December 12, 2010 Erin Pizzey's 1974 book Scream Quietly Or The Neighbors Will Hear, written after she opened a refuge (shelter in the US) for abused women in 1971 in Chiswick, London, England, is widely credited with bringing the problems of family violence to the world's attention. But when she dared to point out that 60 of the first 100 women who entered the refuge were as violent, or more violent than the men they left, and publish a book about Violence Prone women, radical neo-Marxist feminists drove her into exile.
Pizzey's observations about female violence in intimate relationships was substantiated by Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz in their 1980 book Behind Closed Doors. Since then Prof. Martin Fiebert has compiled an annotated bibliography that examines 275 scholarly investigations which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 365,000 and Pizzey's early observation is now firmly established.
In dealing with domestic violence the justice system is, or should be solely concerned with physical violence in an intimate relationship that is purposefully, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently inflicted on a family member (mens rea). When such violence is repeated in order to control the actions or behavior of an intimate partner it is described as "battering." Battering clearly fits the definition of a criminal act and may be subject to control by intelligent laws.
It should also be realized that in a free society there is often little that laws can do to control what has come to be known as "emotional abuse." Attempts to control such problems in intimate relationships within the justice system are more dangerous and destructive than the issue.
Note that in any discussion of intimate partner, or domestic violence there must be a clear distinction made between "battering," and "family conflict." Family conflicts, while common, for the most part are not, and must not be the province of the law in a free society.
But domestic violence is an issue too readily corrupted by emotions and feelings to be confined by logic and reason. That has opened the door to manipulation by radical groups for their own purposes and financial gain.
In How Feminists Tried To Destroy The Family Erin PIzzey outlines how the issue of domestic violence was co-opted by radical neo-Marxist feminists (for brevity I use the synonym "redfems" as defined by the essays found here ). Domestic violence is a propaganda minister's dream subject. It is common enough that the reality essential to all good propaganda is evident. Men who beat their wives are universally reviled. Conversely, abused men are readily mocked and derided. Radical feminists, longtime students of communist-propaganda methods, quickly snapped up the issue as their own as Pizzey describes. The cry of "wife beater" degrades men and can be blamed on the hated patriarchy, which redfems accuse of subjugating and enslaving females. And any man who denies the accusation is faced with the classic paradox.
Redfem ideology conforms to the arguments of Engels and Marx that class distinctions and oppression first arose between man and woman in monogamous marriage. Therefore, "class struggle" began when men discovered, or insisted on (a) the recognition of their fatherhood, (b) enslaved women in marriage, (c) created the patriarchal family, and (d) established private property. Thus, according to Marxist theory, the family is the root cause of female oppression and radical feminist ideology evolved from that. Lenin put it bluntly: "Destroy the family and you destroy society."
The redfem propaganda effort was greatly aided by California Assemblyman James A. Hayes who passed a "no fault" divorce law in 1969. Ignoring the failure and destruction resulting from the Russian Effort To Abolish Marriage "no fault" divorce quickly became the national standard virtually without debate or question. The destabilization of families resulting from "no fault" divorce brought even more attention to bear on the issue of domestic violence.
Though criminal domestic violence, that might be proven to a jury, as distinguished from family conflicts, only affects a very small fraction of the population (~0.2% a year, BJS Family Violence Statistics, p. 1), through unrelenting propaganda by 1994 the Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). State legislatures, including Colorado, followed suit.
VAWA is based on the pretense that women are naturally and solely victims entitled to tax-paid legal and financial assistance while men are naturally batterers who are not entitled to even due process protections.
One basis for this irrational law is a statement by Gloria Steinem who asserted that "The patriarchy requires violence or the subliminal threat of violence in order to maintain itself...The most dangerous situation for a woman is not an unknown man in the street, or even the enemy in wartime, but a husband or lover in the isolation of their own home." Redfem analysis thus states that a patriarchal society is a direct cause of domestic violence against women.
Thus, to remold men into the redfem concept of a New Man it is necessary to destroy the patriarchy and all men who practice it. To do that VAWA and state laws, supposedly passed for the protection of women against their spouses, removed virtually every protection an accused man had under the rule of law.
First we were admonished that we must "believe the victim" so that a mere allegation now became proof, and hearsay became evidence. Perjury became the rule, subornation of perjury permitted and encouraged, and actions of victim's advocates unquestionable. Arrests of any male so accused became mandatory and warrants were deemed unnecessary.
Men are to be considered guilty unless they can prove their innocence, and if they deny they are abusers and batterers they are simply in denial and guilty by dint of being male, particularly if they are in a patriarchal marriage.
In the face of all evidence to the contrary, redfems claim that women are only violent in self defense. To insure the man was arrested even though the woman was the violent partner, primary aggressor laws were added.
Ex parte restraining (protection) orders were provided to any woman who claimed to be in fear, might suffer emotional harm, or any other claim a victim's advocate can come up with, that prevent the man from returning to his home and children, or any other location or condition designated on the order.
Such orders are often delivered at night with the man given 15 minutes to pack and get out. A warrantless arrest and jail are mandatory if the order is violated and the woman can have the man repeatedly rearrested simply by claiming he has violated the order. Frequently men so accused are denied the right to a trial by jury.
Restrictions on the jurisdiction of the court disappeared. If a restraining order is needed against a man living on the other side of the country it is likely no judge today would dare deny such an ex parte order based on nothing more than an unquestioned and unsubstantiated statement the woman was "in fear."
Police responding to calls for a domestic disturbance were given unabridged powers to enter and search homes and property. Men's property and children are taken from them without a chance to defend themselves or present evidence in their defense. They are ejected from their homes without prior notice on such pretexts as there was a possibility of emotional harm to the woman if he stayed. Men are denied the right to confront their accuser and the assistance of counsel. Punishment and incarceration occur before a trial and often without one. And men accused of domestic violence are subjected to public censure and ridicule and sentenced to reeducation classes. Men so accused lose their jobs, security clearances, professional licenses, and ability to even rent an apartment after being summarily ejected from their homes.
To insure that the accusation of domestic violence applied to all men the definition was expanded beyond all reason by making it an add-on charge for any crime. So shoplifting, DUI, throwing a box of crayons against a wall, or virtually any other imaginable action by a man are all domestic violence under current laws if a woman says so. And to make sure prosecutors didn't waver they are prohibited from plea bargaining to a charge that does not include the DV rider. Thus, domestic violence became the most common crime in Colorado (at least 26% of all charges in 2009). Bail bonds were set ever higher. In at least one case bail was set at $1 million for a misdemeanor and bonds of tens of thousands of dollars for misdemeanors became common.
All meaning was lost to the concept of double jeopardy and the same charges of violence or abuse can now be brought multiple times in the same court, or in other jurisdictions if it pleases the woman. "Judge shopping" has become an art form as a result. Nor is there any discernible meaning now to a statute of limitations. Accusations from incidents that may, or may not have occurred decades ago can now be used against a man without any evidence or witnesses being needed.
Under these draconian laws billions of state and federal dollars became available each year to any group that claimed to help abused women or children (male children under 12 only, please). But nothing was done for abused men except to scorn them and deny they existed.
Most of the applicable laws in Colorado are posted here.
The first impact of the 1994 laws in Colorado Springs I noticed was a radical drop in the number of domestic disturbance calls to police. A bar chart showing 911 domestic disturbance calls in Colorado Springs from 1990 to 2004 shows an immediate drop after the 1994 passage of these draconian laws. Nor did mandatory arrest result in a significant long term increase in number of arrests. Data are now available for twenty years in Table 72 and the percentage of 911 domestic disturbance calls continues to decrease. From 1990 to 1994 7.2% to 8.7% of all 911 calls in Colorado Springs were for domestic disturbances. After 1994 the percentage continually drops and by 2008-2009 only 4.1-4.5% of 911 calls are for domestic disturbances. These results have now been replicated in other cities.
Clearly, after 1994 women became more afraid of the police than they were of their intimate partners. Unfortunately, those who likely needed help the most were apparently most afraid to call 911 due to the draconian response. Families want, and occasionally need a peace officer, not the NKVD to enforce cruel social engineering demands that their loved ones be destroyed and taken over by the State.
The tragic consequences of these actions were confirmed by Radha Iyengar who pointed out in a 2007 paper that in the 19 states, including Colorado, who had adopted the VAWA mandatory arrest policy, domestic violence homicides were 60% greater than in states without mandatory arrest.
VAWA also results in the death of many women as a result of redfem ideology that claims women are only violent in self defense and allowing abusive females to file torrents of false allegations against their abused partners.
In 1975 the number of men killed by intimate partners was roughly equal to the number of women. One of the ironies of VAWA is that in giving women means to leave an abusive relationship the number of male homicides that result from domestic violence is now less than half the number of female murders. By refusing to recognize that females are equally violent in intimate relationships and providing equal relief for men, too often they see themselves with no way out but spouse murder. The redfem "solution" to this fact is to demand the passage of even more draconian laws and more funding, thereby compounding the problems and furthering their agenda.
Another unintended impact of VAWA was an increase of female arrests for domestic violence. Before these laws were passed only about 5-8% of DV arrests were of females. After VAWA female arrests (male victims) have averaged 20-23% since 1999 (Table 69), a nearly fourfold increase.
The redfem response to this "injustice" was to lobby for the passage of primary aggressor laws that instruct the police to arrest that big, ugly, hairy guy bleeding in the corner instead of the petite young lady standing there with the knife in her hand.
Except in cases where they seek revenge or vengeance, or in custody disputes, women have always been notably reluctant to testify in court against their intimate partners. Most deeply regret ever having called 911 in the first place. So in a large percentage of DV cases the women simply don't show up for the trial. Prosecutors then would proceed using evidentiary standards, as they do in murder cases, and convict the man on the basis of the 911 call, police statements, photos, etc.
However, in a 2004 ruling in Crawford v. Washington the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors could not thus subvert the intent of the Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment, namely the accused shall have the right "...to be confronted with the witnesses against him." Now if the woman, or man, who is the accuser does not show up for trial the prosecution must dismiss the case for lack of a witness unless, of course, the accuser is dead, in a coma, etc.
When these laws were first passed there was a tendency for men to treat a criminal DV charge like any other misdemeanor and accept a plea bargain. However, as the dire consequences of a domestic violence conviction became known the resistance increased.
To deal with the overwhelming numbers of DV cases prosecutors resorted to ever more draconian methods of coercing a guilty plea from defendants. A popular method is adding on charges to the original complaint to make a trivial "push and shove" case sound like felony menacing by Jack the Ripper. They would then offer a plea bargain for misdemeanor simple assault.
Another step was to initiate programs usually known as Fast Track in which, after a sleepless night or two in jail, defendants were required to enter a plea before ever being allowed to consult with a defense attorney. And defendants who refused to take the plea bargain were often told they would be kept in jail until trial, six months away. That tactic was particularly effective with active-duty military whose PTSD/TBI had gotten them arrested. Among others, efforts begun in 2000 by the Equal Justice Foundation to correct this injustice began to take effect and from 2000 to 2008 the number of defendants in Colorado Springs who accepted a plea bargain during Fast Track dropped from 60% to 28% (Table 63). By 2010 EJF flyers on Domestic Violence The Facts and Protection Orders The Facts were being downloaded over 30,000 times a year by a public increasingly disturbed by VAWA injustices.
In June 2010 the Colorado 4th Judicial District Attorney was finally convinced to shut down the Fast Track program here. Hopefully, other jurisdictions are also halting this gross violation of due process.
But Fast Track is humane compared to the methods many prosecutors used to coerce a guilty plea from men accused of beating their wives or girlfriends. In a December 2007 EJF newsletter, Taken Into Custody, Tortured, and Outraged, I reviewed the common practice of torturing men so accused, typically by inducing hypothermia. Waterboarding was the only method of torture I found no evidence for in U.S. prisons.
In most jurisdictions the crime of "domestic violence" is an add-on charge to any other crime one can imagine. As a result there are now huge numbers of DV cases in the courts. In Colorado during 2009 nearly 19,000 misdemeanors, or 26% of all misdemeanors, were domestic violence.
It would be insane to believe that a quarter of all crimes in Colorado, or any other state, were the result of intimate partner violence in a given year. One-in-every-four male/female relationships are not violent every year as anyone not blinded by dogma can easily observe.
As noted above, women rarely want to testify against their spouse or boyfriend and mainly just want the whole thing to go away. As a result if a man or woman accused of domestic violence simply pleads not guilty and demands a jury trial their case is likely to be dismissed and approximately 95% of DV cases set for trial end that way. In FY 2010 there were 69,695 misdemeanor cases in Colorado, 18,402 of which were for domestic violence, but only 821 jury trials for misdemeanors.
If the case does go to trial and the defendant has a competent criminal defense attorney, the apparent odds for conviction are less than 1% in misdemeanor cases. In felony DV cases approximately 36% are convicted at trial. Overall the average conviction rate for defendants charged with domestic violence is about 30% of the cases, and virtually all those convictions are the result of plea bargains.
Of course if the defendant is obviously guilty then they may be better off to take a plea bargain. But that decision should never be made without prior discussion with a competent defense attorney. If the wife or girlfriend are strongly opposed to testifying, it was mutual combat, self defense, or the accuser has severe mental problems then it is foolish to take a plea bargain.
The low rate for DV convictions has negative implications for justice. Those men and women who are actually violent and should face justice quickly learn to game the system and are rarely punished. Conversely, individuals caught by the hysteria currently surrounding domestic violence, who have no experience with the "justice" system and mistakenly take a plea bargain without any awareness of the dire consequences, have their lives, families, and children destroyed for a typically minor incident.
Redfems have not sat idly by while it became ever more difficult to get a criminal conviction for domestic violence as due process has been gradually restored despite their propaganda and extravagant public funding. VAWA also initiated the unrestricted use of ex parte (without the other party) civil restraining orders. While the order is civil, violation is a crime under Colorado and most other state laws and results in an immediate warrantless arrest with no proof required, and hearsay is admissible. A bad joke states that cell phones were invented for women to report restraining order violations. So while criminal DV cases were markedly declining between 2005 and 2009, in that same five-year period violations of restraining orders increased from 365 in 2005 to 5,113 in 2009. Table 59 makes it clear this was a coordinated effort throughout Colorado supported by public funding.
But the "cure" is making the problem worse. Dugan and others (2001) found that:
"...Increases in the willingness of prosecutors' offices to take cases of protection order violation were associated with increases in the homicide of white married intimates, black unmarried intimates, and white unmarried females..."
As such, protection orders are a triumph of form over substance, and may cost the initiator their life. Subsequent studies have affirmed this finding but that hasn't deterred redfems as more homicides mean more funding for them.
One of the cruelest perversions wrought by VAWA is the destruction imposed on disabled veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) incurred in the endless wars of the new millennium.
Every manifestation of PTSD, the irrational anger, thrashing around and fighting during the horrific nightmares, the flashbacks of dreadful events, the sleeplessness and self medicating with alcohol or drugs so they can sleep, impotence that leads to fights with their intimate partners, difficulty concentrating or focusing, dissociation from actual events, hypervigilance, and an exaggerated startle response are all indistinguishable from intimate partner violence.
Military wives tell me of huge bruises on their thighs where their husband kicked them during a nightmare. Or they startled or tried to wake their lover and he came up swinging and knocked her across the room. The veteran may put his hands around her neck and choke her during a flashback but has no memory of it later. The wife or girlfriend may be very frightened by his reckless and dangerous driving, skills that kept him alive in combat. The drinking and inability to sleep often lead to arguments and fights.
Among other problems moderate to severe TBI often impacts speech and language skills, and wounds may involve the jaw, tongue, vocal cords, or speech centers of the brain itself. Motor skills may also be affected by their wounds and they may stagger when they walk, for example. Convulsions and seizures may also make them appear crazy or drunk in public or private, which may result in their arrest. They may also be combative when accosted, aggravating the problems they have dealing with police.
When called, frontline police officers often have little choice but to arrest men and women suffering from PTSD/TBI, but PTSD and TBI are not domestic violence. These disabled veterans need compassion and treatment, not a criminal conviction that will destroy whatever chances they may have for reintegration into society.
VAWA legislation also encourages large numbers of false allegations to gain advantage in a divorce, custody dispute, jealousy, for revenge or vengeance, for theft of property, or simply out of spite. Estimates of false allegations show that at least 25-50% of all DV cases rest on false allegations and in area like Colorado Springs (CO 4 th Judicial District) two thirds of the cases are the result of false allegations by any reasonable measure.
The redfem ideology is clearly succeeding in its objectives to destroy families and marriage, i.e., the patriarchy. In 1995, the year after VAWA was passed, 42% of all DV cases reported by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) involved married victims (Table 76). But by 2009 only 29% of victims were married. Notably, the number of victims in a common-law relationship remained relatively steady at 6-10% over the 15-year sampling period in Table 76.
Table 77 makes it obvious there is an inverse correlation between the number of marriages and the number of restraining orders. Thus, the coordinated statewide effort between 2005 and 2009 to increase the number of restraining orders, and arrange that they be violated, can reasonably be interpreted as a direct attack on marriage in accordance with redfem ideology.
The destruction of the patriarchy, now well advanced as redfems demand, implies a reversion to the more primitive state of matriarchy. It is of interest to note that I have found no evidence that any matriarchal society has ever advanced beyond a Stone Age level of technology.
Erin Pizzey wisely observed that "Any country that has tried to create a political solution to human problems has ended up with concentration camps and gulags." And within the past century Marxist regimes have slaughtered over 100 million people in failed attempts to establish the New Man, or metrosexual men in today's jargon. That history is well displayed in the recent film The Soviet Story. Before we begin stacking and bulldozing the bodies into mass graves here we must reverse the descent into neo-Marxism, which inevitably fails and always kills millions.
Men and women are equally violent in domestic relationships with 25-30% of intimate partner violence being exclusively female on male, 50% mutual combat (it usually takes two to tangle), and the remaining 20-25% exclusively male on female violence making it the least of the problem.
The well-intentioned efforts of many to reduce family violence has been perverted by radical neo-Marxist feminists to virtually eliminate families. By 2010 over 40% of children are born to single mothers.
In cases of violent personality disorders, e.g., psychopaths, borderline personalities, and malignant narcissistic exhibitionists there is no known cure. The suffering partner must recognize the need to leave that relationship as swiftly as possible and move as far away as circumstances allow. Society must also ensure the symptoms of such personality disorders are widely taught and to recognize that they occur as often in women as in men. And experience shows that in such cases intervention by the police and courts in the present manner is more likely to increase the violence than solve the problem.
A simple change in the current mandatory arrest language from "shall arrest" to "may arrest if there is probable cause to believe the offense was committed knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, or negligently," i.e., mens rea can reasonably be established before a jury.
Limit domestic violence to actual cases of violence. For example, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation defines domestic violence to include only crimes involving homicide, forcible and non-force sex offenses, aggravated and simple assault, intimidation-non force, and kidnapping.
Repeal primary aggressor laws. They serve little purpose in practice, are very gender biased, and frontline officers in a domestic situation are challenged enough with sorting out details in the midst of a family fight without this added burden.
Teach police officers, prosecutors, and judges the facts about intimate partner violence rather than redfem propaganda. Within a year frontline police officers have usually learned the truth about violent females but prosecutors and judges are still trying cases through a feminist lens and thereby denying equal justice to defendants.
Use only the restraining order included in the dissolution of marriage act when the underlying issue is a divorce or custody dispute. The language in C.R.S. § 18-6-803.6(2) should serve with rare exceptions.
Eliminate the issuance of ex parte temporary restraining orders. It is quite clear that if there is real danger the issuance of such orders is more likely to inflame the situation than provide real protection.
When there is need for a temporary order the provisions for an emergency order as defined under C.R.S. § 13-14-103 should suffice. After that bring both parties before the court and give each a chance to be heard as centuries of due process require.
In my experience it is the denial of a chance to be heard that most inflames men about such orders. Being woken in the night and thrown out of one's home without notice or warning is certain to enrage anyone and justice demands better.
Limit the time on restraining orders. In Colorado at present a permanent domestic abuse restraining order is for life and the respondent cannot even ask for a modification for four years. Most states limit the time period to one or two years and most disputes between couples are settled in less time than that.
Under current law I hear repeatedly from men and women where 10 years have gone by, the other person has moved to another state, or even that they've reconciled and are living together again but the restraining order is still in place and they can't afford to go back to court to get it removed.
A time limit of one year seems reasonable with the petitioner able to ask for a one-year extension if needed. Such simple reforms would greatly reduce the prevailing gross abuse now so prevalent with such orders.
Expand veteran and mental health courts to deal with the exploding numbers of PTSD, TBI, and other mental health issues now coming before the courts. As noted above PTSD/TBI in a combat veteran almost certainly looks like domestic violence under current laws yet it is almost impossible to prove both mens rea and actus reus beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury in such cases, nor should we be trying.
Veterans, and other citizens with such mental or physical health issues need an evaluation so the prosecutor and judge have a reasonably quantitative idea of the individual's condition and how it was acquired. The evaluation must be done as quickly as possible after the veteran or citizen is intercepted by law enforcement in order to minimize additional trauma. And it is important to recognize that combat veterans are unlikely to admit they have a problem until law enforcement intervenes. One suggestion I've seen that holds merit is that an evaluation be a condition of bond for military veterans.
In many cases an evaluation will recommend immediate treatment. My understanding is that the courts already have the authority to order such treatment when indicated. The change I would make in current practice is to defer prosecution as provided in Colorado under C.R.S. § 18-1.3-101 while the veteran or citizen is treated. If treatment is reasonably successful, or ongoing with good attendance, the charges would be dismissed if the situation warrants. The present practice of catch, convict, and release all too often simply leads to more violent crimes as the Rolling Stone article describing The Fort Carson Murder Spree amply demonstrates.
Remove absolute immunity from victims advocates. Under C.R.S § 13-10-107 victims advocates with just 15 hours of training are granted absolute immunity from questioning about what they may have discussed, advocated, or done for a domestic violence "victim" even if that involves criminal activity.
Remove marriage from control of the State. Clearly State-sanctioned marriages are quickly disappearing and the State has no overriding interest in the relations between individuals. Further, marriage is basically a contract and society would be better if the marriage contract were enforced as such.
Men and women interested in a conjugal relationship would enter into a contract according to the tenets of their religion with the terms of the contract, especially as related to children, spelled out in advance. Courts would then only intervene if the terms of the contract were broken as they do now under contract law. The State might offer a model marriage contract but would not issue licenses as it does now that puts men, women, and children under the thumb of dysfunctional "family" courts and makes divorce lawyers rich.
Such simple reforms as proposed here would greatly reduce costs for jails, prosecutors, and courts as well as enhance justice. They might even further reduce domestic violence, which was decreasing long before VAWA.