libera voce/libera mente

"free voice, free mind"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Time to Tell the Truth

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The month is designed to increase awareness of how to make our homes safe from partner violence. So what is the truth about intimate partner aggression? Nearly 200 scientific studies point to one simple conclusion: Women are at least as likely as men to engage in partner aggression.

Irene Hanson Frieze, in Psychology of Women's Quarterly, says "Research indicates that women can be just as violent as their partners." Don Dutton from the University of British Columbia notes that "Recent evidence from the best designed studies indicates that intimate partner violence is committed by both genders with often equal consequences." And the Journal of Family Psychology in 2006 tells us that "Differences were observed in the rates of male and female partner violence, with female violence occurring more frequently."

A 2007 survey sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control of young adults found that 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women. A national survey of married and co-habiting partners found that 8 percent of women engaged in severe partner violence, while only 4 percent of men were involved in severe violence.

The result of this recent peer-reviewed and published research is much different than you have been led to believe, but you are not alone. Many researchers have noted lately that the results of their research are much different than they expected.

Men often suffer injuries from their wives or girlfriends. According to a 2000 analysis by John

Archer, men suffer 38 percent of all injuries arising from partner aggression. But men often endure their pain in silence and don't report the incident. As a result, the media and others often present a one-sided and distorted view of the problem.

Domestic violence industry advocates often make claims such as "95 percent of DV victims are women." These false statements only make the problem worse because:

--Abusive women can't get the help they need.

--Male victims are denied services.

--False allegations of abuse escalate partner conflict and families are harmed.

--Aggressive domestic violence laws short-circuit due process and create a presumption of "guilty until proven innocent."

Recall two recent incidents to illustrate the problem.

One evening Warren Moon, then a National Football League quarterback, got into a fight with his wife. Police were called and Mr. Moon was arrested. Against Mrs. Moon's wishes, the case went to trial. Placed on the witness stand, Mrs. Moon admitted that she was the one who had started the fight by throwing a candlestick, and that her husband had only acted in self-defense. Warren Moon was acquitted.

A judge in New Mexico granted a restraining order against David Letterman for sending messages over the television to a woman in that state. The judge was quoted as saying "if they fill out the paperwork correctly, I always grant the restraining order."

If the domestic violence industry really wanted to prevent harm, they would support legislation to prosecute false accusers, and attempt to help all victims, both male and female. While they claim to offer service to men, that service is primarily offering "treatment" courses, which are majorly ineffective. These courses have no objective criteria for completion, other than requiring a statement that the dispute was exclusively the alleged perpetrator's fault, with not an iota of responsibility or accountability on the part of the "victim," disregarding the research that shows most intimate partner violence to be mutual. There is a continuing, solid resistance to making all restraining orders mutual, even though that would greatly decrease the chances of the parties interacting and make both parties accountable for their behavior. Lastly, they would encourage prosecution of false accusers, allowing the real victims the attention and services they need.

The domestic violence industry often complains about "blaming the victim," but in the face of the new research and evidence, they now not only continue to blame the half of the victims that are male, but to incarcerate him as well.

Thirty-some years ago, there was a thankfully successful campaign to get rape of females taken seriously. Now is the time to get violence against men by female partners taken seriously.

Mark Mahnkey served on the faculty at Washington State University and is director of Public Policy for the Washington Civil Rights Council. He can be reached at 425-329-6656.

© 2007 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA. Published: Saturday, October 27, 2007.

The Ultimate Taboo

Tell the Associated Press (AP) to Publish Facts -- Not Disinformation

Virtually every week you read, hear, or see stories about female teachers having sex with their pupils. Yet, contrary to the experience of everyone reading this alert, the Associated Press just published a multi-part series on sexual predators claiming that 9 out of 10 were male. The false 9 out of ten claim was in the lead and longest story:


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/T/TEACHER_SEX_ABUSE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT


The empirical research reality is found in a report by the U.S. Department of Education which notes on page 24 that 2 large survey studies found that about 43% of students reported that their abusers were female sexual predators:

http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/misconductreview/report.pdf

Additional information can be found on Google under "Female Sexual Predators."

Finally, sexual abuse by adult females is not a victimless crime. The best evidence can be found in the transcript of a BBC Documentary titled "The Ultimate Taboo: Child Sexual Abuse by Women" described by the Canadian Children’s Rights Council as "a vivid and horrific programme in which the victims of sexual abuse by women told disturbing stories of emotional and physical damage:"

http://www.canadiancrc.com/articles/BBC_Child_sexual_abuse_by_women_06OCT97.htm

So, what to do?

We urge you to send emails or letters to the Director of Media Relations for the Associated Press. Tell him they've already caused great harm by printing a multi-part series that misleadingly promotes the myth that only 10% of sexual predators are female. Tell him that the only way they can undo that harm is for them to follow up with a multi-part series on female sexual predators and the harms they cause to their victims. As always, be polite in your calls and emails.

Go to http://www.mediaradar.org/press_release_20071023.php to read RADAR’s press release on the AP's claims.

Then write, email, or call.

Paul Colford, Director of Media Relations
Associated Press
pcolford@ap.org
450 W. 33rd St.
New York, NY 10001

Date of RADAR Release: October 29, 2007

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Men Demonized, Women Diagnosed

Monday, September 10, 2007

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

It all seems so terribly familiar.

A trusted, even respected or beloved teacher is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

What used to shock us, but is now much too commonplace, is that the teacher is a woman.

Their names become tabloid headlines: Mary K. Letourneau, Debra Lafave, Pamela Diehl-Moore and others.

And now two more cases, both local.

Jennifer Leigh Rice, a 31-year-old former Tacoma teacher, was charged with having sex with a 10-year-old boy who had been in her fourth-grade class. The boy's father says she lavished the boy with attention until she was told not to come to their house anymore.

So she abducted the boy, police say, drove him to a highway rest stop outside Ellensburg and had sex with him. After her arrest in early August, Rice said she'd had sex with the boy four or five times, including once when she sneaked into his house as his parents slept.

Earlier this year, former Tenino math teacher Dawn Welter, 38, was charged with second-degree sexual misconduct after spending the night at a motel with a 16-year-old female student. Her lawyer explained her relationship with the student as "horseplay that became sexual."

The decade-long wave of sexual offenses committed by women — teachers in particular have exposed a cultural double standard: The public is more willing to accept the female abuser's claim that she had a "relationship" with the victim. And in cases in which the male is a teenager, the sexual abuse is more likely to be dismissed as a rite of passage. The questionable, yet overriding assumption, is that women predators are somehow different from men.

"Men are demonized, women are diagnosed. Men are beasts, but women are troubled or mentally ill," said media scholar Matthew Felling in an interview with Fox News. In fact, accounts of women sexual offenders are often more titillating than harsh. Felling calls the news coverage of young, attractive teachers involved with their students "part crime drama, part Penthouse letter."

About 25 percent of women and up to 17 percent of men say they experienced sexual abuse as children, ranging from seeing someone exposing themselves to intercourse. Boys are less likely to report abuse.

Despite the troubling news accounts, the National Education Association says schools are still among the safest places for children to be. The number of cases of sexual abuse by teachers, male and female, is less than 10 percent of all sex crimes against minors.

The current awareness of women predators began with Mary K. Letourneau, a 34-year-old elementary-school teacher and a married mother of four, who in 1996 began a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old former student, Vili Fualaau. Letourneau eventually had two children with him and served more than seven years in prison. She resumed contact with Fualaau, by then an adult, after she was released. While a male offender might have been publicly shunned, Letourneau's 2005 wedding to Fualaau was covered by "Entertainment Tonight."

Female predators' crimes are often attributed to marital problems, depression, loneliness, immaturity or self-esteem issues. Letourneau was reported to have "a loveless marriage" and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Spiritual "relationships"

Not only do we look at female offenders differently, so do the offenders themselves. Women predators are more likely to see the abuse as a romantic relationship. Letourneau told CNN's Larry King that she and Fualaau had a "deep spiritual oneness" before they were ever sexual, and that she did not consider herself a sexual predator.

Dr. Leigh Baker, a clinical psychologist in Colorado, interviewed hundreds of male and female predators for her book "Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators." All were incarcerated at the time, and their stories help form her theory that there are four types of predators: inadequate, narcissistic, anti-social and pedophile.

An inadequate adult (and predator) has trouble forming attachments with other adults and is most comfortable with children, she says. A narcissist loves him- or herself to the detriment of others; someone who's anti-social doesn't abide by society's rules; and a pedophile is sexually aroused by children.

While some women are pedophiles and some men do profess their love for the children they sexually abuse, women are more likely to "couch it as a relationship," according to Baker. Men are more likely to be serial pedophiles; women seek that "deep spiritual oneness" that Letourneau says she found.

The traits women predators exhibit — seeing themselves as a victim, low self-esteem, a sense of inadequacy, needing to be the center of attention, putting their own need for a connection before common sense — probably place most women predators into two of Baker's four categories.

"My suspicion is if you took a large enough number of female predators, they would fall into all four types. But, we know women are less anti-social than men, and there are fewer female pedophiles, so I think most women are narcissistic or inadequate types of predators."

There are signs of the inadequate, the narcissist and the anti-social predator in Letourneau. She formed an inappropriate bond with a 12-year old, ignoring society's mores and the well-being of her own four children.

While a mental illness may produce hypersexuality, impulsiveness and poor decision-making, such a diagnosis for a sexual predator is rare, according to Baker. They are more likely to have a personality disorder (such as a anti-social, or narcissistic) or to have been sexually abused themselves.

The "Mrs. Robinson Syndrome"

To watch NBC's "To Catch A Predator" you'd think all predators are men. The series uses decoys on the Internet to lure men hoping to hook up with underage teens. Robert Weiss, executive director and founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, who provided his expertise in one of the episodes, says sexual compulsions on the Internet are male-dominated.

But female predators are beginning to use the Internet — not in an anonymous way to find children but to stay in close touch with those they are involved with. Rice, the former Tacoma teacher, communicated online often with the 10-year-old she had sex with, according to court records.

Then there is the ultimate double standard: The wink wink, nudge nudge, of boys getting their sexual initiation from grown women.

"Society sees it as they got 'lucky' " to receive a sexual initiation from a woman, according to Dr. Keith Kaufman, chairman of the department of psychology at Portland State University. "But their brain maturation isn't complete. Boys aren't in a position to give consent to a sexual relationship. Girls see it as abusive much more quickly. Boys won't want to see themselves as a victim."

There is a prevailing sense that boys are not harmed by sexual liaisons with older women. It's called the "Mrs. Robinson Syndrome," after the character in the 1967 film "The Graduate." But Benjamin, Mrs. Robinson's target, wasn't a child; he was in his 20s, had just graduated from college and was contemplating that career in plastics.

"We tend to see the female teacher-male student relationship as less abusive and less harmful psychologically," according to Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, a psychiatrist and director of the Institute for Women's Health and the Mood Disorders Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. "But in fact, a sexual relationship between a female teacher and a male student can be just as harmful and can have both short- and long-term consequences on the child's emotional stability and psychological and sexual development."

Boys who have sex with grown women are anything but "lucky." "It is always abuse," says Dr. Kaufman.

Rebecca Morris has been a broadcast and print journalist for 33 years. She teaches journalism at Bellevue Community College.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

Saturday, October 06, 2007

False Domestic Violence Charges

CHARLESTON - The release of a study indicating that most of the petitions for domestic violence protection orders may be used for leverage in a divorce or child custody proceeding comes as cold comfort to those who've experienced it firsthand.

"I was so innocent, and the evidence was so profound, I was able to beat that in court myself," said Teresa Lowe.

Lowe was among the 25 people who gathered along Lee Street in front of the Charleston Town Center Mall Monday, Oct. 1 as part of a rally and press conference held by Men and Women Against Discrimination.

To kick off National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Vienna-based children's advocacy group staged the event to release two studies showing inequities in the West Virginia judicial system when it comes to domestic violence.

The first study was an analysis of all petitions for domestic violence protective orders filed in Cabell County Family Court during the 2006 calendar year. According the study, 76 percent of all petitions are dismissed.

Using the Cabell County statistics as a model, the second study showed that the time and resources lost in dealing with those dismissed petitions is $18 million.

Though she now lives in her native Wood County, Lowe, 38, says the analysis of Cabell County holds true in Jackson County, where she used to live with her now ex-husband. In the course of their divorce proceeding, Lowe says he leveled accusations against her of child abuse in an attempt to gain custody of their children.

Though the tactic eventually failed, Lowe says she and her children are still feeling the repercussions of those allegations.

"I've spent six years of my life tied up in court," Lowe said.

Likewise, Chris Saunders says the same holds true in Wayne County which not only neighbors Cabell County, but also shares part of Huntington. According to Saunders, accusations of domestic violence were leveled against him on nine different occasions by his ex-wife, not including additional allegations he molested his daughter, which led to two warrants being issued for his arrest.

Now since exonerated of all the charges leveled against him, Saunders, 37, who now lives in Burlington, Ohio, says the studies MAWAD released has a therapeutic effect for him.

"I just like seeing the information get out," Saunders said. "Nobody should have their children torn away for making false allegations. "

Hopefully, Sanders says, the studies will convince lawmakers to pass bills criminalizing false reporting of domestic violence, and creating 50/50 parenting plan.

"What we're talking about is children having a right to both halves of themselves," Saunders said.

Charles Pope says both he and wife were victims of domestic violence. He for not being provided assistance after she battered him one night, and her for being provided too much assistance under the assumption she was the victim.

According to Pope, who lives on Charleston's West Side, his wife become violent one night in January. Unbeknownst to him, Pope says, his wife was taking medication for depression, and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

"She just snapped," Pope said.

When police came to their house at her urging, Pope says they were prepared to arrest him. However, with the intervention of his pastor, police placed her in custody.

Instead of being arrested, Pope says, his wife was taken to CAMC for evaluation. Believing she was the victim of domestic violence, the hospital referred her to a local shelter for battered women.

Later, when he attempted to have a mental hygiene warrant served on her by Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, Pope says, people at the shelter told deputies she was not there. However, when he publicly detailed his ordeal at a conference on male victimization in April, his wife was released from the shelter.

"And she really never got the help," Pope said.

Pope says he hopes that police will begin to investigate each domestic violence-related case on its merits instead of arriving on the scene with the assumption the man is the guilty party.

Likewise, he would like to see more services, especially overnight shelter, provided to male victims of domestic violence.

"There's too many politicians hooked up in the foolishness of all this," Pope said. "They don't believe a man can be a victim of domestic violence."

"I'm living proof of it," he added

Charly Young says she knows too well of the man-is-guilty mentality many law enforcement officers have. Though she was not formally part of MAWAD's rally, Young, 29, who lives in downtown Charleston, donned one of their T-shirts and joined them in a march around the Town Center on her way to the transit mall.

About two weeks ago, Young says, she and her fiancee got into a heated argument. The argument centered about coping with financial difficulties they are experiencing.

Needless to say, police were summoned to their apartment. Despite telling police no blows were struck, and she shared part of the blame in creating the disturbance, Young said police encouraged her to press charges against her fiancee.

"The police really didn't care," Young said. "They just wanted to take somebody down."

For Young, the matter was "culture shock." A native of Washington, D.C., Young said she moved to Charleston after leaving an abusive relationship in Baltimore in 2003.

After being nearly choked to death by her former boyfriend, Young says she found it incomprehensible that her word alone could have sent her fiancee to jail.

According to Young, the financial challenges she and her fiancee are having stem from a gunshot wound he suffered three years ago. He is still rehabilitating from that wound, and has not had steady employment since then.

Though acknowledging money won't solve all their problems, Young says if more were done to alleviate poverty, then that would go a long way in curbing domestic violence.

"That is where domestic violence comes from in the poor neighborhoods, " Young said.

http://www.wvrecord.com, "Victims of false domestic violence reporting detail experiences", Friday, October 05, 2007, by Lawrence Smith

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Because He Shoved Her

CLEVELAND - A woman arrested in the deaths of her two young daughters after they were found in a water-filled bathtub was a domestic violence victim who had no documented history of neglecting her children.

The father of the two girls, ages 4 and 2, pulled them from the bathtub Monday, where they apparently drowned, police said.
The girls' mother, Amber Hill, 22, was arrested at her apartment for further questioning. No charges had been filed, and she was jailed Monday night.

Hill, who neighbors said was studying to be a nursing assistant, had no record of abusing her children, said Jim McCafferty, director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services.

"We never had a call of any maltreatment of the children," McCafferty said Tuesday. "The kids were clean and well cared for. It's just a sad situation."

In July 2006, the girls' father, Jamie Cintron, 23, pleaded no contest and was found guilty of domestic violence against Hill in Cleveland Municipal Court.

A summons for his arrest states that during an argument with Hill "he started knocking things over, then he said he was leaving with their children, he picked up a hammer and broke the TV with it, then he grabbed her by the neck and shoved her."

Cintron served 26 days in jail and the rest of his six-month sentence was suspended. He was placed on probation for 18 months, ordered to attend a domestic violence counseling program and ordered to have no contact with Hill.

He also was ordered to take a class on parenting skills and permitted to see his children only if a third party was present.
Court records do not indicate if he attended the domestic violence and parenting programs.

In 2004, Cintron had pleaded no contest and was found guilty of domestic violence against Hill in suburban Bedford Municipal Court. He was put on six months' probation.

Deondra Hurt, 19, who lives in the same two-story apartment building, said Hill had taken good care of the children.

"She always had her kids dressed up, with hair done every day," Hurt said. "She took care of them. They were well behaved kids. They played jump rope and would write on the ground with chalk."

Cintron told police he received a call at work from Hill and she told him that the children "are at peace," said Cleveland police Lt. Thomas Stacho.

Cintron told police he went to the apartment and pulled his daughters from the water in the bathtub.

"Both my daughters are laying here dead! Why? Why are my daughters dead?" a weeping Cintron screamed into a telephone while making a 911 emergency call to police.

Hurt said she heard the girls' father screaming and shouting. She later went to the apartment and saw Hill "on a couch, and she was just sitting there. She was a nice girl. It's real sad."

Hill provided only her name, age and address, but would not answer further questions at the apartment, Stacho said. She was calm and showed no emotion when she was taken away by police, he said.

"At this point she's our only suspect," he said.

Stacho said the girls were placed on life support by a city medical services crew and were pronounced dead at MetroHealth Medical Center.

The official cause of death was pending autopsies Tuesday, said Dr. Frank Miller, Cuyahoga County coroner. He was trying to confirm the correct names of the victims. The coroner and police had various spellings of their first names.
---
Associated Press writer Joe Milicia in Cleveland contributed to this report.

© 2007 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Oct. 02, 2007, 'Mother arrested in bathtub deaths of 2 girls, ages 4 and 2' by M.R. KROPKO, Associated Press

as posted

Because I'm Mad at Your Daddy

FORT WORTH, Texas — Two girls whose mother allegedly doused them with gasoline and set them on fire will live with their paternal grandparents after their release from the hospital, a judge ruled Friday.

Their father, Adam Green, will be allowed to live with his mother and stepfather, Debra and John Flowers, as they care for the 5- and 7-year-old girls who were severely burned with their 3-year-old sister two weeks ago in their home in nearby Haltom City.

Ariania Green, who suffered burns on 90 percent of her body, died three days later after being removed from life support.

Adamiria Green, 7, who was burned on nearly 20 percent of her body, was to be released from the hospital Friday, her relatives told Juvenile Court Associate Judge Kim Brown during a hearing Friday. They said it was unclear when Alexandria Green, 5, with burns covering about 40 percent of her body, would be released.

"I appreciate you being there for your grandchildren ... in this difficult situation," Brown told the Flowers during the hearing.

Alysha V. Green coaxed her daughters into a closet Sept. 15 by saying they were playing a game, poured gasoline on them and threw a burning shirt on them, according to documents filed in the case. Green, whose feet were burned, then summoned neighbors who pulled the screaming girls from the smoke-filled house, witnesses said.

She later told an officer she burned her children because was mad at her husband, according to documents.

Adam Green, who was not home at the time, told authorities that she previously threatened to set him on fire. He said she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but stopped taking her medication, and her behavior had worsened in the past three weeks, according to documents.

In documents filed earlier, CPS officials recommended that the surviving girls not live with their father because he took no steps to protect them and also admitted to smoking marijuana with his wife in front of the children.

But the judge approved the temporary custody order allowing Adam Green to live with his mother and stepfather on the conditions that he have drug assessments, a psychiatric evaluation, counseling and random drug tests.

CPS will continue to monitor the family and will revisit the custody arrangement in about 90 days, said agency spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales. If Adam Green meets those conditions, he is likely to gain sole custody of the girls later, Gonzales said.

Adam Green and the Flowers declined to comment Friday after the brief hearing.

Alysha Green, 29, has been charged with capital murder and two counts of serious bodily injury to a child. Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Green in her youngest daughter's death. The other charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Earlier this week, Green was moved from the burn unit of Parkland Hospital in Dallas to Fort Worth's John Peter Smith Hospital, where she is in an inmate patient ward, said Tarrant County Sheriff's Office spokesman Terry Grisham.
Green will probably remain there through next week before being taken to jail, he said.

Sept. 28, 2007, 'Girls allegedly burned by mom to live with grandparents' by ANGELA K. BROWN Associated Press © 2007 as posted