Why VAWA must be rewritten

Child advocate Laurie A. Couture has a must-read article on why the so-called “Violence Against Women Act” is a grievous piece of legislation that desperately needs to be rewritten from the ground up. To quote some of the more salient parts:

I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a children’s rights advocate and former social worker. I have worked with children of all ages and families in various roles for 20 years. I am a registered Democrat, a strong humanitarian and community activist. I am requesting that VAWA be renamed The Sexual And Domestic Violence Act and rewritten so that it is gender neutral.

She goes on to note what those of us who have been involved in men’s and boys’ advocacy have known for decades: male victims are about as common as female victims, may be even more common, and nobody notices and nobody cares:

I have worked with countless boys of all ages who have suffered rape and sexual assaults by perpetrators of both sexes. Far more boys than girls are severely abused by their parents. Many of the men in the families I have worked with are victims of domestic and sexual violence. The difference between these boys and men who are victims and their female peers who are victims, is how they are treated by society, the mental health system, community crisis centers, the child protective/social service system, the legal system, the justice system and the media: While the girls and women I work with have been focused on, protected, believed, supported and empowered by these systems, the boys and men I have worked with, as a whole, have suffered systematic discrimination, sexism, mockery, disbelief and neglect by these systems. Despite the already over-abundant outreach efforts, programs, policies and services for women, there are still no serious outreach attempts to educate, protect, empower, focus on and support boys and men who suffer date rape, rape, sexual assault, genital mutilation, child abuse, domestic violence and psychological battery in their families, relationships and in society.

Furthermore:

As a democrat, a humanitarian, a mental health counselor, a children’s rights activist, an aunt and a mother, I do not understand why there is such an outpouring of support and protection for girls and women but an indifferent, silent apathy which ignores boys and men. It is an egregious violation of human rights in my ethical opinion.

One of the reasons I almost vomited when I voted this year was that even though the Republican Party opposed the human-rights-trashing, violent and child abuse enabling so-called “Violence Against Women Act” they opposed it for all the wrong reasons. Their opposition was stupid opposition. The principled opposition to VAWA is that it marginalizes and dismisses millions of abused and molested and hurt and bleeding and even murdered men and boys in favor of a sexist and ludicrous gynocentrism. Thank God more women are standing up and recognizing the gross injustice that this legislation represents, and its fundamental violation of the 14th amendment’s “equal protection” clause.

As someone who voted for Obama, I pray that the Democrats come to their senses on this, although I’ll promise Republicans that if they’ll field candidates who take the correct stance on VAWA–that it’s not wrong to include gays–that it’s wrong because it includes men and boys only as an afterthought and in fact grossly discriminates against them despite its pathetic fig leaf of gender-neutral language and in fact discriminates blatantly against men and boys on the basis of sex, and enables violent and predatory women to get away with violent and predatory behavior. The politician or party that has the guts to stand up and say that openly will get my vote next election season.

But I recommend reading Laurie A. Couture’s entire letter to Nancy Pelosi.

The men’s movement continues to grow as the gross injustices, gynocentrism, and double standards that modern culture embraces for men and boys is being noticed by more and more decent men and women who realize that our sons matter as much as our daughters do, and are hurting.

If anyone doubts there’s a serious problem, or doubts the reality that male victims of violent women are common, I recommend reading or watching my interview with Erin Pizzey, founder of the first internationally recognized battered women’s shelter, which contains much valuable information and many useful references about just how deep the problem goes.

  • http://www.kawc.org Trudy W. Schuett

    In addition to the sexism is the fact that VAWA has often had an unintended consequence: those who would seek help are now afraid to do so because the addition of the criminal aspect to the situation would disrupt their lives even further.

    When I see mention of statistics that show a downturn in the incidence of partner abuse, I wonder how much of that is due to people now being more afraid of “the system” than they are of their problem.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Trudy: Our culture is so incredibly gynocentric in so many ways, I honestly wonder if the -only- way to get anyone interested in the horror that is VAWA is to concentrate on how it hurts women.

    Nobody gives a shit about men and boys. They just fucking don’t.

  • queenofallevil

    I just don’t understand your thought process on this, Dean. I don’t mean to make this sound like an attack and hopefully, you won’t see it as one but…

    Why do Republicans have to dance the dance EXACTLY as you deem fit and if they don’t dance to your tune in the exact manner you want – you’ll vote and continue to vote for the very group of politicians that instituted the policies that you oppose?

    Republicans cannot reject VAWA for the right reasons because they will be demonized BY YOUR DEMOCRATS as women haters. They are already viewed as racist homophobes so that’s kinda safe for them. They can’t risk alienating all women and you know that the Democrats would paint, with the help of the MSM, them as anti-woman.

    You voted for a man aligned with radical feminists and he will NEVER change. The Democrats will NEVER do anything to offend the feminists and your vote helps them.

    Is the free healthcare worth more to you than equality for men and boys?

  • Dishman

    I’m with qoae on this one.

    Not only would it go badly for whatever Republicans raised their head on this one, the firestorm of criticism and propaganda might not turn out well for the movement as a whole.

    Once the groundwork has been done, the politicians can follow, but trying to push the Republicans to take the lead is high risk for everyone.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    1) VAWA originally sailed through Congress with strong bipartisan support. I don’t give a shit who wrote it. Who voted for it? A shit-ton of people with “R” next to their names sure did.

    2) VAWA has been reauthorized TWICE since its initial passage, including during times when Republicans controlled the Congress. In fact, in 2005, when Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate, they eagerly passed it AND George W. Bush signed its renewal–AND gave it more fucking money! Don’t believe me? Check out this sweet photo:

    http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2006/01/images/20060105-3_20060105p010506pm-0-515h.html

    3) Republicans have REPEATEDLY stated the ONLY reasons they have for opposing VAWA renewal are:
    a) They don’t want to include gays
    b) They don’t want to include immigrants
    c) They don’t want to include Native American tribes.

    4) Reason given for 3a, 3b, and 3c is money, not civil rights.

    5) The Obama administration slashed VAWA funding IN HALF during its first term. That’s right, George Bush increased VAWA funding, and Barack Obama cut VAWA funding.

    On #5, almost no one knows that Obama slashed VAWA funding. Why? Because he wasn’t going to brag about it and Republicans were not likely to point it out since it might actually make Obama look good on something. So yes, Obama wore his t-shirts saying “this is what a Feminist looks like” and got Ms. Magazine’s endorsement, and he turned them over and used them and basically smirked and said “what are you gonna do about it?” And the obvious answer is “nothing” so they shut up.

    But #3 to me is what’s most important. If VAWA is going to be renewed (which by the way, it will be), then we really WANT it to include gay men and lesbians. Because that will force the Domestic Violence industry–and it is a multibillion$$ industry worldwide by the way, funded by billions of dollars of tax money although almost none of the money winds up in shelters and refuges, it goes to Gender Ideologue Feminist groups who do “advocacy” and “education”–to do what it has fought desperately against doing for 40 years: Acknowledge female perpetrators as a significant problem and, acknowledge male victims openly as a significant problem.

    By the way, one of the easily-confirmed but always swept under the rug facts of the matter is that of all couplings–man-woman, woman-woman, and man-man–do you know which has the highest rate of intimate partner violence?

    Would you believe: lesbians? Yep. It’s quite true.

    This whole movement has spent 40 years avoiding directly confronting the fact that women initiate domestic violence MORE OFTEN than men do, and are violent at equal rates to men, and to avoid directly facing the fact that in MOST violent relationships the abuse is MUTUAL. Eventually they had to admit that women do get aggressive, but to get out of the fact that there are abusive women they instead concocted a cockamamie pseudoscientific bullshit thing called the “Duluth Model” aka “predominant aggressor” policies (which basically means “whoever looks more upset is innocent and whoever looks bigger is guilty”) so they could keep hiding behind their ridiculous charade that family violence is primarily something men do to women.

    My friend Karen Straughan (Girl Writes What) was at last year’s NOW convention and she said they were almost incoherent in fear and worry about what they’d have to do if they started including gays as a protected group: acknowledge male victims as a serious problem, and acknowledge female aggressors as a serious problem.

    What is the optimal outcome for the NOW gang and the rest of the deep-pocketed Gender Ideologues who get most of that tax money? I’ll tell you what it is: For Republicans to get their way.

    Yeah, yeah, I understand. Republicans don’t want to be seen as “anti-woman.” So, you know, they’re a bunch of fucking cowards who can’t see this legislation as the 14th amendment trashing anti-civil-rights disaster of our lifetimes, and instead gotta oppose it on the ONE issue that might actually make things a little better.

    I understand it, but don’t expect me to respect it.