Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Missing Persons of Domestic Violence: Battered Men

Mark Rosenthal has begun a potentially very interesting web site, "Breaking the Science" in which he plans to present evidence of partisan political influences on the soft sciences. He has started with domestic violence. One of the links is to an article by Richard J. Gelles "The Missing Persons of Domestic Violence: Battered Men" who began researching domestic violence without specific regard to which gender beat on which, and discovered much that has been unpopular ever since. A few choice quotes:

"...it was explained to me that I must certainly be wrong, and even if women did hit men, it was always in self-defense and that women never used violence to coerce and control their partners, as did men." Never? Never!

"... the rate of abusive female-to-male violence was the same as the rate of abusive male-to-female violence. When my colleague Murray Straus presented these findings in 1977 at a conference on the subject of battered women, he was nearly hooted and booed from the stage." So much for scientific objectivity...

"every study among more than 30 describing some type of sample that is not self-selective ... has found a rate of assault by women on male partners that is about the same as the rate by men on female partners."

" It is reasonable to suppose both men and women underreport female-to-male partner violence in a crime survey, as they do not conceptualize such behavior as a crime." I've made this point myself

"None of the nearly billion dollars of funding from this act (VAWA) is directed towards male victims. Some "Requests for Proposals" from the U.S. Justice Department specifically state that research on male victims or programs for male victims will not even be reviewed, let alone funded." And VAWA is suppposed to be non-gender-specific.

"Men ... who retain their children in order to try to protect them from abusive mothers, often find themselves arrested for "child kidnapping."" Imagine doing that to an abused wife fleeing with her kids...

"The frustration men experience often bursts forth in rather remarkable obstreperous behavior at conferences, meetings, and forums on domestic violence. Such outbursts are almost immediately turned against the men by explaining that this behavior proves the men are not victims but are "perps."" Yeah, men should be able to control themselves no matter how badly they're treated, huh?

For their pain in making this research, Gelles and his colleagues have and continue to pay severely:

"The response to our finding that the rate of female-to-male family violence was equal to the rate of male-to-female violence not only produced heated scholarly criticism, but intense and long-lasting personal attacks. All three of us received death threats. Bomb threats were phoned in ... Suzanne received the brunt of the attacks - individuals wrote and called her university urging that she be denied tenure; calls were made and letters were written to government agencies urging that her grant funding be rescinded. All three of us became "non persons" ... Advocacy literature and feminist writing would cite our research, but not attribute it to us. Librarians publicly stated they would not order or shelve our books."

"it was alleged that Murray had abused his wife. This is a rather typical critique in the field of family violence - men whose research results are contrary to political correctness are labeled "perps.""

I'm sorry, but would someone please explain to me who was it who was supposed to be the abuser...?

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