Resolution 590: Is Congress Not Aware of Male Victimization?
By: Guest Authors
By: Richard L. Davis
To see, to hear, means nothing. To recognize (or not to recognize) means everything. And what I do not recognize I shall continue not to recognize.
Andre Brenton (1989-1966, French Surrealist)
This is an online open letter to the members of the 110th U.S. Congress.
I agree with the 110th Congress Resolution 590 about raising the awareness of domestic violence in the United States and the devastating effects domestic violence has on families and communities. The Resolution can be viewed online at http://thomas.loc.gov/ and then enter HRES 590 in to the search engine block. A critical analysis by http://www.mediaradar.org/ of House Resolution 590 is available online at http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARanalysis-HRES590.pdf.
Although the 110th Congress Resolution 590 claims that Congress wants to raise awareness of domestic violence, Resolution 590 accomplishes just the opposite concerning male victimization; i.e.: “Whereas one in four women will experience domestic violence sometime in her life” and “Whereas 13 percent of teenage girls who have been in a relationships report being hit or hurt by their partner.” No awareness of male victimization there!
The “one in four claim,” is probably from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) that documents nearly 25 percent of women report their victimization. Resolution 590 makes no attempt to raise awareness about the fact that NVAWS also documents that 7.6 percent of surveyed men are domestic violence victims. And perhaps Congress is not aware that the NVAWS clearly documents that women are twice as likely to report their victimization as are men.
The 13 percent victimization of teenage girls is probably from the Liz Claiborne Inc. Topline Findings Teen Relationship Abuse Survey (Conducted March 2006). On the very same page just above the victimization of girls, the survey documents 17 percent of teenage boys report their victimization. Is the 110th Congress not aware of that data or has Congress chosen to raise awareness of the victimization of our daughters while ignoring the victimization of our sons?
House Resolution 590 also makes it clear that the 110th Congress ignores or is unaware of a report that Congress asked for, paid for and received: Advancing the Federal Research Agenda on Violence Against Women. Page 48 and 49 documents the victimization of both males and females. Resolution 590 ignores the fact that domestic violence is a problem for both males and females.
This above report has been online since 2004 at http://books.nap.edu/catalog/10849.html and this report must be read by the members of Congress if Congress intends to become aware of and make others aware of the context, circumstances and the multifaceted complexities of domestic violence.
Congress also needs to become aware of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report, Controlling Violence Against Women: A Research Perspective on the 1994 VAWA’s Criminal Justice Impacts. This report is online and has been available to the members of Congress since 2002 at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/197137.pdf.
On page 75 of the above report it notes:
But strong evidence that one policy is more effective than another in addressing recidivism is elusive. We still have much to learn about the differences in offenders and differences in populations of victims to justify advocating one policy over another without qualification. [And on the next page it also concludes that:]
Above all, they [public policy makers] need to know that their policies and practices will not endanger women [emphasis added]. Unfortunately, there are too few preventive impact evaluations of policies already in place and fewer still that approach methodological standards ensuring sound data for shaping policy.
Perhaps Congress is unaware that there are no evaluations in place, no methodological standards and no data that documents mandatory domestic violence policies and practices will not endanger some victims. This admonition has not prevented public policy makers from implementing policies that clearly lack impact evaluation and methodological standards.
The members of the Congress also seem to be unaware of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): Overview that was available to them online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/ipvfacts.htm before they sponsored Resolution 590. On the first page of the above CDC report the CDC notes:
Most IPV incidents are not reported to the police. About 20% of IPV are rapes or sexual assaults, 25% of physical assaults, and 50% of stalking directed toward women are reported. Even fewer IPV incidents against men are reported [italics added]. Nearly 5.3 million incidents of IPV occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older, and 3.2 million occur among men.
In the United States every year, about 1.5 million women and more than 800,000 thousand men are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner. This translates into about 47 IPV assaults per 1,000 women and 32 assaults per 1,000 men.
The lack of awareness in House Resolution 590, documents that Congress should become more aware of domestic violence victimization and that Congress has to begin recognizing the victimization of all of domestic violence victims regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation.
As the father of three daughters and two sons I ask; are the Congressional members unaware of male victimization – as House Resolution 590 demonstrates they seem to be – or has Congress simply chosen to exclude or minimize male victimization?