Saturday, March 28, 2009

Two Ways to Help ALL Victims of Domestic Abuse

For the past few years, I have gone to local libraries and domestic violence centers to distribute literature for two national organizations: Stop Abuse for EVERYONE (www.safe4all.org) and The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women (www.dahmw.org). Both are fine organizations that understand that neither violence nor victimhood has a gender. The most common scenario presented with respect to DV involves a violent male battering his wife or girlfriend, but there is much evidence demonstrating that women often initiate (that's a key word) abuse against their male partners. Indeed, this study indicates that, within heterosexual relationships in which only one partner is engaging in violence, the woman is the violent party 70.7% of the time:

http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/42/15/31-a

I mention the word "heterosexual" to point out that a disturbing level of violence also occurs within the gay-and-lesbian community, another facet that is overlooked when we only consider the "man beats woman" scenario. We do female victims of abuse no favors by ignoring male victims. Some DV shelters are fair and will assist any victim who walks through the door, but far too many ignore, ridicule, and harass male victims. I ask you for your help in two ways.

First, please look at and sign a petition that was introduced by DAHMW:

"For decades domestic abuse has been looked upon as a social problem of violence against women by men. Battered women's advocates and others concerned about domestic violence have created and funded over 2000 non profit agencies across the country that help victims. For more than 20 years these agencies have specialized in offering a full spectrum of services to what has been considered the traditional victims of domestic violence, women and children. Yet society has changed a great deal since we first became aware of the violence that goes on behind close doors. Men are now stay at home dads, some do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, change diapers, give the kids their baths and food shop...all the things that were unheard for men to do back in the 1950's and 60's when we first started recognizing the social problem of domestic violence. Women have changed quite a bit also. Many work outside the home, some hold high powered jobs and others run cement mixers. Women are also doing things that were unheard of in the 50's & 60's. They also get violent with their spouses/boyfriends and children. Our current system that offers supportive services to victims of intimate partner violence, everything from obtaining a court order to keep victims safe to clothing and transitional housing, for the most part, still runs under the antiquated notion that 95 - 98% of domestic abuse victims are women abused by men. This means that services for men abused by women or other men in same sex relationships are nearly non existent in these federally funded shelter programs. If you believe that federal and state funded domestic violence victims shelter programs should be mandated to support any victim and give them them same opportunities and services regardless of their gender, age, able-ism, ethnicity, religious beliefs or race etc. please sign our petition."

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/domestic-abuse-victims

Second, you can support this organization just by surfing the Web, at no cost to you. The folks at GoodSearch will donate to DAHMW with every search you make on its site. Go to www.goodsearch.com, and enter "Helpline Men" in the "Who Do You Goodsearch For?" box, and then search away. Thank you.

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