Saturday, July 19, 2008

Research is Good, Public Policy Change is Better

I have been doing a bit of summer reading and wanted to share a book with you that I thought was a rather fair-minded view of domestic violence. The book Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Abuse was written by lawyer and social worker, Linda Mills, who holds the controversial view that women can often be as violent as men. In an interview, Mills states:

Over 200 studies of violent relationships have confirmed a pattern: Of relationships that are violent, one quarter of the violent incidents are initiated by women and one-quarter are initiated by men. What may be most surprising, however, is that 50 percent of the cases involve men and women who are inititating violence against each other--there is a back and forth.

The book has a good chapter on the anatomy of intimate abuse with sections such as "Are Women as Violent as Men? and "The Feminist Backlash Against Those Who Speak Up." Mills states that women are more likely to report abuse than men and that men are expected to tolerate hurt feelings, abuse, and even injury, since it supposedly tests their manhood, and they are often taught that they should hide their suffering. Apparently, only 14% of men who have experienced significant incidents of intimate violence even bother to report it vs. women who report such incidents at twice the rate.

Mills points out that homicide statistics report that women are far more frequently killed by intimate partners than men are but another trend suggests that a different pattern is emerging:

The Department of Justice reports that between 1991 and 2000, the number of girls under eighteen convicted of aggravated assault crimes increased 44%, whereas for their male contemporaries, the percentage decreased by 16%. Similarily, crimes involving weapons increased 18% for girls while decreasing 29% for boys. These patterns have also been detected in reports of dating violence.

A study by Murray Straus published in 2008 reveals that approximately 30 percent of college students who are dating in the United States experience a physically violent episode in their relationships. Overall, Straus found that approximately 21% of thse violent incidents were initiated by women, 10 percent by men. As these young women move into adulthood, we may very well detect an increase in intimate violence among married couples.

While it is all well and good to report the research and I am glad that Mill's book sheds some light on the real gender stats, this research needs to translate into policy changes in domestic violence laws such as VAWA and predominant aggressor laws that unfairly target men. For in the coming years, if there is an increase in domestic violence due to women's increased participation, guess which gender will pay a legal price for that domestic violence and guess which will just get away with it more often?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"That's the way society is these days..."

Many of you (thanks!) have been emailing a troubling article from the Telegraph entitled "Father prevented from photographing own children at fair." It seems that photographing one's own kids at a public place now makes one a pervert:

Gary Crutchley was taking pictures of his sons Cory, seven, and Miles, five, on an inflatable slide when staff questioned him and told him to stop.

When Mr Crutchely, a father of three and an industrial rubber consultant, insisted he only wanted to photograph his own children, another parent challenged him, saying he could be putting the pictures up on the internet.

Mr Crutchely, 39, of Reedswood, Walsall, sought a second opinion from police at the Wolverhampton City Show, but was told "that's the way society is these days", though they admitted taking the pictures was allowed....

He said: "Another woman joined in and said her child was also on the slide and did not want me taking pictures of the youngster.

"She then said I could be taking pictures of just any child to put on the internet and called me a pervert."

Mrs Crutchely, added: "I was annoyed, extremely upset and embarrassed. I was shocked by the reaction of those women. It is very sad when every man with a camera enjoying a Sunday afternoon out in the park with his children is automatically assumed to be a pervert.

So, guys, remember, if you're out and about on a Sunday afternoon and have a camera in hand, especially in the UK, you may just be labled a pervert. I hate to think what would happen if a lone man actually walked around taking pictures without his own children present. Jail time may be next, if decent people don't stand up against this sort of absurdity.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rachel Lucas: "Mamas, don’t let your sons watch HGTV. They’ll never get married." Read it, it's hilarious and all too true.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ask Dr. Helen: Should Single Men be "Bagged and Tagged?"

My PJM column is up:

There are a variety of reasons why some married women might feel threatened by the sight of a happily unattached male.

This column seems like an appropriate follow-up to my recent post on bachelorhood--go read it and tell me what you think (within reason, please):


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Evil Genes

Glenn and I met up with Barbara Oakley, author of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend, for dinner this evening and had a wonderful time. Oakley was coming through Knoxville as part of her book tour and will be speaking at Carpe Librum book store in Knoxville on Friday, July 18 at 6:30 pm. If you are local and are interested in psychopathy, psychology, or borderline personality from a biological perspective, check out her talk or read the book.