This story illustrates both society’s double-standard on domestic violence and how vastly far ahead of us the feminist advocacy organizations are. According to Schools will give time off to domestic-violence victims (Palm Beach Post, 12/5/07):
“School district employees who are the victims of domestic violence can now take off work to get counseling, seek a restraining order or recuperate from injuries. A state law passed this year requires all employers with more than 50 employees to provide three days of leave if a worker or anyone in the worker’s family or household has been a victim of domestic violence or is seeking to protect themselves from it…
“Domestic-violence advocates say the law not only serves victims, it serves employers. Each year, domestic violence costs nearly $728 million in lost productivity, according to a 2003 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
“‘It’s good for business,’ said Dia Kuykendall, spokeswoman for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. ‘When you have a law like this, it allows employees to get time off to make their lives safer. They’re not at work thinking about their domestic violence situation.'”
Leaving aside the fact that some will falsely assert that they are domestic victims in order to get the leave, I have no problem with this law and think it’s generally a good thing. But consider this–every year hundreds of thousands of men are thrown out of their homes on ex parte protection/restraining orders. Some of them are innocent, some are guilty, but few of them have been afforded any meaningful opportunity to defend themselves. They’re immediately made homeless and largely possessionless, and often have been cut off from their bank accounts and money.
If there’s one group of people who could use some leave in order to get their affairs straightened out–find a place to live, scrape together money, try to get legal representation–it’s these guys. Yet if you went before the legislature and asked them to include men targeted by restraining orders in this law, they’d look at you like you were nuts. Somehow it’s OK to give a woman leave based on her word, but not to a man based on his word.