because they are not intended to be “helping” programs in the same way as food banks, literacy programs and the like. They are politically-oriented institutions designed to promote divorce and force women, willing or not, into the workplace. Some state coalitions are quite clear on their intentions. Right on their websites.

The reality is that VAWA and its multiplicity of agencies are but one more vehicle to drive American society to a socialist state. Look at this article entitled, Marxism versus feminism - The class struggle and the emancipation of women from the Youth for International Socialism website.

...The conclusion must be that the oppression of women by men has always existed and therefore, presumably, will always exist.

Marxism explains that this is not the case. It shows that, along with class society, private property and the state, the bourgeois family has not always existed, and that the oppression of women is only as old as the division of society into classes. Its abolition is therefore dependent on the abolition of classes, that is, on the socialist revolution. This does not mean that the oppression of women will automatically vanish when the proletariat takes power. The psychological heritage of class barbarism will finally be overcome when the social conditions are created for the establishment of real human relations between men and women. But unless and until the proletariat overthrows capitalism and lays the conditions for the achievement of a classless society, no genuine emancipation of women is possible.

That rather explains why the radical feminists just don’t seem to give up, doesn’t it? It’s strange, but if you read the whole thing (also other articles) you find the Marxists really don’t like feminists much. If you’re up on the history of feminism, you realize that they’ve tried to piggyback onto other movements and philosophies for quite some time, with varying results.

Also consider this:

"To alter the position of woman at the root is possible only if all the conditions of social, family, and domestic existence are altered." (Trotsky, Women and the Family, p. 45.)

I really don’t know how much longer we can continue to allow ourselves to be so misled into thinking the political operatives in the VAWA milieu are concerned about either women’s safety or domestic violence. There has been no progress in the approach to domestic violence in 15 years of VAWA, and five or even 15 years more will find us in exactly the same position – providing ever more money to ineffective, biased, programs.

The community organizers in charge have no motivation to change or improve anything, because it was never about domestic violence in the first place.

Here’s how one person can make a difference

If you don’t think it’s a good idea that almost all of the domestic violence programs in the country exclude most of the people who need help, if you wonder why nothing has changed in these programs in decades and they refuse to change the approach, even though your tax dollars go to fund them, if you think that divorce and jail aren’t solutions but new problems for people with enough trouble already, there are a couple of things you can do.

First, you can spread the word. Tell your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers, and even your friends in the brick-and-mortar world that there is a problem here. Each of my articles here at the Domestic Violence Examiner has a Twitter button up at the top that will shorten the link so you can send out the word on an article right from here.

If you aren’t yet on Twitter , it is easy and free to set up an account.

You can easily inform yourself on this issue with the information here, at the Domestic Abuse Helpline site, and the RADAR site. RADAR has an amazing amount of facts, figures and statistics.

The Violence Against Women Act is coming up for renewal in 2010, and for the first time since it began in 1994, we have a very real chance of stopping it!

If you are new to this issue, you need to be aware that the Violence Against Women Act was never about helping women to lead abuse-free lives. It has always been about promoting a Marxist/feminist political strategy against men and the family and nothing else.

Despite 15 years, thousands of women-only shelters, millions of law enforcement professionals and others trained, and many billions of your tax dollars, there is no data on anyone who has successfully completed these programs, and gone on to lead lives free of violence with their homes and families intact. Not one family. Not one woman. Not one man, or child.

Don’t you think that’s strange, when even the smallest local food bank, or drug abuse program, or literacy center has successes they are proud to tell anyone who will listen?

Tell your Senators and your Congressmen it’s time to address the real issue, with practical solutions that will not only help people, but save everybody money in the bargain! Stay tuned! Over the rest of October I’ll be outlining ways we can begin a grassroots effort to STOP VAWA and START helping.

The politics of domestic violence at Forbes

"Earlier this month DoubleX, Slate's short-lived female-oriented publication (launched six months ago and about to be folded back into the parent site as a women's section), ran an article ringing the alarm about the dire threat posed by the power of the men's rights movement. But the article, written by New York-based freelance writer Kathryn Joyce and titled "Men's Rights' Groups Have Become Frighteningly Effective," says more about the state of feminism--and journalistic bias--than it does about men's groups." Much more here

The fact that a national publication of the caliber of Forbes is addressing the issue is a truly hopeful sign -- that one day the long nightmare of feminist-directed public policy will be over, and people with the genuine interests of families at heart can begin to undo the damage of decades of feminist opportunism.

New campaign launched on International Men's Day for male victims of family violence and abuse

“Each night when she came from work I would be tense and nervous. I didn't know in what way she was going to abuse me.” This is Matthew’s story: the tale of a man who was regularly abused by his female partner in his own home. Unfortunately such stories are commonplace.

Male victims of family violence often face barriers to disclosing their abuse. They can suffer shame, embarrassment and the social stigma of not being able to protect themselves. They are likely to be told that there must be something they did to provoke their partner’s violence.

Alan, another male victim, finally summoned up the courage to talk to someone about his partner’s ongoing sexual abuse. “Who to talk to for advice - family or friends? No way. I spoke to a doctor. She seemed to listen to my stammering for a few minutes and then while scribbling asked, ‘What are you doing to make her behave that way?’”.

Dr Elizabeth Celi, a Melbourne psychologist says, “Unlike physical violence, many of the forms of domestic abuse faced by male victims are difficult to detect and hard for the man himself to defend against. A man’s health is wrapped up in his identity. Attacking his self-worth through various forms of criticism, manipulation and intimidation are forms of emotional and verbal violence that we need to learn about as a society and say ‘Enough!’”

As well as the effects of violence on men themselves, their children can suffer a range of negative impacts on their behavioural, cognitive and emotional functioning and social development. Neglecting violence against men means neglecting these children as well.

As part of this year's International Men’s Day celebrations, a new campaign for male victims of family violence was launched. The One in Three campaign is named after the little known fact that up to one in three victims of sexual assault and at least one in three victims of family violence is male (perhaps as many as one in two).

For example, researcher Murray Straus conducted an extensive study of partner violence by university students in 32 nations and found that, in Australia, 14% of physical violence between dating partners in the past year was perpetrated by males only, 21% by females only and 65% was mutual violence.

The campaign aims to raise public awareness of the existence and needs of male victims of family violence and abuse; to work with government and non-government services alike to provide assistance to male victims; and to reduce the incidence and impacts of family violence on Australian men, women and children. Supporters of the campaign include Dr Elizabeth Celi, Maggie Hamilton, author of What Men Don't Talk About and Steve Biddulph, author of Manhood.

Hamilton says, “Until researching What Men Don't Talk About I had no idea about domestic violence towards men. I was shocked to discover this had touched the lives of several close friends - men of all backgrounds from manual labourers to professionals. While we remain silent on this issue, men continue to be hurt, to be ignored.”

Biddulph writes, “With family violence, we had to address ‘women and children first’; but in 2009, the troubling nub of violence is in families where both partners are violent, as well as those most hidden, where women hit men. Violence is a miserable way to live, for perpetrator and victim, and for little children forced to watch. Today nobody approves of or accepts wife bashing. Husband bashing needs this same condemnation and action.”

While many services have rightly been established to support female victims of family violence, the needs of male victims remain largely unmet. Acknowledging this imbalance, the Western Australian Men’s Advisory Network recently commissioned ground-breaking research by Edith Cowan University into the nature and extent of domestic abuse against men.

Greg Millan from Newcastle’s Men’s Health Services was recently contacted by a women’s domestic violence worker who had also started providing support for men after witnessing growing numbers of male victims in court without any assistance. Millan subsequently developed a training program called Working with Men affected by Violence, for workers in the domestic violence and family relationship sector.

On the international front, the Valley Oasis shelter in Lancaster, California, was the first in the USA to give refuge to victims regardless of their gender. “Our philosophy is that domestic violence is a societal problem,” said Carol Ensign, the shelter's executive director. “Nobody deserves to get hit, whether they are 2 months old or 80 years old, whether they are a man or woman, child or teen.” (Note: The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women also provides services in the US, as does A New Leaf in the Phoenix AZ area, and SAFE online -- Ed.)

A groundbreaking Dutch scheme has recently established shelters for abused men in four major cities.

In Ireland, Amen provides a confidential helpline, support service and information for male victims of domestic abuse.

In the UK, the Next Steps Housing Association has recently created 100 places in 35 refuge houses for husbands and partners of abusive women.

Confidential helplines for men have also been established in England and Wales.

The One in Three website can be found at

Praxis Int'l rewarded for hate speech with 3.5 million federal grant

You might recall in late September Amanda McCormick, an employee of Praxis International said, "I think I know a lot of men who deserve to be beaten," during her keynote address at the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence annual conference. Full article here

Yet somehow the OVW chose to overlook both that and the clear fact that the org has no interest in serving taxpaying families in the United States with anything but political ideology. Even stranger is the fact the WSCADV is participating in this charade.

One has to ask why it was that Amanda felt so confident in making that outrageous statement when a project of such magnitude was in the works. This grant virtually doubles the income of this org, which is nothing but a PAC in high heels and makeup.

The press release is below:

WASHINGTON -- The Office on Violence Against Women announced November 17 the inaugural class of the Advocacy Learning Center, a program created to improve the skills and abilities of advocates to be a powerful force in the movement to end violence against women. The Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women awarded a $3.5 million technical assistance grant in Fiscal Year 2009 to Praxis International of St. Paul, Minn., to create the Advocacy Leaning Center.

"The work of advocates is critical to the work of ending violence against women and providing a life line to victims," said OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce. "Advocates have long been a source of hope and support to survivors in the aftermath of trauma, and we will support them and create a network of strong advocates that will work together for generations to come through the Advocacy Learning Center."

The first class of trainees assembled the week of October 25-30 and included 50 participants from 17 organizations, representing 12 states and one U.S. territory: Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Vermont. Working with other advocates, participants will develop new ways to define and structure advocacy, from engaging and working with survivors to strategizing and acting to change systems and community responses, and discover what has made other social change efforts successful. The full list of participants is attached to this release.

OVW, a component of the Department of Justice, provides leadership in developing the nation's capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of VAWA and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

For more information, please visit or

Stop the Marketing of Misery and Fear!

The issue of intimate partner abuse has been reduced to the level of an advertising campaign. Utilizing techniques most often used to market sportswear and household cleaners, major corporations and entertainers are now allowed to benefit financially from the propagation of misinformation and fear. To add insult to injury, Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) Harry Reid (D-NV) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) publicly support this advertising campaign in order to appear sympathetic to the issue, and drum up support for the Violence Against Women Act, which initially funded agencies such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence with $3.5 billion in feminist pork.

I believe it is time this issue was treated with the honesty and respect it deserves.

In a public statement announcing the special screening on Monday of a made-for-TV movie, "Terror At Home: Domestic Violence In America" the Lifetime Television network claims this event is intended to "raise awareness of an issue which affects one in three women in her life." The event includes a screening of the movie, and a so-called "panel discussion" starring entertainer Michael Bolton and filmmaker Maryann De Leo.

On Tuesday, the senators will join in with a promotion for the Liz Claiborne Corporation intended to sell scarves and ties — and more misinformation.

There is no actual, peer-reviewed research from a bona fide institution expected to be discussed, nor is anyone with qualifications or experience in treating intimate partner abuse featured or showcased at either event. Both events depend entirely on the hysteria created by Lifetime's dramatic presentations, and the advocacy research privately funded by Liz Claiborne for marketing purposes.

None of these people care about the needs or interests of women or families. They care about their bottom line, or getting reelected. The American people have been manipulated into believing such a thing as "gender violence" exists, completely diverting attention from the actual problem of intimate partner violence. When you look at the extent of the junk science they've based it all on, you have to wonder why.

The NCADV's recently-refurbished website carries blatant sexism, giving little or no practical advice for women in abusive situations, in favor of using the influence of online media to place blame and promote feminist ideology. It emphasizes only one solution — divorce, while ignoring the real problem, as do all of the individual state coalitions and over 5000 federally-funded agencies across the US.

At stake, for the coalitions and agencies, is the yearly federal funding, in hundreds of millions of dollars, provided by the Violence Against Women Act, which gives validation to these essentially discriminatory and ineffective programs. These programs do little more than facilitate divorces, and enable women with violent tendencies or addictions to continue their harmful behaviors. Meanwhile, they play on the emotions of a gullible public and magnify and misreport the true nature of the situation.

This is common practice in the marketing world, but it does nothing to help victims of a very real human issue. The American people should not be expected to fund or support any corporation's marketing campaign, nor should it be expected to fund the sexism of the NCADV or any of its member agencies.

Betrayal of Women – VAWA 2005

In Congress recently, legislators of both parties from many states are congratulating themselves and each other, feeling good about themselves and their concern for battered women.

They are wrong. They are badly misinformed and misguided.

VAWA 2005 cannot help women much, if at all. Worse, it belittles their anguish, ignores their needs and insults their intelligence. In many cases, it makes a bad situation so much worse, it’s a wonder this kind of approach has lasted a full decade, since originally being signed into law in 1994. At the heart of VAWA is the mistaken presumption that by removing women from their homes, jailing their husbands and indoctrinating their children, this will have a positive impact on intimate partner abuse.

Ten years out, there is no evidence that VAWA and its myriad programs has been of benefit to anyone beyond those municipalities, organizations and individuals who are recipients of VAWA funding, or employed by VAWA-funded agencies. Claimed decreases in domestic violence may well represent only a growing number of women unwilling to turn to these programs for help.

The newest incarnation represents expansion of the scope and penetration of the Federal government into state, local, tribal, and family affairs. It also introduces federally-approved bias against ethnic groups and Native Americans.

One Solution to a Complicated Human Problem?

While proponents of VAWA would like to believe that what they call “gender violence” is aptly solved by female victims separating from their male abusers, the actual problem is far more intricate. There may be a case of mutual abuse, or an addiction to violence, or a dogged belief that the abuser will magically change someday. Not all cases of intimate partner abuse escalate to murder, or even serious physical harm.

It’s much easier for anyone to embrace a proffered solution to a human problem when a clear and apparently obvious solution is provided. It all seems very simple: men = abusers; women = victims. It has nothing to do with the rest of the world. The rest of the world is made up of men and women who want to live together and raise children, because that’s the way our society works.

However, if a woman who loves her husband is not offered any choice but to leave him, and regard him as a criminal, and her boys if she has them are targeted as suspects in future crimes, that is an insult beyond measure. She does not come out ahead.

Public Knowledge

Fueled by disinformation and misunderstanding of statistical data, the mainstream media has done its part to pander to the agenda of bureaucrats and feminist ideologues. During the past year, I’ve seen hundreds of newspaper, TV, and radio reports from all over the world.

They are nearly all identical, except for local details. It is like everyone from Maine to Malaysia uses the same press release, but claims it as their own local work. Only in a handful of cases has any reporter from any news outlet challenged the word of their local shelter advocates.

What isn’t reported much is the number of shelter programs in the US where somebody is facing litigation or criminal charges, the number of shelters losing funding due to the fact they are ineffectual or badly managed, or the shelters expanding for women only without question, despite the need otherwise.

The Sacred Cow

It’s true that the social institution of the Domestic Violence shelter has become a sacred cow, never to be challenged or disputed. How is it acceptable to give some women and girls priority over all men and boys, when there is a need for help across the board?

Yet we do it anyway. This sacred cow needs to be slain, and autopsied. There are far too many women and families running afoul of the shelter culture, and being destroyed as a result. The feminist ideal on which VAWA rests has long ago moved into the area of the dusty, best-forgotten archives. Why can there not be any realistic approach, that takes into account the intents and desires of today’s women?

The answer to that question is easy – so many programs (and the people who run them) are simply dependent on VAWA and the self-perpetuating illogic entailed in the law. Only the most desperate or manipulative women will enter a residential program and stay within the untenable options presented. So the women they see are in dire straits, or practiced con artists, and it’s easy for program managers to presume all women are in need of this kind of program.

There is nothing in VAWA or shelter bylaws or rules that require any program to keep track of their successes or impact on the community. They don’t know if they actually help any women maintain lives free of violence, and they don’t seem to actually care if they do. What appears to be important to shelter advocates is the number of women who divorce or leave their communities. Some agencies actually count these women as “successes.”

Anyone concerned about the fate of women in abusive relationships will be best served by contacting their legislator and asking them to vote against VAWA 2005. Only then will the issue be approached in a practical manner that does not destroy women or their families.

Everybody Deserves Better

On International Women’s Day, it is time to consider the roots of the women’s movement of the 1960s. Back then, the issues were focused on equal rights for women. In 2005, most if not all, the issues have been successfully resolved, in terms of literal equality in western industrialized nations. The movement has evolved over time into something more about female supremacy rather than equality. While there are those women who will never be content with their lot in life and always imagine their perceived lack of prestige, or success, or whatever to be entirely the fault of men in general, that simply does not apply to women today.

Most women accept the challenges presented to them in their lives, work through them, and move on to enjoy the benefits provided women which may or may not have existed before. They wish to live full and balanced lives, and are free to organize the varied parts of their lives – marriage, children, and career in whatever way they choose.

Generally speaking, the radical elements who haven’t yet realized their work is done are easily dismissed, and most often ignored. Malcontents in society will always be with us. It is only when we allow these malcontents to dictate public policy, and our government to fund programs to further their extremist philosophies that society puts itself in harm’s way.

Such is the case with the issue of intimate partner abuse, most popularly recognized as domestic violence. Today’s programs are still operated by the same radical feminists, in the same ways as they were in the 1970s. The only difference in these programs is that they are now being given public funding; to the detriment of any community which supports these programs. They have ceased to be helpful, if in fact they ever were.

At the root of the problem is the fact that domestic violence is neither a political issue, nor a gender issue. To address this social issue in this fashion, from this standpoint, is a mistake which sends victims down a dangerously wrong path. All it does it set the immediate problem on hold temporarily while creating a new set of problems for the victim to confront. Offered no other choice, victims follow the direction of shelter programs, unaware the actions suggested will have ramifications that may never be resolved for years, possibly even causing permanent, irreparable, damage to themselves, and their children and families.

The only victims willingly served by existing programs are women – preferably those with no male children over the age of 12. Male abusers are eagerly placed in re-training or incarceration programs by institutions created to do just that. There are no effective screening measures in place in either case to demonstrate evidence of need; only a verbal request or accusation is ever required.

The nationwide network of women’s shelter programs actively and constantly remind the public that men are to blame for the problem, and naturally enough, refuse to aid male victims or female abusers. (While many programs claim to serve all, in an awkward attempt to address the public perception they provide assistance without regard to gender, in practice there are few equally-accessible services available for anyone other than female victims and male abusers.) This same network maintains a stranglehold on public funding for domestic violence services, and goes to great lengths to prevent agencies intending to serve those other populations from doing so.

It is time this project in the cause of feminist ideology came to an end.

Everything You Thought You Knew about Domestic Violence is Probably Wrong

There is a morass of confusing dogma surrounding the subject. It is often lumped together with other issues of stalking, sexual assault and divorce which are in fact, entirely separate issues and should not be considered in the same way, and at the same time.

However, the establishment in charge of these programs has found it expedient and profitable to allow the confusion. In fact, it could be said that misconstruction and partial truth is the hallmark of feminist marketing and activism. This has worked well for them for decades, but in these days of transparency and accountability, the abilities they may have had in the past to revise everything from history to the laws of physics are no longer so dependable.

Some misconceptions have become part of conventional wisdom. But, just because “everybody says so” doesn’t mean everybody is right. Here are some of the most widely-repeated tales:

95% of victims of domestic violence are women. This came to be due to either a misunderstanding or an outright manipulation of Dept of Justice figures. While it seems logical to shelter personnel, that is because shelters are in practice open to women only. Female victims are the only victims they see.

There is an epidemic of domestic violence. Since the actual meaning of the term is something to the effect of “a greater than usual amount of cases,” it can’t possibly apply. Nobody knows what is usual in the first place. From a marketing perspective, the word sounds good for emotional effect, but that’s all.

Domestic violence is unknown and unrecognized. We maintain a running search for articles in media and online, and even on a slow day there will be about 50 articles relating to the issue. Ironically, many of those articles contain a quote from somebody saying nobody ever talks about domestic violence. A recent Google search for the term yielded 5,810,000 results.

Battering always escalates, and the eventual conclusion is death. This untrue, unsupportable statement gives some important insight into the mindset of those running shelter programs. They do not recognize their clients as individuals, and there is no provision in shelter programs for meeting the needs of individuals. Therefore, it is easy to make blanket statements regarding this situation, despite a lack of actual evidence.

Domestic violence is a deliberate pattern of power and control. While this is true in some cases, it cannot possibly be true all the time. Again, this relates to the inability of current programs to treat victims as individuals. It also reflects on the viewpoint of feminist-run shelters that domestic violence is political in nature. In this ideology, men are the cause, and women are the hapless victims, unable to deal with their problems without outside intervention.

We can have an end to domestic violence, if only _________. This purely human problem has been with us long before it was given a name, and will be with us as long as we continue to be human. Certainly, we can have an end to the parts of it engineered by the feminists as soon as control of these programs is given to apolitical professionals with an understanding of family problems. It is unreasonable to even consider there will be a day when there is no domestic violence whatsoever, just as it is unreasonable to consider there will ever be an end to crime, greed, or any other human failing.

How Did Things Get This Way?

People in general, and Americans in particular, have a deep well of compassion and concern for other individuals. Yet, in the 20th Century there was a new reliance on the word of “experts” in dealing with personal issues, as the population became increasingly mobile and separated from the extended family situations of earlier times. The 20th Century was also a time when socialist ideals became attractive to a people faced with issues such as unemployment and alcoholism. Welfare programs, such as those established in the Great Depression of the 1930s appeared to succeed, even though Prohibition on alcohol did not.

Still, there was an acceptance of the idea that politicizing and criminalizing dysfunctional human behaviors was an appropriate means of dealing with those kinds of issues. By the 1960s, socialist activists and various groups seeking improved levels of social acceptance for specific groups of people appeared all over the country.

Among these groups were the feminists, who claimed to want “equal rights” for women. This term was, and still is defined differently, depending on who is using it. What the most radical and militant feminists considered equal rights included dominance over men, and the dissolution of marriage and traditional family structure. This would be replaced with government control, including placement of children in public childcare facilities from birth to adulthood.

By the 1970s, most of the more-realistic goals of equality for women were achieved, leaving the radical elements with few issues to confront. Here and there, shelters and services were beginning to be established to help battered women, which were prime targets for the radical feminists. These were usually small grassroots efforts run by people with little or no experience in political activism. The only thing the early shelter volunteers had in common with the radical feminists was sometimes a shared hatred of men and everything they did. This happened often enough that the feminists were given free rein in their activism. What had once been agencies providing simple aid on a volunteer basis became massive concerns, with infrastructure, staffing, and funding to match.

The well-publicized goal of these programs was “an end to domestic violence.” Advocates for these programs were constantly lobbying legislatures at all levels for favorable laws fostering divorce, and criminalization of perceived abusive behaviors by men, as well as ever-increasing levels of funding. No law, no amount of funding, was ever enough.

Any legislator, researcher or public figure of any kind who attempted to object to this level of government control of private lives, who suggested seeking solutions other than divorce or that men and women were equally responsible for the problem was labeled a misogynist, an abuser, or worse. Many careers have been ruined by shelter advocates resisting change or accountability for their programs. Some questioning these programs have even suffered threats of physical harm or specious lawsuits. This kind of behavior on the part of anti-male, anti-family factions of the radical feminist movement continues today.

In 1994, the initial Violence Against Women Act was passed, and a new social problem was recognized by Congress. “Gender violence” was claimed by advocates to be the #1 issue facing women everywhere. Despite the fact the term has no meaning on its own, the law passed, and $3.5 billion dollars in public funding was earmarked for these women-only shelter programs.

Meanwhile the general public, believing the problem was under the control of well-meaning experts, not only supported this act, but encouraged the programs to expand and the laws to become more restrictive and inequitable. Legislation suggested by shelter advocates moved farther and farther away from the core issue as time went on. Today it is almost impossible to have a discussion of either divorce or domestic violence without mentioning the other, or bringing in the blame issue.

We are no closer to finding practical solutions to the problem, for either victim or abuser, than we were when the first shelter was established in 1971 by Erin Pizzey. Her early attempts at providing equitable services were promptly eradicated by the feminist takeover of shelter services everywhere.

What Can We Do to Change Things?

First, the public needs to recognize the difference between the fictions promoted by those implementing an ideology, and the reality of the situation. Those who have been able to avoid intervention by the established domestic violence industry, and study the problem using accepted scientific methodology and objectivity have found a quite different problem than is generally claimed. Intimate partner abuse is something that can often be addressed in other ways than the overly simplistic intervention/divorce/relocation scenario provided by existing programs.

There are also different people involved. While the male abuser/female victim is part of the picture, there are also female abusers, male victims, mutual victim/abuser situations, serial victims, and a small group of those who appear to have an addiction to violence.

There is a nascent, but emerging pattern of individuals and groups seeking alternatives to the ideological approach, which could be encouraged to come forward. In some locales, human services programs have deliberately removed themselves from the national network of services in order to serve their communities without interference. Some agencies, that depend on the funding and networking opportunities provided by the national network, have an unspoken, but functioning “open door policy” that provides those limited services allowed by the network to a greater population than only the female victims mentioned earlier. Others, such as the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men, function independently of the network, as it has repeatedly been refused admission.

While the issue is nowhere near as cut and dried as is publicized today, an opening up of inquiry, allowing honesty and objectivity to prevail will go a long way itself to provide otherwise-unknown solutions for some cases. Here and there, in isolated shelters and counseling programs, are the seeds of these new, and unidentified approaches.

Federal, state, and municipal government needs to stop funding organizations that are using public monies for ideological purposes and divert those funds to those who are operating on equitable terms, and providing practical assistance to members of their communities without regard to gender.

A serious investigation of organizations such as the Violence Against Women Office, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and the individual state DV coalitions needs to be undertaken, and criminal charges filed where necessary, if misappropriation of government funds or other wrongdoing is found. Civil litigation needs to be pursued in those cases where these agencies and coalitions have caused economic or other actionable damage to communities and individuals.

Legislators and public officials at all levels of government who have opposed the feminist-based programs and been hesitant to speak out due to fear of political repercussion should be encouraged to make their positions clear, by taking the lead in restoring their communities to the sanity of equal treatment for all.

In addition, they can withdraw and/or oppose any legislation that is related to increasing criminal penalties for domestic violence. Past laws have been proven to be of little value, and only serve to add to the burden of already overcrowded prison populations. They are only reflections of the politicization of human relationships, which is part of the feminist ideology, and has no place in addressing domestic violence from a humanitarian point of view.

Screening procedures must be developed to ensure that applicants can demonstrate a need for services of any kind. There is no screening procedure in place today, and many cases of abuse of the system itself go unrecognized. Current services have resisted any suggestion that they either screen applicants or network with other agencies to avoid duplicating efforts.

Finally, since there is no procedure in place to determine whether shelters actually aid women in becoming free of abuse in their lives, there should be some way to establish independently whether these shelters provide the community with any service at all.

Some have said to me that this idea of scrapping VAWA entirely is the wrong approach, that we should simply correct the problems and give this system credit for the good it has done. If I knew of any actual good to anyone, I would give credit where credit is due. I’ve been writing about this issue since 1999 and not once have I ever had a single positive e-mail about women’s shelter services from a recipient of same. I don’t believe they come away from these programs any better off than before.

Allowing these prejudicial, deeply biased and regressive programs to continue unchecked will only serve to add to the numbers on the welfare rolls, in the jails and under the care of government-sponsored child protective agencies.

In the United States of America, in the 21st Century, our families deserve better.

Violence Against Women Act Ignores Epidemic Of Violent Women

In the past few weeks newspapers all over the country have been brimming with accounts of women who engaged in monstrous crimes.

To avoid giving offense, I provide only the sketchiest of details here: Dena Schlosser severed off both of her daughter’s arms with a knife. Nathshay Ward starved her three children to death. Kim Tran mutilated her boyfriend in a gruesome act of revenge.

These women don’t exist, and these gruesome crimes never happened.

At least that’s what the Violence Against Women Act would have us believe. Passed initially during the Clinton administration, VAWA is a $4.9 billion law based on the simple formula: Man = perpetrator, Women and children = victims. It is aided and supported by similar legislation in each of the 50 states, and each of those supply more millions of dollars in public funding.

The formulation has been widely accepted, perhaps because it appeals so powerfully to male legislators’ sense of chivalry, and plays so strongly on female legislators’ sense of fear and vulnerability, or in some cases, revenge.

Feminist ideology elaborates on that formula. The reason why men, and only men, beat their wives, is in order to maintain their power and control. It’s all part of men’s “patriarchal privilege,” you see.

Of course, that’s sheer hooey.

In my five decades of existence, I have personally known men who were physically violent to their wives or girlfriends. These men were anything but powerful. They were angry, frightened, and yes, they felt powerless. The same applies to the abusive women I've known.

Psychologist Martin Fiebert has compiled the results of over 100 studies that examine partner violence. The results? Women are just as likely to commit domestic violence as men.

By ignoring the male victim, the Violence Against Women Act does a gross disservice to men. That goes without saying. VAWA also violates one of our most cherished Constitutional protections: equal treatment under the law.

But VAWA also does an enormous disservice to American women.

VAWA has created a veritable dragnet of social workers, counselors, judges, emergency room workers, and others. All are on the lookout for evidence of partner aggression against women. But remember, VAWA contains the ideological message that women are never perpetrators, so soon the female aggressor becomes invisible.

Look at Dena Schlosser, Nathshay Ward, and Kim Tran. These women were mentally deranged. No doubt there were warning signs months and years ago. VAWA has imposed ideological blinders on our society which say, “Ignore the female aggressor, because the problem really lies with patriarchal oppression.”

How does that message benefit women?

It also presumes an insulting, basic disability in women to recognize a bad situation and deal with it, utilizing their own abilities. Under VAWA, men are abusive and women are idiots. Only through accessing the community services mentioned above, can women be “empowered” to give over their lives to something even more oppressive than that imagined patriarchy. There is no mention or consideration of extended family intervention in the truly anomalous instances of abuse, either.

Worse, women who recognize they are harming their families and try to seek help find only a presumption by strangers that they are actually not at fault for anything. They are freely given the tools and aid to continue and escalate their abuse. Any suggestion to women’s shelters that they make some effort to screen applicants has been met with the protestation that screening would be “too hard.”

In the meantime, an unprecedented chilling effect has begun affecting personal relationships. Many of the behaviors which used to be part of the socially accepted courting ritual are now deemed by the VAWA nannies to be “stalking,” and therefore any single man who persistently approaches a woman in hopes of forming a relationship is now at risk of arrest and incarceration. Young girls are constantly bombarded with messages at school, in media, and online about the awful risk of contact with boys.

VAWA has effectively guided society right back into the Victorian era.

Forty years ago the feminist revolution swept our nation, affording unprecedented opportunities for women to make their own choices about their own lives, and to leave their mark on history.

So what will future historians have to say about the current women’s movement? That it falsely branded our husbands and boyfriends as batterers? That it ignored abusive women who needed help? That it substituted compassion and reason for a vindictive gender ideology? That it made life worse for women? Will that be our legacy?

Change This: Today's Programs for Domestic Violence

This is something I haven’t written much about in recent months; in fact it’s been almost a year since I’ve engaged in much public activism. There was a time, though, when I thought of little else. For nearly four years I wrote, e-mailed, faxed, phoned, and even spoke to groups in public about this. I worked many hours each day in this truly unpopular cause.

The odd thing was that when I got into a discussion either online or in person, with people not directly involved with the issue, I found most people agreed with me.

Yet in the larger arenas of the Big3 Traditional media, and the places where the other side of the story most need to be heard – the legislatures, the universities, the charitable institutions – I’ve been labeled worse than a traitor, or more often, simply ignored. My ideas are simply not politically correct. The mistaken belief in these most influential quarters is this:

To give voice to the reality of the serious problems and mistakes in the way we now approach the issue of domestic violence is the same as saying women do not deserve any help.

This belief is persistent and close to universal among these people, although entirely illogical and untrue. Not one of the dozens or possible hundreds of people seeking change has ever used that phrase, to my knowledge.

I’m not suggesting the baby be thrown out with the bathwater; I’m saying the tub is being filled from a mud puddle, and that dirty water is no good for a bath.

Before I began my activist campaign, I had about fifteen years’ experience working either as paid staff or volunteer at the administrative level for small private charities. I know how these non-profits work.

This is a complex, long-standing issue, so bear with me for a few paragraphs as I go back about thirty years to the beginning of what we now know as “women’s shelters.” The first one I’m aware of was established in England in 1971. This one, as well as those that soon followed, were established as places where women in immediate danger of physical injury or those being repeatedly beaten by their husbands could go and begin to get some help. Back then, it was difficult for a woman to find any assistance in these cases. Society did not want to admit this kind of problem existed, and these shelters and programs were limited mainly due to reasons of funding and staffing, etc. These were practical difficulties, rather than those of a theoretical or belief-based nature.

It was not easy in the Seventies to set up this kind of program. There were no established grants, no specialties relating to domestic violence in the fields of psychology or medicine, no peer-reviewed studies to prove the existence of a problem. Shelters were generally set up by one woman, or a small group who managed to seek out funding and provide the buildings and staff. These same people established the procedures for aiding victims because there was nobody else. Few programs were established by anyone with education or training in psychology or medicine; they were mainly lay people with an interest in helping female victims of domestic violence. The emphasis for designing procedures was on the practical.

It took a special kind of woman who was able to draw on her inner strength, remove herself and her children from her home, and step off into an unknown void, with no assurance that even the most basic needs for herself and her children could be filled. This kind of woman was likely to make the best of a tragic situation and with a little help and encouragement from a shelter, build a stable life, while doing her utmost to prevent an unfortunate circumstance, or bad relationship to repeat in her life.

The clear solution for this woman was to divorce her abuser. In that same era, divorce laws around the country began to be relaxed, and many previously-battered women took advantage of the changes in order to help themselves. Shelter staffs could recognize the value in this situation for their clients, and established these procedures for all their clients, based on the successes of the first group of women they helped.

Some women found their now ex-husbands not taking kindly to the fact their wives had left them, and attempted further violence against them. So, shelters also established programs that would assist these women in relocating to other states, and even changing identities.

There was a one-solution-fits-all approach established, but apparently it was never recognized this solution did not fit all.

Around the same time, the feminist movement began to take hold. Widely circulating catchphrases like, “men are pigs,” and “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” were taken less than seriously by most people, myself included, when in fact they were meant in deadly earnest by those originating them. I don’t know whether the issue of domestic violence was “hijacked,” by the feminists in order to keep their own funding coming, as claimed by Erin Pizzey, the woman who established that first English shelter. It could have been that way or some other, but in any case, some of the more-radical feminist ideology began creeping into the inner workings of domestic violence programs.

There was plenty of feminist writing circulating at the time. It was highly fashionable, and an important part of the day’s societal issues. There is certainly nothing wrong with anyone having an opinion. Unfortunately, domestic violence began to be identified as one of the myriad “women’s issues” in the minds of the general public. Domestic violence is an issue that cannot be regarded as affecting only one sex. How could this single question out of the many associated with marriage and family affect only women, when other concerns affect both men and women equally? It just can’t. To presume otherwise defies logic.

It is understandable why mistakes were made so early on. Many, if not most, women’s shelters were established by victims themselves, and/or their friends or loved ones. In my experience working directly with domestic violence victims, it is quite impossible for them to see the matter objectively, and there really isn’t any reason they should. After all, people who are passionately devoted to a cause make good activists, fundraisers, and volunteers. They are often bent on revenge, and while this may be only a phase when victims are getting treatment, it is not productive when it comes to allowing these individuals positions of authority.

Where the problem enters is when those passionate victims or survivors are in charge of administrative functions, or directing the future and policies of an established organization. The strong bias that serves their organizations so well in other capacities becomes a liability when it comes to the areas requiring pragmatism and an objective viewpoint. In most social services kinds of agencies, these positions are held by people who can understand the needs of the clientele, but at the same time are not personally affected by the issue the agency addresses.

As time went on, grants from both governments and private foundations became available, studies were done, and laws reflecting a “more-enlightened” attitude regarding domestic violence were passed. From just a few shelters for women back in the 1970s, there is now at least one shelter, program, or some kind of service for abused women in each of the over 1300 counties in the United States. Funding for these and their associated agencies concerned with such areas as divorce and child custody now approach billions of dollars a year nationwide.

Please note the change in terminology. The definition of domestic violence has changed to include a wide variety of circumstances, some of which would not be considered violence in other kinds of contexts. Hence, the change from “battered women” to “abused women.” While it is understandable that this has been done in order to improve outreach and encourage victims to seek aid, it has also opened the door to manipulation of services and even the issue itself by those with less-than-honest objectives.

Today’s Programs

In the shelter programs themselves, little or nothing has changed since inception of programs. Even with funding available and numerous programs now in existence, only a portion of those immediately affected by domestic violence are able to find help.

Why has this happened? Are there so many more battered/abused women the programs can’t serve them? The answer to that is a resounding, “no.” The actual incidence of domestic violence has declined somewhat. The thing that has changed is the kind of potential client. Other needs have begun to be recognized. While there are still battered women, who fit the profile of the kind of situation shelters are designed to address, there are also battered men. In addition, while many organizations have rudimentary programs for male abusers, female abusers are hardly acknowledged. Ignored entirely, and frequently claimed by shelter advocates not to exist at all are those who are addicted to violence. Sometimes referred to as “serial victims,” these women are enabled in their addiction by policies of the programs in service today. (Because available programs serve exclusively women in most cases, there isn’t much known about male serial victims, but there is no reason to presume they do not exist.)

Domestic violence programs are still focused on that small group of women they were able to help so successfully in the 1970s. Today, a woman approaching a shelter is offered the single choice of divorce, and relocation if deemed necessary. There are seldom policies restricting a woman using the same services multiple times, which is where the enablement factor regarding serial victims enters in. These women often use the shelter stay only as a cooling off period before returning to her abuser, or as a hiatus between different abusers. Because there is no recognition or practical help for these women, they could easily become part of the statistics and publicity the programs use to put forward their numbers of women murdered in domestic violence.

Some programs offer so-called “anger management” courses for male abusers, but abusive women looking for help are often rejected as not qualifying for services, sometimes forced into victims’ programs against their will.

There are no dedicated residential shelter programs for male victims. The few services that exist for men are only small, severely-restricted parts of established programs for women. There is one non-sexist shelter in Lancaster California, and only one nationwide hotline, The Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men, giving direct help for male victims.

There are many reasons for this non-response to changing times. Anyone who has worked in or with any social/human services program will recognize that organization personnel often become “gatekeepers” for their programs. Outside influences and change are summarily rejected, and/or viewed with suspicion. Unlike the private business sector, where companies change both policies and staff with relative frequency, social services tend to retain administrators and board members for lengthy periods. Often a retiring administrator will return to serve on a board of directors, or as a volunteer in other areas, while still retaining her influence in the organization. In the case of domestic violence services, many of those who established operations decades ago are still in the same positions of administration or sit on boards.

Domestic violence services are in fact, notable for their lack of change. While nearly all other organizations in the social services field have grown and begun using different kinds of client services, adopted new fundraising techniques and ways of communicating with the public, domestic violence services have only gotten bigger, and reached farther.

Shelter staffers and advocates would argue that they have changed significantly and point to the many activist campaigns and other things they’ve been involved in. The problem is that most of the active areas of their sphere of influence have nothing to do with expanding or improving client services in domestic violence.

Evidencing the Need

One of the earliest promotional techniques by non-profits and business alike, and one still in use today, is to use advocacy research as an informational device. For the uninitiated, advocacy research is a study conducted by a company hired by the organization to use some numbers or statistics to call attention to a problem. The general public reacts well to claimed studies, because it lends validity of a sort to the opinions of an advocacy group. Since the organization or a friendly donor is paying for this research, the conclusions are foregone. Sometimes an organization will conduct a study on its own, and there are even federal grants available for this purpose. This is common practice among many kinds of organizations. Still, the results of these kinds of studies are not objective in any way, neither are they scientifically or statistically valid.

Occasionally an organization will fudge some numbers a bit from an independent study, to emphasize a point. This practice is so common among non-profits it is hardly worth mentioning. Generally speaking, it is never done to misrepresent or evade the truth. There is always genuine information to be had, and readily provided, by organizations in the social services field.

There have been so many of these kinds of studies, so much number fudging done over the years in the domestic violence field, that today most people – even degreed professionals in fields of psychology or social work – don’t recognize how very little bona fide, analytical research has ever been done in this area.

While any organization will use studies and research that agrees with their goals and intentions, only in the field of domestic violence has advocacy research come to be relied upon as actionable truth. Every October, in newspapers across the country, you will see the statement most shelters live on today: “95 percent of victims of domestic violence are women.” This statement has no basis in fact whatsoever, not to mention it simply makes no logical sense. Ask any shelter director, however, and she will swear this statement is true. She will also most likely believe it herself. That is because shelter personnel only see those clients their agencies serve, which are limited by policy or custom to female victims.

There is a US Department of Justice study that says 85% of the cases on record report a woman as the victim. In other words, the cases they know about. They don’t claim to know about all the cases, because most are never reported, or if reported, are often classified as something else. You can verify this statement simply by asking any experienced police officer, or crime reporter at a local newspaper. Yet the 95% statement alludes to knowledge of all victims, when that cannot be possible.

To add to the confusion, there is often manipulation of figures to present an exaggerated count of the number of clients served. Without additional explanation, a member of the general public can easily make the mistake of thinking the term, “service unit” represents the number of people using a service. In fact, the term refers to one night in one bed. Often, an agency presenting these figures will accompany them with a statement such as “We served 23,000 women and children last year.” This does not mean the agency has 23,000 clients; it means it provided 23,000 service units. A mother with two children who spends a week at the shelter will be represented multiple times in this number. Without accompanying information, such as the number of beds, and the number of days in the time period used for calculation, this figure is useless in determining the actual number of unduplicated individuals.

What seems to be happening here is that they’ve come to believe their own publicity.

Check a few websites for women’s shelters or advocacy orgs, and you’ll see a remarkably similar set of factoids presented as truth or proof of their basic attitude. “Only women are victims, only men are abusers.” The quote here is mine; I’ve never seen the statement published anywhere, but I have no doubt it is the guiding philosophy. It is very clear the programs have an interest bordering on fanaticism in serving their portion of those they could feasibly serve. However, some shelter websites and other public information items seem determined to demonize and criminalize men, to the point where men have told me it feels to them like a legitimized hate campaign. One particular case hit home: In late 2002, my son fell off a ladder and broke his wrist. As a result, he spent many hours in the emergency room at his local county hospital. They had many posters at various locations designed as part of an outreach program for domestic violence victims. Each of them was focused on female victims, and some went so far as to suggest all men are at fault for the problem. My son was uncomfortable enough that he wondered if he’d inadvertently stumbled in to some kind of place where men would not be given adequate treatment.

The women’s shelters will be quick to point out there is no exclusionary or hate speech intended, but rarely, if ever, has an established women-only program examined its public statements in light of the way they are received by those being accused.

What other area of social services exists to serve one segment of the community while blaming another for the problems they purport to address?

Thirty Years of Progress?

I mentioned earlier that domestic violence services have only gotten bigger, and reached farther. What I mean by this is that their definition of domestic violence has expanded to include as victims women who would not previously be thought to be in need of residential shelter services. They have also begun to focus on their thirty-year-old solution applicable only to some victims – divorce – and made it nearly the prime focus of their programs. These agencies are spending in some cases, the majority of their time in activist projects related to divorce and all its ancillary issues. Meanwhile, there is almost no attention being paid to finding new ways to address the care and treatment of those directly affected by domestic violence.

There should have been some progress made in thirty years. Agencies that address other issues, such as food banks and homeless programs, have made dramatic changes in the way they serve their client population, but have not diverted from their initial function.

It is almost as if domestic violence programs have become divorce assistance programs instead of havens for battered women. Even programs owned and operated by the Catholic Church function the same way in promoting divorce as the only solution for domestic violence. One can only wonder why.

Divorce as a Cure

An accusation of domestic violence has become almost a given these days in contested divorce actions. Far more often than not, these accusations are only cases of one party in a divorce action deciding to “work the system.” Even the accuser, when questioned more specifically, away from the court setting, will often admit no actual violence has ever occurred.

In my local community of Yuma, Arizona, we have a shelter. Just like any other women’s shelter, they remove a woman from her home, and assist her in divorce. They also provide “counseling” for any male children, in order to ensure they will not take on the violent traits presumed to be inherited from their father. No special attention is given to female children, who are presumed to be totally non-violent due to their gender.

The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence claims a 70% “success rate.” What they consider a success is a woman removed from her home and marriage, never to return. There is no follow-up to find out if clients go on to improve their lives or if the situation occurs again.

Here is how it works today: All a woman needs to do is present herself in some way. She may phone or show up at a facility if she knows where it is. There is no procedure for determining the validity of her claim, or if she is simply one of those “working the system.”

She will then be accepted if there is space in her local shelter, where she will be instructed in all kinds of ways to apply for government programs, changing her identity, relocating to another state or country, and implementing favorable divorce procedures.

If she has named her alleged abuser, she can put legal actions such as orders of protection in place. (Most people don’t realize an accusation of domestic violence is enough to restrict military personnel from re-enlisting, and others such as doctors or teachers to lose professional licensure. This accusation is irrevocable in some cases, so the accused can never work again in his established career, no matter if the accusation was valid or not, recanted or not.)

Nearly all the elements of treatment of a domestic violence victim go back to the issue of physical separation and/or divorce.

It should be obvious this emphasis on divorce has little or nothing to do with the treatment of domestic violence victims or abusers. Yet somehow, divorce with all its related problems has become so deeply ingrained in today’s domestic violence services they are sometimes seen as inseparable aspects of the same issue. Unfortunately for both clients and agencies alike, this has resulted in a situation where nobody wins but those few bent on revenge against violent husbands. They likely get some emotional satisfaction from their efforts, but at what price to the community?

Violence Knows no Gender

Because of the inexplicable and unsupportable view of domestic violence by current services, the shelters and programs exclusively for abused women are becoming harmful to both clients and the community at large, in their practices.

In the shelter culture, victims are considered deserving of treatment and aid; abusers are the enemy, deserving of retribution. All people fit into one category or the other. The sex of the individual plays a major part in this determination. There is no recognition of the grey areas most often present in other kinds of human experience, neither is there any recognition of the expanded roles of women in society. This view is not only myopic, but sexist. There is no reason to presume in 2004 that a woman lacks or possesses any particular kind of capability due to her gender, yet domestic violence services perpetuate outmoded myths in all their fundraising and outreach efforts.

This kind of discrimination is not acceptable in other agencies, and the general public could be forgiven for supposing the same rules apply to domestic violence services. However, under the national Violence Against Women Act, this kind of bias is not only accepted but encouraged. Some municipalities, in support of this misguided attempt to secure more-universal help for female victims, have passed laws and ordinances such as the one passed by Los Angeles County, which defines all domestic violence as a crime perpetrated by a man against a woman.

The most troubling aspect of the entire situation to me, as an advocate for the un-served, and underserved populations, is the evident lack of compassion or humanity projected by most services. I’ve heard horror stories from women bullied and threatened into accepting shelter services when they hadn’t asked for help, or felt they needed it. I’ve heard of public fundraising events where women were encouraged to physically assault and humiliate men; behavior that could get them arrested at any other time. Any suggestion to an agency that violence addicted people are in need of their help is either met with resentment and a counter-charge of “blaming the victim,” or laughed off. Other agencies that serve addicted individuals recognize addictions as conditions needing treatment; why won’t they?

I’d like to know the reasons behind the stagnation and resistance to change these services demonstrate. Why have they not recognized the realities of domestic violence as it exists in the 21st Century? Why do they cling so zealously to unsupportable data and continue to insist their view of woman equals victim, man equals abuser is the only correct one? And last, why is it they put so much energy into what is ultimately a destructive solution for a severely limited number of individuals?


Of course, the most effective answer would be for all the services to dump their ineffective treatment modalities and harmful ideas, and start fresh. In light of the fact that the industry has taken three decades to come to this pass, that idea is not realistic. There are too many individuals depending on the status quo for their livelihood, some of whom quite literally would not know how to make a living any other way.

I do have confidence that the transparency beginning to emerge in media, business, and government will soon reach the non-profit sector. There will come a time when even the friendliest media outlet will no longer accept the oft-repeated factoids at face value and insist on data from authoritative sources. Funding organizations, both public and private, will begin to ask hard questions and expect answers based in verifiable fact. This will take time, however. There is a powerful lobby in Washington and each of the fifty states with a vested interest in seeing programs continue on their current course of blame, shame, and division. It will take an equally powerful mandate from the people to change this course to one directed for the public good.

If I had one thing, and only one thing I could do to effect change, it would be to abolish VAWA. It is a bad, counterproductive law, which has done much to exacerbate the previously existing problems in domestic violence services. When it was passed ten years ago, it was not intended to limit services to a fraction of those requiring assistance; however, that has been the pragmatic result. It has given gender discrimination validation and stalled productive inquiry into the issue in ways never expected.

There is no reason domestic violence services could not serve the community in its entirety at current levels of funding. The argument given by shelter advocates that they could not serve the others without taking away from female victims does not hold water. Research conducted in an objective manner would no doubt show the actual number of bona fide victims to be considerably smaller than currently recognized. Functional screening processes in combination with a set of qualifying standards would determine if anyone requesting services had a verifiable need for shelter. Alternate, off-site programs, similar to the kind of outpatient care used by other services could be implemented; funded by the budget previously used to pursue divorce activism.

Finally, domestic violence services must get out of politics and out of the divorce business. These programs were originally established to assist individuals in trouble, but continued failure to recognize the issue in its entirety will ultimately prevent their ability to help anyone at all.

The ultimate domestic violence program - Jan Brown, DAHMW

To me the ultimate DV program would, to start, be gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religiosity and disability "blind." The advocates would be trained to believe the individual whether the victim is a woman or a man. Having said that however, victim's programs would have strict policies in place to discourage abuse of the system as recently happened in NY

"Always believe the victim" has been the mantra for battered women's advocates for decades. During the earlier stages of the battered women's movement women were rarely believed when they told of the abuse they were suffering at the hands of their male intimate partners. Yet times have changed, and I don't know that we can continue to always believe the victim. Whether it's because people are more destitute or better manipulators, who knows? We need to have policies in place so that those who try to use the system fraudulently would be caught and face harsh penalties for doing so.

Viewing domestic violence from a political stance, i.e. using patriarchy as the primary definition as to why domestic violence happens, would be considered old fashioned - out of date. Rather than fixing blame on one gender we would take into consideration research that indicates that some mental illnesses as well as alcohol and substance abuse play pivotal roles in domestic violence, and design our support services and interventions with that updated research in mind.

Allowing victims and survivors to make their own choices by giving them the tools they need. i.e. information about healthy vs unhealthy relationships, domestic violence etc., instead of forcing them to make choices against their wishes (such as getting restraining orders and having their alleged offender arrested) would be more the norm in my ultimate DV program. Revamping our domestic violence system using Dr. Linda Mills' approach to treating domestic violence victims and perpetrators would be an excellent start. (Dr. Mills chats with Judyth Piazza about the Center on Violence at NYU here .)

Jan Brown is the Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women , the only program with a nationwide reach that provides aid to all, without regard to gender.

©2009, Trudy W. Schuett


Abusegate: a generation deceived

I’ve followed the issue of Climategate with great interest, as it has seemed that the issue has mirrored events in the field of domestic violence and partner abuse. Abusegate also occurred due to money, political power, and careers at stake.

Where Abusegate is concerned, however, there is one more element – the life or death of feminism, and its determination to liberate women from the so-called “oppression” of marriage and family. The story of Abusegate is as much about the attempt by feminists to obscure their real intentions as it is about feminist attempts to conceal the reality of partner abuse, in order to claim the issue as their own, and possibly the only issue available at the time to keep this essentially destructive philosophy alive.

As Joanne Nova, [1] Australian science writer has said, “Science has come full-circle, taking a page from the medieval Church by using fear and persecution to silence skeptics. The oppressed have become the oppressors. Given that most professional scientific bodies and peer-reviewed journals have been active accomplices in this scandal, one wonders how many other so called scientific consensuses have been similarly engineered and waiting for their own ClimateGates before truth is known.”

That quote is important because it addresses the politicization of science and research. Dean Esmay, the owner of Dean’s World, [2] where I blog occasionally as part of a group, has often commented that politics and science don’t mix. While I haven’t been in the field of research myself, it’s fairly well-known that going after grants and funding has become a difficult process, often fraught with politics and cronyism.

What feminism is supposed to be about is the definition provided by Merriam-Webster.

1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests. This is a current popular definition, however, and has little to do with the goals of feminism, which has its roots not only in Marxist ideals, but also in anti-male hatred and a desire for power and control over society where it is most beneficial to feminists themselves. According to [3] Erin Pizzey: “There never was a feminist movement. A bunch of disenchanted women refused to support their left wing men who were fighting capitalism. They changed the goal posts and said capitalism was no longer the battle ground it was now 'Patriarchy' and declared war on all men and the family.”

In the 1970s, and into the 1980s, feminism was still an emerging movement. Except for the halls of academia, which began to offer “women’s studies” courses, and a few academicians pushing “feminist law,” and “feminist psychology,” the general public had little interest in a movement that was so clearly designed to create antipathy between not only the sexes, but between career women and those choosing more-traditional paths for themselves.

It was about the same time that the issue of partner abuse began to emerge as an issue on the public radar. In 1971, Erin Pizzey founded the first shelter for abused women in the UK. There were also a few shelters for women developing independently in various places in the US.

This did not escape the attention of the zealots of the feminist faith and other opportunistic women. Surely there was profit and power to be gained in promoting this cause.

According to the [4] Herstory of domestic violence, “In the 1970s ‘We will not be beaten’ becomes the mantra of women across the country organizing to end domestic violence. A grassroots organizing effort begins, transforming public consciousness and women's lives. The common belief within the movement is that women face brutality from their husbands and indifference from social institutions.”

A theory regarding abuse was formulated, relying almost entirely on feminist supposition and the input from self-identified abused women. There has never been any kind of formal research or investigation of the feminist theory of abuse; it has simply been presented as a fait accompli and seldom, if ever, questioned. A look through the “Herstory,” (on the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse website, funded by your tax dollars) reveals a stunning lack of mention of research of any kind behind the feminist concept of domestic violence.

Del Martin [5] a lesbian activist, wrote one of the earliest works on the issue in 1976. She says, “At the outset I was told I had to produce extensive and verifiable statistics on the incidence of violence against women…I concluded that incidence and incidents of violence in the home reached into the millions. My editor deleted my estimate on the grounds that I couldn’t prove it. Since then, academia has confirmed my virtual estimate and admitted that lacking uniformity in the way data are accumulated makes it impossible to provide actual statistics.”

Lenore Walker [6] author of "The Battered Woman" “When I first began my study of the psychological impact of domestic violence on the battered woman, it was the mid 1970s and the feminist movement had a negative reaction to anything that came with a clinical psychology label…”

Ellen Pence Duluth [7] Domestic Abuse Intervention Project “Many things that we did were new and groundbreaking. We introduced the power and control wheel and its accompanying theoretical framework, which tried to shift away from seeing violence against women as the problem of a few psychologically distorted men and lots of bad marriages, by linking men’s violence toward their partners to other forms of domination—class, race, gender, and colonization. We built on the work of previous projects that held individual agencies responsible to protect women and proposed a fairly bold notion of linking agencies together and forming a community-based advocacy program.”

This is probably the most astonishing fact of Abusegate: While Climategate has at least some basis in research and scientific theory, there is none whatsoever behind the myriad programs and laws established since the 1970s by the so-called, “Battered Women’s Movement.” Even the term itself was created for its impact by feminists whose goals had very little to do with providing aid for women.

As radical activist Susan Schecter [8] said, "I believe it is most urgent for this movement's future to declare that violence against women is a political problem, a question of power and domination, and not an individual, pathological, or deviant one. Continuing to make violence against women public is itself a crucial continuing task. We also must become a movement led by battered women, women of color, and working class women. We must develop a progressive agenda, a long range vision of what kind of society is needed so that violence against women would not exist, and to ally with groups sharing a vision of a just society" This statement appears on the main page of the website for the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, [9] also funded by your tax dollars.

Since the early days of the Battered Women’s Movement, nearly everything that has come after has been based on feminist principles devised out of thin air. Even today, in the US there is no standard definition of what domestic violence is or is not. Yet thousands of men are incarcerated, families destroyed, and women and children thrown into a permanent condition of life in turmoil because of nothing but the aberrant personal beliefs of a few women a generation ago.

While the feminists of the 20th Century are dying off or retiring, their ugly legacy of opportunism remains. Legions of divorce lawyers, shelter advocates, and organizations providing feminist education all benefit from the multi-billion dollar industry that now forms the basis of society’s approach to partner abuse.

The real tragedy of Abusegate is that victims of genuine partner abuse are still left without hope and support. They have been doubly victimized by a society that has been too willing to accept answers without first considering the problem.

Reference Links

1. Joanne Nova

2. Dean's World

3. Erin Pizzey

4. Herstory of domestic violence

5. Del Martin

6. Lenore Walker

7. Ellen Pence

8. Susan Schecter

9. West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence

©2010, Trudy W. Schuett

Your tax dollars at work

If the org itself hadn’t sent an e-mail, I would’ve had trouble believing this one!

Note how the focus is not on the violence, but on changing boys to be different. In other words, it’s not the violence that’s the problem, it’s the boys!

The term “gendered violence” is also suspect, as there has never been any objective research into whether this social phenomenon even exists.

Also note the disclaimer that gives the feds an out should anyone complain this is a poor use of taxpayer funding. is a national online project
dedicated to the primary prevention of violence
against women.

Growing Boys into Men:
Countering Traditional Masculinity Through Norms Change

Countering norms that reinforce traditional masculinity is an opportunity to prevent violence in a lasting, comprehensive way. This web conference will highlight specific strategies and efforts that seeks to change norms related to gendered violence. Different norms will be examined with regard to their historical context, distinct challenges, and opportunities for collaborative work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Repeated on Thursday, May 27, 2010

This ninety-minute (90 min) session will start at 11 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time on May 26, and will be repeated at 11 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time on May 27.

Host: David Lee, PreventConnect, California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Presenter: Annie Lyles, Xavier Morales and Christine Chang, Prevention Institute


  • Jerry Tello, Therapist, Author, and Performer
  • Craig Norberg-Bohm, Men’s Initiative Coordinator, Jane Doe Inc.


  • Understand how norms create an environment in which violence is more likely to occur.
  • Provide examples of successes from people and organizations working to counter norms of traditional masculinity.
  • Identify strategies being used to effectively counter and change norms.
  • Identify potential indicators for measuring progress in norms change.

To Learn More and Register, Visit

Cost: Free

Newsletters and Announcements: To receive our newsletters and conference announcements, click here to subscribe to our announcements list.

Email Group: Our email group, Prevent-Connect, is a forum where people from around the world who are engaged in violence against women prevention can ask each other questions, share successes and pool knowledge. Click here to join this prevention community at the Yahoo! Groups Website.

You can also join via email by sending a blank message to:

PreventConnect is a national project of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and is sponsored by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The views and information provided in our activities do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Government, the CDC or CALCASA.

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