What Is Domestic Violence?
Most people think of domestic violence as the sad or tragic cases of men beating up women. Assault and battery are obviously crimes that should be prosecuted and punished. But domestic violence doesn’t just mean criminal conduct. The feminists have expanded the definition of domestic violence to include an endless variety of perfectly legal actions that are made punishable because of who commits them.
VAWA’s gender-specific title is pejorative and sex-discriminatory: the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA means violence by men against women. VAWA does not include violence by women against women. VAWA’s funds are routinely denied to male victims of domestic violence. For example, the Texas VAWA grant application makes its sexist goal specific: “Grant funds may not be used for the following: Services for programs that focus on children and/or men.”
Professor Martin Fiebert of California State University at Long Beach compiled a bibliography of 170 scholarly investigations, 134 empirical studies and 36 analyses which demonstrate that women are almost as physically abusive toward their partners as men. Studies by the leading domestic violence researchers found that half of all couple violence is mutual, and when only one partner is physically abusive, it is as likely to be initiated by the woman as the man.
The term domestic violence has morphed into domestic abuse, a far broader term. Domestic abuse doesn’t have to be violent it doesn’t even have to be physical. The feminists’ mantra is, “You don’t have to be beaten to be abused.”
A 1979 book called The Battered Woman by Lenore Walker is credited with establishing feminist theory on domestic violence and in originating what is called the “Battered Woman Syndrome.” This book is all hearsay without credible statistical data. She admitted that her “research” and generalizations were based on “a self-volunteered sample” of women who contacted her after hearing her speeches or interviews. Walker mentions the large study of domestic violence undertaken by the National Institute of Mental Health-financed survey of Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz, but fails to tell her readers that its final conclusion is that women initiate violence in intimate relationships at least as often as men do.
Nevertheless, Walker’s unscientific book had a big impact in spreading the propaganda that the “battered” are always women, that “batterers” are always men, that “battering” is not necessarily a violent or even a physical act. She admitted that “Most of the women in this project describe incidents involving psychological humiliation and verbal harassment as their worst battering experiences, whether or not they had been physically abused.” While psychological abuses can be hurtful, they are completely subjective, and it is absurd to pretend that verbal abuse is done only by men against women and not vice versa.
As an example of “battering,” Walker defended the woman who admitted she “began to assault Paul physically, before he assaulted her,” but “Paul had been battering her by ignoring her and by working late, in order to move up the corporate ladder.” So, trying to do a better job of supporting his family was construed as domestic abuse. Like many feminists, Walker is not trying to improve marriage but rather to destroy it. She urged that “psychotherapists must encourage breaking the family apart.”
Domestic violence has become whatever the woman wants to allege, with or without evidence. Examples of claims of domestic abuse include: name-calling, constant criticizing, insulting, belittling the victim, blaming the victim for everything, ignoring or ridiculing the victim’s needs, jealousy and possessiveness, insults, put-downs, gestures, facial expressions, looking in a certain way, body postures, and controlling the money. A Justice Department-funded document published by the National Victim Assistance Academy stated a widely accepted definition of “violence” that includes such non-criminal acts as “degradation and humiliation” and “name-calling and constant criticizing.” The acts need not be illegal, physical, violent, or threatening.
The domestic violence checklist typically provided by family courts to women seeking divorce and/or sole child custody asks them “if the other parent has ever done or threatened to do any of the following”:
“blaming all problems on you,” “following you,” “embarrassing, putting you down,” “interrupting your eating or sleeping.”
Such actions are not illegal or criminal; no one has a right not to be insulted. But in the weird world of the domestic-violence industry, acts that are not criminal between strangers become crimes between members of a household, and such actions can be punished by depriving a man of his father’s rights, putting him under a restraining order, and even jailing him. Family courts mete out punishment based on gender and relationships rather than on acts.
Creating a special category of domestic-violence offenses is very much like legislating against hate crimes. Both create a new level of crimes for which punishment is based on who you are rather than what acts you commit, and the “who” in the view of VAWA and the domestic-violence lobby is always the husband and father.
VAWA: Feminist Weapon Against Men
When a woman appeals to a VAWA-funded shelter, she is immediately told she must file for divorce and accuse her husband/boy friend of domestic violence so that a restraining order can be issued against him. That would be rational if we were talking about life-or-limb endangerment.
But it makes no sense if abuse involves merely run-of-the-mill disagreements for which mediation and reconciliation could be better for all, especially the children. No VAWA programs teach women how to deal with family disputes without resorting to divorce. No VAWA programs promote intact families or better male-female relationships. VAWA has no provision for addressing problems within the context of marriage.
What VAWA does is to promote divorce and provide women with weapons, such as the restraining order and free legal assistance, to get sole custody of their children.
The Illinois Bar Journal (June 2005) explained how women use court-issued restraining orders as a tool for the mother to get sole child custody and to bar the father from visitation. In big type, the magazine proclaimed: “Orders of protection are designed to prevent domestic violence, but they can also become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” The “game” is that mothers can assert falsehoods or trivial complaints against the father, and get a restraining order based on the presumption that men are abusers of women.
The Final Report of the Child Custody and Visitation Focus Group of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges admitted that “usually judges are not required to make a finding of domestic violence in civil protection order cases.” In other words, judges saddle fathers with restraining orders on the wife’s say-so without investigation as to whether her claim is true or false, and without accountability if it is false. If a hearing is held, the woman merely needs to prove her claim by a “preponderance of the evidence.” That means she doesn’t have to prove the abuse happened, only that it is more likely than not that it happened.
Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, admitted in 1993: “Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply . . . In many [divorce] cases, allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage.”
The consequences of the issuance of restraining orders are profound:
the mother gets a sole-custody order, and the father can be forbidden all contact with his children, excluded from the family residence, and have his assets and future income put under control of the family court. A vast array of legal behavior is suddenly criminalized with harsh penalties.