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The hidden half of domestic violence

How to have eternal life


Philip Cook talks about it.

From the Oregonian newspaper:
http://www.oregonlive.com/oped/index.ssf?/oped/00/11/ed_71cook04.frame
Violence against men also deserves society's attention
Congressional act does a disservice when it limits funding
for programs only to women
Saturday, November 4, 2000
IN MY OPINION Philip W. Cook
With the unanimous support of the Oregon congressional
delegation, Congress has approved spending $3.3 billion to
combat domestic violence -- but only against women.
Proponents of the Violence Against Women Act contend
that this discrimination doesn't matter because a majority
of victims are women. One wonders how this view might sit
with civil libertarians if it was African Americans or Jews,
for example, who were denied government services
because they're a minority.
In fact, a large number of domestic violence victims are
men: A national survey financed by the act put the figure at
35 percent. The lead researcher, Patricia Tjaden of the
Center for Policy Study in Colorado, called that "a
significant number." The study, she said, "should not be
taken to mean there should be no concern or resources for
them."
Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., has responded to inquiries about
the act's shaky constitutional ground by contending that
there is legally "exceedingly persuasive justification" for a
gender-biased law, because there are more women
victims. The U.S. Supreme Court however, has decided on
only one aspect of VAWA, throwing out the portion that
would have allowed suits in civil court. Arguments that it
violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution
have yet to be heard.
Wu also believes that it is the intent of Congress that
funding can be used to provide services to men. The
Department of Justice, which administers the act,
apparently hasn't gotten the message. According to Linda
Mansour, a Justice Department spokeswoman, "This is the
Violence Against Women Act. We cannot fund the men's
groups." A number of applications seeking funding for male
victims have been denied.
It is not just the federal government however, that wants to
ignore services for men. The Portland YMCA says it isn't
interested in establishing a domestic violence program for
male victims similar to the YWCA effort for women.
Chemeketa Community College in Salem has sponsored
Oregon's largest domestic violence conference each year,
but experts on male victimization simply aren't invited.
It may have made more sense in the past to ignore male
victims, because of an imbalance of economic power that
kept many women tied to their abusers. Things have
changed, however; one-third of married women now earn
more than their husbands. Given that abused men face a
greater likelihood of losing contact with their children, and
when one considers that there are no crisis lines, shelters
or other services specifically for abused men, the inhibitors
against leaving a violent home life are at least fairly equal.
Abused men may have an even tougher time leaving
because they face a level of ridicule and lack of sympathy
that women most often do not.
Due to a lack of public education about the complexity of
domestic violence -- half the time it involves mutual combat
-- a lot of people have difficulty believing that a man can be
abused in the same manner a woman can. The facts tell
us, however, that women frequently make up for size and
weight differences by attacking with objects and weapons.
With the support of the Oregon congressional delegation,
the federal government has acted to ignore the full reality of
domestic violence. Oregonians should tell their
representatives in Congress that they do care about half
the population and that discrimination on any basis is
wrong.
Philip W. Cook of Tualatin is the author of Abused Men:
The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence." His Web site is:
www.abusedmen.com.
------------------------------------
Support your local Fathers Organization.
Jeff Edwards
jedwards@peak.org

 

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