Domestic Violence -- An Update
by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.
President, Equal Justice Foundation
A comment by an attorney at lunch recently provoked the following update on the issue of domestic violence. In effect he stated that the Equal Justice Foundation had "won" the battle against false and unsubstantiated claims of domestic violence. According to him there is not a local defense attorney who isn't aware that if a defendant simply demands a jury trial that there is a 90-95% probability the charges will eventually be dismissed.
While that may be a "win" for defense attorneys, who can now readily win cases without the trouble and bother of going to trial, most domestic violence cases are not dismissed until the day before or morning of trial, usually four to six months after the arrest. In the interim typically the marriage or relationship is destroyed, the children are traumatized or placed in foster homes, jobs and homes are lost, and the defendant (man or woman) is left destitute and often homeless. Suicides and murder-suicides are an all to common adjunct as well. However, the attorneys are enriched. I hardly call that a "win" for citizens and the public weal.
So how did we get to this sad state of affairs?
Modern efforts to control domestic violence date back to 1971 when Erin Pizzey opened one of the first refuges (shelters) for abused and battered women in Chiswick, London, England. Publication of her book Scream Quietly Or The Neighbors Will Hear in 1978 brought the issue of abused women to the world's attention.
While she consistently pointed out that the women who sought refuge at her Chiswick shelter were as violent or more violent than the men they left, that did not fit the neo-Marxist radical feminist (redfem for short) agenda and threatened their funding. In 1998, when Pizzey dared to publish her finding that women are as violent as men in intimate relationships in her book The Emotional Terrorist And The Violence Prone, radical feminists in England drove her into exile. Obviously her efforts to create shelters for abused men met with no success as well.
In the interim feminists generated a deeply- and fundamentally-emotional response to the problem of abused women that resulted in the 1994 passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the United States. Of course VAWA provides no protection or defense for abused men despite the fact that the findings of Straus and others in their 1980 book Behind Closed Doors: Violence In The American Family confirmed women are as violent as men in intimate relationships. And by 1994 the US Army had found that male victims of abuse outnumbered female victims by two-to-one. And all research since has confirmed these findings. But redfem dogma still maintains that 80-95% of all intimate partner violence are husbands battering their wives in order to maintain the patriarchy.
Given the neo-Marxist ideology on which the feminists based their need for VAWA it was deemed essential to do away with such pillars of jurisprudence as due process, warrants, mens rea and actus reus, presumption of innocence, property rights, the right of a man to raise and protect his children, the right to face one's accuser, and any other rights a man may have thought he had. Hearsay became admissible in court and because a man might object to being forcefully evicted from his home with no notice, secret orders to accomplish that could now be issued ex parte.
We were told we must now "Believe the victim," and presume that women would never lie or injure themselves, and never suffered from mental health problems. Nor should women be required to provide evidence to substantiate their claims. Even the "potential" for violence or emotional abuse became sufficient justification to impose these penalties.
Expanding the definition of domestic violence
Not content to simply have destroyed civil liberties, radical feminists continued their campaign for power and control.
In Colorado "domestic violence" was always an add-on charge, or sentence enhancer, to any other crime. Cussing and swearing, never polite, now became criminal harassment in the presence of a woman. Writing a description of her, no matter how accurate and justified, also became a criminal act. So much for freedom of speech.
On the federal level, in 1996 the Lautenberg Amendment to the Brady Gun Control bill made it a federal felony for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or who was restrained under a domestic abuse order to purchase or possess any gun or ammunition.
In year 2000 the dismissal of the case against Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy served as an excuse to broaden the definition of domestic violence to include any damage or destruction of a man's private property.
Any animal abuse while in the presence or belonging to an intimate partner also became domestic violence. So if you kick the cat you go to jail.
In 2010 in People v Disher the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a sexual relationship was not an essential element of an intimate relationship. So any woman a man had dated, kissed, held hands with, invited into his home, or lived communally with could take out a restraining order against or charge him with domestic violence. The situation has deteriorated to the point that attorney RK Hendrick strongly recommends that a man not allow a woman into his home before he has run a background check on her.
And few judges would dare deny a woman a restraining order for fear she would end up murdered and he blamed. Of course, the hundreds of women who were granted restraining orders and then ended up dead was excused as simply proving the necessity for such orders and justification for ever more tyrannical laws.
Nearly two decades after the passage of VAWA it seems worthwhile to review what has been accomplished in the way of reducing domestic violence, and whether or not the draconian laws are working or not. By 2010 over one-quarter of all crimes in Colorado involved domestic violence and the courts became overloaded with specious cases.
By the time retired Army Sergeant Tom Ball took his life in 2011 after a decade of injustice under such "laws" as VAWA, about 36 million people had been arrested for "domestic violence" and an estimated 72 million men, women, and children had been rendered homeless at some point in their lives by such arrests.
Number of domestic violence cases
One measure of success of these draconian laws would be to find they had deterred offenders from assaulting their intimate partners and the number of criminal cases had measurably decreased. In Table 61 I present the population-normalized numbers of restraining orders, including criminal domestic violence cases, from 1998 through 2010 for 21 judicial districts in Colorado (excludes Denver). In no district do the number of cases consistently decrease over time and the statewide average increases from 62 per 10,000 residents in 1998 to 77 per 10,000 in 2010.
Rather than deterring, current laws seem to be increasing the incidence of domestic violence and abuse.
An increase in such abuse and violence is hardly the outcome desired, particularly given the loss of civil liberties involved.
Initially, domestic violence was presumed to occur primarily in married or cohabiting couples where the husband beat his wife in order to maintain power and control to maintain his patriarchal dominance.
Again, the data do not support that supposition. Table 78 shows the number of victims of domestic violence who were married at the the time of the incident from 1995 through 2010. In 1995 42% of the victims were married but that steadily declines until by 2010 only 29% are married. The inference is that the laws either deter married couples from calling the police or there are many fewer married couples.
Table 74 examines the deterrence effect of the domestic violence laws in Colorado Springs from 1990, before these laws were passed in 1994, through 2010. During this 21-year period the population increased 61% and the percentage of citizens who called 911 during a given year steadily increased from 39% in 1990 to 46% in 2010. Conversely, and remarkably, the number of 911 calls for a domestic disturbance remains essentially constant at 12,000 +/-2,000 over the entire time span and the percentage of "domestic" 911 calls decreases from 7.5-8.7% in the 1990-1994 period to 4.1-5.1% of the total in the 2007-2010 interval. Clearly, the major impact of the domestic violence laws has been to deter citizens from calling the police when fighting with their intimate partners, hardly a desirable outcome.
The direct effect of these laws on marriage is more difficult to quantify but marriage and birth rates are now at an all time low. And for a decade the EJF has pointed out that under current laws a man has to be functionally insane to marry and a drooling idiot to sire a child. Denying reality as usual, the decline in marriage is blamed on men's "fear of commitment" and other nonsense. Feminists studiously avoid acknowledging that marriage today has no better than a random chance of success and that in the divorce the man will almost certainly lose everything he has worked for.
In summary, in two decades ever-more-encompassing and draconian domestic violence laws have only served to increase the number of false or unsubstantiated court cases, deter intimate partners from reporting such incidents as they are now more afraid of police than their partners, and discourage men from marrying. Given that a primary objective of the neo-Marxist radical feminists who promoted these excessively punitive laws is to destroy the patriarchy and restore a matriarchy, they are apparently succeeding in achieving that goal.
Mandatory arrest and homicides
One of the basic precepts of VAWA is that the only way to stop the violence was for police to make an arrest when called to a domestic disturbance. So a warrantless arrest became mandatory, or was strongly recommended.
Mandatory arrest has been found to have several drawbacks.
One, it resulted in many more women being arrested by frontline officers who were less concerned with feminist ideology and more concerned with justice and the facts before them at the scene. That was, of course, unacceptable and radical feminists then pushed a "primary aggressor" law through the legislature. In essence such laws dictate the cop is to arrest the big, ugly hairy ape regardless of what the facts are. So men who have been stabbed, burned, bitten, scratched, bones broken, etc., are now arrested for domestic violence even when the female hasn't a mark on her.
Two, in a study of police responses to domestic violence eventually in seven cities, including Colorado Springs, Sherman (1992) found that an arrest was often criminogenic and increased the violence in the couple. That was found to be particularly true when the perpetrator, always male in these studies, was unemployed at the time of the arrest. As a result Sherman repeatedly recommended against making arrests mandatory in these cases. But science has never deterred or undermined radical feminist dogma and a warrantless arrest is mandatory in Colorado and many other states regardless of whether the man is present or not when the police arrive.
Three, Iyengar (2007) carried the investigation even further and found that warrantless mandatory arrests actually increases homicides among intimate partners by 60%. She hypothesizes that the reason for this increase in homicides is that mandatory arrest dissuades victims from reporting problems to the police, as documented above, which in some cases ultimately results in murder. Her study is limited to homicides committed against a husband, wife, common-law husband, common-law wife, ex-husband, or ex-wife. But no doubt many girlfriends end up dead as well.
Therefore, there is little question that warrantless mandatory arrest is a law that kills.
A major weapon in the current battle against domestic violence is a restraining/protection order. Extrapolating from the number of these orders issued annually in Colorado suggests there are 2.3 million such orders issued each year in the United States.
Since a man might strenuously object to being thrown forcefully from his home and taken bodily from his children if he had warning, it was deemed necessary to require that these orders be issued ex parte, in essence a Star Chamber proceeding.
Now you may have naively believed that under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." A bedrock principal of due process is fair notice to all the parties who may be affected by any legal proceedings. Therefore, an ex parte judicial proceeding, conducted without notice to, and outside the presence of, the affected parties, would appear to violate the Constitution.
However, adequate notice of judicial proceedings to concerned parties may at times work irreparable harm to one or more of those parties. In such a case, the threatened party or parties may receive an ex parte court hearing to request temporary judicial relief without notice to, and outside the presence of, other persons affected by the hearing. And, of course, it is always claimed that in cases of domestic abuse that "irreparable harm" will result if a man is given a chance to defend himself under due process.
Therefore, a woman who claims, without proof or evidence, to be suffering abuse at the hands of an intimate partner (see definition above) is granted an ex parte restraining/protection order simply by filling out a standard form. And if she can't do that simple task, then VAWA-funded victim advocates, shelter groups, or attorneys are available to tell her what to say, i.e, she must state she is "in fear" of the man (no reason required), and even fill out the form for her and appear in court with her, or on her behalf. At least in Colorado a wide variety of people can seek an ex parte order against a man for domestic abuse on behalf of a woman with or without her knowledge and consent.
Upon service of such order by the police or other party the man is typically barred from his home (even if she doesn't live there), any contact with the woman, his children, or any indirect contact through a third-party. The judge may, and often does impose other draconian penalties on the man when handing down such orders, often at the rate of one-a-minute.
Since due process is ignored, and hearsay is admissible, the potential for abuse of process with such orders is unlimited and unchecked. A restraining order is regarded as a "silver bullet" in a divorce or custody battles and attorneys often advise their female clients to seek one even if she has no basis (subornation of perjury is not a crime in Colorado).
While the protection order is a civil case, violation of such orders constitutes a criminal act of domestic violence in Colorado and many other states. As noted initially, it has become more and more difficult to obtain a criminal conviction on charges of domestic violence. In response, to maintain their vendetta against men, redfems soon adopted a policy of getting a civil restraining order then claiming it had been violated. As no proof is required, and a warrantless arrest is an immediate, or as soon as the cops can catch him, result they found this a very desirable alternative. The man is then left attempting to prove a negative and, unlike most criminal charges, she can make multiple claims of restraining/protection order violations. It is said that cell phones were invented for women to report restraining/protection order violations.
Table 65 clearly shows this pattern for Colorado's 4th Judicial District. From 2002 to 2010 the number of protection orders issued nearly doubles and, from 2005 to 2010 the number of protection order violations reported rises from 76 to 543, a seven-fold increase. Table 62 shows the same pattern for the entire state.
However, there is a fundamental flaw in this agenda. Protection orders provide no protection!
If there is real abuse and violence in the relationship a protection order is much more likely to act as a catalyst for violence than a deterrent. Virtually every domestic violence homicide or murder-suicide I've been able to track occurs after a restraining order has been issued. I documented fifteen such cases and could have included many, many more but to what purpose as the evidence is clear. And the EJF has never found a case where a protection order provided any documented level of protection, or even anecdotes about how a protection order made a woman safe.
Unfortunately, since protection orders don't protect endangered women (or men), radical feminists then claim that even more oppressive laws are required. As one result we have the present nightmarish system that protects no one and violates virtually every civil liberty a citizen has.
Making the penalties for violating a protection order even more draconian is very unlikely to change the rate at which such orders are violated but does increase the catalytic effect such orders have on violence. Dugan and others (2001) found that:
"...Increases in the willingness of prosecutors' offices to take cases of protection order violation were associated with increases in the homicide of white married intimates, black unmarried intimates, and white unmarried females..."
One manifestation of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. Are we not doing exactly that with protection orders?
PTSD and domestic violence
Perhaps the saddest result of VAWA and its attendant misandry is the effect it has on wounded veterans.
Since the beginning of seemingly endless and futile wars in 2003, more and more veterans have returned from combat with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are the signature wound of these wars as body and vehicle armor now allow troops to survive in conditions that would have been fatal in previous conflicts. And PTSD is an almost inevitable companion to TBI.
Characteristic symptoms of post traumatic stress are:
Dissociation from actual events and no memory of them;
Nightmares often accompanied by kicking and fighting in one's sleep;
Irrational anger or irritability accompanied by emotional or violent outbursts;
Anxiety and a need for unconditional control of almost every situation in order to feel safe;
Panic attacks and hyperventilating;
Social withdrawal and fear of crowded places;
Flashbacks to the event(s); and
An exaggerated and often violent startle response.
Inasmuch as the underlying ideology claims the violence and emotional abuse are the result of a man exerting power and control over a woman in order to maintain the patriarchy, all of these manifestations of PTSD fit the legal definition of criminal domestic violence. If you have any doubts as to what the companion of a veteran with PTSD must endure may I strongly suggest you read this letter from the wife of a Navy corpsman.
Members of the Armed Forces are, by definition, patriarchs and trained killers under redfem dogma. Mandatory arrest, no drop prosecution, and primary aggressor policies thus lead to the wholesale destruction of military and civilian careers, and their families and children based on the injuries and stress of combat. For doing their duty and honoring the call of their country, radical feminism rewards these men and women with arrest and destruction of their lives if they survive the multiple tours of combat commonly endured today.
Typically these men, and a few women, lose their veteran's benefits as well when caught up in the nightmare of DV courts, and commonly become homeless mental wrecks, or end up in prison for long terms. All too often they eventually commit suicide.
If you are not outraged by such indecent and disgusting treatment of our most honorable citizen soldiers then there is little vestige of humanity in you!
Summary and recommendations
It is clear from the above that current domestic violence laws have little purpose but to destroy men, marriage, families, and the patriarchy under the guise of stopping domestic violence, which has provided a convenient cover and financial rewards for neo-Marxist radical feminist ideology.
However, viewing the results of VAWA and related state laws from the standpoint of neo-Marxist radical feminists, they have scored an enormous victory and accomplished many of their ideological goals, e.g., the virtual destruction of the patriarchy.
These laws have also created a significant expansion of the judicial system and enriched innumerable lawyers but without an increase in public safety. In fact, available evidence suggests public safety has been harmed rather than enhanced by these tyrannical laws.
Dealing with domestic violence, or what is now called intimate partner violence since married coupes are now an endangered species, is a massive growth industry.
In summary, VAWA has endangered citizens and our civilization!
There is no basis whatsoever for the feminist claims that men are always the batterers and women are always the victims in intimate relationships. As of June 2012 my colleague Prof. Martin Fiebert has compiled an annotated bibliography that examines 286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, that clearly demonstrates 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 371,600. And a number of studies have substantiated the Army's findings that among young couples women are two-to-three times more violent than their male partners. And lesbian couples appear to be the most violent relationships of all.
Clearly, domestic violence laws need to be revised and based on science rather than radical feminist dogma and emotions and feelings. The truth of these problems is not established by women crying and lying in courts or legislative hearings.
Quite early Erin Pizzey realized that a clear distinction must be made between:
Scenario One: Women or men who accidentally become involved with a violent partner and now wish to leave and to never return again.
Scenario Two: Women or men who, for deep psychological reasons of their own, seek out a violent relationship, or a series of violent relationships, with no intention of leaving.
Pizzey also emphasized that:
"...it is essential to understand the differentiation between our use of the words battered and violence-prone. For us, a battered person is the innocent victim of another person's violence; a violence-prone person is the victim of their own addiction to violence."
and these distinctions must be made when dealing with intimate partner violence.
One size does not fit all!
Some obvious steps could readily be taken to end the most odious aspects of the current dogmatic laws:
* Base domestic violence laws on the data, not emotions, feelings, or radical feminist ideology and dogma;
* End warrantless mandatory arrests to save lives and reduce violence;
* Eliminate "no drop" prosecution requirements so that district attorneys have more flexibility in dealing with domestic violence cases;
* Listen to the "victim" and design the response to fit the circumstances;
* Design programs to deal with couples who are mutually combative, about half the cases based on scientific surveys;
* Limit criminal domestic violence law to actual crimes of violence rather than an add-on charge to any and all crimes as is presently the case;
* End the presumption that all men are batterers and all women are victims and make the laws and police, court, treatment provider, and all other trainings gender neutral with the stipulation that women are as violent, or more violent, than men in intimate relationships;
* Treat the mental health problems such as narcissism, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or the other disorders that are commonly found to occur in association with violent or emotionally-abusive relationships as health problems, not crimes;
* Treat war and accident injuries such as PTSD and TBI as injuries, not crimes;
* Women, or men who are in actual danger from their intimate partner should and must be provided a safe shelter rather than a piece of paper claiming to be a protection order that doesn't stop a bullet;
* Audit existing shelters and ensure they are serving men, women, and children of all ages only for the purposes they are funded for as many currently do not;
* End ex parte restraining/protection orders as they are duplicative in divorce/dissolution cases and due process in other cases would save many lives.
While there is still hope for the preservation of marriage, which lies at the base of our civilization, we can, and must fix the problem, not the blame!
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Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A., President
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A., President
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