Battered Women's Shelters and Abuse Allegations
What role do the first play in the latter?
A look at various perceptions pertaining to family violence
This issue of the Common Sense & Domestic Violence Newsletter takes a look at the results of the attempts of our society over the last 20-odd years to come to terms with the real problem of family violence. The efforts of N.O.W. (National Organization of Women) and other similar organizations were quite reasonable at first and based on equitable goals for gender-equality when they first became a political force to reckon with more than 30 years ago. In those days, Betty Friedan, one of the original organizers of N.O.W., stated in their 1966 agenda:
"NOW is dedicated to the proposition that women, first and foremost, are human beings, who, like all other people in our society, must have the chance to develop their fullest human potential. We believe that women can achieve such equality only by accepting to the full the challenges and responsibilities they share with all other people in our society, as part of the decision-making mainstream of American political, economic and social life." [my emphasis -WHS]
It was further said that:
"With a life span lengthened to nearly 75 years it is no longer either necessary or possible for women to devote the greater part of their lives to child- rearing; yet childbearing and rearing which continues to be a most important part of most women's lives-still is used to justify barring women from equal professional and economic participation and advance." and:
"We do not accept the traditional assumption that a woman has to choose between marriage and motherhood, on the one hand, and serious participation in industry or the professions on the other." and further:
"WE REJECT the current assumptions that a man must carry the sole burden of supporting himself, his wife, and family, and that a woman is automatically entitled to lifelong support by a man upon her marriage, or that marriage, home and family are primarily woman's world and responsibility-hers, to dominate-his to support. We believe that a true partnership between the sexes demands a different concept of marriage, an equitable sharing of the responsibilities of home and children and of the economic burdens of their support. We believe that proper recognition should be given to the economic and social value of homemaking and child-care. To these ends, we will seek to open a reexamination of laws and mores governing marriage and divorce, for we believe that the current state of "half-equity" between the sexes discriminates against both men and women, and is the cause of much unnecessary hostility between the sexes." [my emphasis -WHS]
That hardly sounds like a lament of the oppression of women by the patriarchy, serfdom of women, or brutal and violent forcing of women into submission. It fully recognizes the position of women in families, every woman a queen-albeit perhaps a bored one. Nobody at the time objected to the notion that women should be permitted to take their rightful role in industry, business and politics. After all, just like I and many other people of my generation experienced and accepted, women were in the positions of queens, powerful queens. Why should anyone object to the notion that women should take some of the burden of the role of provider and protector from the shoulders of men, who already at that time had a far shorter life-expectancy than women had.
"Why not?" was their motto and society eagerly accepted it. After all, in Europe, although it was out of necessity there and not really a matter of choicedue to the devastation of the generations of men & boys who had lost their lives by the millions during the course of two devastating warswomen did truly take on the roles of crane operators, machinists, welders, carpenters, brick layers, drivers of tractors and machine operators of all kinds, and yes, many of them increasingly found employment in the fields of education, politics and the bureaucracies. So, WHY NOT?
It is notable that nowhere throughout the document was any mention made of family violence. Perhaps, that was an oversight, but most likely and correctly it was not perceived to be a problem at the time, for the vast majority of the population knew that any instances of inter-personal violence between family members were social aberrations that afflicted only very few unfortunate victims.
However, that view of family violence changed. Increasingly, N.O.W. and similar organizations were taken over and eventually totally controlled by radical elements. It is unfortunate that this was permitted to happen. Ever since the take-over of the women movement by radical, family-hostile elements, men and the institution of the traditional nuclear family are being increasingly vilified as the originators of brutal oppression of women in our society. Especially our men had to bear the brunt of the strident and ever-increasing propaganda effort that now exceeds anything seen in the days of Goebbels and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
It would be comforting to know that the problem of family violence would have found a solution, small as it wasand still is nowin comparison to other, far more pressing social problems, but that is not the case. Instead of solving it, the never-ceasing increase in the anti-male and anti-family propaganda effort that has its roots in the radical elements of the feminist movement, succeeded in two remarkable phenomena.
The violence by men against women, previously equal throughout history to that perpetrated by women, began to decrease, whereas that by women, fanned by the flames of the propaganda war against men and encouraged by society's historical unwillingness to recognize women's capacity to violence, increased. Where at least some semblance of honesty prevails and statistics pertaining to violence perpetrated by both genders are being kept, it is found that the increases in female-perpetrated violence are astounding.
However, due to society's propaganda-driven pre-occupation with gender violence (that is: violence perpetrated by the brutish "male race" of the human species), the plight of the majority of the victims of family violence, that of our children is being largely ignored. Perhaps that is because it is too embarrassing for many of the people governing us now to admit that the problem exists. Perhaps it is just political expediency, or, as it is often said, not "politically correct". However, there may be another, simpler reason that contributes to the image of men in today's society: Greed.
New sectors of burgeoning industries are benefiting from the destruction of our families that results from the readiness of our society to accept as true the myth that all men are bad, brutes, rapists, batterers and scheming members of the oppressive patriarchy. Some of these industrial sectors are growing to massive proportions. The next article will take a cursory look at one of these sectors, and some of the circumstances surrounding, and resulting from its efforts: Battered Women's Shelters.-WHS
Male-perpetrated violence is on the decline, and female-perpetrated violence is increasing rapidly. [Family Violence Trends, M. Straus
Battered Women's Shelters
Do they contribute to family break-up?
The following text is an answer to an inquiry posted at the discussion list of the National Shared Parenting Association:
Dear Mark (I assume that you are Mark Gazda, unless someone else is using your e-mail ID; you forgot to sign your message)
At 03:05 98 01 13 -0500, you wrote:
>From: EM <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Without knowing a lot about the "white" ribbon
>campaign, I would just like to ask how you associate
>the break up of a family on shelters for women?
>Most shelters cater to women who are being bat-
>tered, or abused in a manner that would be very
>harmful for any child to see, or left in.
>You obviously feel very strongly about this, so please
I'll be glad to do that. Surely, you'll get a few responses on this from others, but I would like to provide my own.
The shelter movement is being controlled by redfems. They have a tradition of being the prime instigators of much of the propaganda directed against men and families.
The fact that a woman sought refuge in a shelter is often used as evidence in divorce strategies. That makes the shelters more than suspect. It is a strategy used often and effectively, real victim or not, but another concern is that women who go to shelters get all kinds of paralegal aid helping them to plan their divorce tactics, from the filling-out of affidavits making false allegations of abuse to how to obtain restraining orders against their spouses that will remove the fathers in their families from the lives of their children and their homes. If your children are ever taken from you, (first stage: Battered women shelter) you'll find that it becomes next to impossible for you to maintain any kind of bond with them.
The battered women's shelter advocates and social workers in collusion with them will stop at nothing to prevent you from having a normal relationship with your children once they have your children in their clutches. Ironically, your children, if they are subsequently put into a government-operated foster home will be in far greater jeopardy with respect to sexual abuse than you would dare to dream about, especially if your child is a girl and in the hands of lesbian foster parents. Yes, women do commit rape! [Insight Magazine (Date not known) "HORRORS OF THE NON-HOME", By Timothy Maier.]
A little known statistic, which shelter advocates admitted to be true, is that 25% of the women in Alberta accepted in shelters go there to use the shelters as hostels and not for reasons of being battered, yet, happily, the shelters include all guests accommodated in their count of "battered women". In New Hampshire 14,400 women were accommodated in 1996, indicating a pandemic of violence against women, yet only 40 (forty) of them required medical attention. Comparable information is not available to the Canadian public.
The shelter advocates would have the population believe that all violence is perpetrated against women. They actively pursue the spreading of that bit of propaganda, yet studies by reputable social researchers, including the observations by Erin Pizzey, provide a totally different view, and so do the statistics on causes of death published by StatCan. The vast majority of the victims of violent deaths are men and boys.
Erin Pizzey, the founder of the women's shelter movement and of the very first modern battered women's shelter in the world, in Chiswick, London, England, found that 62 of the first one-hundred women who sought refuge at her shelter were as violent as the partners from whose violence they were trying to escape. She described this in her book "Prone to Violence". Her movement and her shelter were taken from her by the redfems, who threatened the lives of Erin Pizzey and those of her family members by making bomb threats. They organized demonstrations against her, did unspeakable things and reviled her. Erin Pizzey had to flee England to escape the harassment. "Prone to Violence" became very effectively boycotted by the shelter advocates, to almost totally prohibit publication.
Even today you will find it virtually impossible to find copies of that book in any libraries. In 1984, only thirteen listings of the book could be found in libraries throughout the world-in a search done by a librarian of the US Library of Congress. Even the Library of Congress itself didn't have a copy. The person having the search done donated one. In all of Canada there are only two copies listed that I could find, one at the U of A and the other at the Toronto University. I searched extensively in on-line lists of books, publishers and authors, including for the catalogues of the publisher of the book, [Hamlin Paperbacks-not found]; not a single listing of the book anywhere. (The book is now available in an on-line edition at <http://www.bennett.com/ptv/index.shtml>) [it is also again available in a printed edition WHS, 1999 06 14]
In about thirty studies over the past two decades, reputable researchers-sociologists such as Murray and Straus, Gelles, Steinmetz, Reena Sommers, and Brinkerhoff and Lupriall determined that women are as or slightly more violent than their male partners, yet the shelter advocates persistently refuse to admit that. What many of these sociologists have in common is that they were reviled for expressing the results of their research and that some of them also received bomb threats, and were threatened to have their research funding removed.
Hedy Fry, Secretary of State (Status of Women) in a letter to me, dated 1997 12 17, stated that only 25% percent of spousal murder victims are comprised of men [my emphasis -WHS]. The figure in the USA is 41%. According to this figure [of 25%] quoted in Hedy Fry's letter, you would expect to see one battered men's shelter for every three battered women's shelters in Canada. Yet, there are only about four battered men's shelters in all of Canada and at least one of them, in Strathmore, Alberta, is run by WIN House (Women in Need). [Note]
If you were a man battered by a woman and would attempt to get help, the only counseling that would be given to you would most likely be to train you in managing your anger. If you were a man and were to make a complaint to the police about being battered by your spouse, the police forces are obligated to assume that your wife is the victim and you are the aggressor. They would most likely put you into handcuffs and detain you, the real victim. (see Family Violence, a Guide to Police Forces, by the Alberta Solicitor General-just one example of similar guides in use throughout all regions in Canada and the USA. These guides even contain identical diagrams depicting the "Circle of Violence", with "her" being the victim and "him" being the abuser. [an excerpt from that document is shown
farther on in this newsletter, in my response to Hedy Fry's letter])
Because of the prevailing attitude against men, and because "official" family violence data is being gathered only from battered women's shelters (the only real men's shelters are our jails and prisons [Note]), a steady stream of anti-male and anti-father legislation is being produced in Canada and all other parts of the world-all of it driven by battered women's shelter advocates who are trying nothing more than to protect their industry and the funding provided to it by the public concern and bias created by them for "women, the sole victims of family violence".
In all of this gender-hype about victims and perpetrators of family violence, the vast majority of the victims is being ignored and forgotten. It comprises the children who are being physically and sexually abused, tortured and murdered by their mothers. Biological mothers are by far the largest group who perpetrates child abuse, -neglect and -murder. The lonely voice of Canadian Senator Anne C. Cools is practically the only one of Canadian politicians that expresses concern about this aspect of gender-politics. Some of her speeches on this topic can be accessed Senator Cools' web site at http://sen.parl.gc.ca/acools/senators.htm
Statistics from the USA indicate that biological mothers are 9 times more likely than
natural fathers to kill their children. 55% of all child murders are being perpetrated by the murdered children's biological mothers and 6% by their
natural fathers. The study by Robert Whelan "Broken Homes & Battered Children" (Study results are shown in the report by the Heritage Foundation
Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder #1535) shows that children in the care of a single mother are 33 times more likely to be suffering serious abuse and are 73 times more likely to be killed than are children who are in the care of both biological married parents.
It will be a long time before the general attitudes about family violence will change and be replaced by honesty and true justice. After all, our whole society is being inundated by ever-escalating anti-male, and in consequence thereby anti-family propaganda-for more than thirty years now. We all are children of mothers; were primarily indoctrinated by- and firmly bonded to them. Motherhood is a holy and sacred concept, although some feminists are trying to besmirch that too. However, although 80% of the victims of domestic violence experienced it for the first time in their lives at the hands of their mothers, it is not that easy to overcome biological imprinting and 5,000 years of social conditioning. It appears that society has a revulsion to accept the truth about the capacity of women to commit violence against members of their families or society.
Patricia Pearson has done an excellent job of describing society's reluctance to accept the truth about women's propensity to violence in her book "When She Was Bad, Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence" (Random House of Canada, ISBN 0-394-22430-2, $29.95, also available from Viking in the USA, see review). She made some very serious and realistic comments about the consequences to our society as a result of that reluctance.
We all love our mothers, and so we should. We must not forget though that individuals who have no respect for the lives of the children growing in their wombs and kill them off at the rate of 55 million per year in the whole world are not very likely to stop at a little lie about physical or sexual abuse by their spouse, if for no other reason than perceived financial gains, especially if they can do so with impunity and are being actively encouraged to do so by battered women's shelter advocates and those of our legislators supporting them. As long as our society permits that to continue, real solutions will not be found and the cycle of violence will never be broken. However, the situation may come into the open now with the escalating epidemic of teen-aged girls who commit inter-personal violence, one of the results of the active promotion of the myth of female innocence by the battered women's shelter advocates.
One of the gravest concerns by single mothers is violence against them by teen-aged daughters who physically and severely abuse them. That is becoming a more and more prominent topic in the talk-show circle. A number of mutual self-help groups of "parents" (mostly attended by single mothers) have been founded to address that aspect of female violence. However, against the suffering of our children in consequence of feminist ideology and doctrine, the suffering of men and most certainly that of women pales, given that our women experience the highest living standard and quality of life of all women in the world, and certainly the highest life expectancy of all, seven years more than even our men.
Let's hope that soon we'll see universal recognition of the true circumstances of family violence and that the majority of the victims of that violence who presently don't have them will be able to find safe shelters to be able to escape their abusers. Better yet, let's hope that we can find the wisdom to treat family violence not as a gender issue but a human problem whose cycle can't be broken unless we stop looking at only one group of the perpetrators. Without trying, we'll not heal our families. Without strong and loving families our society will collapse.
I hope this gave you the answers you seek. If you need more detailed information, please let me know. I'll gladly point out sources that will give you further leads for a study of the subject.
Walter H. Schneider
Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada
Read "The Liberator", a monthly publication of the Men's Defense
Association. It provides on-going coverage of gender-politics and
family issues. An on-line edition is available at
Note: If you are looking for a battered men's shelter, what is available to men is described in in a photo essay at The Shattered Men website. A telling comparison is being made between typical women's shelters and typical men's shelters to identify the differences between the services available for male and female abuse victims.
Slap Your Spouse Lose Your House
Protection orders give vengeful wives
nuclear strike capabilities
By Gerald McOscar, Esq.
From The Liberator, August 1997, page 19
Critics of Philadelphia's Police Department applauded when a new, smaller, and lighter "official" flashlight was issued to its officers. The old, heavy, club-like flashlight had become a "weapon of opportunity" in the hands of officers and suspects alike.
The same could be said about Pennsylvania's Protection from Abuse Act, a well-intentioned and useful weapon in the fight against domestic violence, but all too often a "weapon of opportunity" in the hands of vengeful spouses and opportunistic lawyers seeking to gain the upper hand in divorce and custody cases. Indeed indiscriminate use of the act, which allows a wife to obtain a "protection order" against her potentially violent mate, may be fueling the domestic violence it was designed to quell. As a result, many women are unwittingly discovering that taking out a protection order against their husbands or lovers may actually incite violence-sometimes with tragic consequences.
The recent murders of several Philadelphia-area women by their ex-husbands and lovers occurred within days or weeks of protection orders being issued. Stefan Stromberg and her mother were stabbed to death last April by Stefan's husband, Larry Stromberg; just, two days after her protection order became final. That same month, Sheila Cody, a twenty-six-year-old Norristown resident was stabbed to death in her home despite the protection order issued the previous February. In June, Kirk Harris, 32, first turned a gun on his two-year-old son, Tivan, then himself, despite a protection order. In October and November, at least three more Philadelphia women were murdered despite protection orders.
The Stromberg case is typical. Larry Stromberg's parents told reporters that he had never been in trouble until he met Stefan. In their eyes, he was a devoted husband and she an unfaithful wife. Neither side denies her extra-marital affair and abortion, nor that she penned her husband a love letter even after he had been served with the protection order. Stefan's attorney, meanwhile, blasted media coverage of the tragedy as "irresponsible at best and dangerous; at worst." She denounced Larry Stromberg's family for attempting to blame the dead wife for his abusive behavior, and worried that people would think that protection orders are useless pieces of paper. But she misses the point.
Protection orders are, in fact, effective in most cases (intimidation is an effective deterrent), but that doesn't mean they're appropriate in most cases. If Larry Stromberg was violent, as Stefan's lawyer alleges, he should have been in jail [Meaning: following a conviction in a criminal trial, in which proper rules of evidence would have been followed -WHS]. If he was simply distraught over a crumbling marriage and an unfaithful wife, why was he being punished? We may never know whether the protection order pushed him over the edge, but if the end seems sadly preordained in some of these cases, it may be the indiscriminate use of protection orders that makes it so.
So common are accounts of women being beaten (or worse) after obtaining protection orders that plans are afoot in Pennsylvania to make it an aggravating circumstance to intentionally violate an order and take a life in the process-essentially allowing for the imposition of the death penalty in first-degree murder cases. In the words of one suburban county district attorney, "this happens more frequently than you would think. The people who are supposed to be protected are being killed, and our purpose is to prevent the killing."
The problem may not be that the law doesn't work, but that it works too well. Protection orders are unintentionally convenient, cheap, and easy to obtain; but convenient, cheap, and easy justice comes at a price. The act contains civil remedies for criminal behavior ("bodily injury," "imminent serious bodily injury," "rape," "spousal assault"), but lacks the due process guarantees, the moral authority, and the persuasive force of the criminal law. A protection order is a legal hybrid, neither fish nor fowl. [In the US, there are an estimated 520,000 false rape allegations a year — 98.1% of all reported cases. — Eeva Sodhi, Debunking Domestic Violence Statistics; Rape]
Thus, a plaintiff who alleges immediate and present danger of abuse may, without a court hearing be granted "such temporary order as [the court] deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or minor children, "including" granting possession to the plaintiff of the residence . . . to the exclusion of the defendant by evicting the defendant . . . . In layman's terms, a spouse or lover can find himself out on the street on nothing more than the word of an angry partner. By the time a hearing is held, reputations, careers, and families may be in ruin. Insult is added to injury when the charges are later dropped or dismissed (as is often the case).
Rarely is one person wholly to blame when a relationship turns sour, but in most cases it is the man who finds himself out on the street. The act expressly directs courts to offer assistance and advice to the accusers, but no such assistance is offered the accused. The army of counselors, advocates, and clerks who have become gatekeepers to the courthouse in abuse cases routinely counsel their clients on the finer points of the law. While such practices ensure job security and continued funding in the war against domestic violence, they do little to instill confidence in the justice system-indeed; a whole industry owes its existence to domestic violence.
To eager advocates, "imminent serious bodily injury" can mean anything from a raised voice to a clenched fist. The lexicon of domestic violence now includes such vague terms as "verbal" and "psychological" abuse. One attorney routinely asks her clients, "How did this [the husband's behavior] make you feel?" Predictably, vagueness leads to subjectivity, rarely the best measure of another's guilt. Is "I'll kill you, bitch!," a curse, an expletive, a threat, or verbal abuse? Is a shoving match between father and son over the son's late hours an expression of loving concern, parental discipline, or abuse? No one knows for sure anymore.
Whatever its form, violence usually begets violence. Justice that doesn't contain some measure of restraint, fairness, common sense, and compassion isn't justice at all, [it's] just another form of abuse. Protection orders aren't the only weapon in the war against domestic violence. Lawyers, judges, and advocates have a wide range of options at their disposal, from criminal law at one end of the spectrum to counseling and mediation at the other. They need only set aside their predilections, prejudices, and political agendas and choose the legal weapon best suited for the circumstances.
Gerald McOscar is an attorney in
West Chester, Pennsylvania.
The Men of the Titanic Disaster: Before we became re-educated about the role of men, before we learned that men are oppressors and brutes, was there discrimination against women?
[full story at <http://www.anesi.com/titanic.htm>
This text box was not part of the original
Titanic Disaster - Casualties
Total on Board
See also the similar story about The Wreck of the Birkenhead (printer-friendly version MS Word doc.)]
....Finally, Max Schindler of NBC raised his glass. "We'd like to apologize for the women who have forgotten," he said.
Then the floodlights were turned off, the limousines departed, and there was only the night, the monument [honouring the men of the Titanic, "lest we forget"] and the Washington Channel lighted with stars.
From First-Class Tribute to Men of Titanic
By Ken Ringle, Washington Post
|Secretary of State Status of Women Ottawa, DEC 17 1997 |
Mr. Walter H. Schneider
P.O. Box 62
Dear Mr. Schneider:
Thank you for your electronic message expressing your concerns about domestic violence. I share your view that the government has a responsibility to treat all members of society in a fair and compassionate manner.
With respect to assaults that occur in a family environment, the criminal justice system treats such assaults in the same manner as those committed outside the home. Police are required to respond to all reports of wife or husband assault, but will not make an arrest unless there are sufficient grounds to believe that the assault actually took place.
Women make up a particularly small share of the adults charged with violent crimes. Data collected by Statistics Canada in 1993 show that only 11 per cent of adults charged with violent crimes were women. In 1996, of all spousal homicides, 25 per cent were perpetrated by women against their husbands, common-law partners or former partners, while women represented three-quarters of all spousal victims. Six out of ten of these women had previously reported incidents of spousal abuse to the police.
Studies have shown that a number of factors contribute to women facing a greater proportion of spousal violence than men. The traditional power imbalance that exists in many marriages puts women in a vulnerable position and makes them dependent upon their husbands for status and financial security. Abusive men take advantage of this dependency and women's smaller physical size to exert control over their spouses through the use of violence. In addition, their lower economic status and, for many, responsibility as primary caregiver to their children, mean women often face great barriers to escaping abusive relationships.
Studies also show that violence perpetrated by men and women often follows different patterns. There is growing evidence that many of the women who kill their domestic partners do so only after suffering years of physical and emotional abuse. In contrast, men who kill their spouses frequently do so as a final act of extreme violence, after subjecting the women to a long period of increasingly violent attacks.
Since men's and women's experiences of domestic violence differ in frequency, cause, and effect, different approaches are required. However, as stated above, all assaults are prohibited by the Criminal Code, regardless of the perpetrator's gender.
By addressing the underlying causes of crime and promoting crime prevention, we are working to make Canada a safer place. In partnership with other governments, the private sector, and voluntary groups, the government seeks to implement a number of crime prevention strategies, with a particular emphasis on diverting young people from criminal activity. Accordingly, the federal government recently announced it will increase funding for community-based crime prevention initiatives to $30 million per year.
Thank you, again, for bringing your concerns to my attention. I will keep them in mind during relevant discussions with my colleagues.
The Honourable Hedy Fry, P.C., M.P.
Here is my reply to that letter. -WHS
Walter H. Schneider 97 12 27
P.O. Box 62
Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada
The Hon. / L'hon. Hedy Fry, (Lib.)
Vancouver Centre, British Columbia, P.C., M.P. / C.P., d—put—e
Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)
Secr—taire d'—tat (Multiculturalisme) (Situation de la femme)
House of Commons
Dear Ms. Fry:
Please accept my sincere thanks for responding to my E-Mail message Domestic Violence-A Different View, dated 1997 11 10. It would be too much to expect that your views would agree with those expressed by the reputable sociologists and advocates who were cited in my E-Mail message, after all, you do have the reputation of being an ardent feminist. However, I would like to provide comments with respect to some of the points you raised in your response dated 1997 12 17. I'll respond to your comments in the sequence in which you made them.
You stated: "With respect to assaults that occur in a family environment, the criminal justice system treats such assaults in the same manner as those committed outside the home. Police are required to respond to all reports of wife or husband assault, but will not make an arrest unless there are sufficient grounds to believe that the assault actually took place."
The following quotation is from "FAMILY VIOLENCE, A GUIDE FOR POLICE OFFICERS" by the Alberta Solicitor General:
The needs of the victim at the time of crisis are:
a. A prompt response from the police.
b. For the police to take charge of the situation.
c. For the police to recognize her as a victim, to listen to her and to understand why she is so upset. Remember it is very difficult for her to disclose the abuse.
d. For the police to provide emotional support and demonstrate a caring attitude. She needs to be reassured that she did the right thing by calling the police.
e. For the police to protect her from the abuser.
f. Assistance in getting medical attention, if necessary.
g. If she chooses to leave the residence, she may need assistance in arranging for transportation to a safe place.
h. To stand by while she gathers her children and necessary personal belongings.
i. To inform her about services in the community to help her.
j. To advise her of what will happen as a result of the complaint, i.e., what the next step will be:
- if a charge is laid, to explain its implications and what will be expected of her as a result
- if no charge is laid, to explain why and to outline alternative actions she may take.
k. To inform her about other legal remedies, i.e., restraining orders, peace bonds.
l. To make available the services of a professional crisis worker (where applicable) so appropriate follow up referral can be made. [My emphasis added -WHS]
Similar or identical guides are in place and used by police forces in all regions of Canada. The mind-set of our criminal justice system is such that there is no room anymore for presumption of innocence until guilt is proven. Abuse allegations leveled against men have become the weapon of choice in divorce strategies. Please consider that these guides apply at the initial stages of the judicial process, when allegations of abuse are made. For all too many men, what follows after that is an inexorable road to destruction, at every step of the way of the process right up to sentencing, a road fraught with judicial bias. No wonder that for every incarcerated woman in our prisons there are 100 imprisoned men.
You stated: "Women make up a particularly small share of the adults charged with violent crimes."
As Patricia Pearson pointed out in her book "When She Was BAD Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence":
| The consequences of our refusal to concede female contributions to violence are manifold. It affects our capacity to promote ourselves as autonomous and responsible beings. It affects our ability to develop a literature about ourselves that encompasses the full array of human emotion and experience. It demeans the right our victims have to be valued. And it radically impedes our ability to recognize dimensions of power that have nothing to do with formal structures of patriarchy. Perhaps above all, the denial of women's aggression profoundly undermines our attempt as a culture to understand violence, to trace its causes and to quell them. [p. 243]|
You stated: "Studies have shown that a number of factors contribute to women facing a greater proportion of spousal violence than men." and "Studies also show that violence perpetrated by men and women often follows different patterns."
Both these preceding comments by you and the statements that you made in their context are in direct contradiction to the information provided in the studies by the sociological researchers that were quoted in my message to you. To settle the discrepancies between your beliefs and the facts discovered in more than 30 studies done by reputable researchers in Canada and the US, please be so kind and indicate the studies which led you to the beliefs that you expressed. Where can copies of the studies on which your beliefs are based be obtained?
[As of Oct 20, 2002, Ms. Hedy Fry, although she responded to this letter by stating that she thanks me for my views and will take them "under advisement," has not found the time to provide an answer to the question posed: "Where can copies of the studies on which your beliefs are based be obtained?" It must be confirmation that such studies are difficult or impossible to find. --WHS]
You stated: "Since men's and women's experiences of domestic violence differ in frequency, cause, and effect, different approaches are required. However, as stated above, all assaults are prohibited by the Criminal Code, regardless of the perpetrator's gender."
The first sentence in that paragraph indicates the need to address the needs of victims differently on the basis of the victims' gender. That's the crux of the matter. It explains the preoccupation with women as victims, but it doesn't explain why they deserve to have a different status, nor does it explain why children as victimsthe majority of whom are being abused by their biological mothersare not mentioned in your response. That is strange, in view of the fact that the circumstances of child abuse were definitely featured in my original message.
In view of the fact that our laws prohibit all assaults and that the proclivity of women to be violent is being downplayed, the second sentence in the paragraph has a hollow sound. If these statements trouble you, I would like to bring to mind the respective fates of Mr. Latimer in Saskatchewan, who was charged with murder in the death of his daughter and Ms. Danielle Blais in Montreal, who was charged with manslaughter in the murder of her son. [details of those cases and their consequences]
The difference in the genders of the victims-both identically afflicted with cerebral palsy-must thus have had an impact on the charges laid, the sentences pronounced against the murderers and the time to be served. As is usual with female perpetrators of crimes, Ms. Blais' case received little mention in the media and she is not required to serve a single day of her suspended sentence. Mr. Latimer's name became a household word in Canada. He will be required to serve a minimum of one year with a further year of house arrest.
How much of the difference in the sentences was due to the gender of the victims and how much due to the gender of the perpetrators? If you feel that two comparable cases don't provide sufficient evidence of gender bias in Canadian jurisprudence, I'll be willing to provide a considerably larger number of similar instances of comparisons that show gender bias and preferential treatment of women, to let them get off lightly or not even be charged for the committing of violent acts against members of their families, the majority of whom were children.
You stated: "By addressing the underlying causes of crime and promoting crime prevention, we are working to make Canada a safer place. In partnership with other governments, the private sector, and voluntary groups, the government seeks to implement a number of crime prevention strategies, with a particular emphasis on diverting young people from criminal activity."
Those statements will do little to put the minds of Canadians at rest with respect to the problem of domestic violence. After all, thirty years of emphasizing "women's plight" has only brought about the destruction of our families and an enormous escalation of violence in our society. The governments demonstrate that they are incapable of providing the benevolent influence that families had and that did so much to civilize us. I suggest that the establishment of an office similar to yours, called "Secretary of State Status of Families and Children" would do much to permit the finding of required solutions.
You stated: "Accordingly, the federal government recently announced it will increase funding for community-based crime prevention initiatives to $30 million per year."
Few will join you in your optimism that this amount of money is more than trivial in view of the fact that not even the transfer of $7.8 billion per year is doing much to solve the problem of the destruction of the social fabric of the 350,000 indigenous Canadians-their families. If $20,000 per year for each man, woman and child can't save our natives, how can we expect that $1 for each of the remaining men, women and children will have any impact at all? If you are truly concerned about the problem of violence in our society, re-establish some of the strength that our families once had in preventing it, and please, make all equal before the law.
[Signed: Walter H. Schneider]
Cc: MPs, Senators, Internet
[As of 2005 01 07, I had not yet received a response to my request for substantiation to Hedy Fry's claim with regard to the propensity of men to commit violence against women. -WHS]
Domestic Violence Quandary
Debate rages over increasing arrests of women in abuse cases
By Mareva Brown
SCRIPPS-MACLATCHY NEWS SERVICE
Published 7 December 1997 in the Contra Costa Times.
the cyber "Contra Costa Times."
SACRAMENTO (USA) - When Roseville police arrived at the home three weeks ago, they found the wife in her T-shirt and boxer short pajamas, splattered with dish soap.
She said her husband had slapped her and thrown kitchen counter items at her-including a now-broken glass soap dish that had cut her finger. He said she was the one who got violent and threw the dish at him. He also showed officers red marks on his shoulder and arm left by a meat tenderizer hammer. He weighed 170 pounds. She weighed 110 and walked with a cane. Her 19-year-old son told officers she had been physically abused by her husband for 10 years. Police arrested the husband. But they also arrested the wifecharging both with spousal abuse, and leaving it to a prosecutor to decide which one was at fault.
Their situation, which remains unresolved in court, is at the heart of an ongoing debate. On one side are advocates who maintain that most women arrested in such cases really are victims. On the other side are police and prosecutors who say it can be impossible to decide in the heat of an argument who is the true aggressor. They believe few women are arrested without cause.
In recent years, while advocates have cried for stronger action against male abusers, arrests of women have skyrocketed. Between 1991 and 1996, arrests of women in California climbed 156 percent-from 3,359 to 8,609-while the arrests of men rose 21 percent - from 42,318 to 51,219.
The executive director of Women Escaping A Violent Environment, or WEAVE, in Sacramento fears that in the frenzy to fix the problem, battered women are being abused by the system as well. "Women are being arrested for self-defense," said Gail Jones. "It is being associated with co-combat. Any evidence that a woman has committed any kind of a physical act is frequently resulting in her arrest." But for police, the situation poses a quandary. From the time they are rookies, law enforcement officers are taught that domestic violence calls are the riskiest they will face. Emotions are high, alcohol is often involved and safety is an officer's primary concern.
According to a report issued by the state Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, more than one-quarter of California's 31 officer deaths during the first half of this decade came during domestic violence calls. "It isn't that they want to arrest both parties," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Lt. Jean Schlenker. "But (sometimes) it's hard to determine who is the responsible party. They both have injuries, they're both yelling and screaming at each other."
Faced with the potential for continued violence and a law that requires officers to arrest domestic batterers, many officers were arresting both halves and leaving a prosecutor to figure out whom to charge. Last year, in an attempt to stop that kind of roundup, lawmakers passed a law requiring officers to seek out the "primary aggressor" for arrest. But according to one advocate in Yolo County, many officers still are unwilling to make a decision at the scene. Victims also complain their abusers have become much more legally savvy and are demanding their partners be arrested as well.
When evidence is ambiguous, said Jean Jordan, executive director of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center in Woodland, officers won't push to find a main aggressor. "I'm sure a lot of these arrests are just pure frustration," she said. "They don't have the time or the resources to determine who's at fault, so the easiest thing to do is to hook them both up and let the court sort it out."
Sacramento's lead domestic abuse prosecutor, Kate Killeen, said she believes few women are arrested in error. Her statistics show that mutual arrests for domestic abuse have been dropping since the new law was enacted in January 1996. Still, there is evidence that women are abusing their mates. In the first 11 months of this year, 403 women were arrested on domestic abuse charges-about one-seventh the number of men. Killeen said men who have been arrested previously are now pushing for the prosecution of their wives and girlfriends. "Men are more willing to report abuse," she said. "And the public is more willing to report on behalf of other people."
At least one law enforcement officer believes that a practice that once allowed street officers discretion to handle family arguments may have worked in favor of women because some officers tended to avoid arresting them. "Now, cops have to make a decision," said Sgt. Nick Calnon, one of two specialized domestic violence detectives in the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. "Just because the kids will be motherless is not enough reason not to arrest her."
And there is little dispute, even among victims' advocates, that women can become aggressive and violent without having been victimized. National surveys indicate that roughly 10 percent of domestic disputes involve women as aggressors. But in Sacramento-where more than 15 percent of arrestees were women last year-and in surrounding areas, advocates believe many battered women are unjustly treated as perpetrators.
Jordan in Yolo County said that some of the women she sees convicted of battery appear to be victims of restrictive and controlled relationships who have acted out physically either in defense or out of frustration. "Our officers are doing a better job of investigating," said Lt. Schlenker in Sacramento. "But you can't always get away from (dual arrest). There are times when you have to take them both."
Edition: WCT, Section: A, Page: 19.
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by Peter Worthington
The Ottawa Sun,
Tuesday, January 31, 1995, Page 11
Before Christmas, Robert Fulford had an excellent column in the Globe and Mail showing the oft-repeated statistic that "47% of all women will be raped in their lifetimes" was hogwash. Now journalist Betsy Hart, in the new Women's Quarterly, published in the U.S. (whose editor, coincidentally, is my daughter) takes issue with the claims of women's advocacy groups that "six out of 10 married couples have experienced violence," and with themes such as Gloria Steinem's that "the most dangerous situation for a woman is ... a husband or lover in the isolation of their own home."
Hart was provoked when the U.S. Congress allocated $1.5 billion of its $30 billion crime bill to combat violence against women. (The Violence Against Women Act) in the form of hotlines, research studies, "sensitivity training", educational programs for everyone from judges to school children, assorted shelters, publications and such. She says most of the $1.5 billion will go to advocacy groups such as the Battered Women's Justice Project, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Resource Centre on Child Custody, Health Resource Centre on Domestic Violence, and such.
Hart and others (including me) don't deny that violence against women, in the home or out, is a problem. Clearly, violent and abusive people shouldn't get away with it. But Hart feels the $1.5 billion ($2 billion Canadian) will do little to curb violence against women because "These groups view violence against women not as a criminal problem but as an ideological one." She quotes a Battered Women's Justice specialist saying violence against women is a "societal problem" based on power and control, and part of the cultural development of male children.
Contrary to advocacy groups which insist that violence against women is widespread and "the majority of victims never tell" (Hart raises the valid question how does anyone know then, if victims won't tell?), the latest National Crime Victimization Survey issued by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics puts the issue in a different perspective. It says sexual assaults actually declined 20% in 1993 from 1992, and that women are 40% less likely than men to be victims of violent crime.
Contrary to mythology, husbands account for only 2% of attacks on women; lovers, ex-husbands and husbands combined account for 18% of violence against women. In fact, 44% of violent crimes against women are committed by strangers.
Contrary to militant feminist orthodoxy, marriage is a "safe haven" for women-a married woman is 5 times less likely to be attacked than a single, separated or divorced woman, and 10 times less likely to be raped. (Statistically, widows are safest of all).
Hart concludes: "There is probably not one woman in America who will be safer" because of Congress' allocation of $1.5 billion-none of which is likely to be spent on increasing police forces, prisons, jailing repeat offenders. She quotes a Ford Foundation study that shows 50% of known batterers have histories of criminal violence.
Even those who oppose the crime bill daren't speak out against the funding of women's advocacy groups which have become as effective at lobbying as farmers, auto workers, gun advocates or any of the "good ol' boys lobbies."
All politicians (especially Republicans) are fearful of being branded anti-women. They are intimidated by anything labeled "women's rights" or "women's issues" and will pass them automatically, irrespective of merits.
"The Violence Against Women Act will do nothing to protect women from crime," says Hart. "It will, though, perpetuate false information, waste money and urge vulnerable women to mistrust all men."
But, adds the iconoclastic Women's Quarterly, women in America are not taking violent crime lying down -- they are participating in it more than ever. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports show that in the decade between 1983 and 1992, women over 18 arrested for violent crimes rose 73%, while those under 18 rose by 83%. Arrests for forcible rape by women over 18 rose by 46%, under 18 by 91%.
For "offenses against family and children" the increase in arrests for women over 18 rose by over 235%, which provokes Women's Quarterly to the comment: "Warning to kids: Don't be too insistent the next time you want to watch -Mighty Morphin Power Rangers- when mom's crabby and Oprah is on."
What's true of America, is usually reflected in Canada, where the women's advocacy network extends its tentacles. Now that the likes of Fulford have found the courage to challenge the accuracy of horror statistics on violence to women, perhaps the mainstream media will find the nerve to raise an eyebrow and question rather than regurgitate sensational statistics that defy common sense and have little substance.
Meanwhile, funding of these groups continues.
Worthington is the Sun's editor emeritus