To the Irish Times
To the editors:
"You have 30 minutes to pack everything you own. If you can't
carry it on your back, it will have to stay behind. Look around
one last time because you may never return home again."
This came from a fundraising letter by an international relief
organization about the plight of Kosovo refugees. Do you think
this couldn't happen in a free, peacetime society?
Today, most anyone can be forced from his or her home simply
on the accusation of spousal or child abuse. No trial, no judge, no
jury. No notice. The police come knocking in the middle of the
night and you must leave. No excuses. No looking back. And the
nightmare is only just beginning.
If we are truly intent on solving family violence and abuse, we can
no longer rely on hyperbole or hypocrisy. We need to fix the problem,
not the blame, and it needs to be done by counteracting political
pressure and campaign contributions that encourage gender profiling
of the victims and perpetrators of family violence.
Our civil liberties and civil rights have been eroded under false
banner of solving human problems with political solutions. The
following issues are of great concern:
1 mandatory arrest policies and arrests made without warrants;
2 court orders issued without the defendant present (ex parte);
3 false allegations of abuse and false imprisonment;
4 illegal and inequitable child custody arrangements; and
5 imprisonment for debt, a practice outlawed decades ago.
Government agencies and private charities are funding a radical
political agenda rather than rational solutions for family violence
prevention and treatment programs. This denial of civil rights and
the police-state tactics used today in the name of quelling domestic
violence are more dangerous than the problem.
Most of society, for the sake of civilization, wants to preserve
families, not tear them apart, but this is completely at odds with the
agenda of taxpayer-funded radical feminist groups whose ideology is
anti-male and anti-family. Perhaps the worst thing any parent can
suffer is to see his or her child damaged or abused at the hands of a
system that is supposed to protect families. Yet concerned citizens
around the globe are powerless to correct even the most obvious
infractions. Some parents are petrified of having their names made
public because they fear the retribution of the court system!
What can justify thousands of men being forced from their homes
and children with nothing more than the clothes on their backs when
many such actions are based on nothing more than hearsay or
unsubstantiated allegations? These men are often also denied the
right to confront their accuser, and it is often impossible to obtain
witnesses in one's defense because of protective orders.
Proponents of common-sense domestic violence laws say dialogue
is long overdue. They want an objective examination of the issue, one
that avoids closed-door legislative and judicial maneuvering. But
domestic violence is now big business, providing significant revenue
for attorneys and law enforcement, social services and judicial
agencies. The system hides behind a stereotype of heinous abusers,
but the reality is a myriad injustices.
Men are errantly labeled as primary aggressors because police and
courts treat men that way. As a result, abusive women who need
treatment view society as condoning their violent behavior, creating
further risk for men and children. This approach also ignores long-
term contributing factors such as psychological and emotional
abuse by a woman against a man.
Domestic violence laws are publicized to fit the classic definition
of recurring violence involving physical injuries. The reality is that
today's laws are so wide ranging as to encourage injustices and
false charges. The statistics that tell us women are being violently
abused in great numbers in secret are coming from places that are
closed to public overview, such as shelters, crisis centers and
David Brown, senior editor for the Ottawa Citizen in Ontario, Canada
(which has the most draconian of domestic-violence laws), recently
noted that hospital workers and emergency personnel cannot verify
the publicized number of battered women. "How is it that where the
'front-line workers' are open to approach, there's not a whiff of the
great numbers emanating from shelters? How is it that, with the lines
of communication I have developed into the community after 35 years
of writing a city column, not one of them signals a secret epidemic
of violence?" Brown wrote in a December 8, 2001, column.
"The media has to accept much of the responsibility for turning
unsubstantiated statistics into facts but, like everybody else,
we're caught in confusing battle lines. How can high-profile
corporations say no to buying a table at a fund-raiser when the
promotion says it's to protect women from violence? Newspapers,
including the Citizen, buy tables at these events, giving them
legitimacy through financial support and the corporate name
on the table," Brown stated.
It is far past due that the international media expose and correct
these terrible injustices to which they are a party. It will require a
brave and diligent effort by good-hearted and fair-minded people.
I hope that such individuals exist within today's media but the
evidence to-date has been sorely lacking.
Vail, Colo. USA
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