The Violence Against Women Act (V A W A) Stinks To High HeavenThe US House Of Representatives votes on reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act tomorrow, May 16 2012.
The unnecessary Act smacks of female privilege to begin with. There is not more violence against women than against men. There is much more violence against men than against women. How can treating violence against one gender as less important than violence against the other gender be justified?
Widespread Civil Rights Violations Under
the Violence Against Women Act
Partner abuse is an important social problem, and domestic violence programs have helped many needy individuals. But many believe that the Violence Against Women Act is at the root of widespread civil rights violations of millions of innocent Americans.
These complaints come from a broad range of groups:
Independent Women’s Forum: “Men may become alienated from and hostile to the system in the conviction that it is stacked against them.”
Ms. Foundation for Women: “Some women are arrested as a result of false accusations by their
Eagle Forum: “VAWA funds the re-education of judges and law enforcement personnel to teach them…how to ride roughshod over the constitutional
rights of men.”
How does the Violence Against Women Act – and the 1,500 state laws it has spawned -- violate the civil rights of Americans?
VAWA funds the training of judges and law enforcement personnel. These programs are often biased and factually-misleading. i
In one New Jersey program, a judge dispensed this advice: “Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional protections of the man that you’re violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him, ‘See ya’ around.’” ii
VAWA-funded training programs encourage judges to grant restraining orders. Now, 2-3 million restraining orders are issued each year. iii About 15% of these orders are issued against women.
In most states, domestic violence is defined so broadly that almost anything qualifies as “abuse.” A study by the Massachusetts Trial Court found that less than half of the domestic orders involved even an allegation of physical violence. Attorneys say judges treat temporary restraining orders like a rubber-stamping exercise and that subsequent hearings are often a “sham.”
Harry Stewart, a lay minister in Weymouth, Mass., opened the door of his ex-wife’s apartment building to help his 5-year-old son get inside. That was considered a technical violation of the restraining order. Stewart was required to serve a six-month jail sentence.
As a result of VAWA, 22 states have mandatory arrest laws for domestic violence, and 8 states that encourage arrest. Such laws often pressure police
officers to ignore basic legal considerations of probable cause.
Research shows over half of all partner aggression is mutual.iv But VAWA discourages dual arrests, even when both persons show signs of injury.
Further aggravating the problem is VAWA’s promotion of “primary aggressor” laws.v Now, 24 states have primary aggressor laws, which in practice become a form of gender profiling.
Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife. But a week later, his wife had a different story
to tell: “My husband, I adore him, and, it was my fault,” explained Jackie Johnson. “It breaks my heart to think I would be responsible with one emotional, irresponsible call in destroying this beautiful man's reputation.”
Adjudication procedures for domestic violence cases often give short-shrift to due process protections.
For example under a “Fast Track” system used in Colorado, persons charged with domestic violence are not allowed legal representation. As one female defendant put it, “It ain’t about justice, that’s for sure.” 1
In Warren County, Pennsylvania, persons arrested on a charge of domestic violence are given two options: Go to jail, or sign a pre-printed form that
says, “I have physically and emotionally battered my partner.” The procedures eliminate any possibility the defendant will be adjudged as innocent.
“Innocent until proven guilty” has been replaced with “guilty with no opportunity to prove innocence.”
Services for Male Victims
Research has consistently shown that women are just as likely – or even more likely -- to commit domestic violence as men.
Yet men represent less than 5% of persons whoreceive VAWA-funded victim services. So in 2000 the U.S. Senate directed the Department of Justice to “ensure that men who have been victimized by domestic violence and sexual assault will receive benefits and services” under VAWA. vi
Despite that mandate, men who seek VAWAfunded services continue to be met with ridicule, hostility, and outright rejection. One director of
a Washington state shelter admitted, “Whenever I speak of male abuse, I am met with disbelief and, even worse, laughter.” vii
Families and Children At Risk
Allegations of domestic violence are made in the context of a divorce proceeding. Analysts say a large number of those allegations are made simply to gain a legal edge.
Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, once noted, “Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply…In many cases, allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage.”
When children are removed from daily contact with one of their parents – usually their father – they are placed at far greater risk of child abuse, academic difficulties, and legal problems.
The Intrusion of State Power
The Violence Against Women Act was originally conceived with good intentions – to reduce partner violence. But over time, VAWA’s ability to intervene in every marital dispute and impose criminal penalties for even minor incidents has left millions of innocent Americans caught up in a system that ignores their rights, their wishes, and their needs.
The American Coalition for Fathers and Children says, “Americans’ most fundamental constitutional protections and human rights are violated openly, intentionally, and systematically.” viii The Ms. Foundation for Women sums up the problem this way: “Unfortunately, when state power has been invited into, or forced into, the lives of individuals, it often takes over.” ix
Time to Reform VAWA
The intrusion of the government into the affairs of families and couples and the criminalization of private activity lies at the heart of civil rights abuses of the Violence Against Women Act.
It’s hard to think of any other law that has cost the American taxpayer so much, has lead to the breakup of so many families, has violated the civil rights of so many innocent citizens, and has done so little to help women.
Reform of the Violence Against Women Act is overdue.
i RADAR: Bias in the judiciary: The case of domestic violence. Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting. 2006.
ii Bleemer R. N.J. judges told to ignore rights in abuse TROs. New Jersey Law Journal April 24, 1995.
iii RADAR: Without restraint: The use and abuse of domestic restraining orders. Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting. 2006.
iv Straus MA. Dominance and symmetry in partner violence by male and female university students in 32 nations. May 23, 2006. Table 2. http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID41E2.pdf
v RADAR: Justice denied: Arrest policies for domestic violence cases. Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting. 2006.
vi Congressional Record, October 11, 2000, pp. S10191-92.
vii RADAR: VAWA programs discriminate against male victims. Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting. 2006.
viii American Coalition for Fathers and Children: Family violence in America: The truth about domestic violence and child abuse. Washington, DC, 2006.
ix Ms. Foundation for Women: Safety and justice for all. New York, NY, 2003.
RADAR is spearheading the VAWA Reform Coalition, a group of organizations around the country that is working to educate the public about VAWA abuse: www.mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-Reform-Coalition-Declaration.pdf
For more information, contact:
RADAR: Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting
P.O. Box 775, Westfield, New Jersey 07090
Internet : www.mediaradar.org
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Excerpted from "The Violence Against Women Act and The War on Men" by Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D., at http://x.mensnewsdaily.com/2012/04/the-violence-against-women-act-and-the-war-on-men/
VAWA has been pivotal in the destruction of the family by depriving fathers of their civil rights, due process rights, and their right to cross-examine those who falsely accuse them of DV — most notably during divorce proceedings. VAWA also provides free legal services to purported women victims while simultaneously denying free legal services to men.
VAWA most effectively destroys families through temporary Restraining Orders. Gone are the days when physical evidence of DV was required and cross-examination was permitted to help judges distinguish between false and true allegations. In today’s courts, a woman can allege to a judge (without the accused being present) that she was the victim of DV and is requesting a restraining order ba
Judges virtually always grant VAWA restraining orders to women “just to be on the safe side” even when there is no tangible evidence of threat — just the woman’s non-verifiable internal purported feelings. Tragically, however, the consequences to children, fathers, and families are very tangible. With the restraining order in hand, the police remove the father from the home (often in the middle of the night) with nothing but the shirt on his back, order him to stay out of his home and away from his wife and children, and immediately begin paying child support to the woman who just “stole” his children and his home from him.
Conceptualclarity : Note "in Colorado, persons charged with domestic violence are not allowed legal representation." My own aunt, who lives in Colorado, was horribly victimized by the corrupt DV infrastructure. She complained about the job that was being done by a home health care worker for her husband, disabled with Parkinson's Disease. He retaliated with a false accusation of domestic abuse. My aunt was thrown in jail for several weeks and her husband was put in a nursing home. While my aunt languished in jail, her husband died. I think it is a absolutely abominable thing for an innocent person to be deprived of the opportunity to be at her spouse's deathbed. She never was convicted of anything, but the damage was done. The tragic case of my aunt and uncle shows how it is the feminist Left, not the Right, that brings improper intrusion of government into the homes of Americans.
Fight against the nonsense that the DV infrastructure status quo is good and right! And if you read this story before the May 16 vote in the US House of Representatives, please contact your congressman. You can find his website via www.house.gov.