hidden half of domestic violence
to have eternal life
Shelters for battered
demonstrated quite clearly and convincingly the need for shelters (refuges in
the UK) for battered women when she opened the first one in the world in 1971
in Chiswick, London, England. Pizzey's efforts led to worldwide recognition
and such shelters now exist in most of the civilized world.
Clearly the need for such shelters is as great
today as it was in 1971. But human problems are never simple and Erin quickly
recognized that "...62 women out of the first hundred women who came to the
refuge were as violent or more violent than the men they left. Also many were
prostitutes taking refuge from their violent pimps." She further noted
that such violent women abuse their children as well. And such problems
In some communities, good intentions, and most
are, are simply not up to the management demands of running a shelter. In too
many others, however, there is a a long history of financial disarray, weak
accountability or outright fraud, criminal charges, lawsuits, mass
resignations, sexual politics, and vicious infighting that have plagued crisis
centers and battered women's shelters.
Laframboise has documented cases of such
abuses in shelters across Canada. We have now found stories of similar abuses
of the public trust in
California, and Arizona as well.
While the need for women's shelters remains, and
is clearly recognized, the need for reform and public scrutiny of the
operation of these refuges is essential. Such scrutiny must be free of
feminist ideology and based on the clearly defined requirements of abused
women. Today, many abused women cannot find lodging in the existing shelters
because the available accommodations are filled by women who are only there
while they get a divorce, are illegal immigrants, are hiding out from the law,
or other uses for which these shelters were not designed or funded. We also
hear from women who are denied residence because they won't consent to
required secrecy agreements, or are driven out by men-hating ideologues within
Such abuses, if uncurbed, undermine the public
trust and willingness to support these needed facilities.
Clearly, the support and operation of shelters for
battered women are both necessary and of broad concern to our society.
Therefore, the information we have has been moved from the Colorado-centric
Against Men site to the parent
Foundation site with the hope that systemic
abuses can be curbed and these shelters operated in the fashion
Demographics of domestic
violence in Colorado
In examining any human problem one of the
fundamental tools available is the demographic distribution of parameters
associated with the society and the perceived problem.
For some years now I have been collecting
demographic data produced by the Colorado courts, the Colorado Bureau of
Investigation, and the Colorado Springs Police Department. As an aside,
Colorado Springs was one of the seven cities where mandatory arrest for
domestic violence was tested between 1991 and 1993.
Unfortunately, I've been presenting the
demographic data, which has been collected piecemeal, as rather a hodgepodge
of tablesm and in a rather scattered fashion, throughout the
DV against men
site. I've now organized the data into a
with the court data presented by individual years. We currently have eight
years of incident data for the police agencies of Colorado and five years of
demographic data for the courts. The data encompass a population of roughly 4
Also, thirteen years, 1990-2002, of
from Colorado Springs is reviewed. That data
dramatically show the deterrent effect DV laws have, not on the crime, but on
citizens in need of help, who now fear the police more than they do their
partners. As the following bar chart clearly shows, after passage of the 1994
DV laws in Colorado, the number of 911 DV calls dropped radically (red bars).
In 2002 there were the same number of 911 domestic disturbance calls to CSPD
as in 1990 despite more than a 30% increase in population. As the yellow line
shows, all other 911 calls increased linearly and in proportion to the
increase in the Colorado Springs population (data included in
mandatory arrest, "no drop," and the panoply of draconian domestic violence
and abuse laws do not serve to protect women but only to deter those most
familiar with them from calling for help.
Having waded laboriously through a mass of
statistics, what else have we learned? For the years during which consistent
DV data are available, currently 1995 to 2002 for Colorado Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) police data, and 1999 through 2002 for court data, the
following trends are clear:
* The number of domestic violence incidents reported by
police agencies is clearly declining on a per capita basis (Table
* Inexplicably, the number of court cases for domestic
violence is increasing both in total number and on a per capita basis (Table
* There are consistently more than twice as many court
cases of domestic violence than DV incidents reported to police in Colorado (Table
* The number of civil and criminal DV restraining orders
has increased from 62 per 10,000 citizens in 1998 to 74 in 2002 (Table
17). There is no basis in police reports for
such an increase.
* The draconian police response mandated by the 1994 DV
laws primarily acts to deter citizens from calling 911 (Table
* The mandatory arrest law is a failure. By 2010 arrest
rates for domestic violence will be indistinguishable from pre-1994 rates (Table
* Only about one half of the police incidents of
"domestic" violence involve couples living together.
* Males have been the victim in 21-22% of the DV
incidents reported to police in Colorado since 1999 (Table
* Available data show no correlation between high rates
of DV court cases and divorce cases.
* False allegations and perjury are virtually never
* There is no consistent correlation between other
problems in the society, e.g., offenses such as theft, harassment, fraud, drug
use, and underage alcohol use, and domestic violence in most judicial
* The finding by
Dugan (2003, p. 299),
based on National Crime Victimization Survey data, that 0.5% of households
suffer an incident of criminal domestic violence in a given year correlates
well with the number of incidents reported to police in Colorado (Table
Table 25). Conversely, court data do not
correlate with either the police data or the NCVS estimates.
* Violence against women in a domestic relationship,
i.e., married or common law, is quite rare. CBI data show about 2,900 married
women a year in all of Colorado are reportedly victims of "domestic"
violence. With approximately 475,00 married women currently living in Colorado
at most 0.6% are in any danger from domestic violence, and for 80% of these
cases the peril is limited to simple assault. However, the actual number of DV
assaults of married women is much lower than 2,900. It is known that a
substantial number of such incidents reported to police are false allegations.
Thus, current laws, police practices, and court policies neither deter
offenders, protect victims, or fix the problem of family violence, but quite
clearly deter citizens from calling 911 in a domestic disturbance.
It should be self evident that if a law is passed and the problem appears
to become worse then the law is not the solution. The law and courts are
however, part of the problem as available data clearly show.
Clearly the justice system is far more of a threat
to a family and their children than is their partner.
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.
The Equal Justice Foundation is a
member-supported, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
Contributions are tax deductible and
can be made on the Web at http://www.ejfi.org/Join.htm
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.
President, Equal Justice Foundation http://www.ejfi.org/
455 Bear Creek Road
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906-5820
Telephone: (719) 520-1089
Domestic violence against men: http://www.dvmen.org
Personal home page: http://corry.ws
Curriculum vitae: http://www.marquiswhoswho.net/charleselmocorry/Default.aspx
The good men may do
separately is small compared with what they may do collectively.
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is Domestic Violence Against Men Awareness Month