Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Domestic Vioelnce.
A Domestic Violence Research Tool: Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Related Issues: Domestic Violence, Initiator, Right of Battered Men
A Domestic Violence Research Tool: Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
On page 6, of the National Academies Press book report, Advancing the Federal Research Agenda on Violence Against Women www.nap.edu/books/0309091098/html/ , the authors report that:
As a previous National Research Council committee found, the design of prevention and control strategies programs and services available to victims and offenders that aim to decrease the number of new cases of assault or abusive behavior, reduce the risk of death or disability from violence, and extend life after a violent event frequently is driven by ideology and stakeholders interests rather than by plausible theories and scientific evidence of cause [italics added].
On page 56, the authors report that:
Rigorous inquiry into violence against women is precluded when scholars fail to distinguish among what constitutes an act of violence, abuse, or battering [italics added]. . . . If we want to be able to determine whether critical aspects of abusive and violence behaviors against women (e.g., their prevalence, incidence, and distribution) differ from those of other kinds of violent behavior, we need to employ consistent definitions and measures.
And on page 100 the authors report that:
Finally, there is emerging and credible evidence that the general origins and behavioral patterns of various forms of violence, such as male violence against women and men and female violence against men and women, may be similar [italics added].
Researchers and advocates must recognize that violence against heterosexual women does not take place in a vacuum. Violence against heterosexual women does not begin when a heterosexual male reaches the age of 18, nor does it end when they are 65. And there must be recognition that many family/intimates display violent behavior regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Data documents that some violence against some heterosexual women by some heterosexual men has some social, cultural, and individual factors that, at times do, distinguish that individual act of domestic violence from violence in general.
However, most causes and consequences of domestic violence behavior appear to be similar concerning child, sibling, spousal, intimate partner, and elder abuse regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation. The issues of dominance, power, control, economics, intimacies, jealously, retribution, and venue are gender nuturel and run through domestic violence regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation.
If we intend to discover ways to minimize domestic violence, both men and women must stop pointing the finger of guilt towards the other and begin to accept individual responsibility. We must value, not diminish vigorous debate. We must welcome, not marginalize differing views. We must stimulate, not stifle thinking. We must encourage, not dissuade dialogue.
To discover the truth, we must first tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Discovering the whole truth will benefit all victims of domestic violence regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Holding only one position and disregarding or turning a blind eye to all others not only causes one to ignore reality, it requires that one must make the conscious choice to disregard reams of national studies, research, and data that disavows and disputes any and all single, stand alone, grand theories.
The more one believes they are absolutely right and others are absolutely wrong, the less inclined they are to discovering 21st century truths. One need only to look at the last 100 years of American history to understand that yesterdays truths are often todays myths.
After centuries of ignoring the issue of domestic violence we now appear on the verge of being over whelmed with books, surveys, and studies about it. The reason and purpose of this paper is to act as a single simplified internet conduit to the many studies and information available online. There are few things more dangerous than accepting what others believe to be the truth, before discovering the truth yourself.
In print and online this paper can help those practitioners and advocates who want to provide support and guidance to all victims of domestic violence regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation.
We need to be equally concerned about the cause and consequences of domestic violence for both our daughters and our sons. Contemporarily many domestic violence advocates and many of our public policy makers with assistance of the multi-billion dollar Violence Against Women Act, have concluded that we need to be primarily concerned about the cause and consequences of violence against women.
Unbiased Research and Intervention
Today far too many domestic violence advocates believe that if you do not agree one hundred percent with their philosophy, you must be one hundred percent against their philosophy. Too many domestic violence advocates are predisposed, as domestic violence websites document, to believe women are the primary victims and men the primary offenders. The issue must be presented, for these advocates and others that support their position, in black or white query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F3091EF838550C748DDDA80994DA404482 .
This paper is a request for a more rational and reasoned public discourse. All scholars and researchers need to view the issue of domestic violence through a multi-colored lens, not black a white one. If you view this paper through the 20th century black and white lens you will see it as an attack on violence against women. If your view it through a 21st century multi-colored lens you will see no such thing.
There is always some validity and commonality in most seemingly opposing beliefs. A rational and reasoned position is a position that allows room for understanding that many seemingly opposite positions are in reality intertwined and linked together.
There are many associations between love and jealousy, passion and violence, and retribution and revenge. While some parents hit [spank] their children for a variety of different reasons they claim, at the same time, they love them. This same claim has been made by many adult intimate partners.
Many seemingly polarized positions often contain as many similar characteristics as contradictions. However, you can not and will not discover the commonalities when you refuse to look for them and when you discover them, you refute your discovery.
If you do read this paper through a 21st century multi-colored lens you will understand that it does not make the claim that domestic violence is suffered equally or mutually by men and women. More often than not it is woman, not men, who suffer from black eyes, bruised faces, and broken bones.
In a sample of 1.4 million men and women who were admitted to a hospital emergency room document that 50% of the women and 8% of the men reported being injured in a fight with their intimate partner www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/vi.htm .
Another study found that wives were often involved in mutual violence and displayed as much or more anger and intense verbal hostility, however not injurious physical assaults, against their husbands. During these violent episodes it was only the wives who reported being fearful www.journals.apa.org/prevention/volume3/pre0030021c.html#c4
However, far too many criminal justice policies, criminal and civil court intervention and treatment programs focus primarily on women as being the victim of all forms of domestic violence while ignoring, minimizing and trivializing the problems low or moderate levels of domestic violence present for men.
It is often painfully obvious that physicality and place are the two most important factors concerning familial confrontations, assaults and serious injury. Most psychologists and sociologists understand that power and control is an important matter for both males and females.
It is most often within the familial hierarchy, rather than the outside adult world of the patriarchy that we first learn that assertive behavior, physical aggression and economic dominance are associated with the issue of power and control.
Power and control, in and off themselves, are empty vessels. The reasons why people crave power and control are what are most important. What they want to do with the power and control is the important issue. The struggle within the family is often about who will be most responsible concerning the allocation, distribution, preservation, or passing on of family resources.
Gathering basic resources food, water, clothing, etc. - was often the responsibility of both men and women. Historically for reason of sheer brute strength, it was men who were held responsible to protect, fight and die to both defend and keep the resources within the family. Those willing to fight and die to protect the resources were often rewarded with more authority and responsibility than those who could not or did not.
Thus it was in a familial hierarchy that we learn our first lesson that the use of violence can often be necessary to keep the land, food, and water resources inside the family or clan and away from others who have the same needs.
It was men, because of sheer brute physical strength, who were granted the authority and responsibility, by those smaller and weaker, to accept the power and control within the family. Violence remains a essential, acceptable, useful tool to protect resources.
Those core beliefs, both in the family and in society in general, are apparently still held by many. Both presidential candidates centered the 2004 campaign on who could best protect the country and who could best help individual families provide jobs for resources the family needs.
Today, one person hitting another person to change or alter their behavior is age dependently legal in all fifty states. It is labeled spanking or corporal punishment. Violence within the family, in some forms, is still accepted by the majority of society.
Who Gets to Hit Who And Why
One person hitting another person to change or alter their behavior is age dependently illegal in all fifty states. It is labeled domestic violence. Violence within the family between adult family members is not accepted by the majority of society.
Is it possible that violence against our children continues to be used or condoned because the children neither gather nor protect family resources? Adult children in the family who do not provide resources to the family are also expected to follow the rules of those who do.
A society that uses force or condones some forms of family violence, while claiming that violence among others is reprehensible is a society that is still struggling with its moral and ethical values.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Childrens Bureau report, Child Maltreatment 1996: Reports From the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, www.calib.com/nccanch/pubs/factsheets/ncands.cfm documents that 17,590 children were physically abused by men and 21,757 children were physically abused by women.
Domestic violence advocates often attempt to excuse this behavior by noting that more women neglect or abuse their children because the majority of children are being raised by women. Certainly these same advocates would not excuse the abuse of women by men by noting that the reason for that abuse is because these women live with those men.
It is through the lesson of our youth that we first learn, with the actual acts of spanking or corporal punishment or the condoning by others who do not use spanking or corporal punishment, that we have a cultural that still accept some aggression as a tool of the more powerful to subdue the weak.
The findings from the National Violence Against Women (NVAW) survey in the report, Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf documents that 40.0 percent of surveyed women and 53.8 percent of surveyed men report being physically assaulted by a parent, stepparent, or other adult caretaker as a child.
An advertisement by the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) appeared in the June 15, 2003 issue of the New York Times. It claimed in part, We know the realities of violence against women and children . . . endabuse.org/programs/display.php3?DocID=9933 . The FVPF wants fathers to sit down with their sons and teach them that violence does not equal strength and to say no more to violence against females. This is a noble, yet incomplete goal.
Our Daughters and Sons
The report, Gender and Contextual Factors in Adolescent Dating Violence, notes that many recent high school dating violence studies document that between 14.5% and 24.4% of female adolescents and 3.3 to 9.9% of male adolescents report they experienced some physical and/or sexual violence in their dating relationship. Similar to adult abuse, adolescent females suffer more serious injuries www.athealth.com/Consumer/disorders/datingviolence.html .
The same report notes that approximately 38% of boys and 34.9% of girls reported overall violence. About 13% of boys and 22% of girls report they were the victims of severe physical violence. Between 1/4 and 1/3 of these violent incidents were initiated by the adolescent girls. The differential is even less when forced sexual activity is excluded.
The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), Dating Violence Resource Center reports that, Twenty percent of teenage girls and young women have experienced some form of dating violence controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbID=DB_DatingViolenceResourceCenter101 .
The National Center for Victims of Crime used to note that one study documents that 45% of females and 43% of males reported being the victim of violence from a dating partner at least once. Why is that information now missing? Why are there little to no resources now at the NCVC concerning the victimization of teenage boys or young men?
Jane Doe www.janedoe.org/ is the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Jane Doe documents that 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner www.janedoe.org/know.htm . Why does Jane Doe ignore the reported physical and/or sexual abuse of male high school students?
The one in five example is based on the1999 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey www.doe.mass.edu/hssss/yrbs99/letter.html . The survey documents that 18 percent of females and 7 percent of males report they were hurt physically or sexually by a date or someone they were going out with. Also 16 percent of females and 6 percent of males report that someone had sexual contact with them against their will.
In 2001 the national data from the same survey reveals; 23.9 % of girls and 43.1% of boys reported being in a physical fight, 2.9% of girls and 5.2% of boys report they were injured in a fight, 9.8% of girls and 9.1% of boys report being physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend and 10.3% of girls and 5.1% of boys report they were forced to have sexual intercourse.
Another report concerning teenage boys and girls, Date Violence and Date Rape Among Adolescents: Associations With Disordered Eating Behaviors and Psychological Health, www.apa.org/releases/dateviolence.html reports that nearly 9 percent of girls and 6 percent of boys report some type of abusive date-related experience.
When our sons are mentioned in programs and interventions it is almost always as offenders not victims. To free our daughters from the past is a righteous and just cause. However, this need not be done at the expense of our sons.
Equality of Justice
It is only logical to think that all victims of domestic violence regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation would receive a equal care and concern through research studies, intervention programs and the criminal justice system.
A cursory examination of public domestic violence policies and public and private domestic violence websites document that adult heterosexual women are considered to be the primary or most important victim. www.mincava.umn.edu/ .
Concerning gender equity in the criminal justice system, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Sourcebook 30th Ed. 2002 documents on page 420, that sentencing for all crimes imposed on males are longer than the sentences imposed on females for the same crime www.lib.msu.edu/harris23/crimjust/stats.htm#reports2 .
The National Institute of Justice report, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence (p.50) document that law enforcement officers respond differently to women who are victims of domestic violence incidents than they do men www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/181867.pdf .
The majority of domestic violence intervention programs and policies documents that advocates and many of our public policy makers continue to view the issue of domestic violence, primarily as violence against heterosexual women register.bostonglobe.com/archives2/cgi-bin/archives.cgi?DBLIST=bg02&DOCNUM=54083&TERMV=168:1:169:6:177:8: .
In fact, criminal justice training manuals sponsored by the Violence Against Womens Office concerning domestic violence intervention nearly universally refer to the victims as heterosexual women and their abusers heterosexual men www.vaw.umn.edu/library/bwjp/ .
Hence, common sense and logic will dictate that when law enforcement officers respond to domestic violence incidents, because they have been trained to expect males to be the offenders and females their victims, officer response is often be biased against men www.familytx.org/research/genderfactor.html .
Further, there is little doubt that law enforcement officers discover that, outside of the home, they interact with men who are involved in criminally violent behavior far more often than women. However, the behavior of these men, the majority who are chronic criminals, lack roots in the community, social standing, education and exhibit violent behavior in general and they do not represent the behavior of the vast majority of men in American society.
It is documented that women, heterosexual and lesbian, are more likely than men to report domestic violence incidents than men. It is documented that that law enforcement officers are significantly [italics added] more likely to take a report and to arrest or detain a male if the alleged victim of the reported incident is female (p. 50) www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/181867.pdf .
However, the nexus of the problem for law enforcement in particular and the criminal justice system in general is that domestic violence, by law in all fifty states has become far more complex an intervention than either violence against women or battering behavior family-law.freeadvice.com/domestic_violence/domestic_punishment03.htm .
Because the majority of domestic violence advocates continue to equate violence against women and battering behavior with domestic violence, the issue has become an enigma that is different things to different people and that includes some in the academe and researchers www.familytx.org/research/published.html .
Clearly, if justice is to be served with equity, domestic violence advocates need to expand their education and understanding of the limitations of the criminal justice system and become more familiar with criminal and civil law. It is the written law and not ideological or philosophical beliefs that must guide law enforcement education, intervention, and training www.ilj.org/dv/ .
In The Beginnin
In 1981 a group of citizens in Duluth, Minnesota became frustrated with what they perceived was a lack of commitment by the criminal justice system concerning wife beaters. With private funding they founded the Duluth Abuse Intervention Project (DIAP). www.duluth-model.org/ The project was a coordinated community wide effort that contained a number of agreed upon written protocols that were intended to connect the police, the court system and social service agencies.
The Duluth police department put in place a policy that mandates when their officers respond to a domestic violence incident
(1) where there is enough probable cause to identify the offender, and
(2) there was an injured victim present, an arrest must be made.
And most people, law enforcement officers included, agree that if someone beats or batterers their wife, they should be arrested, sanctioned, and perhaps placed in an effective treatment/counseling program.
The Duluth courts and social service agencies have specific advocates trained to assist the victims in all steps of the post-arrest process. Recognizing that many offenders would return to their home after the arrest, and that many victims did not want the offender to be jailed, they put in place a court ordered education and counseling program for offenders. The majority of law enforcement officers at that time agreed that the Duluth approach was a good idea.
Today many law enforcement officers and others in the criminal justice system have their doubts about this (one-size-fits-all) domestic violence intervention. So where have we gone wrong www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/crimdom.pdf ?
How We Lost Our Way
Susan R. Paisner is a Maryland criminologist and writer with more than 20 years experience concerning domestic violence. She writes for and is on the advisory board of the National Bulletin on Domestic Violence Prevention www.dvponline.com/ . Paisner recently wrote that the key to effective domestic violence training is to make the dynamics of domestic violence very, very clear.
Paisner is absolutely correct. However, Paisner, the bulletin she writes for, and the majority of domestic violence advocates appear to lack a basic understanding of just what domestic violence, by statute law in all fifty states, really is. The bulletin notes that it will provide insightful reporting on batterers, victim profiles, and witness interrogations. And concerning battering behavior the bulletin is often helpful and insightful.
However, domestic violence as defined by law, in all fifty states is not primarily violence against women nor is it battering behavior. The following is an example of domestic violence law in Massachusetts:
"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
5. Persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship
Most states have similar laws. Thus, in all fifty states domestic violence can be one push, one shove, one grab, one bite, one slap, one scratch, one hit, one threat, one thrown object, a loud argument, or just pounding on the table to emphasize a point. In fact, in some states all that is required is the fear by some third party that someone else may be abused.
By law, domestic violence includes all family members regardless of age or gender. In many, if not most states domestic violence includes everyone who is related through blood or marriage, those who live in a spousal-styled relationship or are engaged in casual dating relationships regardless of sexual orientation or whether an intimate relationship exists at all. In some states it includes those who are not related but simply live in the same household even though no intimate relationship exists.
By law domestic violence can be a single act of physical or emotional abuse towards relatives, children, spouses, intimate partners regardless of sexual orientation, and the elderly.
In some states domestic violence can also include acts that affect another individuals emotional, mental, or psychological condition. In other states some domestic violence advocates want to include acts that violate the integrity, dignity and/or liberty of a person.
How can criminal justice domestic violence training or its dynamics be made clear if the majority of those who provide domestic violence training do not understand the dynamics of the criminal justice system or the dynamics of domestic violence law? Law enforcement personnel and others in the criminal justice system must be guided by law, not ideological or philosophical beliefs.
Thus, criminal justice domestic violence intervention has often become a problematic series of multifaceted and complicated events and dynamics that now reach far beyond the original intent of the well intentioned advocates in Duluth, Minnesota.
The Fallacious Argument
Since the late 1970s an argument has continued over the validity of studies that may or may not document how women and men are equally victimized by their intimate partners www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf .
This is a fallacious argument because domestic violence advocates, researchers and scholars have yet to agree on just what domestic violence, what violence, or what an injury, or what abuse is or is not. It is both inconceivable and unbelievable to understand how this argument, lacking an agreed upon definition of domestic violence, continues unabated.
Domestic violence advocates do an injustice to all victims when they claim that one out of every three women are abused or half of all married women will be abused. These advocates indiscriminately lump together victims of chronic and severe beatings with surveys that question whether a woman has ever suffered any verbal, emotional or physical abuse once during her lifetime.
Annual intimate partner victimization rates generated by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/ , and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) are www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvict.htm substantially lower than those generated by the National Violence Against Women (NVAW) Survey http://www.ncjrs.org/txtfiles1/nij/183781.txt .
A BJS study that used 1996 NCVS and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm --which combined data on intimate partner murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault--found that the annual rate of violent victimization by an intimate was 7.5 per 1,000 women age 12 and older and 1.4 per 1,000 men age 12 and older.
In comparison, the NVAW Survey annual rate of forcible rape by an intimate was 3.2 per 1,000 women age 18 and older, while the NVAW Survey annual rate of physical assault by an intimate was 44.2 per 1,000 women age 18 and older and 31.5 per 1,000 men age 18 and older.
On the other hand, annual intimate partner violence prevalence estimates generated by the National Family Violence Survey (NFVS) webapp.icpsr.umich.edu/cocoon/NACJD-STUDY/07733.xml are substantially higher than those generated by the NVAW Survey. The 1975 and 1985 NFVS found that 11 to 12 percent of married/cohabiting women and 12 percent of married/cohabiting men were physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually.
The 1992 National Alcohol and Family Violence Survey http://www.arg.org/studies.html, which included parts of the NFVS, found that approximately 1.9 percent of married/cohabiting women were severely assaulted by a male partner annually and approximately 4.5 percent of married/cohabiting men were severely assaulted by a female partner annually.
The 1995 National Alcohol Survey, which also included parts of the NFVS, found that 5.2 to 13.6 percent of married/cohabiting couples experienced male-to-female partner violence annually and 6.2 to 18.2 percent of married/cohabiting couples experienced female-to-male intimate partner violence annually.
The NWAW also survey found women experience more chronic (average 6.9 physical assaults compared to 4.4 for men) and more serious injuries (41.5 percent for women compared to 19.9 percent for men). And the ratio of female homicide victims of an intimate compared to male victims is 3 to 1.
The authors of the NVAW Survey write that it is possible that the manner in which screening questions are introduced and framed has more of an effect on intimate partner violence self reporting rates than does the overall context in which the survey is administered. The authors also agree that more research is needed before any one group can proclaim that they are the ones who have discovered the truth concerning cause or consequences of domestic violence.
Grouping togeather, arresting and sanctioning those who experience minor family conflict incidents with those who experience violent and chronic beatings both minimizes and trivializes the real victims of violent chronic abuse www.dvmen.org/dv-39.htm . The vast majority of domestic violence researchers and studies document that one-size-does-not-fit-all www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9210279&dopt=Abstract .
The victims who need help the most are most often people who are at the lower end of the socioeconomic educational strata of society who receive little to no community or family support.
The number of women and men who self report they have been emotionally abused, pushed or slapped by an intimate partner once or occasionally during their lifetime differs dramatically from those who suffer broken noses, blackened eyes, or other chronic physical beatings.
The vast majority of researchers and scholars agree with Deborah Capaldi, Donald Dutton, Jeffery Fagan, Richard Gelles, Linda Mills, Terrie Moffitt, to name only a few, that both women and men can be domestic violence offenders, victims, and sometimes both.
These researchers and scholars also agree that a substantial number of women are just as assertive and aggressive as men and many womens violent acts against their male partners can not be explained away only as acts of self-defense www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/170018.pdf .
The standard tool used by most researchers and scholars for evaluating violent acts is the Conflict Tactics Scale www.fasttrackproject.org/techrept/c/cft/ . The CTS measures the physical abuse from minor to severe.
The majority of researchers and scholars, including those named above, agree that although women may assault their partners as often as men, the assaults by men have the capability of inflicting greater physical, financial, and emotional injury pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID12F.pdf
However, even if female violence against males may not cause greater injury, does that mean it can not be just as painful an experience? It is not a fundamental belief of gender feminists that emotional or psychological abuse can be just a damaging as physical injury?
Does not everyone, regardless of what type or reported percentage of victimization they represent, deserve equal access to services and funding? Is not everyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation deserving of understanding and compassion fact.on.ca/Info/dom/hines01.htm ?
Does any one group, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation need to comprise half of all victims or suffer more physical injury in order to receive equal justice and protection by society? www.law.fsu.edu/journals/lawreview/downloads/304/kelly.pdf .
Data from the 1999 US Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) document that there were 93,103 forcible rapes and these numbers include only the rapes of women. There is no mention of male rape victims in the UCR. However, the National Crime Victimization Survey for that same year documents that there were 333,000 rapes and females account for approximately 95% of the rape victims. The National Violence Against Women Survey estimates that 302,091 women and 92,748 men are forcibly raped each year.
The numbers of rape victims vary from survey to survey. Are we to believe that no men are raped (UCR), that men account for only 5% of rape victims (NCVS), or that one in every four victims of rape are male (NVAW)?
When an individual asks for assistance, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, social position, or sexual orientation, that single individual deserves equality of assistance and sympathy regardless of any differences in the number of incidents.
Though there is no uniform definition of what constitutes a sexual assault or rape, according to a survey of high school students, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), documents that 11.9% of female students and 6.1% of male student report having been sexually assaulted.
The survey also documents that, 12.3% of Black students, 10.4% of Hispanic students, and 7.3% of White students reported having forced sexual intercourse www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/svfacts.htm . Do not each of these individuals deserve equal access of services regardless of numbers reported, percentage differences, gender, race or ethnicity?
Victims Ignored, Minimized and Trivialized
A 1994 federally sponsored family violence conference noted that the problem of family violence in the United States is epidemic www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/redfam.pdf . The conference estimates that the annual incidence of abuse of family members is at 2 to 4 million for children, nearly 4 million for women, and 1-2 million for elder adults.
At this conference there were 400 professionals and 80 national experts. The 1994 conference experts did not acknowledge one man as being a victim of domestic violence.
The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men (DAHM) batteredmenshelpline.org/ is located in Maine. The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) refuses to allow DAHM to become a member of the coalition.
In fact if you visit the MCEDV resources website, although DAHM is the only nationwide hot line of its type and it is located in Maine, you find that the MCEDV refuse to acknowledge the existence of DAHM www.mcedv.org/help/index.htm .
More egregious on a national level is a recent report designed and designated for our public policy makers by the National Conference of State Legislatures. This report, When Violence Hits Home: Domestic Abuse and Families, www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/dvbookintro.htm claims that some men may be abused by women. However, the author then sets out to expunge or hide just what the numbers of those some men are, when ever and where ever she can.
The author claims that she does not intend to downplay the seriousness of male victimization. But she then writes that a male victim at the hands of female offender is a rare event. She cites on page 26 of the, Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf that one out of every four women have been abused by an intimate partner.
However, what she excludes is that on the very same page of the very same report that she uses to cite the one in four female victims, the same report documents on the same page notes that about 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
The author is correct, she is not downplaying male victimization, she obviously is willingly and purposely ignoring, minimizing, and trivializing male victimization.
In fact the National Violence Against Women survey notes that because many victims are victimized more than once the number for women who are victims might be as high as 4.8 million and for those some men the rare event number would be as high as 2.9 million annually www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf .
There is a National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) www.ndvh.org. This hotline claims to be unbiased yet notes on its website that a National Institute of Justice report, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/vi.txt documents that between 1976 and 1996 that 31,260 women were murdered by an intimate.
What the NDVH does not document on its website, is the fact that this very same NIJ report documents that for the very same time period it reports that 20,311 men were murdered by an intimate. Were these 20,311 homicides left of by accident?
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) recently celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Its website http://www.ncadv.org/ proclaims it is the only national organization providing a voice for local domestic violence programs [emphasis added] and battered women. However, it appears the NCADV picks and chooses the voice of its victims.
The NCADV website proclaims, that Every 15 seconds a woman is battered. The NCADV knows full well that using the exact same data and methodology it can also be documented that approximately every 15 seconds a man is battered. The NCADV, for reasons of their own, apparently do not want anyone to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
In fact the NIJ website virlib.ncjrs.org/vict.asp?category=50&subcategory=105 contains a lot of information concerning male victimization that the majority of private domestic violence advocates purposely exclude from their sites. Unbiased indeed!
Each and every October during domestic violence awareness month not a single president has ever, just once, mentioned the fact that even one man in the entire nation has been a victim of domestic violence www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011002-4.html .
Why is it that some experts, our public policymakers, domestic violence advocates and the president on a yearly basis do not understand that domestic violence includes all intimate/family victims regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation? What is the cause of these misunderstandings? How does this bias effect law enforcement, others in the criminal justice system and of course the victims themselves?
The majority of NIJ studies and data documents that while women are equally likely to initiate low or moderate levels of domestic violence incidents, as the intensity and lethality of the violence rises, the danger of serious injury for women increases far more rapidly than for men. Homicide, of course, is the most serious and lethal result.
Nearly all domestic violence websites proclaim that the home is the most dangerous place for women and children. The fact is that most homes and neighborhoods are safe places for men, women, and children. The more affluent and educated a neighborhood hood is, the safer it is, both inside and outside the home virlib.ncjrs.org/VictimsOfCrime.asp .
All homicides, family/intimate, acquaintance, and stranger occur far more frequently in disadvantaged neighborhoods with economically and emotionally distressed households. In fact all forms of domestic violence are dramatically more prevalent in disadvantaged neighborhoods within economically distressed households www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/205004.htm .
When the majority of homicides do occur, the vast majority are not committed by strangers. Both offenders and victims are all too often intimate partners or family members. The FBI Supplemental Homicide Report (SHR) ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/ezashr/ defines intimate/family members as relatives, step-relatives, in-laws, and common law or ex-spouses.
In 1980 the FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports documents that 2,094 males and 1,609 females were murdered by a family/intimate. In 1990, it was 1,600 males and 1,427 females. In 2,000, 928 males (45%) and 1,133 females (55%) were murdered by a family member or intimate partner.
Between 1976 and 1996, 64% of female intimate partner victims were killed by their husbands, 5% by ex-husbands and 32% by partners/boyfriends. Of male victims, 62% were killed by their wives, 4% by ex-wives and 34% by partners/girlfriends. From 1976 to 1996 31,260 (61%) women and 20,311 (39%) men were murdered by an intimate partner www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/vi.htm .
The Supplementary Homicide report documents that between 1980 and 2000, 28,586 (48%) females were the victims of a family/intimate homicide. During that same period there were 31,509 (52%) male victims. The yearly decrease in intimate/family homicides during this period for both males and females is reflective of the decrease in the total number of homicides nationwide.
While murder is the most serious of crimes the Bureau of Justice Statistics www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/ documents it is also the least common. In fact, the NVAWS documents that most domestic violence incidents are minor assaults such as pushing, shoving, slapping, etc.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics Factbook, Violence by Intimates, documents that intimate partner violence accounts for about one fifth of the total amount of violence against females www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/vi.htm .
In the NIJ study, Homicide in Eight U.S. Cities: Trends, Context, and Policy Implications www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/167262-1.pdf the researchers report that female homicide victimization occurred at such low rates relative to male homicide victimization that the changes in female homicide victims accounted for little of the overall fluctuation of the homicide trends.
The majority, but certainly not all, domestic violence homicides are committed by people who have histories of criminal behavior, long histories of violent and aberrant behavior inside and out side the family, were physically or sexually abused as children, and suffer from alcohol or other substance abuse www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/vi.htm .
Individuals who do not have histories of criminal behavior, and commit a smaller number of domestic violence homicides, also do not represent the general populace. They often appear to be people who display extreme narcissistic behavior, have alcohol or drug problems, display pathological jealousy, become extremely depressed at the prospect of losing their partner, or blame their intimate partners for the loss of their economic standing or professional and personal esteem psych.mcmaster.ca/dalywilson/homicide.html .
Approximately one out of every four domestic violence homicides is a homicide/suicide. These homicide/suicides are almost exclusively committed by males. More disturbing is the fact that a little more than two of every four men who kill their wife and children commit suicide.
Familicide: the killing of spouse and children.
On the last day of each year the Boston Globe lists the names of people who died as a result of domestic violence. In 2003 there were 13 incidents in Massachusetts that resulted in domestic violence homicides. Five of the 13 incidents involved homicide/suicides.
Inexplicably, each year the Globe excludes domestic violence suicides as live lost as the result of domestic violence. The family members of those who murder and then take their own lives might respectfully disagree. It is an old adage that when someone dies they leave a philosophical skeleton in the family closet. When suicide victims die they leave philosophical skeletons in all our closets. Maryland, similar to some other states, includes suicide victims as victims of domestic violence www.mnadv.org/DV_Stats/dv_stats.html .
The lesson we all must learn from murder/suicides is that there are many victims left behind in both families. We must learn how precious all of our lives are. There should be no primary victims of domestic violence. Each victim is as important and vital as another regardless of the difference in percentages www.uiowa.edu/%7E030116/158/articles/dershowitz3.htm .
The editors of the Globe do acknowledge that the homicide/suicides involve many people who feel helpless and hopeless and are profoundly troubled. However, the editors and the domestic violence advocates who provide the Globe with the names of those who die as a result of domestic violence display a callous lack of empathy by not listing them as victims of domestic violence.
Despite the fact that these people, almost exclusively men, took the lives of others along with their own, there should be no doubt that these homicide/suicides are the very direct results of domestic violence.
The last three decades of research reveal that varied interventions are needed for the many different dynamics domestic violence present. It should be clear to everyone that any one-label- fits-all or single ideology approach is not suitable or applicable for all victims, or all abusers.
Domestic violence advocates who are concerned with the dynamics of domestic violence need to understand that this behavior can sometimes begin with or be as simple as belittlement or demeaning behavior towards another family member.
In other cases the violence or abuse may be linked to illnesses, mental disorders, injuries (particularly of the head), dementia, or other factors. Jealousy, infidelity, and financial distress may also be domestic violence factors.
Most intimates experience low levels of aggression such as shouting, pushing, shoving, slapping, or threats at some time during their relationship. In most cases such family conflicts are harmless and resolve themselves with time, or the relationship dissolves.
Many of these family conflicts should not be a priority for law enforcement or others in the criminal justice system. However, under current laws officers frequently become involved when neighbors or others call the police.
However, it must be remembered that chronic family conflicts can escalate to severe physically injurious and sexual assaults coupled with excessively controlling behavior. There needs to be a process in place that will allow these families to receive the assistance they need without arrest and prosecution. Law enforcement could turn reports of these incidents over to social service agencies in the same manner they report suspected child abuse.
Violent incidents are obviously the concern of society and law enforcement. Unfortunately, there is no clear demarcation line between a common family conflict and battering behavior. At present, society and law enforcement, because of mandatory arrest and no drop prosecution, react excessively, too often to the detriment of some families.
Often low levels of assertive or aggressive behavior can be mutual and mild, however, in a small number of families it can escalate quickly into violent and injurious behavior. Such violent behavior is often fueled, but not caused by, alcohol or drug abuse.
There is no question that the abuse of drugs and alcohol lessens reason and logic, hence its abuse can often promote or exacerbate the violence. However, most researchers agree it is not the fundamental casual factor of the aggressive or violent behavior,
Proper identification of victim-specific and batterer-specific dynamics is vital concerning proper intervention. Those who live at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic educational ladder, have few resources and lack family support are the primary victims of chronic injurious physical and sexual assault and need the most assistance. In general:
Two of the most common questions asked by domestic violence advocates over the last decade are:
Q: Why dont law enforcement officers recognize domestic violence when they see it, or put more bluntly: WHY DONT THEY [LAW ENFORCMENT] GET IT!?
Q: Why dont law enforcement officers show more compassion and concern towards the victims of domestic violence?
The majority of feminists still believe in equal rights as do the vast majority of men and women in America. However, gender feminists are people who believe womens rights are primary rights and are more important than victims rights in general or civil rights in particular.
Gender feminists believe that domestic violence occurs because misogynist men objectify women and want have the power to control the behavior of women. Gender feminists believe that men beat, batter, objectify and want to suppress womens rights. To maintain that belief gender feminists must ignore, minimize and trivialize male victimization.
It is gender feminism that has caused the contemporary unneeded, unwarranted, and unsubstantiated gender war. They do so because it is conducive to their specific agenda and financial gain. Gender feminists continue the specious claim that one in every three women in American society is abuse or fifty percent of all married women will be abused because it suits their goals.
These fallacious claims by the gender feminists not only trivialize and marginalize male victims they have also minimized and marginalized battered women. In the NIJ report, Violence Against Women: Identifying Risk Factors, www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/197019.pdf the authors claim that at the end of four years of college, 88% of women had experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual victimization.
What the authors do not report is that using the same general methodology the victimization rate for males would most likely exceed 50%. Why is it the authors do not seem to understand or be concerned that by equating a once in a lifetime shove with years of brutal beatings they are actively engaged in the trivialization and marginalization of battered victims.
Mandatory arrest, no drop prosecution and by making almost everyone a victim of domestic violence, unnecessarily take community resources away from those who are socially, economically, and educationally deprived, who lack community and family support and who need assistance the most www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/188199.pdf .
Because of gender feminism many domestic violence advocates come to the criminal justice system with a bias against men who they believe are suppressing women. They view domestic violence primarily as violence against women and claim it is caused by the patriarchy www.familytx.org/research/articles/deconstructingduluth.html .
The bias against law enforcement is so entrenched in many domestic violence advocates that there is actually a nationally recognized domestic violence organization that claims that in law enforcement academies law officers are trained how to inflict physical pain on the general public while leaving no visible marks or bruises. This organization then makes the claim that law enforcement officers will do the same to their wives www.dwetendorf.com/AOP_Info.htm
The National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) sampled 8,000 women and 8,000 men. However, the researchers involved did not want to ask a single question to a single male in that survey. It wasnt until those who funded the survey suggested that they do, were men included.
Because the NVAWS researchers originally showed little to no concern about male victimization we can assume they are gender feminists. The researchers for the NVAWS could have put to bed the three most contemporary vexing and contentious question concerning domestic violence.
The authors could have included question about initiation (who struck the first blow), motivation (why the first blow was stuck) or self-defense (was the action of the person involved purely and only self defense). They choose not to ask any one of the three.
It is not just one domestic violence organization that reveals its extreme bias against law enforcement. There are many domestic violence advocates whose websites document that, while not making the same excessive claim, do believe these extreme, unrealistic and unsubstantiated assertions, such as 95% of all domestic violence abusers are men, to be true.
The majority of domestic violence organizations continue to believe, as their websites and pamphlets document, that domestic violence is caused by men because men in general are misogynists. These organizations ignore the fact that there is not a single empirical scientific study that can document this gender feminist ideology is valid.
They stress that men in general do not respect women in particular and that contemporary masculine mores and norms cause men in general to view women as property to be used and abused and/or sexual assaulted at will in order to support and maintain the patriarchy.
In order to blame all men, and not just some men, gender feminists assert that those men who do not abuse or sexually assault women condone such violence by turning a blind eye, deaf ear, and mute voice toward the behavior of men who do.
Gender feminist patriarchal ideology is held by many domestic violence advocates. In many states, public policymakers actually continue to mandate that batterer intervention programs are based on this, myopic, gender feminist inspired, patriarchal Duluth model www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/171683.pdf .
This one-size-fits-all http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/crimdom.pdf mandatory arrest and no drop prosecution for the criminal justice system and batterer programs continues despite any evidence that this prejudiced, blame-and-shame, biased, and ideologically-based intervention, in and of itself, works any better than other criminal justice sanctions or simply no intervention at all.
An extensive NIJ study, The Effects of Arrest on Intimate Partner Violence: New Evidence From the Spouse Assault Replication Program, documents that regardless of whether or not the batterer was arrested, the majority committed no further assaults on the same victim. It also documents that a minority of batterers continued to commit assaults after they were arrested and placed in programs www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/188199.pdf .
Another National Institute of Justice Report Batterer Intervention Programs: Where Do We Go From Here www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/195079.pdf, documents that the fundamental feminist ideological based batterer programs, in and of themselves, demonstrate little to no real scientific empirical evidence that they are of any value whatsoever to victims or perpetrators.
In addition to holding ideological- and gender feminist-biased views, many domestic violence advocates who train law enforcement officers have little real understanding of the complexities of federal, state, civil, criminal and common law. They often have little to no knowledge of individual law enforcement department policy and procedure concerning domestic violence cases.
The Light Begins To Dawn
On page A15 of the September 23rd edition of the Boston Globe, gender feminist, Ellen Goodman returns to the roots of feminism and its goal of equality for our daughters and sons www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/09/23/tender_terrorists/
Goodman writes, Get over the stereotype of women as peaceful. and Indeed, in studies of domestic violence women initiate violence nearly as often though not as lethally as men. Goodman lets it be known that some women can not only be, they often are just as violent as some men.
Goodman quotes from the book Same Difference that Its a fantasy that women are so much more caring and empathetic than men. In all the systematic research, men and women come out about equal. Goodman, the authors of this book, and the majority of women understand that when some women believe they will be rewarded for their violent behavior, they will behave the same as some men. This is a basic psychological and sociological concept that gender feminism is unable or unwilling to accept.
One of the most important reports that document how the criminalization of all family conflicts can lead to the mass incarceration of people in general and men in particular, is published by the Ms. Foundation for Women www.msfoundation.org.
It is interesting to note that the report, Safety & Justice for All, refers to the criminal justice system more appropriately as the criminal legal system. Often there is little justice in the justice system and many victims, families, and children will testify to that fact with regard to domestic violence laws. One only need to remember that it was the justice system that upheld Jim Crow laws for many decades.
The injustice of the justice system is no stranger to those at the lower end of the socioeconomic educational ladder. It is far too often ignored by many people, particularly those at the higher end of the socioeconomic educational ladder who do not think its injustice of the legal system will ever visit their homes.
The Ms. Foundation report, Safety & Justice for All: Examining the Relationship Between the Womens Anti-Violence Movement and the Criminal Legal System concludes that while the criminal justice system domestic violence intervention can be a life saver for many people, because it is often used as a dragnet for all family violence, it can become cement boots for many others www.ms.foundation.org/user-assets/PDF/Program/Safety_justice.pdf .
Some Still Dont Get It?
Many law enforcement agencies and family members afflicted by domestic violence wonder why so many domestic violence advocates and public policy makers dont get it! Law enforcement agencies, as do the majority of physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, family counselors, educators, social workers, attorneys, district attorneys, and judges understand that domestic violence does not fit only a single dynamic. lab.nap.edu/nap-cgi/discover.cgi?term=Family+Violence&GO.x=7&GO.y=5 .
Domestic violence is not only or primarily violence against heterosexual women. Domestic violence at the very least is, by law in all fifty states, child, sibling, spousal, intimate partner and elder abuse.
Despite what many domestic violence advocates claim, the data from all empirical scientific surveys and studies clearly document that domestic violence is not only or primarily violence against heterosexual women. The vast majority of researchers agree that it is a multifaceted complex familial styled dynamic that encompasses a wide range of behaviors and causative factors. And many family conflicts are beyond the scope of the confrontational and adversarial legal system.
However, the majority of contemporary domestic violence interventions continue to disregard and ignore those complexities. Too often law enforcement domestic violence training is presented as one-size-fits-all. The one-size-fits-all label presents all family conflict and domestic violence as battering behavior www.caadv.org/materials.html#beyond .
Why Dont [The Various Groups] Get It?
The lack of agreement between many professionals concerning just what domestic violence is continues to cause confusion and disarray between law enforcement, domestic violence advocates, and public policy makers, as well as the general public. Advocates train for battering behavior while law enforcement officers respond to both battering behavior and family conflict.
Domestic violence advocates claim their beliefs are the correct beliefs and want to train law enforcement based on their ideological vision. The fact is that law enforcement must be guided by Federal and individual state law and the policies and procedures of their department.
Because there is little to no agreement between researchers, scholars and professionals on definition, it logically follows that there can be little to no agreement concerning cause and consequences. Hundreds of studies to date only serve to document that there is no single researcher, scholar or professional that has discovered the one and only single, always correct answer to cause and consequence of domestic violence.
How can domestic violence advocates provide training for law enforcement officers when there are dramatic differences between their ideological philosophy and state law concerning the definition of domestic violence?
As a result a great many criminal justice agencies resist this one-size-fits-all domestic violence training. Many of these advocates do not understand state laws and they continue to believe domestic violence is primarily violence exhibited against heterosexual women by heterosexual men and their training is presented in the one-size-fits-all batterer dynamic.
A Lack of Agreement
Deborah Capaldi, is a research scientist and the co-author of the study, Physical Aggression in a Community Sample of At-Risk Young Couples: Gender Comparisons for High Frequency, Injury, and Fear, www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-06-22-abuse-usat_x.htm .
Andy Klein, is a former probation officer, domestic violence consultant and author concerning domestic violence. Both appeared on the June 24, 2003 MSNBC show Scarborough Country endabuse.org/programs/display.php3?DocID=241
Capaldi and Klein document, apparently unknowingly, the difference between what the majority of domestic violence incidents look like when law enforcement respond to calls for service and what many of the contemporary domestic violence advocates, who are involved in domestic violence training, believe it to be.
Capaldi asserts that her study is not an attempt at victim blaming. However, it does document that women are often involved in mutual assertive and assaultive behavior with partners. The study notes that women initiate many domestic violence incidents.
Capaldi is talking about domestic violence incidents, or family conflicts, in general and not only or specifically battering behavior. There are more than 100 scientific scholarly empirically-based studies that agree with the findings of the Capaldi study www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
Klein asserts that Capaldis study is a real misstatement of what domestic violence is all about. Klein maintains that domestic violence as seen in civil and criminal courts are not people engaged in mutual fights and pushing or slapping or pinching each other.
Klein claims the domestic violence as seen in the courts is the type of behavior that lands female victims in the hospital and the morgue. And concerning the men Klein interacted with in the criminal justice system, he is correct.
However, Klein is not talking about the thousands of domestic violence incidents that cause restraining orders to be issued, or the majority of the domestic incidents that police officers respond to. Klein is describing the behavior of the men he saw as a probation officer when the most serious cases reach his office. The majority of these men have long histories of criminally violent behavior and are certainly not a random sample of a representative population.
Further, these men are not characteristic of the wide variety of domestic violence cases seen by district attorneys and judges today under mandatory arrest no-drop prosecution laws. In fact, anywhere from 15-25% of the cases before the courts, the perpetrator is a woman.
Data documents that majority of domestic violence abusers that Klein dealt with had histories of both violent and criminal behavior. Many, if not all, of these abusers were in front of Klein as a consequence of the violent physical beatings of their partners.
The majority of law enforcement agencies can relate to the Capaldi study. They recognize the forms of domestic violence incidents she describes because a great many of the domestic calls they respond to are family conflict incidents.
The Capaldi study documents, if one will actually take the time to read the entire study, that the majority of the incidents in her study are family conflict incidents and not battering behavior.
Rather than being on opposite sides of the fence, both Klein and Capaldi are right. However, they are engaged in the now decades old apples (battering behavior) and oranges (family conflict) dilemma www.familytx.org/research/articles/apples%20and%20oranges.html .
The majority of studies document that men and women engage in minor to moderate forms of violence equally. The more serious injuries suffered by women appear to by as much of a byproduct of mens physical size and strength and the fact that mens physical aggression works for them inside and outside the family.
This of course does not mean that women do not also want to change, control or coerce their partners behavior, it simple means that women must often resort to other tactics to achieve that goal. More than one child has heard their mother say, Wait until your father gets home. Then you are in for it!
In the college text, Family Violence: Legal, Medical, and Social Perspectives, Harvey Wallace notes that many thousands of people have been interviewed, tested, observed and evaluated in attempt to discover what causes family violence. The vast majority of researchers and scholars all agree that there is no single correct answer and that there are, in fact, many different dynamics involved and many different reasons or causes.
The text notes there is the Psychopathology Theory, the Substance Abuse Theory, the Social Learning Theory, the Exchange Theory, the Frustration-Aggression Theory, the Ecological Theory, the Sociobiology or Evolutionary Theory, the Culture of Violence Theory, the Patriarchy Theory, the General Systems Theory, the Social Conflict Theory, and the Resource Theory.
And almost all of the researchers and scholars agree that it could be one or a combination of these theories that will cause an individual to abuse those they profess to love. Take your pick or mix and match.
Regardless of all these varied theories concerning cause, law enforcement and others in the criminal justice system are most concerned with consequences. The sociological or psychological causations are of little concern to law enforcement officers.
Regardless of what some advocates believe and perhaps because of their lack of knowledge concerning criminal law, they often do not understand that the relative size or strength of a person or who wins or loses the fight is inconsequential concerning legal precedence or standing.
Who first attacked the other and caused or initiated the incident is most important concerning criminal charges. The size and strength of the participants is, perhaps, important concerning what is right or fair, however, they provide no clues to law enforcement about who assaulted who first and who refused to discontinue the assaultive behavior.
Many if not most gender feminist believe that the majority of women use violence primarily or exclusively to protect themselves. However, the report Violence Against Women: Identifying Risk Factors, www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/197019.pdf documents that approximately two out of three women initiate the violent encounters and six out of ten admit that their violence is not defensive or being used to protect themselves from imminent harm.
Intent, malice aforethought and who initiated the incident are the legal precedence and causal factors that are more important than size, strength, or who won or lost. During almost all fights it is common for each person to display both offensive and defensive postures, depending on whether they are winning or losing.
What is most important for law enforcement officers is how domestic violence is defined by statute law and what the officers are mandated to do under specific circumstances in their state. They also must be aware of what departmental policy and procedures they must follow to enforce those laws. Mandatory arrest laws have caused mutual arrests and the arrest of females to rise at an alarming rate.
Regardless if violent behavior is familial or not, it can be expressive, instrumental or a combination of both. Expressive violence rises from feelings of anger, rage, or hate. Instrumental violence is when an offender uses force or violence to achieve short or long term goals.
Domestic violence involves intimate/family members engaged in either minor or serious violence. Anyone remotely familiar with law enforcement understands that officers respond to both minor family conflict and battering behavior incidents.
One of the behaviors, family conflict, is most often expressive, and can frequently involve little more than a loud argument and some pushing, shoving or posturing. This behavior is frequently exhibited by siblings.
Most often battering behavior is instrumental and violent. These two, distinct domestic violence behaviors are very different, yet, because of the law, they must be treated in a one-size-fits-all fashion. In mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution states, logic, reason and common sense must be cast aside in favor of gender feminist ideology.
The goal of gender feminist ideology has become more important than the well being of many family members who want to seek solutions and solidarity, not only and always punitive criminal sanctions. Much too often civil and criminal court solutions are based on legal precedent that lack compassion, morality, and ethics.
Most researchers and professionals agree that a battered victim is a victim whose life is thoroughly, extensively, and completely controlled by an abuser. The victims behavior is purposely altered to satisfy the abusers desires while they live in a familial- or intimate-partner styled relationship. Most experts agree that the majority of battered heterosexual victims are women not men. The laws in all fifty states do not differentiate this behavior from family conflict.
The batterer manipulatively and deliberately uses psychological methods, physical violence, economic subordination, threats, isolation, and a variety of other behavioral and controlling tactics to ensure the victim does what the abuser wants.
Sociologist and researcher Michael P. Johnson, in his many papers concerning Conflict and Control, www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/m/p/mpj/boothfinal2.htm labels this behavior intimate terrorism. In most relationships where battering occurs, only one partner is violent and controlling, and the other is violent only while resisting an assault in which they often fear for their life. There are other couples where both partners exhibit mutual violent control. Often this mutually violent behavior is fueled, not caused by, substance abuse.
It is important to understand that most victims do not rationally choose to stay in violent relationships. They often stay because they do not understand their problem is outside the mores and norms of society or why the relationship has gone wrong.
Some victims remain because they were raised in a violent home or neighborhood, thus the violence they face is not viewed as aberrant or abnormal. Some do not realize or understand they can leave. Some lack the education or economic resources to survive on their own. Some have little to no community support. Some will be ridiculed by their own family for leaving.
Some believe that leaving will publicly document the shame they privately feel. Some mistakenly view the failure of the relationship as their failure. Some are concerned that the physical and emotional harm their children suffer may increase if they attempt to leave. And some, rightly so, fear greater physical abuse or death.
Unconditional love can keep some victims in relationships far too long. Some confuse sexual acts with acts of love and jealously and possessiveness with romantic behavior. Many who are used and abused believe that their abuser needs their help. Many learn that their abuser has been physically or sexually abused as a child and remain out of misplaced pity.
Other victims remember that their family was loving and caring and they believe they must make their chosen relationships succeed. Some victims believe that their abuser is the person suffering and their abuser wants to, can and will change. Many being abused believe that if they can demonstrate to their abuser what unconditional love is, their abuser will stop the abuse. Many victims believe that their abuser, given unconditional love, will return that love.
But most often the only real solution for a victim in a battering relationship is to leave and put as much distance between themselves and the batterer as possible. Erin Pizzey is renowed for pioneering shelters for battered women to enable them to escape. However, she laments that there are almost no such resources for abused men.
Numerous studies document there is another less distinctive yet far more common form of family violence or conflict that occurs within families. Most experts agree that it is this form of domestic violence that is shared equally by males and females regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation. The laws in all fifty states do not differentiate this behavior from battering behavior.
It is a fact of life that the majority of people who are married or who live in a familial or intimate-partner styled relationship will occasionally struggle with individual or family problems about which they may profoundly and heatedly disagree. A lack of education and economic resources often create or exacerbate this stress and conflict, particularly among young couples.
There are many types of psychological and physical tactics employed by family members or intimate partners, regardless of age or gender, who attempt to get their way in a specific or general disagreement. Nearly all individuals will attempt to direct others in directions they see as most favorable to their desires, wants, and needs. Within limits such behavior is normal. For example, a woman may cry to get what she wants or to control the outcome of an argument. A man may pound on the table, or storm out of the house in similar circumstances.
Family conflict most often does not involve violent assaults. Nor is it the result of a specific, long term, carefully crafted, well thought out pattern of controlling behavior. Data documents many minor forms of family conflict can be, and often are, mutual behaviors, regardless of age or gender as each partner strives to achieve their ends and goals.
However, it is important to note that many studies document that repeated, prolonged psychologically-coercive behavior often precedes, and sometimes predicts the development of physical assaults.
Family conflict can evolve from, or be exacerbated by anger, anxiety, financial matters, illness, injuries, dementia, grief, abusive alcohol or drug use, stress, work issues, and depression. The danger of family conflict escalating into domestic violence is greatly increased when one, or both of the partners are narcissistic or suffer from other personality disorders, are self-centered, lack self-control, and tend to seek self-gratification with little concern for the feelings of others.
Verbal abuse can hurt just as much as physical assault. Verbal abuse can escalate to physical assault in the form of pushing, shoving, or a slap. However, most family conflict is infrequent and does not specifically and constantly escalate to more serious and injurious physical assaults.
Family conflict rarely matches the pattern of a battered woman and a male batterer. Family conflict is the face of domestic violence most often presented to social service agencies, law enforcement officers, district attorneys, judges, and others in the criminal and civil justice system.
Who Still Doesnt Get It
Esta Soler is the founder and president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) (www.endabuse.org ). The FVPF receives national recognition concerning domestic violence education, intervention and training. Soler acknowledges that the debate between Capaldi and Klein, goes to the definition of domestic violence. And Soler is absolutely correct.
Soler asserts that, certainly, all violence is wrong regardless of who is the perpetrator. But domestic violence is not one person pushing another person one time because a couple have gotten into an argument. Soler claims that domestic violence occurs when there is an ongoing pattern of fear, intimidation and violent assault.
And it is here that Soler displays a appalling lack of understanding of state and Federal domestic violence law because it is here that she is absolutely wrong. It is both frustrating and painfully obvious to those familiar with the criminal justice system that Soler, similar to many other domestic violence advocates, has little to no knowledge of the laws that must define domestic violence for law enforcement.
Soler may be well intentioned, however, she is just one of many domestic violence advocates who are unable or unwilling to understand criminal law or the criminal justice system. In the real world of law and the criminal justice system, domestic violence does not require an ongoing pattern of fear, intimidation and violent assault.
Domestic violence, by law in all fifty states, can be one person pushing another person one time. What Soler is describing is battering behavior and not domestic violence as defined by the law in all fifty states.
There is not a single domestic violence law in this nation that matches Solers definition of domestic violence. As bizarre as it seems, the truth is often stranger than fiction, it is organizations similar to FVPF that continue to claim they want to educate the criminal justice system and the general public concerning domestic violence.
And worse still, it is organizations like the Family Violence Prevention Fund and the National Conference of State Legislatures that sometimes train law enforcement and actually do provide information to legislators that drive many of our public policies concerning domestic violence.
The Cause of the Confusion Between Capaldi, Kelin, Soler and Many Others
The National Institute of Justice sponsored study, Controlling Violence Against Women, www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/197137.pdf documents that The vast majority of law enforcement policies, procedures, statute law and mandatory and preferred arrest laws make no distinctions between family conflict and battering behavior. This lack of distinction is the single most tragic mistake our public policy makers have made.
The criminal justice system now has in place in all fifty states mandatory and/or preferred arrest laws. The majority of domestic violence advocates who train law enforcement continue to insist law enforcement officers must arrest every time there is any probable cause that a domestic violence incident occurred. And, in fact, most states now have some type of mandatory arrest laws.
However, in far too many communities, mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution clog the already understaffed and over loaded judicial system with minor misdemeanor cases. Worse still, in some instances the innocent are punished and the guilty do not receive the sanctions and punishment they deserve.
These one-size-fits-all, mandatory arrest, and no-drop prosecution intervention processes makes little to no sense in many cases. In some communities 20-30% of all domestic violence arrests are of females. Gender feminists are just as convinced that the majority of these women who are arrested are not batters, as they are convinced that the majority of men arrested are.
Domestic violence advocates see this arrest of females as justice gone awry. They insist that law enforcement officers need more training so the officers will better understand just who the real batterer is. What these advocates do not understand is that there is often no batterer or battered victim in many of these incidents. Because of domestic violence laws, battering behavior is irrelevant.
There is no question that the vast majority of domestic violence advocates do not believe that many of the women who are arrested are batterers and that these women should not be arrested. And they are right, most of these women are not involved in battering behavior.
However they are involved in domestic violence behavior as defined by law. It is stupefying that after all these years that so many domestic violence advocates, Soler included, still do not understand domestic violence law is not about battering behavior.
An ever increasing number of women are being arrested for domestic violence because, as all psychological and sociological studies document, women can be just as aggressive and assertive as men concerning family conflict incidents.
It should come as no surprise to any reasonable and prudent person who has ever been involved in an intimate relationship that many women can be just as assaultive and jealous as some men concerning intimate relationships and that alcohol and substance abuse is indiscriminate with regard to gender.
What follows is an example of a family conflict incident of the type that law enforcement officers respond to:
A live in boyfriend stays out all night, spends his entire pay check, sleeps with his girlfriends best friend. He comes home at 5:00 AM. His girlfriend, who told him they need the money for rent and food for the kids, finds out, gets mad and throws glasses and plates at him. A concerned neighbor, hearing all the noise, calls law enforcement. Officers arrive and, by statute law in the majority of our states, she is the one who is guilty of domestic violence. In those states with mandatory arrest she must be arrested and in many other states she most likely will be.
Should the woman in the preceding scenario be considered a batterer and placed in a battering program. Few if any domestic violence advocates agree that this woman is a batterer. However, she is an example of the type of domestic violence perpetrator, regardless of age or gender, that law enforcement often respond to.
The National Incident Based Reporting System www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/NIBRS/ documents that approximately 50% of the domestic violence incidents that law enforcement respond to do not even involve a heterosexual female and a heterosexual male living in a spousal or intimate styled relationship.
What is truly sad is that contemporary domestic violence one-size-fits-all laws often do not reflect the battered victims or perpetrators described by Soler or Klien. In many cases those arrested by law enforcement are reflections of family conflict found in the Capaldi study.
The vast majority of law enforcement officers understand that many of the domestic calls they respond to are the result of family conflict and not battering behavior. However, mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution laws makes no distinction despite the dramatic differences between the two dynamics and mandatory arrest laws give street level officers no option but to make an arrest.
Most tragic of all is the fact that data from court systems across this nation document that the violent and chronic batterer offenders often receive the same sentence as minor family conflict first time offenders. This may be directly attributed to the demand of a one-size-fits-all approach in reverse.
Buck Thurman case Connecticut
In 1983 Charles Buck Thurman was sentenced to 20 years in prison after his brutal attack on his wife Tracey Thurman led to a $1.9 million suit against the Torrington, Connecticut police. In the Torrington case, Thurman was found guilty of stabbing his wife 13 times, stomping on her head, and partially paralyzing her for life.
Thurman was released from prison in 1991 after serving only nine years of the twenty year sentence. In 1999 a woman Thurman was living with in Northampton, Massachusetts, and mother of their child, fled the state accusing him of repeatedly choking and sexually assaulting her.
No criminal charges were filed as she only asked for a restraining order to keep him away from her. The order was issued, she returned to Massachusetts and Thurman, who has a long history of ignoring court orders, violated this latest order.
Thurman pleaded guilty only to violating a restraining order. A judge placed Thurman on probation for a year. He ordered Thurman to participate in any counseling ordered by the probation department and ordered him to comply with the restraining order against him.
This was the only action taken by the judge despite the fact that Charles Buck Thurman is the worse type of chronic violent abuser with a history of beating women and ignoring court orders.
In fact, Buck Thurman had a restraining order against him and he was on probation when he beat and stabbed Tracey Thurman and partially paralyzed and traumatized her for life.
Luis Melo case Massachusetts
In 1996 in Bristol County, Massachusetts Debbie Melo asked for and received a restraining order against her husband Luis. In an affidavit before the court she wrote that Luis made threats to commit suicide himself, kill her or both. Debbie Melo was afraid of what Luis might do to her or their daughter.
In 2000 Luis Melo reported to the police that his wife Debbie had disappeared after they had a road side argument. Debbie Melo has never been seen or heard from since. The last person to see her alive was Luis Melo. No report of using credit cards, no phone calls and no attempts to reach either of her two children. Luis Melo, for good reason, should be more than a person of interest to law enforcement.
In 2004 the live-in girlfriend of Luis Melo would appear in a civil court to get a restraining order because she and her daughter were afraid of Luis Melo. She has good reason to be afraid because Melo had beaten her in the past. Court records document that Melo is a dangerous man who should be feared. Earlier in a Bristol County court Melo had pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend.
For that previous assault Luis Melo received no jail time and was placed on probation. Luis Melo is a man that many believe may have murdered his wife. He is a man with a history of violent abusive behavior and has made threats to commit suicide. And he is a man with no respect for the court system.
Apparently domestic violence awareness month must slip by, year after year, unnoticed by the Bristol County District Attorney and this judge. The Bristol County District Attorney and this particular judge are not alone in their ignorance. Restraining orders or orders of protection rain down on this nation like confetti at a parade www.menweb.org/cyoungdv.htm .
Is there anyone other than the judge that really thinks a restraining order is going to protect this woman from Melo? Is this really the best that the District Attorney and the judge can do for this woman and her child? After decades of intervention is this as far as we have come?
Perhaps because the vast majority of the domestic violence training for the criminal justice system ignores the obvious, there are minor cases (family conflict) and there are serious cases (battering behavior), the people involved in the two cases above remain oblivious to the obvious.
And what should be obvious to everyone is that in these two cases the issuance of a restraining order had little to no chance of protecting anyone. If the lack of protection it was going to provide these two women, why were the judge and the district attorney oblivious to that fact.
What is painfully obvious is that in the Thurman case there was a court order in place when Tracy Thurman was beaten and battered. This is proof positive that these orders can not protect people from those intent on doing them harm. The case of Luis Melo is perhaps indicative of the fact that the chronic violent batterers simply move from one victim to the other.
What is truly sad is that these two cases are not aberrations. The lack of understanding of the dangers presented by some domestic violence offenders can be attributable, at least in part, to overloading an under staffed and over worked justice system with domestic violence cases, from the very minor to the most severe, as if one is as important as the other as demanded by gender-feminist driven mandatory arrest laws and one-label-fits-all ideology. www.albany.edu/sourcebook/ .
And just as tragic, first time offenders with minor violations are often treated the same as violent chronic batterers. It is families with little education and less money, that are in need of resources, education and assistance who will receive false hopes and broken hearts from a system that puts in writing that it will protect them when 911 is dialed. Instead, their families and children can be destroyed by draconian laws and their family dreams and finances shattered.
Contemporary one-label-fits-all domestic violence intervention treats all domestic violence incidents as if they are all battering behavior. In the majority of states domestic violence incidents require mandatory arrest, and no drop prosecutions.
The contemporary one-label-fits-all policies ignore the dramatic differences and diversity of needs in these cases. Far too often the wishes of the families are ignored. This one-size-fits-all intervention process too often documents how a good idea has too often become a tragedy for many families www.ms.foundation.org/user-assets/PDF/Program/Safety_justice.pdf
There are an ever increasing number of studies that document what works and what does not. Some poorly conceived crime prevention good ideas may not be good ideas after all www.ncjrs.org/works/chapter4.htm .
One NIJ report, Effects of No-Drop Prosecution of Domestic Violence Upon Conviction Rates notes that Finally, we do not know whether no-drop prosecution of domestic violence cases increases victim safety or places the victims in greater jeopardy. Regardless, of 142 prosecutors surveyed 66% had adopted the no-drop policies abstractsdb.ncjrs.org/content/AbstractsDB_Results.asp?page=1 .
There is an ever increasing number of scientific empirical data and NIJ studies that document some of these well intentioned good ideas can be bad ideas for some families. Gender feminists pick what they want to use as fact and ignore what does not fit their ideology www.policeone.com/policeone/frontend/parser.cfm?object=Columnists&tmpl=article&id=80144 .
Those who want to document that women are the primary victim of the vast majority of domestic violence incidents use the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to document as fact that 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
However, gender feminists then completely and absolutely ignore or discount the fact that the very same survey documents that only approximately ½ of 1% of the families surveyed report even a single incident of domestic violence over the last year. The former fits there ideology and the later does not.
NCVS data from 1993 to 1999, documents that 13,740 lesbians reported being abused by their partner. During this same time period 16,900 gay men reported being abused by their partner www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/ipva99.htm . Should this data be used to proclaim that females in same sex intimate relationships are prone to use more violence more than males in same sex intimate relationships?
There is a long line of domestic violence advocates and public policy makers waiting in line to take credit for families they have been helped over the last couple of decades. There is no line for those willing to accept responsibility for the harm that has been done to many children, families, and marriages.
It is Time to Question Why?
Nothing in this paper is intended to dispute the fact that far more women than men are the victims of battering behavior. The problem of battering behavior is particularly acute for those battered victims at the lower end of the socioeconomic educational strata and who have little community or family support.
However, recognizing the difficultly it presents we must learn to separate family conflict from battering behavior. To paraphrase and age old adage, throwing out the baby with the bath water may be very relevant concerning most one-size-fits-all interventions. An increasing number of families looking for a helping hand, instead end up receiving a mailed fist.
We must remember the results when society decided to turn to the criminal justice system to end the problems of alcoholism and drug abuse. In a nut shell, concerning prohibition, what the criminal justice system provided was a dramatic increase in violent crime. With the war on drugs what we have received is the largest mass incarceration of a populace in the Western World.
The following is from the very first paragraph of the preface page of Harvey Wallaces college text, Family Violence: Legal, Medical, and Social Perspectives.
The study of family violence is a complex, multifaceted experience. By its very nature, family violence involves physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, family counselors, educators, social workers, attorneys, judges, and law enforcement officials. All these professionals have expertise in their own area of specialization. However, they may not understand or appreciate the difficulties experienced by others in their areas of interest. For example, a member of the medical profession may be able to diagnose physical injuries but not understand the complexities of the courtroom.
It is time to question why those who do have expertise in their specific area of interest, have convinced our public policy makers to put in place policies, procedures and law in areas of specialization where they or the public policy makers have little to no knowledge or expertise.
More troubling still is the fact that those in one area of expertise continue to display little to no appreciation for the difficulties experienced by others. In a training guide that has been used to train many law enforcement officers, one advocate demands that law enforcement must investigate every domestic violence call as if it were a homicide www.ntcdsv.org.
This clearly documents this advocates ignorance of law enforcement, and perhaps this entire organization, either does not understand or appreciate the difficulties faced by law enforcement. Law enforcement does not have the personnel nor the money to investigate every domestic violence call as if it were a homicide. It is an impossible task. And worse still, does this advocate want each and every dispute between siblings to be investigated as if it were a homicide?
It is also time to question how or why we have placed the cart before the horse. The vast majority of interventions are reactive and not proactive. We are fine tuning a system that is constructed to wait until the victims are abused or battered and then expect them to show up on the doorsteps of our civil and criminal courts before we take action.
There are many policies and procedures that have been put in place by our public policy makers that are not fully or properly implemented because:
(1) they lack documentation that will not harm some of those they are intended to help,
(2) they are logistically and fiscally impossible for law enforcement and the courts to implement, and
(3) they are impossible to implement because of the lack of understanding or agreement concerning just what domestic violence is or is not.
For our public policy makers it remains the timeless adage: Looks great on paper,lets implement it!
It is time to question why there is no line of domestic violence advocates and public policy makers willing to take the blame for those who have been harmed by their one-label-fits-all policies. It is time to weigh success against the failure.
It is time to consider the lack of logic in proclaiming that one gender is the primary victim and one gender is more important than the other. It is the very bedrock the feminist movement to refute that belief that the needs of one gender should be placed ahead of another. It is also time to reevaluate the false hopes and broken promises of We are the criminal justice system and we are here to help you.
Even more egregious is the fact that gender feminists are clearly engaged in pitting the suffering of one group, battered women, against the suffering of another, all other victims of domestic violence. This despicable practice, as a feminist columnist once wrote, is as old and as odious as injustice itself. Gender feminism has pitted us, male against female, husband against wife, son against daughter.
What truly difficult to fathom, is how or why gender feminists are unable or unwilling to understand that they now exhibit the very behavior they claim to abhor in men. They have chosen to prioritize the welfare and well being of one gender above the other. Gender feminists, without shame, claim that women, as the primary victim, are more important than men.
Domestic violence interventions must be positive and inclusive, not negative and exclusive. We must be willing to accept the beliefs of others while not relinquishing our individual beliefs. History documents that any belief system that proclaims it alone holds the ultimate truth breeds intolerance and extremism. Remaining stuck at either end of any paradigm only serves to hinder a balanced and proper understanding of the issue www.rhiannon3.net/cs/index.html
It is time for everyone who agrees with the original premise of the feminist movement, equal treatment for everyone regardless of gender, to stand up, to speak up, to demand for our daughters and our sons, equal and just treatment from our public policy makers, domestic violence advocates and the criminal justice system concerning domestic violence programs and intervention.
Source: The D/V Research Tool is something FNI has worked on for a while and you are welcome to post it on your site. If the reader questions the postion taken it allows the reader to go directly to the site of the citation. Any questions let me know. And if you want to pass this on to any of those who are linked to you please feel free to do so. Richard L. Davis, email@example.com An online resource list is avaliable at: www.safe4all.org/resource-list . If any of the links are broken or you have any questions please contact Richard L. Davis, VP of www.Familynonviolence.org at E-Mail