WOMEN CAN BE ABUSIVE, TOO
By Michael J. Geanoulis, Sr.
June 12, 2004
A revealing paper on domestic violence (DV) published in the Florida State
University Law Review provides a promising new twist to a thorny problem -
assuming, of course, it gets the attention it deserves.
According to author and Indiana School of Law Professor, Linda Kelly, women
can be batterers. Men can be victims. And abuse by females needs to be
eradicated, as well. (Kelly, L, Disabusing the Definition of Domestic Abuse:
How Women Batter Men and the Role of the Feminist State; Fla. St. Univ. Law
Rev, Vol 30:791)
It will be interesting to see how Kelly's 65 page paper is received, as she
treads on ground long held sacred and untouchable by special interests, who,
according to Kelly, have been influencing DV policy using double standards
and biased data which discriminates against men.
As long ago as 1981, Straus, Gelles and Steinmetz discovered some of the data
referred to by Kelly, reporting it in "Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the
American Family." Nearly 180 million women were assaulted annually by their
husbands that year -- shameful data that was elevated for all to see via
incite-ful ads trumpeting the fact that "Every 17 seconds a woman is
assaulted by her husband."
What the general public never saw, though, was the "real surprise," to quote
the authors: 200 million husbands who were likewise assaulted by their wives.
In what can only be described as a conspiracy of misinformation, the data on
assaulted husbands was swept under the rug. No ads were ever produced
depicting the average 16 second time span between assaults by wives on their
And so it is, as Kelly warns against, with New Hampshire's annual Conference
on DV sponsored by the Governor's Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence
which bills itself to "Improve the Investigative, Judicial, Administrative
and Community Response."
Efforts to "improve" seems fair on its face -- except that judges who want to
"improve" themselves should not be attending DV conferences loaded with
sexist half truths and innuendo.
The slide projections of Mary Bettley in Seminar 4 of this year's conference
provided the best evidence of such bias. What judge could be expected to make
fair decisions after being exposed to half truths like, "50% of men who
assaulted their wives also abused their children"? Shouldn't judges also be
taught the rate of child abuse for women who assaulted their husbands? And
shouldn't judges be aware that women are twice more likely to assault their
children than men are?
Only half the story, furthermore, was given for the cycle of violence: "He
(the boy) sees hitting and learns, "reports Beattley. Don't girls learn about
hitting when they see it? Was it Bettley's intention to teach the hundreds of
judges and criminal justice people gathered to "improve" themselves, that
only males learn about and do the hitting around the house?
In Seminar 10, Dr. James Knoll echoed the Rule of Thumb, debunked long ago by
"Who Stole Feminism" author Christine Hoff' Sommers as a libelous falsehood.
The rule, which serves as an unfair character assassination that refuses to
die and which never existed except in the mind set of the feminist state,
held that men could beat their wives so long as they used a stick no bigger
than their thumb.
Dr. Knoll seemed loathe to acknowledge that men have a long record of loving,
protecting and glorifying the fair sex -- building magnificent temples to
honor women and installing them on high pedestals. Apparently it's more PC
and profitable to malign men as cruel beasts, especially at well-financed
conferences constructed to teach that only men are responsible for DV.
Noticed for his absence from the conference was Murray Straus, PhD, director
of the Family Research Lab at UNH and world class expert on DV who lives and
works right here in New Hampshire. He was not invited. Was this because of
his position that female aggression should not be ignored? Or his revelation
that men are compelled to stay in abusive relationships for the same reasons
heretofore reserved for women? Or that his life might again be
threatened for treading on untouchable topics?
Will Kelly be ignored, too?
DV is an equal opportunity employer that should demand all perpetrators be
held accountable on an equal basis. Let's hope that reasonable and objective
people like Kelly and Straus, et al, can be part of the dialogue going
forward. (Mr. Geanoulis is president of the New Hampshire Chapter of the
National Congress for Fathers & Children and sits on the New Hampshire
Commission on the Status of Men.
Michael J. Geanoulis
Pres. of NH Chapter
National Congress for Fathers & Children
PO Box 45, New Castle, NH 03854-0045