DV Conference Report #3: 12-Year-Old Boys in Abusive Families Aren't Allowed to Go to Shelters with Their Mothers, but Instead Go to Foster Care
Sacramento, CA--Background: The historic, one-of-a-kind conference "From Ideology to Inclusion: Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence" was held in Sacramento, California February 15-16 and was a major success. The conference was sponsored by the California Alliance for Families and Children and featured leading domestic violence authorities from around the world. Many of these researchers are part of the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center, which is challenging the domestic violence establishment's stranglehold on the issue. The NFVLRC promotes gender-natural, research-based DV policies. I have been and will continue to detail the conference and some of the research that was presented there in this blog--to learn more, click here. One morning during the conference I had breakfast with two remarkable ladies, Erin Pizzey and Patricia Overberg. Pizzey founded the first battered women's shelter in the world in 1971, and Overberg was the first battered women's shelter director in California to admit male victims of domestic violence to a shelter. As bad as things are, both of them told me things which were amazing and horrifying. Pizzey told the following story: A woman was being abused by her violent husband and sought shelter. She had three children, two young ones and a 12-year-old boy. She wanted to go to a battered women's shelter and, of course, take her children with her. However, the feminists who run the battered women's shelters in England have a policy that no boys aged 12 or older are allowed into the shelters. The woman was presented with the equivalent of Sophie's Choice. Either she could return to her violent husband, and risk both herself and her children, or she could submit to the feminist policy. She chose the latter. Rather than allow the boy to stay with his mother and his siblings in the battered women's shelter, the boy instead had to wait in the police station, while his mother and siblings went off to the shelter. The English equivalent of child protective services was called, and the boy was picked up and placed in foster care! Overberg told me the same thing happens in California and in much of the United States. I don't doubt what Pizzey and Overberg say, but I still find it a little hard to get my head around. For one, one could make the feminist argument that this policy keeps abused women in violent relationships because they will not want to leave their abusers if they cannot take all of their children with them. Secondly, I find it a little hard to believe that even the feminist true believers who run the shelters could be so bigoted and uncaring.