Honorable John Ashcroft
United States Attorney General
U. S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Ashcroft:
Today, I read an Internet posting of an article in the
Washington Times concerning your recent statements about asking Congress for an additional
$102.5 million for "programs to combat violence against women". This apparently
relates to the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
As you may know, the Federal Courts have declared portions of
this Act unconstitutional, because they systematically exclude from the benefits of the
act, aid to men or children. This is despite the fact that accepted, peer-reviewed medical
research reveals that, in this country, the incidence of male victims of domestic violence
is almost equal to that of women. "Pasted" into this letter is an abstract of
one of the early such research articles (which appeared in a prestigious medical journal
several years ago); and I am also enclosing a Bibliography, compiled by Professor Martin
Fiebert at the California State University, Long Beach, showing the huge body of
scientific literature amassed over the last ten years or so, showing that men are the
victims of domestic violence almost as frequently as are women. And yet, all of the
government money being appropriated for work in the area of domestic violence is not only
earmarked for women, but men and children are actually denied its benefits!
Domestic Violence in an Inner-City ED
Study objective: To determine the prevalence of domestic
violence (DV) for male and female ED patients and to determine the demographics of DV.
The study design was a descriptive written survey of adults.
We used the Index of Spouse Abuse (ISA), a previously validated survey tool. The study was
set in an inner-city ED with approximately 75,000 patients annually, most of them
indigent. Patients 18 years or older who were able to give consent were included. Patients
were excluded if they had a language barrier, were a prisoner, or had never had a partner.
All patients presenting during 31 randomly selected 4-hour shifts during July 1995 were
considered for the study. DV was defined as either physical or nonphysical on the basis of
ISA scoring. The prevalence was determined for present (in the preceding year) and past
(more than 1 year ago) abuse. Four violence parameters were calculated for patients who
had a partner at the time of presentation: present physical, present nonphysical, past
physical, and past nonphysical. Only the "past" parameters were calculated for
patients who had had a partner in the past but had no partner at the time of presentation.
We used the X2 test to determine individually significant
predictors of the four parameters. Logistic-regression models we[ e constructed to
determine the significant predictors of DV. Associations among the present physical,
present nonphysical, past physical, and past nonphysical abuse categories were determined
with McNemar's test.
We enrolled 516 patients, 233 men and 283 women. On the basis
of ISA scoring, 14% of men and 22% of women had experienced past nonphysical violence
(P--.02, men versus women), and 28% of men and 33% of women had experienced past physical
violence (P--.35). Of the 157 men and 207 women with partners at the time of presentation,
11 % of men and 15% of women reported present nonphysical violence (P--.20), and 20% men
and 19% of women reported present physical violence (P--.71). Using logistic-regression
models, we determined that women experienced significantly more past and present
nonphysical violence but not physical violence than men. For all four parameters, the
victim's suicidal ideation and alcohol use were independently associated with DV. The
victim's family history was strongly associated with past abuse. Using McNemar's test, we
found that physical and nonphysical abuse were correlated in the past and present.
Using a validated scale, we found that the prevalences of
physical DV for men and women are high and that they are not statistically different in
this population. Using X2 testing, we found that women had experienced
significantly more past nonphysical violence than men; using logistic regression we found
that they experienced significantly more nonphysical violence (both past and present)
than men. DV was frequently associated with suicidal ideation, alcohol use, and family
history of violence.
[Ernst AA, Nick TG, Weiss SJ, Houry D, Mills T. Domestic
violence in an inner-city ED. Ann Emerg MedAugust 1997;30;190-197.]
Please, before you fund additional activities under the VAWA
as it currently stands, take heed of the tens of thousands of men who are victimized in
domestic relationships; and who, under the present guidelines, are barred from the
benefits of this poorly-crafted law. VAWA discriminates against 50% of the population;
please do not add to this folly.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Very truly yours,
Robert A. Fink, M. D., F.A.C.S.
Enclosure [as per Martin S.