Abuse Bill Betrays Victims, Subsidizes a
Two years ago Millie Almore was admitted to the
SafeSpace shelter in Stuart, Florida. Ten days
later the 26-year-old woman lay dead, stabbed in
the neck by Marilyn Hooks, another resident at the
facility. An investigation into the incident found
the homicide reflected an "egregious failure of the
entire agency to satisfactorily assure the health,
safety, and welfare of both its clientele and
Millie Almores tragic death spotlights the
woes that vex our nations 1,800 domestic
violence shelters. These problems stem from
non-existent accountability, poorly-trained staff,
and most of all, a deeply-ingrained ideological
One former resident at the Hope House shelter in
West Virginia attested, I often felt unsafe.
There were several physical and verbal altercations
between the shelter residents. No wonder that
so many opt to return to their batterer rather than
continue to submit to harassment and threats by
A bill was recently introduced in the Congress
to re-up shelter funding for five more years. Known
as the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act,
the bill carries a nearly $300 million price tag to
pay for a program the federal Office of Management
and Budget has judged to be Not Performing
Results Not Demonstrated.
Regrettably, the bill not only fails to address
the systemic flaws of abuse shelters, in some ways
it will make things worse.
So why are shelters floundering? The crux of the
problem is shelter directors stoutly insist
domestic violence is caused by patriarchal sexism
-- and has nothing to do with dysfunctional partner
relationships, alcohol abuse, or economic
If the cause is unfettered patriarchy, the cure
is evident: ever-increasing social activism.
Researcher Sara Epstein once reported the
eye-opening findings of her survey of 111 shelters.
While only 25% of the programs declared their
principal goal was the treatment and support
of battered women, nearly half endorsed the
radical feminist crusade to change societal
patterns of violence against women.
This is how the ideological Merry-Go-Round plays
out in practice:
1. When victims of violence come to the shelter
for help, they are plied with empowerment
propaganda and coached to make false abuse claims.
(A former volunteer at the Bethany House shelter in
Virginia once complained the facility served as
a free hostel for women with emotional
problems if they are willing to hate their husbands
enough and are willing to take out protective
orders against their husbands.)
2. But victims need counseling, job training,
and alcohol treatment, not an ideological rant. So
eventually they go elsewhere for help.
3. Shelter managers begin to panic. After all,
its pretty hard to tell heart-rending tales
about the multitudes of unserved victims when your
beds are sitting empty. So shelters start to
advertise, No proof of abuse necessary.
No surprise, homeless drug-abusing women begin to
4. Now that the shelter is full, the domestic
violence lobby can claim the shelter had to turn
away a gazillion persons who knocked on its doors
for help. So of course were obligated to
cough up more taxpayer money to curb the bogus
epidemic of domestic violence.
A side-benefit to this scheme is shelters can
continue to turn-away men abused by their wives and
girlfriends, disingenuously claiming their programs
are already filled to capacity.
The cure for the Sisterhoods shenanigans
can be summed up in a single word: accountability.
Shelters need to require proof of abuse before
admission, evaluate program effectiveness, and make
results of these assessments widely available.
But the Family Violence Act continues to throw
millions of taxpayer money into a funding-stream
On top of that, it eliminates funding from the
one area where abuse shelters are actually doing
some good: provision of transitional housing.
Thats right, the new bill axes $25 million
for short-term housing and channels it to
dating-violence prevention programs designed to get
13-year-old boys into believing they are
proto-abusers (ignoring the fact that the Centers
for Disease Control reports teenage girls are more
likely to initiate the aggression).
Our nation needs abuse shelters to help break
the cycle of intimate partner violence. But by
applying a $300 million Band-aid to a festering
sore, the Family Violence Act turns its back on the
true victims of abuse.
* * *
Roberts probes and lampoons political correctness.
His work has been published frequently in the
Washington Times, Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com,
ifeminists.net, Intellectual Conservative, and
elsewhere. He is a staff reporter for the New Media
Network. You can contact him at E-Mail
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