Greeley Tribune Wrong on Domestic Violence

November 16, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This article is long, so I’ll deal with it piecemeal (Greeley Tribune, 11/12/16).

It’s about domestic violence and, in keeping with virtually everything published by the MSM on that topic, it gets a lot wrong. And those are just the things it mentions; the things it fails to mention that are germane to the topic are legion.

First, serious domestic violence is apparently done solely by men.

When Karol Patch considers changing what she sees as a flawed domestic violence law, she thinks of her clients.

As the executive director of A Woman’s Place in Greeley, Patch thinks of the women who come to the shelter with black eyes who are too afraid to report their husband’s abuse.

She thinks of the women with broken bones, the ones who are covered in shades of purple from full-strength blows to the chest, the ones whose husbands had them pinned up against the wall by their neck just the other night, before they came to see her at the shelter, where it is her job to keep them safe.

Meanwhile, if a woman commits DV, it’s trivial.

When Mary West-Smith thinks of domestic violence she thinks of thrown flowers…

[S]he met a woman who found out her husband, from whom she was separated, was dating somebody else. The woman found flowers addressed to another woman in his home and threw them. The husband called the cops, and she was arrested for domestic violence.

Or perhaps it’s easily explicable in a way to exculpate the woman.

Gary and Annette Lovejoy’s situation was one of those shades of gray that concerns West-Smith.

Annette was arrested in May for domestic violence after Gary stepped in to break up a fight between Annette and their daughter.

Annette is diagnosed bipolar and was in the midst of a mental breakdown when Gary called the cops for help. Annette doesn’t remember anything about the fight.

When the cops showed up, Gary had scratches from the altercation, a ripped shirt and the house was a wreck because Annette had thrown and broken household items during the fight. Technically, Annette looked like the aggressor.

The police separated the couple and began questioning them about what happened. Eventually the decision was made to arrest Annette, against Gary’s will.

With those utter misconceptions of domestic violence as its backdrop, we wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the article ran to form. But its aim is to deal with Colorado laws that require both the arrest and prosecution of domestic violence perpetrators, so it stumbles into a bit of good sense. More about that tomorrow.

For now, the piece needs to be excoriated for its disgraceful ignorance and anti-male bias. This is almost the end of 2016. We have known for at least 40 years (i.e. since Richard Gelles, et al did the first comprehensive U.S. study of DV for the National Institute of Mental Health) that men and women perpetrate interpersonal violence about equally. Since then, the number of surveys and studies that conclude the same thing is astonishing. By now, there is no doubt that women are at least as violent in their intimate relations as are men. Just three years ago, Bates, Archer and Graham-Kevan authoritatively took down the feminist paradigm of DV. It is unacceptable for any publication to purvey they type of false notions the linked-to article does. The truth is too well known for that to pass muster.

Indeed, earlier this year, the Canadian statistical agency, Statistics Canada, published the results of its survey of domestic violence perpetrators and victims. I posted a piece on those findings here. Stats Canada does such a survey every ten years and asks respondents about their experiences over the past five.

The data show that men made up 55% of the victims and women 45%. Incidents of “severe domestic violence” also found men to be the primary victims. Lesbian relationships were significantly more likely than male-female and gay male relationships to experience domestic violence. That’s the recent news out of Canada, but the information in the U.S. and elsewhere is similar.

The writer of the Greeley piece of course knows none of that or apparently much else about the science and data on domestic violence. The piece relies on the DV industry for its “information,” with the unsurprising result that it’s largely wrong.

And just as unsurprisingly, wrong begets further wrong.

“I am definitely not saying it’s a perfect system. I will not say that ever,” [Karol Patch] said. “I just, I don’t know what a better answer is to keep people safe, either.”

The reason she doesn’t know “what a better answer is to keep people safe” is that she (a) doesn’t know the basic facts about DV and (b) is thoroughly in thrall to the long-debunked feminist narrative on the subject.

A better system is in fact pretty straightforward. First, junk the feminist narrative that says that only (or almost only) men commit DV against only (or almost only) women and that they do so to control their behavior. In fact, what’s now referred to as Intimate Terrorism (DV used for control) is pretty rare. The huge majority of DV is either a single or extremely rare occurrence, usually under stress and often exacerbated by drugs and/or alcohol.

Getting rid of the “power and control” model of DV will allow police, prosecutors, judges, mental health professionals and the like to see the reality of DV and respond helpfully. Instead, the flawed notion of DV purveyed by the DV industry makes matters worse, not better. After all, as long as the diagnosis is wrong, what chance is there that the “cure” will work?

Second, recognize that DV is not what society teaches as appropriate behavior, but what society understands as inappropriate, i.e. that it is aberrant behavior. Having done so, it can be treated therapeutically as a mental health problem instead of judicially as a criminal one. (Of course some DV should be treated as criminal.)

Third, make appropriate treatments available for perpetrators of DV. Essentially all DV is learned behavior, usually in childhood, usually from parents or other caregivers. As such, it can, in many cases, be unlearned. Donald Dutton and other researchers have much to offer on that subject. Too bad the Greeley article didn’t quote seek their input.

Fourth, we need to redefine domestic violence so that what we punish and what we treat are differentiated. Ever since feminists began raising the alarm about domestic violence back in the early 70s, they’ve simultaneously expanded its definition. Now, essentially any behavior in the home that one person doesn’t like can be categorized as DV. Let a husband ask his wife repeatedly to curb her expenditures on, say, shoes, due to budgetary restrictions and he’s an abuser. Does he warn her repeatedly about spending time with the methamphetamine addicts down the street? He’s yet again an abuser.

In the real world, those are examples of a man who’s trying to preserve the family’s precarious finances and protect his wife from harm. In the world of DV warriors, he’s a serial “batterer.”

The reason for the gross expansion of the concept of “violence” is that the DV industry needs to maintain the illusion of a never ending crisis that must be addressed with more and more public money paid to – who else? – them. Face it, it’s a lot easier to pump up the numbers if just about any behavior, no matter how benign and non-injurious can be called DV.

I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow.




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