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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. The current domestic violence system often mistreats the women it purports to protect. Laura P., who spoke at the conference, is one example. Laura says that a few years ago there was an unfortunate incident between her and her husband which the police blew way out of proportion. According to Laura, her husband was struggling to control their large, strong dog who was in the entryway to their house. Her husband lost his cool with the dog, and began treating it very roughly in order to control it. Laura kicked her husband in order to get him to stop doing this. He pushed her away and she fell down. Both of them soon calmed down, and were able to get the dog under control. However, Laura realized that she had a cut on her face from when her husband had pushed her, apparently because of her glasses. She asked a family friend to come over and watch their three kids, while her husband took her to the hospital. At the hospital she made the mistake of explaining what had happened, and the police soon arrived. Even though the incident was of low-level, mutual violence, and Laura's husband didn't initiate it, the police arrested him. As we've discussed, many if not most jurisdictions have "no drop" prosecution policies when it comes to domestic violence. The result is that many cases of trivial, mutual, or nonexistent "violence" are prosecuted as if they are crimes. (To learn more, see my co-authored column Simpson Case Led to Harmful Domestic Violence Policies, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/5/06). Laura protested against what was being done to her husband. She says that she is a strong, independent woman who loves her husband very much. While neither of them are proud of their role in the incident, they want to be left alone to pursue their lives. Laura takes responsibility for her part in the incident, and does not see herself as a victim. After the police arrested her husband, she says that from that point on "nobody believed me -- the police, the judge, the victim advocate who is supposed to be there to help me, even our own attorney." The victim advocate believed that even her husband's one act of low-level, mutual violence demands a divorce, and that there is "no hope." Laura says that her husband has been on probation for the last three years, and they are hoping that in May it will end, so they can have their normal lives back. She says: "I never felt like a victim until I dealt with the police"

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