Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Abuse shelters: havens for feminist thought reform

There is a good reason why these shelters require non-disclosure agreements from clients.MJM

January 4, 2010

By Carey Roberts

Feminists will argue until they're blue in the face that women are victims of the Great Satanic Patriarchy. That tenet is laughable when one considers women are leading men on almost every indicator of social welfare.

But give them credit, feminists are a determined bunch. So in their crusade to spread the gospel of female victimization, they have established a network of domestic violence shelters around the nation. These programs resemble socialist thought reform experiments more than anything that can be considered to be professional counseling or crisis intervention.

To gain admittance to such facilities one must of course be female — after all, male victims of domestic violence are unlikely to benefit from a regimen of patriarchal deprogramming.

Second, the woman must make the ritualistic claim of being a victim to abuse. Any type of abuse will suffice: emotional, financial, or anything else that comes to mind. No police report, no medical record, no proof of any kind is required. "Always believe the victim," goes shelter managers' circular logic.

In his classical account of Chinese brainwashing, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, Robert Lifton recounts how newly-arrived inmates were assigned to a holding cell where they were subjected to ridicule, abuse, and physical hazing by the more veteran residents.

Such is the all-too-frequent experience of women in abuse shelters. One woman, Eileen Pope, spent months inside the YWCA Hope House in Charleston, W. Va. "I often felt unsafe. There were several physical and verbal altercations between the shelter residents. I had clothing stolen from me," she later related:

Once they settle into shelter routines, the women come to realize they have become unwitting guinea pigs of an ideological bait-and-switch. At Bethany House in Fairfax, Va., employees would reportedly "infuriate the woman with propaganda." One client at a Massachusetts shelter found the real message was to "accept the indoctrination and embrace my victimhood."

The ladies, many of whom are poor, are ordered to attend classes featuring repetitive mantras like "domestic violence is all about power and control." The focus of these sessions is the Power and Control Wheel, a pedagogical device that recalls V.I. Lenin's famous dictum, "We must be engineers of the human soul."

Social isolation being requisite for proper consciousness-raising, the women must also agree to cut off communications with their abuser. Safehorizon in New York City goes one step further, requiring its residents to "sever relationships with family and friends," according to the organization's website.

Such policies call to mind Robert Lifton's account of the experience of one concentration camp survivor: "Our souls were entirely open. It was complete confidence. We could trust the government."

Ritual denunciations were an important feature of Chinese brainwashing camps, with inmates called upon to censure their fathers for horrendous yet vague crimes. Abuse shelters likewise demand their residents denounce patriarchy and its putative evils.

A quarter to one-half of women in abuse shelters are currently abusing alcohol or drugs: . But don't expect to find any substance abuse treatment programs on site. That would be much too bourgeoisie.

Shelter residents enjoy no right to privacy. I have heard from women about confidences shared with shelter workers that were later passed on to Child Protective Services and other shelter residents. One woman revealed, "Nothing was confidential and what I discussed with staff was being discussed with clients."

Complaints are verboten because they betray reactionary resistance. The miscreants may be summarily exited from the facility. At Womencare in Bellingham, Wash., a blind woman had who been forced to assume a new name to escape her abuser had her identity outed when she filed a complaint about lax safety procedures:

Not surprisingly, shelter managers do everything in their power to keep law enforcement officers at bay. At Another Way in Lake City, Fla., a former employee wrote, "I, on numerous occasions reported illegal drug use that I had witnessed take place on Shelter property and often my complaints were ignored. We always knew not to call the law unless you were prepared to be unemployed."

Given these experiences, it's no surprise that women opt to return to their abuser rather than continue to subject themselves to this grandiose government-financed brainwashing experiment.

© Carey Roberts

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