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Perception, Polarization and Paradigms

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“Men have no clearly defined enemy who is oppressing them.”
-Susan Faludi (Stiffed, 1999)

I was raised by my grandmother who was born in the late 1800s. I have three daughters and two sons. I am especially grateful that my daughters were born into a world vastly better for them than it was for their great-grandmother. But, what positive changes for my sons? It is difficult for me to understand how or why my sons have been born into a world that is, in some ways, more difficult for them than it was for boys in the late 1800s.

Most nationally recognized domestic violence organizations view the issue of domestic violence from a feminist ideological [people who place women’s rights before victim’s rights] perspective. These organizations argue that contemporary men’s rights groups are guilty of singling out and then presenting data that supports their belief that men and women are equally guilty of domestic violence. However, a review of the literature will demonstrate that ideological feminists pioneered and continue this polarization process.

They still report that around the world, 1 in 3 women are beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetime. They ignore that an impartial and balanced review of the literature documents using similar methodology the same is true for 1 in 3 men.

They still report that, 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. They ignore that an impartial and balanced review of the literature documents using similar methodology the same is true for 1 in 5 male highs school students.

Nationally recognized domestic violence organizations similar to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), most often, report only the data that supports their perspective and goals. While not laudable, this polarization is understandable because the NCADV is exclusively or primarily concerned about the victimization of women and children , and not men.

The NCADV is often recognized as the national voice for domestic violence organizations. The NCADV’s position is that only women and children suffer from abuse. While the NCADV position is myopic, at least the NCADV clearly acknowledges its position.

It is far less understandable why our public policy makers ignore or minimize male suffering. Most people believe that our public policy makers are equally concerned about how domestic violence affects all family members regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation. However, the 110th Congress H.RES.590 and the Violence Against Women Act are just two of many examples that demonstrate our policy makers are exclusively or primarily concerned about the suffering of women and children and not men.

History documents that it is rarely productive for our public policy makers to pass legislation that positions the needs and desires of one group of people against those of another. This ignorance of male suffering is but another example of how our legislators too often ignore the complexities of an issue in favor of a quick and simple intervention.

Ignore the Men and Boys

On March 11, 2009 President Obama announced the formation of a White House Council on Women and Girls . As the father of three daughters, I commend President Obama for establishing a council that is intended to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges that my daughters will confront in this 21 st century.

However, as the father of two sons, I find it impossible to understand why the President believes it is not necessary to also establish a council that is intended to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges that my sons will confront in this 21 st century.

The White House Council on Women and Girls has been established to ensure that agencies across the federal government take into account the particular needs and concerns of women and girls. Policy makers, domestic violence interveners, researchers and the mainstream media argue the reason they are exclusively or primarily concerned with the suffering of females is because far more females than males die each year because of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence-Related Deaths

The report Domestic Violence Fatalities seems to have appeared before the blind eyes and deaf ears of all of the above groups. In Utah in 2005, there were 65 domestic violence-related deaths. The Utah findings document that there were 52 male domestic violence fatalities and 13 female domestic violence fatalities.

In fact, using a methodology that include both intimate partner homicide and suicide provided by the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), it can be extrapolated that each year there may be as many as 7,832 male and 1,958 female domestic violence suicide fatalities. These domestic violence-related deaths far exceed the number of domestic violence-related deaths by homicide.

The NVDRS findings join an ever growing list of data that demonstrate domestic violence-related fatalities are not exclusively or primarily a problem suffered by adult heterosexual females. Perhaps if Congress had, as original intended, established a more inclusive Family Violence Act, rather than a restrictive Violence Against Women Act, in this 21 st century, we might better understand that domestic violence is a problem for everyone regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation.

It seems that our policy makers, domestic violence interveners, researchers and mainstream media are either oppressing the NVDRS data or they are ignorant of it. I’m not sure which is worse.

For those who are interested in an impartial and balanced exploration of the problem of Domestic Violence-Related Deaths I have a ten page paper with hyperlinks and references at . And as always, comments are welcomed.

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