Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Irreconcilable Differences: on Domestic Violence

Consider a feature series on Domestic Violence in the Deseret News...

The several stories aim to report on different aspects of this problem.

Family war zones: Research shows increasing physical and psychological impacts on kids
Silent victims: Kids who witness abuse face psychological woes
The abusers — They usually find blame hard to accept
Gaps in system put families in jeopardy
Domestic violence: Facts and resources

What kind of images characterize this concern about domestic violence?

The Deseret News articles provide a perfect icon.

Lots of other gratuitous hints let us know that domestic violence is always something done by men, husbands, fathers, boyfriends. Always "perpetrated" against females, wifes, girlfriends, women. And of course, children. "Compassion" and protective actions in behalf of children can justify almost anything.

• According to 2005 data, 5,891 Utahns made their way to local domestic violence shelters that year — 3,173 were children, 2,686 were women and 32 were men. There was no room for thousands of others who were turned away.

From another point of view, we find information of a different sort...

A quote from "The Politics of Family Destruction,"Stephen Baskerville, November 4 , 2002.

Domestic violence has now been federalized in a legislative agenda whose conscious aim is to promote easy divorce. Donna Laframboise of Canada’s National Post wrote that federally funded battered women’s shelters in the United States and Canada constituted "one-stop divorce shops" whose purpose was not to shelter women but to secure custody for divorcing mothers. The Violence Against Women Act, renewed by Congress in 2000, "offers abundant rewards" for making false accusations, writes Professor Susan Sarnoff of Ohio State University, "including the ‘rights’ to refuse custody and even visitation to accused fathers, with virtually no requirements of proof." The law’s definition of domestic violence is so broad that "it does not even require that the violence be physical."

Child Custody Statistics
"Ninety percent of divorced fathers have less than full custody of their children." Jonathan M. Honeycutt, Ph.D.(c), M.P.A., M.A., I.P.C. Director of Research, Clinical & Consulting Psychotherapist, National Institute for Divorce Research, Panama City, Florida.

37.9% of fathers have no access/visitation rights. (Source: p.6, col.II, para. 6, lines 4 & 5, Census Bureau P-60, #173, Sept 1991.)

"40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father's visitation on at least one occasion, to punish the ex-spouse." (Source: p. 449, col. II, lines 3-6, (citing Fulton) Frequency of visitation by Divorced Fathers; Differences in Reports by Fathers and Mothers. Sanford Braver et al, Am. J. of Orthopsychiatry, 1991.)

"Very few of the children were satisfied with the amount of contact with their fathers, after divorce." (Source: Visitation and the Noncustodial Father, Koch & Lowery, Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Vol. 8, No. 2, p. 50, Winter 1984.)

In a study: "Visitational Interference - A National Study" by Ms. J Annette Vanini, M.S.W. and Edward Nichols, M.S.W., it was found that 77% of non-custodial fathers are NOT able to "visit" their children, as ordered by the court, as a result of "visitation interference" perpetuated by the custodial parent. In other words, non-compliance with court ordered visitation is three times the problem of non-compliance with court ordered child support and impacts the children of divorce even more. Originally published Sept. 1992

Domestic violence: Not Always One Sided, Harvard Medical School

Mention of domestic violence immediately brings to mind an intimidating male batterer. But a 2007 article shows that the problem — also called intimate partner violence — is often more complicated and may involve both women and men as perpetrators.

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