‘Many female perpetrators are put in battered women’s shelters instead of batterers’ treatment programs’

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.
Dr. Michelle Carney, associate professor at the University of Georgia, says that she has often had conflicts with the DV establishment, explaining:

I’m continually being told by domestic violence people not to talk about violent women… when I discuss female abusers with [leading Georgia domestic violence authorities], I can see them immediately tense up.

Carney explained that under the current system, “many female perpetrators are put in battered women’s shelters instead of batterers’ treatment programs.” With the violent women who do end up in batterers treatment programs, she says it is interesting the way they are different than male batterers. She says that male batterers tend to minimize their own domestic violence. By contrast, women generally don’t, and will sometimes boast about their violence against their male partners. I would guess that this is reflective of two factors: 1) Because of the often draconian and anti-male domestic violence arrest policies, some of the men in batterers’ treatment programs are not batterers, and do not belong there. 2) Society has always condemned male violence against women. The feminists, to their credit, have made this condemnation even firmer. By contrast, traditionally women’s violence has not been taken seriously, and the feminists have unfortunately helped to cement this. The result, of course, is that male abusers may minimize their violence because their violence is socially stigmatized, while female abusers are less likely to minimize their violence, because their violence is not socially stigmatized. In fact, one gets the impression from Carney’s experience that these women feel that their violence against their male partners will be applauded. 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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