Woman Are Only Battered; Not Children or Men
Dateline: California, USA
Author: Glenn Sacks
Via: The Honor Network
NEW CAMPAIGN–Veto Domestic Violence Bill Which Excludes Fathers, Children
September 5, 2006
NEW CAMPAIGN–Veto Domestic Violence Bill Which Excludes Fathers, Children from State Services!
The California Assembly just passed a domestic violence bill which deliberately perpetuates the state’s harmful policy of excluding men and their children from receiving state-funded domestic violence services. Under AB 2051, only “battered women” are eligible for the shelters, hotel vouchers, counseling and legal services the state provides victims of domestic violence. We’re calling on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto this misguided legislation.
I want all of you to write to the Governor to tell him to veto AB 2051 by clicking here. By filling out the form you will be sending a fax to the Governor.
Remember, what happens in California has a major impact on the laws and policies of other states and also at the federal level.
Sacramento lobbyist Michael Robinson and the California Alliance for Families and Children have been working to make the bill gender neutral for several months. AB 2051 is based on the discredited premise that men are rarely the victims of intimate partner abuse. However, more than 50 domestic violence researchers and treatment providers have signed an opposition letter to the Legislature in which they state:
“The data is without question–domestic violence affects both men and women. The politicization of this issue must stop and services must be provided to all children and their parent victims.”
Court-certified batterer intervention provider John Hamel, LCSW, author of Gender-Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse: A Comprehensive Approach, asserts that research shows that a third of domestic violence-related injuries are incurred by heterosexual males.
According to domestic violence researcher Richard Gelles, co-author of the groundbreaking 1980 book Behind Closed Doors: Violence in American Families, it is very difficult for fathers who are being abused by their wives or significant others to protect themselves and their children. They can’t leave because this would leave their children unprotected in the hands of an abuser. If they take their children they can be arrested for kidnapping. If they divorce or separate, they’d probably lose custody of their children in the divorce, again leaving their children in harm’s way.
Tens of thousands of California children are being denied needed domestic violence services solely because their victimized parent is male. By ignoring the needs of these children, we are increasing the risk that they will continue the cycle of violence when they become adults.
AB 2051 was originally introduced for the purpose of addressing domestic violence within the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities. Neither Robinson, the CAFC, nor I have any problem with this. However, while the bill’s original language was gender-neutral, the author later amended the bill back to gender-specific, discriminatory language, and therein lies the problem.
By vetoing AB 2051, Governor Schwarzenegger can make it clear that it’s time to end the state’s discriminatory policies. His veto will return the issue to the Legislature next year, so that a solution can be crafted to serve the needs of all victims of domestic violence–including men and their children.
Again, I want all of you to write to the Governor to tell him to veto AB 2051 by clicking here.
To learn more about AB 2051, see my co-authored column AB 2051 Moves California in Wrong Direction on Domestic Violence (Daily Breeze [Los Angeles], 6/1/06). To read the bill, click here. The bill references “battered women” 31 times, yet never once mentions “male victims” or “men.”