Trudy
Schuett
 

April
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.

©2010, Trudy W. Schuett

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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 partnerabuse.com. 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. desertlightjournal.blog-city.com/ or E-Mail.



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