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Protest raises questions about gender bias - staff walks out on video showing abuse of men
Cecil Whig (Cecil County, MD) ^ | 05/15/2003 | Carl Hamilton

Posted on 05/16/2003 10:01:45 AM PDT by dirtboy

Protest raises questions about gender bias - Domestic violence staff walks out on video showing abuse of men

State and county officials suspect gender bias after the coordinator of the Domestic Violence Rape Crisis Center (DVRCC) and four staff members walked out of a meeting Monday before a video presentation about women who abuse men.

Karen Dunne, who oversees this county's women's shelter, read a prepared statement objecting to the showing of the videotape moments before approximately 20 members of the Family Violence Coordinating Council of Cecil County viewed it.

(Comprised of representatives from law enforcement, the judicial system, county government and other agencies, the council meets once every two months to discuss domestic violence issues to better serve the community.)

"(The DVRCC) does not use or support the use of melodramatic materials ... no matter what victim group is emphasized. The use of skewered, sensationalist materials, often based on misleading statistics, myths, and non-scientific research, is non-productive to our mission and provides a disservice to all victims of violence," according to one passage in the statement.

After reading the letter, Dunne and her colleagues left the meeting before the council and guests viewed the videotaped segment of "20/20," a news magazine program aired on ABC television.

The segment included interviews with male victims of domestic violence and with women who assaulted their husbands or boyfriends. Some parts graphically described the attacks.

In the wake of the DVRCC protest, several officials who attended the meeting are wondering what, if any, ramifications will come from it.

"My major concern is that judges in both the circuit court and district court are legally and ethically obligated to deal with all persons on a gender neutral basis,'' said Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Dexter M. Thompson Jr.

He continued, "This puts us into a bind because we have a county agency that -- at least on the surface -- is indicating that we shouldn't even be discussing this type of issue at the Family Violence Council meetings."

According to Thompson, state law precludes judges from even associating with people or agencies suspected of gender bias.

State Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R) of the 34th District, drew the same conclusion after witnessing the walkout. (Jacobs attended the meeting as a guest because as a legislator she has introduced several bills to combat domestic violence.)

"I think it shows a gender bias. It almost showed a closed mind,'' Jacobs remarked. "At the least, them walking out showed insensitivity. It wasn't professional."

Chief Darrell Hamilton of the North East Police Department commented, "We were all at that meeting for the benefit of all abuse victims, not just a select group. One group can't be prosecuted more aggressively than another -- that's not justice."

And Richard Achuff, chief investigator with the Cecil County State's Attorney's Office, commented, "Quite frankly, it sent the message that they have horse blinders on and can't see anything peripherally."

But Dunne and her associates maintained Wednesday that the DVRCC isn't gender biased.

They reported that the DVRCC has participated fully with the council on the numerous occasions it has addressed the issue of domestic violence against males.

The Whig met with Nicholas J. Ricciuti, director of the Cecil County Department of Social Services, and Margaret Diem, coordinator of Human Services, in addition to Dunne.

Dunne and her associates acknowledged that women do assault men in relationships, but the problem isn't big enough to justify the amount of time and money spent on it.

"Given the small number of cases, an inordinate amount of time has been spent on this issue. We've all seen that video before. We believe the issue has been adequately addressed,'' Diem said.

According to Ricciuti, about 300 women are housed at this county's women's shelter annually, and all of them are victims of domestic violence.

Meanwhile, 14 men in this county sought services last year from the domestic violence program, he said. Counseling and shelter are among the services a man may receive, he added.

"The number of men receiving services from the DSS (Department of Social Services) because of domestic violence is less than 20," said Ricciuti, noting that his department has never received a gender bias complaint concerning its handling of male domestic abuse victims.

He continued, "On a scale of one to 10, this is not a high priority. The numbers dictate everything. It all comes down to time management and budget."

There isn't a shelter exclusively for male victims of domestic violence in Cecil County, for example, because it wouldn't be financially responsible to create one, Dunne reported.

"Proponents for (male victims) want to see equal services, but that just can't happen when 85 to 90 percent (of the victims), and maybe even higher, are women," Dunne said. "We provide comparable services."

Not only are there fewer male victims of domestic violence than female victims, but men often require fewer services anyway, according to Dunne.

Women usually are the primary caregivers to their children and, therefore, the urgency to find shelter is greater for them, Dunne explained.

"Women need more services than men. It's not that we discriminate against men," Dunne said.

According to Ricciuti, other types of domestic violence victims now demand more attention.

And that directive comes from the Maryland Department of Human Resources, which selected Cecil County Social Services to develop a three-county pilot program to address the latest trend.

"The real issue now is how to we reach out to the elderly victims of domestic violence, and victims who are disabled and victims who have a limited proficiency in English," Ricciuti said. "They are the under-served population. I would say domestic violence against the elderly is the biggest problem."

Considered a model agency by state officials, this county's social services department is designing a program to find those types of victims in Cecil County, Prince George's County and St. Mary's County and then help them, Ricciuti said.

Federal and state officials believe the number of domestic violence victims in those groups is high. Cases go unreported for a variety of reasons, including language barriers and cultural differences.

So, in addition to demonstrating their disdain for the videotape presented as a learning tool, Dunne and her colleagues departed early Monday to make another point.

"We've been addressing this issue (male domestic violence victims) over and over,'' Dunne noted. "We want to move the county in a direction that aligns us with state and national projects designed to reach out to these under-serviced groups."

She continued, "Our time is valuable and our work is undermined when the priorities of the (the council) are not properly aligned with our center, the state coalitions and networks, and when we do not focus on all under-served victim groups equally."

Addressing the sudden departure by the DVRCC group, Thompson commented:

"The whole point of these meetings is to discuss domestic violence issues openly so we can deal with them more effectively. If they didn't like the video, they could have stayed and vocalized their displeasure. I was shocked because it was highly inappropriate."

Jacobs agreed.

By challenging statistics presented in the video, Dunne and her colleagues exhibited an attitude reminiscent of one prevalent decades ago, when social workers started addressing the domestic abuse of women in the United States, according to Jacobs.

Male domestic abuse victims today face a similar plight female domestic abuse victims encountered several years ago, Jacobs reported.

"People were out there saying there was a problem, but, back then, we didn't have the statistics like we do today,'' Jacobs said. "So to me, it was hypocritical for (the DVRCC) to dispute the statistics (in the video) and then walk out."

She added, "It wasn't a wise move. This just cements the stereotype that women in these groups are man-haters."

Dunne and her colleagues, however, viewed their early exit as a last resort after voicing their concerns at past meetings -- to no avail.

"The (council) membership has tolerated the domination of the topic of male victimization for over a year, despite the fact that DVRCC and other partners have clearly demonstrated that male victims do indeed receive comparable services in this county as mandated by COMAR law,'' Dunne wrote.

To that end, Dunne recently presented a one-hour report to the human services committee of the council on mandated and non-mandated services that the DVRCC provides "for all victims of violence, including males," she said.

"Minutes from that meeting found that the report on these services was more than satisfactory. In addition, the DVRCC has met and, or, exceeded all state and federal program audit requirements for providing mandated services to victims of violence in Cecil County," she added.

Viewed as the start of the last-straw incident, Dunne openly objected to the videotaped segment of "20/20" after first seeing it during a sub-committee meeting, she said.

Then the executive committee was supposed to review the tape, accompanied by her comments, before presenting it to the council, she added.

But the tape bypassed the executive committee, and it was presented to the council Monday, according to Dunne, who wrote her statement after learning that the video would be played, despite her official objections and the lack of further review.

"I'm not into dramatics but I felt I had to do something," Dunne said, adding that she told council leaders beforehand that she and her colleagues would object and leave.

Her written statement concluded, "Please excuse us from the rest of this meeting, as we cannot support the use of histrionic materials. Thank You."

Ricciuti -- their boss -- supports Dunne and her colleagues.

"Walking out of the room is not only the right thing to do sometimes, sometimes it's the only right thing to do," Ricciuti said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: domesticviolence
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Liberals are quite fond, apparently, of walking away from situations they don't like.
1 posted on 05/16/2003 10:01:46 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
The use of skewered, sensationalist materials, often based on misleading statistics, myths, and non-scientific research, is non-productive to our mission and provides a disservice to all victims of violence," according to one passage in the statement.

Skewered, LOL! (I think they meant "skewed".) But this accurately summarizes their position on guns: a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to kill friend or family, quintuples the risk of suicide and triples the risk of homocide, etc.

2 posted on 05/16/2003 10:04:59 AM PDT by coloradan
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To: dirtboy
The wife of someone very close to me was abusive. She tried to stab him silverware (forks and knives) on several occasions. The woman was a drunk and carouser. Finally, sent her packing.
3 posted on 05/16/2003 10:06:20 AM PDT by aardvark1
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To: dirtboy
These man-haters are getting a taste of the medicine they have been dishing out to men for decades with the forced viewings of gender-sensitivity videos and forced attendance at related meetings. I think some firings of these women and hiring of some open-minded men is in order, personally. And I certainly hope there is a gender-diverse staff at that office, btw, else lawsuits may be in order.
4 posted on 05/16/2003 10:10:34 AM PDT by KellyAdmirer
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To: KellyAdmirer
Yeah, from the reaction of the judges I don't think these feminazis realized just how much doo-doo they were getting into with their little stunt.
5 posted on 05/16/2003 10:12:11 AM PDT by dirtboy (Tagline currently experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by)
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To: dirtboy
What a surprise! I thought a few years ago, that the folks who work in the domestic violence field completely recognized that some women are the abusers.
6 posted on 05/16/2003 10:14:08 AM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: dirtboy
Makes it so much more difficult to continue to play the victim and martyr when people insist on pointing out that you're also likely to be the perpetrator at times......
7 posted on 05/16/2003 10:17:42 AM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: dirtboy
Actually, several studies have shown about as many men are abused, physically, as women.
8 posted on 05/16/2003 10:23:53 AM PDT by RJCogburn (Yes, I will call it bold talk for a......)
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To: aardvark1
"She tried to stab him silverware"

My wife tried that once years ago when I came home late from work. I had been at the tavern with some co-workers. She was lying in bed with an 8" chef knife waiting to bobbitize my frontal area. I climbed into bed and she displayed the knife, I reached over and grabbed the thing and took it from her, slicing her ring finger to the bone. That never happened again. It's become a funny story we tell now some 26 years later.

I'm thankful she didn't do to me what her sister did to her carousing husband. He came home from work one day to find his dinner ready and little did he know his girlfriend had called the wife and told her about his affair. The wife had taken the husbands fork and heated it to redhot on the stove and stuck it into the plate of spaghetti. When he stuck the fork into his mouth the fork branded his tounge and roof of his mouth. They were quite a couple.

9 posted on 05/16/2003 10:23:56 AM PDT by bigfootbob
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To: dirtboy
I used to know a Cecil Whig. Not really. Great name for a newspaper.
10 posted on 05/16/2003 10:24:16 AM PDT by gcruse (Vice is nice, but virtue can hurt you. --Bill Bennett)
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To: bigfootbob
I'm trying to picture that, but I need your help. She heated the fork up, but even though he was able to pick it up in his hand without getting a clue to how hot is was, it burned his mouth severely?

What am I missing?

11 posted on 05/16/2003 10:29:25 AM PDT by savedbygrace
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To: aardvark1
I would suspect that a lot of men are abused because they are extremely reluctant to strike back because of inner character or legal ramifications. Suppose a wife did stab a husband with a fork or a butter knife and the husband decked her in retaliation-my guess would be that he's the one who will wind up in the squad car with a snickering cop behind the wheel.
12 posted on 05/16/2003 10:30:03 AM PDT by MattinNJ
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To: savedbygrace
Silver has a high thermal conductivity, but stainless steel does not. The tines of a stainless fork can be red hot for many tens of seconds before the handle begins getting perceptibly warm. She would only have had to heat it up, then call him to the table immediately.
13 posted on 05/16/2003 10:36:12 AM PDT by coloradan
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To: MattinNJ
Suppose a wife did stab a husband with a fork or a butter knife and the husband decked her in retaliation-my guess would be that he's the one who will wind up in the squad car

Correct.

14 posted on 05/16/2003 10:59:08 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: dirtboy
She added, "It wasn't a wise move. This just cements the stereotype that women in these groups are man-haters."

It's not a stereotype.

15 posted on 05/16/2003 11:00:41 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: bigfootbob
Your family is an effing laugh-riot, it is.
16 posted on 05/16/2003 11:01:48 AM PDT by Lazamataz (In Soviet Union, all your us are belong to base!)
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: savedbygrace
"What am I missing?"

Fork design. The fork had a wooden handle. She told my wife she had to practice. Too hot and it sounded like a steak at Ruth's Criss, not hot enough the job doesn't get done. Truly maniacal, but I bet he learned.

18 posted on 05/16/2003 11:06:37 AM PDT by bigfootbob
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To: Motherbear
I'm not a liberal, but I fail to see why men of domestic violence are need of services

Sometimes there isn't a lot of money and the man decides to get the hell away. The point is, these staffers conducted themselves in a discriminatory manner, which means that state agencies may end up being unable to do business with them. And it reflects a higher problem, namely that a lot of the activists in this area are hard-core man haters who don't want facts intruding into their cult of victimhood - if men are victims as well, they might have to treat them in a more sympathetic manner.

19 posted on 05/16/2003 11:09:05 AM PDT by dirtboy (someone kidnapped dirtboy and replaced him with an exact replica)
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: Lazamataz
The wife has 10 brothers and sisters, never a dull moment and we live 2500 miles away from them.
21 posted on 05/16/2003 11:09:42 AM PDT by bigfootbob
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: bigfootbob
when I came home late from work

A little testy, huh? At least she didn't hear you say, "I love you" to your mistress on the telephone. That deserves scissors at the jugular, in my opinion. :-)

23 posted on 05/16/2003 11:12:32 AM PDT by stands2reason
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To: Motherbear
I've known several men who have suffered physical abuse. A lot of women feel they can get away with hitting a guy whenever they want because the guy knows if he hits her back, HE'S the one the cops will take awy.
24 posted on 05/16/2003 11:12:50 AM PDT by dirtboy (someone kidnapped dirtboy and replaced him with an exact replica)
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To: bigfootbob
The wife has 10 brothers and sisters, never a dull moment and we live 2500 miles away from them.

By way of advice, I have only one word: Farther.

;^)

25 posted on 05/16/2003 11:13:13 AM PDT by Lazamataz (In Soviet Union, all your us are belong to base!)
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To: Motherbear
Yeah, and just as many men are raped by women. :(

Straw-man alert

26 posted on 05/16/2003 11:14:35 AM PDT by stands2reason
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To: dirtboy
A lot of women feel they can get away with hitting a guy whenever they want because the guy knows if he hits her back, HE'S the one the cops will take away.

Correct.

27 posted on 05/16/2003 11:21:37 AM PDT by Mark17
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To: dirtboy
These must be the same people who don't go after dead-beat moms with the same vengence as they go after dead-beat dads.
28 posted on 05/16/2003 11:28:36 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: bigfootbob
"When he stuck the fork into his mouth the fork branded his tounge and roof of his mouth."

WOW!
29 posted on 05/16/2003 11:30:48 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: Motherbear
Speaking only for myself, the only person to have tried to kill me was female.
30 posted on 05/16/2003 11:31:20 AM PDT by skeeter (Fac ut vivas)
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To: Dark Mirage
Up your alley.
31 posted on 05/16/2003 11:32:46 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
some women are the abusers

And their number one target is their children.

I believe that the most frequent domestic violence is the abuse children suffer, especially in a single parent home. It is a situation in which the single mother is likely to be an uneducated, frustrated, substance abuser.

When the victim is an adult they have the ability to flee the relationship. Children are not so fortunate.

32 posted on 05/16/2003 11:36:24 AM PDT by Zevonismymuse
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To: skeeter
Speaking only for myself, the only person to have tried to kill me was female.

Did you have it coming?

Just kidding. I think my husband would say the same thing.

33 posted on 05/16/2003 11:37:49 AM PDT by Zevonismymuse
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To: dirtboy
Liberals are quite fond, apparently, of walking away from situations they don't like.

BUMP like a two year old throwing a tantrum. Lalalalala I can't hear you lalalalala...

34 posted on 05/16/2003 11:39:49 AM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS: CNN let human beings be tortured and killed to keep their Baghdad bureau open)
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To: bigfootbob
I re-read that post about the fork and I am amazed.

And I thought the guy who daily scrubbed the toilet with his soon to be exwife's toothbrush was creative.
35 posted on 05/16/2003 11:42:19 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: weegee
BUMP like a two year old throwing a tantrum.

Or a Texas Democrat driving up I-35 to Oklahoma...

36 posted on 05/16/2003 11:42:54 AM PDT by dirtboy (someone kidnapped dirtboy and replaced him with an exact replica)
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To: dirtboy
I may be flamed for this but, based on persoanl experience and anecdotal evidence, I think one factor not mentioned is that many females believe that when tey slap or hit a boyfriend, husband, lover, whatever, its not really violence. The rationale for this belief is that woman know they stike with less impact than do me and rarely use a closed fist swung right at the males face or head. What is being done a lot of woman feel is just a kind of emotional communication so they don't really consider it violence and would be shocked to classified as batterers. And its tru if a man hits a woman hard or even slaps her with force the injury level is probably going to be much higher than if a woman did it. What is gallling is that women often don't consider such things violence anymore than they consider screaming epithets at men to be verbal abuse. Woman in the US are now surprisingly uninhibited about the language they use with other women and slapping and hitting other females. It is easy to transfer that to relationships with men. My wife has been surprised when more than once I have told her the language she will use with me when she is really angry would probably get her a punch in the jaw or nose if she were another man. Many American woman seem to have little sense that there really are certain behaviors and language that one does refrain from using even when provioked. This is a big change in the last 50 years and not one for the better.
37 posted on 05/16/2003 11:43:58 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: dirtboy
The point is, these staffers conducted themselves in a discriminatory manner, which means that state agencies may end up being unable to do business with them. And it reflects a higher problem, namely that a lot of the activists in this area are hard-core man haters who don't want facts intruding into their cult of victimhood - if men are victims as well, they might have to treat them in a more sympathetic manner.

Amen. The bimbos got caught with their panties down.

38 posted on 05/16/2003 11:45:37 AM PDT by jimt
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To: dirtboy
That's because liberalism does not stand up to the light of day and absolutely does not hold up in debate. That's why you never see real conservative vs. liberal debate. Liberals have to have the floor to themselves, or else be in an environment where they can shout over the conservative and get by with it. Liberalism cannot be logically defended.

MM

39 posted on 05/16/2003 11:47:45 AM PDT by MississippiMan
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To: dirtboy
The segment included interviews with male victims of domestic violence and with women who assaulted their husbands or boyfriends. Some parts graphically described the attacks.

I wonder if this an interview with Bill and Hill about a flying ashtray... ?

40 posted on 05/16/2003 11:48:39 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Rebelbase
" I am amazed."

Me too. This happened 22 years ago and I've never heard anything top this deviously ingenious maiming

41 posted on 05/16/2003 11:49:52 AM PDT by bigfootbob
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: dirtboy; Motherbear
I watched an episode of Cops about ten years ago with a woman who was part of a group trained to deal with abusive relationships. In this episode was a man and his wife. She looked a little overweight and the type that would fit in perfectly at wednesday night bingo. He looked about 65 and very, very thin and downright weak, wearing an old t-shirt. The cops were there on a domestic despute call. The man was sitting on the side of a bed and as the cops tried to ask him questions and he started to speak, his wife said some profanity and started physically slapping and punching him. He just cowered and the cops had to subdue her. It was pathetic.

The woman I was watching this with said, "I'll bet he was beating her when the cops weren't there!"

Their bias exposes them as rediculous to any rational person.
43 posted on 05/16/2003 11:59:29 AM PDT by Not Insane
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: Motherbear
Men tend to not report it because its just plain embarrasing. Physical superiority of men to women is a given. No man wants to admit he is the exception.
45 posted on 05/16/2003 12:00:52 PM PDT by Not Insane
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To: Motherbear
--I completely believe that some men have been battered. I also believe they have more power to do something about it. --

Actually, the opposite is true. What do you think a man can do about it that a woman can't, that won't land him in the back of a cop car that is.
46 posted on 05/16/2003 12:02:46 PM PDT by Not Insane
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To: Zevonismymuse
--Just kidding. I think my husband would say the same thing.--

HA, you actually got me laughing on that one!
47 posted on 05/16/2003 12:05:04 PM PDT by Not Insane
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To: Zevonismymuse
I believe that the most frequent domestic violence is the abuse children suffer, especially in a single parent home. It is a situation in which the single mother is likely to be an uneducated, frustrated, substance abuser.

From personal experience, I agree, except my mother was a high school educated, narcissist, who, while married to my p-whipped father (she still is), physically and emotionally beat the crap out of me and my sister with a smile on her face and a Bible under the arm.

48 posted on 05/16/2003 12:06:59 PM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Labyrinthos
From personal experience, I agree

Ironic how those who are the most abusive as a group claim to be the most victimized as a group. And they get away with it.

49 posted on 05/16/2003 12:12:33 PM PDT by Zevonismymuse
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To: dirtboy
"Given the small number of cases, an inordinate amount of time has been spent on this issue.

He continued, "On a scale of one to 10, this is not a high priority. The numbers dictate everything. It all comes down to time management and budget."

Imagine this being said if the victim were a woman or a minority.

50 posted on 05/16/2003 12:12:44 PM PDT by CaptRon
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