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Letter to Honorable John Ashcroft, US Attorney General

Re: VAWA and Domestic Violence Against Men and Children

> From: "Robert A. Fink, M. D." <rafink@attglobal.net
> To: weissrl@vetmed.auburn.edu
> Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 12:10:15 -0700
> Subject: Ashcroft
> Reply-to: rafink@attglobal.net
> Priority: normal
> X-mailer: Pegasus Mail for Win32 (v3.12b)
> X-MIME-Autoconverted: from Quoted-printable to 8bit by
> snoopy.vetmed.auburn.edu id OAA16979
> Richard,
> Please post to the Lists:

April 9, 2001


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. Fiebert, Ph.D.]

> ==================================
> Best,
> Bob
> **********************************************
> Robert A. Fink, M. D., F.A.C.S., P. C.
> 2500 Milvia Street Suite 222
> Berkeley, California 94704-2636
> Telephone: 510-849-2555 FAX: 510-849-2557
> WWW: http://www.rafink.com/
> rafink@attglobal.net
> "Ex Tristitia Virtus"

See also:

Posted 2001 04 09
2013 03 08 (removed reference to dvstats.org -- website no longer functions)