December 28, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
But wait, you say. The Indians didn’t win, the Cubs did. Alas, I have news for you and everyone else who follows professional baseball including Major League Baseball itself – it was Cleveland that won. How do I figure? I’ll let you know in a bit.
For now allow me to report that the excellent Chris Johnson published this op-ed in the Omaha World Herald on December 14 (Omaha World Herald, 12/14/16). Johnson has written extensively and well on the need for Nebraska to embrace shared parenting. As everyone who writes about the problems of family courts eventually realizes, how domestic violence is understood and treated by those courts has a big impact on custody and parenting time decisions.
So Johnson penned a piece pointing out the obvious – that, due to often false and misleading claims by the domestic violence industry, DV is poorly understood. More to the point, although men are half its victims or more, they receive next-to-no services. And since male victims are stiff-armed by the DV system, so are female perpetrators. Let a violent woman try to find help for her problem and she’s likely to be told she’s a victim of an evil patriarchy that only wants to control her.
Johnson’s piece is reasonable and fact-based. It’s a plea for justice for male victims of DV and for better understanding of intimate partner violence.
The Nebraska legal system suffers from widespread gender bias against men. While gender bias against fathers in family law cases is well documented, anti-male bias in other areas is less well known.
According to the largest-ever review of domestic violence research, women and men abuse their partners at comparable rates. The “Partner Abuse State of Knowledge” project found 28.3 percent of women perpetrated domestic violence compared with 21.6 percent of men.
The study also found that men and women are victimized at comparable rates. Overall, 23 percent of women were assaulted by partners at least once in their lifetimes compared with 19 percent of men.
Across studies, 40 percent of women and 32 percent of men reported expressive aggression (verbal abuse or emotional violence in response to some agitating or aggravating circumstance), while 41 percent of women and 43 percent of men reported some form of coercive control.
To anyone with a basic knowledge of domestic violence and the science on it, none of that comes as a surprise. It’s about as non-controversial as it gets. I’ve reported recently on Canadian data that indicates much the same thing – women are as likely to hit men as vice versa and maybe more so.
That might not be cause for alarm if male victims received services, but, for the most part, there’s no room for them at the inns operated by the DV industry. Indeed, there are now a total of two shelters for male victims in the entire country – one in Arkansas and one in Florida.
Federal law requires domestic violence shelters to provide equal services to male victims. However, no Nebraska domestic violence shelter of which I am aware accepts them. Female victims are given food, housing, counseling and financial assistance in a secure shelter for an indefinite period, but male victims often receive a voucher for a single night’s stay in an unsecured motel room with no additional services.
How that comports with gender equality in the funding of domestic violence shelters, I’ve never figured out, but, whatever the case, Nebraska, like virtually every other state, essentially ignores male victims of DV.
Johnson ends his piece with the obvious observation:
Gender bias against men is endemic in our legal system. The gender disparities in family law, domestic violence and criminal cases are so extreme they suggest these laws, as applied, violate the equal protection guarantees of the United States and Nebraska constitutions.
The DV industry never wants to leave the truth unanswered, so, just nine days after Johnson’s piece, the executive director of the Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, Lynne Lange, offered up this piece of agitprop (Omaha World Herald, 12/22/16).
The main thrust of her piece is that, well, what most people think is domestic violence isn’t domestic violence. Why? Because she says so.
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse to establish and maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Uh, no, actually it isn’t. There is no law anywhere that restricts the definition of DV the way Lange claims. No, if a man hits his wife and she calls the police, he’ll be arrested and charged with domestic violence. He’ll probably be convicted as well. No police officer, no prosecutor and no judge will hesitate to do what they’ve been trained to do – arrest, prosecute and convict him. They won’t refrain from doing so because there’s no evidence of a “pattern of coercive, controlling behavior.”
And that brings me back to the Cubs and the Indians. You see, just like Lynne Lange, I simply changed a definition in order to arrive at the outcome I prefer. Most people think it takes four wins to take home the World Series trophy. But I have decreed it takes but three. And, since the Indians were once ahead of the Cubs three games to two, the Indians won. See how simple that was?
In order to claim that men are more violent than women, Lange simply adopted her own definition of DV and – presto! – they are. In much the same way, Cleveland won over Chicago.
Of course recent studies indicate that even her preferred definition is insufficient to have men being the primary perpetrators of DV. They show that actually it’s women who tend to be the more controlling member of an intimate couple. But needless to say, Lange kept mum.
Stranger still is the fact that, no sooner had she redefined DV to her own ends than she abandoned her own definition. The middle part of her op-ed goes on at length about domestic violence that nowhere meets her own definition. That’s the sort of intellectual dishonesty the DV industry routinely traffics in. Hey, when the facts are against you, what else do you have?
And what about those male victims Johnson mentioned? After all, irrespective of the precise numbers of male and female victims, shouldn’t all of them be entitled to help? Not according to Lange. After first downplaying their very existence, she nowhere addresses the entire absence of assistance for them except to offer this boilerplate:
The programs that are a part of Nebraska’s coalition of domestic violence and sexual assault services embrace the necessity and importance of serving all victims.
Perhaps so. But there’s a world of difference between “embrac[ing] the necessity and importance of serving all victims,” and actually offering services for all victims. As Lynne Lange well knows, for male victims of domestic violence, Nebraska is a desert, all but devoid of any form of aid.
Fiddling with definitions didn’t win Cleveland the Series and it doesn’t make male victims of DV vanish, much as Lynne Lange wishes the latter to be the case.
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