Thursday, May 29, 2008

Domestic Assault In the News

Country music singer Chris Cagle and his girlfriend Jennifer Tant got into a verbal argument that turned into what has been called a drunken brawl a few weeks ago. Tant hit Cagle in the head with an umbrella [could be consider a dangerous has a pointy thing at the top that could poke your eye out] and Cagle retaliated (some would say defended himself) by hitting Tant with her own purse [Not so much a dangerous weapon unless she has a rock in it or it is made of a heavy metal]. The reports state that Cagle had a raised area on the side of his head i.e. bump, from the altercation where she apparently struck him with the umbrella and Tant had a scrape on her lip and a sore, red upper left arm. None of the injuries seem to be life threatening but who knows what could have happened if the police had not shown up on the scene when they did. Both Cagle and Tant were arrested and taken into custody. Tennessee state domestic violence laws consider both Cagle and Tant primary aggressors. Hearing that both people in a domestic dispute were arrested as primary aggressors may have you scratching your head thinking, primary means first or most important so how can both of them be primary aggressors? One would think that whoever struck first with the larger more dangerous weapon i.e. umbrella vs. purse would be designated the primary aggressor. That's not usually how it works when the police determine the woman to be aggressor. E! online made both Cagle and Tant's affivadits filed by the county prosecutor available online. See the affidavitt's here: Our domestic violence laws in the USA are ever evolving. In the 1980's mandatory arrest laws gave law enforcement a tool to arrest if they have probable cause in a domestic dispute, they no longer have to witness the abuse happening. This was a positive step in preventing domestic violence because far too many times the abuse happened behind closed doors with only the victim and perpetrator as witnesses. The challenge with mandatory arrest laws as with all new things when the kinks and bugs aren't quite worked out yet is that both men and women were getting arrested at times because the police couldn't determine which person had the most fault. This doesn't fair well for battered women's advocates who believe that all domestic violence is patriarchal in nature. How can a women be a perpetrator if men are the dominant, controlling and oppressing sex in all circumstances? I would love to hear your comments on this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Group Health Center for Health Study finds that Men experience domestic violence, with health impact

From the Home office: A press release on May 19, 2008 on a study done about abuse of men indicates that domestic violence can happen to men, and that domestic violence against men is under - studied and often hidden. This study also debunks five of myths about abuse of men. See our website for other myths. It's great to see this research get media attention as that helps to promote public awareness so that society can see the need and start to address the problem. Men experience domestic violence, with health impact SEATTLE—Domestic violence can happen to men, not only to women, according to Group Health research in the June American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “Domestic violence in men is under-studied and often hidden—much as it was in women 10 years ago,” said study leader Robert J. Reid, MD, PhD, an associate investigator at the Group Health Center for Health Studies. “We want abused men to know they’re not alone.” His findings confirm some common beliefs but also debunk five myths about abuse in men: Myth 1: Few men experience domestic violence. Many do. In-depth phone interviews with over 400 randomly sampled adult male Group Health patients surprised Dr. Reid and his colleagues: 5% had experienced domestic violence in the past year, 10% in the past five years, and 29% over their lifetimes. The researchers defined domestic violence to include nonphysical abuse—threats, chronic disparaging remarks, or controlling behavior—as well as physical abuse: slapping, hitting, kicking, or forced sex. Myth 2: Abuse of men has no serious effects. The researchers found domestic violence is associated with serious, long-term effects on men’s mental health. Women are more likely than men to experience more severe physical abuse, said Dr. Reid. “But even nonphysical abuse——can do lasting damage.” Depressive symptoms were nearly three times as common in older men who had experienced abuse than in those who hadn’t, with much more severe depression in the men who had been abused physically. Myth 3: Abused men don’t stay, because they’re free to leave. In fact, men may stay for years with their abusive partners. “We know that many women may have trouble leaving abusive relationships, especially if they’re caring for young children and not working outside the home,” said Dr. Reid. “We were surprised to find that most men in abusive relationships also stay, through multiple episodes, for years.” Myth 4: Domestic violence affects only poor people. The study actually showed it to be an equal-opportunity scourge. “As we found in our previous research with women experiencing domestic violence, this is a common problem affecting people in all walks of life,” said Dr. Reid. “Our patients at Group Health have health insurance and easy access to health care, and their employment rate and average income, education level, and age are higher than those of the rest of the U.S. population.” Myth 5: Ignoring it will make it go away. Not so. “We doctors hardly ever ask our male patients about being abused—and they seldom tell us,” said Dr. Reid. “Many abused men feel ashamed because of societal expectations for men to be tough and in control.” Younger men were twice as likely as men age 55 or older to report recent abuse. “That may be because older men are even more reluctant to talk about it,” he added. For the rest of the press release see:

Monday, May 5, 2008

We're still ignoring abused straight men

From the National Post: What Canadians would know if the article was better researched is that men are almost equally likely to be assaulted by their female partners, and that children are statistically more likely to be abused or killed by their mothers than fathers. Homophobia is presented as a serious social problem: “[T]here is real concern that talking publicly about troubled relationships will only feed homophobia.” Well, talking publicly (non-stop in this country) about man-on-woman violence definitely feeds misandry, but apparently there is no “real concern” about that. In eerily familiar narratives in all but gender, Anderssen describes patterns of gay and lesbian couple violence. In one, extreme possessiveness periodically explodes into physically dangerous rage, but the victim can’t bring herself to leave. In another a physically powerful, but unprotesting lover accepts episodic batterings by his smaller lover — very much like strong but chivalrous men who stoically endure battering by women — while in both cases the victim keeps making excuses for the batterer (“He had a rough childhood”), just as women so often do with abusive men. These stories reinforce credible research proving that intimate-partner violence has no gender, but is rooted in individual pathology.