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May 09, 2004

Mother's Day Post « Social Issues »

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I'd link the excellent discussion going on in this post, and excerpt the two most salient comments:

Update:Oh, and the discussion continued over here, with some even more salient comments made...but too many to continue to excerpt.

Dean Esmay:

It's sad to me that, in 2004, we still have people speaking of this as if it's a "woman's issue" and still talking as if this is about women being beaten and killed as the primary problem.

Of course, some do this out of genuine misinunderstanding. But some do it becuase, frankly, they are faux-feminists with a vested interest in perpetuating those stereotypes because it gives them political and, in many cases, financial power to do so.

We know now that women are guilty of an equal rate of spousal assaults as men. We also know that women commit the majority of severe child abuse and the majority of child homicides, and about a quarter of child sexual molestations, as well as a large proportion of elder abuse. We also know that women are far more likely to get away verbal assaults, or even be encouraged in such behavior.

The failure of women to take responsibility for their own violent and dysfunctinal behavior by blaming men or "patriarchal society" and suchlike only contributes to the fact that domestic violence continues to be a serious problem. We are still, unfortunately, blaming the victim--which is as often the man as the woman, but which most people are still too afraid to acknowledge.

Richard Bennett:

Interesting discussion here, and I see that both sides are well-represented. I used to deal with this issue as a part-time lobbyist, and I've had the good fortune of discussing it with some of the leading researchers and advocates in the field, on both sides the of the issue, including Cathy Young, who's been writing about it for several years.

The main problem with DV laws as they stand today is just what Cathy says it is: the "one size fits all" approach. Research tells us that DV sorts out into three categories: somewhat less than 25% of the time, the man is the sole aggressor; a little more than 25% of the time, the female is the sole aggressor; and about half the time the violence is mutual.

So it stands to reason that a comprehensive approach to reducing violence would identify the dynamics and treat them appropriately, right? Which would mean that about as many women as men would be arrested and treated in the DV re-education programs, and that half the time an arrest is made, both parties would be arrested, right? After all, they've both broken the law, and the law's the law.

But this isn't what happens. In many states, there is a statutory prohibition against mutual arrest, and the cops are directed to arrest the "greater aggressor", which in most cases is judged by the cops, on the basis of their training, to be the male.

Now how well do you suppose the re-education camp works on the typical male who's either not an aggressor or one of two mutual aggressors? Bear in mind that he has to stand up and declare that the whole mess is all his fault or he's expelled from the class and made to start all over again, paying around $50 a week for 52 weeks or so to avoid more jail time.

And then there's the interesting question of the "overlap" between spousal violence and child abuse. Mothers in violent relationships, whether we judge them aggressors or victims, are ten times more likely than normal mothers to abuse their children, and are even more of a threat to children than the men. When the man is arrested, the abusive mother has free rein to abuse the children without any fear of retribution on the man's part, and this happens, a lot.

We don't have mandatory arrest laws, or one person arrest laws, in child abuse cases, where mothers are by far the most typical perpetrators. So why do we need them in cases of spousal abuse?

I think you can work that out for yourselves, but here's a clue: women's groups lobby the hell out of the legislature on these laws (and the related issues of child support, custody, community property, and alimony) while men have, at best, a token volunteer lobbyist when he can take the day off work.

Posted by Nathan at 04:10 PM | Comments (6)

Dean's data is grossly inaccurate:

Intimate Partner Violence: 1993-2001

From the opening paragraph:

According to estimates from the
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), there were 691,710 nonfatal violent victimizations committed by current or former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends of the victims during 2001 (table 1). Such crimes — intimate partner violence — primarily involve female victims. About 588,490, or 85% of victimizations by intimate partners in 2001 were against women.
Intimate partner violence made up 20% of violent crime against women in 2001. By contrast, during the year intimate partners committed 3% of all
nonfatal violence against men. (See Criminal Victimization 2001, Changes 2000-01, with Trends 1993-2001, NCJ 194610, for more information on victim/offender relationship.)I eagerly await the conspiracy theory that will be used to explain this discrepancy.

By the way, smashing Mother's Day topic.

Posted by: ilyka at May 10, 2004 03:43 AM

while it is true most child homocides are perpretrated by women, (app. 5% increase over men)...something in the neighborhood of 80% of those are considered "medical neglect". Considering the high rate of single moms and even married mothers being considered the primary "caregiver", this is something that should be taken into consideration when looking at these kinds of stats. FWIW...

Posted by: Jo at May 10, 2004 08:16 AM

Apologies, Jo--I ought to have made it clear that I was responding specifically to this statement:

We know now that women are guilty of an equal rate of spousal assaults as men.

Because we don't "know" any such thing. That line graph (see link above) would look one hell of a lot different if we did.

For the record, I don't, obviously, condone child abuse, whether by neglect or by malice. That subject, however, was not the topic originally under discussion at either Protein Wisdom or Snooze Button Dreams.

Posted by: ilyka at May 10, 2004 08:50 AM

ilyka, I appreciated your stats, I think it was important that you posted what you did. Thank you. :)

Posted by: Jo at May 10, 2004 09:00 AM

WTF???? Mother's day posting??? Cut it out!

Posted by: cutters at May 10, 2004 08:44 PM

How about this fertilizer website?

Posted by: Agrichem at December 7, 2004 02:00 PM
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