Here’s a great article by Corey Pein in the Santa Fe Reporter. I’ve often asked, is she a liar or is he a denier? The stereoptype that women lie for malicious reasons is deeply embedded in our society (and certainly the Fathers Rights groups capitalize on this). How many know that denial is the trademark of an abuser? Why do we minimize a couple’s conflict into a “he said/she said” when the repurcussions of the conflict can end in permanent injury or even death?
Many in the Fathers Rights groups mimic abusers – they minimize, rationalize or call domestic violence mutual. They use research that is based on self report to call attention to female-initiated violence. The data they use does not capture the context of abuse (was it self defense, for example) nor does it capture severe abuse, violence during separation (the highest point of danger for women), or homicide. Females do use what’s called Common Couple Violence – throwing things, hitting, slapping. Females, however, are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed by their partner than males are.
The Fathers Rights groups also claim women are more likely to abuse their children. This data, actually, is based on households – including those led by single mothers. When males and females are compared equally, males are more likely to commit child abuse – and again, it is more severe and fatal. Men are more likely to kill babies in shaken baby syndrome. They are also overwhelmingly the ones to commit child sexual abuse. I do not deny women abuse children – I simply believe facts should be used – not propaganda like that coming from the angry men that make up the Fathers Rights groups. It’s not constructive.
They also attack the Violence Against Women Act. Funny, because VAWA’s biggest success is probably that the rate of women killing men has gone down drastically. Why? Because these women, many of whom were abused, can go to a shelter rather than kill their abuser. They also want to limit restraining orders and punish women for false allegations (which means not producing enough witnesses or evidence). They’ve sued shelters and stopped funding for pro-bono legal help for women.
It’s clear what their agenda is: remove protection for women and children. Until they acknowledge the seriousness of domestic violence, we will be at a stalemate. They will be angrily chipping away at safety measures for women and children. We will be left, with the few resources we do have, to clutching the few measures we do have that protect us from domestic harm. Domestic violence has only been recognized publicly for 4 decades – laws, especially regarding marital rape, are still evolving. At its infancy, it’s being attacked.
Man up by Corey Pein