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The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the War on Men
By Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D.
(Editors Note: On Tuesday the US Senate passed VAWA by a vote of 78-22. VAWA will now be taken up by the House of Representatives. Violence perpetrated against anyone is unacceptable. Solutions crafted to address one half of the problem represent failures of policy.)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) arguably is one of the most misguided pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress. From conceptualization to consequences it has wreaked a wide swath of destruction across American society and accurately can be described as “A War on Men.”
Conceptually, VAWA is based on the false Duluth Power and Control Wheel model. VAWA falsely presumes that all Domestic Violence (DV) is perpetrated by evil patriarchal males against virtuously innocent female victims. This false gender ideology has no research support.
By contrast, social science research, replicated across hundreds of studies, shows that: DV is initiated about equally by men and women; slightly more women than men are physically harmed by DV but men nonetheless still represent more than 40% of the physically harmed victims; the DV initiation rates for women, and especially young women, have been rising; and DV has nothing to do with an evil patriarchy because the DV rates for bisexuals, gays, and lesbians all are higher than for heterosexual couples.
The research further exposes misrepresentation in the title: “The Violence Against Women Act.” Given that DV approaches 50-50 on most indices, why does Congress want to serve only half of the victims? Where are the programs for male victims of DV? Where is the money for fathers and their children who have been victimized by violent and abusive wives and mothers?
The relentless feminist war on boys, men, and fathers across the past half century has successfully destroyed one of the bedrock foundational institutions of American society, the American family.
VAWA has been pivotal in the destruction of the family by depriving fathers of their civil rights, due process rights, and their right to cross-examine those who falsely accuse them of DV — most notably during divorce proceedings. VAWA also provides free legal services to purported women victims while simultaneously denying free legal services to men.
VAWA most effectively destroys families through temporary Restraining Orders. Gone are the days when physical evidence of DV was required and cross-examination was permitted to help judges distinguish between false and true allegations. In today’s courts, a woman can allege to a judge (without the accused being present) that she was the victim of DV and is requesting a restraining order based on “expanded” definitions of DV. “Expanded” definitions include vague senses of discomfort, fears, and “Economic DV” (where the man did not fulfill the woman’s economic wants).
Judges virtually always grant VAWA restraining orders to women “just to be on the safe side” even when there is no tangible evidence of threat — just the woman’s non-verifiable internal purported feelings. Tragically, however, the consequences to children, fathers, and families are very tangible. With the restraining order in hand, the police remove the father from the home (often in the middle of the night) with nothing but the shirt on his back, order him to stay out of his home and away from his wife and children, and immediately begin paying child support to the woman who just “stole” his children and his home from him.
Fair, you ask? Convicted in what court of what crime by what jury on the basis of what evidence, you ask? The answers are obvious.
Critically, the current VAWA reauthorization will come before the House of Representativesin a matter of days. As a man – or equally as a woman who loves her son, father, brother, nephew, grandson, husband or who wants male friends in her life – could you vote for any Representativewho co-sponsors or votes for VAWA?
This may be your last opportunity to re-balance the scales of justice, to demand genuine domestic violence reform, and to end the war on boys, men, fathers, and families. If your Representativeis a co-sponsor, contact them immediately. Tell them that unless they withdraw their co-sponsorship, you will withdraw your vote.
Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Florida International University in Miami. His faculty website is: http://psychology.fiu.edu/faculty/gordon-finley/