‘I asked abusive men’s wives if they’d been violent and got a lot of grief for it from the DV establishment’

I recently attended the excellent Los Angeles domestic violence conference “From Ideology to Inclusion 2009: New Directions in Domestic Violence Research and Intervention.” The conference featured many domestic violence dissidents–researchers and clinicians who do not believe that the mainstream domestic violence establishment and its “men as perpetrators/women as victims” conceptual framework is properly serving those involved in family violence.
Lonnie Hazelwood, MSHP, LCDC, CCCJS, who has worked in the domestic violence and chemical dependency fields for over 25 years, began receiving his training in domestic violence in the late 1970s. He explained:

I would ask abusive men’s wives if they had been violent and I got a lot of grief for it by from others in the domestic violence establishment, but I persisted. I found that many of the abused women were also violent. I was very surprised by this. The women readily admitted that their use of violence. Violence was fairly even between men and women. I began to do “partner contact monitoring” to see if the men in our programs continued to abuse, and also if the women continued to abuse.

Hazelwood noted that many of these couples were mutually abusive, and needed couples counseling. He explained:

Feminists and the domestic violence shelters have been very effective in passing laws to prohibit couples counseling and programs which use gender inclusive strategies. Texas may soon be banning some of the programs I am currently doing.

Hazelwood also said that about half of family violence — both partner abuse and child abuse — is “associated” with substance abuse. He explained that “although for most people, substances are not causative of violence or abuse, there are a significant minority where violence ends as soon as the substance abuse ends.” The feminist domestic violence establishment has correctly noted that being drunk or on drugs is certainly no excuse for committing abuse. However, this has been taken too far, and many clinicians complain that substance abuse as a causative factor in domestic violence is not addressed seriously enough. To read all reports from the Conference, please click here. From Ideology to Inclusion 2009 featured some of the world’s leading experts on domestic violence, many of whom serve on the Editorial Board of the new peer-reviewed academic journal, Partner Abuse, published by Springer Publishing Company. The conference was presented by the California Alliance for Families & Children and co-sponsored by The Family Violence Treatment & Education Association. Some of you may remember that I also wrote extensively about the 2008 conference–to learn more, click here.

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