Men and Gender Neutral Domestic Violence versus Domestic Violence Policy
June 3, 2010
…Sometimes a situation isn’t as clear as some would like you to believe. Since the male perspective on domestic violence is rarely told and often suppressed, this article will examine anecdotal evidence to place the contemporary use and abuse of domestic violence in perspective. To paraphrase an African proverb: “The hunter will always be the hero until the lion gets his paws on the pen.”
When the incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna was made public, domestic violence advocates scurried to sign her up as their sensational star spokeswoman on domestic violence. Commercial venues like Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump assembled their star power to publicly renounce Chris Brown before allowing the legal process to take its course. Can you imagine being charged with a crime and turning on the television only to find that America’s most popular stars are discussing your case and implying that you are guilty? Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump are not attorneys and neither has fared well in the relationship department. When was the last time you heard Oprah or Trump discuss the intimate details of their personal lives? They don’t. If they did, you may not like them anymore. However, they have no problem exploiting the lives of others. Today, the domestic violence stigma is so powerful that once a person has been labeled an “abuser” he will suffer socially, economically, and enrage the ire of citizens in the public domain. The backlash from the “abuser” label is parallel to a form of per se violence. However, the longstanding application of domestic violence policy has been directed primarily toward men. Chris Brown provided America with a sobering word of wisdom and an implication that Rihanna was violent as well when he told Vibe Magazine: “It’s never okay for a man to hit a woman but it’s [also] never okay for a woman to hit a man[.]” Don’t be fooled into thinking that a man cannot be involved in a controlling relationship with a dominant woman who uses domestic violence policy to control the course of the relationship.
Unfortunately, domestic violence policy has historically been utilized to unfairly structure a one sided biased conversation against men. One must understand that when VAWA was enacted, men were not in the equation. They were merely an afterthought. If anyone has noticed, Jerry Springer makes millions of dollars based mostly on female violence. However, those violent behaviors are being passed off as entertainment, not crimes of domestic violence or assault. Has anyone ever heard of a single domestic violence advocate protesting the Jerry Springer show? What’s happening on the Jerry Springer show isn’t funny or entertaining! However, female violence seems to be the primary focus of the Jerry Springer show.
Every state in the Union has domestic violence laws. In fact, New York’s domestic violence laws are federally funded by grants awarded and distributed according to the provisions set out in the Violence Against Women Act (hereinafter “VAWA”). Unfortunately, the funding that is meant to provide services to domestic violence victims aren’t being distributed fairly. It’s a noted fact that men very rarely report incidents of domestic violence because they truly believe that no one will give credence to their accusation, or, they’ll be mocked for coming forward with criminal charges against a female who is presumed to be of the weaker sex. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a very small population of men making legitimate requests for services under VAWA either.
Sometime during the year of 2008, I had the privilege of interviewing a well spoken and very knowledgeable attorney from California on the subject of VAWA. Mr. Marc Angelucci is a nationally renowned attorney on issues involving the rights of men. In a case of first impression, Mr. Angelucci had proven that VAWA discriminates against men in the way it unfairly excludes VAWA funding and services to men in a case titled Woods v. Horton (which was initially titled Woods v. Shewry). Mr. Woods had an abusive wife and left the residence with his daughter and went to a shelter for safe keeping. Unfortunately, the shelter refused to allow him entry simply because of his male gender. This means that VAWA partially applies in the heterosexual relationship; however, it completely excludes males in gay relationships. The California Court of Appeal held that VAWA discriminates against men and ordered that victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender, must be provided with funding and services. In response to the Woods v. Horton decision, the California legislature later moved to amend its State law to make its domestic violence policies gender neutral. New York can learn from this model because there are no shelters for male victims of domestic violence in the State of New York either. More importantly, a gender neutral domestic violence policy makes more sense than the exclusive domestic violence policy currently in effect in most States. Dr. Molly Dragiewicz has compiled an interesting list of lawsuits with links to cases involving VAWA discrimination against men. If interested, Dr. Dragiewicz’s compilation of cases make great reading material.
Truth be told, there are two competing movements that have organized as a result of VAWA. One involves the teaching of misandry which is the hatred of males. And two, involves the teaching of misogyny which is the hatred of females. Both groups are suspect because domestic violence mostly involves intimate partner violence. It would be an oxymoron and a great non-sequitur to suggest, that for the most part, domestic violence involves intimate partners who hate each other. The variables “love” and “hate” just don’t relate, no pun intended. Over the years feminists have jealously maintained a stronghold on VAWA funding. Making VAWA gender neutral removes a portion of the funding allocated to these feminist groups and properly transfers a portion of the funding to male groups. However, government funding has created some really strange bed fellows. Ms. Phyllis Schlafly summarizes domestic violence beautifully in her work titled “Laughing At Restraining Orders.” She discusses the arbitrary and capricious conduct of judges in signing orders of protection and more.
To show the inattentiveness that judges display when signing an order of protection, Ms. Colleen Nestler provides the best example. Ms. Nestler filed an order of protection claiming that a man was sending her “code messages over the airway expressing his desire to marry her.” The order of protection was validated and signed by Santa Fe District Court Judge Daniel Sanchez restraining CBS talk show host David Letterman from harassing Ms. Nestler. It made no difference that David Letterman didn’t know Ms. Nestler. In a time of economic crisis, your tax dollars are being squandered to correct mistakes like David Letterman’s every day. We need competent judges to deal with these issues.
Broadening the scope of domestic violence changes the image of the domestic violence suspect. A gender neutral domestic violence policy would allow VAWA funding to portray women as abusers as well as men. Which reverts back to what Chris Brown had said in his interview with Vibe Magazine. More importantly, it allows anyone involved in a gay male relationship to receive the needed services and funding that comes with being a victim. After all, VAWA funding is need based, not gender based. Domestic violence in the absence of gender neutrality is an antiquated law that must be revisited. The everlasting words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written while confined in the Birmingham Jail ring true on this subject: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
If domestic violence advocates are correct, Cinderella wound up abusing the young prince; therefore, it would not be reasonable to think that they lived happily ever after. Had the prince left the Castle he would have been denied entry into a shelter because he was not a female. Finally, it would be fair to conclude, that once you are involved in a domestic violence incident it is impossible to live happily ever after. At least that’s how domestic violence advocates are spinning it. America needs to stop the nonsense with “domestic violence” and promote a “gender neutral domestic violence” policy. VAWA funding should be spent advertising the male side of gender neutral domestic violence as well as it does for females. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be reasonable for men to wholeheartedly support a policy that discriminates against them by exclusion. Wake up New York!
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