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Letter to Houston Chronicle - RE: Domestic Violence

Letter to Houston Chronicle - RE: Domestic Violence

The following was sent in late December (1999) after they published their editorial position. No response to this letter was received - none was expected. This is, after all, the same paper that published rubbish about passage of the presumption of joint custody in Texas a few years ago. Their article about the pending bill was completely erroneous, something they could have fixed if they had simply read the thing. When it comes to issues of gender they refuse to check facts and report a story fairly or with any degree of accuracy. The Houston Chronicle is a newspaper with zero credibility on these issues!
-- Mel S.

Houston Chronicle
PO Box 4260
Houston, TX 77210-4260


Ref: Your editorial "domestic violence against men is rare," by MICHELE OSTRANDER

A little research by Ms. Ostrander could have provided an element of balance to her sorry little advocacy piece.

A recent bibliography by Martin S. Fiebert of the Department of Psychology at California State University in Long Beach [Source: http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm] summarizes the results of 95 scholarly investigations, 79 empirical studies and 16 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that 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 60,000. That is over sixty-thousand people studied in various locations by various social scientists over a period of the last 20 years or so, all of which indicate the same result.

She might have read a little by Erin Pizzey, author and founder of the world's first women's refuge in London over 30 years ago, who has said that of the first 100 women to come to her shelter, 62 were as violent as the men they left. In an article for The Observer in July '98, she states that, "Not only did they admit their violence in the mutual abuse that took place in their homes, but the women were abusive to their children. The purpose of the refuge was not to make political gain out personal suffering, but to seek to discover the causes of domestic violence and to create therapeutic programmes that would educate violence-prone parents to learn to eradicate their violent behaviour. Unfortunately, at this time the feminist movement -- hungry for recognition and for funding -- was able to hi-jack the domestic violence movement and promptly set about disseminating dubious research material and dis-information."

Ms. Pizzey goes on in that article: "In the following years respected research workers in the field published their findings. Murray Strauss, Richard Gelles and Suzanne Steinmetz authored Behind Closed Doors - Violence in The American Family published by Doubleday/Anchor 1980. In their findings they reported that domestic assault rates between men and women were about equal. Physically, men caused more damage to women but women retaliated with weapons. This was backed up a report from Leicester Royal Infirmary in England that reported that their findings confirmed that men and women were equally victims of violent assault but that men injuries were more horrific because they were caused by weapons.

"None of these findings made much impact in the media and were brushed aside by the feminist movement, who insisted that any injuries caused by women were probably in self defence. Those of us in the domestic violence field working in America were unhappy about the mounting tide of information demonising men. In spite of the evidence now showing that both men and women were capable of violence towards each other and abusive behaviour towards children, rigorous laws were being pushed through the US and Canadian judicial system that discriminated against men. Women began to falsify information and accuse their partners of domestic violence as a preamble to requesting a divorce. Men were accused of molesting their children and many jailed without evidence. Men could be removed from their homes merely by an allegation from their partner that they were 'in fear.' No physical corroborating evidence of violence behaviour was necessary. Courts refused to discipline women who refused to allow men access to their children. Men had a one in ten chance of loosing contact with their children altogether. A bitter war between men and women became a reality."

Ms. Ostrander perpetuates this bitter war with her barrage of mis-information and her support of the sexist federal legislation, the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 (HB 351 & SB 51). This bill was authored by the National Organization of Women's Legal Defense Fund. It allocates almost $4 Billion in taxpayer money to fund local shelters for women and children only. It also blames any domestic disagreement on men and denies funding to any organization that disagrees with this approach; it denies funding to any shelter that questions abusive behaviors, motives, or credibility of a woman claming to be a victim; it redefines domestic violence to exclude acts of self defense (a woman claiming self defense can get away with almost any act of violence); it promotes interstate parental kidnapping, it funds "youth" programs to spew anti-family feminist propaganda into our public schools; it funds HUD to provide permanent free housing and requires health insurance companies to provide permanent coverage to any woman claiming victim status; it makes it near impossible for employers to dismiss or discipline women who claim victim status; and on it goes! One provision could even invalidate Texas' joint custody law. There is no balance, no fairness, and no acknowledgment that men are ever victims. Even to the most casual reader, it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Certain provisions of the '94 version of the Act have been invalidated by Federal Court rulings for that very reason.

Feminist, Barbara Dority, is quoted in Good Will Toward Men, by Jack Kammer, as saying, "I'm appalled. I see no reason why violence against women is any more reprehensible than violence against men or why it should be punished more severely under the law. We're never going to get equality with this approach. There are responsibilities and risks involved with freedom."

The problem of domestic violence will never be solved if we only work on half of the problem. In large part the media is to blame for publishing feminist misinformation without validation or source checking. The basics taught in Journalism 101 seem to be forgotten when reporting on gender issues. But the problem of domestic violence is not a gender issue, it is a people issue and it will never be solved until this is fully understood by the media, the lawmakers and the judiciary.

Mel Stanley
Texas Fathers for Equal Rights -- Ft. Worth

-- Mel Stanley --
TFER home page at

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