Woozles in the Name of Protecting Women?


By: Carey Roberts

The Gender Warriors have discovered the perfect wedge issue, one that carries raw, visceral appeal with liberals and conservatives alike, and to a large swath of the American electorate.

But there’s a catch: For this issue to work, the truth must purged from general awareness. Researchers have to be re-educated, or if need be, cowed into silence. And the media must be goaded to cooperate.

The issue is domestic violence.

This area has become so strewn with Urban Legends that researchers have dubbed them the “woozle effect.” Remember when Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet went hunting and almost caught a woozle?

Dr. Richard Gelles of the University of Pennsylvania is one of the best-known researchers in this field. Gelles recently published an article in Family Court Review that exposes many of these woozles. [source]

Here’s a sampling:

– “The Centers for Disease Control reports that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15 to 44.” Interesting, but the CDC never said anything like that.

– “According to the March of Dimes, battering during pregnancy is the leading cause of birth defects.” That factoid certainly came as a surprise to the March of Dimes.

– “Female perpetrators of partner homicide serve longer jail sentences than males” Here’s the truth: the average prison sentence for male offenders is 17 years, and for female murderers is 6 years.

The woozles continue.

This past November the Washington Times ran a front-page story that claimed, “A 2005 U.N. Population Fund report found that 70% of married women in India were victims of beatings or rape.”

The notion that 70% of Indian husbands are batterers or rapists defies reason or common sense. So on November 28 the Washington Times was compelled to admit the mistake, saying the United Nations “does not have sufficient data” to make any such claim.

Then there’s the outright suppression of research findings, like one federally funded survey directed by the Kentucky Commission on Women. The interviews revealed that 38% of all violence consisted of unprovoked attacks by women on their male partners — but that key statistic was omitted from the final report. The cover-up was not discovered until other researchers obtained a copy of the raw data.

And recently the U.S. Department of Justice issued a grant solicitation that specifically prohibited any “proposals for research on intimate partner violence against, or stalking of males of any age.” How’s that for good ol’ fashioned sex bias?

But scientists are still reluctant to kow-tow to the whims of political correctness. So extraordinary measures may become necessary.

Dr. Suzanne Steinmetz knows this from first-hand experience. Her research at the University Delaware revealed that women are as likely to resort to partner violence as men. In response, partisans launched a year-long intimidation campaign. The organizers of one conference were threatened that “if they allowed me to speak, the place would be bombed … I also received a couple of phone calls saying it wouldn’t be safe for my children to go out,” Steinmetz later revealed.

Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire, honored with many awards for his research on family violence, has been shunned for not toeing the ideological line. He has been threatened, heckled, and booed to the point of preventing him from speaking at several college forums.

Another target of the tyranny of ideological conformity is Erin Pizzey. Founder of the first women’s shelter in England, Pizzey published a book that revealed 62% of the women at her shelter had physically attacked their male partners. The result? The police had to be summoned to escort her on the book tour, and she was once shot at. [source]

All this, of course, in the name of stopping violence against women.

Some would say the distortions and the threats are justified. After all, the domestic violence industry has succeeded in leveraging persons’ fears into a $1 billion-a-year campaign devoted to protecting women from abuse. Why take issue with that?

But what if the truth came out that our country’s War on Domestic Abuse was flatly ineffective in reducing violence, that it ignored the wishes of victims, and that it sometimes placed women at greater risk of abuse? [source]

And what if it became known that our nation’s domestic violence laws were violating the civil rights of millions and were needlessly breaking up families, forcing children to grow up in single-parent households? [source

What would we do then?



Carey Roberts is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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