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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

December 27th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Rigorous social science demonstrates that claims of domestic violence are the all-purpose “out” for mothers seeking to deny custody to the fathers of their children.  Here’s a piece I posted last year on some of that research.  The two researchers, economist Douglas Allen and law professor Margaret Brinig, studied what happened after the State of Oregon passed a statute whose purpose was to increase the percentage of awards of joint custody in divorces involving children.  They found that, much to their surprise, the law had little impact.  In fact, rates of joint custody didn’t change in the five years after the law was passed.

What happened?  In a nutshell, mothers increased their claims of domestic violence enabling them to thwart fathers’ desire for greater contact with their children.  They did that rather than, for example, trading lowered spousal or child support in exchange for keeping Dad out of the children’s lives.  Stated another way, a claim of domestic violence allowed mothers to keep the kids and the money too.   Unsurprisingly, they increased their claims of DV in order to accomplish that purpose.

So, if we only look at outcomes in custody cases, it’s vitally important for fathers and children that domestic violence is understood for what it is and what it isn’t, who does it, why, how, under what circumstances, etc.  We need, in short, to educate judges and other family court personnel about the realities of domestic violence so they can make intelligent, fair decisions.  Joint custody is vital to children’s well-being, as many large studies show, so, if claims of DV are being used to prevent it, we need to know the facts about DV.

Unfortunately, the facts about domestic violence have long been shrouded in the mythology put forth by DV activists.  Those have been largely wrong from the very inception of the DV movement back in the early 70s.  Despite almost 40 years of social science on the subject and the fact that most people now regard domestic violence as an important problem, we still cling to the old narrative that only men commit DV and only against women.  That misperception has now been enshrined in state and federal laws that continue to fund services for female victims but not their male counterparts.

Given all this, it’s no surprise that the communications media play their own unwholesome role in perpetuating the false narrative of female innocence and male corruption that the DV establishment has always been happy to repeat.  Simply put, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, movies and various parts of the Internet again and again peddle the notion that women don’t hit men, and if they do, they have a “good reason” and it doesn’t hurt.

Which brings us to this article (The Sun, 12/26/12).

Last June, Lucie Slater of Newcastle, England, decided she didn’t like a message posted to her boyfriend’s Facebook account.  So she threw her laptop at him and went at his face with a broken glass.  Go to the article and check out the damage she did.  At the hospital, she lied repeatedly to doctors and the police about how the injuries came about.

Now, it turns out that her boyfriend, William Aitken, had aspirations of becoming a model, and his “before” photo shows he might have succeeded.  No more.  Slater ripped several long slices across his cheeks and nose.  She also severed an artery resulting in excessive blood loss and the permanent loss of motor nerve control in part of Aitken’s face.

Mr Aitken lost his business and his modelling career because of the injuries he suffered, the court was told.

All of that turns out to be of no great importance to the Newcastle Crown Court that gave Slater the proverbial tap on the wrist.

Today judges sentenced Slater, 21, to 51 weeks in prison suspended for two years, a two-year supervision order and 120 hours of community service.

That’s for hideously disfiguring Aitken’s face and unquestionably ending any chance he ever had of being a model.  What message does that non-custodial sentence send Slater and every other woman in the country?  The message is clear; domestic violence by a woman against a man may be committed with no serious consequences.  In line with 40 years of indoctrination by the domestic violence establishment, women’s violence against men is no big deal; we don’t take it seriously, so neither should the women.

Sun Blows Chance to Educate Public About Female-on-Male Violence

That’s the message from the court, but there’s another from the article – Slater’s crime isn’t DV at all.  Nowhere in the article is there any reference to domestic violence, domestic abuse, domestic battery, intimate partner abuse, or any other term that might inform the reading public that women’s violence against their partners is very real, very dangerous and hurtful.  Given the clear opportunity to inform the public about the prevalence of female violence against males, the Sun declined.

We see this almost invariably in press coverage of violence by women against their intimate partners.  That violence isn’t part of the DV establishment’s narrative of domestic violence, and the mainstream media fall right into line.  Women murder their children and partners with no mention by the press that what they do is domestic violence.

As long as that continues, we’ll never have effective DV laws or policies.  As long as we ignore half the domestic violence in our society, we can at best eradicate the other half.  But in fact, we can’t come close to doing even that.  That’s because a large percentage of the DV done by men to women was actually started by women.  Men’s retaliation against women who initiate violence hurts many women each year, so, if we taught women to refrain from hitting first, many women as well as men would be saved from injury.  But nowhere do we see or hear that message – nowhere.  The only logical conclusion is that we prefer our narrative of female innocence and male brutality to actually protecting women from male violence.  If that doesn’t suggest to you the dysfunctional nature of the DV movement, nothing will.

And of course, as long as courts and the press continue to pretend that women don’t commit domestic violence, we’ll see no improvement in children’s access to their loving fathers post-divorce.

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