SAVE Expands its Fight for Fact-Based DV Policies
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) continues to do battle with the beast VAWA. Here's its latest press release. SAVE is having a press conference at the Heritage Foundation offices in Washington, DC on January 27th at which Christina Hoff Sommers will speak. Why that date? It's the anniversary of the Great Super Bowl Hoax who's timely death no one laments. You remember the Super Bowl Hoax. That was when radical DV advocates decided that a recent study done by professors at Old Dominion University showed that the bete noire of the DV industry - sports and testosterone enraged men - went crazy on Super Bowl Sunday and beat up their wives and girlfriends. News of this supposed spike in domestic violence was quickly picked up by credulous "journalists," commentators and assorted hangers-on from Laura Flanders to Oprah Winfrey and spread across the country via television, radio and print media. Events were held, dire warnings issued. One actual journalist at the Washington Post did that thing-y that some journalists think they're supposed to do; he interviewed a source. To do that he had to go to all the trouble of picking up the telephone and calling one of the authors of the study who reported herself astonished at the frank misrepresentation of her and her colleagues' work. They had found no such increase in DV on Super Bowl Sunday. The whole thing was a fraud. So it's altogether fitting and proper that SAVE holds its event on the anniversary of the Super Bowl Hoax. That's because one of the organization's main goals is to force the DV industry and lawmakers to acknowledge the truth about domestic violence. I think that's a good idea. After all, until Congress and state legislatures admit the truth and start treating domestic violence for what it is - as opposed to what the DV establishment would like us to believe - we'll never make progress toward combatting domestic violence. How could we? And that's one of the questions the DV establishment never gets around to answering: "If your analysis of and solution to domestic violence are correct and effective, why has so little changed over the 40 or so years we've been doing things your way?" Facts are indeed stubborn things. And until we admit that women commit domestic violence as often as men do and need to be able to get help for their problem, much DV will continue. As but one obvious example, a study done for the Centers for Disease Control that found that about half of DV is reciprocal and of that 70% was initiated by women. Those facts should force the conclusion that one of the most effective ways to prevent DV against women is to teach them not to hit first. That easy-to-understand lesson should be the centerpiece of DV solutions, but it's essentially never even mentioned because the DV establishment calls treatment of female perpetrators "blaming the victim." I call it trying to protect women from retaliation by men, but why make sense? SAVE is doing a lot more than holding a press conference, though. It's also hired a lobbyist to patrol the halls of congress to try to acquaint our elected representatives with the facts about DV. Hopefully that would lead to their enacting some effective laws on DV and possibly even refraining from enacting more bad ones. SAVE has also put out a good paper on some of the many defects and outright misrepresentations of the DV industry as it stands today. Here's that report. Finally, SAVE has developed an accreditation system for DV shelters, hotlines, police, etc. for their training, education and public awareness programs. Here's more about that. Like any accrediting body, it seeks to bring best practices to education and response to domestic violence. In the future, accreditation by SAVE should constitute the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" for the domestic violence programs. Fact-based understanding and treatment of DV is necessary for our society as a general matter. It's also important to sensible family court reform. As long as judges are trained to assume that fathers are "batterers" and mothers are not, they're not likely to give the type of scrutiny to DV claims by mothers that they need. It's hardly a secret among family lawyers that abuse claims by mothers are a routine part of child custody cases. Those allegations result in fathers being marginalized in the lives of their children often irrespective of their truth or falsity. So family court reform is intimately related to the reform of DV laws, practices and training. The DV establishment, as it now stands is one of the great obstacles to the equally shared parenting our children so desperately need.