Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barbara Kay, A big piece of stone just fell out of the Domestic Violence version of the Berlin Wall ~ A column on a groundbreaking DV case in CA

Barbara Kay, A big piece of stone just fell out of the Domestic Violence version of the Berlin Wall

October 15, 2008, 8:43 AM by Jonathan Kay
Barbara Kay

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I am sure that to 99% of readers the two words "domestic violence" means violence against women. Only. The politically correct view that all domestic violence (DV) can be accounted for either by the inherent aggression and controlling instincts of men or by women's defensive reactions against those instincts is so deeply entrenched in our culture that it has become the Berlin Wall of the gender wars - or rather the war of feminism against men. In fact women initiate violence against their partners in an almost equal ratio to men. And in many cases the violence they inflict is severe (as one woman in a woman's shelter told the director, "knives make great levellers").

For all the men who have suffered at the hands of battering women, a chunk of stone just fell out of that huge gendered wall. In a taxpayer lawsuit by four male victims of DV, the Third District appellate court in California reversed a previous ruling holding that because they are not statistically situated with women, men are not entitled to equal protection. The new ruling declares the exclusion of men from Domestic Violence programs unconstitutional.

The presenting case, that of David Woods and his daughter Maegan, now in her early 20s, was compelling because the evidence was irrefutable, the worst case of gender bias in this area I have ever seen. David Woods is a handicapped man in a wheelchair, incapable of living on his own, and dependent (or was during the relevant period, the 1980s, when Meagan was a young girl) on his wife Ruth, who is bi-polar with violent tendencies. David frequently attempted to get help from a Sacramento DV agency, who always told him "We don't help men," explaining that men were perpetrators of violence, never victims, the usual mantra so clearly inapplicable to his situation. Churches and various other programs were equally unhelpful.

If David had fled with his daughter, he would have been arrested for kidnapping, unlike women with children who are offered shelter and sympathy. He would certainly have lost custody in a divorce, so neither flight nor divorce would have served Meagan's interests. Bias in the law enforcement system exacerbated the problem. In one 1995 incident, Ruth aimed a shotgun at Meagan. David managed to wrest it from her. Ruth called the police, telling them she wanted to kill her husband, but when the police arrived, they immediately handcuffed him.

People who have followed the heartrending story of the Woods family can only rejoice at this moral victory, which of course comes too late to rewrite the tragic trajectory of Meagan's unhappy childhood, but hopefully will provide a strong foundation for the reversal of the tide of gender bias the case represents.

The entrenched prejudices against men in the DV industry know no borders. California today, other states tomorrow. And Canada? The issues are the same, the right of taxpayers to equal access to services is the same, the bias in the legal system is the same, and the cultural blindness to the plight of male suffering is the same. It would be a grace note for judges here to take note of the chunk of wall on the ground, and pick up a proactive hammer. The faster this wall comes down, the better for democracy and for gender relations, soured by years of feminists' indifference to the suffering of male victims and their children.

by Rectificatif
Oct 15 2008
6:53 PM

The idea that wives or women are _always_ victims is an urban legend and a group libel against men. As BK says, it's systemic oppression of men. In divorce court, it's systemic bias against fathers. This is a long-term campaign. And Canada has been described as "the worst male-hating country on Earth," so maybe we should apply to California for protection.

by Allanbuteau
Oct 15 2008
8:31 PM

Excluding Men from Domestic Violence Programs is Unconstitutional?

This comes to us from a California Court and as I read about this victory for abused men I remain mindful of many 'discrimination' suits brought by various women over the past 50-years.

They began with a simple quest for gender equality... gaining access and even control of virtually every male orientated entity in the free world. Men and boys found themselves "Bullied" into opening the doors of traditionally male organizations, all-the-while men continued to be excluded from the Feminine organizations. To be honest while every feminist strived to belong to our Scout and Cadet Organizations, I am sure that I and my son had no real desire to be a girl guide...

But, then again we are no longer dealing with a child's organization and we are not talking about access to a male exclusive group of tea sippers. We are talking about protection against crime, an extremely violent crime that [using their figures] affects or stands to affect 1/3 of every household in Canada. Discrimination by gender is still a crime in this country.. Consider that a women fleeing a violent home with a her 12-year-old son, might also find herself refused protection or told to leave that "male" behind; and what they portray as a crime against women and children now becomes a willful and deliberate act to leave pre-adult males in the line of fire.

We have now managed to get a few in our government offices, and even the Media to admit that women and men are almost equally able to commit domestic violence and a review of their stats shows that a mother is more likely to kill her child. Still, with all that acknowledgement we find that children and men trying to escape a violent home have no place to go... NO PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW!

Shame on us for sitting back and allowing this to happen........Allan

by Invisible_Man
Oct 16 2008
12:13 PM

As a male victim of unilateral domestic violence and abuse, who has been utterly vilified without recourse due to my gender, I can attest to the revolting state of gender inequality in Canadian family law. My ex-wife attempted on several occasions to kill me, including strangling me in front of our then-three-year-old daughter. She has committed fraud, perjury, contempt of Court and aggravated assault on the same daughter. She has alienated both of our children from me; I have not been able to see them in over three years and the last time I did she told them, "your Daddy's dying."

I haven't even been able to speak to them on the phone this year. However, the police refuse to press charges; Sgt. Michel Crevier of the RCMP said (verbatim) "Well, it was a long time ago, and besides, it's only homicide." Since the police refuse to act, I am denied access to Victim's Services who said, "We contacted the Police and there has been no crime committed against you." In ten years of this Kafkaesque nightmare I have never once been allowed to appear in Court, let alone testify in my own defense; while my ex has waltzed in to ex parte "emergency" actions under false pretense in order to seize all of the matrimonial assets. Her unvalidated claims of child support arrears pass directly to punishment, without any means of appeal; consequently I receive no tax refunds or other government benefits and I'm even denied a passport.

The real kick in the testicles comes from the fact she has been admitted to the Alberta Bar and is now a practicing family lawyer. I, in contrast, have been driven continuously near suicide for ten years.

Thank you, Ms. Kay, for your fortitude in calling the system that committed these atrocities on an innocent man and his daughters the scam it is.

by MikeMurphy
Oct 16 2008
5:25 PM

Thank you Barbara for bringing this to light in Canada. A Canadian study on DV residing on this Federal Gov't website discusses on page 8 possible resources for male victims in Canada.

I cannot corroborate they exist at all anywhere in the country. They certainly don't exist in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. It may be the writer of the report carelessly entered them in the hope they exist rather than confirm it.

I too am a victim of female abuse. Mine started with my ex committing theft fraud and forgery against my former employer and destroying my career and reputation as a community leader. She didn't stop there and I had 11 years of battering after that. I had to retire from my position and then became a stay-at-home dad for 10 years feeling trapped the whole time while my ex committed the same acts in a family business that we entered into before I knew of her above criminal behaviour. She has attacked me with weapons but the worst one of all was the alienation of my children from me.

We are in a bitter and toxic divorce process but the family courts have seen fit, as they almost always do, to give her custody, turn me from a 10 year stay-at-home dad into a visitor, made me do supervised access even though she was the primary violent partner with the children and me, and she has an army of tax supported ranting feminists at her beck and call.

There clearly is no justice in Canada, as yet, but we are trying to change that. You are helping with the awareness you bring to these issues.

I am battered and bruised emotionally and physically but I am strong and fighting back.

A Fathers-Rights Activist

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