February 10, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
It’s far from news that allegations of domestic violence are often used to gain an advantage in child custody cases. Family lawyers have been admitting as much for decades. So the facts behind domestic violence are necessarily of interest to anyone seeking family court reform. The more judges, lawyers, custody evaluators, etc. learn those facts, the better their decisions are likely to be.
That brings me to the latest figures to come out of the Centers for Disease Control via its annual survey, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, a.k.a. the NIPSVS. Here’s an article on the most recent one (Save Services, 2/5/19).
What’s perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that, departing from the previous trend, men over the past 12 months were 31% more likely to be victims of DV than were women. During the past year, 3.8% of men and 2.9% of women experienced some form of violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Previously, we could pretty much rely on the rates of victimization of the sexes to be about equal, and of course that may turn out to still be the case when next year’s figures come in. Or this might be the start of a new trend toward greater female abuse of men. After all, this culture does little to discourage female violence against men. It’ll take us a few years to figure that out.
What’s not new is that, in same-sex relationships, men are far less likely to engage in IPV than are women. The lifetime victimization rate for lesbians was a whopping 65.7% and for gay males it was 40%. That’s roughly in line with rates reported for Canada by its statistical agency, StatsCanada.
And, again in keeping with previous findings, victims of DV are neither interested in nor satisfied with involving the police in the situation, although women were significantly more enthusiastic about the police than were men. Some 36.5% of female and 21% of male victims termed police involvement as “very helpful,” while 52% of men and 33.7% of women said the police were “not at all helpful.”
As a result, men are three times less likely to report such incidents to police, compared to women (12.6% versus 36.3%) (Breiding, M.J., Chen J., & Black, M.C. (2014).
Again much like Canadians, Americans who are victims of DV don’t tend to call the police. That’s in part because those who do say the police are generally not very helpful. More often, as has been found by various studies, it’s because the victims don’t believe the incident warranted the involvement of state actors.
And that of course brings us to the main point. If DV victims had greater trust in the police to make the situation better instead of worse, they’d be more likely to call when an incident occurs. Even if the incident were viewed by the victim as relatively minor, he/she would still call the police if it were fairly certain that doing so would help. But they don’t. The reason they don’t is altogether reasonable and sound.
They don’t because the police (a) aren’t trained in the realities of DV and (b) don’t have much to offer most victims. They don’t have much to offer because the “services” on offer tend to split up families, sometimes for long periods of time and those offered the perpetrator have no chance of improving his/her future behavior because they’re based in a toxic ideology that has always (and by now intentionally) gotten the nature of DV completely wrong.
The DV industry clings to its 45-year-old claim that DV is strictly a matter of men wanting to impose power and control over women. Never mind that women commit more DV than do men, never mind that the power and control theory has been debunked many times and never mind that women have been found to be more controlling in their intimate relationships than have men. The DV industry has never had much use for the realities of DV and yet, when a court orders a man to seek treatment for his perpetration of violence, he usually ends up in an ideology-infused group meeting that bears a greater resemblance to Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate than anything that might help him understand and alter his behavior.
Needless to say that, since the DV industry denies that women perpetrate domestic violence except in self-defense, there are essentially no treatment services for them. A woman seeking to reform her abusive behavior may seek in vain for anyone who will even agree with her that she has a problem, much less help her solve it.
We say that domestic violence is an important issue to us and that we’ll accept nothing less than a total commitment to reform. We lie. Domestic violence is not important to us. We know this because we accept for it an ideological framework that has always been utterly at odds with the facts about DV, why it happens, when, who commits it and how to improve matters. The result is that, year after year, the problem continues because the ideology refuses to change.
We know what DV is and how to treat people who commit it. We could start improving the matter tomorrow. But we won’t. We won’t, no matter how many statistics pile up, year after year, demonstrating that women are as violent in their intimate relationships as men, if not more so.
The U.S. government should de-fund all agencies currently receiving federal money to address DV that don’t demonstrate a full understanding of the issue, provide services to all victims irrespective of sex and offer treatment that’s based on our full and rich scientific understanding of domestic violence. Until that happens, we’re just spinning our wheels.