F & F Supporter in Herald: ‘DV is a real problem, but it is a gender neutral problem’

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s wife Diane recently did a domestic violence PSA and is “speaking out against domestic violence, which she described as ‘exponentially’ climbing, citing the troubled economy as the primary cause.” (see First Lady launches campaign against domestic violence–‘End the silence”, Boston Herald, 6/1/09)

To her and the Herald’s credit, both the article and the ad are pretty gender neutral. This is a pleasant change from many other newspaper articles on “bad economy causing increase in DV,” making me wonder if it is only men who become stressed over losing their jobs, their homes, etc. The ad is at the bottom.

Longtime Fathers & Families supporter Deborah Sirotkin Butler, a family law attorney, responded with her letter Across gender lines (Boston Herald, 6/1/09). Butler writes:

First, while domestic violence is a real problem, it is a gender neutral problem. Research shows women are as likely as men to abuse their partners (” ‘End the silence,” ‘ May 29).

Second, the underlying problem is the closure of community mental health centers, lack of treatment for the mentally ill, and stigma over seeking help for depression and mood disorders generally. All too many people self-medicate with alcohol.

Over 80 percent of domestic violence incidents have alcohol as a component. No one should accept being hit by a family member.


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