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January 05, 2006

Comments

Russell

Richard, thank you for proving my point...

Richard Bennett

Any time, dude. There is no doubt that many women who still call themselves "feminists" for historical reasons support fathers' rights because to do so is completely consistent with their belief in equality. One good example is Erin Pizzey, the founder of Chiswick Women's Aid, the oldest shelter for battered women still in existence, and a strong advocate for equal custody and access to shelters for battered men and boys. But as soon as you leave the realm of the individual and enter that of the organizational, "feminist" support for equality utterly vanishes and you're met with a special interest lobby no different in its goals and organization from tobacco or Indian gaming. When I was in the lobbying game, I used to work with the women's groups on issues where we had common goals, such as the organization of the child support collection system. And in fact I was notorious for reaching out in this way, often criticized by my peers for doing so. But I was interested in results, and would work with anybody who was on the same page. I never found any interest in the women's shelter lobby for opening up shelter facilities to men or for modifying the curriculum in offender treatment programs to make it conform to the actual clinical understanding of violent families. Most of us know, and the research confirms, that most partner violence is dance that goes in both directions. So you can't reduce partner violence until you work with both parties on changing "button-pushing" on the one hand and over-reaction on the other. The shelters want to continue pushing the line that violence is the sole responsibility of men in most cases, and never the responsibility of women except in lesbian violence, and even then it's because one partner is "acting like a man". This lobby is not going to be reformed, it can only be abolished. That's why I said you're naive.

Russell

"This lobby is not going to be reformed, it can only be abolished".

You reap what you sow, I guess. If in order to not be naive means one has to see/experience this issue in the either/or way that you seem to, than I wear my naivete proudly. Good luck and good night.

Will

Mythago:

I can assure you that people are locked up due to protective orders all the time.

To others some questions from someone who admittedly has not read the statute:

1. hy have a Violence Against Women statute at all? Can someone please explain that? It appears that by advocating for stopping violence against everyone, the Violence Against Women defender here feel like someone is "anti-female".

2.If you dont want violence against anyone, that necessarily includes women, doesnt it?

3. If you oppose gender neutral laws against violence, why? What about including being against violence against men hurt women?

bmmg39

Arwen: "For crying out loud, I know that female to male abuse happens."

I know you do.

"I grew up with it; read my post."

I did.

"If you believe that the main problem is women, then I as a woman, can't help you."

The main problem is NOT "women." Women as a group are not my enemy. Those who continue to discriminate against battered men ARE my enemy -- and I'm not singling out any one person in present company. Anyone here may be in that group, or may NOT be. Not everything I write here is done to antagonize someone else; I'm not sure why my post is being considered an attack.

"Also, someone who almost kills his or her partner is creating more hurt than someone who slaps his or her partner; petty crime vs. grand theft."

Yes, this is what I meant when I said we should compare a slap with a slap, a punch with a punch, et cetera. I'm not comparing a woman shoving her husband back two paces with a man who chokes his wife to death. I'm trying to compare apples to apples, while pointing out that size and strength shouldn't have much impact on how we treat the attack, or else we're only punishing the stronger, bigger person for being stronger and bigger.

Happy: "In my jurisdiction, officers are definitely not taught to automatically arrest the man."

HF, in our months of becoming online acquaintances/friends, I never learned what in part of the country you live, and I don't need you to tell me. I didn't say that ALL police departments are trained in a biased way; in fact, when I've been published in newspapers on this issue I point out that many PDs, courtrooms, and DV shelters are fair and neutral, but that there are still far too many that aren't. One of my allies wrote that, on the show COPS, two police officers sat comfortably in their car while an out-of-control woman screamed at, clawed at, and beat a man about the arms and chest. The officers sat in their car and laughed. When the man finally pushed her away, they darted out of the car and wrestled him to the ground. This was on television: how many people saw this and took note of the disparity? How many came away with the idea that men's victimhood will not be taken seriously?

Arwen: "(My sister's rapist pled guilty and got 1 week in prison. And she was 10. So my sympathy is slight for the false reportage side.)"

My sincere sympathy and support to you and your sister. A week is an absolute joke. But I caution you against taking your anger against an actual rapist and jumping to the conclusion that false accusations of rape are non-existent or extremely rare. Actual rape and the false reports thereof are two huge problems.

"I just saw John Irving on the Daily Show discussing his sexual abuse at the age of 10 by an older woman; people hollered like he'd just said he'd won the lottery."

I'm with you; those people should be ashamed of themselves. They just don't get it. If Amy Tan had been on the show and said she was sexually abused by a man when she was ten, I doubt anyone would cheer for her "good luck." Was their reaction addressed on the air?

bmmg39
Men's Rights = Women's Rights = Human Rights

alexander

"You cannot possess firearms."

A violation of constitutional rights, by the way. Interesting how feminists promote such legislation which violate civil rights, the 2nd Amendment being just as much a civil right as voting.

One simply needs only utter the phrase "protecting women" and the Constitution goes out the window. A clear example of how feminism is anti-civil liberties.

The Happy Feminist

Alexander, do you seriously believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an absolute right for every individual American to bear arms even if that American has been found by a court of law to pose a credible threat to someone else? That's ridiculous.

Since we have been talking on this thread about the reality of female violence towards men, let me ask you this: If a woman had repeatedly threatened your life, would you support her right to continue to own a gun?

The Gonzman

If you know of an actual incident where a person who was the subject of a restraining order walked into the same place as the person who filed the order, and the subject went to jail, I'd be eager to hear about it.

Two and a half years ago - give or take - a man I was counselling was served with a restraining order obtained ex-parte. Upon arriving home from work, he was arrested for violating an order that was never even served to him.

This violation, of course, was sufficient to extend it for six months.

A few months later, while on a picnic outing with his children, his daughter ran afoul of a hornet's nest and was stung a dozen or so times, where they went to the hospital. Thinking better of calling her, he called his mother and asked her to inform sweetums of the goings on. Upon returning that night, he was clapped in irons again - no contact, even through intermediaries, and all - he "should have" had the hospital call her.

Want more?

The Gonzman

"If this is a war between men and women..." is a new sentence with a new subject and predicate. If, then. It follows logically because those shelters that feminists fought for were mainly for WOMEN, which I thought was Gonzman's fucking point.<>/i>

My point was, Arwen, that I have been told to my face by feminists - and I have heard similar sentiments here within the past year - that "men need to go out, raise their own money, and build their own shelters."

You go ahead and fill in the blank as to what the logical consequence of that is.

The Gonzman

Dagnabbit. I hate when that happens.

mythago

One simply needs only utter the phrase "protecting women" and the Constitution goes out the window.

I'll have to try that in court sometime. I don't even do criminal law, but think of the possibilities!

"Counsel, if I deny this motion, I'll be affecting the defendant's due process rights."

"Your Honor, two words: Protecting Women."

"Denied!"

Gonzman, I'm not arguing that restraining orders are always correctly issued and never abused; it's just that my experience has been that for victims of abuse, the only point of a restraining order is to prove to the police to take it seriously. I'm glad to hear that police and court attitudes appear to be changing (though, of course, that doesn't justify abusing restraining orders).

mythago

and I have heard similar sentiments here within the past year - that "men need to go out, raise their own money, and build their own shelters."

Speaking as one of those people to whom you're probably alluding, Gonzman, I don't think (or at least, I hope) nobody is saying that funds for domestic violence ought only to go to women. What's frustrating is that element of the MRA movement that sees men's shelters as merely a club with which to beat feminists; they're not interested in actually raising some of the money needed to start and run those men's shelters, they're not volunteering to staff hot lines, they're not petitioning the government for grants. It's certainly fair to complain if a VAWA program only gives grants to shelters for women, and shuns shelters for men. It's not fair, IMO, for somebody who spends no money or time on domestic-violence issues to point to a group of volunteers running a shelter on a shoestring budget, and scold them because they haven't established a separate men's shelter, too.

Do you believe it would be fair to insist that a shelter for men fleeing abuse by women ought admit battered women? Would you be sympathetic to a 'feminist' group that never raised a dime for women's shelters, but demanded the men's group provide services to lesbians abused by their domestic partners?

bmmg39

"It's not fair, IMO, for somebody who spends no money or time on domestic-violence issues to point to a group of volunteers running a shelter on a shoestring budget, and scold them because they haven't established a separate men's shelter, too."

Speaking as someone who DOES contribute money AND time to DV issues, I'd say that the sticking point is that federal funding goes to female-only shelters, but men who look for such funding receive replies similar to the one Gonzman mentioned.

bmmg39

Arwen

bmmg and will: I think you folks and myself are not so far apart. In the optimal of all worlds, I absolutely agree that there shouldn't be any difference between the sentencing of male and female abusers.
Problem is, the most gender neutral statute on the books is worthless if the society around it refused to interpret it as neutral.

Your country was based on legally entrenched freedoms: yet, black people were owned as property because people chose not to see darker skinned people as people. That's the interpretation that needed to change, even though it was pretty legally and biologically self evident: black and white people can make babies together. Ipso Facto. Same species.

So sometimes, you DO have to reference the culture. For example, a female victim will never be called a "pussy" for getting the snot kicked out of her. "What, couldn't you take him?" Rather, she's going to be told she "asked for it."
A guy isn't going to be told he "asked for it", he's going to be called a "pussy".

Even if the law looks gender neutral, it won't be persecuted as such if men don't come forward, and when they come forward, no one takes them seriously. Sometimes, legislation that's specific to the larger cultural paradigm can help make that change over; sometimes, education (a la John Irving on Stewart), is what's necessary.

In terms of shelters: I really want to stress that women have been hearing all sorts of bullshit arguments against funding for shelters for many many years; there is hope for male shelters with continued work. Right now, shelters in my province are again being decimated. The weary work starts again. You're going to find exhaustion and sometimes defensiveness from any person who's worked for women's shelters because there's still not enough help to go around. It feels, sometimes, as if we're just barely mopping up the blood. If you're actually looking for *strategies*, then I think the the best place to start changing the culture of machismo that prevents understanding that crimes-against-men are possible. Funding will be impossible if no one thinks this sort of thing happens. Like the udder idiocy of enslaved black people in a free society, the idea is that men are people to whom domestic abuse doesn't happen.

Also, in terms of both my friend and I and our situations, shelters wouldn't have helped our male family members: more than anything, they needed to understand they weren't freaks. That doesn't mean there aren't men that need shelters - that means that you have to figure out who they are and where they are and do outreach and get some of them to come forward with stories; that requires a cultural shift, first. You need to find people who can tell their stories without feeding into the stereotypes: not fair, but true. That's been true for women victims of rape, and it's goddamn exhausting to be working in a culture that doesn't believe a particular crime happens. I think this is why I won't even entertain your false reportage of rape story: of COURSE women are freaked out that should male domestic abuse finally be recognized, false male reportage of female abusers is going to be out there. But when you're in a culture that legally and socially likes to pretend it never happens, I think false reportage is pretty low. The stigma is still very high for both rape-survivors and abused males to have a problem coping with their experiences. I'll tell you for sure that we have theoretical sympathy for the rape victim, but when the culture meets a woman who's claiming rape, the first reaction is still that she's-crazy-asked-for-it-had-second-thoughts-likes-rough-sex-consented-because-she-asked-him-to-wear-protection-did-something-that-made-her-vulnerable-was-too-flirty and on and on.

So goes the trenches.

will

Arwen:

I do not really have any issues with funding for women's shelters. In the United States, we have horrible lack of funding for many worthwhile "social" issues. The issue nearest to my heart is autism.

The last thing that I would ever want to do is to start bitching about someone else's funding.

My issue is a law that talks makes violence against women special implicitedly makes violence against men less important. Society's goal should be decreasing all violence.

Arwen

Will, again I agree with you in premise: I would love a society that's colourblind, and genderblind, and disabilitiesblind, etc. Except I don't think it culturally makes much of a difference. We're really entrenched on the men-should-control-their-bitches paradigm. Violence against women IS special, because there are special cultural factors which make "men" and "women" different. Violence against men (as committed by women) is ALSO special, for the same reason. I don't agree that at this time, in this culture, it's wrong to admit the truth of the matter - that abused men and women each have a different bag of hammers to cope with when dealing with their abuse.

I agree that violence against women bills don't put men on the radar, but neither will gender neutral bills. You see? Because female to male abuse is perceived as mythical as Santa Claus; or only being claimed by men who want another tool to control women; or only being claimed by pussy-whipped wimps who deserve what's comin' to em.

Arwen

Oh, Will, I just followed the link. The VAWA is about the funding of shelters and law enforcement training. So, I think you're probably actually okay with it. I also think the fact you're an autism activist provides a nice parallel: childhood disease is bad, and the goal is to have funding and research for all diseases - but autism and diabetes and CF etc., all need to do their own education and fundraising on some levels, since they've got different needs. The research that helps autism won't help CF, although they're both diseases.

will

arwen:

thanks for doing the work that I was too lazy to do. Remind me to send you some links for some research that I need to do next week. lol

alexander

Back in my youth when I supported the ERA it was on the grounds that there were no differences between men and women. But what the VAWA and its proponents are saying is that there are differences, differences so fundamental that women have to be "protected."

Now, the idea that women ought to be specially protected was once considered to be part of "sexism." Women in those days were weak and helpless and inevitably victims. Yet here we have feminists supporting this concept.

Remember when men were suppsoed to watch their language because ladies were present? We have that today squared with "sexual harassment" laws. What once was enforced by custom is now enforced by the secret police system.

The point is, it is feminists who are throwing in the towel on the idea that men and women are equal.

The Gonzman

Speaking as one of those people to whom you're probably alluding, Gonzman, I don't think (or at least, I hope) nobody is saying that funds for domestic violence ought only to go to women. What's frustrating is that element of the MRA movement that sees men's shelters as merely a club with which to beat feminists; they're not interested in actually raising some of the money needed to start and run those men's shelters, they're not volunteering to staff hot lines, they're not petitioning the government for grants. It's certainly fair to complain if a VAWA program only gives grants to shelters for women, and shuns shelters for men. It's not fair, IMO, for somebody who spends no money or time on domestic-violence issues to point to a group of volunteers running a shelter on a shoestring budget, and scold them because they haven't established a separate men's shelter, too.

Do you believe it would be fair to insist that a shelter for men fleeing abuse by women ought admit battered women? Would you be sympathetic to a 'feminist' group that never raised a dime for women's shelters, but demanded the men's group provide services to lesbians abused by their domestic partners?

Years ago, after my first divorce from an abusive woman, I tried to open just suc a men's shelter after the treatment I recieved. To make the long story short, I was pretty much run out of the town on a rail - I got dinged on every little thing, had zoning changed, contracters harassed, etc. - by a bunch of locals led primarily by feminists who were associated with the women's shelter in the area. "We diden NEED no steekin' MEN'S Shelter!" Cost me over $65,000. Down the tubes. And bankrupted me, too, for that matter.

Kind of hard to volunteer, etc, for something that isn't allowed to exist.

As for fair - there have been several men's colleges forced to admit women, even though they are ostensibly private, because those colleges accepted government money in the form of finanial aid, etc. These were laws passed and lawsuits filed, near and dear to feminists. So, you tell me.

mythago

So, you tell me.

Tell you what? That it's fair? Ostensibly private women's colleges must admit men under those same rulings.

I'm appalled that anyone would get in the way of a shelter for male victims of violence. I would hardly call the people who pulled that crap "feminist". (And of course funding for shelters should not go only to women's shelters.)

alexander, you keep making these weird claims, and I assume you have a point behind them, but the notion that there is some kind of 'secret police system' preventing men from swearing around women exists just makes you sound kind of out there. There's a difference between exaggerating for comic effect and paranoia.

The Gonzman

Okay, Myth - then here's the 64,000 question - if a place recieves a dime of federal funding then, should they - or should they not - provide equal access to equal services for all? And not the "Seperate but equal" BS that was ruled a no-no half a century ago?

And if that isn't feminist, where are the feminists talking it down? They are proclaiming themselves one of you. They are using your name. If that is not what you stand for, why aren't you going after your "trademark" to keep it from being misused?

Silence gives assent; if people are running around claiming to be feminists, and doing things in the name of feminism, and it isn't talked out, condemned, statements issued about a revocation of ovaries (Note: Metaphor) - what are people supposed to think but that "TYhat isn't what feminism stands for" is just words?

For all the talk I hear all over the place about how rotten it is for people to "erect strawpersons" about what feminism is, in a lot of cases its the lack of words and actions on by feminists that very legitimately allows people to interpret what is done in feminism's name as their true beliefs. And if your movement stands for all the things I heard it claim it stands for, that the most glaring failure of it is a long overduue and thorough housecleaning.

Xrlq

If it's any consolation, not all aspects of this horrible law treat men and women differently. The "what First Amendment" provision making it a crime to anonymously "annoy" people is equally bad for all.

But who cares about the details? All that matters is that it's called the Violence Against Women Act.

Ampersand
I see you've edited your comment since I replied to it, so I'll try and correct some more of your misunderstandings. I live in Frisco Bay Area, a part of California.

Funny, you told me you live here in Portland, Oregon, when we met at a Portland blogger's dinner last year. Have you moved since then?

Richard Bennett

Yes, I have. Why haven't you?

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