Sacramento, CA–Attorney Marc Angelucci of NCFMLA wrote the Letter to the Editor below concerning comments by a San Francisco prosecutor about pending California domestic violence legislation. Angelucci’s letter appeared in the February 7 issue of Capitol Weekly.
To his credit, prosecutor Jim Hammer did provide a meaningful response, and explained, “I do refer to ‘women’ victims, because in my years as a prosecutor the majority of victims I saw were women.” The problem with this, of course, is that the reason he saw mostly women domestic violence system is largely due to the anti-male bias with which both the law enforcement system and our society as a whole treat the domestic violence issue.
It is unfortunate that San Francisco prosecutor Jim Hammer chose to leave male victims of domestic violence and their children invisible in his sexist comments on AB1771 by referring to the victims only as “women.’ (“Bill would create Web site of domestic violence convicts,’ Jan. 31.) No doubt Hammer would say “men and women’ regarding soldiers or firefighters. Don”t domestic violence victims deserve the same dignity?
I work with men who have been stabbed, cut with glass and had their teeth knocked out with objects by female partners. They and their children are then stigmatized, ignored, downplayed and told they”re oddball class. In reality, they”re not rare at all; they”re just less likely than women to report it, which makes crime data unreliable.
Harvard Medical School just announced a nationwide study that found half of heterosexual domestic violence is reciprocal and women committed 71 percent of the non-reciprocal violence and initiated most reciprocal violence, while men suffered significant injuries. (Click here to learn more.)
In fact, virtually all sociological data shows women initiate domestic violence at least as often as men do, that men suffer one-third of the injuries and that self-defense does not explain away this violence, as California State University Professor Martin Fiebert demonstrates in his online bibliography here.
Meanwhile, California Health and Safety Code Section 124250 still excludes male victims and their children from the definition of “domestic violence,’ leaving male victims and their children with no outreach and few services from state-funded shelters, even though men pay over half the taxes that fund these programs. Male victims in Southern California travel hundreds of miles to Valley Oasis in Lancaster because nobody else will help them even with a hotel arrangement or legal services.
On Feb. 15 and 16, a global coalition of concerned experts called the National Family Violence Resource Center will host a groundbreaking domestic violence conference in Sacramento called “From Ideology to Inclusion: Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence’ to promote positive solutions to this politically driven problem. CE credit is available, and registration forms are at http://www.nfvlrc.org.
Marc E. Angelucci, Esq.,
Jim Hammer responds:
I agree with (Mr. Angelucci) that all victims of domestic violence, men and women, should receive equal treatment under the law. Although at times when speaking about domestic violence, I do refer to “women’ victims, because in my years as a prosecutor the majority of victims I saw were women, I would like to make clear that the proposed law would apply equally to men and women violators. In my opinion, men and women should have access to reliable information about past convictions for crimes involving serious domestic violence, so that they can make smart, informed choices about whom they wish to enter into intimate relationships with.
I appreciate the chance to clarify this point and thank Mr. Angelucci for his letter.