Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Domestic Violence, Gender Neutrality, Obama and feminists.

One problem male victims of DV have is their invisibility. DV is seen as something men do to women. This stereotype gives men are hard time to come forward. This also limits access to resources helping those victims. That those victims exists has been proven time and time again. Professor Fiebert of the University of California has an impressive selection of studies online
This bibliography examines 256 scholarly investigations: 201 empirical studies and 55 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.  The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 253,500.
Even the feminists and DV-shelters most favorite study, the Violence Against Women Survey found that 835,000 men (about 40% of all victims found by that survey) suffer from DV.

Luckily advocates are helping to move those forgotten victims into the spotlight. One recent example:
A children's advocacy group alleges that the state of West Virginia has engaged in unconstitutional and discriminatory funding of domestic violence programs and shelters, and has filed a lawsuit to stop it.


According to the suit, part of the criteria for licensure includes having a "certified domestic violence advocate" who has "been approved by the board of directors of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence." Likewise, the Board requires that not only all family protection programs have one-third of its service providers be certified by WVCADV, but also those programs conducting outreach services have its staff attend "at least two West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence advocate certifications training a year."

Because their role has been written into the state Code of State Rules, Peyton says that WVCADV, an Elkview-based non-profit organization, has become a de facto government agency.


Furthermore, language in WVCADV's own advocate certification program conflicts with state law. Along with obtaining a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women, WVCADV requires that "domestic violence advocates promote the safety and well-being of women and children who are victims of abusive relationships."

This [...] constitutes gender discrimination.
And one similar example from the past.
A California court ruling addresses a problem we do not hear much about when it comes to domestic violence. Shelters now must offer male victims of domestic violence the same help and protection they offer women.


While the court said access to programs had to be equal, the actual services do not. And therein lies the problem that will likely keep this legal battle going for years.

An agency, for example, could maintain a battered women's shelter, but give hotel vouchers to men. The National Coalition for Free Men, which is leading the charge in this lawsuit, does not like that, but it is better than nothing.

The group also does not like that brochures are geared towards women.
"These programs will often still reach out to victims in a gender-specific manner, only referring to them as women and that doesn't help the male victims come forward," said Marc Angelucci, attorney for the National Coalition for Free Men. "This is really going to take a long time and more lawsuits to change."

Now as some of you will know this month is DV awareness month. And while president Obama said the following
Victims of violence often suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn, with little or no guidance and support. Sadly, this tragedy does not just affect adults. Even when children are not directly injured by violence, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. High school students who report having experienced physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide, and may carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Our efforts to address domestic violence must include these young victims.
and also aknwoledges that DV is something that can impact everyone,
Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance.
he still frames DV the following way.
A family's home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members.
For male victims, sadly those statements are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

And finally to those who believe feminists are for equality, one could believe gender neutrality and DV is an issue for feminists. Well I was not able to find a feminist source even mentioning the recent success in West Virginia, or the othering of male victims by president Obama, but hey, there are of course people needed to fight gendered soup comercials. Keep up the good work! Yay!

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